Friday, December 31, 2010

New Web Address, New Logo

We've updated our logo to include our new web address. The old address still works, but we would like to direct people to the new one.

Use the logo below to advertise Two to Write:

If you need it, the link to use for displaying the picture is

As always, we appreciate all of your support!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Exciting News for the Website!!!

The holidays are a time for happiness and excitement. With that being said, we have some happy news to share with you.

Two to Write can now be reached at The old address still works as well, but we're excited to say that we have an actual dot com address now!!

Spread the word and let us know what you love about Two to Write!

Happy holidays everyone!

- Crystal and Pamela MacLean

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 32

“I know.” Katie told me quietly.

“What exactly is it that you know, Katie?”

“I know that you don’t know and we don’t know why.” She looked up at me as the sounds of leather on marble filled the air. The man known as his lordship came down the hall, approaching us. Katie stood and he looked at her before quickening his pace.

“Katie, dear, I didn’t expect to find you here.” His tone was insincere.

“Actually sir, I was just leaving. Her ladyship has found a rip in her dress. I tried to mend it, but I have no talent with sewing it seems.” From her pocket, I watch as Katie pulls out a needle and thread. It seems she was prepared for an intrusion. I wondered silently whether she would have ripped my dress if it wasn’t already. Out of everyone here, she’s been the most honest with me and I’m disappointed to see her go. A sense of déjà vu overwhelms my mind and I think of the other Katie; what have I forgotten about her already?

“Whatever are you daydreaming about?” His voice protruded and I realized that Katie is gone once again.

“Quite simply? Who I am, or rather, who I am supposed to be.” I informed him, honestly.

“In due time, I promise to tell you all I know.”

“Why in due time? Why not now? And what is due time? How long is that?” My questions become a string of run-ons, finally voicing out loud and revealing my fears.

“Due time meaning when you’ve all but forgotten the other place. Meaning I don’t know how long, it varies. And why? Because I’m not ready to lose you yet. I’m not ready to see you disappear again. I’ve done too much to get you back and I can’t see you vanish. I won’t.”

His honesty was frightening; he’d gone from a tough lord to a startled and scared child or, worse still, lover. Was it possible to forget someone who loved you? What if you didn’t remember loving them?

“Why would you lose me by being honest? That’s what I’m asking you to do. Tell me the truth, I won’t vanish.” It was the truth; I would not vanish. I would listen, think it through and make a rational decision before I decided whether to go back to where I’d been – what little I could remember of it.

“Because you always do. You can’t help it, the leaving. It’s not something you have control over. Every time I tell you what I know, which, mind you, isn’t all the answers you want or need, but every time I tell you, you disappear. That’s just how it seems to go.” He watched the floor, intent on counting its specks and avoiding eye contact with me.

“Have I ever asked you to tell me before?” It was curiosity, but became strategy.

He looked up and met my eyes. “No.”

“Have I ever said that I’ll stay before? Promised not to immediately disappear?”

“No.” A smile crept onto his face.

“So maybe this time’s different?” I had to know what he knew.

“So maybe this time’s it.” His smile grew.

“It?” I asked, confused for a new reason.

“The time when you have to decided; have to pick.”

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Updates Being Made

We're currently in the process of updating the layout, navigation, and information present on Two to Write. Please bear with our mess during this process. Night's Final Hour will continue to be published every Sunday and Anthromagic will return to its weekly Tuesday appearances.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoying our fiction!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 31

Preparing for my so-called journey seemed to drag on as those the hand on the clock refused to turn, refused to let time pass as it should. I eagerly anticipated and dreaded what was going on with my life and the two worlds I’d been plummeted into; the two emotions conflicted within me. My clothier dressed me in one outfit after another, only to tell me that my attire didn’t seem appropriate and ask me to dress in something new.

“This is the one. The proper attire for your outing.” She said at last.

“Are you kidding me?” Turning to face the mirror, I realized what she had me dressed in. How was I supposed to go on a journey to explore the lands in a floor length gown?

“No miss, I would never kid you. It would be most foolish for me to treat her ladyship in any sort of childish way; you are very clearly not a kid.”

“What I meant by asking that was whether or not you were serious. Do you really think that this dress is appropriate for travelling across the lands?” I gestured toward the mirror and up and down the length of my gown, trying to make my point. “This will be impossible to walk around in. Especially if we run into any rocky patches.”

“Oh.” Her face bore an expression of confusion. “It did not occur to me, Miss, that her ladyship would actually be walking on her journey. I assumed you to be taking the carriage or perhaps some other mode of transportation.”

“It would please me more to walk and actually learn the land.” It was difficult to keep my voice even and not let it show how aggravating it was to continually be called ‘ladyship’ in a land I had never known.

“Let me see what I can do to correct my mistaken.” She turned to walk to her basket of cloth and thread amongst an array of other materials. Stopping just steps from the basket, she turned back to me and looked down. “If it pleases her ladyship.”

“Aren’t there any jeans that I can wear?” I asked her, growing weary of the formalities associated with this place.

“None that I know of, Miss, and I know this land.” She never looked up from the floor.

“Very well. This will just have to do. I’ve grown tired of putting on new outfits and would rather just proceed with the tour.” Without any hesitation, I strode from the room before she had time to insist upon yet another outfit without any improvement. I had two explicit goals in mind that I wanted to accomplish. I need to try and locate the young girl, Katie, and see what truths I could get out of her and I wanted to do so before I went out to explore the lands, which just happened to be my second major goal.

It turned out that I didn’t have to go far to find Katie. When the clothier had rudely dismissed her from my room, she had gone just beyond the door and into a small enclave. Apparently, she was awaiting my departure because she poked her head around when the door clicked shut. Seeing that it was me, she jumped out into the middle of the hall, grinning.

“I was waiting for you.” She said softly, noticing that I was looking at her.

“That much I can see.” I smiled. “In truth, I was actually on my way to find you.”

“Me? Why would you try to find me? Aren’t you leaving?” Her tone was bitter, leaving me confused.

“Honestly, Katie, I’m not sure what my plans are. The world that I know, the place that I’m from, is not this one. I don’t even know what I’m doing here.” Sighing, I slide to the floor and the side seam of my gown rips.

“But you do know. Or you will. In just a few days, you’ll remember here and you’ll want to stay and you’ll forget there and we’ll keep you this time, I promise.” She rambled on; it seemed as though she was on the verge of tears.

“None of that makes sense.” To me, it seemed as though a very confused seven year old girl stood before me, possibly searching for answers just like me.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 30

Days could have passed before morning came and I would have had no way of knowing; the cave walls block out any sunlight. It is impossible to distinguish night from days within these stone walls. My mind was running too much on overdrive for me to fully appreciate the small amount of sleep that I managed to obtain; for the most part, I lie in my bed staring up at the ceiling and waiting for the next morning. I had to rely on the goodness of others to truthfully inform me about morning’s arrival. When the time came, it was not the lord of the land who told me it was day, but a small girl who woke me.

She could not have been more than seven or eight years old and she had the sweetest disposition. Standing quietly by my bed, she tapped my shoulder and whispered to me that it was morning. I nodded and smiled at her, gesturing for her to climb up because it seemed to be the right course of action at the time. I was relying on gut reactions but they were instincts created by a curse; how was I to know whether they could be trusted? My only option was to take the risk and find out.

“His lordship will be arriving soon to accompany you about the kingdom, my lady. Shall we prepare you for an outing?” Silently and some oh-so-cleverly, a young woman had slipped into my room. She was just a few years older than me in appearance, but her tone reminded me of a motherly type.

“Prepare me for an outing?” I repeated, clueless about her meaning. “You mean, should I get dressed?”

“Yes ma’am. Shall we dress you for your gallivanting?” She threw open the large oak door that hid away a wardrobe filled to the brim with clothing.

“Gallivanting?” I sighed, shaking my head slowly. “I suppose we must. Can you help me find something that is comfortable and will let me easily move around?”

“Certainly Madame. Shall we pack you several choices of attire for your journey?” Rummaging behind a section of the wardrobe, she lugged out a suitcase large enough to fit a person in.

“My journey?” Every word or phrase that escaped her mouth sent my brain into another round of questions that didn’t have answers.

“You have requested that his lordship show you the entire kingdom, have you not?” She raised an eyebrow in my direction as I wondered how that information was running rampant so quickly.

