A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:06 am

Disclaimer: I am making no money off of this story. I do not own any songs by the Beatles or any Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Files, Heroes, Incredibles, or any other geek-out-worthy characters, and all such references are used with profound respect and appreciation for their sources and creators.

My young son also makes no money off of his art work.

Some of the characters are inspired by real people. Names and details may have been changed except where we found truth to be stranger than fiction and consent was given.

I would especially like to thank my husband and children for their help.

Enjoy!

A Day in the Life

“Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…”

Whose idea was this to play that song at 5 am? Slightly annoyed, I hit the off button. Funny, I don’t think I hit it that hard. I barely touched the thing, didn’t I? And this was no cheap, flimsy thing, either. Regardless, I’m not a morning person. Thinking about just how we’d need a new alarm clock seemed a more appropriate activity for later, like after I’ve had some coffee.

Automatically, I rolled out of bed with slightly greater difficulty than usual disentangling myself from the sheets and found my way downstairs to the bathroom. I switched on the light and fan and turned on the shower. While disrobing, I caught a glimpse of my own skin. Thinking my still sleepy eyes were mistaken, I spun to take a better look in the mirror.

Hooooo… kay. My breath caught at the sight of my reflection. This was no mistake, and now I most definitely was awake.
Blue. I was blue all over, and not just the shade of pasty cold Irish girl blue that’s normal for me this time of protracted winter. I held my hands up to my face, to see that my reflection revealed three fingers on each. “Oh, no!” I thought, gazing into my own reflection’s golden eyes, recalling the discussions I often had with my husband Ben about what superheroes we’d like most or least to be. “Why her?”

I mean, I confess that my ever-expanding collection of comic books did not include much Exiles, New Excalibur and such. I always said I’d prefer the powers of Jean Grey. Besides finding the powers useful, I always fancied, up until this morning, anyway, that I looked more like her, if Jean Grey were a thirty-something mother of two with a slight muffin top and glasses. And, well, who, in my mind, wouldn’t want to be Nightcrawler, with his faith, confidence, and charm? Still I knew a few things about this Nocturne character.

A horrific thought occurred to me. I threw a towel around me and dashed back upstairs to check on Ben and the kids. Sure enough, they were all still here, alive, and sound asleep, and my son didn’t look like a baby Thrawn. Okay, wrong universe, I know. But I breathed a sigh of relief. This also offered one possible explanation for what I did to the alarm clock. “Hex bolts,” I chuckled to myself, sardonically. “Wonderful.”

But as I returned to the shower, I consoled myself in thinking of the one good thing about not waking up as Nightcrawler. If Ben woke up early and joined me in the shower, he would not find himself a real life OC in a Kurt slash fic. I was actually slightly thankful this was one of those days he preferred to sleep in, as there was more than enough for me to figure out on my own.
For instance, as I discovered while trying to get dressed, my brand new tail was not, as I had thought, retractable. I thought of wearing a long skirt, but figured there was no point in trying to hide the tail when I had my skin, ears, hands, teeth, and feet all looking quite obviously different. Whoever thought of turning me into anyone resembling Nocturne hadn’t obviously thought of transforming, say, my cell phone into something more closely resembling an image inducer. Also, my bike helmet would not fit over my long, pointed ears. I’d have to walk to work.

That’s right, work. I brushed my teeth, still trying to accept that different smile as my own, then settled on waking Ben up. Not having a functioning alarm clock any more, he’d need that anyway, and I felt I should talk with him over breakfast.
I then crept back to our room, perched myself on his side of our bed, and gently nudged him. “Honey,” I said quietly, “wake up.”

“Mmm?” he said, wrapping an arm around my waist, but failing utterly to open an eye.

“Do you notice anything different about me?” I asked.

He opened his eyes slightly, then shut them again, “Look good. Lost some weight?”

[Edited on 2/6/2008 by Angelique]
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:11 pm

“So you’re going to try going to work?” said Ben incredulously as he helped me make breakfast.

“I’ll have to,” I replied as I cautiously poured out a couple glasses of orange juice. “I can’t take a personal day on such short notice, and in spite of however I look, I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with me. Besides, we really can’t afford an extra day off.”

“Point taken,” said Ben, thinking about how badly he himself was being underpaid at the moment. “Just be thankful we have the next couple of days off anyway. Tell them we’re leaving for a convention directly from work, and you won’t have time to change into your costume. After we get back, say that because you used Reel Creations makeup and permanent dye, it will be a while before you look normal again.”

“That also might give them incentive to let me set up the home office, too,” I smirked. “But really, that will only explain my skin and hair, and I don’t know how long this will last, anyway. That might not buy me enough time.”

“Just get through this day, then,” he said, setting our plates down, “and we’ll take things from there.”

