Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Underground - Lily Van Meter

Lily Van Meter
Age: 11
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown
Height: 4’0”
Occupation: Thief
Lily came to the Underground when she was around 5 or 6, having run away from an extremely abusive home life, thread bare teddy bear and small suitcase in hand. Her first couple of days surviving she showed great talent and potential as a pick-pocket, despite being nearly caught due to her own fear and illness. That was when Cookie found her. Taking Lily under her wing, Cookie nursed her back to health and began teaching her the way of life Lily had found.
Lily is now an extremely skilled petty thief and larcenist. She is often procuring items of all sorts from all places for different people– for a price, of course, unless you’re Cookie. The price is not always monetary or easy to pay.
Lily’s loyalty is always first and foremost to Cookie, and vice versa. They are almost like mother and child, though in some ways more than usual. It has been said the quickest – though dumbest – way to get to Cookie would be to hurt Lily. Cookie would be there quicker than one would ever expect possible, most likely with a knife to the assailant’s throat. This bond has a tendency to freak some people out.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Underground - Cookie

Age: Unknown, physically looks 25 – 30
Hair: Red/Black/Purple
Eyes: Dark Blue
Height: 5’6”
Occupation: Unknown

No one can tell how old Cookie is. Sometimes she acts 13, sometimes 80. She suffers from severe delusions and vivid, life-like hallucinations. She isn’t outwardly cruel or violent, though sometimes things will trigger a very dangerous side of her. She always carries at least one blade, usually several, and she is extremely skilled with them. She moves fast as a snake and is as deadly as a highly trained assassin when she so chooses.
Cookie lives in the Underground. She knows where and how to get any number of things, from information to people to items. She can lead a person through the Underground of the City and it would show them a whole different world. She has contacts and allies of all sorts and could probably run the Black Market if she wanted to.
No one knows where she sleeps, or of it’s even the same place every night. Some say it’s a certain motel (the name varies with who you talk to), others say it’s the upper floor of a shop or the attic of a restaurant.
Cookie took over as a sort of guardian of Lily, a young preteen girl, when she appeared in the Underground around the age of 5. Though they may go days without seeing one another, they always seem to know how to find each other with little to no trouble. Cookie is fiercely protective over Lily and if there is any trouble or harm to the girl, Cookie will soon be there.
That bond is also shared with two other people in Cookie’s life. The first, Ness, became part of Cookie’s life several years ago. Cookie originally sought Ness out as a contact for something she was working on, but a close friendship quickly developed.
The other person is Cookie’s sister, Cupcake. Though arriving in the Underground sometime after Cookie, the family loyalty cannot be argued. Trying to convince either sister of betraying the other would be deadly for the fool who attempts it.
Finally, Cookie’s near constant companion is a grey fox. No one is sure where it came from, appearing in Cookie’s life shortly after Lily. This fox’s name is unknown, should it even exist. All that is known is the fox follows Cookie loyally and protects her when it sees the need. It is theorized that the fox shares the same bond with Cookie as Cupcake and the others. Some people wonder if Cookie is even aware of the fox, while others claim to have seen her petting the fox or talking to it. A few unfortunate people have seen Cookie as protective of the fox as the fox seems to be of Cookie.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fairy Tale #1, Part 1

