Pieces of my Soul

You're the melody to my songs

Meeting Jessica Jones – The Craft of Character

This piece was written for a Creative Writing course by Wesleyan University, The Craft of Character on Coursera.

‘Jessica Jones’ is a TV series from Marvel & Netflix. Jessica is a super-strong non-hero who wants to overcome the guilt and the powerlessness she felt while under the mind controlling influence of Kilgrave. Kilgrave wants to get her back as she’s the only one who was able to get away from him in a moment of defiance that almost cost him his life.

***

Keith was almost finished with the list. He had put off the last item as long as he could but there it was, the only thing left to do: “Visit Jessica”. If it were up to him, he would never see her again but Holly had been more forgiving.

“She needs to know it wasn’t her fault” she told him often, “she needs to her it from you.”

The only thing was he didn’t think so. It was Jessica who shattered his world not once but twice, taking away the people he loved: his mother and later, Holly.

“She couldn’t control it,” Holly said, “she was the muscle but not the brain.”

Holly knew this after Jessica called her on the phone. She never even came to visit her own cousin who was in a wheelchair after what she’d done to her. Holly forgave her but Keith was still full of anger and grief standing in front of Jessica’s door. “Alias Investigations” it said now on the glass. He snorted. How pretentious.

He finally knocked.

No answer.

He knocked again, stronger and stronger, until he got tired. He didn’t want to go. Not after all it took just to come here. So he sat on the floor, prepared for a long wait.

It was less than 5 minutes long.

She stopped for the tiniest second when she exited the elevator, then approached with angry steps. Keith slowly stood up, muscles tensed.

“What do you want?” Jessica said when she was in front of him. She had changed. Gone was the girl with the contagious laughter, the free spirit that inspired them for the most fun in their lives. Back before everything was different.

“Holly sent me” he said coolly. He saw the cloud over Jessica’s stone cold features but she said nothing.

“You have.”

“You don’t look good.”

“I’m busy, Keith. I can’t afford to go down on memory lane. Kilgrave is back.”

“I know.”

It was the first time that Jessica really looked at him for more than a fleeting second. She was surprised.

“How?”

“I saw your friend, Trish, too.”

“Of course you did.”

“So what’s the plan here, Jessica? How are you going to defeat Kilgrave without falling under his spell again?”

“I’m gonna kill him, Keith.”

“Do you promise?”

“I promise.”

He grabbed her hand with surprising strength.

“I count on you.”

He then turned and left with calmness he hadn’t felt for long. He saw the truth in Jessica’s eyes: Kilgrave will suffer for what he’d done to all of them. He was sure of that.

***

Question for feedback: what do you think of the dialogue? Did it reflect the characters’ attitudes?

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#NaNoWriMo kickoff

“How many colours does the elephant see?”
It was her grandmother’s favourite question when Mara was little. Her wrinkled face would wear that ever-knowing, cheeky grin that Mara learned to know hid a question more about the imagination than the facts.
“Two!” Mara would shout.
“Correct!” her grandma would say, just as she’d do the same for any number Mara gave as an answer.
“The elephant’s world is coloured differently than ours. Maybe mine is coloured differently than yours!” she’d add with a wink that never failed to make Mara laugh. “Who knows which world is right and if there’s a right one at all?”
I know this because Mara told me endless stories about her grandmother. The stories that made me realise that she was the saviour we needed. The one that was hidden from us for too long. And when I found her, I hesitated. And it’s because of that hesitation that I’ve lost her forever.
I need to tell you her story otherwise you will never know what a hero she was. It’s because of her that you can live your life in blissful ignorance, thinking your colours show the world in their true light.
But you’re wrong.

The rise of Sinmar: sneak peek

The prophecies

black_prophecy_icon_by_sant-d3ctayw

 

 

 

 

Eleonore’s arrival

The air felt like a black boulder on her chest and if she’d been one for omens, Eleonore could’ve had taken it as a very bad sign. The streets of Razaneth were dark under the tall buildings so close together, claustrophobically so, and she grasped for air, but filled with so many people’s sweat, food, life, it gave no relief. The change from the open roads to the crowded city was so sudden after her troops passed through the southern archgate, she was not prepared for this. It was a long trip from her home in the south, and she was now a long way from the open fields of Grocco, the sweet smell of the sea mixing in with her favourite flowers.

