So today at work, in between expense reports and scheduling meetings, I wrote a very self-pitying blog post about coincidences of dates and bad things that happened to me and feeling like I'll never be able to enjoy writing again, and so on, and so forth. And then I saved it, and opened up a new document, and wrote a Fiction Friday piece.
Is it my best work ever? Probably not. Is it timeless literature? Definitely not. Is it a cute little story-bit which will give you some enjoyment, O readers? I certainly hope so. And it's absolutely way more entertaining than a thousand words' worth of my whining.
Please enjoy today's Fiction Friday story, and keep in mind that when I seem to vanish, it's usually because my feelings have decided to mess with me. They're not nearly as well adjusted as that crew Pixar made the movie about. (Still need to go see that...)
The day in the tall tower in the forest began before dawn, when enough water had dripped through the water-clock that it began to flow through the overrun channel. This added weight to the dish in which a pile of rocks had been placed, and they fell into their containing pot with a loud clatter, awakening both the tower’s sole human inhabitant and her two companions, who opened sleepy yellow eyes and blinked accusingly at her.
“I’m sorry,” the young woman soothed, running her hand down sleek black fur. “I know you don’t like the noise, but I need it. You two can sleep all day and hunt half the night, but I have to be up and doing!”
Groaning at the dimness beyond her windows, she thrust her covers off resolutely and climbed out of bed. “As much as I love that,” she muttered to herself, noting with a sigh that Lucy and Agnes had moved immediately into the warm spot she’d left behind. “All right, Sam, time to get on with things.”
After performing her usual morning ablutions and toasting herself a few slices of bread in an ingenious little device which hung over the fire, the young woman called Sam mounted the steps to the pigeon loft which occupied the space just under the roof of her tower. Catching the birds which had come in overnight and removing the messages they had brought her, she set out fresh food and water for the pigeons before returning to her bedroom to evict the cats, pull up her bedcovers, and brew a pot of tea. This she took to her office, one level below. Lucy padded down the stairs behind her and curled up in the sunlit spot on the mahogany desk while Agnes sprawled her furry length across the upholstered chair which was used by visitors, in the rare event that any entered this room.
“Let’s see here,” Sam murmured, sitting down behind the desk and decoding the messages written in code on the pigeon slips almost as easily as she would have read plain text. “The Army needs more cots. I wonder what they did with the last hundred I ordered for them? The traders report landslides and are sending accounts of the new trails they’re discovering. Good for them.” She pulled out a map from a drawer, laid it to one side of the cat, and noted down the way the new trails ran, pausing for a brief game of feather-chase with Lucy, who was fascinated by the bobbing end of the quill pen.
“Now on to the palace suppliers.” Sam grimaced as she picked up these slips of paper. “Who are never satisfied with anything, and think that merely telling me they want or need something should make it magically appear for them. And if that doesn’t work, they invoke the name of the King. ‘The King will hear about this’, ‘the King will be informed of this’...” A sly smile touched her lips. “Of course he will. He’s the one who asked me to come out here, after all. And I suppose I should start this week’s letter off by telling him about the latest batch of whiners he’s got working for him. Weeding them out, and sorting between those who’re just lazy and those who’re downright incompetent or even criminal, is one of my jobs.”
She pulled out her supply of fine paper, dipped her quill once more, and began to write.
From Samantha Aliana Marita, of the Wood of the Cats, to His Majesty King Samuel the Ninth of Vitria.