July 1, 2014



Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Fantasy Trope: dark lord

Maximiliano Mamami glared at the tombstone and said, “This isn’t it.”

Jade Grimsdôttir stood with her arms crossed over her chest and said, “What did you expect.” She reached to one of the notes, tugging it free of a crevice. She’d seen only one word: “idiots”. Unfolding it, she read a rude, crass, sneering note to idiots. Idiots just like her best friend, Max. “Maybe we should go...”

Instead, he was kneeling, reaching out to place both hands on the headstone. “Shhh…”

“Max, magic is just a fiction…”

“I’m not here for magic – except the psychological kind.”

Jade frowned and said, “What do you mean?”

He leaned farther until his forehead pressed against the stone. Roughened to near gravel, sharp, and deadly, Jade gasped when he jerked to one side, gouging his forehead. Blood smeared the tombstone and he groaned as he leaned back on his heels. From the head cuts, the blood dripped down, into his eyes until it ran to his cheeks and down his neck.

“What’s that supposed to do?” Jade shouted. Standing, she swung her backpack to the ground, kneeling and opening it. She pulled out her first aid kit and opened it. “Come here.”


Jade frowned, “What are you trying to…”

He slapped the tombstone. “You think me an idiot?” Jade flushed and tossed the note behind her, shaking her head. “I know there’s no ‘dark lord’ here. There’s no Tom Riddle – leastwise not one from the movies – but this is the tombstone of the man who inspired the Rowling to use the name in her books. This is his origin and you can’t deny that there are a billion people who believe that Voldemort is real – if not physically, then in spirit. I am going to give my blood to the idea. I’m going to pour as much of my blood on to this tombstone as I can and hope that it’s enough!” He turned and rammed his face into the tombstone again, this time embracing it as if it were his girlfriend, dragging his arms over the rough surface, lacerating his skin until his living blood began to run down its sides.

“Enough for what?” Jade cried.

Heat lightning flashed overhead. Enough to reveal Max standing up, pulling his T-shirt over his head and leaning back against the stone, rubbing against it. He staggered to her, falling at her feet, grabbing hold of her leg with a hand slippery with blood. He looked up and said, “To become the first real, psychic incarnation of the Dark Lord, Voldemort.”

Names: ♀France, Iceland; Chile, Niger

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