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Call for Prompts: Lost, abandoned, and left behind
The call for prompts is now open! For the next 24 hours, I will taking your prompts on the theme of Lost, abandoned, and left behind.

I will write (over the next week) at least one microfic (150-300 words) to each prompter. If you donate, I will write to all of your prompts, and write at last 300 additional words for each $5 you donate, to the prompt of your choice.

If I reach $30 in donations, I will post an additional 2000-word fic on the subject of the audience's choice. This level has been reached!

If I reach $60, I will write at least 2 microfics for everyone, whether or not they donated.

If I reach $90, I will write to every prompt I get in the next 24 hours - if something truly bugs me, I'll ask you to re-prompt. At this point, please allow up to 2 weeks for the writing to be completed.

If I reach $120, I will record a podcast of an audience-choice story and post it for everyone to read. Also, everyone who tipped will get double wordcount.

If I reach $150, I will release an e-book of all of the fiction written to this call and the last one. At this point, please allow up to 4 weeks for the writing to be completed.

I'm still saving up for the giraffe carpet, which will be installed the first week of October!

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/129872.html. You can comment here or there.

Addergoole Kept whose Keeper just graduated.

#Addergoole Year 22 into 23: Isi, waiting

Isi sat on the floor of the empty room, staring at the door. She'd wrapped around his leg when he'd been packing to go, begging him to stay.

"I need you," she'd told him, even after he'd severed the Keeping, releasing her. "I want you. Stay with me."

"I've got to go," he'd told her, petting her, trying to pry her off of him. "I've done my time here, love. And you'll be fine."

"No, no, I won't." She'd devolved into sobbing then, and he'd set her on the bed and packed around her, until the room was empty except for suitcases and the bed they'd shared all year.

He'd held her, then, until he had to leave, petted her and talked to her, nonsense and gossip, nothing important, but she'd clung to every word, like she'd clung to him. If she was good enough, maybe he wouldn't leave her. If she was really, really good, maybe he'd take her with him.

She hadn't been good enough, hadn't been enough for anything more than a good-bye kiss. He'd hooked her leash to her collar, looped the other end around the bedpost, and ordered her not to touch the leash... and then he'd left.

That had been, she was pretty sure, two or three days ago. The leash let her get to the bathroom, and to the kitchenette, which still had some food. She couldn't reach the door, which was beginning to annoy her, because someone kept knocking. She wondered how long they'd knock before they'd leave her alone.

She wondered, if she waited long enough, if he'd come back to her.

Someone left behind because there were too many people for them to fit in vehicle.

Fleeing the City, a short story of apoc

Alisa's little Fiesta was already up to its legal capacity when they got to the dorm, but they were feeling a bit urgent about the whole thing and, anyway, they'd gotten twice that many people in it for something far less urgent. For this, for their friends...

They'd limited themselves to a single bag each, and only Grace had tried to stretch that. Kristy had taken care of that, with more force than anyone had expected out of her. "One bag, Grace, either the purse goes, or you do." That had been that; their bags fit in places they couldn't get another person.

Still. Alisa driving, to start, and Alex in shotgun, because she knew the area the best, tiny Deann on her lap and their two bags under her feet, Grace, Gretchen, and Jacklyn packed hipbone to hipbone in the back seat, Kristy draped over their laps like another piece of luggage, Paula and Sherry and Tisha in the trunk, with their bags and Alisa's and the cooler with all the food they could scrounge. They'd packed every possible inch of the tiny car with people and the bare minimum of luggage, because they knew what was coming. They had to get out of town.

And then, as they were pulling out of the parking lot... Michelle Weber, Michy who'd started school with them, held their hair when they puked, bailed Kristy and Jacky out of jail. Michy who'd walked seven miles to help Sherry out in a blizzard. Michy, with one small bag and a lost look.

They all paused, waiting, waiting to see who'd say "no, drive." Waiting to see who'd say that staying was death. Waiting to see who'd volunteer, this time, to be the bitch.

