Wednesday, 1 December 2021

#WEPff NARCISSUS, by Caravaggio. My #flashfiction, A LIttle Reflection Can't hurt. And it's time for the December #IWSG and the delights of writing!

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Wow! I missed last month's IWSG cuz I was just so busy with everything writing related. Much the same this month. But I'll answer the second half of the suggested question - what delights you (about writing). I love everything about writing except sweating over the first draft - that's where my critique partners come in, but once I have my story down, it delights me to rewrite as many times as it takes, then share with betas and editors. But, added to that, I love that I'm a member of the blogosphere where we love to interact and help each other. So, when Damyanti asked me to put an article together on self-publishing, I was less than keen as I'm pretty new to the game, but I'm glad I chose to go ahead and do something for Damyanti who gets so many queries from her followers about self-publishing...so...

Damyanti is hosting me on her site. After you read my entry for WEP, Damyanti and I would be so happy if you drop by to read my article, A Beginner's Guide to Self-Publishing. Add to the conversation! 



Now, let's get WEP underway!

Welcome to WEP's final challenge for the year of 2021, Year of the Art. We've all thoroughly enjoyed being inspired by art prompts and honestly, I'm a bit sad that it's over. But, good news, 2022 is the Year of Music, where we're inspired to write by music titles and lyrics. Super exciting! 

The Year of Music kicks off in February 2022. 

Let's get down to the Art...Caravaggio's Narcissus. In my story, I've gone for Narcissus and Narcissa. I've strayed into vampire territory. Couldn't restrain myself. 

I hope you enjoy my flash! Those with sharp memories will recall I've taken the bones of a previous WEP entry and with some tweaking it was perfect for the challenge.

And a new innovation at WEP is that we write our own taglines - such good practise for submitting to agents/publishers/magazines/on book covers ... so ...

TAGLINE: Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.




A Little Reflection Can’t Hurt

 

In perfect synchronicity, in the perfect silence of the night, two imposing figures ran side by side, shooting like arrows through trees and undergrowth. Moonbeams shone upon them, bathing them in surreal light.

Her name was Alessandra. His was Eduardo.

Eduardo took Alessandra’s hand and tugged her to a halt. ‘Before we feed, let’s go to our favorite place.’ Eduardo pointed deeper into the forest, where an abandoned track led away from the highway. The old path was pitted, potholed and pathetic, but it didn’t faze them. Their swift feet flew above the earth, propelled them into the sky whenever they craved the sheer joy of using their newfound powers.

Alessandra jerked his arm, dragged him under an overhanging branch of a Downy Birch. Despite her awesome powers of strength, intuition, enhanced sight and hearing, she was always nervous when Eduardo invited her to their favorite place. But her nerves coupled with a frisson of excitement. She thought of saying “no” for a nanosecond, but she hated to disappoint Eduardo after he’d been so good to her. ‘Oh let’s.’ She sucked in a deep breath. ‘I must try one more time before I give up.’

Eduardo wrapped his arm around her shoulders, drew her so close she felt his marble-hard body pressed against hers. ‘You are the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me, my darling,’ he said. ‘I’m so glad you’re mine for eternity. What a gift I have been given. I always loved Christmas in my human form, now Christmas comes every day I spend with you.’

Alessandra knew he was buttering her up to ease the disappointment she must surely feel when they reached the magical place. ‘You are the most perfect gift ever, Eduardo.’

As she ran, Alessandra’s mind returned to that night when everything changed…

~*~

…She was out on the town, such as it was. Her boyfriend hovered attentively, plying her with white sauvignon blanc until the rough edges of her dissatisfaction blurred.

Why are you so unhappy? he'd asked. What more could you want? Your life is perfect.

That’s what you think.

Over the rim of her glass, her eyes flew from her boring boyfriend and locked with a new arrival. Helloooo stranger. Few strangers came to this weird little island plonked in the middle of the North Sea. In his Savile Row suit and designer haircut, he oozed glitz and glamour.

