2nd Story Proposal Updates

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Timelines

  • Poll date to vote for the 2nd Story: 9/26/22 at 11:10am
  • Poll will close: October 3, 2022 at 11:10 am

All Proposals are posted.

Visit the 2nd Story Proposals page for links to each proposal. Four more days!

Visit the CrashdLanding Site group for the poll and other updates!


2nd Story Proposal 3

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The “2nd Project Proposals” are a series of three proposals I will write and post in order for readers to help me choose what my other project to work on is in addition to PFN. Each proposal will be posted one week before the next is released. At the end of the three weeks, a poll will be up in the Facebook Group. Members will vote on which proposal will be my second project. This is proposal 3.

“Death Defying”

Don’t remember what this was made with but it wasn’t Canva!

The Plot

A wife and mother starts seeing a strange figure, someone who looks like a normal person but gives her an inhuman feeling, always wearing the color yellow.

Then one night there’s a terrible accident and her world is turned upside down. Instead of walking through the stages of grief she leaps right into anger, her only goal being to defy death and challenge him.

In her mind there are only two options: Bring her loved ones back to her or join them. But she will not go down without a fight.

Facts

  • I’ve had bits of this one written since 2017. It came to me during a park outing with my husband and kid.
  • It a tiny bit personal as I feel like, based on what I have written already, I’d feel the same way the main character does.
  • Like with all stories I’ve had it floating around in my noggin for a while, ideas have come and gone. However there are a few different directions I could take it in and I’d love to explore it at some point.
  • No matter which proposal is chosen it will be released exclusively as premium content only. It will be released chapter by chapter, on a weekly basis. I will not start posting it until I’ve had several chapters written and edited.
  • Premium is set at $10 a year, which I think is reasonable.
  • Once the story is written and fully edited it will be available as either paperback or hardcover, when I self-publish.

Voting

Voting will begin after all proposals are posted, one week after the third proposal. At that time there will be a poll posted on the Facebook Group which will run for two weeks. Facebook currently does not allow a end date for polls so I will call it myself. I will post announcements on the group, Facebook page, and this website.

Read the First Proposal and Second Proposal


Here’s the recipe for my pretty ok “Poor Man’s Burrito Bowl“

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Because why not, honestly

The mess.

Don’t worry this won’t be your typical recipe blog post, you’ll get the story after the “mediocre at best” recipe.

  • 1 – 12.5oz can Great Value chicken breast (I prefer name brand but it’s what I had)
  • 1 – 10oz can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies (first time using this)
  • 1 – 14.5oz can GV petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5oz can GV whole kernel corn
  • 1 – 15oz can GV Black Beans
  • 1 packet GV Taco Seasoning
  • 4 TBSP Butter
  • 1 cup white rice
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to taste

In a medium pot throw your canned chicken, (drained), Rotel, petite diced tomatoes, corn (drained), black beans (drained). Heat in medium heat, to a simmer.

While that mix cooks, wash your rice. I use a rice maker. One cup of rice to one cup of water. Add in the dry taco seasoning packet and whisk together for consistency. Toss in the butter. I forgot that step this time.

Turn off the heat to the pot if meal prepping (what I do) and use a fork to break up any chunks of chicken. I prefer it this way but if you like it chunky, you do you. Once the rice is done, stir to make sure your butter is evenly mixed. I divided it into two containers (since I forgot to rice my butters I threw some on top, it will melt). I sprinkled a think layer of cheese on top the rice then topped it with the mix from the pot. Then more cheese.

If meal prepping, like me, allow to cook before putting the kit in and putting in the fridge. I don’t know why. Everything always says to do that.

Notes

The first time I made this I just used the petite diced tomatoes, not the Rotel. The Rotel gives it an extra kick. I also put the taco seasoning in the mix and not the rice. I think I’ll skip the Rotel next time, but keep the taco seasoning and butter in the rice.

I made two portions and had mix left over. Of course, according to the rice bag I made like three servings of rice. But you could make more rice and not change anything else and feed more than two people.

While the Rotel did give it a kick, The Kid actually liked it (even if it has tomatoes).

Ground beef would be REALLY good in it! I also think a little dollop of sour cream and some tortillas on the side wouldn’t be bad. Or skip the rice and throw it on a bed of lettuce.

I clearly am not a professional chef and The Hubs is becoming a better cook than me. But Ya Girl is broke again, and she wants to be able to put gas in her truck. So no buying lunch where I work. I already had all the ingredients but you could probably make it with all the same items abs no changes for less than $20. And unless your a hungry hippo like me, you can feed two or more people. I set aside enough for two days worth of work lunch for myself.

