“I’m not attracted to you, ” she says. He shrugs and he grins and hopes his heart doesn’t show between his toes. “That’s okay. I was never attracted to you either. ” She shrugs right back, they turn away, two lovers lost in disarray. Then he moves without sound. Without thought, he turns around. He grabs her hair, he pulls hard. She gasps and throws her head back and her eyes flutter closed. His lips move to her neck but all he does is whisper, “You’re so completely full of shit, ” and lets her hair go in disgust. She composes herself as best she can, and she shrugs and she grins with pink in her cheeks and she says, “But so are you. ” And they take one last look before they shrug and turn away, two lovers lost in disarray.”
Checks two boxes: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (adventure/romance) Ready Player One by Earnest Cline (action/adventure - light on the romance) Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Adventure/Romance) A Man of His Own by Susan Wilson (Action (WWII) /Romance) Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan (Modern Adventure / light on the romance) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Adventure/Romance)
Books that may work but that I didn’t care for: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
I feel like I’m missing some. I’ll check my shelves for more after dinner!
“when she got up a wave of fabric softener from the sheets and cigarette smoke, from cigarettes she ‘doesn’t’ smoke, followed her. I closed my eyes and listened to her muffled steps cross the carpet towards the bathroom door. the unending drip of the leaky faucet rose in tempo as she turned on warmer water to splash her face. and then it subsided back to the slow tempo of a drip drip drip.
I heard the door to my room click while my eyes were still closed and I knew she was back. I could feel her resonating in my bones, the places within me she took hold and made her own were my favorite spots.
the bed squeaked as it shifted and welcomed her onto it. she slid onto me like hands on silk and she was soft. and she was wonderful.
quickly, she was asleep making dainty noises and I hoped her dreams were good as I covered us in the blankets at arms reach.
and she was beautiful.”
“I think fiction comes from everything you’ve ever done, and said, and dreamed, and imagined. It comes from everything you’ve read and haven’t read…I think my work comes out of the culture of the world around me. I think that’s where my language comes from.”
Don DeLillo, from David Remnick’s “Exile on Main Street: Don DeLillo’s Undisclosed Underworld” in The New Yorker
[A/N: This is a vent fic I wrote to cope with the ending of Episode 3 and also - in my preferred theory’s opinion - the inevitability of Chloe’s fate in Episode 5. This is not confirmed! This is not canon! This is just what I think the ending might look like and I wanted to delve into Max’s mind and heart, because the situation is agonizing to conceive and it gets me teared up every time I think about it. So here it is! Warning: Angst and tears abound! Also I named it To Kill a Blue Jay because I’m a sucker for motifs in things, but the closest thing to a motif in Life Is Strange is the recurring themes of spirit animals and that distinctive colour of blue. Chloe’s spirit animal is the blue jay, therefore I thought the name fit quite nicely. Enjoy!]
pulsed and hummed and flashed in tune with the racing beating of Max’s heart
and the stream of tears cemented onto her face.
flash, she woke up, standing in the middle of the bathroom floor, isolated and
again…” she breathed, trying to control herself and numb the pain coursing
through her veins.
she rewound, the worse the agony. How she didn’t scream when she went back to
save Chloe’s dad was a mystery, because now she felt like she might pass out
from the churning pain.
However, a swimming
cocktail of guilt and heartache contributed to the physical effects she was feeling.
pocket, she noted the absence of the butterfly photo, gaging precisely how far
back she was.
Now she had
to retrace her steps.
third time that week, she repeated the ritual of using the faucets and
splashing her face with water, thankful that the cold dulled the burning of her
forehead and numbed her aching, bloodshot eyes.
though, Max was overwhelmed with nausea, the realization of what she knew was
about to happen slamming into with the velocity of a car crash.
herself to remain strong and composed, despite knowing that something as simple
as using the faucets was like twisting a knife into Chloe’s heart.
like a murderer. She was, in some ways, just as guilty as Nathan, even though
she had no choice in what had to be done.