“I did, indeed. I suppose it will be a journey; thought not one that I necessarily intend to come back from.”

“What?” The young child on my bed protested. “You aren’t going to come back? But we just got you back? When will it be our turn again? Aren’t they ever going to finally solve this and figure out where you get to stay? I’m tired of sharing!”

“Katie!” My clothier interrupted suddenly. “That is quite enough. You hold your tongue child and make yourself useful. Run down to the study and inform his lordship that her ladyship will be ready for departure when the clock strikes. Do you understand?”

“Yes ma’am. I apologize and it won’t happen again. I give you my word.”

“That will do, Kaite, that will do. Now, off you go.”

This young girl, Katie, ran out through the door and, with her, went my best clue yet. She seemed to know, truly and completely, what kind of warped world I was stuck in. The most worrisome part was that I felt I should know a Katie, but that this young child was not the Katie I remembered.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 29

“The transitory state has my lady bewildered again, does it not?” The man with the gold sash asked me as he pulled a chair across the stone floor. Placing the chair in front of me, he took a seat and one of my hands.

“It does.” I agreed simply with his statement.

“Do not fret love; it will end soon. Perhaps the next morn that you wake from slumber, you shall only posses a solitary set of memories.” He informed me. The blunt information that he shared with me was both reassuring and upsetting in one swift blow and the emotions consumed me momentarily. I tried to search his eyes for an explanation but found nothing.

“Who says that I wish to have only one set of memories?” I demanded harshly and watched as his eyes grew cold.

“In time, the only thoughts you will wish to hold within you will be those of your life here.” He told me as he wrapped his hand around mine. At first, the sensation of his hand upon mine felt unnatural and devoid of warmth, but, within seconds, I found myself thinking that it was a familiar stance for me.

“For now, it would be best if I escorted you to your bed chambers once more at this time. The paths and routes along this way are often confusing and may easily bewilder a new arrival.” The lord instructed me and began walking without letting go of my hand. I allowed myself to be led by this man down a hallway and around several corners before I resisted his light pull.

“My bed chambers, as you choose to call them,” I began, retracting my hand from his grasp, “are not in this…this cave land that you people want me to believe is my home.”

“Does her ladyship hold a preference for being in her other world? The one which she is now referring to as home?” It was as if he was frustrated with me, responding like that after a quiet sigh escaped from his lips.

“It is not a question of which I may hold a preference for; it is simply a matter of which I am familiar with. I know nothing of this world, where you and yours insist that I belong.” My temper was growing and I did not doubt that his patience was growing thin.

“In the morning.” A deep sigh escaped him again and he stared at me. It was the first time I’d truly stopped to take in his appearance. His lips were drawn, not in frustration, but sadness; his eyes, a soft and dull green, bore into mine; and his hair was tousled, not as a style, but as though hands had been wringing his hair throughout the day and he’d never bothered to straighten it. I waited, knowing he had more to say. “In the morning, we may speak frankly. In the morning, I shall show her ladyship every corridor and crevice of this world. In the morning, should she promise not to run, my lady’s mind will be cleared and she will have her freedom. All this, I promise her in the morning; for now, my body demands replenishment through rest.”

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 28

The next room was fully lit. Small circular lights lined the walls along the ceilings and the floors while a large chandelier halfway down hung from the center. With the excessive lighting, there didn’t appear to be a single shadow in the entire room as I walked around, taking the sight in. Within seconds of beginning my exploration, it was interrupted as a section of the wall slid open behind me and the same man with the crooked smile walked into the room. He gestured toward a velvet chaise lounge in the corner of the room, indicating that I should take a seat and I cautiously sat down. Sitting there, the memories mixed in my mind again and I found myself wondering what this man’s connections were to Sikal while the other thoughts told me that he was the lord of this realm.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 27

By the time I woke, I assumed the sun had set low in the sky and I found myself in a plush sleigh bed that you might’ve found in a Victorian home. Rubbing my eyes and sitting up, I looked around trying to establish where I was, but it was too dim to determine much beyond the shape of the bed. I could tell that the room was large and the door seemed infinitely far away. Slowly, I brought my feet over the edge of the bed and tried to feel the floor beneath my feet. The sudden chill that met my toes caused an instant reflex, causing me to jerk my feet back up into the linens. Anticipating the cold the second time, I put my feet firmly on the floor and stood up from the bedside. After ten or twelve feet, I reached the other side of the room and the door. Gently cracking the door, I peered into complete darkness cautiously before opening the door to its widest expansion and walking through. Once I’d passed through the doorway, I felt furs, cotton and blends, and polyester brushing against my face and realized I’d walked into a closet instead of a hallway.

Turning around, I tried to look back into the room where I’d awoken to locate a door, but I couldn’t see anything in the dim light. I let my feet glide across the floor, using them to test the area in front of me for any possible dangers before proceeding around the room in search of another doorway. Letting my hand flow across the wall as I followed it around the room, I searched for cold metal that might indicate a door handle. Within moments, my hand grasped a knob and I pulled the door open into the room, allowing light to cover the span of the room.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Afterlife

Sometimes it’s not about living. Sometimes it’s about the discoveries you make in death.

“It’s the things you learn in death that will surprise you,” a voice said behind me. I had thought I was alone.

The funeral home stood empty and quiet in a way that was quite ominous and foreboding of the upcoming services. Nobody moved in the room, but I could hear distant voices, telling me that we were not alone.

“I thought they weren’t allowing anyone in until the viewing,” I replied. I had been hoping for privacy in the moments before the mourners spilled in.

“They don’t know I’m here,” he replied, taking a seat in the front row.

“Do you have no respect for the privacy of others?” I asked, anxious to know how he had found me. I thought I was hidden from all.

“I have the upmost respect for others. Unfortunately, privacy is no longer something you are privileged to. There’s no where you can hide now, especially from me,” the man said, looking around.

“I don’t understand,” I replied, searching for answers to the many questions that had recently piled up.

“Privacy is a right, kid. And it’s not something that is given to all, especially one such as you.” He spoke in riddles, which only seemed to anger me.

“Seriously? This is a really bad time. Perhaps you could come back at another time?” I asked, hoping he’d bite. “Maybe a time when I’m not waiting on a funeral to begin?”

“I could, but that wouldn’t be as convenient. Here, I know you’re not going to run because you really want to see this thing through.” He stands from the chair and walks over to the coffin. I had hoped they would choose a closed ceremony, but my mother had opted for the open casket. He peered down into the coffin, running his finger along the edge of it as he turned to face me. “It’s creepy, isn’t it?”

“What?” I asked, wishing he’d just leave.

“Looking at a dead body you’re so close to.”

“What would you know about it?” I asked, hoping to deter the conversation from my own mixed emotions.

“I’ve been in your spot,” he said quietly, flipping the switch on the CD player. Remembrance music filled the room. “I’ve stared down into my own coffin and seen the serene expression of a dead man. I’ve been the ghost searching for his way.”

“Did you find your way?” I asked, wishing he was wrong about the ghost part. I had actually been hoping that him seeing me meant that I wasn’t a ghost after all.

“Eventually,” he said, sitting back in the front row. “But, it took a while. There were certain things I had to discover before I was able to move on. Certain things I had to be guided through.”

“Such as?”

“Well, it’s different for everyone. Some people hold onto a loved one or a trinket, while others hold onto things more complex. There is no easy way to predict what ties each of us to this Earth. Only you will truly know,” he says, looking around. My family is starting to gather outside of the room, as the clock ticks closer to the hour. “All I can tell you is that you’re destined for great things. And I must be going.” He stood from his chair and walked to the door, pausing for a moment when he came to my family. I could hear him telling them that they could enter the room and to let him know if he needed anything. He was a human who could see me.

I watched as my family poured into the room. They were a large bunch, comprised of my parents, stepparents, three sisters, and one set of grandparents. They almost filled the room by themselves. If many more people showed up, the room would be a crowded mess. I walked to the door and peered down the hall. I could see the mystery man standing at the front counter of the funeral home, working on a computer. I looked back and forth between this man and my family for a few moments, debating whether or not to stay for the memorial. Curiosity won out and I headed down the hall, not making an ounce of sound.

