Monday January 23rd, 2017

The exercise:

Write something which takes place in: the clothing store.

Had the boys this morning while Kat was seeing a client, so I took them for a visit to our favorite coffee shop. Just wasn't feeling up to StrongStart.

Brought Max to soccer class this afternoon and he went over to the coach at the start all on his own without even a backward glance. More of that, please.

Feel like I could use a whole day to myself to rest and recharge. Hopefully tomorrow morning will be good enough.


"All right, you're up next Charlie."

"Who, him? Oh, come on!"

"You pulled the short straw, that means you're helping the next customer to walk through the door. And that's him."

"He's wearing a red Hawaiian shirt with a striped tie and green pants. In January. Pretty sure there's no help for him. I'll take the next one."

"That's not how it works, Charlie. Get over there and make some sales."

"Sales? Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize we had restocked our Dumb, Blind, and Destined To Be Alone Forever section."


"Fine, I'm going. But I want my full bonus for this month if I can get him to buy so much as a pair of socks."

"Good luck with that, Charlie - he's not even wearing shoes."

"Oh for crying out loud..."


Greg said...

Soccer class sounds very good, and I think I've read ahead at this point and seen that swimming classes are encountering difficulties so it must be a relief that one thing is going well! I hope you got your recharge time -- I hope you're finding your time with your writing project recharging as well :)
I'm back from Budapest now, with invitiations to move out there and work permanently with the teams (they're good guys) and a mystification that everytime I'm gone for a couple of days someone in the Malta office manages to have a meltdown....
I think I work with the guy who's just come in to your clothing store! He's toned his clothes down a little in the last six months, but otherwise... spot on. So I have every sympathy with the salesguy, he's got a challenge ahead!

The clothing store
Magdalena waited patiently while David recollected his thoughts and put his mental map back together, the red and gold lines defining where magical defenses reached and where they retreated. The whole map pulsed gently as the force that empowered them surged and ebbed on a different level of existence, so that standing too close to a magical ward could be dangerous at times. Here it should have provided for overlap so that there was no safe path through without already knowing about the wards. He studied it again, rotating it in his mind's eye and looking at from different angles, and then he opened his eyes without dropping his mental map. His eyes sparkled, literally: tiny golden sparks seemed to jump from one side of his iris to the other and his pupil was a dot of blackness so intense that looking at made the viewer feel like they were falling into it.
"Ehrmeister's Mitteilung," he said, his voice oddly resonant in the hallway. Magdalena actually looked surprised, and her mouth opened as though to speak, but then she caught herself. Her brow wrinkled as she thought, and then, with a slight slowness that might have been a lack of practice, she shaped her own magic and overlaid it on herself. It smoothed itself to her form and she felt a sensous tingle like a lover running warm fingers over cold skin, and then her pupils contracted to that utter blackness and tiny golden sparks jumped from David to her.
It was like closing your eyes and finding yourself immersed instantly in a dream. She was stood amidst the lines of David's map, and he was stood next to her. Both of them were abstracted versions of themselves: she appeared as a frozen-in-time moment of a volcano's eruption: enormous fiery power trapped in a single instant, dangerous, consuming and brilliant. David was an ice-shelf breaking off above water: contained, controlled but capable of unleashing a devastating, engulfing wave of inexorable determination. There was a moment of hesitation, and then they spoke simultaneously:
"You've grown stronger."

Greg said...

Ash swirled in the trapped eruption, a representation of laughter; the ice shelf shuddered, compressive forces throwing icy motes around it to sparkle in sunlight -- the same.
"It is appropriate to say that I remember when you were just an iceberg?" said Magdalena. The words appeared in David's mind, there was no sound in the map.
"And I remember when you were just a forest-fire," said David. "I appreciated the subtlety of the charm on the purse, and I knew it was manifold, but seeing you like this... I'll have to spend some more time with it. This is the influence of Thomas?"
"Some," said Magdalena. "Some is natural growth, and some is... well, there are things you don't want to share with me, I'm sure." The ice-shelf flexed, an abstracted nod. "For you... I can see Lord Derby's influence I think. You were less dangerous before you started working with him."
"I think I understand," said David slowly. "But that's certainly not what I thought you might say!"
More silence as they both considered each other, and then Magdalena looked around, lava swirling in her representation. Black smoke rose here and there.
"Something's not right," she said. "That's what you noticed?"
David twisted the map, orienting it for her, and the path through the wards became apparent, a narrow, tricky channel that nonetheless would let someone who knew about pass into places that were supposed to be forbidden.
"Ah," she said. "This is definitely not right. This was planned."
"It looks like it," said David. "Though I'm hesitant to agree as these wards were set by the Lords Magical."
"No," said Magdalena. She sounded distant, she was staring at the map. "They were designed by them, but the setting of them was an exercise for their students and assistants. They checked them later; I checked some of them myself as well, but we were checking the layering of power, not... we were wrong not to check the whole design. This here," she pointed and David rotated the map to bring it closer, "this is the hotel's clothing store. It holds uniforms for the staff when they're working on this floor, I think it might hold linens and room-cleaning stuff as well. This looks like an entry or exit point."
"Yes," said David. "Ah well, perhaps it was intentional to allow the staff access to it then?" The ice shelf turned duller as though the sun were obscured by cloud. "I have been hasty, perhaps."
"No. The hotel staff have been instructed to avoid this floor. We are mages, David, keeping a room clean is essentially trivial!"

Marc said...

Greg - good to have you writing with us again :)

Any temptation to make the move to Budapest? I feel as though the potential lack of meltdowns in your absence, along with some better fashion sense, might win the day in their favor...

Ah, it also good to hear from David again. It took me a few moments to reorient myself to this scene, but once that was taken care of things flowed smoothly ahead. I especially liked the abstract representation of the two speakers, and that they've both progressed since a previous time together in such forms. Clever work!

Also: yet another intriguing development in this tale.