   Vicki ran from the bus to the brick building where her nightly work waited for her. She was running late and she knew it. She didn't much care It was just a job, one she rather hated. She clutched her large purse in one hand and her platform shoes in the other.
   She shoved open the door and ran to the back as her boss yelled at her. She didn't listen, knew it was just his usual droning about how easy it would be to find a replacement for her. She knew he couldn't, so she ran to the back, yanked open her locker, thrust her purse in, changed into her skimpy uniform, shoved her feet into the horrible shoes that were uncomfortable but greatly improved tips, them strolled out onto the floor with a smile painted on her face.
   "Oh, Jerry, you know you could never replace me! Your customers love me too much." She called to her boss in a joking tone, despite the truth behind the statement.
   The bar was a respectable club, mainly directed at the gentleman, although women occasionally came in. All the waitresses were dressed at all times (though just barely it sometimes felt with the tiny uniform). Vicki was the most successful of the servers, always greeting the customers with a bright smile, taking their orders perfectly, delivering them quickly, joking and being the worlds greatest actress- making people believe she adored her job, loved waiting on the rich men and cleaning up the messes they left behind.
   Although she put on a happy face on the floor at work, Vicki detested the job, the uniform, the regulars that requested her section, the manager that was always yelling at her. It was miserable work. But it paid her bills, so she put up with it.
   One night she came home, exhausted, smelling of alcohol and aching from a double shift at work. She stared at her face in the bathroom mirror after getting out of the shower and sighed. She could do better than this. She had a master's degree in history and archeology. She could speak Latin and Greek, translate various dead languages. But she was a waitress. She had been looking for a career for three years now, but could find nothing.
   "I wish I could reach my potential. I can do more than wait on tables," she sighed to herself. She curled up in her bed, tired and disappointed.
   Vicki woke up a couple hours later, not knowing why, but feeling as though there was someone in the room with her. She leaned over and turned on her lamp, looking around.
   "Up here, sweetheart," came a melodious voice from above.
   Vicki jumped and looked up. Just about a foot from the ceiling a woman was floating, stretched out and looking at some of the work Vicki had done in college. At least, Vicki could only assumed she was a woman from her voice and build. the only problem was the woman was only about three feet tall, had very delicate wings and a strange sparkle around her. The woman wore red tights under a long black skirt with black slippers and a red peasant style top. Her hair was red with silver and black streaks.
   "Who are you, how did you get in here and am I really awake?" Vicki asked confused, but not frightened. She must be dreaming. Fairies weren't real.
   "Yes you are awake. I got in because I needed to-I'm you're fairy godmother and you are awake. Well, awake enough." The fairy came down and sat on the bed, Vicki opened her mouth to argue, but the woman cut her off. "Yes, fairies exist, not everyone has one and you can all me Velma."
   Vicki just stared, perplexed and sure she was asleep.
   "Look, you made a wish. It wasn't a wish for the lazy, bubble-headed types who want to go to a ball, or find prince charming or some nonsense like that. You wanted something you've obviously been working very hard at, something you've earned."
   "I don't understand. You mean, you don't like Cinderella or Snow White? And you're a fairy godmother."
   "Yeah, those 'princesses' were just waiting to get saved. They couldn't last a day fending for themselves. No one knows what happened once they became actual royalty and had to accomplish things and be more than just friendly and pretty to look at. Actually, Cinderella didn't stay pretty, especially sitting on a throne and indulging her weakness for chocolate. But you, you're smart and work hard. I played back the recordings-us fairy types keep them on people we think may need us at some point-and saw you put up with crap, mediate, essentially get your task done and done beautifully all while staying nice if possible. You've got more patience than I do, that's for sure. I probably would have turned Jerry into something unpleasant, small and squishable. You deserve a wish granted." Vicki just looked at Velma, slightly puzzled and not believing what her eyes and ears were telling her. She blinked.
   "Right. Because you can do that." Vicki was sure she was dreaming now. Or had gone insane. No one awake saw fairies. Not past the age of six, anyway.
   "Yes, I can." Velma scowled at her. "You'll see tomorrow. But, the wish granting has a couple requirements. You'll not only have your wish granted, but you'll also find love, happiness yada yada yada." Velma pulled out a wand, long black with a red spiral down it's length, tip and end caps.
   "Wait. Is there anything else? Like, be home by midnight, don't eat apples or something?"
   "Well, considering you don't have any actual enemies, or step parents or anything, you aren't required to face any of those 'challenges.'" Velma used the finger quote gesture. "Look, I'm kinda on the bottom of the list here. I don't agree with traditional fairy godmother methods or goddaughters. It's ridiculous. Why does a princess who can sing, dance and sew pretty, though useless, bits of cloth deserve to get all the good stuff just for being suddenly forced to work and stop being a mooch? So they gave me you. You're royalty, in a way, if you go back a few hundred years. You are forced to work. You want something more. and you're not a useless, ridiculously feminine, dingy girl who bemoans making her own bed. You have no extra drama to be thwarted, you just want what you worked for." Velma gave a genuine smile. "So I plan on making sure you get it. Now," Velma tapped Vicki gently on the forehead and heart with the wand. "Go to sleep. Tomorrow, you're life will be better. If you need me, just call."
   Velma disappeared as Vicki drifted back to sleep, disbelieving expression still on her face.
   When Vicki woke the next day, she shook her head, remembering the events of the night before. "I had to be dreaming. I still have the same job to go to, the same bills to pay."
   This time, Vicki made it to work on time, though that was the only improvement. Her boss was as cranky as usual. The customers all seemed to be preoccupied or irritated. Two of the other waitresses had called out and the bartender was slow, still hungover from the night before.
   As she cleaned off a table, a new face entered the building. This wasn't unusual. The club had it's regulars, but there was always someone new. This one caught her attention because she found him surprisingly attractive. He was fit, with long brown hair pulled back at the nape of the neck. His eyes were an almost golden shade of brown. He sat in her section, so she immediately greeted him. "Hey, Sweetie. I'll be over there to help you in just a sec. Sorry about having you wait." She called over in a chipper voice as she finished up busing the current table. She ran the dishes to the back, then strolled quickly over to get his drink order.
    "Sorry about that. What can I get you to drink?" She smiled at him, waiting for his response.
    "What do you suggest?" The man had a slightly British accent as he spoke. "I'm thinking a wine."
    "Well, I don't know what your tastes are. I prefer my wines sweet so I would suggest a Moscato if you like white, or my own personal favorite, Sweet Marcela, if you like red."
    "Hmm. I like reds as well, so I will try your favorite." He smiled up at her, hands folded on the table in front of him. "Tametsi dulcis vinum videor futurus aliquantulus effeminatus."
    Vicki raised an eyebrow at him. She hadn't heard Latin spoken so casually since her last class three years ago. "Well, sir, I did say it was my personal favorite, and seeing as I am a woman, a feminine taste shouldn't be so surprising. Although, if you prefer something not quite so girly, we have an excellent scotch that I do occasionally indulge in after a long day. La fel ca voi face după ce cobor seara asta de lucru. I must say, you speak Latin beautifully."
     The man was obviously surprised that she had understood what he had said. He chuckled, "It's not often that when I do speak it another person understands. Usually I get awestruck faces then they ask what I said. I don't always translate the truth. What was it you spoke in? What language?"
     Vicki gave him a coy smile, "I see since you ask, you don't know it already. It's Romanian. And do you truly expect an honest translation? Will you be having the wine or the scotch?"
     "The scotch." He returned her smile. "I'll try the wine another time."
     Vicki walked over to the bar, considered passing the order to the bartender, saw his almost useless expression, and stepped around to the back to pour the glass herself. She also made a small steel bucket of ice, since she had forgotten to ask if he wanted it on the rocks. She walked back, with her smile still in place, though slightly more genuine than before.
     "I forgot to ask if you wanted it on the rocks or just straight." She said as she set the drink before him.
     "I take it straight, although I see you brought the ice with you, just in case."
     "Why bring a drink just to take it back for ice? Will you be eating this evening? We have some delightful appetizers and our chef is excellent with all of our entrees and sides."
     "I'll just have the scotch thank you. But, before you go, may I ask how you came to know not only one, but two other languages?"
     "I've been to college, but I think I majored in the wrong things. Latin is important in history and archaeology  Romanian I actually learned from a fellow student while he was here. I have an aptitude for languages."
     "Do you know any others?" The man seemed truly interested.
     "I can also speak Greek and Hebrew and translate a few dead languages."
     "Fascinating! Yet you work here? This does not seem quite the place to use your skills." He leaned forward, eyes sparkling.
     Vicki sighed. "Believe me, I know. I have a master's in history and archaeology, but all the jobs I've tried for require field experience that I don't have."
     "My lady, today is your lucky day! I have a dig in Italy. I am sure your knowledge would be most useful!"
     At this moment, Jerry poked his head through the kitchen doors and bellowed. "Vicki! Stop flirting and wasting my time! You should be cleaning those other tables! You know Eddie isn't the only one working here!" Vicki rolled her eyes, then smiled at the gentleman in front of her before walking to the back.
     "Jerry! You know Eddie isn't working if I've been busing my own tables all damn night! And you might want to stop yelling where our patrons can hear you!" Vicki walked up to his shocked face and shoved her tray, ice first, into his chest. "And you can kiss this ass goodbye. I'm done with this shit job and your shit attitude." She walked into the back, untying her apron as she went. "And you could let us girls wear some real clothes once on a while!" She yelled, slamming her now empty locker shut.
     Vicki strolled out next to the man, now wearing comfortable jeans and a tank top. "My name is Victoria Chambers. Call me Vicki. When can I start?"
Well, I'm back. I took an extended hiatus in reality more. I make no promises I'll keep up with this blog, but I'm going to start posting again and we'll see how things go.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vanilla-Cinnamon Tasties