If the man was surprised to see me, it didn’t show on his face. He simply looked up and nodded at me. He didn’t say a word as he walked into an office behind me. I followed, not knowing if that’s what he wanted. He sat behind the large mahogany desk and stared up at me.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Daniel Stoor?” He looked around the room as he spoke.

“I was wondering if you could answer a simple question for me,” I said, suddenly uncertain. If knowledge is power, then this man was much more powerful than me, for he certainly held all of the knowledge in this room. “At least I think it’s a simple question.”

“We’ll see after you ask it Mr. Stoor.”

“Were you once a ghost?” I asked him, trying to be straight forward.

“I told you that I once stood where you did. Don’t you suppose that made me a ghost?” His eyes were wistful, as though remembering another life.

“I think so, but I’m not certain of anything when it comes to ghosts. Until two days ago, I wouldn’t have even thought they existed.”

“And you were right to think that,” he said, glancing behind me. A couple of my friends had just passed by the counter on their way to the service. “Ghosts don’t exist for long usually; so, they don’t really have enough time to make their presence known.”

“How are you human now?” I asked, holding out hope for a remedy for my current plight.

“Some ghosts – a very select few – are chosen as guides for the other ghosts. They are known as spirit guides. Once they have passed their time as a ghost, learning all there is to know about their abilities and ways, they are granted the title of spirit guide and their humanity is restored to them. It is a lengthy process that takes a few years at least. However, the reward is well worth the wait.” He watches the desk behind me, as though waiting for someone to arrive. Or perhaps, he is just making sure no one is watching him talk to himself.

“How does one become a spirit guide?” I asked, holding out hope for myself.

“There are two things that go into a spirit guide. The first is that a spirit guide must be destined from birth to die early. The younger a spirit guide is, the longer he or she will be able to guide others when humanity is restored. He or she must also prove to be loyal, cunning, and free from earthly ties during spirithood. It does nobody any good if the spirit guide is looking for pieces of his or her old life instead of helping new ghosts move on,” he said, getting up as an elderly couple comes to the desk.

“Do you know ahead of time who is destined for spirit guide?” I asked him as he headed for the door. I watched as he turned to face me.

“I don’t know, but I do know the signs to look for.” He looked at me for a moment longer before heading for the desk to help the couple. I stared after for a few minutes, wondering if I was one of the elect few who qualified for spirit guide. I certainly fell into one of the categories and certainly I could work my way into the other category.

I allowed these thoughts to plague my mind as I headed down the hall to the memorial. I could see people spilling out into the hall as the turnout for my service was much higher than I ever could have anticipated.

* * * * *

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This work by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 26

With a sudden fury and a flash of light, the thing that I’d feared was standing right in front of us. Over seven feet tall, it had to hunch down in the small tunnel. Its wingspan was probably fifteen or twenty feet across as it batted its wings feverishly, forcing Mytal to slide back into me as I collided into the wall.

“Do not worry my lady.” Mytal said, looking over his shoulder at me. “You will not be harmed.”

I remained behind him, cowering in fear while the beast stood upon its three clawed feet and let out a massive screech. When the Earth-shattering noise came to a halt, I heard Mytal let out a sigh and whisper his thanks. Behind him, I gasped quietly and wondered if this person standing in front of me was actually Mytal or an acquaintance of the creature that was attacking. Peeking around the obstacle in front of me, I watched as the scaled neck of the monster lurched forward and snapped its jaws around Mytal’s forearm. Mytal grunted loudly and lunged forward, grasping the neck and allowing the beast to pull him. Drawing a small dagger, he forced it into the creature’s neck as he was tossed aside like an old, unwanted possession. The beast roared back and swung around to face the enemy he’d just discarded; in the process, his stone encrusted tail, whipped around and slashed my stomach. The pain was agonizing, but no blood poured from the gash that formed from one hipbone to the other below my ribcage. Staring down and crouching over in anguish, I haphazardly prodded and poked the gash, waiting for the red to spill out.

“You get Mytal, I will help her ladyship.” A rough voice echoed against the rock wall. As I looked up, I could see an entire army attacking the beast that had injured me while a small regiment aided Mytal. Around me, I felt hands latching onto my arms and legs, preparing to lift me from the ground. Refocusing my attention to the area immediately surrounding me, I zeroed in on a tall man dressed in black pants, white shirt, gold sash, and black cape. All around me, the other men were dressed in regimentals and trying to help me, but this one man just stood staring at me with a crooked smile playing upon his lips.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 25

As I was about to ask Iphsalin how I would know if it was this Mytal guy, she ran off with the speed of a cheetah. I called after her, but she never turned around. Turning round in my place, I tried to determine which direction was best to take at this crossroads but I saw no indication of which way would lead me to Mytal. Thinking it would be easiest to retrace my steps in case I got lost, I chose to go straight and began walking. As I made my way through the open desert-like plain between the two tunnels, I heard the sound of wings flapping. I looked up and down, turning around several times trying to locate the creature that was creating the ruckus but I found no one. At the mouth of the next tunnel, there were a pile of bones with three black feathers lying beside it. The sight of the bones irked me and I picked up my walking tempo. Just moments before I had heard the sounds a bird might create and now, lying in front of me, I saw bones – in this place, I wasn’t sure if any of the conclusions jumping around in my head were too far-fetched to be possible.

Walking deeper into the darkness of the rocky tunnel, I realized that the sides and ceiling of the cave were quickly narrowing and the tunnel was shrinking with every step I took. With the ceiling just inches above my head, the tunnel leveled out again and I kept my eyes peeled for Mytal. From Isphalin’s description, I expected him to be a frightening creature whose very presence would startle me, but that wasn’t the case at all. When Mytal appeared, I thought I was imagining things; standing before me was a large creature, but he did not frighten me.

Despite Mytal’s massive horns and jagged teeth, I felt at ease around him. He told me that one of his powers was the ability to calm people; he couldn’t control emotions by any means, but he did possess the skill to make people calm even in the time of a crisis. I informed Mytal that his gift might become useful one day and then I silently questioned where that idea had come from. The mixing between my original ideas and thoughts and my new thoughts was advancing to the point where I was questioning the validity of the old and accepting the new as the solid truth. In my mind, I knew this realization frightened me, but I had no suspicions on how to stop the transition that was occurring.

“My lady, you look puzzled.” Mytal said to me, breaking the silence that we had been walking in.

“Mytal, good sir, I am puzzled.” I informed him, stopping mid-stride.

“The transitory state has her ladyship in a state of bewilderment?” It seemed to be a statement more than it was a question.

“Yes.” I nodded in agreement.

“It will soon be over.” Mytal said soothingly and offering his hand. “I will console her ladyship if she should wish me to do so.”

“Thank you Mytal, but no. I believe I will be fine without consolation.” Walking again, Mytal fell into step beside me.

We continued on in this manner for at least a half-hour before Mytal stopped suddenly beside me. From deep within his throat, I heard a growl rising up from Mytal that frightened me. Apparently, Mytal cannot work his magic to keep people calm while he is attempting to be intimidating. Frantically, I threw my head back and forth, trying to find what had startled Mytal to react in such an extreme manner, but I found nothing and began to worry. The tunnel was immensely dark, I couldn’t see anything, and I had no way to protect myself if we were attacked. Without communicating with me in any way, Mytal managed to place me between him and the wall. Behind me, I felt the rough surface and toothed edges of the wall press lightly into my back. Mytal’s growl continued to grow in volume and deepen in intensity. I knew something was coming, but, because I couldn’t see or hear it, I had no clue what it was going to be when it finally got there.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 24

“If-sa-lynn.” I said slowly, hoping I had pronounced her name correctly. “May I ask you something?”

“M’am.” She said kindly, turning her head around again. “You need not ask my permission for anything you do. On the contrary, it is I who should ask permission to speak with you. May I?”

“Speak with me? Sure.” I asked, confused. Concluding that this exchange meant that we could talk now, I proceeded with my questions. “Why does his lordship want to ensure my safety?”

“He does not wish anything to happen to you miss.” She said smiling.

“But, what am I to him?” I persisted.

“You? Miss?” She asked, her eyes glazed over and a blush rose to her cheeks. “You are his everything.”

“What?” I asked with a sharp intake of breath. “Exactly what is it that you mean by his everything?”

“Surely, her ladyship knows what is meant by these words. Surely.” She repeated.