It tastes good to me, and the kid, despite the extra heat. And according to the Lose It app, my original recipe is only about 212 calories. Which, I might have lied about the amount of rice. I can’t remember.

Anyway I’m sleepy. Goodnight.


If anyone read my super depressing TMI filled post about poop yesterday I apologize. For the TMI part not the depressing part. my feelings are valid.

Anyway, as part of the “quest to figure out what the hell is wrong by with me physically” I stopped-ish drinking Pepsi. Sorta.

On this frustrating quest, I had one or three no four Pepsi’s and Miralax laced coffee. But I’ve tried to drink an ungodly amount of water too. I expected nothing but frequent urination and maybe an improvement of my health.

I have been tracking my intake of Pepsi and randomly for craps and giggles, my weight.

While I’ve not noticed a major difference in my health (I do notice when I have less water), my legs are less swollen, and I don’t get dry mouth as much. I did forget that behemoth of a water bottle this morning so I had very little water, and I’ve noticed a difference in my, “movements”.

Anyway, despite the positive and unhappy change in my carbonated and caffeinated beverage consumption and increase and clear and boring flavorless beverage (I like water actually), I have been, if you haven’t noticed, fantastically depressed.

Honestly Pepsi has been my happy place. And I think I can blame it on mom. But that’s another story. I drank a Pepsi when I was angry, tired, depressed. Mostly at work. I sometimes even drank it just cause I like the flavor.

Now, as I’ve said, I’ve been tracking consumption Pepsi. Not how much but whether or not. I created a little table in my Notes App on my iPhone. I also randomly weigh myself.

In 18 days I’ve had Pepsi four days. This is usually one Pepsi. Mostly a can. Once it was a large fountain Pepsi (the best Pepsi). This, in fact, was the craving. It has been five days since my last Pepsi (Forgive me father for I have sinned).

In 18 days I have weighed myself or have been weight three times.

For YEARS, I have stayed right at 320. I have fluctuated five or ten pounds either way at certain points, mostly shark week. But if I am weighed, whether voluntarily or not, I’m usually right in 320.

Tonight, before I crawled into bed (to start writing this) to sleep, I decided, “Hey, why not add fuel to the fire of my depression induced mental breakdown and weigh myself.

I use an old fashioned analog scale with the little red doodad that points to a number, because I get a different number every time with a digital scale. Plus no batteries.

So I kick off my off-brand Crocs, not for the weight I’d them but because I need to see the scale. I have big feet and they make it worse. I make sure the scale is pointed at zero abs throw my large giggly form on top of the scale and watch the pointer circle round and lap that zero (the scale only goes to 300).

I expected it to land in 320 or higher. My legs are swelled a little, and let’s just say the tunnels need evacuated. But did it land on or beyond 320?

To my utter shock and surprise, no. That little red doohickey sat neatly between 310 and 320. So according to that old janky scale that I’ve had for about a decade, I’m 5 pounds lighter than I was 8 days ago at the doctor.

Now I know that number is what it is because of a combination of water weight and two months of lingering garbage my body should have spluttered out days ago.

But I’m gonna take it as a tiny win. I am gonna ride that short wave like I’m a novice skier on the bunny slopes at a ski resort for the rich and famous. Because no matter how what we do we could all do to celebrate the little things.

Also I’m so sleepy right now I’m typing this with one eye closed. So here’s the screenshot if my notes app.

Goodnight

If anyone read my super depressing TMI filled post about poop yesterday I apologize. For the TMI part not the depressing part. my feelings are valid.

Anyway, as part of the “quest to figure out what the hell is wrong by with me physically” I stopped-ish drinking Pepsi. Sorta.

On this frustrating quest, I had one or three no four Pepsi’s and Miralax laced coffee. But I’ve tried to drink an ungodly amount of water too. I expected nothing but frequent urination and maybe an improvement of my health.

I have been tracking my intake of Pepsi and randomly for craps and giggles, my weight.

While I’ve not noticed a major difference in my health (I do notice when I have less water), my legs are less swollen, and I don’t get dry mouth as much. I did forget that behemoth of a water bottle this morning so I had very little water, and I’ve noticed a difference in my, “movements”.

Anyway, despite the positive and unhappy change in my carbonated and caffeinated beverage consumption and increase and clear and boring flavorless beverage (I like water actually), I have been, if you haven’t noticed, fantastically depressed.

Honestly Pepsi has been my happy place. And I think I can blame it on mom. But that’s another story. I drank a Pepsi when I was angry, tired, depressed. Mostly at work. I sometimes even drank it just cause I like the flavor.

Now, as I’ve said, I’ve been tracking consumption Pepsi. Not how much but whether or not. I created a little table in my Notes App on my iPhone. I also randomly weigh myself.

