Thursday, October 31, 2013

Flash Fiction 2: Nella Breg Olm

Happy Halloween! Er well I guess technically that was yesterday.
Halloween is one of my Favorite holidays. So naturally I've put off doing much for it this year because I've been rather busy with work. I even waited until tonight to write the following flash fiction, while handing out candy to the few Trick or Treaters that were brave enough to venture to my house.

What follows is a short piece featureing a character I haven't shared a lot from online. Her name is Use Lied and she's not from Earth. She's the main character in a NANOWRIMO story I started a few years ago that I've since been in the process pf rewriting. Writing wise I've invested the most thought into it and Paragon Ketch. I may post snippets here from that project, like this, to test the waters. How much of Use's world can I get away showing you? I really like mythology and fables so this takes from those a bit. I don't remember exactly when I first came up with the Fable of Nel but the story's been in my head awhile. I'm a little worried I lifted it from an actual fable. If I did and your recognize it let me know what I stole from. :s

I've been busy with comic work on a comic that should be going live soon that is a tie in to Charby the Vampirate. You can find out more at

I hope to participate in NANOWRIMO this month but I may not succeed. Still going to update this regularly, even if it winds up being something I scribbled down quickly in the minutes before I'm set to update...that or in the wee hours of the morning as is now. ;)

Please enjoy today's piece of Flash Fiction while I contemplate whether or not I have too much on my plate for my own good. 




by Sarah Elkins

     The closest thing we have on Sevet to Halloween is called Nella Breg Olm, where offering are made to placate the Goddess of Misfortune, Nel. Food, drink, sometimes money are left out on a plate at the top of a pole, usually placed in one's yard. If they do not have a yard a smaller pole on a balcony or outside a window is used. If the offering is gone in the morning Nel has smiled on your house and you will be largely strife free for the year. If the offering is not taken Nel has smiled on your house a menacing smile and delights in the troubles she will bring you. Nel is known as "The Smiling Goddess" for she sees humor in all things. Woe be to the one to make that Goddess frown.

     What happens to the food? The Offerings?
     Some say Nel herself takes them. Others say they are stolen by beggars and homeless urchins. Still others believe they are stolen and taken to Earth.
     You can no simply take something from Sevet to Earth like that. That is why a Razor's cloths are made of our own hair and our blade is fashioned from the bones of those who came before us.
     Of all the Gods and Goddesses, Nel is the most understanding of the plight of beggars and street urchins so I don't think she would frown on one taking her offerings to survive. I suspect that was the ritual's true purpose. Considering one of the most well known Fables of Nel, tricking people into helping the poor through fear sounds like Nel.
     The Fable goes like this. One time in the distant past the Goddess Nel decided to retire to a small cottage with a small farm not far from a village and live in peace. The nearby villagers distrusted the stranger yet took advantage of her generosity and kindness. They returned regularly during the summer and fall until they had taken all the food she had saved, ever grain she had stored for the next year's fields and even some of her tools with which she would have sewed the new crop.
Winter was on the way and the Villagers arrived wanting more.
     She had none.
     "I have given all I had. I have nothing to grow, no tools. All I have is this hovel and the soil."
     "But won't you starve along with us?"
     "No." Was all she said.
     "Why not? What are you hiding?!"
     "I hide nothing. I give freely. All peoples and things are equal in my eyes."
     The villagers were enraged.
     They killed her and fled. Later, overcome by hunger they returned to her cabin to collect her body and make it into a stew but they found the small home empty. Then the villagers began to fight among themselves, sure one of their number had returned and made off with the body. That winter they killed one another and became cannibals.
     When the winter stretched on, long and cold unyielding the remaining villagers, lips stained with the blood of their fellows cried out, "Why have we been given this calamity!? What God have we offended so? To force us to such extremes?"
     It was then that Nel returned and appeared before the villagers, in the humble guise she held when they had slain her.
     "You?! This is a curse wrought on us for killing you!?"
     "No." Was all she said.
     "What then? This is for taking all your food?"
     "No." Was all she said.
     "Your tools?"
     "No." Was all she said.
     "If this is not about your belongings, or food, or life then what? Why force us to eat our fellows?"
     "You have thought of no one but yourselves. Doing so brings woe unto yourself. But now you are helping your fellows survive by serving a noble purpose."
     "You monster."
     "You never once inquired as to my name, for you care not for anyone but yourself. Even now."
     "Who the Hym Rekgr are you?!"
     "Nel." Was all she said as she revealed her true form. Her glistening horned helmet that obscured her eyes, four wings, tail and ever changing manic hair.
     The villagers fell to their knees, "We didn't know! Forgive us!"
     "Nor did you care. I give freely to all, some simply take more than others."
     I guess that's one reasons Nel is one of my favorite Goddesses. It's also why I figure the purpose of the offerings is to give to those in need. Why the plates are put on giant poles is a bit beyond me, maybe to keep the food and money away from varmints. 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Flash Fiction 1: Feed

