September 23, 2014

IDEAS ON TUESDAYS 175 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: Gaslight Fantasy

Andrijana Crncevic said, “Wha’d’yo mean you ‘just really wonder if I’m a witch’?”

Kweku Chikelu shrugged. She grabbed his upper arm, her weightlifter grip holding him firmly enough to keep him from slipping away – which he usually did when he made outrageous claims. Like when he accused her of being controlled by the aliens who made the Anasazi disappear by taking over their bodies and making them build spaceships so they could escape Earth. Or the time he accused her of being a mermaid assigned to infiltrate land-based politics and stop the professional fishing industry – and tidal stream power generation. Andrijana rolled her eyes and squeezed harder. Kweku – Quack when she was irritated with him – squeaked. Quacked, pretty much.

“So tell me what you mean. We’ve already established I’m not a mind-controlling alien, a mermaid, or a golem.”

“I never really thought you were a golem,” he said sheepishly, finally meeting her gaze.

She released him with a shake. “You’re the only reason I stay at this stupid school, Quack.”

It was his turn to roll his eyes and say, “Don’t call me ‘Quack’.”

She echoed him tone-for-tone as he said it.

They sat side-by-side outside of the school theater. It was a warm night, just before spring actually sprung, trees still bare and fingers reaching up to touch a full Moon. They were breaking from rehearsal for the school’s production of “Macbeth”, where she played...Gentlewoman, Lady Macbeth’s caretaker. She said, “How about I won’t call you if you don’t call me a witch.”

He shrugged and dropped his eyes again. Somewhere on the autism spectrum, she’d decided long ago that he didn’t fit in any one place – he wandered up and down the spectrum, some days he’d talk to anyone; others he’d follow her, hunched as if the world lashed him. He said, “I can’t. You have to be a witch.”


“ ‘cause I’m more me with you than I am with anyone else even my mama,” he said in a rush. “It’s got to be magic. It can’t be reality.”

Andrijana thrust her lower jaw out – she did it whenever she thought she had a major decision to make. It bugged her mom to death. Her dad thought it was adorable. In fact, it was neither. When she configured her chin in that way, it allowed her to focus her psychic energy and speak through real space to the Behind. Her familiar lived there. He turned indolently to her. She couldn’t see in the Behind, but for whatever reason, her sense allowed her to know what was happening there. She knew he turned to her. She knew he was immense. At first, she’d thought he was a dragon, but she knew now that he wasn’t. She also knew that he was both committed to a different relationship and that he was somehow slaved to her – though he didn’t mind. “Listen, Mac, he’s on to us.”

The voice he spoke in belied his power; it was gentle, calm but strong nevertheless. She’d heard it once before. The creature beholden to her Behind reality sounded exactly like Martin Luther King, Junior...

Names: ♀ Serbian, Serbian ; Akan, Igbo

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