Write...Edit...Publish is the writing life in miniature. We write with enthusiasm...we edit carefully...and then we publish our work. All writing or photographic contributions used as part of WEP challenges are copyright.
We will follow this process every second month or so, in response to different prompts - voila - our writing will improve.
Caged Bird Theme: The topic of a caged bird has many possible interpretations, both literal and metaphorical. Choose one and write the best flash story you can in 1000 words or less. Or maybe create a photo essay about your favorite canary. Or a non-fiction story about captivity and its psychological impact. Whatever you choose, we want to read it.
Each entry is under 1000 words. Prizes are offered. Go to the WEP website for more information.
My 997-word entry is actually from an old novel version of Captain Wrath I worked on a few years ago. It fits the theme as a fictional story about captivity and psychological impact.
For those who have been following along with the other Captain Wrath entries, this is a bit different for two reasons.
1. It's from another character's viewpoint - Carya. This is actually her introduction scene in the novel.
2. It's not written with the journalistic style. I thought of changing it, but I've been swamped this month with family adventures.
And, I must caution readers here. Although it isn't graphic, the content of this story section discusses violence and human trafficking. Do not read onward if those topics are uncomfortable for you.
Carya tried not to even think about all that had happened to her, all the tortures she had endured. Her body healed too well, too quickly. She was the perfect piece of meat for customers who wanted something rough.
Carya could smell Gorog before she could see him. Oil and sweat with an acidic after-smell from his battery pack. He wasn’t going to be around for much longer unless Madam Xodhur replaced his battery core.
Carya could barely lift her head. If he wanted her to move, he could move her.
His charcoal pants came into her view. His thick, muscular legs and lower torso were all that was left of his original humanity.
He slapped her with his robotic hand.
It stung, but everything else hurt more. She blinked at him, tried to look up. She only got as far as the waistcoat he wore buttoned over his robotic chest. She didn’t know why he tried so hard to look normal.
“You aren’t healing.” He stated the obvious. He leaned over to look her in the eye.
The sight of his face was oddly comforting. This disgusting cyborg scum had never done anything other than slap her and push her around. He was probably the gentlest being she’d had contact with in the time she’d been kept at the Depraved Labyrinth. His red mechanical eye swept over her clinically, while his cloudy gray eye seemed turned inward, never focusing on anything. His face-plate of bronze had a crack on one temple and his jaw was wired shut. He ate intravenously through the tubes in his torso. His voice came from a box hidden under the cravat at his throat.
“Madam Xodhur must be notified that you will be unavailable for three days while you rejuvenate with your tree.” He wrapped her up in a sheet, handling her like a giant rag doll, but still more gently than any of the customers would have.
Carya flopped limply. Her muscles refused to do anything and her mind felt fogged.
As Gorog closed the door to her cell, he said, “It is finally time. I didn’t think you would be so strong.”
This statement sent fear through her, but even that small adrenaline rush didn’t help her. Her muscles twitched involuntarily and she cried out from the pain.
“Sh. You will be with your roots soon. Don’t fight it. Just . . .”
A hard knock on her head sent Carya into darkness.
Carya woke to the hum of a stasis tube. Through the edges of her eyelashes, she could see the inside of glowing stasis tube, and she wore a clean hospital gown that covered her entire body, except her neck and head. Two tubes fed into her right hand and her left hand was buried in her potted tree’s soil. She could feel rootlets from her fingers taking life from the tree. Her body healed with the sap of her root-tree, and she felt strong enough to move now.
The hum of the stasis tube changed pitch, from high to low, and the smell of lilacs filled the chamber – sleeping gas.
The second time Carya woke, the stasis tube had stopped humming. Her finger-rootlets were still attached to her root-tree. Her whole body felt strong, alive like it was spring on her home planet of Edvena. As she reveled in this feeling, wishing she could unfurl and let loose flowers, she heard heavy footsteps outside of the tube, and smelled the familiar combination of oil, sweat, and dying battery acid. Tears came. She couldn’t help it. She released the roots of her tree, and waited for the torture to begin again.