In 18 days I’ve had Pepsi four days. This is usually one Pepsi. Mostly a can. Once it was a large fountain Pepsi (the best Pepsi). This, in fact, was the craving. It has been five days since my last Pepsi (Forgive me father for I have sinned).

In 18 days I have weighed myself or have been weight three times.

For YEARS, I have stayed right at 320. I have fluctuated five or ten pounds either way at certain points, mostly shark week. But if I am weighed, whether voluntarily or not, I’m usually right in 320.

Tonight, before I crawled into bed (to start writing this) to sleep, I decided, “Hey, why not add fuel to the fire of my depression induced mental breakdown and weigh myself.

I use an old fashioned analog scale with the little red doodad that points to a number, because I get a different number every time with a digital scale. Plus no batteries.

So I kick off my off-brand Crocs, not for the weight I’d them but because I need to see the scale. I have big feet and they make it worse. I make sure the scale is pointed at zero abs throw my large giggly form on top of the scale and watch the pointer circle round and lap that zero (the scale only goes to 300).

I expected it to land in 320 or higher. My legs are swelled a little, and let’s just say the tunnels need evacuated. But did it land on or beyond 320?

To my utter shock and surprise, no. That little red doohickey sat neatly between 310 and 320. So according to that old janky scale that I’ve had for about a decade, I’m 5 pounds lighter than I was 8 days ago at the doctor.

Now I know that number is what it is because of a combination of water weight and two months of lingering garbage my body should have spluttered out days ago.

But I’m gonna take it as a tiny win. I am gonna ride that short wave like I’m a novice skier on the bunny slopes at a ski resort for the rich and famous. Because no matter how what we do we could all do to celebrate the little things.

Also I’m so sleepy right now I’m typing this with one eye closed. So here’s the screenshot if my notes app.

Goodnight

Hello! And welcome to Crystal’s Pity Party

Where I feel like I’m never doing anything right, and will never catch up.

The current state is affairs: I can’t find my child’s brand new bottle of allergy medicine that we just bought so she went without her dose tonight. My house is a wreck and I had no time/energy/gumption I need to do anything about it. I need to work on any of my 9,000 side projects but I don’t have the time/energy/gumption to do that either. My insides are messed up but apparently my doctor thinks that I’m just constipated (I think he is unknowingly being sexist because I knew what I was talking about).

Social media (mostly tick tacks) is reminding me that I’m not good at anything, can’t do anything, and will never be successful at anything. It also reminds me that I will never ever be a teacher ever.

This is me right now. There is no changing it. No matter how hard I try I always end up falling back into the same hole. I don’t know if it’s depression, but I’m sure if I ask my doctor about it he’ll tell me to give it a few days and try to be more positive and see how that goes.

I went to him once because of anxiety and he basically told me to wait and see. The anxiety I was having was due to The Kid’s issues at school and he wanted to wait and see if it improved with school ending. He’ll yes it improved with school ending. Her behavior issues were worse at school, dimwit.

That’s the reason I don’t like going to the doctor. Being made to feel like an idiot because I know what my body should and shouldn’t be doing.

Oh fun fact I found the medicine I was looking for. After I had multiple mental breakdowns that were only slightly related to that.

Being reminded, whether it’s a sign from the universe or not, that you’ll never be anything more than you are, can be devastating to someone who already struggles with wanting more, wanting to be accepted, appreciated, and approved of. By others and by oneself.

The only thing I’ve ever fully accepted about myself has been the fact that I am and always will be overweight. It’s who I am, it’s who I’ve always been. I couldn’t imagine myself if I were not. And I’m not even putting myself down over it. I embrace it. If I do anything that could affect my weight or size it’s because I literally don’t want to die.

When I started having the pain that I saw my doctor for, I first thought it was back related, as I’d been having some issues with it already. When typical self-treatment didn’t improve it (heating pad and ibuprofen), my second thought was much scarier. My kidney. I’ve never had issues with my kidneys, but I had been drinking a significant amount of Pepsi as of late. It’s generally my go-to for stressful days.

So I assumed, of course, the Pepsi was affecting my kidneys. So, miraculously, I stopped drinking Pepsi (for the most part) and started practically guzzling water. I’m currently carrying around an 80oz jug. But when the pain, which would become unbearable, wasn’t improved with more water and less Pepsi, I wondered. I had my husband make the appointment (for two weeks later), if I left it up to myself it never would have happened.

But I realized something (tmi warning) if I made myself poop, the pain was less significant. Still there, still lingering, but not something that had me wanting to burst into tears while I did price changes.

I had stopped taking a stool softener a few moths back as it seemed to stop working. But once I realized that it might be the problem, besides mentally preparing myself for a colonoscopy (it was only a matter of time I figured) I tried Miralax.