The pause stretched, Alisa's foot on the brake. Their window for leaving was swiftly closing, and there would be no other chance. Everyone else had fled. They had to leave Michy, or they'd all die.

"Let me out." Paula whispered it, Paula, who had always been the good one. "Let me out, let her in. I owe her too much."

Edited at 2011-09-18 01:03 am (UTC)

The one who couldn't be saved.

The rescue operation had been a smashing success, by the standards of such things. Twenty-seven miners had been trapped in the collapse, stuck in a small area with limited food for two months while, on the surface, they worked rapidly to dig a hole, to pull them out. Others had died in the collapse, and one had died in the wait, but twenty-six miners were, one by one, pulled out of the hole.

They left behind many of their inhibitions, many of their old fears, many of their old hatreds. There hadn't been room for them in the hole. They left behind a combined body weight of over one thousand shed pounds, lost in the near-starvation, lost in the need to fit through a tiny hole. They left behind blood, and piss, sweat and shit and tears they would never acknowledge.

And they left behind their brujah, because nobody had known she was there, and nobody could know she was there. They had lived, survived as long as they had on so little food and almost no water, because of her magic, not killed each other in rage and hatred and despair and hunger because of her blessing, not given up the first time the drill didn't break through because of the calm she gave them. But when the end came, when they were hauled up one much-skinnier-miner at a time, they left in the hole not only their memories but their luck.

Auction at a lost and found. Or maybe the contents of a left-behind suitcase bought blind at one of those?

This one came out weird... Lost and Found

Not quite what you asked for. Willing to give it another go if you don't like it...

This - http://www.hochstein.org/ - is the school referred to within. I used to take piano lessons there.

Certain places, it has always been posited, have lives of their own, paths of their own, beyond that of the universe they are, at least in theory, placed in. Pawn shops, bookstores... lost and founds. Indeed, the things you can find in the back corners of a good lost and found...

The one in the back of the Hochstien Music Hall was my favorite. Nobody noticed another short person in a school for young musicians, and nobody looks too closely at a short person carrying a very tall instrument case. In my case, the cello case didn't hold anything as innocuous as a cello - except on those rare occasions when it needed to - but the whole illusion still held firm, and I could make my way around the school's dusty old halls and strange almost-secret passages with none the wiser to my trespass.

And there in the lost and found, its walls soaked with music and passion and a thousand teenaged emotions all boiled on top of a thick syrup of faith and fear and love from the building's days as a church, there in that place where things go when they are no longer wanted (and what was I but something else no longer wanted?) I found it, a slim attache case of old leather, the corners cracked, one lock popped. It had been there for a while, or at least it was trying to look that way, dusty, tucked behind a pink Hello Kitty backpack and a Transformers lunchbox, but it gave off an air that was unmistakable, at least to someone like me.

The clerk who tended this area was on her smoke break, of course. I might not be much anymore, but I still had my luck. I pried open the case, standing back as far as I could when it sprang open.

And there, there in that dirty lost and found, there was my lost faith, gleaming like gold in the dung.

Hmm, a new Addergoole student who arrives in town, but is missed when the other new students are picked up.

#Addergoole Year 9 - Pissing away time

The airport in the middle of nowhere didn't have a whole lot. No newsstand, no souvenirs, a vending machine instead of a restaurant and only one luggage cart. It did, however, have a bathroom, and after the three-stop flight from Honolulu and the super-sized soda in Seattle, Wylie had needed a bathroom.

He'd only walked away from the group for a couple minutes - Chang, who they'd picked up in Seattle, Kendrew, in Salt Lake City, who had met them there from Calgary, Dow, who had been there when they got there and wouldn't tell them anything at all about himself, and Adeola, who he couldn't tell if was proud, shy, or both in equal measure - and only after Chang had promised he'd watch Wylie's luggage. There were a few things in there he didn't want just anyone to get their hands on, and he'd liked the look of Chang more than the others.

