dramatic pale

anonymous asked:

Kaz and inej beauty and the beast au, is that a thing? If not you should consider writing it haha

*rubs hands together* 

Disclaimer: no animal transformations written below

  • Kaz is an arrogant lord (because he’d rather drop dead than be a prince) who scams and manipulates the other lords for his own benefit and to expand his influence
  • until one night a wizened old woman comes to his manor and offers him a single geranium for his hospitality for one night 
  • Kaz instantly rejects the offer and belittles the woman, but his words suddenly die in his throat when the woman reveals her true self: Zoya, the ethereal and sublime sorceress who’s intent on teaching Kaz a lesson 
  • she dooms Kaz and the rest of his subjects - the Dregs - to live a cursed life until the person to instill love in Kaz’s heart arrives
  • meanwhile, in a nearby provincial town, Inej Ghafa just wants to read and be in peace (because she doesn’t want adventure, she’s perfectly content to be with her family lbr) 
  • especially with her wise and innovative acrobat father who she adores with all her heart
  • however, her little town thinks she’s strange and almost a ghost, and whisper she’s possessed by a vengeful spirit lying in wait to ensnare somebody, because they can never hear her - not her steps, not her until she speaks 
  • although the townspeople all grudgingly agree that she’s the most beautiful girl for miles 
  • Pekka, a well-known huntsman, thinks so and is set on making Inej his wife 
  • Inej when Pekka calls her beautiful: “That’s a lazy way to describe me.”
  • and when her father’s horse comes running back to her one morning without her father, Inej sets out to find him the dark depths of the forest
  • she comes across this wild, unkept estate that looms over her and finds her father trapped in a dungeon there 
  • and then she comes across a young man that walks stiffly with a cane and has a hat pulled over his eyes, who says that he’ll let her father go if she’ll take his place
  • Inej takes heart that her father is safe from harm and soon meets the other enchanted individuals in the manor 
  • Matthias as the grumpy Featherduster 
  • Nina as Mrs. Potts!!!
  • Kuwei as Chip
  • while Kaz casually freaks out over how to approach this new girl that might break his spell 
  • when Inej finds the dying, glowing geranium inside a bell jar in the west wing, Kaz panics and yells at her to get out 
  • after she flees and Kaz saves her from the wolves surrounding the forest, Inej tends to Kaz’s wounds and gets to really look at him for the first time 
  • his legs are mangled and torn, and a black substance is creeping under their skin up to his waist
  • and when Inej turns him over, she sees his eyes fully for the very first time, and they’re made out of glass, and a scrape on his arm reveals that part of him is cogs and springs 
  • “The one who cursed me poisoned my legs and said that I wasn’t fit to walk amongst any of the good men in Ketterdam. Then she said that wasn’t a good enough punishment, and so she made me half machine, because she said I didn’t belong with humans with such a cold heart.”
  • Inej oils his joints and mixes poultices to help Kaz heal and for the next few weeks, he notices how she exudes kindness and acceptance and everything that he doesn’t deserve
  • while Inej observes that Kaz, although he may feign indifference and aloofness, he’s actually not an evil presence and shows her nothing but truth instead of gilded lies (a privilege compared to what she got in town) 
  • Inej! in that iconic!! dress!!!!
  • Inej realizes - from the mirror Kaz gives her - that her father is in danger because the townspeople don’t believe his claims of his daughter being locked up by a monster
  • so Kaz lets her go, knowing the geranium’s petals will fall off before she returns
  • and Inej very faintly kisses him on the cheek before she leaves so he has to bite his lip to keep from screaming
  • Inej’s plan to drive away the crowd backfires when she shows them Kaz in the enchanted mirror and speaks of him with a fond and warm tone that makes Pekka Rollins’ eyes narrow and his fingers clench into fists 
  • Pekka grabs the mirror and gets the whole crowd in an uproar about the demon boy that’ll slip through the town and steal away babies, to how he’ll scrape their coffers bare, to how he’ll kidnap more girls like Inej to break his spell 
  • Inej and her father are trapped in the cellar of their home, but Kuwei, who slipped into Inej’s dress pocket when she wasn’t looking, gets them out 
  • Cue the townspeople fighting against the enchanted Dregs in Kaz’s manor
  • Pekka, armed with a musket, finds Kaz in the west wing, and Kaz doesn’t mope; he’s seen Inej and her father on horseback far off in his window, coming towards the manor, and he’ll be damned if he lets her see him die so easily 
  • the mirror from Pekka’s belt falls to the floor and shatters in their struggle
  • the two of them circle and weave around each other in a deadly dance, and both of them sustain serious injuries 
  • Inej runs up to the west wing to see Kaz hanging off the balcony, his legs now completely black and useless so he can’t stand up 
  • she sees a flash of lightning illuminating Pekka’s musket end raised high in the air, intent on smashing Kaz’s fingers to pieces so he’ll fall 
  • and she doesn’t think she moves 
  • she scoops up a jagged mirror shard from the ground and stabs Pekka hard in the stomach multiple times until he gasps and falls off the balcony
  • Inej hauls Kaz up and looks in horror at his cogs whirring slower and slower, his legs now twisted to odd angles and unable to move, how his glass eyes blink more slowly when he turns to look at her 
  • “You came back.” 
  • “I’d have come for you no matter what. I’d have crawled to you even if I couldn’t walk.” 
  • Kaz smiles faintly at this, closes his eyes, and the cogs in his body whir to a stop 
  • and Inej’s throat constricts, ready to let out a scream of anguish
  • but before the first shriek escapes her lips, she sees a beautiful black-haired woman appear out of nowhere and stoop low to Kaz’s pale face 
  • “Dramatic to the end.” she mutters, lowering a hand over Kaz’s forehead. “Cutting it a little close, don’t you think, Brekker?” 
  • Kaz opens his eyes and smirks weakly at the sorceress. “I’m always a lover of drama, all powerful Zoya. And I don’t see you trying to snatch my life away when you’ve just made me live again.” 
  • “You found love, but you can never learn manners, can you, boy?” 
  • “Trust me,” Inej says with a laugh, getting over her shock and helping Kaz stand by letting him lean on her. “That would take a miracle to happen.”
  • Kaz looks up at Inej and smiles crookedly. “You know, magic doesn’t solve everything.”
Butterflies - Archie Andrews x Reader