If you don’t know, Miralax is a general powdered laxative you mix with any beverage. It’s supposed to help you go and soften your stools. I’ve used it before. In fact, the last time I’d seen a doctor he put me on the stool softeners and Miralax until the issue cleared.

But did my current doctor want to do a colonoscopy? Nope. Not even with my family history of digestive issues. No. He put me in the exact treatment the last doctor did. But added Metamucil (which, by the way, is the most uncomfortable texture of “drink”. I do not recommend) every morning.

Now, I’m gonna be 100% honest here. I haven’t stuck with his plan to a T yet. Everything else that has me distracted in my life right now, I’ve been extremely inconsistent (this isn’t unusual). But my fear is that if I do, I’ll go from one extreme to the other. And I don’t want that.

But, I was being spiteful the other day. Not only did I take two stool softeners at once, but I made myself a delicious cup of iced coffee (honestly it’s not really coffee once I’ve violated it with additions), but I stirred in a cup full of Miralax. I figured a double dose of “go go juice” with help me.

Well, the only thing I got out of the iced coffee besides delicious flavor was a rapid heart rate. I practically chugged the last quarter of the cup, too. It was delicious, though.

But Crystal, where’s this “never do anything right” nonsense?

Well, that, my dear friends, is work. The only job I’ll ever have. And I’m not even good at it. You see, in my retail establishment I work in seven areas. In those seven areas there are technically about ten departments total. And only one me. I have two direct supervisors and there’s one other co-worker. For all those areas. And we don’t all always work the same days or times.

One of my main tasks is price changes. These drop daily. And sun times multiple times a day. Sometimes there’s just a few. Some days there are over a hundred, in one department. And we get in trouble if there are late price changes. I’m not even sure how long they can go before they are late. Sometimes they drop late.

I managed to get all of them cleared off a few days ago. The last day I worked we had a major establishment-wide task. Everyone had to work on it. When it was over I checked those price changes. In one department there was 113 price changes drop. I had just completed those two days before. Every single department had zero price changes.

And come to find out, we missed something on that Task. My direct supervisor got the brunt of upper management’s rile in that one. Luckily for me, he seemed to understand that I am just one person. “That’s why I didn’t say anything.” He’d said.

I have a whole list of complaints I have with the running of The Establishment that have everything and nothing to do with local or distant bosses. I won’t get into it here, and I’d vowed to not go into detail about work and all its intricacies here.

There are other issues, that have nothing to do with my day job. They are, in fact almost entirely related to this blog. You see, I want to be a writer when I grow up. And I wanna be a maker. And all kinds of things.

But see, I went into this bit thinking, I’m not good enough, I’m too tired, I’m mentally unstable, etc. but the truth is, all of that is my fault. Well, I can’t help being crap at writing that’s just who I am.

But I could do it if I tried. Stopped beating around the bush. Stopped watching short form videos on my phone (which I think is causing or contributing to the ADHD of the world).

There was a thought in my head but it flew away like a bored little bird ready for something more interesting.

Oh, the fact that I’m afraid that I won’t make anyone happy. The absolute internalized mental disorder that leads me to believe that I have to make averting happy. “What I’d I write this thing and no one likes if?”

“I’ve taken so long there’s no way that they’re still interested.”

“No one’s ever gonna read it, why do it?

The same goes for anything I make that I want to make money off of, like earrings. Out if ever fifteen pair I make, I might sell two pair. And they’re usually to the same people. I love doing it but why do it just for them to lay around?

This is going on too long. I have a lifetime worth of complaints, and I’ve still got, what, another decade to live?

I got that day job I’ve gotta go to in the morning.


2nd Story Proposal 2

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The “2nd Project Proposals” are a series of three proposals I will write and post in order for readers to help me choose what my other project to work in is in addition to PFN. Each proposal will be posted one week before the next is released. At the end of the three weeks, a poll will be up in the Facebook Group. Members will vote on which proposal will be my second project. This is proposal 2.

“Sisters Make the Best Accomplices”

The cover says short story but my brain says long story. Made with Canva

The Plot

Sisters Elena and Ginger Baker are nothing alike and barely get along. Elena is straight-laced, hard working, and determined succeed. Ginger is a free spirit, who prefers to keep herself open to opportunity. Which sometimes leads to trouble.

But when Ginger, through no fault of her own, gets herself into a situation she can’t get out of, Elena has to come to her rescue. And both women end up getting stuck with blood on their hands.

Will they get themselves out of the mess they made, or will they end up in bigger trouble than either imagined?