And excitement.

As he stared at her, trembling possessed her whole body like an alien force had taken her over. Her boredom with her ho-hum life on the island was about to end. He was "big city". Glasgow? Aberdeen? Her knight in shining armor had come to rescue her.

The stranger did indeed rescue her from her life.

She’d clutched her glass of white wine until the stem broke, cutting the tip of her finger. Seawater jumped clear across the harbor wall and crashed against the glass windows. She sucked her finger and wondered if the glass might shatter and tip them all into the North Sea.

She thought it was part of the game when he ran her from the pub, covering her with his fancy cloak and took her driving into the forest in his sleek black Maserati. She’d never seen such a car. A change from clanking old tractors driven by dour farmers.

She thought it was part of the game when he drew her close, sucked her bleeding wound then threaded his fingers through her hair. Her whole body shivered as he murmured endearments. Oooohhhh.

She thought it was part of the game when she felt a strange sensation where his lips touched her neck.

But she knew it wasn’t a game when his teeth bit her throat. ‘Come, my lifeless bride. Come away with me. Be mine eternally.’

Her heart hammered. Her throat burned. Her body trembled.

Too late.

The myths about strange creatures who lurked on the island were true. Why had she dismissed them like she dismissed everything about her home? But who’d expect one of those creatures would drive a Maserati?

But thankfully, her boyfriend, Eduardo, had followed them in his beat-up Toyota.

He’d wrenched open the Maserati door, dragged Niccolò off her neck, pulled him outside.

Niccolò had spung up, pounded a fist into Eduardo’s temple. While he lay unconscious, and while Alessandra lay inert inside the car, Niccolò had drunk from Eduardo, then roared into the night after tossing her on the ground. 

Gods be praised, her boyfriend followed her into the Otherworld. 

~*~

Through mountains of musky leaves, she and Eduardo ran, hummus flying around their feet. Occasionally, just for thrills, they flew to the treetops, using their sharp vision to check out the distant landscape of gray sea and green hills, so beloved.

Alessandra smelt it before she saw it.

Their special stream. They knelt before the pristine water and played the game. Would it be different this time?

Pushing their faces close to the water, they tried, they really did. But no. Nothing. No image. No reflection. No chance of being Narcissus or Narcissa even with all their extraordinary powers. 

Disappointed, Alessandra plunged her face into the water. Do I even exist?  ‘Ohuhuh…aagh...’ Electricity shot through her body while Eduardo held her while she trembled with shock.

When the trembling ceased, Alessandra sighed. ‘Perhaps one day I’ll see my reflection.’ She bent down and scooped a handful of shimmering water, let it trail through her fingers. She might be slowly forgetting what she looked like, but she’d never forget the past events that brought her to a place where her reflection didn't reflect.

‘See yourself through my eyes, my love.’ With his long fingers, Eduardo traced the shape of her face. ‘Your hair is like black silk, and it is my never-ending thrill to run my fingers through it; your face is a heart, so dear to me as you gaze at me with your heart in your eyes. Your lips are soft and red,’ he followed their outline with a fingertip, ‘while your ears are two delicate white shells attuned to my love words.’

Alessandra was moved beyond words. ‘My love, I see myself reflected in your words. What need have I for any other?’

_____________________________________________________

WORDS: 1040

FCA


You'll find this announcement everywhere I hope! Here are the WEP challenges for 2022, the Year of Music. If you've never written for us, accept the challenge in 2022. You can find a complete list of the music challenges HERE.


                             We'll rock on with All You Need is Love in February. How perfect!



And a reminder ~

Please drop by to read my article, A Beginner's Guide to Self-Publishing on Damyanti's blog. Add to the conversation! 


A large part of my author promotion is through BOOKFUNNEL. They are great for selling books and growing newsletters. If you click on this link in one of my current promos, GIFTS GALORE, it will lead you to a passel of books to choose from in various genres - Romance, Historical, Western, Suspense. Try it! 

