WEP: Ribbons and Candles

This WEP entry is Chapter 6 of my fanfiction novella Magic Senegalese. It concludes this year’s series of posts. The story is set in Wen Spencer’s Elfhome universe. Please check out the other WEP challenge participants here. To remind you what has gone before in my story, you could read:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
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I have to admit that this entry is different from the others, not as organic to the story as I thought at first. When I started writing this story, I planned only 6 chapters, one per challenge for all 6 of this year’s challenges. This chapter was to be the final one, but the story had other ideas. It became more than twice longer – 14 chapters. The full story is already published on wattpad. If you’re interested, you could read it there in its entirety. The plot started to deviate from what you’ve already read here in the end of Chapter 5, and the wattpad version of Chapter 6 is totally different. The rest of the story also makes it clear why I chose the title Magic Senegalese, which hasn’t been explained or even hinted at in my WEP version. Despite all that, the chapter below still works as an alternative end of the story.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What is your name?” Naomi asked her undersized passenger as she drove away.

“Miranda,” the girl said. She looked about ten, small and frail, smaller than Dina, with a short ragged mop of auburn hair. At Naomi’s careful probing, Miranda’s story emerged in disjointed bits and pieces.

She was half-elf, like Dina, but younger, only seventeen. Her human mother was a junkie. In the spring, the elves had deported the woman back to Earth. Her half-elven daughter had been left to fetch for herself.

Miranda and her two friends, also half-elf teenage girls, with their mothers gone to Earth, banded together. Housing was not a problem in Pittsburgh, and they managed a part-time employment here and there over the summer. Naomi suspected not all of their employment opportunities had been legal, but the girls scraped up enough cash between them for food and utilities. They did fine, until two men invaded their home and kidnapped them. Miranda had been in that house of death for a week.

“They killed my friends,” Miranda said. “For their organs. I heard them talking. They wanted elven organs because the elves are immortal. The other one took the organs to sell on Earth this Shutdown.” She shuddered with dry sobs. “They would’ve killed me too, if they had another freezer for the organs. They kept me for future use. When their freezers empty up.”

“Monsters,” Naomi muttered angrily. Her eyes still smarted from the spray, but she was glad she had clobbered that thug.

“Yeah,” Miranda agreed. “Thank you for rescuing me. What is your name?”

“Naomi.”

“Where do you live, Naomi?”

“I don’t live here,” Naomi said. By now, after blundering around the ghostly, empty neighborhoods for a while, she finally found her way back to civilization, to people, noise, and cars. The horror she had left behind on that desolate street seemed almost unreal, as if it happened to someone else.

“I’m visiting from Earth. I’m staying with a friend here,” she said. “What about you? You have nowhere to go, right?”

Miranda’s lips trembled.

“You come with me,” Naomi said firmly. “Between us, you, my friend, and I will figure out what to do.”

“Thank you,” Miranda whispered.

Dina was already home, finishing a tapestry with a marine motif. Naomi hadn’t seen it before. The silk ribbons Dina used for the waves made the image come alive. Naomi wanted to swim in those warm, silky waves.

“It’s so beautiful,” she breathed.

“Thank you.” Dina beamed. Then her eyes alighted on Miranda, who cowered uncertainly behind Naomi. “Who is that?”

Naomi told her.

Dina gasped at Naomi’s adventures and shook her head at Miranda’s plight, but she didn’t welcome her extra guest. “I can’t feed her. Not for long. She could stay for a day or two, but then she should go.”

“I can work,” Miranda said.

Dina pursed her lips. “I don’t think so. You’re too young. Mom would never agree to take on another mouth. Money is tight as it is. Besides, I remember you and your friends from school, a couple years behind me. Your mothers were druggies. They were deported. I bet their daughters are just as useless.”

Miranda wilted. “They’re dead,” she said tonelessly, her big eyes filling with tears.

“Drat!” Dina exploded.

“You can’t send her to the streets alone,” Naomi said firmly. “She has nowhere to go. If she can’t stay here, I’ll pack my stuff and go with her. We’ll find a place to live, maybe wherever she had lived with her friends before being kidnapped, and figure out what to do later.”

“But I’m alone too,” Dina said in a small voice.

“I know. So maybe we’d better stay together. We have another month until your mom comes home.”

“If then,” Dina said. She fiddled with a scrap of turquoise ribbon, twisting it around her thin fingers.

“Let’s find the solution together.” Naomi really couldn’t leave either of the girls alone. They both looked preadolescent. She felt the only adult in the house.

“Fine,” Dina relented. “She can stay. I’ll make a bed for her… in mom’s room. For now,” she added grudgingly. “You should both take a shower. You stink.”

“Yeah, I know,” Naomi said. “It’s Mace. It clings. Could you find Miranda something to wear? She is practically your size.”

“Yes.” Dina sighed.

Miranda still watched warily, but Naomi smiled with approval. “Wonderful. Thank you. We’ll take our showers now, and after, we’ll celebrate Miranda’s rescue. With cake and candles. Could we buy a cake and have it delivered, Dina?”

Dina snorted, but her eyes warmed. “You’re as bad as my mother,” she said.