For the next fifteen minutes, Iphsalin repeated these words over and over again: “His everything. Surely.” I didn’t understand her incessant rambling but I didn’t interrupt her either. She sounded worried and upset. When she stopped her chatter, I tried to console her.

“Are you okay? I’m sure it isn’t too bad.” I told her quietly.

“Oh, her ladyship is not mad?” She smiled and sounded relieved. “I began saying things which were not meant to be said yet and I feared that you would be maddened by your confusion.”

“No.” I said, lifting my eyebrows and raising one end of my mouth. “Not mad. Perfectly content.”
“This I am glad to know.” She said, stopping at another crossroads. I assumed we were at another transit and that I would be getting another guide. “Here I stop. It is best if you keep moving. Mytal will find you as you go. He wishes you not to be frightened when you see him.”

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Night's Final Hour: A Mother's Day Special

The following is a special post for Mother's Day. The next chapter of Night's Final Hour will still be published today. This is just a letter from Ivy to Benjamin giving you a glimpse into other characters of the story. Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day.

* * * * *

Dear Benjamin,

You asked me to tell you about my family. I have a feeling that you may know more about them than I do, but I’ll do my best anyways to satisfy your curiosity. You’ll have to be patient though, as it may take several letters to tell you about them all.

I’ll start with my mother since she is the most immediate family still living. As for her birth, all I can tell you is that she was born many, many years ago (she would yell at me if I shared her age) in Nashville, TN. Unlike my father, she is not a native of Nuitville and would not have come here if it weren’t for my father. Why she remains in town now is beyond me.

My earliest memory of my mother is of her in the kitchen. I couldn’t have been more than three or four at the time. I was walking and talking, but not yet in school. It was a hot, spring day and my mother was preparing a snack in the kitchen – strawberries, I believe. She was chopping the greens off and cutting the juicy parts. I was waiting at the kitchen for my snack.

The knife missed the berry and sliced her finger instead. It wasn’t a large cut, but it was deeper enough to send red oozing out. My mother started to say something, but bit her lip instead when her eyes met mine. She quietly walked to the sink and washed her finger, crinkling her nose as she did. I remember thinking that my mother must be quite a woman to withstand such a cut and not cry. I was young – any cut warranted tears.

Beyond this memory, I’m not sure what to share. My mother is a brave and caring individual who is stuck in her ways and doesn’t like change. She’ll back you in all that you do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she approves of all that you do. She’s an individual who knows what she wants and goes after it. I’d like to think I’m a lot like my mother, but deep down, I know that I’m barely a thing like her.

Your friend,

* * * * *

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Night's Final Hour by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 23

When I was awakened by Joshua, he had a tall slender woman beside him with silver hair. She smiled slowly as I blinked and tried to regain focus in my eyes. I sat up and spun my legs off of the daybed. She extended one hand before me and I shook it hesitantly.

“I am called Iphsalin.” She said. Her voice was rough and scratchy. From her looks, I had expected an elegant and silk tone to escape from her lips. “From this point until the next transit, if it should please our ladyship, I will guide you.”

“Thank you.” I told her, blushing at the title they kept using incessantly. I was neither pretty enough or graceful enough to be anyone’s ladyship, but, earlier, when I had asked Joshua to quit using the term he became frightened so I did not dare to ask Iphsalin. She bowed slightly and spread out her arm in the direction of the tunnel on the right.

“This is the way that our journey requires us to take.”

She began moving toward the tunnel and I followed. At the mouth of the tunnel, I glanced back to wave at Joshua who I expected to see shrinking with the distance, but he was not there. Joshua, the chair, and the daybed had already disappeared. When I turned back around, I was met with Iphsalin’s face smiling at me. Her body was still facing forward, but her head had turned one hundred and eighty degrees in my direction.

“He’s gone back to check on the gateway. Being newly constructed, his lordship wants the protective force tested regularly to ensure your safety.” She offered the information freely and her head slid back around to the front.

I shuddered at the flexibility of her neck and then stopped in the tracks. Wondering if Sikal’s poison had altered my molecular make-up, I twisted my head to the left in an attempt to see if I could now look directly behind me. My neck cracked sharply and I winced in pain; my face would still be looking in the same direction that my body was facing. Iphsalin had provided me with another piece to the puzzle however. Wherever I was, or wherever I was going, there was a lordship and he had the power to hand out orders. I had already began to plot different ways that I could trick him into ordering me home, when a thought came to me: I needed to know why his lordship would want to ensure my safety, someone he’d never even met.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 22

“Any meny miny moe, catch a tiger by,” I began the familiar riddle when the conduit at four o’clock flashed a bright red once and then lit up with various colors and a man walked out.

“We’ve been waiting for you.” The man with the black hair said.

He looked like he was going to audition to be Pony Boy or Johnny Zucko. His hair was slicked back with grease, his faded jeans cuffed at the bottom, and his white tee shirt was smeared in places with oil. Folding his arms, I heard the leather jacket rub against itself and wondered if the black hole I fell through was actually a time warp.

“If this collective ‘we’ has been waiting for me, then why didn’t you send someone sooner?” I asked him with an air of superiority. It seemed obvious to me that they should be waiting on me, but I couldn’t really determine why I felt that way. “Did you honestly expect me to be able to find my way when you people plop me down in the middle of a freaking maze?”

“It’s not a maze ma’am.” He stuttered, revealing that I had some power over him. “It’s a protection gate. We installed it recently to honor your arrival. Should your ladyship wish, we can have it removed by Wednesday.”

“Is that soon?” I asked sharply. “I wouldn’t know. I don’t even know what today is.”

He began to say that it was soon, but that it could be removed even sooner if I wished when I silenced him.

“It’s fine. Leave it. It could become useful at some point.” I said and softened my tone. “It’s actually quite ingenious. I thought I had correctly deducted that this corridor would lead away from the center, not toward it.”

“I’m glad you approve ma’am. Would you care to be taken home now?” He asked, bowing before me.

A wave of exhaustion came sweeping over me and I closed my eyes momentarily. With them closed, I saw a million images flashing through my mind and I tried to determine which ones were real and which were a result of this new curse, but I couldn’t distinguish real from fake anymore. My mind was in a constant battle over the two realities. The man who stood before me was named Joshua, but I knew that I had never been introduced to him, that I had never actually been told his name. The disparities left me feeling confused and tired. Hoping that ‘home’ was a safe place for me to be, I nodded toward Joshua and let myself be led down one of the conduits on my left. My calculations of the gateway had been completely misguided.

“Joshua?” I asked as we walked along the pebbled walkway. The corridor had three walkways; one was pebble, one was brick, and one was stone. The walkways were separated by the natural rock and it covered the ground along the two walls.

“Oh!” He said suddenly and a smile spread across his face. “Her ladyship knows what I am called already. That is very flattering to hear.”

“You didn’t think…I…” I started, stuttering and confused. I knew some things – some details – that someone felt I should know, but who was determining when I got the different pieces of this puzzle? Was it Sikal’s decision?

“I have offended you?” His voice raised into a question. “I apologize. It is not my place to say such things to upset you.”

“No.” I stopped his rambling. “I was just surprised that you didn’t think yourself worthy enough for me to know your name. Obviously you underestimate your importance if your name was one of the things that I was told.”

“Thank you misses. That is very kind of you to say.” He stammered quietly and I thought it was probably best to drop the subject. Compliments seemed to make Joshua uncomfortable and I guessed that they probably weren’t handed out so commonly in these parts of the world.

“How would you describe my home?” I asked Joshua, still curious about the quarters that I would be spending the rest of my life in.

“Your home?” He echoed, staring ahead. “Oh, her ladyship’s home is most impressive. The caves are so tall that you almost feel like you could reach the ground. And the bottom makes you think you are in the clouds. I believe it was made, special order, just for you.”

I didn’t understand how caves could be made or special ordered, but I nodded and smiled in Joshua’s direction appreciatively. It was another moment when I felt like my thoughts and actions were disconnected. The only conclusion I could form was that it was all Sikal’s fault. His flaming sword had infected my body and the part of my brain that connect thoughts and actions. His sword had severed the connections that made me function on a day to day basis.