Certainly a longer one for you guys. It’s a little crappy and a little pointless but I thought of this while in music class the other day and thought it was a cute idea to distract us all from the turmoil of episode 13…


Originally posted by riverdalesource

He had admired her from across the music room for months. (y/n) (l/n). With the voice of an angel and the face of one too. She was truly talented in every way, singing, piano, guitar and just her sheer ability to charm anyone. She was sweet in everyway and he couldn’t help but wonder if her lips were that sweet too; they certainly looked it.

He had completely fallen for her. Everything she did, every word she sang, everything she was. She was beginning to become his first thought in the morning and his last at night before he went to sleep and almost every thought in between. Yet, he had still never had a full conversation with you. You were alone once in the classroom when everyone had left as he helped her find her sheet music but that was it. That was enough for him to memorize her eyes and the way she did her hair in a messy bun so she could play without it getting in the way and it was adorable. Everything about her was adorable. Miniature compared to him and her smile was the cutest thing he had ever seen in his life. Yet, he still hadn’t spoken to her.

“You need to say something, bud.” Jughead slid onto the bench next to him, stuffing some cafeteria burrito into his mouth.

“He’s right you know,” Betty chimed in from behind him with Veronica and Kevin as they sat around,

“Are you still pining over piano girl?” Ronnie mocked in a baby voice, “God, Arch. I didn’t know that you could ever be so useless around a girl.” He glared at her,

“I have no idea what you are on about.” He tried to play it cool but the tiniest voice crack at the wrong moment gave him away. Not that there was much to give away.

“Oh yeah, and I have no idea that, that song is about her.” Kevin observed stealing the sheet from in front of Archie and pulling it away from reach so he and the girls could see it,

“Oh Archie you have to say something! This is all too sweet.” Betty cooed but Jugheads laughter overpowered her, “Oh Juggie, just because some guys are romantic.” Betty sighed mockingly,

“I am mysterious and girls love that more.” He smirked before winking at her.

“This is all well and good guys but I am not talk to her. Now or anytime soon.”

