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Well, it was for a BF entry but then I was late getting it in. So, a fiction quickie then! Off it goes.

On the inside of my wedding ring, I have an unconventional engraving. Three diamonds and a fleur de lis underneath the central stone, which is a sapphire set deep into the white gold. They are for the points of the compass; the sapphire points north with my heart.

Everything about the romance of my life has to do with this place, this state, this frontier. I moved to Alaska in my troubled early twenties, met my husband – Ewan – and have since slowly set my roots deeper into the ground. It’s a hard place to live through the long winters, sometimes, but it is beautiful and I can imagine living my life as a married woman nowhere else. Even the sapphire in my wedding ring reminds me of Alaska’s blue flag and the pretty song a child wrote for it.

Ewan is a fisherman. He departs for weeks at a time on boats that carve their way up the Bering sea during the season. Few communities exist on the fringe of that coast, the weather is unstable, and the water is always cold. Falling off the boat could kill you before anyone can reel you back in with a life preserver.

When he is away, this warm little piece of metal is my closest link to him. When I am lonely, I trace its circle and imagine his identical piece standing hard against his cold-whitened skin, beaded with seawater mist. I imagine him touching the circle and thinking of me.

It might be a weakness in my character, but I cannot help fearing for his life. Between the boats themselves and the small aircraft by which the men travel off the state’s main ground and air traffic thoroughfare, there are plenty of hazards. That danger sat beside us at the funeral of a friend just last year whose Cessna got snatched up in a windshear and tumbled into the side of a mountain.

We’re weeks past the solstice, and every night it gets darker a little earlier, summer’s perpetual twilight leaving us behind as the temperature begins to decline. Every night for one minute I take off my wedding ring and stare at it, waiting for Ewan to call me and send his love over a crackling satellite telephone connection. I gaze into the empty space and imagine the awful void of his absence. I hold my breath, afraid to breathe in the possibilities that surround me of something happening, of his call not arriving, of the boat vanishing into the grey strait or the plane going down on the white expanse of a glacier.

The telephone rings. I breathe again, sliding the comfortable weight of my wedding band into place on my finger. Gasping and smiling, I remember that this loop connects us over a thousand miles, and somehow, I believe that it will keep him safe.

Approximately 479 words
Made by The Prose Formatter


Madylen's letter from the Orchard.

A piece of an in-progress story which likely won't appear in the story itself in full. Madylen Brunn is a young woman (13 or so) who has recently departed her home town in order to stay a summer with her uncle on his newly-purchased orchard and decide whether she will attend a prestigious, if somewhat remote, academy for girls in the area. This letter is to her close childhood friend, Curtis Harrel.

I wrote it as my entry for the brigits_flame August contest, week one, under the prompt 'coast'. It's fiction, rated E for Everybody (though this story hopes to be rated C for eff'n creepy), and a sound 445 words long. Enjoy.

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Nine Minutes

RIGHT UNDER THE GUN. Challenge for Brigit's Flame. Spec fic. 733 words. This is a concept for the end of a longer story. It's loose, but I couldn't get it to gel in complete form before the deadline and I'd rather write something than nothing so here goes, and let's hope I have more of it in the next week, eh?

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Women's Work

For a brigits_flame mini contest. 100 word prompt, 'Manual'. Nonfiction(!).

Women's Work

Handspinning connects me to my ancient female ancestry. The spindle falls, balanced against its own gyroscopic motion, fiber flows through my fingers, lofty roving transforms into strong thread.

Lace floats in Shetland autumns generations ago. Viking sails strain, one ship requiring everything that four spinners could produce in a season. This wool and wood is a powerful heritage. My hands and the spindle know this craft better than my cluttered modern intellect. I catch my spindle to wind a length, the thread travels far further than the distance between my outstretched hands: to the womb of the first strong woman.



Once again, my community has died. My online attentions have always been wavering, and I know that's a big part of things not really taking off, but I still want to do something here. So, past participants and interested parties, I'm opening up the discussion (again) to see what we can put together that will gain some momentum and have some staying power.

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Some things that are static: These are things that I feel strongly Halflit should be, the base of what I'd like to work off of.

Small. Relatively speaking. I want there to be community, certainly, so that if one person is gone for a few weeks or a few months it doesn't feel like suddenly there is nobody there. People are going to post at different times and with differing frequencies, some are going to be more regular than others. However, I'd like a manageable group, where people who are regular participants can expect to have a reasonably good idea who everyone else is (in the context of the community). If, once there is a regular rhythm, we undergo some kind of advertising to get the name out there in order to attract readers or new members, and there's an influx of total strangers flowing our way (rather than friends of friends et cetera), there will probably be some kind of community approval process. I have no interest in trying to establish 'facebook' for writers, even if the means WERE within my reach.

For original work. Fanfiction is a fine and good way to get creative juices flowing, work out ideas, have fun, and appreciate favored artwork. However, I would prefer Halflit remains focused on completely original material.

Only partially public. There will be parts of the site that are member's only so that people can feel free to post drafts of work they would like to have the option of publishing later. Yes, this is becoming less of an issue in the modern age and some sources of advice say that posting material online pre-publication is a good way to build a platform, HOWEVER, more markets than not that I've been looking at in the last year (SFF short story markets) stipulate that submitted material should not appear freely on the internet.

What about you? What do you want out of a community? What would make you want to keep coming back, being involved, and getting to know people there? What tools would you use?


Extended dream of being held hostage by some kind of very powerful consciousness, in another world... another kind of world. I had been removed from this one some how, trapped in an alternate dimension or some comparable mechanic. I was not alone, but lost most of the people I was there with. Dimly, I recall arriving with some companions, but I believe I left with others.