Joshua and I walked for a good length of time before he stopped suddenly. I turned toward him and then surveyed my surroundings. We were at another, smaller crossroads. The road we were on could continue, or we could turn left or right. I looked to Joshua for answers, but he just stood there like a statue without offering explanations. On a normal roadway, we might have been at a four way stop where I could glance down each road and see which looked more inviting, but, here, all I could see were three darks tunnels and the one which I had just been walking down.

“Is this another gateway?” I asked him suddenly. I thought it had been another epiphany, but, just like the last one, he shot it down.

“No. Just a place of transit.” He said and took a seat on a wooden chair that slid out of the rock behind him.

“What does that mean? Does that mean that we rest here and then continue on later?” I wanted to know as I glanced around, searching for my own chair to rest on. We had been walking a long time. My body had not moved so much in months from what I could recollect; my feet were tired and I was parched for thirst.

“This is where our,” Joshua pointed between him and myself, “journey ends my lady. Someone will be along to accompany you further in a short span of time.”

“And until then?” I needed to know what I was supposed to be doing as I waited.

“Until then, you may want to rest.” Joshua snapped his fingers and a daybed with golden linens appeared just right of where I was standing. “We shall wake you when it is time to continue on your way.”

“Thank you.” I said graciously and climbed onto the provided bed. Within minutes after stretching out and lying down, I felt my eyelids become heavy and I tried to resist the urge to drift off in slumber. As with most of my recent battles, this fight did not end with a victory on my part.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 21

Rubbing my head, I sat up and looked around. It was dark and I was straining to make out the shapes surrounding me. In the corner, I thought I saw something that looked like the surface of a rock, but I couldn’t be sure. I paused, trying to relax and let my eyes adjust to the diminished amount of light.

After a few minutes passed, I was able to start making out my surroundings. It appeared that I was in some sort of cave. There were both stalagmites and stalactites, rock columns reaching vertically from the hardened ceiling to the solid floor. The temperature was warmer than usual, but my body seemed to be adjusting to it without much difficulty or perspiration. It was clearly much darker than anywhere I’d ever been before. Surrounded by different pathways on any side of me, I seemed to have landed in the midst of a crossroads of some sort. I couldn’t even begin to select which way to go so I just remained seated. Trying to find a logical explanation for which direction I was supposed to go in, I wondered if Sikal could still communicate with me in this new location.

“Sikal!” I yelled out loud and learned that the cavern echoed loudly. Hearing my own voice bounce off the surrounding walls and ricochet down the different areas, I grew a little afraid.

From my left, I caught sight of a flickering light growing in the distance. Looking over, I saw a fire torch moving in my direction. I stood up and waited as the robed figure approached. Silently, the figure extended their torch, barely avoiding my hair as they reached behind me, and lit another torch. Pointing at the torch, I assumed they meant for me to pick it up. Lifting the torch from its holster, I realized that it was heavier than it appeared and held it with both hands. The figure flashed once as a television does when the cable signal is lost and then disappeared.

My emotions were a mixture of pleasure toward my newfound light source and despair at the disappearance of my first contact with a living being. I would not and did not assume that the figure I had seen was human. The possibility existed that it was human, a demonlord like Sikal, a demon, or something else entirely. I hoisted my torch on my hip bone and began walking down the pathway where I had originally seen the figure. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was on the wrong pathway. About nine yards into the tunnel, my body began to feel disjointed and I involuntarily squeezed my eyes shut tightly. Opening my eyes again, I found myself back in the spot where I had initially landed.

“That’s odd.” I said to the empty area and then I had a miniature epiphany. I mused aloud to myself. “They’re one way conduits from one place to another.”

Based on my reasoning and minute experience, I deducted that the paths on my left all lead to my location and the trails on my right must lead away from this area. There wasn’t any evidence to support my conclusion except my single attempt, but I was sticking with my ideas. The passageways in front of and behind me could lead either to or away from my standing position, but I assumed they went in opposite directions. From my not-so-scientific theories, I eliminated going down the channels to my left. I could either go to my right, which I believed to lead away from this position, or I could experiment further and see whether in front of me would take me somewhere else or bring me back to the same place. Ultimately, I opted for going right because I was more assured that those routes would take me somewhere new.

Slowly, I approached the corridors on the right. There were about four along my right side and I wasn’t sure how to decide which one to go with. I stood there debating about it for a few minutes and resorted to a tried-and-true method.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 20

I looked around the room and my eyes settled on the bedroom door. I walked over to it with ease and placed my hand on it. With the palm flat against the door, I sighed quietly and then curled my hand into a fist. Punching the door in resentment, I quickly spun back around to face Sikal.

“No. I’m ready to go.” I told him, accepting his word and a new fate for myself.

“That’s what I like to hear.” The demonlord said, bearing his teeth.

A vortex came screaming into the room and I clapped my hands over my ears. I hadn’t seen it coming; Sikal hadn’t even lifted his finger or said a single word, but the vortex had appeared all the same. Eventually, it became hard to breathe and I had to move my hands from my ears to my throat. I was gasping for air and not finding any sources of oxygen. I tried to look around and find the demonlord, but there was too much chaos. My bedcovers had been ripped and the shredded materials were swirling around, knocking things off the walls and constantly slapping my body as they passed. The tornado in my room was collecting everything in its path but me. I began to worry about what I had just signed up for when I heard Sikal’s demonic laugh behind me.

“Scared yet?” He asked, somehow startling me in the craziness.

“I’m past scared.” I said screaming and I wondered how he could even hear me. I spun around to face him, but was met with only the same chaos that I had already seen. Sikal was not in the room and, yet, I could hear him as though he was right beside me.

“Not in your room. In your head.” I heard him say and understood. In someway, Sikal was talking to me mentally. He had left, but I could still hear him.

“What is this?” I demanded, yelling over the screaming cyclone.

“This?” He echoed in my head. “I’m not really sure. I think it’s more of a special effect than anything. The only purpose it serves is to wreck havoc and leave a mess behind for your friends to see.”

“Then why are you wasting my time?” I wanted to know.

“Because that,” He started and I unconsciously and instantaneously knew to look down at the ground. “That is going to take you to your next destination. To your new path in life.”

Below me, a black hole was growing wider. A thin silvery film covered the surface of the black hole preventing me from being swallowed. Each time the hole grew, lightning streaks flew across the film’s surface. I stood there feeling the sparks from the lightning and in awe of the disaster that had formed in my room. The dark abyss was probably five feet in diameter before the lightning streaks started leaving behind cracks in the film. As the circumference grew, so did the cracks. When the cracks started meeting up with one another, I could tell that it wouldn’t be long until I would be falling into the black hole, but I still didn’t move from my place. In my mind, I was processing what was happening around me and I was scared, but my body wasn’t reacting in the appropriate and typical ways. Logically, I assumed that this was a result of Sikal’s poisonous curse; he had said that the only part of me not infected was my brain.

“Ten…nine…eight…seven,” Sikal voice rang in my ears. I presumed he was counting down my minutes left on this course in my life. I gave a quick and silent goodbye to the ones I was leaving behind and joined him in the countdown.







I was falling. The gravitational pull was growing stronger causing me to fall with increasing speed and I vaguely knew that I was moving closer toward the mercury center of the Earth, but I was not afraid. I did not know what awaited me at the bottom. My body began to jitter and twitch and I felt a burning sensation in an area of my skull. Another part of my brain was becoming infected and I gave thanks that there was nothing around for my body to slam into. I don’t know how long I fell for, but I landed with a quick, sharp thud on solid ground.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 19

Three days later, I experienced the most severe pain I’d had yet. My muscles contracted until my body began to shake and I could feel blood vessels bursting in my arms. My body thrashed on the bed and my head slammed into the headboard, blurring my vision. I thought back to Katie’s description of the bones smashing organs until the skin was stretched so tightly that it ripped. To me, this pain was much worse than I imagined that would be. After more thrashing about on the bed and hitting my head three more times on the headboard, I fell off the bed and hit the ground hard. After that, everything got hazy and then black.

When I woke, my body felt completely fine. The slash across my stomach was still as visible as ever, but the pain was completely gone. I stretched my arms out to the side and lifted my legs one at a time, testing my tolerance limit. I didn’t know how I had gotten back in the bed, but I sat up and swung my legs over the edge, arching my back and stretching out my spine. I felt like a miracle must have occurred to make me feel so incredible so quickly. I stood up and twisted at the waist. Even direct pulling on my wound wasn’t inflicting any pain on my body anymore. As I was twisting, I noticed a dark object in the corner of the room and stopped. Turning slowly around, I saw Sikal the demonlord standing in my room.

