#AtoZChallenge - stay in this biZarre place

Happy Z day everyone! If you were participating did you make it through the Challenge? If you participated in the Challenge, make sure to check out the A-Z main blog for information on how to participate in the A-Z Reflections blog hop! We love to hear folks' feedback about how the Challenge went for them, what they liked/disliked, and if you have made any friends this month :)

And here it is, the final segment of our saga.

Amy turned to Cal and took his hand, "Thank you, for everything. But, I've found a new life here that is so different from home. It's wonderous, and bizarre, and full of magic. I want to stay."

"Well if that's what you want to do, sweetcheeks. Far be it from the power of a genie to make a decision for you. But here, Sugar. If you ever need me, you just let me know." He tucked another silvery handkerchief into Amy's hand, "But try not to bleed on it next time, ok?" And with that, Cal snapped in front of his face and disappeared.

Amy turned to Irena and said, "I bet you're hungry. Shall we go find you some dinner?" Irena nodded happily and skipped down the hall. "Prince Leo, would you like to join us?"

"Yes, I believe I would. You wouldn't imagine what immensely hard work it is to stand so perfectly still," he said, and offered his arm to Amy, "and you must tell me what has happened these years. Irena has grown so much. As have you... Amy."

Amy flushed a bit and focused on walking calmly down the hall. Where do I start?, she thought, and instead said, "We will have plenty of time for that, Prince. I have had a very long day. Why don't you tell me about the tapestries as we pass?"

She glanced once more at the painted trap upon the window, and then turned her back on it, looking forward to the future.


Thank you to everyone who voted this month! It's been a pleasure writing for your whims. Keep an eye out for.. umm.. other things ;) I have a feeling this story isn't quite finished.


#AtoZChallenge - show You the way

Amy looked at him defiantly, "If you free Irena, I will show you the way."

The Man in White cackled, "And what if I won't?"

"Then I will close the door and we will both be stuck here forever. Together."

"Fine." He waved his hand and the painted sheen disappeared off Irena's face and body. She ran with arms outstretched toward Amy, but was suddenly frozen again. Amy looked at the Man in White, who was grinning. "I have changed the spell. When I leave this realm, the girl will be freed. She will remain frozen for as long as I remain in this plane. Your turn."

Amy glanced at Irena's frozen body, with its arms outstretched and a hopeful look on her face. She looked behind her and was pleased to see that the Man in White's illusion did not show the true hallway. Instead it appeared that the grand room extended quite a ways. Amy turned on her heel and walked quickly through the illusion.

By the time the Man in White stepped through after her, she had hidden herself behind the tapestry with her bucket of paint. She peeked out and watched as he noticed her painting and moved closer to inspect it. Just as he approached, she stepped out behind him and caught her reflection in the mirror, which Cal dutifully held just outside the window.

The effect was perfect! The mirror was placed just so, allowing her to create the illusion of herself leaning out from behind a pillar down the hallway. Amy beckoned to the Man in White as though to guide him down the hall and was shocked as he stepped willingly up into the painting and started toward her reflection. When he was just a few steps in, Amy pulled out her paintbrush and bucket and began furiously painting more arches and x's into the scene.

Blanco saw the walls move and realized what she was doing. He turned around and moved his hands, attempting to counteract her spell. Her lines moved obediently away from him, and Amy almost panicked. But then she thought, Bet you can't walk through walls! and with a desperate hope, Amy threw the entire bucket of paint onto the window. She willed with all the force of her might that her paint would become a solid wall.

The Man in White threw himself against her wall, and the glass of the window cracked a little, but held. He left one handprint coming through the drying paint but was unable to break through Amy's spell.

Cal popped into the room, shard of mirror in hand. He placed it gently on the upturned paint bucket and put an arm around Amy's shoulder, "Willpower triumphs over greed, eh Sugar? That was quite some spell! Well done. I'm going to go fix that cracked window, just in case."

Amy laughed as she noticed his outfit as he glided to the window and put his hand to it. Cal was wearing the most outlandish camouflage outfit she'd ever seen. A bright blue top, with green camo harem pants, and brown shoes. He'd topped it off with a hat covered in sparkling leaves. If any normal person had worn the outfit they would surely have been seen, but of course Cal was no normal person. Thankfully.

The cracks sealed themselves, leaving only an abstract white painting with the relief of a hand coming out.

"Amy? Amy look! I found Papa!" Irena's voice rang in the hallway. Amy turned and found her small charge leading a handsome man by the hand toward her.

"Ahh! Prince Leo!" Amy fumbled through a a curtsie and bow, "Glad to see you looking so well!" Leo returned her bow and released his daughter's hand.

Irena laughed and threw herself into Amy's arms, "Thank you for saving me! I had a dreadful itch on my knee that whole time. It was terrible!" She raised the hem of her skirt to show Amy where she had scratched it mercilessly upon becoming unfrozen.

"I hope it feels better, little one," Amy said, smiling and patting her head.

"Sweetcheeks," Cal said, "I hate to break up this reunion, but I need to be getting back to... other engagements. You've only got one wish left, and it looks like you'll be needing it to get back to your real life. Shall I?"

Amy thought. While this experience had been interesting, it had also been terrifying, and wonderful, and confusing. And no one would believe her story when she got 'home'. Home was also terrifying, and wonderful, and confusing.

What should Amy do?
Use a wish to return to the baZaar and her body,
or stay in this biZarre place and learn to live a new life.