“you could ask her to the dance!” V piped up getting all excited,

“Great idea!” Archie mocked, “When you find any reason for her to like me, let me know and I’ll go for it.” He sighed in defeat. If he was true to himself that was the real reason he had never gone up to her, they had never spoken and normally it was girls who came up to him and her? well she was not that kind of girl. She hung around with Ethel, not the vixens. She wore oversized cardigans, not mini skirts and her top knot was haphazard, not 3 hours worth of styling but all this just made her so much better than any of them. She was who she wanted to be, not who someone like Cheryl wanted her to be or how people said she should be, she was just herself and that’s how he wanted her.

One thing he never understood was that she spoke to everyone, except him. She was one of them people who didn’t have a ‘group’ she kind of floated between people with everyone liking her. One day she could talk to the geeks and the next be tutoring Reggie Mantle in science only to be back with musical theatre kids by lunch helping with rehearsals but she never spoke to this group. Ever. He had never understood why she had avoided them, he was sure that they had never done any wrong to her but she would almost always leave class quickly to avoid him.

As far as Archie knew, she was single but he couldn’t understand why. Half the boys in the football team adored her and not in some demeaning way. If they didn’t think of you as a sister to protect, they wanted to take you out for dinner. She managed to bring out the soft side of even the biggest guys in the school ad he could never figure out how, bur she certainly did it to him.

She found solitude in music and she would only practice in the theatre without anyone listening. 

Little did she know that Archie had found this out, he had been working to keep up with the rest of the music class that he had managed to join late. He had come across your secret practice sessions after looking for Valerie. 

She was too into her music to notice Archie staring from the back, and too focused to notice when Archie came in, even taking a seat and listening to the end of her piece. 

She played her last note, her eyes still closed…that is until he started to clap. When her eyes flew open she made eye contact instantly with Archie and paled dramatically,

“Sorry, I’ll be going I didn’t know you were in here…”
“No, no it’s fine.” He panicked a little, this was his only chance to talk to her, “please stay, for once?” she looked like a rabbit in the headlights but he had never seen her that way. She was normally confident, loud and cheery but this was so much different - as if she was scared of him but she nodded anyway still standing in the same spot clutching her sheet music, “look, I don’t know if you know me I'm…”
“Archie. Archie Andrews.” The fact she knew who he was made him smile stupidly, “I’ve seen you in music class.” she said quietly, “I'm…”
“(y/n). I know.” Archie looked down sheepishly at his feet as he said it, kind of glad she never brought up his football, when he was around her all he cared about was music, “I have been wondering if maybe…” he trailed off not really knowing where he was going with this.

“Maybe what?” she asked kindly, making her way down the stages stairs and to the auditorium where he stood,

“You would help me study. Music I mean, I was late starting.” He mentally kicked himself for chickening out but he now knew the real reason all the big guys went soft on her, her eyes were like molten pools that seemed to shine. She smiled innocently, everything about her was innocent she didn’t seem to be corrupted like most of the people in this town,

“Of course,” she said softly and with what he thought (and hoped) was a hint of disappointment. Turning, she went back up onto the stage to the piano and took her seat once again beckoning him to follow. He stood awkwardly behind her until she sifted over ever so slightly allowing him to sit beside her, “What do you need help with?” she pulled out her sheet music once again and placed it on the stand before tucking a pencil behind her ear,

“have you ever considered teaching someone piano?” he asked skeptically,

“I can try my best” she smiled before she started talking again but he zoned out watching the way her lips moved or how her long, delicate fingers would move across the keys with no visible effort. It wasn’t until she took his hand in hers placing it on the keys beneath hers did he snap out of it. His heartbeat elevating like never before as he turned to look at her his hand still under hers, playing keys he had never used before and playing music they were making together as she finally turned too look at him, their faces astonishingly close to one another,


“I would very much like to admit that I think you’re beautiful.” He didn’t fully know where the confidence came from, perhaps it was the feeling of her hand on his but he moved, reaching his hand up to remove the pencil from behind her ear and admired how her hair fell with it. Pushing it back he glanced at her lips, “I would also very much like to kiss you.” She didn’t say anything. She simply leaned into him, pushing her lips against his softly as if she was once again scared so he pressed himself further into her, wrapping his hand into her hair as he had dreamed of doing for the months he had admired her before she pulled away but stayed close to him, “Why did you stay away from me?” he asked timidly, so not to upset her after their moment,