Just then, the kids burst from their rooms, dressed and craving waffles before Ben would take them to school.

“Mommy?”
I turned to face them.
“You look pretty!” my son blurted.
“Just like that Girl Nightcrawler!” my daughter added. “What’s she called? Nocturnal?”

Naturally I couldn’t expect my own family’s reactions to this change to represent what I might face outside our home and Geek Sanctuary. Many of our family pictures showed the kids utterly unfazed by the costumes they and their parents wore. It didn’t matter if we were dressed as pirates, wizards, elves, the agents from the X-Files, or alien characters from Star Trek or Star Wars. In one, my son was even shown yawning. Hopefully, however, how I decorated my cubicle at work and the reputation I established for myself as the company’s biggest sci-fi and comic book fan would reduce the shock my colleagues would feel upon seeing me today. My cubey. My home for 8 hours every weekday, complete with family pictures, a shot of Ben and me modeling our X-Wing pilot flight suits and customized helmets at Star Wars Celebration, and a small sample of my action figure collection, including an adorable Superhero Squad Nightcrawler perched atop my computer monitor or doing a headstand on the tower, depending on my mood. I only hoped I could get there without any incident. Thankfully, downtown in our small community is still rather quiet and empty this early in the morning.

I tried teleporting on my way to the office, just out of curiosity. It didn’t happen.

[Edited on 30/4/2008 by Angelique]
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Dämon » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:43 am

:LOL Man, that was good! I totally love it when Ben asked if she lost weight! I liked how everyone was all cool about the change too.

So...is there going to be more? :kyle *puppy eyes*
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Elfdame » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:59 am

Immensely enjoyable. At the risk of uncovering my innate sexism ... the line from hubby about losing weight was PERFECT!!!! Or mine would say, "What? You cut your hair?" (jk)

I can't wait til you have to put on *shoes* ha ha!
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:44 am

“Hey, Vicky!” said Christine, the quality assurance lady, “you look… uh… different… today. What’s with the getup?”

“Oh, Ben and I are leaving for a convention right after work,” I lied through my fangs as I poured out a cup of coffee and headed toward my desk, “and I don’t have time to change into my costume. I hope I’m not breaking the dress code.”

“Don’t sweat it,” said Christine, directing a pointed glare to a coworker who arrived in his pajamas, “the clients aren’t in town, and you’re still better dressed than a lot of us.”

Or I would be until I got to my desk and discretely kicked my shoes off. They still fit around my toes and arches, but the extra gripping appendage I had on each heel was feeling horribly cramped.

“So what are you, anyway,” said Eric, the IT guy, “half Chiss, half Vulcan?”

I giggled as I switched on my computer. I had to give him credit for trying.

“Nah, you got it all wrong,” said Dirk, the manager, “She’s paying tribute to her lucky Nightcrawler figure and dressing as his daughter.”

“His daughter from an alternate future timeline, Nocturne,” corrected my next-cubicle neighbor, who coincidentally was named Wanda. I smiled as I struggled to log into the network. My colleagues were learning well. And hopefully I’d learn well, too, how to type with only three fingers. I recall once, on a bet, typing whole posts on a comic fan site with my fingers taped together to prove it was possible for Nightcrawler and Nocturne to use a computer. Proving something possible with just a few posts and getting through a whole entire workday were entirely different. But here came the calls, interviews to conduct, data to record, dispositions to log. Things seemed to go quite smoothly, perhaps a bit better than I expected especially considering my typing trouble, but I didn’t suspect anything amiss until my fifteenth call.

“Hello, my name is Vicky calling on behalf of Christensen and Associates from a quality monitored line. We are conducting a scientific study on health care…”

“I AIN’T TELLIN’ YOU NOTHIN’ OVER A TAPPED LINE! FU…”

Oh dear. How could I break it to this guy that Christine, the only one besides me listening, didn’t give a rat’s rear what he said, and was only interested in how I handled the call?

“…ny. Funny. It just occurred to me that they’re only monitoring you to see how you do your job. My mistake. And actually, I do have some things to say about our hospital!”

Oh, crap! Vocally, I maintained my composure as we finished the interview, but inwardly, I shook like Jello in an earthquake. Nocturne was a telepath, wasn’t she? But was she strong enough to convince a paranoid conspiracy theorist to nicely accept a phone interview? I leaned back in my chair, horrified. What if I couldn’t rein in the telepathy, and ended up skewing the results?

Wanda peeked around the cubicle wall. “How are you doing, Vicky? You okay?”

“I think I need to take my break,” I said, quickly trying to cram my feet back into my shoes.

“Good idea. You look like you could use some fresh air.”

“Don’t I now?” I laughed as we headed downstairs.

“Doesn’t look like we’ll get much, though,” Wanda added as another coworker shoved past us with a pack of cigarettes already in hand, nearly knocking me over.