     Have you ever skipped lunch and found yourself with a killer headache and the shakes? Were you just busy or could you not afford to eat the "standard three meals a day"?

     I've done that. As a freelance artist some months are tighter than others. That's how I refer to it. "Tight" or "Lean" but I avoid using words that refer to what it really is: "Hungry."

     When the Hunger Games movie was about to come out I managed to pick up the first book on sale while visiting family. It touched a cord of familiarity and my Brother and Dad both borrowed the book and for lack of a better word 'devoured' it. They then bought the rest of the series which we all read as quickly as possible. I would not recommend reading all Three Books in a month like we did as it was rather nerve wracking.

     "You said 'familiarity' what do you mean?" you may ask.
     Well, what I mean is I see freelancing a bit like the Hunger Games and the fact that Katniss, the main character of the series, realized she could survive off the land made me realize that even if things went down hill I could do that myself. It made me realize I wasn't crazy for thinking about nabbing a squirrel during those 'Lean' times.
     I haven't by the way, nabbed a squirrel, bird, or other piece of the wildlife around my home, but it's comforting, in an odd way, to know that the little morsels are there should my work not cut it.

     What am I going on about? Well, I wanted to give you a little weird background information on this weird piece of flash fiction I wrote today. Why didn't I write something sooner? I've been busy working on things so I don't have to go rid the trees outside my house of birds.

     Please enjoy this odd piece of Flash Fiction. Next installment will also be Flash Fiction and probably the next few as well as I am short on time as of late.
-Sarah "Neila" Elkins


by Sarah "Neila" Elkins

    It's hard to think about doing much of anything when one is hungry. There's a point where even the most rotten decaying four week old garbage smells enticing. Your body starts to crave what it needs and somehow you know that is liver, raw fish, or fresh greens from a garden. Any sight of blood, real or in art trips your subconscious and you begin drooling. You hunger like a zombie and need to feed.
   It's terrifying.
   Worst of all it's distracting as hell. Especially if you work from home.
   So you sit, slowly typing your words. Slowly moving your brush on the canvas before you. You try to compensate for the gentle shaking of your hands by making multiple lethargic movements with your pencil in your sketchbook. Your head continues to pound with a headache that dances between a dull ache and a mild roar. Your body goes into this primordial mode of survival, concerving energy so that you can forage or hunt, as you sit surrounded by modern technology, art, and refinement.
   You need to feed.
   As you sit in your home, unable to afford to buy meat or anything remotely resembling proper nutrition you begin to pick up on all the creatures outside your window. Trees are brimming with birds, squirrels, chipmunks, You begin to think about how it's the right time of year for there to be eggs in the little cardinal's nest near your drive way. You start to wonder how many lizards it would take to make a good soup and if you can season it with bullion cubes your long deceased Grandmother left in the cabinet. Are those wild onions growing at the edge of the yard or some sort of poisonous day lily? There are so many birds. Constantly jabbering. Mocking you.
   Will you need a sling shot?
   Can you catch one of the noisy birds with your bare hands?
   How long do you need to cook a sparrow?
   You need to feed. They're all out there. Little morsels fluttering around the leaves and branches. Skittering around the bark and rocks.
   So you sit. Working. Trying to keep your eyes from the window.
   If another day goes'll do it. You'll have a feast. The trees will be silent. More birds will fly in eventually and your mind will finally be clear to focus on work. No one would need to know. You could dispose of the feathers in the trash. Burn them in your fireplace. Use them in a craft project. Try to remember to avoid killing and eating any of the protected species.
   How many sparrows are in the trees? check your email for the millionth time's there. The fifty dollars you slaved for two weeks to earn. A weight is lifted and you go to the store immediately. You're careful. You buy the necessities you need and make sure there's plenty of meat, broccoli and potatoes.
   You feed.
   The birds outside rejoice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

All the Best Mistakes part 2

Welcome to part 2 of the first longer short story I'm posting on the blog. I hope you've enjoyed reading part one.
Ideally I'd run everything I post by some "Beta Readers" but many of my friends who have offered to "Beta Read" stories of mine have been just as if not more busy than me. That means you guys are my "Beta Readers"...whoever you are.