“Hello.” He said catching my eye and grinning.

“Sikal.” I said through clenched teeth.

“Don’t act so surprised. Did you actually think I was dead?” He opened his cloak to reveal a black cast on his arm. “Not dead miss, only a little broken.”

“I never said that I thought you were dead.” I told him bitterly. To myself, I added that I had hoped he was dead.

“So this is where they locked you away, is it?” He asked, hitting a sore nerve.

“Yes. In my own room. Was it that difficult for you to find? You’ve been here before.” I reminded him.

“I have been here before.” He agreed. “But never under these circumstances.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked defensively.

“You have no idea what’s going on, do you?” Sikal asked genuinely surprised.

“No.” I admitted quietly and sliding onto my bed. Even the demonlord who wounded me knew what was going on. My friends had been okay with Sikal knowing something that they wouldn’t even tell me.

“My sword; the one that cut you there.” He began, pointing toward my stomach. “Had been dipped in a magical poison. A curse of sorts, if you will. For the past three months it has been coursing through your body, joining with your cells and changing your status in life. Although the curse hasn’t completely worked its magic – excuse my pun – it’s completed enough for me to come and pick you up.”

Nothing that Sikal had said made sense except for the initial magical poison part. The poison explained the sudden burning and shooting pains that I had felt. Seeing that I didn’t completely comprehend what he was saying, Sikal continued.

“Do you remember any of the thrashing and twitching?” He asked and I nodded. “That occurred every time the curse made a connection with a significant part of your body. This last one was so severe because no one was here to strap you down and because all of your organs except for one have been infected.”

I stared at the demonlord in disbelief. How could he stand there and so calmly tell me that my entire body – my entire life – was changing?

“You’ve been watching me?” I asked, clinging to his knowledge that the last thrashing had been the worst.

“Yes. As administer of the test, it was one of my privileges despite losing the battle.” Sikal informed me. “Would you like to know more or should I just proceed with my course of action?”

“I’d like to know more.” I said, holding my ground and trying to buy time.

“Fine. Your brain has not been completely infected. The poison has entered your brain on occasion which is why you have selective amnesia. When your brain is wholly bound with the curse, your memory of this life will be repressed into your subconscious and no amount of psychoanalysis should be able to retrieve those memories. That’s pretty much the details of how the curse works, any questions?” Sikal asked as though he was a teacher and I was his student.

“What is the curse,” I hesitated, afraid of what the answer might be. “What is the curse making me into?”

“An assistant.” The demonlord told me simply and I wondered what assistant was a codename for.

“A what?” I asked him, waiting for more explanation.

“You’ll see when we get there. He’ll explain it all to you much better than I can. Rest assured, you won’t be working with me. I know that you feared that.” Sikal guessed my apprehensions.

“When do we leave?” I asked him.

“You’re awfully accommodating.” Sikal observed and I realized that I was taking all of the news rather well.

“Is it the curse?” I ask him and he nodded.

“For a little while, you’ll be pretty accommodating to certain people. It won’t last too long though. It will hold until you’ve gotten situated in your new position.” He explained for me.

“So when do we leave?” I asked, echoing my previous question.

“Do you have anything holding you here now?” Sikal asked with a wide gesture of his arms sweeping across the room.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We'll Be Seeing You

First and foremost, Pam and I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our followers. We write because we love it, but your support makes it even more worthwhile. Currently, our lives have had a run-in with chaos and disturbance. We hope you can bear with us. Our return (and Benjamin and Ivy and Drew and...are coming back too) is coming.

Night's Final Hour will continue where it left off sometime in May. Because it is a project that we write each week just for you, it stopped when the chaos erupted. As the dust falls and the pieces settles, the story will continue on.

As for Anthromagic, it will continue as soon as I get off my bum and get it posted. To a certain page, Anthromagic is already written and is posted each week. Once it reaches that magical page, we'll need to start writing again. Look for this story's return next week.

Again, thanks for your patience and understanding. We'll be seeing you soon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 18

Timothy and Drew never came. I never got to make my inquiries about what was being done to me. I was completely alone and isolated in the bedroom. Pushing myself up and out of the bed, I made this discovery by seeing a table loaded down with food goods and drinks. My heart beat grew louder in my ears and my pulse quickened as I struggled to make my way over to the door. Grabbing the doorknob, I tried to turn the handle, but the door didn’t budge at all. I was locked in my own room. I had been isolated and quarantined away from everything else. I clutched at the wall; using it for support, I made my way slowly into the bathroom and hung my head over the toilet. My stomach felt like it was ripping on the inside as I projected my panicked thoughts into the bowl below.

After spending an hour in the bathroom screaming in pain and using the toilet as a projectile target, I crawled back into the bedroom. Sitting on the floor and leaning against the edge of the bed I sighed and tried to fight back tears. I hung my head between my knees and let the desperation consume me. I needed answers to ward off the feeling of abandonment.

“You can’t just lock me up in here!” I tried screaming, hoping someone would come in the room, but I didn’t even know if everyone else was still in the apartment; it was more likely that they had all gone home.

“Hello?” I asked the silent air around me. “Anyone? Can you hear me? Can you help me?”

“Can you tell me what’s happening?” I wanted to know, letting my pitch fall as I asked the words aloud. There was no sound – no reply – to my callings.

Giving up on any human contact, I pulled myself up onto the bed and laid on my back. I didn’t understand how isolating me was going to help; sure, it would make me do more for myself, but I was never against doing things on my own when people were still coming to see me.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 17

Paula came in through the door only a few seconds after Michelle had left me with those daunting words. She brought with her a glass of water and a bowl of soup. It was the first food that I could remember eating and I began to worry about how many other things I was forgetting.

“I hope you like chicken noodle.” She said sitting the tray down next to the bed. “You’ve cleaned us out of vegetable soup.”

“That’s fine.” I told Paula and thanked her. She kissed my forehead in motherly affection and sat down on the edge of the bed.

“We need to keep food in you if we want you to get better.” She said soothingly and I ate the soup as orderly as I could.

“How long have I been like this?” I asked her and she just shook her head.

“A little while, but that’s not what’s important.” I could tell that I wasn’t going to get any information out of her, so I closed my eyes and pretended to be dozing off. Whether she believed it or not, she took the hint I was trying to give and gathered up the tray, exiting my room quietly.

That only left Timothy and Drew to come and visit me. I wasn’t prepared. I knew that I was going to try and get information from Timothy but I hadn’t even begun to figure out how I was going to do it. The night came and went and I hadn’t seen anyone else yet. The door to my room hadn’t opened or moved at all and I was beginning to wonder if I had forgotten Timothy and Drew’s visits or if they were even going to visit me at all.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 16

The next person to come see me was Sandra. She came in quietly and sat down beside me in the chair, trying not to wake me but I was already awake. When I said hi, she got startled and screamed. Timothy came rushing in, followed by Drew and they demanded an explanation in unison. Sandra explained the situation and they left the room. She turned to me and apologized for causing such a ruckus. I smiled and shrugged the best that I could considering my horizontal position.

“Still in a lot of pain?” Sandra asked gently and I nodded. It was generally easier not to think about or dwell on the amount of pain I was in.

“I’m sorry to hear that, but I wanted to tell you about something that I overheard the other day that I thought you should know.” She said, lowering her voice into a whisper.

“Yes?” I asked her, trying to sit up even more in the bed. I was hoping that she was going to tell me something regarding Drew’s command to shut me up in the room.

“Drew and Timothy were arguing yesterday about what was the best method to help get you better quicker – which they’ve been doing a lot lately. Arguing, I mean.” She was beginning to ramble.

“Yes?” I tried to egg her on. “Yes?”

“Well, they were in the middle of the argument.” She continued, snapping back to attention. “And Timothy asked Drew why he was being so stubborn about listening to other ideas. He wanted to know why Drew thought his plan was best. Timothy asked Drew, ‘What makes you so certain your plan will work?’ and you know what Drew said?”

“What?” I asked. The anticipation was giving me a headache and I silently wished that Sandra would just tell me.