I've made another recipe :) Once more, I may change it, I may never make it again, but I like it.

1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 T cinnamon
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350*. Beat oil, sugar cinnamon and vanilla. Add egg. Beat in flour and baking powder until well blended. Roll into balls (roughly a round tablespoon) and partially flatten. Place on cookie sheet and bake 7-9 minutes.
Any ideas or improvements are welcomed!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Tasty, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Bread Recipe

2 c flour
1 package yeast
2 T cinnamon
1/2 - 1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground coriander

Sift together & set aside.

2 1/4 c milk
2 1/2 T butter
2 tsp salt
8 T brown sugar

Heat in pot until butter begins to melt. Pour into flour mixture and blend well. Add flour until it's too thick for the hand mixer. Turn out onto floured surface and knead (adding flour as you do) until smooth. Place in greased mixing bowl and let rise in a warm spot until double (usually about an hour). Punch down and turn out onto floured surface. Divide in two. Pat each flat. Prepare a butter and sugar mix (I used a whole stick of butter and about 1/2-3/4 c brown sugar, adding some cinnamon and cloves, but use only how much you like. Cinnamon and cloves are optional) and spread onto flattened dough. Roll into loaf shape and place in pan. let rise once more until double (one hour). Bake at 375* for 30 minutes or until done.