“Deep breaths,” she commanded herself, it was gonna be alright. It was to be her new home, she’d better start liking it.

Even though it was still the middle of the afternoon, the sun was nowhere to be seen. The countless bridges and walkways in the air between the buildings filtered the sunlight until it felt like a dream to travel on the roads of the city. Thankfully she didn’t have to spend much time on the claustrophobic streets of the Lower Town, soon her horses were taken off, led away to the nearby stable, and her carriage was pulled into a lift. It took her up faster than her stomach could follow, she felt, but it wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling, and she was excited to see all the wonders of the capital city she’d only heard of back at home.

Eleonore was taking the high road. In the literal sense. It was reserved for royal visitors, and it curved through the most beautiful parts of the city, high above the ground, high above the noise and dirt of the overcrowded Lower Town. Heaven’s Way, it was named ambitiously, intended to impress any visitors and it didn’t fail. The carriage she’d travelled in for so many days, was now pulled by invisible leavers among the white towers that shone in the slowly descending sunrays which were free again to bathe the highest points of the buildings.

In Eleonore’s home, Grocco, all buildings used the same dry stacked local stone. Its terracotta colour was easy on the eye and helpful against the strong sun but even with their ornamental architecture, the buildings at home were most boring compared to what she was seeing now.

Here there were many different colours and shapes: there was a thin, red tower, with a sharp pole on the top, that sent out a relaxing melody every time the wind moved it. She saw a wide, yellow dome with glass windows that had paintings on them. There was a square tower in blue, a round tower in all colours the rainbow, a commanding white building that looked like a quarter of a sphere; a gold building resembling a coin, short but circular; and all the steets enjoyed the quiet murmur of life woven in harmonically with music of the buildings themselves.

1666914-bigthumbnailSeeing a familiar terracotta shape, Eleonore smiled ruefully and sat back in her seat, suddenly not wanting to see any more towers.

“Something bothers you?” Carla asked examining her closely. She was Eleonore’s first lady, her bodyguard, her best friend and her lover – there wasn’t much Eleonore could hide from her.

“The Tower of Grocco” she replied sadly, thinking of the tragic history of the newest addition to Razaneth’s maze of towers.

“No beauty comes free” Carla remarked coolly. Eleonore knew she didn’t mean it, Carla was a lot more gentler than her nonchalant exteriour would suggest but still that coolness stung. As the Princess of Grocco, she personally sent off the workers less than 2 years ago to build a tower in the capital of their neighbouring province that would appropriately represent their country.

“And no beauty is worth the lives of 3000 people” Eleonore replied. She intended to keep her voice as cool as Carla just did but it still shivered with emotion.

With the rapid expansion of Khaleb San’s empire, building new towers was both necessary to accommodate the newcomers and theatrical to blind the visitors with Razaneth’s power and glory.

Raising these buildings a mile above the ground, building the bridges, connecting the roads on every level was a dangerous occupation. Their latest tower had almost 3000 names engraved on its walls in gold, remembering those who gave their lives so that others could enjoy the beauty and the comfort of Razaneth’s newest building, all financed by Grocco, using their own resources, magic and people. Eleonore didn’t like the reminder that these lives were considered costing less than creating safer working conditions but the deadlines had to be met, she was told, and the Tower of Light as they named it, was ready just in time for her visit. Her father considered it a small price to pay for the peace with Razaneth.

“A war would’ve cost a lot more lives” he had reminded her gently when she complained to him about the deaths to build a tower in a foreign city; apparently this was the choice they had, buy their way in with Razaneth or have their army marching against the terracotta walls of their frontiers. Neither Eleonore, nor her father, nor their peaceful country for that matter, was ready to fight against the powerful Razanethian soldiers.

“Many Groccians will come down for your visit as well” he had added with a bitter sigh. It was a touchy subject as he would have loved to accompany her. King Elem had fond memories of Razaneth. It was there that he had met his favourite wife, Nora. Rare as it was for a royal, theirs was not an arranged marriage. King Elem arrived to Razaneth to celebrate the birth of Khaleb San, the famous royal baby, whose birth was marked with an unusual number of great prophecies: the future emperor uniting the lands, fighting evil, leading to a powerful empire never seen before. King Elem’s own priests predicted the same so he came to the City of Marble to continue their friendly relations.