Facts

  • This idea has been flopping around in my head since about mid-pandemic.
  • These characters are nothing like real people, although I’m pretty close to my real life sister
  • I have not worked on this idea before, other than a few short paragraphs. But my brain has.
  • No matter which proposal is chosen, it will be exclusively released as Premium content. It will be posted chapter by chapter on a weekly basis. I will not be posting until I am several chapters in advance.
  • Premium is currently set at $10 a year. I think that’s reasonable.
  • Once the story is fully written and edited, it will be made available as either paperback or hardcover, when I self-publish.

Voting

Voting will begin after all proposals are posted, one week after the third proposal. The poll will be available on thr Facebook group and will run for two weeks before I call it (Facebook doesn’t currently allow you to set an end date). Closing date will be announced when the poll is posted.

Read the first proposal here!


The Purple Purse

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I was once asked if not having a place to go to “visit” my mother’s remains, like a gravesite, was hard.

I’ve thought about her a lot lately. I think about her every day, but it’s usually a small blip of, “oh that reminds me of her” or “she would have liked to see The Kid do that”. But lately it’s more significant, more tangible.

I was going through my closet, searching for things to rid myself of, the clutter of life collected after 37+ years of living. I happened upon a tote full of purses. There was a Dooney and Burke handbag my mother in law gave me, a Coach duffle, that’s probably fake, and a purple purse.

This purple purse has significance to me. I eyeballed this purse for a month. Told myself I didn’t need it, couldn’t afford it. But it was only $35, I think. I wanted it badly, but knew that I only carried purses for a little while then stopped.

I eventually convinced myself to get it, it’s not a fancy brand name, it’s not the best looking purse. But I got it and told myself I’d carry it forever. I think I did for a long time. My iPad fit in it and so it became a briefcase of sorts.

I eventually bought a pretty floral wallet and pouch to match—purse organization is important—and was so proud of it. But eventually, like every purse, I stopped carrying it. I got bored of packing one, it got too full and heavy, I just didn’t need all that stuff.

But guess who decided they wanted to borrow it? Yep. My momma.

Mom was a purse lover. She was very particular about the purse she carried. And apparently the purple purse suited her needs. So I loaned it to her.

She was also a smoker, however. Up until the last four months of her life she smoked heavily. I knew the purse would come back to me reeking of the smell, but being the daughter of smokers, I’ve learned how to get rid of it. So it didn’t bother me much.

By the time she died one April, I’d completely forgotten about the purse. I don’t know how long she’d had it. But after her death, we were going through her things as a family, and there it was, still in good condition, with the wallet and pouch still in fine shape as well.

And it did not reek of cigarette smoke. It smelled like the faux leather it was made of, the house it was stored in, and by association: her.

Everyone has their own unique smell. A combination of bodily chemistry, and the things we surround ourselves with. That’s why perfume can smell different on one person than it does another. Just like everyone, Mom had her own unique smell. Her bodily chemistry, the house she lived in, and yes even the cigarette smoke.

The thing is, I never smelled the smoke on her, unless she was actively smoking. and even after she quit completely, I never smelled anything but her.

And when I opened up that tote with those purses just a few days ago, I didn’t at first recognize that smell. It was a nostalgic smell, a scent of dusty old memories kept in an enclosed container for far too long. And it had been so long, more than four years in fact, since I looked at that purse, I didn’t realize the significance of it.

But then I opened it up, after having tossed it aside to view the fake Coach duffle (I’m pretty sure it’s fake based on the format of the serial number don’t tell my mother in law it’s fake). Inside that purple purse, was the wallet and pouch, but also another reminder of my mother. Two unused bottles of Vanilla Fields perfume, still in the box. Her signature scent and absolute favorite.

Our last Christmas with her I’d purchased her four bottles, it was just a few dollars a bottle—a Christmas special—I gifted her some every year. And every year she was absolutely thrilled to have it. She’d open one up and immediately spray some on her neck and wrists.

Also in the purse were two tubes of lipstick, one I’d given her and one she’d purchased herself. Both had been used and both, being at least five years old, weren’t in the best of shape. Like the perfume, the lipsticks have gone off too.

Of all the things I’d gathered up that day to put in my mother-in-law’s yard sale, that purse, and it’s contents, will not be finding a new home. Between that being something I had to convince myself to buy, and her being the last to carry it, it stays.

Perhaps one day, when I’m feeling like carrying a purse again, instead of shopping around for a new one, I’ll dig into that closet, to the bottom tote in the middle, the black one. I’ll open up that lid, letting the smell waft out and permeate the air, and pull that purse from storage.

But then it’d start to smell less like her and more like me, and I don’t know that I’m ready for that.

Is not having a gravesite to visit when I’m thinking of my mom hard? No. Not only do I have a purple purse that smells of her, several pairs of earrings that belonged to her, but also, a small glass bottle of her ashes. I also have her with me, in my heart and mind.