“Drew said that it had to. He told Timothy, “It will work, I’m sure it has to. I wouldn’t be attempting it otherwise. Trust me on this Timothy, I have her very best interests at heart.’ You know how he sealed it and silenced Timothy?” Sandra asked me. I was disappointed because I hadn’t learned any additional information and I wasn’t reassured by Drew’s confidence.

“How?” I asked without any enthusiasm.

“Drew said that he wouldn’t try anything that would end badly because he loves you. ‘I love her,’ he told Timothy and when Timothy said that we all do; love you, I mean. Drew said that Timothy didn’t understand him correctly. He told Timothy that he didn’t just love you, but that he is in love with you. Isn’t that exciting?” Sandra said and I nodded, smiling. The news was a little comforting and reassuring, but I had no way to know if Drew had been telling the truth or if he was just trying to make Timothy go along with his plan.

Sandra left my room smiling and I slid back down into the middle of the bed. I attempted to roll over onto my left side, but the pain became unbearable and I rolled back. It was amazing that I hadn’t gotten any bed sores from being in the same position for such a long time. I knew that I had been laid up in bed for at least a week, but something told me it had been longer.

After Sandra, Andrew and Freddie came in. The conversation with them was centered around small talk and football. When I was awake we carried on small talk; when I was asleep, they talked about football for a while. The two boys left the room claiming that they were going to play football, but I was pretty confident that they just wanted to get out of there and couldn’t think of a better excuse. As they walked out the door, I drifted off to sleep and didn’t wake up until the next morning as Michelle came in.

“Hey.” She said timidly. Michelle and I had never really talked since our initial encounter.

“Hi.” I told her and used my left hand to indicate the chair. “Pull up a seat.”

“How’s your day been?’ She asked sitting down.

“I don’t really know.” I told her honestly. “I’m not even sure what day it is or how many times I’ve been awake today.”

“Oh. It’s Friday.” She informed me. “I don’t know how much you’ve been awake today. I think I’m the only one who you’ve actually talked to.”

“Then I guess I’m good. Did you want to talk about something certain?” I inquired, wanting to get straight to the point.

Michelle just sat there quietly for a couple minutes, picking her words carefully. She had a small sad smile on her lips and I wondered what was going through her head. She was only two years younger than me, but she had been through a lot in her life. She lost her mom six years ago and then had to be tested by Sikal. I felt like she had been dealt a harsh hand in life. Her voice broke into my thoughts and pulled my attention back.

“There wasn’t really anything certain that I wanted to talk to you about,” She told me sincerely. “I just thought I’d come hang out for a little while. I’m kind of on my own out there in the main room. Sandra and Paula are closer in age so they hang out and act like moms to Katie and the guys all just kind of sit around brooding.”

“Guys are generally odd like that.” I said to her and she smiled.

“That’s true, but aren’t girls our age supposed to just sit around and talk about them? Shouldn’t we be focused on finding boyfriends and getting married?” Michelle asked and I tried shrugging again.

“I don’t know. I guess we’re either supposed to be doing that or focusing solely on our careers claiming that we have no interest in guys until we’ve gotten settled in a decent job.” I said, quoting some of the things I’d heard.

When I first became a telemarketer phone operator, I was surprised by the number of people who will listen to the entire advertisement spiel before they just start talking about their lives because they don’t have anyone that they feel comfortable opening up to. My first call like that was pretty awkward, but I got used to it. I even gathered a couple of numbers for phone counseling that I could refer people to. At this moment, I was wishing that I could go to work; anything would have been better than lying in bed doing nothing. I was ten years old again and sick with the flue. My mother said that I couldn’t go to school for the fourth day in a row and I began praying that I’d get better just so I wouldn’t be so bored anymore.

Michelle had stood up from her chair and headed for the doorway. She had probably noticed that I was having a hard time staying focused on the conversation. At the doorway, she paused and looked back at me.

“Hey.” She said, trying to get my attention.

“Hmm?” I mused aloud.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t supposed to be this bad or even this way.” She said quickly and closed the door behind her. That was the moment when I started realizing just how bad things were. I wished I had asked Michelle when the battle had taken place. Had it been weeks ago?

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 15

I thought about the other magic mortals and tried to decipher who would break the easiest. If I was going to figure things out, I needed to talk to one of them that would crack under pressure or sympathy. Those were the two methods that I was going to try; if I couldn’t threaten one of them into telling me, then I would try to make them feel bad for me and offer me an explanation to console me. Either way, I needed to know what was happening to me.

I decided that Katie would be the easiest to crack, but the least likely to actually know what’s going on. I had to move on to my second choice. Timothy had looked annoyed by Drew’s plan of just closing the door, so I thought that he might let some information slip through frustration. I chose him as the one who I’d be grilling for news.

Slowly, one by one, each of the magic mortals would come to see me. I felt like I was on my death bed and they were all saying goodbye. Some of the conversations were awkward as people tried to be chipper and other ones felt genuine. It was clear that no one realized that I had heard the plan to shut me away, but I didn’t let on that I knew. I would have to save that for my discussion with Timothy.

The first person to come see me was Katie. I guess maybe they thought she should go first so that they could do damage control afterwards if need be. Just in case Katie mentioned anything she wasn’t supposed to, the people after her could cover it up.

“Tada!” Katie said, springing into the room. She was wearing a soft pink dress and some of my jewelry. She had clearly been playing with my makeup before coming into the room.

“Well, don’t you just look stunning?” I asked jokingly as she climbed up on the bed.

“I hope you don’t mind. I borrowed a few things.” She admitted, indicating a necklace, some lipstick, blush, and a hair barrette.

“And stole some.” I pointed out, gesturing toward her made up face. “You can’t borrow makeup because you can’t return it.”

“That’s true.” She said, sliding the hair barrette into my hair. “You look pretty.”

“Thank you.” I told her smiling. “What brings you in here?”

“Just came to hang out. Everyone else is getting boring and they’re always moody and arguing.” She said simply and I began to envy her innocence and naivety.

“So you thought you’d come see what little ‘ole me was up to?” I asked her.

“Yeah.” She gently placed her hand on my bandaged abdomen. “Does it still hurt?”

“Everyday.” I admitted sadly. “But I’ll be fine.”

“You will?” She asked and I could tell that she didn’t believe me. I wasn’t sure if I believed myself.

“Absolutely. Just a little time to heal and…” I let my voice trail off as I noticed a tear rolling down Katie’s face. The others had been right to plan for damage control; Katie obviously knew something that I wasn’t being told, but I felt wrong trying to weasel it out of her. Instead, I just asked her what the tears were for.

“I-I d-don’t know.” She said sniffling.

“You don’t know why you’re crying?” I asked her soothingly.

“I’m just sad for you, that’s all.” She told me, stroking my hair affectionately and letting her hand linger on the hair barrette she’d placed there moments ago. She quickly corrected herself. “I mean, I’m sad for you because you got cut. It wasn’t fair.”

“Oh. Yeah, that happens sometimes. Life not being fair and all.” I told her.

Katie gave me a hug and said she’d see me later before she left the room. I was alone again for a little while. I realized that I was starting to be overcome with self-pity. I felt like my friends were providing me with a death sentence instead of trying to help and there wasn’t much I could do about it because I was too weak to even get out of the bed. It took all of my strength to get up and go to the bathroom each day. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t just take me to an emergency room. Sure it would look slightly odd that I had a giant slash across my stomach surrounded by fire burns, but it wasn’t anything that wasn’t feasible to do without magic. The doctors at the hospital would be able to help, but no one even seemed to be considering that route as an option.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 14

I don’t know when Drew made it back into the bathroom; I woke up back in bed. The only light in the room was a soft amber glow from a nightlight plugged in next to the door. I slid myself up in the bed and rested against the headboard. I was confused about how I’d gotten from one location to the bed. It was like having temporary amnesia except I didn’t know how long it had lasted. Was I in the bathroom earlier today or had it been a couple of days ago? I had no way of knowing; no one was in the room to ask and I couldn’t shout loud enough to try to get anyone’s attention.

I fell back asleep and woke to the sun streaming into my room. I assumed it was only a couple hours later. Drew sat in a chair near the bedside and gave me a small smile when I looked his way.

“How are you feeling?” He asked me, pulling the chair across the floor and closer to the bed.