He'd only been a few minutes. It didn't take that long to piss, even with a super-sized Dew in you. It had only been a couple minutes - but when he stepped back out, the group of people, all who'd claimed to be Addergoole students, too, and all who'd claimed to have no idea what was going on - were gone, and so was his luggage.

And so, it seemed, were the three ancient people who ran this place. Even the lights were out. The gates were down, blocking the runways but, more importantly at the moment, blocking Wylie from leaving.

More importantly, they had locked him on the wrong side of a metal wall from the phone and the vending machine.

Edited at 2011-09-18 01:43 am (UTC)

Hmm. A Cali story in which someone who was grabbed and shipped to Cali after getting lost, finds new reason to be indignant when they fail to sell. "Oh come on, the runaway slave sells and they won't even look at me?!"

Too Hot for Prime Time

They'd caught him at a bar, and that had been bad. Jason had been far drunker than he ever wanted to admit to when the pretty blonde girl had lured him into her car and, from there, it seemed, into slavery. When he sobered up, he'd made his opinions on the matter endlessly clear, until the girl had drugged him into submission long enough to sell him.

The boutique she'd sold him to had done much the same, once he'd started hollering, but he was edgy and angry even drugged to the gills, and they couldn't sell him, no matter how hard they tried. After a while, the proctor had pulled him aside and explained to Jason, punctuating the lesson with some discrete blows, that a slave who could not be sold was no use to anyone, and a slave with no use would be gotten rid of.

Jason wasn't sure he believed him, but as his bruises healed, he began to notice that some of the other mouthy slaves had just... vanished. One of the older, more well-behaved slaves told him, in a frightened whisper, that they'd gone to the work camps. The boy made it sound like being sold into hell.

That got Jason's attention, enough that he started trying, but it was was too little and too late. No matter how hard he tried to play good, he couldn't get the anger out of his system, and his fear only fueled that. Pretty ladies and their fluffy boy toys took one look at him and moved on to someone tamer. Even the big, rich businessmen wanted someone they didn't have to worry about turning their back on. They were frightened of him, and they wouldn't buy what they feared. The boutique passed him off to an auction house.

And here he was, chained to a post, between a girl who'd lost three of her fingers in a mechanical accident and a runaway who kept swearing and spitting at all comers. The girl sold, for a discount, but still, she sold. The boy on the other side of her sold. The old man past him, and the narrow probably-a-girl on the other side of the runaway sold. The runaway sold, to a tall blonde girl who stuck a gag in his mouth and leash on his collar - but he sold.

"Come on," Jason complained, though noone was listening. "Nobody wants me?"

A lost soul. (A ghost?)

Abandoned ideas. Abandoned plans.

Leaving something behind for others.

A lost idea! How did it get lost? Would it have been useful?

Is there someplace that lost trains of thought go?

Dusting lost thoughts...

this follows directly after Lost and Found

I watched the imp sneak into the lost and found, and I watched him open the case. I'd made sure it was hidden enough to allay suspicion - poor creatures like that one are notoriously paranoid, and generally with good reason - but not so much that he couldn't find it. He needed it, after all, poor thing.

Once he was distracted, reaching so slowly and cautiously for the germ of faith that he'd lost, I could begin readying the place for the next customer. Backpacks and lunchboxes, yes, we held our share of those. But here, in a place so saturated with emotions, my lost and found could hold so much more.

He wouldn't see me - neither would the overworked and underpaid clerk, when she returned from her smoke break - but both of them might sense me. She was more sensitive than she knew; she'd have to be, to work in a place like this, and he, well, he was a magical creature, holding on to life by the skin of his magical teeth. Both of them, if they were paying attention, would know I was here, if not what I was. And that wouldn't do, so I had to work quickly, while the one was gone and the other distracted.

I folded up the lost ideas, things that had fallen out of people's minds, shaken out with one distraction or another (the school was on a much noisier corner than once had been the case). I could tuck them into the lunch boxes and backpacks, into the mundane things people would either claim or steal, and they could be recovered, or at least passed on that way.