The level of horror varied. Sometimes the entire experience was this abstract gantlet of trying to avoid this thing killing us outright, trying to avoid being 'seen' even though my perception now is really of being entirely within it, rather than sharing a space where it hunted us. Other times it was almost a facsimile of reality... people who didn't know what was happening, or perhaps were fixtures of the energy and not people brought in from outside, doing reasonably normal things. Dreamlike, but the kind of dream you dream of the world.

I don't remember arrival, or much of the middle of the dream, only going through these various permutations of reality and unreality. Some of the faces. Relatives, being baffled that people were unaware of this hovering danger. Losing people. A small, blonde boy and a woman that were, I assumed at the time, killed. A little later I had done something I wasn't supposed to. Gotten to somewhere I wasn't supposed to be, somehow, I think. I found a little pocket, a little room of apparent if fragile safety. I guess it couldn't see me or hear me inside that little cell, although it completely surrounded the outside. The thing grew more powerful over the course of the dream, exponentially. At first it was an energy that maybe could just control machines or computers, and we were somewhere, some kind of structure, but over time it became this completely consuming force - as I noted above, the feeling of existing within it rather than just with it.

So I figured out how to get in this little room. It was sort of like the chunk of an apartment, like something you'd remember if some particular part of someone's house made an impression but you didn't really recall what the rest of the place was like (rather than a piece of a building that was half-finished or broken off from the rest - the boundaries were softer). The boy that I thought was lost was in there. It was very white... there was a sink, maybe, and a shower stall at the top of which was a little window for light - the sort that tips open with hinges at the bottom and latches at the top, wider than it was tall. I talked some to the boy, who was happy to see me and had obviously had a very intense experience over the course of whatever caused me to think he was dead (I don't think we found the woman lost in the same event). It had to do with falling through this thing's energy, pure ether or something to that effect (I can't recall exactly what we called it). It was understood to be an extremely destructive experience. There were means to protect yourself but they were difficult to come by for obvious reasons and no guarantee that you would live.

The boy and myself began devising an escape plan, the details of which I don't recall, and during that I decided to climb through the window at the top of the shower stall and see if I could make anything of what was going on with the being. I crawled down a long, sweeping tube of white light until I found its edge and peered out into the immediate, angry attention of our captor. It said some words of rebuke to me and a second later I was met by this giant spiraling blue beam of energy. I managed to evade it, I think, but it snaked all the way into the room to some profoundly startling effect. The child and I knew we had to move; whatever long shot we'd come up with was our only chance.

Things get hazy for a little bit in transition, but I end up with a handful of other people in some kind of auditorium. There's a projection screen at the front of the room and doors to the left. It looks not unlike a school gymnasium, really; the energy thing is in charge of what's happening and talking to us about something. I was only pretending to pay attention, sitting with the boy and a woman who joined us later on in our planning phases. At some point in the previous interval of time, we had gathered some belongings (that I do not recall having over any of the rest of the dream - but it felt congruent with having been trapped in this situation for a very long time, which was a consistent sensation over the course of the dream) and devised what our method of escape needed to be. It involved having printed out a lot of math which I was trying to keep straight in loose pages, each segment of which apparently represented something we might need to refer to over different legs of our endeavor. Phases of energy, frequencies, what was dangerous and what was merely uncomfortable or frightening. In addition, supplied by our new compatriot, we each had a little sphere about the size of a golf ball that felt like it was made out of that slightly squishy composite plastic that some child or dog toys are made out of. Each was a bright color, and in a pouch/container made of similar material. This, I understood, was for our final push wherein we could not avoid passing through the creature's raw energy. It was supposed to offer us some kind of marginal protection from the destructive effect.

We waited through the presentation, keenly aware that some of the other people there were also leaving/escaping/something and after a little while we ere shuffled through the doors to the right of the presentation space. Down a little ramp there was a row of turnstiles and beyond that platform elevators. I went back to the pile of things on the floor of the gymnasium realizing I couldn't take it with me and making sure I had the things that were essential: mainly the sketchbook that I'd stashed our instructions in, and the bag with the ball in it. I ran down the ramp, leaped the turnstile, and jumped onto the platform where my friends were waiting. They fell very fast, uncomfortable so, before stopping underground.

We exited to see a train, all of which was stone or concrete (I have dreamed of this train before). Large, shuttle-like cars, mostly open, more block shaped than train shaped. They moved very fast through a subway tunnel, and at the end of the train ride I lose the details again. Whether we stopped, fell off of, or the whole thing simply dissolved I do not know. The next part I remember is being in the shaft - the final push - where we were literally falling out of the bubble or dimension or field where we'd been kept. It was square and dark, the walls looked like the flashing-over-black that happens when you close your eyes and rub them, or you go from sudden flashing lights into pitch blackness. My friends and I fell through a terrible sound which we knew was the sound of the energy, of the damaging ether or radiation that we would barely be able to withstand. My two companions, one on either side of me, and I grabbed hands. I tried to close my eyes and relax my body because it hurt a little less.

Out of nothing, we were sitting on the floor in some kind of shopping/business complex. I can't speak for myself but my friends looked different, though I knew who they were and what we'd just been through. We were all dressed as though we were from an office and nobody seemed alarmed by our presence. Our silent, shared feeling of relief was overpowering; I tried to convince myself we were really out. After a few moments, we each reached for wherever we'd stashed the little ball to absorb the bad energy. The containers they'd been in were worn, with holes torn through them, and the balls themselves were gone. I asked after my sketchbook, at least, which to my understanding had other materials from being inside - things I'd written or drawn - but it had vanished as well. A fourth person - another friend, who I was conscious had also been trapped and gotten out before - approached and showed me several pieces of real-world miscellany on small pieces of black paper. A book recommendation, a couple of recipes. I started to cry (relief, again), and shortly woke up.
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