“because it would have been hard to sit there and be close to you and not kiss you.” she murmured in reply, shocking him,

“Wait, what?” he moved a little further away to look at her, his hand still playing with her hair,

“maybe it was your laugh, or your eyes, or your smile. It could have been your hair, or your voice, or your personality. Whatever it was, it made me fall pretty damn hard.” she confessed looking into his eyes intently making him kiss her again, making her gasp a little in shock but returning the chaste kiss,

“Why didn’t you tell me all of this, instead of running away?” he looked confused like a lost puppy and tilted his head a little, “Why did you avoid me?”

“Because, for the first time, I didn’t want to make a fool of myself.” she admitted, turning back to look at the keys, Archie placing his hand on hers once again but this time on his lap, “so I listened to you singing from afar, in the common room, in class, when you were with your friends. And I would come to your football games, I would watch from the side of the bleachers where I couldn’t be seen by the other players for once. I mean, I love them guys, they were good to me but they weren’t you.”

“Wait, what?”

“Archie, I’m a pretty loud outgoing person but around you? You reminded me what butterflies felt like and I could never stop loosing my breath when I saw you looking back at me. That day when you helped me in music? Nothing could beat the butterflies I felt when I was around you. You made me feel a kind of happiness I’ve never experienced before.” He looked at her falling more in love with her by the second, by every word she said,

“Butterflies, eh?” he smirked a little making her laugh quietly, “So I guess what I felt wasn’t just a crush?”
“Never just a crush” she looked up at him, her eyes shinning in a completely different way, in a better way, “anyway, music” he smiled like an idiot,

“Right, music.”

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Girlfriend of the Town Shut-in

Derek Hale Imagine

Prompt: Imagine the pack not believing Derek has a girlfriend i.e. you

Warnings: Adult Language

Does not follow the plot of “Teen Wolf”

Point of view: Third Person’s POV

The pack gathered in Derek’s loft randomly one day. It was one of those days in the summer where annoying Derek was better than watching reruns of Friends or Star Wars.

Stiles constantly screaming insults at Derek for not watching Star Wars and Scott having to hold Derek back from Stiles.

Of course Liam and Lydia watched in amazement while they mindlessly chatted away with Malia who seemed confused about the entire situation and why Star Wars even mattered.

Derek roughly yanked his hand away from Scott as he dug in his back pocket for his phone

“Yeah” he repeated as the girl quickly mumbled out random words, he knew he was going to get the full story but she always had to call afterwards to rant to someone so she didn’t look stupid ranting to herself.

“Der! I hate people!” A voice groaned as a loud bark emitted into the air “This asshole had the nerve-”

She stopped talking as she watched the room, everyone was quiet for the first time in hours.

The girl was (Y/N) (L/N) Derek'a girlfriend, she was a beautiful (S/C) as her (Long/Short) hair was put in a messy ponytail.

“Um-hello” (Y/N) smiled as she softly waved to the group of people staring at her, her cheeks heating up as her heart skipped a few beats.

“Who’s she?” Stiles questioned, as he begin to walk toward (Y/N) but her dog, Bear growled at Stiles before he could’ve make it to her.

“I don’t think you wanna-”

“No let him maybe it will teach him to leave me the hell alone” Derek snapped as a smirked shot across his face

“He doesn’t like you are your not a wolf?” She questioned as she bent down softly scratching behind his ear

“No I’m a Stiles” Stiles sarcastically stated as he scoffed softly

“What the hell is a Stiles?”(Y/N) questioned as she stood up watching the pale boy in front of her

“No-like that’s my name- like I’m Stiles, like I was born and yeah” he mumbled as she stared at him with confusion

“Who names there kid Stiles” she laughed as she panted his back softly

“What’s your name then!” He shouted

“(Y/N) (L/N)” (Y/N) stated as she moved to the couch, throwing her body on it

“And who are you?” A strawberry blonde questioned

“Derek’s girlfriend, Alpha girlfriend I might add” she smirked softly as Derek rolled his eyes

“I didn’t know you had a girlfriend” the young beta stated

“Neither does half the town, Derek is one of those town shut ins” Y/N laughed, he playfully growled as a soft smile played on his face

“Is Derek smiling?” The pale boy stated

“Shut up Stiles” Derek growled, as he moved next to (Y/N) his arm wrapping protectively around her

“It’s not my fault you don’t have friends and then we find out you have a girlfriend, I thought what we had was special” the pale dramatically wailed out

“I think I’m going to like that kid” (Y/N) giggled

“Please don’t say that” Derek groaned

“And the Beta, he’s really cute” She Smiled, Derek growled lowly as Liam blushed softly

“No look at him” (Y/N) squealed as she got up to squish his cheeks, scrunching her nose at him “He’s so cute!”