These fleshy husks of skin and bone and tissues aren’t going to last forever. These are not who we are. These are what carries us around this mortal world. When our bodies finally reach their expiration date and spoil, we leave them. 37+ years in and I still don’t know where the rest goes, if anywhere. But I know that she is not those ashes or a body that those ashes became. She is the memory that I have, triggered by the smell of that purse, those bottles of Vanilla Fields. And I can visit her, and talk to her anytime I want. She may not answer back (I’d question my sanity if she did) but I know I can remember her anytime I want to.


2nd Story: Proposal 1

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Created with Canva

The “2nd Project Proposals” are a series of three proposals I will write and post in order for readers to help me choose what my other project to work on is in addition to PFN. Each proposal will be posted by one week before the next is released. At the end of the three weeks, a poll will be up in the Facebook Group. Members will vote on which proposal will be my second project. This is proposal 1.

The Silent Secret

Title subject to change. Book cover created using Canva

The Plot

Twenty years ago, at a lakeside celebration for the graduating seniors of Black Pine High, popular cheerleader Haley Sullivan went missing. Presumed dead the town mourned her and honored her at graduation.

Now, decades later, everyone from her friend group, including Lucy Sawyer, her childhood friend, received postcards from Black Pines, with no return address and the words “have you forgotten about Haley?”

Lucy decides to go home to Black Pines, just in time for her high school reunion, to try to unravel the mystery of what really happened to Haley.

Facts

  • Black Pines is a town I’ve had living in my mind for about five years now. There’s a whole backstory for it. If chosen I’d make a post detailing the town. I recently decided the town is located in Montana.
  • Random Generators play a part in several aspects of this story. Mostly the title and character names.
  • The whole story has been floating in my head for a couple years now and was going to be my first premium story.
  • No matter what proposal is chosen, the story will be solely available via premium. It will be posted chapter by chapter on a weekly basis. I will NOT begin posting until I’m at least several chapters in advance.
  • Premium is currently set at $10 a year. I feel that’s a reasonable amount.
  • Once the story is fully written and edited, it will be made available as either a paperback or hardcover, when I self-publish.

Voting

Voting will begin after all proposals are posted, one week after the third proposal. The poll will be on the Facebook group and will run for two weeks before I call it. (Facebook polls have no option for closing). Closing date will be indicated on in the poll.

Randomized Fiction 3

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Queen & Picnic Basket

Book cover created with Canva (as always)

“The king has requested your presence.” These were the first words she heard from anyone outside of her personal staff this morning. It was Alrick, the King’s personal butler. Alrick was a stiff, cold, older gentleman. She had been told he’d been with the king since his father ruled. “The king would like for you to join him for luncheon in the gardens this afternoon.” Alrick said. He then promptly turned on his heel and left the room.

“I suppose no is not an option.” She said aloud.
Elamya had been betrothed to the king, Drane, since she was a child. She was raised to be a queen to this man she only met once before their marriage. She was a good daughter and had always done as she’d been told, knowing her only possible future was as a queen to this king.

The night of their marriage was the moment she had been the most nervous for, she’d had butterflies. However, she learned more about King Drane in their brief encounter that night than she ever wanted to know.

“My lady?” Georgina, her handmaiden, who had come with her from her childhood home. “I’m not sure you should go.” Her brows were furrowed, and lips pursed.

“I apparently have no choice, Georgie.” Elamya said, sipping the tea Georgina had just poured.
“He is the king, I must do as he says.”

“But he hurt you.” The concern in her voice was palatable. Georgina was the only servant she’d been allowed to bring with her to her new home.
Elamya remembered that night, the night that made her hide in her rooms for days. She still had bruises to remind her. Georgina had been the one to come to her aid.

It had been a week. A full week since their marriage and that terrible night. Georgina and her other servants had cared for her, fed her, ensured she had what she needed. Drane had largely ignored her lack of presence at court. He’d sent notes via Alrick a handful of times, checking in. They all contained veiled threats about what would come, regardless of whether or not she left her rooms.

“He has made it abundantly clear what he expects of me, and what he plans to do to me, regardless of how long I choose to stay in these rooms.” She looked around at the opulent sitting room. She’d been given these rooms, and had inspected them the day of the ceremony. She’d been in such awe of the elegance and beauty. With windows overlooking the gardens she had no shortage of things to admire.

“I won’t have him hurt you, my lady.” Georgina could be stubborn, Elamya had allowed it to an extent over the years. Her handmaiden was fiercely protective of her.

King Drane had made zero effort to learn anything about her other than what he’d learned that violent night. One thing he failed to learn was that she’d been taught that she deserves to be treated with respect as does anyone else, and take disrespect from no one. Whether this applied to the king, she wasn’t sure, nor did she care.