When Gorog opened the stasis tube, she didn’t look at him. She sat up slowly, letting her feet dangle over the edge of the tube.
“We will be there soon. You must be ready. No time for chat.” Gorog thrust clothing at her and stomped away.
Carya tried to sort out his words as she stared at her old pilot’s uniform in her hands. She didn’t understand. With trembling hands, she put on the one-piece uniform, zipping it up the front until it came to her chin. It was baggy on her. She had never been large, never been anything but fit, but her uniform hung on her like a sack. She picked up her root-tree, and walked barefoot across the room. She appeared to be in a long storage container. The walls were a corrugated metal, and the floor was gritty with space dust. Was she truly on a ship, headed away from the Depraved Labyrinth?
If so, why had Gorog taken her? What was his plan? She didn’t understand.
She searched the room for a weapon. It was empty except for her, her root-tree in its sturdy container, and the discarded hospital gown. Gorog had sounded hurried.
Going to the control panel of the stasis tube, she pried off the cover with her fingernails. With that free, she pulled out some of the wires with a yank, and took the small battery that powered the control panel. It wasn’t much, but if she –
The door to the storage container opened, and Gorog stepped heavily inside. He shook his head. “No time for that. Come. Go free. Complete the deal.”
“Freedom for you, new battery for me. The deal.”
Carya understood now. If Gorog thought he could save his own decaying hide by saving hers, then he would sell her to the highest bidder. She still pocketed her scavenged supplies in her ship’s uniform leg pocket. She held her root-tree in both hands and walked towards him.
He stepped aside for her at the door, and trained his wrist-gun on her. Attached to one of his bionic arms, the weapons had enough firepower to take down a dozen beings at once.
Carya passed him, knowing that if he had wanted to kill her he would have just let her die already.
Tara had a long journey to get this book published!
Beast World MG Fantasy Series, book #3
by Tara Tyler
In BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, Gabe and his friends go on a quest to save their school, blowing up all the rules, and discover their origins.
Then they go to CRADLE ROCK and meet some real live humans, scaring them into attack mode. The Beasts realize they have to spread the truth ASAP.
Now, school's out, and Gabe is ready for a break from all the drama...
Gabe and his friends fly over the Great Sea for the wedding of the century: a dragon prince and a beautiful harpy. But Gabe can't relax on this vacation. Besides competing in rigorous wedding events, he overhears the nearby human village WINDY HOLLOW is in danger from an evil human scientist and a vengeful were-ogre experimenting on beasts. Gabe and his friends risk crossing the mountains to help, despite several warnings.
Maybe he's going too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!
Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over the US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her husband and one boy left in the nest. She has two novel series, Pop Travel (sci-fi detective thrillers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures), plus her UnPrincess novella series where the maidens save themselves. She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to fit in all these projects, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife—someday she might write a book on that... Make every day an adventure!
How to find:
website: Tara Tyler Talks
facebook: Tara Tyler - Author
newsletter: tara tyler news
Coming Soon from Krystal Jane Ruin ...
Title: Garden of Ravens
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: Poetry, Dark Contemporary & Folklore
A collection of dark poetry that journeys through folklore, twisted tales, mental breakdowns, and depression.
We hide in shadows
We wither under layers
Sunlight is for beautiful people
Darkness is for us
Amy Stapleton of Tellables is looking for a few freelance writers to create Tellables content for the Tricky Genie skill. She has asked me to try to find a few authors. If you are interested, e-mail me and I'll send you a file with specific requirements for the work and you can decide if you want to pursue it. My e-mail is tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com and you can find out more about Amy by reading her guest post from last Monday at IWSG or by checking out her LinkedIn page. I met Amy in person while she attended a conference in Seattle, and I think she's a great person to work with through edits for stories in this new realm of voice-first storytelling and story-gaming.
What do you think of Carya's chance for freedom?
Are you picking up any new books?
And would you be interested in writing Voice First content?