“Please shut up!” Derek groaned as he ran his hands down his face

“I’m Liam” he blushed wildly as he stared at the girl

“That’s a cute name!” She smiled “Liam the Beta”

“Der, can we keep him?” She questioned with a soft giggle as she scrunched in her nose softly once more

“No! Hell no! They all need to get out!” Derek shouted as he grabbed Y/N arm as he yanked her back his side.

Y/N attention turned to the tanned boy who was staring at her, his head slightly cocked to the right as he watched her for a moment.

“Is there something wrong?” She questioned

“Yes… how did you end up with ass like him” he questioned as a smirk widen on his face, she giggled softly before scrunching her eyebrows

“He kidnapped me” she whispered seriously

“Would you stop saying that, last time I almost got arrested” he groaned as he watched her for what seemed like forever taking in all her features, she was beautiful nonetheless, and she was all his.

Prequel: Azriel-Centric Stories Set Before ACOTAR (ch. 2)

This is a collection of interconnected short stories about Azriel’s life before any of the events of ACOTAR through ACOWAR.  


Make sure to read Chapter 1Chapter 3Chapter 4,Chapter 4.5, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10

Read the follow up fic, Shadows and Darkness: One and the Same

Time frame: 200 years before Feyre arrives

Summary: Azriel’s secret lover needs his help.

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y1ffb0t  asked:

oh yeah, that would be totally fine. I was wondering if you could write a story where Lance is the one saying something offensive impulsively (maybe to Keith or hunk??) instead of it being the other way around? And he totally beats himself up for it and whoever he insulted is being distant w/him? thank u...

Lance turns his head towards Allura as she stands. The rest of the team quiets their conversation as well, giving the princess their full attention. She clears her throat before smiling at them.

“Welcome Paladins! I have requested this meeting with you to discuss how we go about dealing with Prince Lotor.” She pauses to turn to Keith, “Keith, as the new black paladin, would you like to start the conversation off?”

The Black paladin blushes a bit as he stands, but his expression turns grave as he begins to speak. “Lotor is obviously an intelligent enemy. He has out-maneuvered us on several occasions and he has a strong team with him.”

Keith looks around the table, silently asking if anyone else has anything to add. After receiving five nods he continues. “It is also apparent that though Lotor isn’t on our side, he’s not on Zarkon’s side either. I think that it might be wise to call a truce with him to take down Zarkon and Haggar. He has access to the Galra systems and possibly even Zarkon’s headquarters. What do you guys think?”

Pidge immediately begins to speak, their words almost blur together in the effort to get them out as fast as possible. “How are we going to get him to agree to a truce? He isn’t going to agree if he doesn’t get anything out of it. And how are we going to get into contact with him without being attacked?”

Keith is silent for a moment before he answers. “The Blade of Marmora has been working on a device that can send transmissions directly to a specific ship from several galaxies away. They have offered to let us use it if we go through with this.”

Hunk pipes up from beside Lance, “And what about the negotiations Keith?”

Keith looks at Hunk briefly and smiles. “We’re going to let him take over the Galra after he takes down his father. He’ll join us in restoring the planets that his father has harmed. Once that’s down the rest of the universe will look up to him as a hero of sorts with Voltron. He’ll get to lead his people, and the rest of the universe will be safe.” Hunk nods once Keith is done and sits back in his seat.

Allura looks around the room and starts to dismiss them, “Well, if that’s everything, I’ll contact the blade-”

“WAIT!” Lance cuts her off as he jumps up from his seat. “Are you guys serious about this?!” He looks around incredulously at their confused expressions. “Lotor is evil! He’s a complete jerk! If we calla truce he’ll just take advantage and then turn on us!” He breathes heavily as he finishes his rant. The rest of the room stares at him in shock before Allura starts to speak.

