Sunday Snippet


Today’s snippet is inspired by “The One-Minute Writer” Sunday topic and a need to work in this year’s duck into the NaNo.

Not Me

“Here’s my I.D.,” Madison said, her palm upward to her grandmother. “I can go, too.”

Lucas rolled his eyes. “Sweetheart, there’s nothing in your hand. Now go get your backpack, please.”

The five-year-old nodded her head, dark pigtails dancing in time. “It’s my I.D. Grandpa says we can’t go unless we have one and I do! See, Grandma?”

Denise Swan knelt in front of her granddaughter. “You’re going to have to explain it to me, dearie; I don’t have my glasses.”

“It’s my imtamble duck. You can’t touch him.” The small hand was led higher.

“Because he’s shy,” Denise asked.

“Because he’s imtambled. And he will get me by the guards who say I have to have an I.D. and I do – my imtamble duck.”

Denise smiled. “Ah, an intangible duck; I see.”

Maddie nodded then frowned. “But, he’s invible.”

Lucas moaned. “Denise, I can only imagine I have your son to thank for this.”

“Tennyson.” Denise rose slowly to her feet as her granddaughter darted out from her father’s disapproving gaze. Her lankly lad looked more like a tentative teen sneaking to drama sessions than a globetrotting English teacher for almost half his life. In short, like his sister, he was Denise’s loveable nerd. “Tennyson, what is this about ‘intangible ducks?’”

His lip curled up into a thin smile before revealing pearly whites. “Ah, Maddie did put the psychic paper bit to use, good for her!”

Denise bit the inside of her cheek, aware of the frustration her son-in-law was probably feeling now. “Doctor Who? Seriously?”

“What,” Lucas asked. “What? Who-?”

“Don’t blame me, Mom,” Tennyson said. “You always said it was important to start with the classics. We start Star Trek next year.”

“Help your daughter get ready, Lucas” Denise told him. Once he left, she turned her attention back to her son.

Whatever one child started was sure to be enforced by the other. Then again, Kai may have held off on some series. “The Doctor notwithstanding, Madison needs proper documents if we’re to go to Canada. Otherwise, I just might have you stay home with the children and we make it a ‘grown-ups’ getaway.’ Understand?”

“Fine. I don’t want to go anyway. Why am I held responsible for the children’s passports? Just because-.”

“How did their originals end up going through the wash?”

“That wasn’t me, Mom. I wasn’t even in town when that happened. I was in Australia. Didn’t you get my postcards?”

Denise nodded. “I heard more than what you wrote on them, too, I’ll have you know. Look, the children got the idea somewhere.”

Tennyson leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. “So, if I introduce them to good science fiction, I’m not responsible. If something goes wrong and I’m nowhere near, then clearly it is. Is that the logical explanation, because I doubt Spock could make sense of that.”

“Don’t pout, dear. They got the idea from somewhere. Emptied your sister’s purse and put a lot of things in the washing machine.”

“Laundering money,” he said. “They’re too young for Law and Order and neither The Doctor nor any of Rod Serling’s lot did such a thing. Why not use their birth certificates?”

“Lucas locked them away but he also lost the key.” Denise thought it more likely that it was probably kept in a box that was locked and it was that key that got lost. If her grandchildren were like her own kids, small sticky fingers stashed them somewhere.

“Seriously, Mom, I can stay here with them. Lucas Junior didn’t seem keen on the crossing and Nathan’s just too wound up about that marathon on the t.v.”

Denise heard the heartbreak and relief; knew enough of her son’s tone to tell the real mood. Too tired to travel, yet too restless to stay home. “You can always bring the cats over. How many do you have now?”

Tennyson smiled. “Well, there’s Major Tom and Lt. Zoë and now I’ve got Sergeant Pepper, Captain Reynolds and Barney Miller in the ranks, thanks to Kai.”

“Hadn’t meant to put you on the spot earlier. Maddie picks up more than you three realize, so I wish you would be more careful about what you expose her to.”

“Hey, she’s the one who found a way to interpret I.D. into something completely cool and amazing! I never would have thought of intangible duck.’ Wonder if she’ll draw a picture of it later for me.”

“And what episodes did you start her off with to learn of psychic paper so soon?”

“Oh, you know.”

Denise shook her head. “You have to remember that your father and I spent our time with different doctors. McCoy, Kildaire, Quincy, for starters.” Then she saw it, a flicker of that lost look when Tenny was Maddie’s age. “The kids will do better at home, especially with that nasty cold Lucas is fighting.”