I rolled up the abandoned plans. The county courthouse was right around the corner, and more than one person had misplaced a plan there, even a marriage. This one, this wold be a good gift for a young couple just getting married. I tied an organza ribbon around it, something old, from my own lost marriage, and sent it on its way. Plans, at least, have wings of their own, if you get them going.

The imp was getting ready to leave, and the clerk would be back from her break. I folded a rickety train of thought into the case the imp was leaving behind. Someone else would find it, when they needed it.

As long as they didn't find me, I could keep on leaving them trinkets to discover.

I want to read more about the unicorns and factory setting. I propose an abandoned unicorn foal found by a startled bypasser.

Tir Na Cali -- People are always moving out and leaving their pets behind. What if someone did that with one of the catpeople?

Faerie Apocalypse -- A lost deity desperately searching for some vestige of their home culture/people.

Preconceptions, of Unicorns/Factories

this turned out a bit weird.
Here is the link to the original story. This is a piece cluudle wrote in the same setting... and that's the Unicorn/Factory landing page so far ;-)

Giulian had heard about the villages along the river. Every new Administrator to the Town had; the villages that fed the Town and sent its factories workers, its schools students, were part of the information files passed from Administrator to Administrator or, most frequently, from Administrator's estate to the successor. Giulian's predecessor had not, in fact, died, which made him a rarity in this corner of the country - Giulian himself had been told he'd been given the position because of his no-nonsense attitude and stout constitution, but he was fairly certain it was simply because he'd become a nuisance and a position with a ninety-percent fatality rate seemed a good place to get rid of him. But the poor man he was replacing, rather than quietly dying, had gone quite gibbering mad, so his notes were of dubious use.

Indeed, the whole packed of information was half speculation and half outright myth, of no use at all except to explain, in part, why the remaining ten percent of Giulian's predecessors had gone mad.

The rest of the madness (and the fatality rate) was easily explained after seeing the town and, after two days in the position, Giulian knew he would have a shorter tenure than most if he did not get out of town for a walk. Just a short walk, a breather, completely within regulations, even if Administrators and other high-level Bureaucrats were discouraged from leaving the Town proper.

The roads were smoother than he'd expected, outside the town - not paved, but graded, packed gravel, not a rut to be seen, and the drainage ditches deeper and more effective than those in the Town. The wagons that passed him seemed more high-technology than he'd been led to expect, too, the villagers cleaner and better-dressed.

It was all very curious, and enough that he kept walking long past his self-alloted few moments. The village he passed, too, seemed cleaner than the files and reports suggested, and the fields showed signs of modern crop techniques. The people, however, no matter how clean they were, wanted nothing to do with him, one woman actually going so far as to slam a door in his face.

It was a good deal to think on, and he turned back not because he had seen enough, but because the sun was beginning to set. The roads were generally safe this close to the Towns, but he had brought neither lamp nor coat, and the night would be dark and cold; indeed, the moon had begun to rise before he could see the Town's walls, glinting off the water in the drainage ditches, shining back in opalescent light...

He turned back as the light moved. There, in the ditch, that wasn't a reflection. Some sort of gem? Heedless of the dirt, he scrambled down the edge of the road to peer into the ditch. No, nothing but a rock. He turned back, disappointed, only to have motion flicker in the corner of his eye again.

Something his gibbering predecessor had said came to mind. "You can't see them, of course. None of us are pure enough. But in the corner of your eye, they're always there. Glaring at you."

(Deleted comment)
User ysabetwordsmith referenced to your post from Fiction by Aldersprig saying: [...] the giraffe carpet, due for installation in early October.  Leave your prompts on LiveJournal [...]

This comes directly after Dusting Lost Thoughts, which is directly after Lost and Found

I finished my "smoke break" and spat my gum in the garbage, passed a muffin to the hobo sleeping under our porch and reminded him, again, that he had to be out of there when the security guard came around.

I took my time coming back in, like I always did, letting the door slam hard and knocking the snow off my boots loudly. It could have been superstition - sometimes, I wanted to believe it was just superstition - and it could have been just the tidiest vandals and theives ever - I never really believed that - but things had gotten a lot more comfortable and a lot neater in the lost and found and the attached library and cloakroom since I'd started demanding smoke breaks.

