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Flash Fiction- An Open Book March 5, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This story is part of a weekly series, updated every friday. Click Here to read from the beginning.  

Nox scowled at the journal sitting in her lap.  Lord Galen had put an iron-clad locking spell on the pages, which only allowed her to read the most basic entries.  What she needed were details of all the methods he had tried to use to break Grimm’s curse, but she was no further along than when she had started reading it a month before.  Stupid enchanted journal, she muttered.   

She put it down and went into the next room to check on Loki.  His fever had finally broken the night before, but he had not been able to stay awake long.  She put a hand to his brow to check his temperature, and read his aura.  At least that was one useful thing she had gotten out of the journal, Galen had left anything to do with diagnosing ordinary patients unlocked.  He had a detailed set of instructions for training aura readers to assist physicians.  Sometimes she wondered if the book had some sort rudimentary intelligence, it seemed to be quite willing to open to the pages she needed to help Loki.  It just did not want to help Grimm. She sighed.  It was time to get back to forcing some answers out of it.

“Hey blue-eyes, going so soon?”

Nox turned to find Loki struggling to sit up.  She hurried to give him a hand.  “Take it easy, we’ve finally got you on the mend. I’d hate to see you backslide.”  She got him settled, and sat on the edge of the bed next to him. “How are you feeling?”

He gave her a mournful look.  “Depressed.  I finally get you in bed, and I’m in no shape to do anything about it.”

She laughed and shook her head.  “Now I know you’re feeling better!   You haven’t hit on me all week.”

“A week?  What happened?”  He took a closer look at her, only just noticing how tired she appeared.  “You look almost at rough as I feel.”

“Roald dredged up some toxin from the ground to coat his sword.  Some of it must have gotten into your bloodstream when he got that hit on you.  It’s a good thing you were channeling so much fire, you burned most of it off before it could do any permanent harm.  My mother and I have spent the past week trying to get the last of if out of your system.”

Loki frowned at that.  “Where is Grimm? He was right behind me just a minute ago…” 

“I haven’t seen him all week.  He said something about going to play fetch with your soul.  Probably just as well, since you’ve been accusing him of wanting to blow up books for the past few days. If there’s one way to upset him, it’s to threaten his precious books!”  She grinned at him,  “That was one Hel of a trip those toxins sent you on.”

Loki stared off into the distance.  “No… It wasn’t books, plural, it was just one book. Something about the pages. “ he shrugged.  “Sorry, that’s all I can remember.  I talked to him though.  Or I think I did? He didn’t look like himself…”

Nox rested her chin in her hand. “A book. Why would he want me to blow up Galen’s journal?” 

“You know what he meant?”

“It could only be that journal.  Blow it up though?  Blow.  Blow!”  She smacked herself in the forehead.  “Of course!  How could I be so stupid!”  She jumped off the bed and started pacing.  “Lord Galen was a wind elemental, of course he would use air to lock it!  But does it need an actual wind?  Or just a breath?  Or maybe a whistle, I read something about them using bird song in their incantations.”

Loki gave a weary chuckle.  “No offense luv, but you’re making me tired just watching you.”

“Oh, I’m sorry!  Do you need anything? Or should I just get out and let you rest?”

He stifled a yawn.  “I wouldn’t mind you staying, but I have a feeling I’ll be snoring before long. Go on, go whistle at your book.  Just do it quietly, okay?”

 “Deal.  I’ll be right in the next room if you need something.”  He was already nodding off by the time Nox had finished her sentence.  She pulled the covers up over him, kissed him on the cheek and quietly left the room.

The book lay right where she left it. She could swear the damned thing was laughing at her. Well, laugh at this, you cantankerous old scrap of wood pulp, she thought.  She sat cross-legged on the floor with it in her lap, and blew across a few pages.  They fluttered, but didn’t turn.  Humph.  She whistled a low trill, and the pages ruffled, but still didn’t turn. Right then, time to pull out the big guns.  She just hoped the ancient book was up to getting hit with a raw element. Only one way to find out.

Nox let out another low whistle, but this one had some energy behind it.  It moaned like a bitter winter wind, the kind that slips through keyholes and under doorjambs.  The temperature in the room dropped, and frost formed on the floor around her.  The book seemed to shudder, the pages turning reluctantly.  She puffed her cheeks and put more energy into it, ramping it up to a howling miniature gale.  The book shivered, and the pages snapped open toward the back.  Nox waited till they stopped moving before letting the wind drop.  “Yes!” She said triumphantly, and put a finger on the page to keep it from changing its mind.  She reached up with her other hand and snagged her notepad from the desk.  “All-righty-then. Let’s get down to business, shall we?”  She started taking notes as she read.

Veradis, in the 7th day of the Hunters Moon

I have started to retrace the steps the Shadowkin have taken in creating the curse that afflicts my old friend …

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1. John Wiswell - March 5, 2010

It’s sweeping sweet and simple even when the plot or import is actually complex. I don’t know how you make it all so easily readable. Unlike most flash serials, there’s nothing cloying about the breaks, even though I do want to read on. Sorry if you’ve said this elsewhere, but are you considering collecting the whole thing (or chunks of it) eventually for submission anywhere?

techtigger - March 5, 2010

I’m glad you like the writing style, I always try to make something that I would want to read. I was a book-a-holic long before I ever considered writing 🙂

Yes, parts of these stories will end up in the novel I’m writing, though a lot of it is just me working out back story and developing characters. I thought this would be a fun way to do it though, rather than writing in a vacuum.

2. Cynthia Schuerr - March 5, 2010

I love how quickly this flows, even through the descriptive sentences. It keeps the thought moving right along and developing all the way through. I really am entertained by this story

3. lauraeno - March 5, 2010

I galloped through this, devouring it like a little kid with a new comic book. 🙂 I am first in line to buy your book! I love these characters and your easy way of writing.

Mariana N. Blaser - March 11, 2010

Yeah, that’s precisely how I feel! Can’t wait for next week’s installment.

Hey Angie, great strategy for developing the characters and back story! If Laura will be the first to buy your book, I’m the second in line! heh ;D

4. ganymeder - March 6, 2010

Awesome read! Your stories are always among the first I check for every Friday. Great job!

5. Anne Tyler Lord - March 6, 2010

I wish I had one of those aura readers for my kids right now – cool idea! I love your weekly installments of great storytelling!

6. Cathy Olliffe - March 7, 2010

Nice work!

7. Walt - August 20, 2010

I like these journal entries, they ad a lot to the story (more than just information to drive the plot, they just feel fight)

Xanto - September 3, 2010

What Walt said.

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