“Loser freak,” I felt in my head. “Probably dresses up for the geeks because she can’t get a real man.”

“I beg your pardon!” I said indignantly.
Wanda helped me up. “That was rude.”

“No kidding.” I looked at her rather strangely. Did she know what he thought as he barreled out the door? Regardless, I decided maybe I could toss a small hex bolt at his lighter. I held my hand up. Nothing happened. Yet, as I concentrated on that lighter, I felt my attention focus on the flame, even the very atoms within it.

And the flame moved in response. Cigarette Smoking Man screamed, dropping his cigarette and lighter as he batted out the flames. My concentration broke. I hadn’t intended at all for that to happen. Thankfully, his hair was only a little singed. “Are you okay?” I shouted.

“Get away from me, FREAK!” he shouted, recoiling as if from any benevolence of mine.

Tears suddenly stung my eyes. I’d been trained to handle abuse from strangers over the phone, not face-to-face from a coworker. And to think I had just given him a telepathic directive to show a little polite restraint! Though he did not know it, however, he had a point. I had unintentionally come far too close to hurting someone way more than even I felt he deserved. “Maybe I should.”

I stormed back inside and upstairs to gather my things, and nearly ran into Dirk. “Vicky, good thing I found you. I’ve got the principal of St. Michael’s on hold. She says it’s about your son.”

[Edited on 17/4/2008 by Angelique]
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Dämon » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:27 am

:? GASP!!!! Oh no! What happened to the son? :grin That was really good!
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Elfdame » Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:40 pm

I am glad the saga is continuing. I will try to stay tuned when able to hop on board and lurk!

"lied through my fangs" -- good one :clap
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:21 am

So I could not teleport or blend into shadows like my favorite X-Man. It was now broad daylight, and downtown bustled with some typical Friday lunch hour activity, and I had to walk right through the heart of it. I figured my newly discovered telepathy might come in handy here. I just broadcast a blanket signal convincing anyone who saw me that there was absolutely nothing unusual about me. It was useful, but it gave me a headache. I wondered just how much longer I’d absolutely have to keep this up, and if there was anything else I could do that would help. Was I pyrokinetic? I tried to hex bolt that lighter and ended up moving the flame. But that did not explain how this morning I had smashed into smithereens, rather than burned or melted, my alarm clock. Besides, pyrokinesis struck me as useless except to perhaps lower our heating bills or keep a barbecue going, and I had more important things on my mind.

I hate to compare my two children, but I often hear much more about my daughter Grace- named for the legendary Irish pirate queen. Grace, the gifted child whose boundless energy and curiosity became more difficult to channel as she grew increasingly bored with third grade. Ian may have been named after actors who happened to play villains like the Emperor Palpatine and Magneto, but he did not embody any of those qualities. His teachers typically only commented on the compassion far beyond his six years coupled with the innocence not found often enough any more in children that same age, and maybe said something about his voracious literary appetite. However, in the only other instance he’d been in trouble at school, it was huge- an almost Hulk-like reaction to a fourth-grader’s bullying, without the turning green and the rapid gain of body mass, of course.

Of course? I couldn’t take even that for granted any more. Maybe he really did Hulk out! I mean, if I could wake up with Nightcrawler’s looks and who knows who else’s powers, who knew what my kids could be doing at any moment? And this was the first time I was called in the middle of the day for a private conference with the teacher and principal!

I arrived at the school thoroughly worried as well as feeling just plain sick from keeping my stealth telepathy on high gear for fifteen straight minutes. I decided to just let that whole thing go, and stepped into the front office just as I was without directing people’s thoughts and reactions. At least the school was still standing, and I spotted Ian with tears still on his cheeks and lip still quivering from whatever happened, sitting in the hallway with the school secretary.

I also overheard a heated discussion in the principal’s office.

“It strikes me as inappropriate at best, perhaps even an expression that all is not right at home, that Ian, during a lesson on honoring one’s father and mother, should portray his mother like this, and then insist that that’s the way she really is,” said his teacher, Mrs. Evans. “I’ve always figured there was something a little off about his mother, anyway.”

“The O’Malleys are certainly different,” said Sister Mary Xavier. “The parents make no attempt to restrain their own fertile and often bizarre imaginations, and the effect that has had on the children has been profound. For better, I might mention, much more than for worse.”

Hey. I didn’t geek out about the kids having a school principal with that name. I was restrained!

“I have only known Mr. and Mrs. O’Malley to be good parents,” Sister Xavier continued. “If there’s anything worth reporting, we will not hesitate to act accordingly. Regardless, I’m grateful you’ve brought this to my attention. I just do not wish to overreact.”

“Sister Xavier? Mrs. Evans?” I said, figuring I might as well go ahead and make a dramatic entrance, “You wished to see me?”