It was Chloe
or the world.
reason she managed to choose the world was after she asked herself what Chloe
would want her to do.
Chloe wouldn’t want me to save her if the
world had to suffer, she reminded herself, over and over again, chanting it
like a mantra. I’m doing this for Chloe…
her left, Max saw the brilliant blue butterfly flutter in from the blinding
white light outside, its wondrous shade illuminating like a small beacon
contrasted against the gloom of the bathroom setting.
she followed its idle path, eventually settling upon the bucket with its wings
tickling the air.
Max withdrew her camera and knelt down in front of the beautiful creature.
To Max, the
snapping of her camera could have just as easily been the pulling of the
trigger; both were sealing Chloe’s fate all the same.
photo developed, Max stared numbly at it for a few moments, flashing back to
how she felt when she first took the beautiful photo.
Pride. Awe. Contentment.
Now she felt
a choking sorrow, a gnawing guilt and an unbearable pain.
photo away, she wallowed in the silence, finding no tranquillity or compassion
from it. It was… musky and unclean. The air was there, yet it wasn’t, and Max
briefly considered the otherworldly state she was feeling could symbolize that
she was, in face, simply a part of some horrible dream.
with blistering realization, she knew that wasn’t the case.
She as stuck
there, in the present, dreading the future, loathing the past.
awkwardly in place, she tapped her fingers impatiently, finding the
anticipation more painful than she could have possibly imagined.
If it has to
happen, just get it over with…
opened. It was Nathan.
shrivelled back, biting her lip to force back a scream, begging and pleading
with universe to let her take her rash impatience back.
happening… it was actually happening…
knowing how the rewind time worked better than anyone, it still came as a
horrible surprise and shock when the events unfolded just as it did.
down inside, she was hoping that Dana or Victoria would walk in, upsetting the
balance and allowing her more time to figure out a solution.
shot to the fire alarm, the pounding in her head drowning out the voices
Maybe I can go back again, she pleaded
with herself, desperately. Just give me
another five days. There’s no harm in letting me spend another five days with
her, is there?
she knew. She knew she couldn’t back out now, no matter how much she wanted to.
It’d be just as painful the next time, and how could she spend all that time
with Chloe again, this time knowing she only had five days to live?
she could go back. Not just for five days, but back before she abandoned Chloe.
longingly about everything they used to do together, how they had birthday
parties and dressed up as pirates, how they used to have sleepovers and stay up
until the early hours of the morning gossiping and laughing together…
about what she missed in those five years, how they could have gone to
Blackwell together and how she could’ve stopped Chloe from dropping out, how
she could’ve been there for Chloe when she was at her lowest, and laughed with
her at her best.
about everything they will miss together.
That was the
most painful of all.
about how she never got a chance to tell Chloe just how much she meant to her,
how special their time was together.
feelings were all mixed up in her mind, Max felt that, given time, she would
love Chloe beyond the boundaries of friendship.
the past and the future was futile.
This was correcting
It was what
had to be done.
that gun away from me, psycho!” Chloe yelled, her voice weaving its way
through Max’s veins and into her heart, piercing it.
fell to the floor.
Max wept uncontrollably, curling up into a tight ball on the floor, her body a
shivering mess. Tears streamed down her clammy red features, dripping a sickly
salt into her mouth.
It made her
want to throw up.
She’s gone… Max sobbed, burying her
face in her palms, not noticing when her camera fell to the floor, quietly
smashing the lens.
A fight’s the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off.
But it’s better if you do. I’m still reeling from that last good fight.
Then she was gone. And I’m not sure I ever left the sage.
I don’t remember how I got drunk, but I sure as hell remember why. It’s sad proof that I’m building up a tolerance. Not just to the drinks, either. Before, I used to worry about scratches on my skin or scrapes on my shoulders. After a while, I learned that they’re always looking at the girl regardless. Let ‘em look. All the attention gets you numb if it’s not the attention you want. And it wasn’t.
