When Worlds Collide by Anne (an April Fool’s Extra)

Tower Bridge © Copyright, Anne Marie 2008. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Tower Bridge © Copyright, Anne Marie 2008. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

*Go here and here to read the origins of this story*

Break Your Heart

The snap of power used during the divination burns the skin above my collarbone. It takes the breath of a star to get to Cheapside, London from Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

London hits me in the face with unwashed bodies stuffed into filthy clothes. Ratty-haired women roam the streets selling themselves. The reek of burning coal and sickness hang heavy in the cold November air, a sharp contrast from the fresh sea air and white sand beaches. Like a pack of vultures, my psychopomps swoop down to join me on the street leaching color with their black wings.

Two boys, arms slung around each other’s shoulder, step from behind darkly polished doors. Power emanates from behind them, blinding me with its multicolored light. Light shining like a beacon in the dark. It sings to me. Tempts me to cross that threshold and touch every single person playing fortuneteller until the light blinks out in a wink. But the taller boy carries darkness in his pocket like a handkerchief. He’s the one.

I remove my black-lace gloves and follow. The gang hangs back; their eyes burn holes through the fabric of my gown. Usually, I remain out of human’s sight. Unless they belong to the Diviner’s Club; they see through my illusions.

“Paul,” says the taller boy, doomed and unaware, “stop holding a candle to the devil and give us the goods.”

The other boy shakes his head, and then moves the brim of his baker boy up and down on his forehead. He drops his arm off his friend’s shoulders. Good, I don’t want to accidentally touch him. They look behind them, Paul stares right at me. He holds a hand up as if to say, “We’re not interested.” I smile, wide-mouthed and bright-eyed. He doesn’t carry the mark; he’s touched with light. Interesting.

My buttoned boots click clack click in rhythm with their steps. The taller boy doesn’t notice a thing. He continues ribbing Paul to learn some secret. Maybe he wants to know that his true future was told in subtle riddles, but Paul doesn’t have the first idea how to tease out the true meaning. He whips his head behind him a number of times before his friend notices.

“What’s got your knickers in a twist?” The other boy scans behind them, seeing no one.

“There’s a lady following us,” Paul whispers. I catch his words as they echo off the building and continue down the breeze.

A carriage led by a team of four clops down the cobbled street, distracting both boys. I slide ahead of them, faster than starlight racing across the universe. Paul’s friend flinches a tiny bit when I brush a cold hand against his cheek. He steps out in front of the horses. One of them bucks up, kicking well-manicured hooves into the boy’s face and chest. He falls in slow-motion, grabbing the pocket of his coat where the darkness hides.

The carriage bumps and hops over his broken body before stopping with a “Whoa!” and harsh yank on the reins. Both driver and passenger leap toward us. A pool of crimson spreads out, staining the stones and reflecting the gaslight in muted sparks. I replace my gloves, feeling the brush of dark wings sweep past me. My psychopomps surround the body.

Paul walks to me and beats his fists against my chest. The men from the carriage gape at him. They might do worse if they could see he was assaulting a woman.

“He was my future!” he screams against the wind, tears streaming down his cheeks.

~*~*~*~*~
A/N: Happy April Fools! I hope you enjoyed our mash-ups. We were inspired by last month’s Craft Discussion: World Building.

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Julie’s No Rules Friday: The Cathedral, Part II

AngelofGrief_photobyDaysofKRead Part I

The Cathedral, Part II

I wake myself up coughing. I’m lying on my back and there’s something heavy on my chest: a small pile of stones that shift with my breath. One of my feet is twisted beneath me. Light sifts down through tumbling dust. I remember that I fell, can’t tell how deep.

Raising myself on my elbows, I come to a seated position and move the debris trapping my right foot. Flexing it makes me wince a little, but I can move it. On my wrists and knees, I navigate the rock slide, find cool mosaic tile beneath the rubble, the floor of the cathedral.

I clear a spot and rest for a moment, closing my eyes. My heartbeat seems to fill the darkness. I hope Decker and the kids didn’t see me fall.

There’s a lump in my back pocket, and I remember my phone. It didn’t have service when I first woke up, back at home, but I brought it along anyway. Now the screen is cracked and I can’t read the time. Could be hours I’ve been out or just a few minutes.

Something skitters, and I sit up straight. My knees and the rubble around me are dim shapes. If there’s a rat down here, I won’t be able to see it until it’s on me.

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“Angel of Grief” Photo by Days of K Inspires Julie

AngelofGrief_photobyDaysofK

The Cathedral

“Chiz, don’t go in there.”

Decker is tugging on my arm. His dark eyes are so wide the whites show all around.

“Calm down.” I peel his fingers from my sleeve. “It’s just for a look.”

I touch the spot on my forehead where he hit me with a rock when he first saw me. It’s stopped bleeding, but it smarts. Instead of apologizing, he told me it made me look less naff.

Decker kicks at a chunk of brick. He looks up and away, into the gray sky. There used to be towers and high rises blocking the view here, but they’ve all been turned to rubble. When he sniffs and rubs his face on his sleeve, it leaves streaks in the dust on his skin.

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