Naomi bowed. “Thank you, darling.” She took a long shower and pondered her mounting problems. She had enough money to support Miranda for now, but what about after she returned to Earth. She couldn’t stay on Elfhome forever. Maybe tomorrow, she would go see Rye, the elven healer her father had told her about, and ask for her help. Or at least an advice. The woman might know what to do. After all, Miranda was half-elf and couldn’t move back to Earth with Naomi. Did the elves have orphanages? A fostering system? And what about the guy she whacked with the crowbar and his buddy who took the freezers with the organs to Earth? What could she do about them? She needed to call the police.

She pushed away the troubling thoughts. Tomorrow, she would worry. Tonight, they stuffed themselves with grilled fish and a chocolate cake. Miranda ate as if she hadn’t eaten in weeks. The candle flames in the silver candlestick flickered merrily over their table, and the ribbons on Dina’s tapestry fluttered like water sprites, filling Naomi with hope.

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22 Responses to WEP: Ribbons and Candles

  1. Thank you so much.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed this story as it has unfolded and expanded.
    In a day or two I will explore the wattpad version, but for the moment I am savouring this.

  2. Jemi Fraser says:

    Ending with hope – very nice! 🙂

  3. Denise Covey says:

    Olga, congratulations on your plan coming together. How you’ve achieved a complete story using the WEP prompts and adding to them. I’ll go across it check out the full story on wattpad. I love your final paragraph. It is a hopeful ending, but I feel more adventures lie ahead. 🙂

  4. I liked that the ending was hopeful, even though the future was so uncertain for them. I’ll check out the story on WPad. What a cool idea to make an entire story from your WEP prompts!

  5. Glad you’re letting the story go where it needs to. I really enjoyed it. Sounds like an interesting magical system and world. Love that they are part elves.

  6. Wow. It’ very impressive that you composes a single cohesive story from the various WEP themes of the year. Great job! I especially like that you ended a somewhat dark situation with a flicker of hope.

  7. Nilanjana Bose says:

    I have absolutely loved reading this entire series. Kudos for crafting out an entire, tightly written tale around the disparate prompts. Superbly done, Olga! The ending felt fitting – the defiant celebration of life and hope with cake and candles despite the uncertainty of the future.

    I really like the inherent message in this too – that we are in it together, we sail together, or not at all. Putting our own selves and petty interests above the collective, common good won’t make for survival, whether we are elves, humans, or mixed race. The perfect metaphor for our times!

  8. It’s what the season is all about, hope. You’ve done an excellent job capturing that in this wonderful tale of stepping into the unknown while staying true to yourself. She’s courageous and principled, a first class heroine! I’ll have to read the full story on Wattpad too! Wonderful!

    Wishing you a Happy Holiday, and very bright New Year!

  9. I love the hope and Naomi’s attitude about figuring things out as she goes! (However, I wanted her to call the police already … it just felt like something hanging over her head.)

  10. L.G. Keltner says:

    Stories do have a way of growing past what we as writers thought they would be. You’ve once again given us a compelling and hopeful tale. I absolutely love Naomi as a character and have thoroughly enjoyed reading her story.

  11. Toi Thomas says:

    Round 2, let’s see if my comment sticks this time.
    I haven’t been on Wattap in years, but I may have to find my back to read this story. It’s so good. I can’t believe how well you put this together using WEP prompts. Excellent.

  12. Jemima Pett says:

    Congratulations on seeing the prompts through as a series. It makes it more difficult for us who weren’t here at the start, though. Look forward to reading from scratch next year!

  13. cleemckenzie says:

    You have one of the ambitious and challenging undertakings, Olga. I admire what you’ve pulled together using the WEP themes. I’ll get over to read your Wattpad version as soon as I have some uninterrupted reading time. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as I really enjoyed reading this one.

  14. patgarcia says:

    The plight of the homeless is horrendous. Your story speaks to my heart because it addresses one of the evils of society that so many close their eyes too.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  15. Pat Hatt says:

    Pulling them all together is grand indeed. Being homeless is just awful and all they have to go through. Glad a flicker of hope shined through and they chowed down at the end.

  16. rolandclarke says:

    Light at the end of the dark tunnel you created – and a hint of more to come. Next year, or are you planning something new?

  17. No matter what, chocolate cake is always the answer to forget worries (at least for sometime).

    Will certainly check out the entire Wattpad story in Jan when I’ll have more time on my hands.

  18. Kalpana says:

    This world and your story are both fabulous. I am so impressed with how you used the WEP prompts to make an entire story. I too am going to read the entire thing on Wattpad although I must say I enjoyed this ending too. Wishing you all the best for the holiday season and for a wonderful New Year.

  19. Rebecca Douglass says:

    An impressive accomplishment, pulling a whole story together out of the prompts. I appreciate how hard it is, with each section needing to also be a story that can stand alone. It’s better to know the whole story,but I came in halfway through and still have been able to follow each story!

  20. An intriguing entry and follow up to your previous contest entries. I’m curious to see if you continue this for next year WEP. Well done Olga.

  21. DG Hudson says:

    I liked the way you wove the ribbons and candles in at the end. This story kept me reading so I could find out more. Seems like someone always wants to take advantage of those less strong. Very good story, even if it took an unplanned turn. The result is well done.

  22. You’re doing such a great job of putting the series together using the WEP prompts.
    At least there’s hope at the end…

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