“I said I’ll stay, Mom. Gonna go help Dad pack up the car. Could drive you guys there, you know, save on paying for parking.”

She shook her head. “Last thing you need to do is bring the children anywhere near a comic book store. Make it an adventure of your own by keeping the kids out of trouble and the Campbell’s at bay.”

“Now I know you’re asking for the impossible.”

“Just assign one cat per child and you should be fine; unless you lot think of re-enacting Tom and Jerry shows. Not that you would put such an idea in their heads to begin with, right?”

Tennyson gave a wry grin. “Not me.”

Tuesday Tidbit

One willow over the water wept, and shook the wave as the wind did sigh;

Madison fell into a sitting position next to her mom. Once she situated herself comfortably, she reached up to put one hand on her mother’s shoulder, the other setting Miss Reynolds on her mom’s lap.

Kai looked at her daughter and smiled. “Did Miss Reynolds try taking over the ship again,” she asked.

Madison shook her head. “She told Book to, so she’s stuck at a wait station until the Maluminum Fallen ship comes back.”

Kai sighed. How her husband could keep up with the kids’ morphing sci-fi games was beyond her. Kai could barely keep up with Battlestar Galactica or Doctor Who. “Well, it’s nice of you to keep me company.”

Madison took Miss Reynolds back before crawling into her mother’s lap. “I’m supposed to make you wait until Nathan gets here.”

“Babysit me, you mean,” Kai said, then bit back a smile.

“No. Mommy-sit.” Madison pulled a folded comic book from her sweatshirt pocket. “Will you read to me?”

Kai obliged, remembering the times she and Tennyson would ‘run away’ and read comics by the pond until it was too dark. Today, of course, was a clear day, with rare blue skies and fair fall temperatures.

“You read the same, but different from Uncle Tenny,” Madison said. “Your voices are funny.”

“That’s what happens when we’re around funny children. Our voices have to change to catch up to your running around, your sleeping, your hide and seek and when you want to pretend you can’t hear us. Listen to your father when he reads your bedtime story tonight.”

“Did your dad read you stories,” Madison asked. Kai nodded. “I meant your other dad, the one Lucas is trying to find.”

Kai pulled her daughter close, trying to push the memories far away.

Sunday Snippet


Some blue peaks in the distance rose, and white against the cold-white sky, shone out their crowning snows.

“Where was this picture taken at, Uncle Tenny?” Madison help up the photo with the curtain of fog.

“Oh, just up in the mountains, a good day’s journey from where I was living.” He thought back to that time when he took the journey with Brian McCoy, wondering why the other man was giving him the thick pea coat.

“Was it cold up there,” she asked, taking her blue crayon to create the mountain peaks. “Did you think you would freeze to death, like that man in the wild who couldn’t build a fire?”

“Who has been reading Jack London to you? You should begin with White Fang. No, I wasn’t going to freeze to death. Our guide was very careful and I learned to follow his directions to the letter.”

“What does that mean, to the letter? Did he give you a letter with instructions, like the kinds Sherlock Holmes gets when people want his help?” She grabbed a white crayon and pressed hard against the paper, not that the color could be seen.

“Not exactly,” he told her, accepting the dark blue crayon to add to the mountains. He knew how to travel in such conditions in that region, so what he said was very important.”

Maddie nodded. “What did you do when you got to where you were going? Besides getting your picture taken? Oh, can I have this, too? I like how you look.”

He watched as she put the photo into her gold-paper covered box. “I learned about a few things there. Listened to some stories, sketched some pictures.”

“Ooh! Do you have them with you? I want to see them!” The white crayon was traded for gray with one hand while the other was held out expectantly for something he didn’t have.

“I’ll bring them next time, honest.” Tennyson had filled three books with images from that European travel. Usually he would have taken a page or two to mail to Kai, but he hadn’t that time. Neither did his parents receive the usual three-page letters once he left Australia.

“Why do you keep leaving all the time?”

He saw her dark eyes looking up at him and for a moment saw how much like her mother she was going to become. He smiled. “I like to explore. I’m curious that way.”

Maddie shook her head. “Someone once said that you are supposed to turn your fears into curiosity. Lucas showed me in one of his books.”

“Did he now?” Tennyson suspected it was the younger Lucas who took to reading the older classics too, no thanks to his father for instilling the behavior. “What else has your big brother shown you?”

Maddie sighed. “I’m not supposed to say. You guys will just get mad and you might go away again. I don’t want you to go, Uncle Tenny. Stay home until I finish school – like when I’m really old finished school, not just this year.”