“Lance, I understand your concerns, but I have already spoken with Keith about this, and I think that it is a good plan of action. I knew Lotor when he was younger and I don’t think that he’ll turn on us if we call a truce.”

“What if he’s loyal to his father? It’s been thousands of years since you saw him princess. What if he’s followed in his fathers footsteps? I don’t think that it’s safe to do this!” Lance says.

Keith answers this time. “We’re done discussing this Lance. The rest of the team, and the blade are okay with this. Lotor isn’t evil, he just had a rough childhood. His family isn’t exactly the best influence. It will be fine, he isn’t his parents.”

Lance feels his anger start to boil over the edge. This is going to put their friends in danger! They’re all he has left! He glares darkly at Keith before blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.

“Oh, and you’d know all about that wouldn’t you Keith? Maybe you and Lotor are related! Cousins possibly? Wouldn’t want their bad influence to sway your judgment Keith!” Lance practically spits the last part out in the most scathing tone he can muster.

The room goes completely silent and everyone stares at Lance in shock. He seems to realize what he said and pales dramatically. He looks at Keith and lets out a choked noise.

“Keith, I didn’t mean-”

“Get out.”

When no one moves he looks up and his face turns red. “I SAID GET OUT! ALL OF YOU!” His breathing is heavy and he looks as if he’s going to hit someone. Everyone runs from the room except Coran, who stays behind to comfort the distraught paladin.

Once in the hall, everyone turns to look at Lance, who has become even paler and looks a bit nauseous. He raises his head to look at them in despair. “I-I didn’t mean that… I was just scared that the plan isn’t safe. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.” His voice comes out as a whisper but everyone hears it.

Allura sighs and steps forward to lay a hand on his shoulder. “We know Lance, but what you said was out of line. You will have to apologize to Keith as soon as he has calmed down.” She then turns to look at the rest of the team, “You should all go to your rooms for the night. We’ll sort this out in the morning.”

-Hi! I hope you liked this! It will definitely have a sequel! It will be called “One Wrong Word” Please let me know what you think! :) 

Hold Tight

By TheRiverScribe

Summary:  They’d become fluent in the unspoken language of lovers who couldn’t proclaim their devotion in public.  Everything they felt was said in silence, communicated through gestures and codes. Gabriel hated it with a passion.
Warnings:  Brief incident of homophobia
Word Count:  3950
Pairing/Characters:  Gabriel/Sam Winchester
                                    Castiel/Dean Winchester (mentioned)

Aesthetic created by the awe-inspiring @lacqueluster

June Entry for the Gabriel Monthly Challenge
Dialogue Prompt:  “All I know is one of us is right and the other one is you.”
This was also heavily inspired by ANZ Australia’s #HoldTight ad campaign.

Read it on AO3, or continue below!

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(Shadows crook their fingers out to her, and she dances on the edge of existence.)

“They’re back again,” Reggie said, arms crossed over his chest as he stared out the window.

Concetta made a strangled noise of exasperation, stomping over to stand beside him. She put her hands on her hips, scowling fiercely. “Really? Don’t they have better things to be doing?”

“Guess not,” Reggie said with a bored voice, his expression blank in a way that she recognized from the ease of long practice— he had already lost interest. Reggie turned away and let the curtains fall back into place, dismissing the mob milling about outside. They had bright torches held in work-calloused hands, and they were using the light to peer through the clearing.

She imagined that they were staring right at her, and shivered. Concetta wished that she could have the same indifferent attitude as her housemate, but even now she could feel the fear creeping up on her.

Once, Jasmin had jokingly said that a person never forgot their first witch hunt. She didn’t know just how right she was. Or maybe she did. Jasmin was different, even among the settlers here.

Reggie’s hand settled lightly on her head, ruffling the short haircut. “Don’t worry. This isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.”

She stared up at him, expression deadpan. “That’s… actually not helpful. That’s almost the exact opposite of what I wanted to hear, congratulations.”

Reggie shrugged, unbothered by the criticism. “What does it even matter? Even if they do manage to get in here, nothing they do will stick. Jasmin made sure of that.”