GIFTS GALORE

PARIS DREAMS THROUGH BOOKFUNNEL

                               

Thank you!



57 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

I remember these 2!! I love the re-use and the new addition! Great job :)

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Jemi. I guess it wasn't that long ago...:-)

Elephant's Child said...

Everlasting love? Or will Eduardo bore her again in the months/years to come?
A great reworking.

Denise Covey said...

Yes good question, Sue. She's a bit easily bored, but maybe with her new life, it's harder to be bored, LOL.

A Hundred Quills said...

That was a good take Denise with the vampire and all the gore. I also enjoyed your guide to self publishing on Damyanti's blog. The line up for 2022 WEP looks so interesting already.And I will be trying to write this Dec too. Inspired by your day one entry.
-Sonia

Debbie D. said...

Interesting twist! I didn't expect the boring boyfriend and the dashing vampire to be one and the same. Let's hope he doesn't revert. ☺ I read and bookmarked your article at Damyanti's. Next year's themes are perfect for this music fanatic!

Denise Covey said...

Glad you liked mystory.I'm glad you like our prompts for next year Sonia. I hope you checked out those FB groups from the article.

Denise Covey said...

Glad I caught you with the twist. Knew you'd love the new prompts.

Jamie said...

Great story! Vampires that can't see their own reflection- perfect for this.

https://dencovey.blogspot.com/2021/11/wepff-narcissus-by-caravaggio-my.html?m=1
The link took me to a blank post. I hit home and got here. Just a heads up that it isn't working right on mobile.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks so much for letting me know Jamie. Fixed. Glad you enjoyed my story.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I struggle through the first draft too. This is a great story. I didn't see your twist coming.

Nick Wilford said...

I enjoyed the twist here. And a nice mix of darkness and romance.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Denise!

I always enjoy your Vampire stories. This one has a wonderful twist with the vanity to want to see her reflection and can't... Well done! As always, you descriptions are wonderful and setting it in modern times was also another fun twist....

cleemckenzie said...

I read your post at Damyanti's. It was great! And your Vampire story here today is too. This was a perfect one for the theme. Can't wait to read the others.

Yolanda Renée said...

Loved the vampire theme! And that she didn't have to see to believe.

I read you article but couldn't post a comment. Computer issues again, I'll figure it one of these days! LOL

I'm looking forward to next years challenges. Such fun!

talklady said...

Happy holidays, multiple blog participant! May all the delights and none of the stresses come your way -

Denise Covey said...

Glad someone shares my angst over the first draft. I know some writers who love that dirty draft. I can never wait to rewrite it!

Denise Covey said...

I like that, Nick. 'a nice mix of darkness and romance.'

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Michael. Seems most like the twist.

Denise Covey said...

Yes, thanks Lee, for coming by at Damyanti's earlier. I think the prompts next year will hit a chord with many.

Denise Covey said...

I'm glad you read it. As you see, D edited it. Yes, 2022 will be fun, except for those things which are not.

Denise Covey said...

Thank you. I return your good wishes.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's me! The first draft is the worst.
Your article at Damy's was good.

N. R. Williams said...

I remember your story and the tweets do make it perfect for Narcissus. Poor Alessandra, never again able to admire her reflection. A horrible catastrophe for a narcist.

I'll go check out your post now.
Nancy

N. R. Williams said...

I couldn't find the link to your article.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

This writing group online is certainly very supportive.

J.Q. Rose said...

I couldn't have published without my critique partners. Kudos to them and to your partners for helping you. Congrats on the article--I'll check it out. I love the musical idea for WEP 2022. And to start off with a Beatles song is perfect. Looking forward to 2022!

Olga Godim said...

Maybe it is good they can't see their reflections after they turn into vampires. More incentive to pay attention to things that are more important than outward appearance.

Denise Covey said...

That's true Olga.

Denise Covey said...

It's written twice near my cover, Nancy. Here it is again.

https://www.damyantiwrites.com/2021/11/23/self-publishing/22/00/03/12069/guest-post/damyantig/

Denise Covey said...