He picked her up and sat her on his lap, wrapping his arms about her. “And how long do you think that will be?”

“When I become a doctor and so I can fix you.”

He frowned. “Fix me?”

Maddie placed a small hand on his cheek. “From your broken heart. Daddy says you and Mommy have one.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” he drawled. “I think my heart works just fine. I swim every day still and sometimes, I’ll run that trail around the lake.”

“That isn’t good enough.” As if the topic was settled, she kissed him good night, gathered her art supplies and treasure box then went to her room.

Thursday’s Thought I Knew…

Brian McCoy

Brian McCoy

I thought I knew Brian McCoy’s role in this mystery. Thought he was just an acquaintance, very little history.

Wouldn’t you know it, Brian is key. Key to what happened across the sea.

Intellectual, Musician, Prankster.

Somehow, someway, he knew what happened that day.That day that took Kai’s parents away.

He knows more than they knew – this fella coy. He knows a great deal, this Brian McCoy.

Too Much Tuesday

unlimitedWow, first time I participated in an hour’s worth of Word Sprints! Found 3000 words today instead of crashing in defeat (of energy – plot’s another story).

I learned that of the two siblings, Kai is the fighter – fast in fencing, fearless in karate. Tennyson prefers the swim team and track. Both have a way with wit, whether getting into trouble (with parents/friends) or getting out of it (fights/fiends).

I discovered how the Swans met and how the treadmill in the house is really used. (Actually, does anyone really use a treadmill for what it is for?). I discovered how Kai reacts when someone she depends on is gone, and how Tennyson will tell a story and stick with it, threat of broken ribs not withstanding.

I also learned that, again, I stayed up far later than I should have.

How are you fairing?

Sunday Snippet

Robert Shiyi

Robert Shiyi

A big thanks to Quinnleeeee for putting up the Sunday Sprint Challenge!  Did get some major numbers turned in and just stumbled over the 25k mark. What was accomplished? A few scene clarifications, character reassignments and a new discovery of a secondary character who has more of a role than I first realized.

Robert Shiyi knows Kai Addison almost as well as her brother does:

“Some people tell you not to look for ghosts. Others tell you to aim for the heights or the shiny big lights. All I can tell you, Kai Addison Takei Swan is this – whichever way your heart yearns, let logic follow if only for a spell. Not everything is spelled out easily because it may be without words.”

Kai looked at her boss and mentor, Mr. Shiyi, as he refilled the tea cups. She hated how he did that sometimes – present a riddle within something simple, an unasked question within a statement and an answer to something she hadn’t brought to light yet. “So, you’re saying I should go to London?”

“I’m saying I’ll take you to the airport and walk you to the boarding gate myself.” He paused. “Better yet, there’s the company jet.”

Halfway to…?

trail travel

Ever get to a point in your story and wonder – is there even a story? Never mind the ideal ‘two truths and a lie’ for every page (or was that two lies and a truth?), there are times where a word sprint or a word war, or even a night of writing on the road brings the Inner Critic out as strong as the Hulk and twice as snarky as Tony Stark.

What to do?

Well, the rules of NaNoWriMo encourage writing, writing and more writing. So that is what I will do, making small steps towards the end goal as the mystery has now become a new mystery to me.

How are you fairing at the halfway mark?

Thursday Themes

what are we doing hereThis year’s story themes have been provided serendipitously by Misifusa’s blog!

I knew I had a mystery on my hands with “Swim, Swan, Swim.” I knew the victims that set up the current circumstances for the family(ies) within the tale. But why was it so obvious that Tennyson and Kai Addison were as close as they were and would remain so no matter what? Was it worth opening that closed door of the past knowing the truth worth the possible pain, of angry antagonists or indifferent individuals and maybe fractured families?

Then I saw this post the day before the story was to officially begin, and it explained one of the main themes of the siblings’ stories – what are we doing here?

Wednesday – Amos’ Wisdom



“What made you think no one saw you,” Amos said. He rolled another cigarette without looking up at his visitors.

“Who said we were anywhere to be seen,” Kai countered.

“Sounding like a politician. I hate politicians. Fine, lie to me if you think you can. A guilty conscious will never let you shake it free.”

Tennyson slipped his fingers into his pocket, tucking the money further down. He was too close for them to fail, for him to fail her. Only one more trip, one more sale…

Finally, Amos turned his back to them, “You going to open up or what?”

“No,” Kai said.

Tennyson knew what he meant, going to the front of the store, flipping the sign in the window.