Mrs. Evans paled, then turned bright purple, her mouth hanging agape in stunned silence, a single sheet of paper, the cause of this commotion, fluttering from her hand onto Sister Xavier’s desk. I couldn’t suppress a fang-y smile as I took my seat.

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[Edited on 24/5/2008 by Angelique]
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Dämon » Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:20 am

:thumbup Oh MAN that was good! I can only imagine that Mrs. Evan's face right then! I like the fact that you added the drawing! REALLY cute! Good job!!!!
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Rowena » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:18 pm

This is a fantastic story, and that picture is awesome! The details are great, and her powers are really cool. Thanks so much for entering! :D
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby steyn » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:22 pm

LMAO, that was good.
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:03 am

Sister Xavier only started slightly, her dark eyes barely betraying any shock at my appearance. “Good afternoon, Mrs. O’Malley,” she said, her voice never losing its unflappable smoothness. “I’m glad you could be here. So this, I take it, is your new costume?”

My conscience smote me. Nearly everything I’d done today was based on a lie, that I was wearing a costume and that nothing, absolutely nothing remarkable had happened to me today. Yet a six-year-old boy had the courage to tell the truth and stick with it even at risk of getting in trouble. He regarded me as a hero, and I suppose that, for the most part, I had been a good example, except now the reverse was true. It was time for me to step up again and act accordingly.

“No. Ian’s right. It’s not a costume.”

“Ah,” she said, still a picture of calm, though I could see her glance curiously to the gold cross that hung at my throat, then back up to my eyes, as if to confirm that I was unharmed by wearing the sacramental Father Russell had blessed himself. “And so Ian is not letting his imagination get the better of him, nor representing you metaphorically as a demon. I think we owe him an apology.”

“And I think we’ll accept that,” I said diplomatically, “I mean it’s not every day even I wake up looking like this.”

“I’ll go bring Ian in, then,” said Mrs. Evans, as she left the room.

“So… what happened?” whispered Sister Xavier. “Have you seen a doctor?”

“I suppose I will eventually,” I replied. “I don’t know how this happened and I would like to know. But I’m not sick and don’t want to rack up bills and lab fees just out of curiosity.” Indeed, contemplating all the unnecessary imaging, lab work, and specialist visits that my doctor would want when paying the mortgage and providing for the kids put enough of a pinch on us made my blood run cold.

“Still,” said Sister Xavier, “if this is hereditary, you will want to know for your children’s sakes. I understand there is some scientific basis for the manifestation of these traits being rather… traumatic.”

“And we’ll be a little better prepared, yes.” I concurred. “So I take it you’ve read the books my kids bring to school.”

“Some of them,” she smiled.

Mrs. Evans returned with Ian in tow.

“Mommy!” Ian cried, practically flying into my arms rattling off his whole tale. “Mrs. Evans asked why I drew you all blue and with a tail. I said because you really are like that. She said, ‘Is it honoring your mother to draw her like a demon? Is she doing anything bad?’ I got mad and cried, and said, ‘Mommy’s not a demon! She’s a mutant! A good mutant like the X-Men!’ I then had to sit in the hall, I guess because I yelled at her. But she said she was sorry she didn’t believe me, and so I forgave her.”

I held Ian on my lap and mussed his fine pale hair fondly, thinking of how Nightcrawler might have handled this. “Ian, honey,” I said, “I think you may also have something to say to Mrs. Evans.”

“What?” he asked.
“Well, did Nightcrawler’s friends cry and yell every time someone called him a demon?”

“Nooo.”
“And you know what would have happened if they did?”

“They’d be too busy crying and yelling, so Magneto would take over the world, or the sentinels would kill them all!” Ian said, his blue eyes round in alarm.

“Well, yes, but I was thinking they’d be spending most of their time angry even with good people over a little misunderstanding. There’s no denying that some people find me weird or even scary, but it’s not fair for us to assume that they won’t be reassured with a gentle reminder that I’m still the same person who only looks different,” I said, reminding myself to take my own advice. “That anger is best saved for those circumstances that really warrant it.”

“You’re right, Mommy,” said Ian with a sweet smile. It’s moments like these when I’m pretty sure if Ian has any mutant power, it’s Gambit’s charm. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Evans.”
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:10 am

The conversation ended pleasantly enough, with everyone concluding that this would be a good “teachable moment” for all the students and some of the faculty about judging by appearances. Father Russell, who’d just joined us, would take the lead there. Father Peter Russell spoke softly, sported thick glasses, and stood maybe about a slight five foot four when he could stand, which was not often. I think very few in the parish knew that he was once an elite gymnast before the car crash that permanently iced his Olympic aspirations and put him in his wheelchair. I was the only one there who’d known him from back then.