It certainly is.

Denise Covey said...

We are all pretty excited to kick off with the Beatles next year! Be lovely to see you there!

And critique partners are awesome!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise - this is fun to read ... and to know there are others and will be more based around Eduardo and Alessandro - a series, or set of short stories. Your mind always leads us to interesting outcomes - poor souls locked together.

Your article over at Damyanti's was really good and will be so useful to so many. Self-publishing ... so many aspects to be considered.

All the best with your Paris book - love the colour ... take care and have a peaceful season - cheers Hilary

Denise Covey said...

Thanks so much Hilary. You are so supportive 💗

Diane Burton said...

Great story. So glad you shared it with us. I love the concept of using song titles as inspiration for the WEP next year. That should be fun.

H.R. Sinclair said...

Love that last line!

L.G. Keltner said...

This is such a clever take on the prompt! You did a wonderful job of setting the scene, and the ending was perfect!

Denise Covey said...

Glad you like the song titles' prompts for next year. I know it will be super fun.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Holly.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Laura. I'm glad you liked it.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Great use of the trope about vampires and mirrors :D. I hope they have a good… non-life?

Shannon Lawrence said...

I love your take on it, making them vampires who can't see their reflections at all. A narcissist without a mirror. But Eduardo IS her mirror, and confirms what she wants to hear.

Nilanjana Bose said...

A brilliant reworking, Denise! And such a clever use of the prompt! - each being the mirror for the other, without access to their own reflection. I hope Alessandra will be happy in her vampire state with her boyfriend than she was before. :D

Kalpana said...

Denise, your story is inspired! I loved the twists and turns you put us through, and that in a short 1040 words.

Carole Stolz said...

Brilliant Denise. Couldn't be more perfect for the prompt! So round. Loved it from start to finish and around all the twists!
Loved the article on self publishing. I'm right at the beginning of all this, so it is tremendously helpful, if daunting!

Michelle Wallace said...

Hi Denise!
I enjoyed your informative post over at Damyanti's site.

A Little Reflection Can’t Hurt is a great story with a clever twist! Let's hope Alessandra and Eduardo can dig deeper, move beyond the outward appearance, and stay together in this everlasting vampiric world.
I have to mention that I love your alliterative writing “pitted, potholed and pathetic,” and a host of other alliterative phrases. I love alliteration.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful & Prosperous New Year!

Bernadette said...

Ah, I remember this. A lovely way to tailor it to the prompt.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Bernadette.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks for reading the article, Michelle! Glad that you liked my vampire tale. Yeah, I love alliteration, too.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too Michy!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Carole for your generous comments. Glad you liked the article. There's so much more to it all, of course, but you learn as you go on this one!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Kalpana. High praise coming from such a great writer!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Nila. Let's just hope she is happy!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Shannon. Was fun to write, too.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Excellent entry. There's something about vampires that goes hand in hand with narcissism.

I'm enjoying #WRiTECLUB2021 over at DL Hammons blog. The entries are fun to read and vote on with feedback.
Plus, I'm currently reading Patricia Lynne's Being Human. (The IWSG Goodread's book club choice for December.)
And I'm scheduling debut author interviews at Operation Awesome.
I hope you have some fun plans for the rest of 2021. 🎄🎆⛸🥁✉🥂⛄ May your days ahead be merry and filled with positive experiences.

Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost (Not Charlotte) said...

Eduardo is a devoted boyfriend. I agree with J. Lenni that narcissism and vampirism are coupled. Although I generally despise what I see in the mirror, I think I'd find it annoying not to be able to see my own reflection. I suppose a vampire's only recourse is to have lots of portraits painted!
Happy holidays if you celebrate them. "See" you next year!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Cie. I do celebrate. Thank you. See you next year!

Denise Covey said...

You sound busy J Lenni. Go for it. Thanks for the Christmas wishes. Same to you! Hope 2022 is awesome for you!