#AtoZChallenge - Dear old Dad

"Cal.. My father passed away when I was a little girl. Can you bring him back to me?" Amy asked.

"Ohh Sugar. I do wish you'd have asked for diamonds. They're so much safer. I can't bring him back forever, but you can see him one more time. Close those pretty eyes."

Amy did as she was told, shutting her eyes, and squeezing them even tighter to keep from accidentally peeking as she felt a sudden dropping sensation in the pit of her belly. "Open your eyes, Sugar. You have until the hourglass empties. No touching, and please, don't hold it against me..."

Amy opened her eyes and found that the interior of the shop had dimmed and she could no longer hear the din of the Bazaar outside. Sitting on the table was an hourglass filled with blue glittering sand, pouring through at an alarming rate. She didn't have much time.

In front of her was an almost-skeleton wearing her father's favorite suit. Dry skin stretched taught over the skull left him looking emaciated, but it was definitely him. The little pin she'd stuck to his suit when he was buried was still attached and though his eye sockets were hollowed and empty they seemed to look at her kindly. "Ohh Daddy, I've missed you so much! I.. I have so much to tell you! Mom, is doing ok. She remarried, but oh I hope you don't mind. He's a nice man. And, I went to college, and now I'm traveling, to explore the world just like you always said I should. We're in India, Daddy. Did you ever go to India? ...You can't talk. Well. I just wanted to tell you I love you. And I miss you. And.. I.."

Amy broke down sobbing. The suited figure reached a hand toward her, and just as she glanced back up the timer ran out. He dropped into a pile of dust, and was gone. Cal appeared and handed her a silvery handkerchief.

"Well, Sugar. That's it. Sorry to duck out on you, but I really have to go. Places to be and all that. Thanks for letting me out to stretch my legs. And Sugar, I shouldn't be tellin' you this, but what you really need to be watching for is the man in white, ok? Bye now!" With a flounce of the feathers at his rump, Cal was gone.

Shocked at having just seen her father again, Amy was at a loss for what to do. 
She's Exhausted - she should sEEk rEfreshment.
Take a brEather before heading out into the bazaar - Examine more Eccentric objects.

Remember to comment below to let me know your choice for what she should do next! I will check the comments Sunday evening around 8pm Mountain Time to write Monday's post!

Voting has closed for this post! Please visit the sEEK rEfreshment post to continue reading :)

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#AtoZChallenge - Pulling the Cork

Ooh that was a closer vote, y'all! Let's find out what is in the bottle!

The trip to the bazaar was all about taking risks and experiencing new things, so Amy decided to pull the cork from the lovely blue bottle in her hand. At first nothing happened. She peered down the neck of the bottle and swirled it about a bit to see what the liquid would do before taking a quick sniff. Ugghhh.. Stale perfume and cigarettes! How could something so pretty smell so terrible? She moved to put the cork back in its place. 
But the bottle started vibrating and shook itself out of her hand, falling to the ground with a clatter. It rolled against a table leg and the liquid began oozing out. It rapidly expanded until with a sudden pop! and a gust of stale air, it changed into a human form, right before her eyes. A tall, beautiful man, in a flowing blue sequined dress with a tuft of feathers at the rump.
"Ohh.. Sugar.. Thank you so much! It's been aaages since I got stuck in there and you know being cramped up like that is bad for my style! Just look what it's done to my dress!" The.. genie..? Used one lengthy, elaborately painted fingernail to gesture to some intricate beadwork along the back strap of his dress.
Amy's eyes widened and her jaw dropped as she stammered, "Well, yes. Yes, I imagine it would be bad for your dress!"
"Now Sugar, could you just fix the sequins on the back of this here dress for Cal? That's a good girl."
Amy reached a tentative hand to straighten the sequins as Cal said, "Don't be shy now! Ohh.. You humans and your gender binaries. Ain't you ever seen a man in a dress? There's nothin' in this world that makes me feel more ready to work some magic than some sequins and a good coat of lipstick. I'm just going to put on my face while you fix those up." He waved a hand in front of his face, leaving it covered with sparkly eye shadow and a deep red lipstick that perfectly complimented his dark complexion. 
"Thank you kindly for straightening me up. Now. What can Cal do for you today, Sugar? One wish, or question, or fantasy. Then I've got a social engagement to attend to, so decide quick, darlin'."