“It’s better to be allies with the strong than enemies” he always believed, not out of cowardice but out of his love for peace and comfort. The royal baby’s birth prompted celebrations never seen before. Thanks to its lively trade Razaneth was always in good standing but the overjoyed king now spent more in one month than they had in the three years before. Parties around the whole city were financed by the court, and the palace itself was the host of the most extravagant celebrations ever seen in generations. There were fountains of melted chocolate for the ladies, trees that wore cigars as ornaments for the gentlemen, and taps with wine instead of water for everyone.

The nobles of Razaneth sent King Amir Sikh their most beautiful daughters. It would’ve been an honour for any of them just to spend a night with the king but most of them hoped for a more permanent arrangement. Amir Sikh was a very fruitful lover and he cared for all his children. King Elem and Amir Sikh bonded over their love for women and often shared stories of their best lovers. Their benevolent friendship almost ended over Nora though.

173878It was one of the many nights when the two kings were entertained by the enchanting dance of girls of noble bloods. As a guest, King Elem politely waited until Amir Sikh made his choice but this night was different. This was the night when he laid eyes on Nora and King Elem fell in love in an instant. Nora’s long blonde hair moved like waves following her body, her hands were flying in the air like majestic eagles and her wide hips made him feel a strong desire he’d never felt before. Before he knew it, he got up and took her in his arms. Nora locked eyes with him in amusement as the rest of the court gasped as one. He was not supposed to do that before his host made his choice. King Elem slowly turned to King Amir Sikh, holding Nora’s hand tightly in his. All he wanted is to take her away in that instant but he had enough common sense to appeal to the king’s good heart first. Elem bowed deep, winked at his host:

“May I?”

Amir Sikh pet his beard for a long moment, then laughed out loud.

“I admire your taste, my friend!” he said and waved them away dismissively.

King Elem heard the relieved laughter of the court as he walked away with Nora.

“Can’t wait to hear about that one” he heard the king say to one of his noblemen before they walked out of earshot.

They married in Razaneth within a week with Amir Shik’s blessings and King Elem’s feelings for Nora never faded in the years they spent together. Eleonore would’ve loved to have her father with her but he was in no condition for a long, uncomfortable trip like this any more.

Even if it was no ordinary visit. Khaleb San, emperor now, requested a royal wife and her father chose her to be sent here. Eleonore was anxious to meet him. The young ruler was considered to be quick-witted, just and an excellent strategist who seemed to care about the welfare of all his people. Ten years ago he started his rule by setting up a system of free schools for the street kids all over the country. Just last year he had eight bridges built over the biggest rivers of his empire to make crossings between trading cities quicker and safer.

But like most men, he was also keen on fighting, gaining new lands, occupying more territories. On top of the full time army, he required every able man between the ages of 18 and 28 to spend three years on general army training, with another two years in specialised forces. He highly valued the inventions that made his army quicker and deadlier than ever and already won two big wars against neighbouring territories.

He certainly sounded a man of intelligence, and Eleonore was grateful her father chose her to be sent here to be his wife. Her older sister was less thrilled obviously.

“Father cannot send her!” Eleonore overheard her sister crying to her mother. “I’m senior, I’m more beautiful and I’m a much better dancer! Why is he doing this to me?”

Marissa never talked to her since, and nor did her mother, Jisant. It wasn’t exactly the heartfelt sendoff she could’ve been hoping for but then again her father’s wives never liked her all that much. It was all down to her mother’s being not only the first wife but the most loved by the king as well. Eleonore was her mother’s only child, and the princess accepted the other women’s jealousy as a fact a long time ago. It hadn’t changed even after Nora’s death. She knew she should feel more guilt over being sent off as a bride before her sister who she used to have an amiable relationship with, but truth to be told, she was too excited to feel guilty.

Of course the emperor had never seen her before and he could still send her away. After all this journey and all that hassle at home, it wasn’t an option Eleonore intended to take. Razaneth was to be her home and Khalib San her husband.

Turn that pain into power #TheScriptBibleChallenge

My other blog, The Script Bible is hosting an art challenge based on The Script’s songs. This week’s prompt is the line from Superheroes.