“Is Mr. Wells free this afternoon?” he asked of the boys’ gym teacher, a former college football player and ex-Marine whose reputation for toughness matched his rugged, weathered, and generally intimidating appearance. “If so, I’d like him and the rest of the school to join us in the gym at two. I have an idea.”

But just before we parted ways, I asked if there was time for a quick confession. Father Russell glanced at Sister Xavier, Mrs. Evans, and Ian, who took their cues and left. “I’d feel a bit weird helping teach kids how to see past appearances, when I caved to my self-consciousness this morning and lied about wearing a costume.”

I relayed to him everything I had done this morning. He listened and nodded slowly. “I see what the trouble is here, Vic,” he said after I’d finished. “It is smart to prepare for the worst case scenarios. Yeah, some people will fear you. Still, as I hope you’ve noticed, not everyone does. It’s not your place to judge people for things they may or may not even do or think any more than it’s theirs to judge you for how you look.

“Here’s what I would suggest. Try to go about your business without any more deception. Only shield yourself if you see evidence that people will find your appearance hazardously disruptive. As for the lighter incident, I think you need to figure out how you did that so you can control it and make sure that doesn’t happen again. Furthermore, with all this going on, I think it’s even more important than ever before to watch your temper.”

“Understood,” I concurred as I braced myself. I had known Father Pete since he and I were in high school as a very fun and affable guy, but I always could tell he was a good listener in Confession because he never let me off with just a couple of Hail Marys for penance.

“So, for your penance,” he continued, “say a rosary on the Luminous Mysteries. Also, you will need to do without that X-Men DVD you loaned me for another day. Finally, I’ll need you to help out at the assembly if you can.”

“Pete!” I said, forgetting in my horror to call him Father. “I don’t want to make a spectacle of myself in front of the school.”

Father Pete shrugged. “I didn’t want to be the poster boy for the parish ADA* compliance campaign either, but the renovations needed to happen, and not just for me. Do you know for sure that no one else will wake up just as you did this morning? We can’t choose the crosses we’ve been given, only if we bear them well.”

“You’re right,” I sighed. “I think the rest of my workday is shot, anyway. I’ll tell Dirk I won’t be back in this afternoon.”

And I’d tell him the truth as to why.

*For our non US readers, ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires, among other things, that buildings be wheelchair accessible.

[Edited on 29/4/2008 by Angelique]
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Elfdame » Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:54 pm

I totally love your ideas. Ian is such a sweetie, and so is Pete. And nipping the problem in the bud with a spur-of-the-moment Confession is a wonderful denoument.
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Dämon » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:13 pm

:D Very nice Angelique! So Pete's borrowing the X-Men DVDs? Man, I wish my priest was like that! :LOL
[Edited on 28/4/08 by Dämon]

[Edited on 28/4/08 by Dämon]
"I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know." -J.R.R. Tolkein
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:22 am

“I thought as much,” Dirk sighed, after I’d told him everything. “It’s all on the news now.”

“I’m on the news?!” I tried not to shout as I juggled the cell phone with my tail while pushing the TV cart down the hallway with Father Pete accompanying me to the gym.

“No, not you,” Dirk replied.

“Thank heaven!” I breathed.

“Some guy in the Washington tri-cities they call the Kennewick Mudskipper. He woke up this morning with gills and webbed hands and feet. Functioning gills. Naturally he immediately put a video of himself on Youtube. They’re also saying that this sort of thing’s happened before in the Ukraine and Japan.”

“Oh dear.” I fumbled now with the cords to set up the TV and DVD player.

“Anyway,” Dirk continued, “with all this going on, I think having you remain at the office might be a bit too disruptive.”

“Vic?” Father Pete backed away from the TV, which was now on and flicking frantically through the channels.

I also felt my cell phone get very warm in the flexible spade of my tail, like every part of it responded to my state of mind. I took a deep breath and tried to relax. The phone cooled down, and the agitated channel switching slowed.

“What about telecommuting?” I implored. I had no intention of losing my job, let alone for... for this.

“You think I want to lose one of our top researchers? What say Eric sends you the software and gets you set up? You can start working from home on Monday.”

“Thanks, Dirk. I really appreciate that!” I took my cell phone in hand again and hung up.

“Vic,” gasped Father Pete, “leave it on this channel for now.”

The television settled on CNN. “… and this just in, the government of the Marshall Islands has released reports of similar events…”

“Children of the atom indeed,” I mused, reflecting on how close we also were to the site of some past nuclear “incident.” And what did I just do?