Decide quick!
To see your Dear old Dad again?
Or ask for Diamonds and riches?
Be free from Disease and Decrepitude?

Post your votes in the comments below! I'll tally them after 8pm Mountain Time and use your input to write my D post!

Voting has closed for this post! Please visit the Dear Old Dad post to continue reading :)


#AtoZChallenge - Blue Bottle

Wow! Y'all were all about the Blue Bottle! Which I'm actually pretty excited about because you unlocked an Easter Egg - a little extra tidbit about Blue Bottle, which I've left you at the end of the post. Let's find out about that bottle...

Amy picked up the blue bottle on the table, ignoring its scrappier counterparts. Swirls of lighter color and the slight uneven curve at the bottle's neck gave it a handmade quality. Several loops of dark ribbon, adorned with buttons and other bobs, circled the neck in a manner not unlike a necklace. When Amy looked at a lantern through the bottle, she could see that it contained a viscous gas which seemed to glitter a bit as it oozed about the container. The cork stopper glittered a bit as well. Amy found herself at once both curious and uncertain about the possibility of pulling the cork.

What should she do?
Pull the Cork to examine its Contents?
or Continue examining other Curiosities?

Vote with your comments below, and I'll use your votes to inform the story for the letter C!
Voting has closed for this post! Please visit the Pull the Cork post to continue reading :)

Easter Egg:
When I attended summer camp one of my favorite camp friends used to sing a song called Blue Bottle. This is the refrain:
I have a little present here for you
Inside this tiny bottle, so very small and blue
Please do not uncork it, simply put it on away.
For inside there lies a summer's day.
Put it on away...

Have you seen my email subscription link at the top of the page? This month I'm offering a FREE e-book novella to all new subscribers! Opt in to keep in touch with my writing process/progress, and receive your free novella :)


#AtoZChallenge and IWSG!

Happy April everyone!
It's going to be a busy month round these parts, what with April A-Z Challenge, and also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. Oh, and today is Insecure Writer's Support Group as well (see bottom of post, though I encourage you to read the whole thing!).

My theme for A-Z this year is interactive fiction. So every day I will write a short bit of a story, and then my lovely readers will get the opportunity to vote for what direction they want the story to go next by leaving a comment. I have absolutely no idea where this is going to go because it is up to y'all, so it should be fun! Here we go...

Amy had never been to the bazaar. She'd read about it of course, but this was her first time walking into the heady swirl of colors, music, smells and humans. And not humans. Monkeys? Eew. Frankly, it was overwhelming. Also entirely enchanting. She found herself trying to focus on just one item, one person, at a time, allowing the rest of it to wash over her.

Each time she engaged with a vendor, she gave them her entire attention. However she was indiscriminate about what booths she stopped at, and that was how she found herself poring over a table of objects of dubious origin. Her best efforts to deflect the vendor's sales pitch failed so she tuned him out with the rest of the clamor of the bazaar. Several objects on the table attracted her attention, though.

Which object should Amy inspect?
A Basket full of Bits of fabric
The Blue Bottle, decorated with riBBon and twine
The Bouquet of interesting herbs and grasses

Please vote below for your favorite option for tomorrow's bit of adventure! I will tally the votes after 8pm Mountain Time and use them to write my next post.
Voting has closed for this post! Please visit the Blue Bottle post to continue reading :)

IWSG reflection:
Last week I saw one of my favorite authors, Jacqueline Winspear, speak in Fort Collins. She ended her talk by telling us that she does not allow herself writer's block because so many have lost their lives to give us our freedom of speech:

"What a privilege to be able to make up stories for a living. There are those who would, and have, died for that privilege. If you have it, you MUST use it."

Gives new meaning to the phrase, 'I write because I must,' and was exactly what I needed to hear last week as I embarked upon writing full-time.


wHooligan intro: Shilpa!

Today I'd like to introduce to you my lovely 2nd year wHooligan, Shilpa Garg! She gave us a deliberately short intro so that you all could get on with pre-gaming for A-Z. Considerate!

Shilpa Garg is a blogger from the Pink City of India who is passionate about the written words, sweets and beautiful conversations that happen over a mug of tea.

She loves writing micro fiction, book reviews and general observations of life, things and circumstances on  her blog,  A rose is a rose is a rose! Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.