“My dear Georgie,” she said, sitting her tea cup on the tray before her. “Your kindness and loyalty is most precious to me. But I do not need your protection.” She said, patting the seat beside her. When Georgina sat, she continued, “but I do need your assistance.”

A few minutes later, Georgina carried the tea tray to the kitchen on the lowest floor of the castle. A heavy weight in her apron pocket thumped against her leg as she’d descended the stone stairs.

She sat the tray to the side with the rest of the morning’s soiled dishes, and surveyed the room. On a table near the stoves was a basket. “Is this the luncheon being prepared for this afternoon?” She asked one of the cooks.

“Yes,” mumbled the cook. “His majesty requested a picnic in the gardens.”

Georgina grasped the lump in her pocket. “I’ll carry it out, ma’am, when it’s time.” She said. “I’d like to assure her highness there’s offerings to her likening.”

“Take a gander now if you like, it’s nearly ready,” the cook said, putting her hands to her hips. “But his majesty has preferences who handles his food. Besides, it’s he who sets the menu round here.”

“Thank you, cook,” Georgina said, and waited for the grumpy old woman to turn back around. She grabbed the lump from her apron pocket and quickly slipped it in under a long loaf of bread. The white cloth of the wrapping hid well in the depths of the picnic basket.

“Alight, get your hands out of there!” The cook had turned, and was about to pull the basket away.

A throat cleared behind Georgina, and she jumped in surprise. “Allow the help to do their jobs, cook.” He said, glancing in Georgina’s direction. “As you’ve been reminded, everyone is replaceable. Even you.”

“Everything seems to my lady’s liking, and smells lovely as well. Thank you, cook. Your work is appreciated.” Georgina made a small bow to both, and turned to leave as the cook grunted in response.

“I do hope everything is to her majesty’s liking,” Alrick said low to Georgina as she passed. “I will send for her when it’s time.”

A few minutes later, Georgina was back in Elamya’s rooms and helping her ready for luncheon with the king. “I’m afraid he saw me my lady.” She whispered, even though they were alone.

“Nonsense, he would have said something immediately.” Elamya wrung her hands as Georgina brushed her hair. “Was it wrapped well?”

“It was indeed, my lady.” She began the intricate twists and braids for the delicate style.

“We must hope against hope that he suspects nothing, lest we both be in more than we could imagine.” Elamya said, closing her eyes.

“I shall take the fall for you, my lady,” Georgina said proudly. “I will protect you at all costs.”

“You are the sister I never had, so I shouldn’t let you do that.” She grabbed Georgina’s hand and squeezed. “Besides, I don’t think I could continue this life without you with me.”

A half hour later, a footman knocked on the door announcing it was time. Elamya insisted Georgina stay in the rooms, and the footman escorted her down to the gardens.

King Drane’s outward appearance belied what he was really like. He was tall and handsome, with bright blue eyes and silvery blonde hair. The afternoon sun turned it golden, and his wide grin spread across his face. But she could see the sinister in his eyes. The brightness was a facade, like a shining silver mask hiding black malevolence. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Elamya did as she was taught, and put on her golden mask. A mask of demure and kindness, when inside all she had was fear and something she’d so rarely experienced. Anger.

“I am perfectly safe,” Drane shooed away the two footmen who stood on each side of him. They reluctantly trotted away. “And I’m perfectly capable of emptying a picnic basket myself,” he gestured halfheartedly to the butler that stood beside the basket. With a quick bow he too, left. And the king and queen were completely alone.

Elamya’s stomach twisted itself into knots as Drane gestured toward the cushioned stools that sat on either side of the small table where the picnic basket sat. She glanced at the basket, and ignored the hand he offered to help her sit. He took the seat opposite her, taking a moment to adjust his position.

She glanced around the gardens, at the lovely flowers that surrounded them. Had the circumstances been different, she would have strolled along the flower beds, smelling each plant, perhaps choosing flowers for a vase in her room. But this was not the time, perhaps she might never have a chance.

“The gardens are lovely, your highness,” she began, still looking at the flowers, but keeping him in her peripheral vision. “Whose artistic vision can be thanked for such beauty?”

“Certainly not me,” he said, halfheartedly, while pouring them both a cup of tea. “I hate flowers. The gardens were apparently the former queen’s work.”

“Your mother? I’m sure she was a lovely woman, I wish I could have met her.” Elamya said, thinking she might have shed a light on his cruelty. “What was she like if I may ask?”

Drane rolled his eyes. “She was a woman, her only purpose was to bear children. And that she did well.” He said snuggly sitting up straighter. “My father insisted he raise me.” He sighed. “Of course a king should say how a king should be raised. What does a woman know of ruling?”