[Edited on 30/4/2008 by Angelique]
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Dämon » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:16 am

Oooh! Suspense! :hang
"I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know." -J.R.R. Tolkein
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Fri May 02, 2008 6:08 am

I had just helped set up for the strangest assembly ever held in St. Michael’s gym, that’s what. The students trickled in with their teachers to see the television showing more about Mr. Mudskipper, plus some stuff about a Japanese man with gray skin and red eyes who could breath fire and now some girl in Middletown, Pennsylvania who claimed the ability to microwave food just by touching it, then asked if Nigella could have her on her show. Once they settled in, Mr. Wells switched the TV off. Then he and Father Pete challenged each other to a chin-up contest, and asked the student body who they thought, based on appearances, would win.

Father Pete shocked everyone but me, beating Mr. Wells by two reps then adding, as Mr. Wells helped him down and into his chair, “Still rings and the high bar were my best events. Bet none of you guessed I used to be a gymnast, right?”

Most of the student body shook their heads, with a few of the littler ones adding an awestruck chorus of “Noooo.”

“It goes to show,” said Mr. Wells, who, poor guy, still wasn’t sure what the point of this assembly was, “that things aren’t always what they seem.”

“Can you think of any examples, besides myself?” Father Pete asked.

One of Grace’s classmates giggled and raised her hand. “I used to think Miss Nguyen’s last name was pronounced Noo-goo-yen.”

The third graders erupted in laughter. Even Miss Nguyen smiled and chuckled before reminding her class with a gesture to quiet down.

A seventh grader raised his hand. “I used to think that JB’s parents were into devil worship or something because they have lots of tattoos and piercings, but they’re always nice and helpful and do lots of stuff for the Church.”

How right he was about the Thibaults. I think the worst thing they ever did was burn a batch of pancakes at the last Knights of Columbus breakfast. Mrs. Thibault, who, as a classroom volunteer, sat with the seventh graders, blushed slightly.

A few more examples were mentioned: a girl whom many assumed hadn’t arrived from Mexico legally, a boy who took and enjoyed ballet, and a young lady who was thought to be a poor listener until she was diagnosed as hearing impaired.

“Now,” said Father Pete, “as you came in, you probably saw on TV something about people who can do many unusual things, some of whom look very different. What would you say if you met the Kennewick Mudskipper or the fire-breathing man from Japan? What would you say if you met someone who had, say, blue skin, yellow eyes, fangs, pointed ears, and a tail?”

The few giggles that his remarks prompted died away quickly as everyone realized Father Pete was being strictly serious. “Would you assume they’re monsters, or people?” he added. “And that’s the point of what I’ll show you now.”

He cued the DVD player to my favorite episode of the old X-Men cartoon. The Nightcrawler, of course.

[Edited on 2/5/2008 by Angelique]
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Tue May 06, 2008 4:15 am

“So, what would you like for dinner tonight?” I asked as the kids skipped beside me and tried to slide on the few ice puddles that remained in the parking lot.

“I nominate sushi!” Grace announced. “I want to see if the wasabi will make you turn purple.”

Ian danced around me in his excitement. “I think it will make Mommy breath fire, like that Japanese guy.”

“I-aan,” Grace groaned, drawing her brother’s name out as she does when she thinks he’s being especially ridiculous, “I don’t think it was the wasabi that did that. I think it was something like some leftover nuclear contamination.”

“Well,” said Ian, now breathlessly carried away with his idea as we stepped out onto the sidewalk, “what if it’s nookyelar wasabi?”
“Hey,” I shrugged. “You never know.”

“How about Madame Thibault’s nuclear étouffée,” said Mrs. Thibault as she and JB caught up to us, “if you’re in the mood for spicy seafood?” Belle Thibault may not have been up to making pancakes last Sunday, but the food she always made for the Atomic Bayou was much like her. Getting acquainted with either was not for the faint of heart, but well worth it.

“Yeah!” the kids cheered.
“Hi, Belle. I like what you did with your hair,” I said, pointing out the fire-engine red streaks in her otherwise jet black bob that matched her ruby lebret stud and nose ring.

“Oh, that? Renee did that as a beauty school assignment,” she replied with some understated pride in her eldest daughter as her youngest son explained to Ian what étouffée was in hopes of simultaneously exciting and disgusting him. Belle then cut to the chase. “Vicky, revealing what happened to you to the school was a good start, but people are still going to freak out when they see you at Mass and the other church functions. I suggest you come early and sit with us. I know it’s not the same. Rob could cut his dreads. I could re-dye my hair. We could remove our tattoos and piercings if it were so important to us to look ‘normal.’ You don’t have the same options, but…”

“People will stare at me.” I didn’t need any telepathy to know at what she was getting.

“Something like how they already stare at us, so you should blend in better if we stick together,” she said, smiling.

I smiled back. We had just approached the intersection of 21st and Watson, where she and I would part ways, her and JB toward the high school, and my kids and me homeward. “Good idea. Shall we meet you at the Bayou at six?”