“I’m pretty goo-” I started to tell him I was fine as a sudden pain shot across my body. It began in my stomach and shot out in various directions like a spider stretching its legs. My body jolted and I felt myself twitch back and forth. I couldn’t communicate the pain I was feeling. It felt like a bomb had been placed inside of my body and just detonated. Or at least, it felt how I imagined a bomb might feel like going off inside my body. I wanted to scream but it hurt just to open my mouth.

“Talk to me!” Drew was screaming. I wanted to tell him that I couldn’t; that it was too painful. “Give me some sort of sign!”

From the corner of my eye, I saw Timothy rush into the room and I wondered if he’d been in the place the whole time. He saw me and his eyes went wide. Rushing over, he threw himself on top of me and tried to restrain my body.

“Andrew!” He yelled from his place. “Get in here. I need your help again.”

My mind clung to his final word. Again. I realized that he must be indicating that this had happened before. I couldn’t remember ever feeling this much pain before. I tried to convince myself that Timothy must have been wrong, but I was finding it hard to trust myself on anything anymore.

Andrew came dashing into the room, throwing the door off its hinges as he came. Timothy gestured toward my other side and Andrew grabbed a hold of my body. Using his own as leverage, he pushed me flat to the bed and then looked at me. Suddenly, his face went white and his eyes darted over to Andrew.

“She’s awake this time?” He asked. I could hear the panic in his voice.

“That’s not important right now.” Timothy replied and projected his voice in the direction of the door. “Freddie bring the straps in!”

“Ten steps ahead of you as always.” Freddie joked as he glided into the room. Stopping two feet from the bed, I saw his mouth drop momentarily. Within seconds, he was back in action and the three boys strapped me flat onto the bed.

I was thankful for the straps even though they confused me. Because I was forced to lie flat, some of the pain was gone. My body wasn’t lifting up and slamming me back down forcefully any longer. The burning pain within the confines of my body was still intense and severe but I tried to focus on the conversation that the three guys were having instead.

“It’s worse.” Freddie commented; the first one to say anything after they had strapped me down.

“She’s awake.” Andrew said again.

“I can see that.” Timothy replied harshly to both of them.

“What do we do?” Freddie asked no one in particular.

“Nothing.” Drew said quietly from his chair. I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t helped them.

“You expect us to do nothing?” Andrew demanded.

“Doing nothing isn’t going to help her!” Timothy said forcefully and turned to face Drew.

“It’s what we should’ve been doing from the beginning and it’s what we’re going to do from now on.” Drew’s voice was calm and steady, but determined. Andrew, Freddie, and Timothy looked like they wanted to protest, but hung their heads in defeat instead. “We do nothing.”

“Is everything okay?’ Sandra asked from the doorway. “Katie asked and I told her it was fine, but she won’t believe me unless I check.”

“Everything’s going to be fine. I promise.” Drew said glancing at each one of them.

“Okay.” Sandra replied.

“After this attack is over, you each spend a little time with her and then we close this door.” Drew said pointing at the bedroom door which connected the room to the rest of the building. “And we don’t open it. We leave it closed, understood? If it’s easier for you, you can leave, but this door does not open again until it’s over. Sandra, tell the rest of them too. I’ll come out and talk to Katie in about five minutes.”

Andrew, Freddie, and Sandra nodded. From my place, I could see Timothy’s jaw clenching and I thought he might say something; instead, he bit his tongue and left, slamming the door behind him. When the door was closed, Drew sighed and glanced over in my direction. I didn’t understand what had just happened. I had figured out that something was going on with me that they wouldn’t tell me, but I didn’t know what it was or what would make it end.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winter Contest Winners!

Our winter contest has ended and we have some winners to announce. Congratulations to all of the winners and thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Keep an eye out for new fiction and new contests in the future!

The Wolf Pack (in honor of Howling) goes to Borostyán!!

The Ghost Pack (in honor of Night's Final Hour) goes to Claire!!

The Magic Pack (in honor of Anthromagic and The Memory Keepers) goes to Donna at Bites!!

We hope you enjoy your prizes!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 13

The rest of the battle I’ve been told in parts. Drew told everyone not to talk about it, but none of them listened. Tismen told me a couple things, Lady Anilesa wrote me a letter with some coded descriptions that I spent weeks trying to decipher. Timothy and Freddie gave me descriptions in a tag-team fashion. One would stand outside my door while the other one sat beside my bed and described events to me, and then they would literally tag each other and trade off duties. It was amusing and made my smile despite my grogginess. Eventually, the one who provided me with the most description – and the goriest details – was Katie. She came into my room one evening and crawled up in bed with me.

“Want to hear a story?” She asked, sliding under the covers.

“I don’t know Katie, I’m pretty tired.” I informed her. My body still felt like it had been put into a blender, frapped, glued back together and then dropped off the top of Mount Everest. The biggest problem was that I felt like no one put me back together after the Everest fall.

“Are you sure?” Katie pleaded. “It’s about one of my three heroes. And it’s a really good story. I promise.”

“Do you pinky promise?” I asked her, clenching my hand but letting the pinky finger stick straight out.

“I haven’t pinky promised in years.” Katie said, sitting up with her knees folded under and immediately wrapping her own finger around mine.

“Well, now you have. Let’s hear your story.” I said as my eyelids drooped.

“Ok. It was a dark and stormy night.” She began and then stopped, cocking her head to the left. “Actually, that’s not true. Let me start over.”

“Go for it.” I said sleepily.

“It was a cloudy, overshadowed day and the troops were all gathering. The hero of the story didn’t know it, but there was a plan and everyone was ready to carry out their duties. Even if it meant dying a horrible death where your bones crush together smashing your organs until your skin stretches so tightly that it rips and splits and your guts some squirting out and making a mess all over –”

I held up my pointer finger and indicated for Katie to be quiet for a moment. My stomach was already queasy and she was making it worse. Jumping up from the bed, I attempted to make my way to the bathroom. As soon as I was standing vertical, my head became fuzzy, my vision blurred and I felt like the room was swaying back and forth in front of me. I could feel that I was about to pass out, but I couldn’t form words to try and get help. I felt a weird since of déjà vu from the battle when I was wounded. Remembering the battle left me feeling panicked which, luckily, prevented me from fainting, but also, unluckily, left me trying to catch my breath.

Holding on to various furniture items as I made my way into the bathroom, I slid down onto the cool tile floor and leaned back against the wall. I didn’t think I was going to vomit anymore but I couldn’t just stand in the room. I probably should have just sat back down on the bed, but my mind wasn’t functioning right at the time. From my place in the bathroom, I heard Drew talking to Katie.

“What happened?” He asked her. Drew sounded worried and stressed. This whole endeavor was really starting to tire him.

“Nothing.” I could barely make Katies voice out through the plastered wall.

“Katie!” Drew snapped at her. “Tell me what happened right now or I’ll…”

“Drew!” I managed to speak up as loud as I could.

The bathroom door was open within two seconds and Drew was on the ground beside me. He put his hand to my forehead and shook his head. “Are you okay? You should be in bed.” He advised me.

“I felt like I was going to be sick.” I explained quietly.

“Do you still feel like that?” He asked me.

“No. But it’s cooler here, if it’s okay, I’m just going to sit here for a few minutes.”

“Okay.” He said standing back up and looking down at me. There was a sadness in his eyes that frightened me. “Just knock on the wall if you need me.”

I nodded and rotated so that I was positioned in a corner between the bathtub and the wall, leaning against both for support. I closed my eyes and heard Drew and Katie talking again.

“Katie,” Drew started the conversation and I could tell that he was trying to be quiet and calm but there was still an edge in his voice. “What happened?”

“I was just talking to her.” Katie said and it sounded like she was on the verge of tears.

“About the battle?” Drew asked her; his voice quivered on the final word.

“No.” Katie told him and I heard feet shuffling on the ground. From what I could gather Katie had left the room in tears. In the distance I could hear a muffled cry. I heard Drew sigh loudly and then curse quietly. I felt like there was something that I wasn’t being told. If I could get Katie to tell me the rest of the story, then maybe I’d be able to figure out what everyone else seemed to know and then maybe I’d know why they were keeping it from me. I knocked on the bathroom wall and waited for Drew to return.

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Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.