That's it! Your last choice! What will it be? Will Amy stay in the Palace and learn how to live life there, or return to real life? Leave your comments below and we'll see how the story ends tomorrow!

Voting has closed for this post! Please visit the ENDING to finish reading :)


#AtoZChallenge - X's and arches

Amy carefully laid out her pattern on the window. She made a complicated hallway, criss-crossed with X's, arches, and banisters. As she painted, she made each stroke with the intention of it being a trap. The closest thing I have to magic is my desire for this to work!, she thought. It was an intriguing hallway and she hoped it would be enough to draw him in.

She stepped back to admire her work and said, "What do you think, Cal? Not bad considering that I only had white, right?" She'd incorporated the scenery of the garden beyond the windows into her design of the trap. Here, a well-placed arch looked as though ivy crawled along it. There, a small window looked out to the sea.

"It's fabulous, Sugar. What is that hole in the painting for?" he said, pointing to a triangular hole in the paint about halfway down the hall.

"That's where you come in. I need you to make yourself invisible and go out to the garden. Hold the mirror in that spot. And when the time is right, turn the mirror toward me, ok? You'll know when." She hid the paint bucket behind the edge of the tapestry and prepared herself to walk in to the Man in White's room. "Thanks Cal, for everything. I'll see you in a minute."

Amy stepped through the shimmer.

And found herself not in the hallway she'd left, but in a room. It was richly appointed, with gold leafing surrounding murals painted on the ceiling, velvet curtains framing the windows, and even several statues tucked into corners. And on the far side, seated in a red chair with golden poms for accents, sat the Man in White. His ascetic appearance clashed with the lushness of the room, and yet he was clearly master of the space. Standing next to him, painted in exquisite detail, was a statue of Irena. No, it was Irena! Her eyes blinked, and widened a little at Amy's appearance. Alive then, but trapped. That's why she wasn't moving.

"I knew it was only a matter of time until that tramp of a genie showed you where to find me," the Man in White said. His odd speech accented the word 'tramp' in a way that made Amy angry.

"Yes, my friend Cal showed me where to find you. You've got quite the setup here. How much of it is real, I wonder? How many of these statues are poor, trapped individuals?" Amy met Irena's eyes and tried to send reassurance through her gaze.

"I assure you it is all quite real," he said, walking toward her. "The question is, what shall I do with you? You have what I want but are unwilling to give it freely. Shall I torture it out of you? Perhaps then your genie friend would come save you and I could force him to take me to your world. But that's not as fun as you giving it up yourself."

He was playing right into her plan! She knew his desire to get to her world would work to her advantage! Now was the time to entice him out to her trap.

What should she do to get him to leave the room with her?
Say, "If you free Irena, I will show You the way."
or, "Yes, well, I've figured it out. No torture, please. Follow me."
Run awaY! Hopefully he will follow.

Just this choice and one more! Tell me, what should Amy do to lure the Man in White out from his lair? Comment below!

Voting has closed for this post! Please visit the show You the way post to continue reading :)


#AtoZChallenge - the White paint

Can't believe it's the last week of April A-Z! We're on W which means only a couple more days. Time flies...

Speaking of W, you've only got a couple days left to submit for WRiTE CLUB. This is one of my favorite writing competitions on the web, hosted by the incredible DL Hammons (@DL_H). The competitors are anonymous, and paired in bouts against one another. Last year there were 167 entries and only 32 competitors. I was one of them. It was magical. I can't recommend participation enough! So go polish up your best 500 word scene, and get it in before Thursday :)

"Cal," Amy said carefully, "Could you get me a bucket of white paint and a large paintbrush, please?"

"White paint, eh? What do you have up your sleeve, Sugar?" he asked as a bucket thunked to the floor and a brush flopped next to it.

"You said to use my talents. We had to take a shop class in high school, and it turns out I'm actually pretty good at designing things. I figure, since we know old Blanco is all about the paint, I might be able to design a trap and lure him into it with the paint. And then... Somehow keep him there. It's only about half-baked, but... it's what I've got. Cal can you take me close to wherever they are so I can find a wall?"

"Of course. Right this way!" Cal said, sashaying down the hall.

Amy picked up her bucket and brush, and followed. At the last moment, she bent down and picked up a large piece of the mirror. She wasn't sure if it would get her home, but she didn't want to risk her only passageway being cleaned up and discarded by a servant while she was busy with Blanco.

After many twists and turns, Cal indicated a door, "That's where he is. Irena is there too. ...still not moving. There's someone else in there too. Odd. Now, Sugar. You see that shimmer there? Where the tapestry on the wall almost looks like it's moving a little? That's where his enchantment starts. I don't know what happens when you pass through it, but if you're going to work your own magic you better do it before that line."

Sure enough, there was a spot on the wall that looked odd. As though the characters in the tapestry were moving, almost like a very slow motion animated film. Just to the left was an expanse of window, perfect for her plan. Amy started plotting out her drawing, choosing just the right shapes and angles to make her trap.

The painting she picked was...
An eXtremely simple arch with a hallway beyond,
Criss crossed with X's and arches like a web,
or an eXtravagantly detailed room.

So what shall the trap's design be, dear readers? Vote in the comments below and we'll find out what happens tomorrow!

Voting has closed for this post! Please visit the Xs and Arches post to continue reading :)

This bit of encouragement on our quest was offered today by my friend and fellow co-host Pam. Pretty sure there won't be any rabbits, but thanks for the encouragement, Pam!