“Six it is,” Belle replied, before doing a slight double take. “Good heavens, girl! You really do have fangs.”

“Yep. Better tell Zoey there’s one more vote against filing her teeth,” I said. Belle’s second child was going through a bit of a vampire stage. “I nearly got an unplanned tongue piercing this morning at breakfast. I’m impressed I even know how to talk with these things, and that isn’t even the least of it. Getting used to my tail and feet, and trying to keep the background mental noise everyone makes down to a dull roar is…”

A sudden mental shout from a man driving a battered green pickup grabbed my attention. “Holy crap! Is that a devil-woman?”

“Oh no!” Amid the sound of screeching tires and a school bus full of screaming children, I dashed out into the street. I had to do something now. He didn’t notice that the light had changed.

Strange. In a way, this took less concentration than moving that lighter’s flame, but still, a half ton of steel is a half ton of steel. I set the truck down on the other side of the intersection, then felt myself just kind of… slip off.

“Mommy? MOMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” Grace shrieked. I could see witnesses clutching their heads in torment, glass shattering, then nothing but the soft, white haze that blanketed me.
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby steyn » Tue May 06, 2008 5:46 am

Supermom :cracked
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Dämon » Tue May 06, 2008 9:06 pm

Originally posted by steyn
Supermom :cracked

:LOL Nice one steyn!
Tis is SO cool! Please update soon!
"I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know." -J.R.R. Tolkein
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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Thu May 08, 2008 2:42 am

Soft white floaty hazy land began to look like something pale, blurry, and hovering right over my face. “I still can’t find its pulse,” said the blur I took to be an incompetent EMT.

“She’s not an ‘it,’” said an indignant tremulous little voice I took to be Ian’s. “She’s my mommy!”

My vision cleared a little. I could see Grace nearby in Belle’s arms, eyes wide and gushing horrified tears as she digested what was just said. Drops of blood spotted her lip as she bit back the fresh screams she realized, at the sight of the destruction she caused, she must not release.

“My mistake,” said the EMT, caving instantly at a glimpse of Ian's sad blue eyes and quivering lip. “Of course she’s a perso… AUGH!”

I grabbed his wrist. “And you’d find my pulse right where you’d find any other person’s,” I hissed, raising my head and looking him square in the eye. Oh dear. That was too much. My head swam in protest.

“Mommy?” said Ian.
Grace’s jaw dropped. “Phoenix?” she whispered.

“Nah,” I said, letting my head drop back. “Just a mutant who skipped lunch.”

And telekinetically moved a half ton truck safely over the school bus it was about to hit. I’ll never do that again on an empty stomach.

[Edited on 11/5/2008 by Angelique]
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Elfdame » Fri May 09, 2008 4:01 pm

This one is SO cute! And it ties together a lot of things that appeal to me, esp. the "physically challenged" parallel.

The last couple of paragraphs were hilarious.
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Wed May 14, 2008 4:20 am

“And just a mutant who should have kept playing dead, if you knew what was good for you,” whispered the man, his horn rimmed glasses now inches from my face. A quick skim through his mind revealed more than I needed to know. I was dealing with a man who more than just looked like a combination of Henry Gyrich and Mr. Bennet.

I blearily rolled my eyes Belle’s direction and tried to focus on the brewing hullabaloo with her as she tried to comfort my kids and her son, juggle her cell, and fend off a man in a police uniform.

“Ben? Ben, something’s happened! Vicky and Grace..,” she rattled frantically to Ben, who was working at what we know of around here as The Site. “…No, Grace is fine, but Vicky…”

“Ma’am? I’m afraid I’ll have to take your phone.”
“What for?”
“Evidence.”
Belle gesticulated my direction. “I’m talking to this woman’s husband! Doesn’t he have a right to know there’s been an emergency?! Sorry, Ben. Some cop’s now trying to take my phone. Vicky… Officer, with all due respect…”

The cop grabbed his tazer. Ian bravely stepped in front of Belle and fixed the cop one of his simultaneously priceless and deadly serious expressions. “She’s talking to my Daddy,” he said with a grave simplicity that implied no tolerance for interference.

The cop hesitated, a conflicted look on his face. Grace snatched the phone and bolted. “Daddy! There are fake police officers here, and a medic told us Mommy’s dead, but she woke up. He’s a fake too!”

“Don’t let her get away!” Gyrich yelled.
The cop turned his tazer toward Grace and shouted for backup.
“STOP!” I shouted, jumping up and not so delicately throwing Gyrich out of my way. “Nobody move!”

Nobody and nothing did, except the molecules within that tazer. If I was blessed with the finesse to move a flame with but a thought as well as the mental muscle to levitate a truck, I might as well make good use of it. Pulling a tazer into pieces proved to be pretty simple.