There was a faint odor of camphor and moth balls wafting through the room when I hung up my coat, and, over that, the scent of myrrh and something older, something that smelled like a pine tree burning. The camphor I knew, but, just as I knew it, I knew I had to ignore it. The resin and myrrh were new, so I looked for what was missing.

There, in the corner, the ancient documents case, so old its former owner had probably forgotten he'd ever owned it, not gone, but moved, the dust disturbed. Well, then, good. No-one ever got something from that case that they didn't need - it bit people it didn't like, as one teenaged guitar student had learned last week.

And for people it liked, well. I made a note in the ancient log and shifted my Sight a little, to see what notes my mysterious, invisible co-worker had made. There was one I loved to come back to, narcissistic as it was, because it was mine.

Placed: one truth, and with it peace of purpose. It had been an ancient fortune cookie, true, but folded into it were the words that had changed my life. Overworked, underpaid... but there were things I could do here that made a difference, and that had given me a new road.

Found, I wrote, one notebook, and three lost dreams. Placed: a missing faith. I shelved the notebook, and left the lost dreams for my co-worker. She could reach those cupboards better than I.

I've had my heart broken a number of times by sexuals who, though claiming at first to understand my lack of sexual attention, eventually abandoned me to find other sexuals. Apparently, love ISN'T enough.

It was easy enough when we were friends.

I liked him, I'm not going to deny that, right from the beginning. The way his lips looked when he was thinking. The way he talked. The way his brain twisted around problems. If he'd been another guy at the gaming group...

...but he was Jay, and it became quickly obvious that he had no interest in me like that. And that, I admit, was even more intriguing (call me arrogant if you want, but I was a non-ugly girl in a gaming club. Men that weren't interested were generally also unfriendly. Jay was just Jay, like it didn't occur to him that he should or could or would be interested.

I didn't chase after him, but I did go out of my way to talk to him, to make friends with him. "You know what colour my eyes are," I joked, but the truth was, I just liked being able to talk to him, to be close to him.

He didn't like being touched by strangers, so I knew we were close when he put his arm around my shoulders. He had no interest in sex, he'd explained (when I, rather awkwardly, asked if he was gay), so I knew something was up when he kissed me the first time.

I was raw and all jagged edges from a badly-ended relationship that time, but the second time, I was healed, and deciding that the normal boys were just not what I wanted. I wanted Jay. I wanted my friend. Sex? I thought I could do without. A small sacrifice to have a relationship that worked. And I loved him.

I thought cuddling would be nice, and it was, but... I had habits built up from a few years of relationships, and it seemed natural for cuddling to turn into kissing, for kissing to turn into necking, for necking to turn into sex. I knew better, and the first twenty or thirty times I started, I stopped myself. But I'm not asexual - pretty much the opposite - and, after a while, I tried blurring the lines, pushing the lines. I knew he loved me, but I wanted him to want me, too. I wanted him to touch me, and so I'd kiss, and then push the kissing further, and further, until he would tell me, so patiently, "please don't."

Please don't. I started to wonder if something was wrong with me. I cut my hair, dyed it, bought new clothes. Other boys at the gaming club started flirting with me again, even Jay's friends. I ate it up, but I wanted more. (I wanted it from him, even though I knew I wasn't going to get it). I started hanging out with them, more, just to feel the rush of someone noticing I was female and alive. I started staying out late.

I came home, every night, to Jay, to curl against his body and feel his warmth. I was home for dinner every evening, to joke about politics and complain about work. But I don't think either of us were surprised when I moved out. Sometimes love just isn't enough.

Tip sent.

Lost in a Minnesota blizzard.

It takes twenty-seven normal-sized steps to get from my front door to the mailbox. On a normal day, this can take a minute, maybe five minutes, ten if I have to shovel a bit.