I based this off a white bread recipe from Better Homes and Gardens cook book (original edition) and altered it. If anyone has any tips or ideas to improve it, please let me know! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Z (part 2)

   When we finally got to our meet up - an empty parking lot on the outskirts of Henryville, it took me a moment to find my husband. I shouldn't have been surprised that he wasn't in our original car. He was in a hybrid SUV, the kind he hated but was good on gas. Our car was an ancient and barely reliable station wagon. I could assume this was a customer's car Dave had "borrowed."
   When Ivy stopped her car, I was gripping an ax I had found in garden center, preparing to jump out of the car to inspect the vehicle a short distance away from us. I hadn't seen signs of undead infection anywhere near here, but that didn't mean there wasn't any. I stepped cautiously out of the door, but Dave, almost as soon as I stepped out, leaped out of the car and had me in a bear hug.
   "Get in the car. We still have about two hours before we have to move, and I got a hold of Johnathon. He's going to meet us. He knows the time limit." Dave stepped aside and looked at me then over at Ivy, who was still in her car.
   I nodded, even though he didn't see it. "So does Cami. She's coming, too."
   Dave acknowledged what I said, then walked over to Ivy's window.  "Thank you for bringing her. I know it took a leap of faith for you to even believe her. Do you want to stay with us? Technically, groups are a bad idea, but we're human. We care about other people. I don't want to leave you behind if you want to come along." This statement shocked Ivy and me both. I couldn't recall a time Dave had ever spoken to Ivy, let alone said so much in one go.
   "I appreciate it, and Maggie's one of mine. But she's with her family now, and I need to go save mine." Ivy had misty eyes, but I recognized her strong, "mama voice," as I always referred to it. Ivy was my manager, but once a mother, always a mother, whether the kids are yours biologically or not. I never realized until now, when we were parting ways at the beginning of the apocalypse, that I loved her like family. I gave her a hug through her window.
   "Keep moving, no matter where you go, check every room, every closet, every nook and cranny before you even consider letting your guard down. Be as quiet as possible, keep lights out at night the best you can, avoid large public places like malls and churches." I found myself getting choked up. "I'll see you again. I can tell your like me - you won't go down easy, and it'll take more than a bunch of brainless walking corpses to get to you." I gave her a watery smile. She gave me one in return, then went on her way to her children and brand new grand baby.

   Dave and I waited in the SUV, each of us gripping our weapons - my ax and his .45. "Where are we going, or have you thought of anywhere yet. I'm all good to just stay mobile, but I'm letting you call it."
   "For now, we just need to keep moving. I'm thinking we'll head toward the west, with the dry desert. Until then, we keep moving. When we get there, we find somewhere safe enough for us to stop for more than a night."
   "Okay." I couldn't think of anything else to say. Just so I knew what to expect, I was happy. Well, as happy as one could be when running from and/or fighting zombies. We had about an hour before sunset, about fifteen minutes before we had to start moving with or without the others when we saw the first attack.
   Across the street, a young girl with long, blond hair was walking by the church parking lot when a man stumbled close to her. She turned and saw him. I can only assume she thought he needed help, because she ran towards him. When he lunged and his arms began to encircle her, we could hear her scream even in the car and she managed to push him away and she turned to run. She made it two or three steps, but when his arms will still outstretched, groping for her let his hands become entangled in her loose hair, she didn't have a chance. Her head jerked back and she stumbled, falling into his hungry, waiting arms. I turned my head when I saw the corpse lean down for dinner. Dave was taking aim when I saw Cami's car squeal into the lot we waited in. She jumped out and, before I could blink, fired two shots from a nine millimeter she held. She was an amazingly good shot. At least to me. I'd only seen her at work, really. The girl and her attacker both went down immediately, shot in the head.
   Immediately following her shots, Johnathon's truck rumbled in behind us. I nodded to them both, Cami hopped in her car, and we took off, Dave in the lead, then Cami, with Johnathon bringing up the back. It was most definitely time to go.
   I looked over at Dave as he drove, then in the back seat where Alice slept. reached into my backpack and pulled out a pair of very sharp scissors. I grabbed my hair in handfuls and snipped carelessly at it until it was short, then climbed in the back and did the same for my daughter. We both had waist length hair. I rolled down my window and threw it all out.
   "What did you do that for?" Dave asked calmly as he drove.  "And why do you have scissors?"
   "In case we need to cut bandages. And I love long hair, but I love me and Alice surviving more. I will gladly sacrifice vanity for life. You saw that girl. If she had short hair, she wouldn't have a bullet in her brain right now."