“A sight more than you’d expect, I’m sure.” She thought this, but didn’t dare say it.

“Of course, this will be the way for our marriage. Should you bear me a son right away, I shall have no further need of you, and you may continue to hide away in your rooms as you have been.” He said, glaring at her over his cup of tea.

“And should I bear a daughter? What then?”

“Oh you can do what you want with it. I care only for sons. The line of succession is male, it always has been. If you provide a female child I’d prefer to not lay eyes on it at all.”

Elamya imagined his eyes falling on a new born baby girl, and his being unable to resist the urge to toss the child out of the window of the birthing suite. She stifled a shudder to not reveal her fear or anger at the thought. “And should I bear all females, or am barren?” She asked, afraid of the answer.

“Then I’d have no use for you. We are only wed for the legitimacy of a male heir. Should you be unable to provide that which you are required, then our arrangement,” the emphasis he placed on the last word was upsetting, “shall be ended.”

Elamya did not want to know what that meant.

“What if,” she took a deep breath, “after the events of the night of our marriage, I should not want to share a bed with you ever again?”

He stopped in the middle of a sip of tea and did not say a word. He just stared at her with his cold blue, no, not blue, gray, gray eyes. Finally he set the delicate porcelain tea cup aside. He spoke in a flat tone, clearly controlling an anger inside, “Our marriage is nothing more than a binding contract that says I own you. You belong to me and I will do to you what I please. You may try to hide in your well appointed rooms with your homely little handmaiden. But those rooms are in my castle and that maid is paid with my coin. And every other person in this castle and in these grounds is paid with my coin. Had I wanted access to you before today, I would have had it. Do not think you can refuse me. I am the king and I do what I want.”

“I am no man’s property,” fear and anger had boiled up inside her and she’d practically shouted the words. She stood and turned to rush away but he was faster. She heard behind her the tea set topple over, clattering, and the contents of the picnic basket overturn.

He grabbed her arm with a vise-like grip and squeezed, spinning her to face him. She went to slap him with her gloved hand, knowing full well that it’d do nothing, but he caught her hand with his and held it tight. She screamed in pain and in hopes to alert someone, but he shook her to silence her.

“They may hear you scream but they know better than to disturb me.” He growled the words into her ear and began to force her to the ground. She knew immediately what was happening.

He laid his full weight on top of her, forcing her arms over her head with one of his large hands. She tired to wiggle and kick away from him but his weight and force was too great. He tore at trim of her bodice, ripped it away and exposing slowly fading bruises and bite marks she had covered and tired to forget. All injuries from the first time he’d abused her.

She stifled a cry, she would not let him hear her cries this time, he’d seemed to relish in them before. She would deny him this one pleasure. He fought to lift the layers of her gown, layers he hadn’t had to deal with before, in attempt to expose her to the elements. She looked away from the horrifying grimace in his face and saw the bundle that had been placed in the picnic basket by a loyal friend.

He was grunting in frustration at the many layers, and in his anger and rush his grip on her wrists faulted and she did not let the opportunity pass. With lightening reflexes one only has in moments of duress, she reached for the bundle, the glint of Damascus steel shining in the sunlight, grabbed the jewel encrusted handle, and swung.

She felt the sharp point of the dagger enter his flesh, and plunge deep into his side. She heard him grunt and his face switch from violence to shock. The color drained from his cheeks and he coughed. She felt something wet on her face and saw dark, almost black blood dripping from his agape mouth. His eyes then rolled back into his head as he sputtered wetly one last time then slumped lifeless onto her still bear chest.

Elamya lay beneath the body of the now expired King Drane, fist still clenching the hilt of the dagger, blood running down her hand as stones bit into her gloved palm. When she heard softened footsteps on grass approach, panic started to set in and she could not move. She closed her eyes and waited for the ax to fall.

“We should get you cleaned up my lady.” It was not the voice of her companion, handmaiden, and one true friend and ally in the castle she heard. But the voice of the servant said to be most loyal to the king. Alrick ungraciously rolled the king’s corpse off of her, covered her exposed upper body with a linen napkin from the overturned picnic basket and offered her a gloved hand.

She took it, numbly. She hadn’t expected Alrick of all people to assist her in this moment. She got to her feet, swaying, and he steadied her with a hand at her elbow.

She then watched as he pulled the dagger from Drane’s side, and blood oozed out of the wound. He wrapped the dagger in cloth and dropped another less unique blade beside the body. He turned toward her once more, and offered her his arm. She took it with her clean hand, and he said, “A warm bath will be drawn for you. We must clean you up, we have much to discuss.”


There’s a bit more of the story in me. If you’d like an extension, please let me know. Just not tonight!