What you're reading is RAW, barely edited. I write it down one day, type it up another and then reread it and tweak it one more time before posting. Self-publishing work in this way is not the best idea, but I'm young and stupid and figure I can get away with it. Should I succeed in writing enough on here (and otherwise) to publish as an eBook of Short Stories in the future I will be going over everything and attempting to Re-Edit it another time before sending it to "print" even if that print is in a digital sort of way.

I'd like to reiterate that it is perfectly fine for you, whoever you may be, to post one or multiple comments detailing any errors or suggestions you may have for anything I post. One cannot learn in a vacuum as well as one can learn from having a conversation with another person.

This is the last portion of "All the Best Mistakes" after which I will be posting some Flash Fiction pieces following the 15th and 1st update schedule.  Please read and enjoy.

All the Best Mistakes Part 2

     Most people get stupid when they lack a necessity like food so I guess I'm in good company.
     I start back to the Inn as I finish eating the grouse. Stringy pieces of meat get caught in my teeth as I round the corner where I had last seen Vassa about where I gave her the baskets of food.
     Much of the market has closed. People have begun to return to their dwellings. There is quite a bit of ruined produce around the market, trampled under foot. I pick my teeth with one of the thin bones from the grouses' leg as my foot lands on something soft and squishie. I look down to see a trail of ruined berries like the ones I had traded for. Markets are so messy. My eyes follow the trail to two crushed baskets discarded in the main walking path.
     I freeze in place, staring at the crushed basket in the waning daylight.
     Why had Vassa tossed the food and baskets to the side? The market was not near the inn. Why had Harret not been with her when they had escaped together?
     Fear washes through my veins.
     I had left her alone.
     I had left Tura alone.
     I drop my leftover grouse and run.
     How do I get back to the Inn? What direction is it from here? What if Tura had called to Vassa for help and that was why the guard had dropped the food? Why had she not called to me?
     It takes me a moment to realize I'm no longer moving. I've frozen again...but a heat is building in my muscles as if i've run all day and they're ceasing up. I can not speak as the heat spreads from my limbs to engulf the whole of my body.
     I'm on fire.
     It hurts.
     "Come to me Utzi Star Eyes! I summon you with the will of my heart and power of my soul! Come to me Utzi Star Eyes and fulfill my will!" Her voice echos in my mind rattling the horns on my head.
     "Yes...." I breathe and everything is burned away.
     In a moment I am no longer in the alley between two mud buildings near the market. The heat becomes me and I feel power. Raw power flows through me.
     Where am I? Where? The Inn.
     The Inn.
     But I am also not at the Inn.
     For a moment I am in the alley, on the roof of the Inn, and somewhere in between. I glimpse at all the knowledge in the world both known and unknown. I see every grain of being that piles up to create the sand hills of life we move around in during our short lives. Our world, a grain of sand by comparison to to the star that gave birth do it. The star is of the hottest fire. Fire I feel flowing through my being. I know what bearings are. I know what a two hundred horsepower outboard motor is. I know what an epsilon solar stroke deep space sun skiff is. I know how to create complex magic circles and spells. I know how Tura summons me to the Inn after running and hiding on the roof because Vassa blasted in the heavy stone door to the room. I know Vassa killed Harret after separating him from our group. That Orum convinced Vassa to help him capture Tura in exchange for a position at Orum's side in the empire he wishes to create.
     I see all things, what makes them up and how to make them all BURN while I am in all places before I coalesce on the roof of the Inn at Tura's call.
     "Come to me Utzi Star Eyes! Come to me and protect me from those that wish to do me harm!"
     I see Orum and his army gather around the Inn and Vassa climb the wall to the roof. They all stop when I arrive.
     I stand in front of Tura, who seems unusually small. My body is wreathed in living flame, like the corona of the sun I have just learned about. My eyes glow as two angry stars. The horns on my head are far longer than before and curl in, almost touching, creating an obsidian crown. My tail is like a whip composed of lightning tipped with plasma and flame. Everyone looks so small.