Read more…

His Oak Tree

thread by mfa

He told me it was over
He was done
It’s never been for ever
It was fun

I erased his number
Memories
Made this pain number
Drinking it

There’s only silence

When you’re hanging on a thread
It doesn’t take much to break it
When there’s chaos in your head
Can’t find the strength to fake it

There’s only silence

He kept the happy photos
Our smiles
Under his favourite cross
The lost pile

The poems he wrote me
Wrapped now
Hidden in the oak tree
With a bow

There’s only silence

When you’re hanging on a thread
It doesn’t take much to break it
When there’s chaos in your head
Can’t find the strength to fake it

There’s only silence

It’s by his tree, they say,
He now rests
The eternal view of the bay
For the best

He carved this passage
For us here
His everlasting message
So near

There’s only silence

Parroting isn’t love

image

You’re more than a bird
Don’t just fly
Feel it
Don’t repeat the words
Challenge their
Meaning

You’re not a mere mirror
You’re the light
Itself
Don’t just adore her
Help her break
That shelf

Your king can be naked
Not knowing
Himself
Tell him to face it
Your nod won’t
Help

Love isn’t all yeses
I’ll show you
More
Debating with kisses
Will help us
Grow

The Lonely Sun

image

You were red but they liked blue
You were fire, they wanted cool
They put you on the mantel for display,
“Look how cute,” they used to say

You should’ve burnt their house down.

Blue was gone and so were you,
l was lost, no more rules
Who am I without a system in place?
How will I know what to change?

I shouldn’t have let you leave this town.

I will burn if you’re too close
But stay away, I’ll freeze in the cold
I need you to live, to breathe, to love
You’re my brightest lonely sun

You will never burn my house down.

Stones

We walked down to the river
You and me, a cold autumn day
Shimming in the fallen leaves
Hand in hand, laughing away
You picked up a pebble,
It was purple and smooth
You put it in my palm
So light and cool.

You said
It came from afar,
Remember where we started?
Rough edges, a different colour?
I loved you then and I love you now
Life is like a river changing us together

Dim lights in the mine
The same all day
Stones carved out of the walls
Collected and taken away
Cleaved into separate pieces
Bruted into a basic shape
Facets are then cut onto the stone
Its beauty in full display

He said
Got you 2 carats
It’s always what you wanted
Perfect ring for a perfect girl
Marry me honey, we look beautiful
Life will always be perfect together

Her diamond ring has a shining gem
I’m wearing our purple stone

Morning Glory

l promised to tell you this
Publicly if a morning’s missed
So here I am, awkwardly,
Singing for you honestly

***

I opened my eyes
And didn’t see you first
Brushed you away
as if you were dirt

You’re the stardust trapped in my room
You’re my shelter, my saviour, my cage, my doom

Your messed up hair
Don’t comb it yet
Eyes sleepy, half-closed
With late night regret

Your light is the strongest, beaming in full
No control yet, no doubts, no fear, no bars, no loom

Electric sparks
Every time we touch
Your morning glory
Is never too much

You’re the stardust trapped in my room
You’re my shelter, my saviour, my cage, my doom

What music does

A river of words twirling
(in pain or pleasure?)
locked away
in the endless hold
of this consciousness.

You brought the key,
turned it with a loud bang –
you wanted everyone to know it’s open.
You wanted them to hold their breaths
in some impatient ecstasy
as the twirling words line up
into songs
of a life we all lived,
of a love we all shared.

You took those words
into the fire,
hammering them
into the odes
the world was looking for,
and you offered them
a peek into this soul.

This soul,
that’s not yours or mine, or theirs
but of us all,
the light that
unites us
without being led,
excites us
without getting tired.

You’ve turned the key,
showed us what it showed you –
the mirror of wonders
turning raw pain
into a beautiful sentiment,
wild emotions
into stories of love.

Words have swarmed out,
drawing dazzling pictures
onto the sky,
lighting up a universe
in ecstatic colours,
filling it with the rhythm
of our collective hearts,
blasting the music all of us knew.

It’s time to let go.
Throw away that key.
Put down that hammer.
Let the river flow,
find its way,
find its home,
shape the land
wherever it goes.

Even the strongest river can’t control the ocean.

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