I keep trying to forget you, so I go back to instincts. For me? That’s a fist. When he told me I shouldn’t be so down. So dark. So dour? He looked right past my split lip and my blistered knuckles and wondered what my pretty little smile looked like. I could have blown him off. I was low, but warming up. But like I said - the drink didn’t hit as hard as it used to. Hurting myself held no thrill. So I needed somebody else. I had to get it out somehow, get her out.
So I pounded my skull hard into the bridge of his nose. I bet that burned. Me? I saw stars, but I smiled. There I was, dolled up in cheap mascara and a drunk boy’s blood, and wouldn’t you believe it, but I laughed? I laughed so hard, he hit me back, and then I laughed because he hit me back. That surprised and impressed me. So? I really got into it. I got intimate, got on top of him. Got wild.
Clothes tore. So did hair and skin. I left him crawling to the door, a pretty mess.
Boy, was his face red. Hell, so was mine. For just a second, I was punchdrunk.
Then? I passed out. I woke up in a gutter after a wet dream with the girl I love. That… was nice, until reality interrupted. Being awake hurt, in a way that nothing else could hurt. I couldn’t even feel the bruises bloating on my body.
I was still stuck in my head, still making love to ghosts of her. That last good fight. I was trapped and, God… God help me. I knew I was going crazy, but…
But I didn’t want to let go just yet.
Prompt:An incarcerated Anonymous sent me…
They say your head can be a prison. If so, then these are just conjugal visits.
I wanted something queer and violent. Don’t ask me why. I have no idea.
Last:Declaration - What if love didn’t have to be the bravest story?
My bike pedals squeaked on the bridge. The wind was heavy with salt and blew against my chest. It’s not often I cross out of Cambridge. I drifted along the riverbanks on the Boston side, pausing to lie on wooden docks where water thwacked against the pilings. Tiny waves kissed at the hulls of nearby boats. I crossed above busy streets to the green, grassy heart of the city. A man stood confused on the sidewalk. He wore the loose orange vest of a construction worker. He was young. Just out of high school. His beard was thin and patchy. He blinked sweat from his eyes. He looked unsure in the shadows of red brick mansions cuddled one into the next. Rows of fine homes embraced a walkway with statues of stone men reclining in the calm of wisdom and wealth and pedigree. I nodded, one foot on the hot pavement, waiting for the light to change from red to green. The young man smiled. You know where the closest convenience store is? he asked. I shook my head. No. I looked around, over both shoulders but all I saw was more luxury. More dwellings. He was thirsty for water or a Gatorade. Maybe he left his bottle at home, far away from this corner, water dripping into it from a leaky faucet. Probably that way I pointed ahead a few long blocks where the pointy tops of downtown office buildings rose over the tufts of brownstone roof gardens. Yeah, probably, he laughed. Thanks he yelled. I moved through the light, now green. Thanks for what? I wondered. No sweat I said. I covered three streets and a few miles back to the bridge. Cleaning women with dark curls pulled tight in ponytails buzzed at heavy front doors with buckets of cleaners and sponges. Men lugged planks of wood from triple-parked trucks to make the buildings worth a few more million. I pedaled over the bridge with the wind at my back. A block from my apartment a man leaned out the window of a Maserati that shone like polished onyx. When the light changed to green, the woman behind him blasted the horn of her bondoed Honda Accord in defiance. Right on I said aloud to the warm and salty wind.
“I guess the countdown in my room was for nothing after all.”
“Aw, don’t say that, Sheila.” Henry tried to get her to look up at him, so that he could smile reassuringly at her. but she was too busy staring at her drink.
“See,” she said, “all of the days meant nothing. We’d gotten so far, but
then it all just disappeared. All the hope. It disappeared.” Her voice
settled on the last word with a raspy hum. She was trying so hard not to
think about it, goddamnit. And what was with Henry, anyhow? Why was he trying to make her feel better?
”We can make it, darling, I know we can.” But she could only laugh at that measly reassurance. What did he know?
He didn’t, that was the thing. He didn’t know the half of it. It was just a concept to him. He wasn’t the one suffering. He didn’t know a thing.