Heh. So that’s what I did to my alarm clock this morning. While I was still quite unsteady on my feet, my inner Dark Phoenix reveled in this discovery and contemplated doing the same to the uniformed man who looked dumbstruck at the warm, tingling hand that used to hold a tazer. Yet I perceived another threat.

Grace stood stock still, completely stunned.
“He was going to zap my sister,” said Ian, radiating palpable righteous fury. “That BAD MAN WAS GOING TO ZAP MY SISTER!!!”

“What’s the big idea?” yelled a very large man who had stepped out onto his porch to see the commotion.

“He was going to taze an unarmed little girl!” shouted a lady next door who’d done likewise. “The pig!”

“Unarmed my foot!” bellowed an irate driver with a windshield spiderwebbed with cracks. “It was that girl’s shrieking that did this to my car!”

“And what do you think will happen if she’s hurt?” screamed a driver of a similarly damaged car, shaking her fist.

I threw up a psychic shield as quickly as I realized what was going on. I detected that the anger of all in the vicinity began to match Ian’s. Grace frowned and resumed biting her lip to keep herself in check. And if I allowed myself to be so affected by this psychic bombardment, I might just make like X3 Phoenix and disintegrate everyone. As it was, it looked like a riot was brewing.

And people thought Ian was only a sensitive little charmer, rather than a broadcasting empath. “Ian, calm down!” I yelled. “Calm down, or so help me, I will ground you for a month!”

He looked at me, startled, then, forgetting all the horror for a second, giggled. “Mommy, you sounded just like Elastigirl.”

[Edited on 14/5/2008 by Angelique]
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

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A Day in the Life: April/May challenge entry

Postby Angelique » Sat May 24, 2008 3:29 am

It worked. A collective sigh interspersed with a few chuckles rose from the onlookers. Ian’s perfectly understandable tantrum was dissolved, as was most of the tension among those present. Most, not all. I, for one, simmered about a few things I’d seen in Gyrich’s mind.

“Nicholas Graves, one of the brains behind the Commission on…” I trailed off, noticing his suddenly ashen countenance and the feeling that I now had all the control over the situation I needed.

“Yes,” I continued telepathically, pretty sure I wouldn’t regret this silent threat. “I know your real purpose, but you can trust me for now. I’m one of the good guys. Your conscience will tell you when you need to worry, and I do suggest you listen. You know what we’re capable of if you pull any more funny business.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” he thought recklessly, “not where we’re taking you. Not with the lives of thousands at stake and your husband at ground zero.”

“Ben? Ben, what’s happening? Ben?!” This time, the trouble Belle had on the phone with Ben seemed to come from his end.

“Then don’t tempt us any more than you already have,” I added.

“All right, kids,” I said, gathering up the little ones and ushering them into the back of what looked to me like a real enough ambulance. “We’re going for a ride.”

“Belle?” I thought.
“Wha-?!” she nearly dropped her phone.
“Yep. If I show up in your head like this instead of at the Bayou by six, notify every authority and news source you can, and pack your bags for a long road trip. And we’ll need to reschedule dinner.”

“We’re riding with those bad guys?” Ian whispered.
“You’re not,” said Graves. “You’ll have to stay with your friend.”

Ian looked up at Graves with the sad eyes and quivering lip. “But I want Mommy.”

Graves looked at me, conflicted. I reinforce Ian’s expression with a glare of my own. “My terms, remember?” I thought.

“All right,” Graves relented. “Just to show I’m not one of the bad guys, I’ll arrange clearance for one more visitor.”

He cringed, hands clapping instinctively over his ears as Grace opened her mouth. But she only said, excitedly, but still at normal volume, “Clearance? We’re going to The Site? Can you show me how to use a Geiger counter? And I’d like to see some spent fuel rods. Hey, you think I could do my next science fair project on radioactive bacteria?”

“Sure, why not?” Graves gave her a big toothy grin, as we began speeding away. “Of course you’d like those green glowsticks.”

Grace rolled her eyes in scorn. “They’re blue. I saw that on the internet.”

Graves stifled a patronizing chuckle as all three of us glared at him.

“You know,” said Ian, as the town’s scenery quickly gave way to the scrubby high desert landscape zipping by the windows, “you’re just like those guys in the comic books who think they’re good, but don’t treat people like people.”

“In other words,” said Grace, “we still think you’re bad.”

“And how,” I added. I had to give him credit for keeping his thought about cute little girls using big words to himself… more or less anyway. “Still,” I whispered to the kids, “there was a little good left even in Darth Vader, remember? If that’s not the case with Mr. Graves and his people, we can still handle them.”

I most certainly did not want my own misgivings to carry over to Ian, but I couldn’t help but mentally reach out to check on Ben. Such anxiety should have made him easy to spot, and I figured he could use some assurance.

I couldn’t reach him.
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

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