    Vassa has frozen in place, she stares. Normally she is larger than I am but she looks like a scared scrub mouse. She calls to Orum with a trembling lip, "Orum! What do we do!?"
     Down below the Inn Orum barks a reply, "Attack! It's an illusion! A trick from the damn Shaman!"
     I see Vassa hesitate. She's been Tura's guard for years and knows the Shaman is powerful but she has never seen anyone perform a summon. I hope Vassa will realize this is no trick.
     She does not.
     The female guard swings her heavy Macuahuitl at my leg. The obsidian teeth of the wooden sword dig deep into my calf and my calf bites back. Fire pours from the wound like magma from a young volcano. It devours the weapon, Vassa's hands and part of her forearms. She recoils in agony as the fire from my leg returns to me. My leg is whole. I am unscathed.
     "Leave now Orum! don't make me let him loose!" Tura pleads with the Warlord. "My will is the only think keeping him from acting! You can all leave with your lives if you do so now!"
     Vassa has collapsed on the roof before me, her breathe speaks of an attempted moan that simply refuses to make noise.
     "This!" Orum bellows. "This is the kind of power a man can rule the world with! Come with me Shaman! Or I will take this power from you!"
     Orum proceeds to walk away from the Inn. he pauses momentarily to scream at his men, "Take out the Demon! Bring me the Shaman! Fire your bows and atlatls! Anyone who returns to camp without the Shaman in tow is already dead!"
     His men are scared, but they are more scared of Orum than me.
It is there mistake, but I suppose he is the devil they know, and I am not.
     "Protect me Utzi!" Tura calls out as the first spears and arrows begin to rain upon the rooftop.
     I feel a weight lifted. I'm free. I do as she orders.
     Spears burn. Arrows burn. Vassa finally screams for a moment before she too burns. The unspeakable heat of the sun is unleashed from me. The inn before me is destroyed as are all of Orum's men. Tura stands behind me on what is left of the Inn's roof.
     "Orum..." She breathes.
     I see him. He's running now, into the sandy hills outside the city. I follow. He too burns and the hills of sand in my path are glazed into a thick layer of black obsidian.
     The order is complete. All those who wish Tura harm are gone, cinders in the wind. As the two moons being to rise I feel a tug. I begin to fall apart like a log that has been in the fire all night. While I collapse in on myself I am there again, in that place where I see and know the places that were before our planet and the places that will be after our planet is gone. I see what she will have me do. I know why but it breaks my heart. I know there will be others with this power in the future as there have been in the past and if they should ever know my name they too could call on me. The hair was never needed.
     I feel cold. Everything is cold compared to the heat of the sun. The alley way between the buildings far from the Inn is very cold. I am in the alley once more. Alone.
     Tura's still at the Inn. I have to go help her.
     The twin moons continue to rise as I race through the narrow streets of Polis. I hear Tura call to me as I reach the outskirts of a land made of Obsidian.
     "Utzi!" She's climbing off the roof.
     I arrive just in time to catch her as she clumsily falls.
     "Tura...did...I...are you okay?"
     She looks up at me, following my voice. Her eyes are full of tears, attempting to focus, "Utzi. You protected me."
     " called me to."
     She smiles, "I'm glad I got to see you for the first time with my own eyes. You were so pretty."
     "Utzi...I need you to do one more thing for me."
     "No." I know what she wants me to do.
     "Take out your knife."
     "No," I repeat as my hand removes my good knife from my belt. I am still under the spell of her will.
     "Utzi. You were like a star...your eyes. Are stars like that Utzi?"
     "Yes...stars are like that."
     "Are the stars out tonight?"
     I look up, "They are and they are shining bright."
     "And the moons?"
     Moonlight falls on Turas Face and I see how big and unfocused her eyes are.
     "Yes. The moons have risen. They're both full."
     "Use your knife Utzi."
     Then...I stand alone. The last person who wished Tura harm is my hand.
     It was a mistake to stay in the Temple for shelter, to run away with the Shaman, Tura Two not trade my knives for food and to let Tura summon me when she was in danger. So much blood is on my many mistakes...
     All the best mistakes leave you with something you would not of had otherwise. Magic comes more naturally to me than before...but it comes at a cost...because it was all a terrible mistake.