“I know,” Concetta said, and her mind was flooded with images of flames licking her skirts and shadows peeling themselves off the ground. “But that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt.”

(Death is an old family friend, and she laughs when they come for her. Death laughs too, and takes her hand when she offers it. It hurts.)

“I wonder if they really even know,” Concetta said one day, eyeing the angry villagers that had once again begun to circle the mansion. “Are they aware of what this place really is?

“As aware as a bunch of half-blind mortals could be,” Jasmin answered, a bit distractedly. She was concentrating on the bright fabric in her hands, carefully cutting off each of the glittery buttons. “They know that there’s something here, something that raises goosebumps on their arms and blurs at the edge of their vision. But they can’t really see it. They’re only human, after all.”

Jasmin didn’t mean it maliciously, but when she said human like that, so full of pity and careless arrogance, Concetta couldn’t help but shy away.

Concetta wasn’t human, true, but she hadn’t known that for a long time. And though she may have hated many humans, she did not hate humanity. It was hard for many of her companions to say the same. She didn’t blame them, not really. Concetta knew just how hard it was to separate the vicious few from the indifferent majority.

Even she had difficulty with it, sometimes.

(Come to us, they whisper. Come to us, and never be lonely again.)

The morning was crisp and cool. Reggie had gone to bed a little under an hour ago, the door to his basement room shut tight in order to prevent any light from leaking in.

Concetta had no idea where Jasmin was. The older woman had likely wandered off into the forest somewhere. She might not return for several more hours— or weeks, depending on how long her good mood lasted.

Concetta was used to the silence, the distinct absence of any other living beings. Jasmin and Reggie were the only other permanent residents besides her, and they were both drifters, content to follow the wind and listen to the stories it had to give them.

She couldn’t speak with the wind. She had tried, once, but gave up almost immediately when the only answer she was given was the furious roaring of a hurricane in her ears.

Concetta wasn’t meant to speak with the wind. She wasn’t whimsical and blunt like Jasmine, or relentless and steady like Reggie. While the two of them weren’t exactly soft people, they carried a gentleness in their souls and hearts that broke themselves over and over again simply so that someone else could have a piece of it.

A witch-child is not soft or gentle; they are harsh and unforgiving and dance with fire nipping at their heels.

“I, uh, heard this place was safe,” the man said, an almost sheepish expression on his face. He avoided looking her in the eye, keeping his gaze fixed on somewhere over her right shoulder instead. “My name is William. Is it okay if I, uh, stay here?”

Concetta could do nothing but nod in agreement, pulling the door open fully to allow him inside. Just as Jasmin had done for her, that rainy night so many years ago.

(The shadows dance, they rip and chew up the earth with their long claws, and she is running running running—)

“And here is your room,” Concetta gestured towards one of the empty guest rooms, hoping that the Dryad who had stayed in there last had remembered to clear away any plant growth before she left.

“Uh, thanks,” William said, still looking slightly to the right of where she was actually standing. “Is there anything I should know about this place before I get settled in?”

Concetta thought for a moment, and then shook her head. “Nothing that I can teach you.”

“U-uh, wait…” William stammered, clearly even more nervous than before. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Exactly what I said,” Concetta blinked, a bit unsure of what all the fuss was about. “There are a great many things in this place that even I cannot explain. It would be best for you to discover them yourself. That is why you’re here, right? Though I have to say, I’m a bit impressed. I’ve never seen a human manage to get this far before.”

“Oh, thank you—” William began, face flushing pleasantly at the praise, before he dramatically paled. “Wait, you know—”

“I know lots of things,” Concetta said amusedly, already turning to walk away. “Perhaps, at the end of this little venture, you will too. Have a wonderful stay, Mr. William.”

Behind her, she could hear him gulp. She felt a little bad for tormenting him, but not enough to actually stop. After all, she recognized this man.

The vicious few and the indifferent majority.

Weren’t both of them at fault, in the end?

(“Help me!” she cries, not to the shadows but to the people, the people who watch her with wide, pitying eyes. “Help me!

The people don’t answer, but the shadows do.)


Second one of the night, woohoo! I’m so tired, what the hell. Anyways, this is a fun one too! I definitely enjoyed writing it, so I’m satisfied! Another Caffeine Challenge, and they seem to get better every time. Cheers!!