Saturday, it took an eternity, and I'm not exaggerating. The snow was flying thicker than I've ever seen it, a wild windstorm pushing a blizzard before it. I could see about two inches in front of my face, and only the torches we'd installed in November showed me at all where the driveway was. I'd shoveled an hour before, but you couldn't tell to look at it; the snow was up to my knees already.

I really wanted that book, and it was supposed to be here today, so I slodged through, shoveling just a bit and plowing the rest with my legs. Twenty-seven steps, right? I was on thirteen when the lights started going out.

I should have turned around then. That would have been the brilliant thing to do. But I really wanted that book. Fourteen. Fifteen. On sixteen, the last of the lights went out. On seventeen, I tripped over a root I know shouldn't be there, and fell flat on my face.

Eighteen, nineteen, and so forth, I kept falling. The ground wasn't there to catch my face or any of the rest of me, although the snow followed me down, and a good thing, too.

Somewhere around twenty-seven, I landed, the snow cushioning my fall. There was one flickering light ahead of me, a dim gaslamp on a snow-drifted table. Next to the lamp, three cookies sat on a place with a handwritten note:

"Eat me."

Would you like more of this, or of another posted story?

Preconceptions, of Unicorns and Factories

User ysabetwordsmith referenced to your post from Preconceptions, of Unicorns and Factories saying: [...] ;wrote this story [...]

A lost key

An abandoned road

It was called the Lost Road, although it had more signs along it than any other road, anywhere; it was called The road, although it branched and wove and crossed over, every intersection on it was still The Lost Road. You couldn't get there by using a map, any more than you could leave it that way, and it wasn't a route you could turn off.

In the early eras, it had been well-used, and well-upkept; inns dotted the road, and waystations, and rest stops, and then gas stations and service stations of several sorts. It had been dirt, and then it was stone, and then paved, and then the wires laid in the smooth marble and the rails hung above, but not matter the contrivances that traversed it, no matter the buildings built to serve those vehicles' needs, most of the traffic was on foot, and it was to foot travel's scale that the buildings had been set.

But that had been in the heyday of that sort of trip - the days when fantastic voyages were almost commonplace, and every boy reached out as a child for some new universe, every girl for her magical companion. Those had been the days when the Lost Road was beloved, and everyone knew, if only in a corner of their hearts, how to step through a doorway and find themselves Lost.

Those days had passed, slowly fading out, so that only a few people found the Road anymore, and fewer, once on it, knew what to do with it. And with the loss of the people, the businesses had faded and crumbled, so that the few who found themselves there had less and less places to stop. The stretches became less well-tended, the places where one could leave more often locked, and monsters who had faded from memory crept back towards the pavement that had long been denied them.

To set foot on the Lost Road, now, was to risk truly stepping out of the world forever. And it was only getting worse.

The hardest part about reviving the blue whale species is that, with so few of them left in a huge ocean, the surviving whales just can't find each other to mate. Tell the story of a whale (either sex) looking for a mate in these conditions.

He had been swimming for a long time, alone. When he had been young, there had been other whales around, other bulls, and females for the asking. When he had been young, he had thought it would be like that forever, another whale just a click-ping away, another female for the asking, another bull to play-fight with. But they had died, or gone, or found warmer waters, and he was still here.

He swam, click-pinging out, searching for a female, for someone with whom to make more little whales to swim with, finding nothing but dolphins and sharks and endless fish, steel-skins floating on the water and swimming in it. He tangled with a squid, once, lonely for the play-fights of his youth, but the squid didn't understand the game, and swam away in a puddle of ink.

He tried talking to the smaller whales, but they were not interested in him, and, when it came down to it, he wasn't interested in them. They were whales, true, but only in name, tiny things not really worth his time.

The oceans were wide and endless, and it felt as if he had swum all of them, circling in long seasonal swoops, pin-clicking out, calling for a female, even for bull, for someone to talk to. He click-pinged until he was certain there was not another whale out there, not another anywhere in the vast oceans.

And then, the faintest echo, the faintest suggest of a click.