Legal Theft Project: Envy in Blue

Blue as skies in summer, pouring out exhaust, and attracting a small crowd, he’d never seen anything like it. He already wanted it gone. His garage didn’t have anything as would come close to those wheels and everyone knew it. The rest of the caravan wasn’t much to look at and the caravan master, Dixon, was the first to pop out of his battered van and head Allison’s way. For his part, Allison kept his arms folded and his face cold as Dixon tromped over.

“Allison.” Dixon bobbed his head respectfully to the man whose domain he’d entered. Allison didn’t acknowledge the greeting, keeping his eyes on the dapper wheels and the crowd swelling around it as the exhaust wisped away.

Dixon soldiered on. “Ah, Sammy’s girl. Elvira. Heck of a car. Heck of a lady.”

Allison turned his head slightly and raised his eyebrow a mere fraction. Dixon swallowed and nodded back toward the car. A mile of leg ending in denim cut offs and hello gorgeous, swung out of the driver side door like sugar in sweet. Her hip pushed the door closed and she leaned against it, pushing her sunglasses on top of her head. He hadn’t figured trouble in a blue jumpsuit into his plans. Oh he wanted her and her car out of his holding and back on the road something fierce. “You brought me trouble, Dixon,” Allison finally said.

Dixon looped his thumbs in his belt. “Got here fastest and safest I’ve ever done. Girl knows her wheels and don’t hesitate on the road. Brought plenty through.”

Allison unfolded his arms. “Any trouble she causes, you cause.”

“No no no. She’s good, but she ain’t mine.” Dixon shook his head. They looked at the woman by the car, answering some of the crowd’s questions, cool as snow in shade. “Sammy handles herself.”

Allison brushed the comment aside, letting Dixon shed the blame and accepting the tacit promise to stay out of the way. “Let’s see what else you brought.”


I’m a thief! I stole this first line from M.D. – take a look at other unique blues at the Legal Theft Project site.

Legal Theft Project: Self Image and Ski Chalets

Somehow he managed not to throw his hands in the air. Admitting defeat was accomplished by a gritting of the teeth and the flutter of panic in his chest. “I’ll look at the brochures, okay?” Carefully, he collected the glossy destination brochures from the table. Snow covered mountains, impossibly green grounds, and weathered brick and wood buildings all glowed upon the expensive custom print paper.

“We truly think it would be best for you, Aaron. There have been enough disruptions this year, we want to ensure you have the best foundation possible.” His mother leaned back and sipped on her vodka stinger and attempted a sympathetic smile.

He nodded and returned the polite fiction of upturned corners of the mouth. “Of course mother.” It has nothing to do with a lingering sense of guilt and a terror of all things new and sharp. He made it to his door and a tiny bolt of lightning arced from his hand to the metal handle. His temper, visible, and lively. He wrenched the door open and sent the brochures flying onto his desk. Before they could skid off, he swept out his hand and commanded the air to keep them in place. The brochures fluttered, but remained on the desk. One of them fell open to a picture of a charming ski lodge that was actually a dormitory. He had a sudden image of himself in a suit, holding yet another mixed drink and slowly calcifying into his parents.

His keys leapt to his hand and he raced down the stairs, out the side door, and slid into his convertible. Revving the engine, he tore into town and skidded into a parking spot. Got out, closed the door, locked his car and began hunting down the streets for some kind of answer, some form of additional immunity to turning into some pickled alcoholic specimen of his parents. He stopped in front of a tattoo parlor. It would be perfect, but he doubted they’d overlook his age. But a piercing…. He grinned.

It took him two hours. He went to every piercing shop in town, laid down fifty dollars and said that he paid for however many people it covered. Two thirds of the way through, he sat down in a chair, told them his parents had approved it, tipped the person in question an extra hundred dollars, and got a ring wrapped around the very top of his right ear. A stainless steel band etched with a wave pattern, it hurt like hell, and he grinned right through it. They told him how to keep  the piercing clean, warned him it might be sore. He waved them off and sauntered out. Oh sure, he’d have problems with it, short as his hair was, but right now. Well. It just felt right.


I challenged some thieves to run away with a dormitory and an earring. They did. Clever thieves.

Legal Theft Project: Storm’s Heart

The city’s scintillating towers and reflective edifices became somber and dark in the downpour. Rell settled himself on the narrow ledge and let the rain soak down to his skin. The rain wavered and shifted, allowing glimpses of the world spread out below. He ignored it and turned his face up into the rain. He could see the city from the height any time he wanted, but it was rare he found his way into this pure a storm. Letting it wash over him … well, he wasn’t one for meditation or spirituality, but this was pretty close. Connected to the natural world. Simply. So he basked.

Then with a long sigh, he let go of the peace and the quiet and let the storm inside him run loose. He breathed in and felt the air, felt the clouds, the rain, and the electric hum in the air. It had been raining for days, ceaselessly, naturally. It wasn’t someone like him. But … it wasn’t the season either. He couldn’t get a good reading from this building. He grinned into the wind and vaulted off the ledge. He allowed himself the fun of freefall for a few exhilarating heartbeats, before calling himself a wind and riding it into the sky. He coasted, following the odd drift of air and cloud. There weren’t nearly enough, not for this drenching. There was a significant discrepancy in the air quality over by the pier. He wavered over calling back up when he saw a familiar figure down below. He set down on the room in a swirl of wind and rain. “Been awhile Iron Sword. Looking for something to do?”

“I’d appreciate a change in the weather. You able to do something about that.” Iron Sword grinned and added, “Stormlord.”

“I was considering it, care to lend a hand?” Stormlord, Rell, grinned back.

“Thought you’d never ask.”


I stole this first line from someone with a machete.… and may have grabbed one of her characters as well. Hope she doesn’t mind. 

Legal Theft Project: Phantom Minds

It was strange to actually see her in the flesh. As she avoided him, he’d only been near her as a figment of himself and he’d forgotten the little things that flesh does to betray its feelings. Fingernails biting into his palm. The rush of heat signalling rage that boiled in the gut. Movement slowed becoming deliberate as he snapped down hard on his control. The way the light of battle felt like ice behind his eyes. And he saw the answering control in her movements. Wondered if words felt stoppered in her throat as she sifted through to the ones company would find acceptable instead of the simple expletives they used toward one another in the privacy of their own minds.

He knew far far too much about her. He kept his distance from her physically, accepting another’s offer to dance. His black haired nemesis did not dance and so he was given time and space to compose himself. He’d spent too much time ghosting around her. Sending his mind and senses to snoop around in her home, her study, and accidentally, mostly accidentally, snatching glimpses of her secret lives. With her family. Alone with her thoughts, with her birds. Writing, preparing to leave, and coming home. He hoped he’d begun to haunt her. To crack that controlled exterior and make the person within it rage.

He finished his dance and got a glimpse of himself in the large mirror on the ballroom wall. She was reflected in the glass, her back to it, to him and it struck him why seeing her in person was such a sharp pain. She paid little attention to him at all. For all that he could tell when she noticed him. See the physical reactions he had, mirrored in her posture. She had the luxury of position and power and dismissed him as one would an unappetizing meal. And he had no way to stop her.

Eyes gone blind with the realization, he staggered to a balcony and fresh air, hoping it would still the tears threatening in his eyes. It seemed no matter what he did, he was destined to be a ghost. He looked down at his hands, wavering through unshed tears. Still flesh and bone. He flexed his long fingers. He had little efficacy on the real world when he was incorporeal. Better to stay a tangible ghost. He blinked away a few escaping tears and turned to look back into the ballroom. He would be missed by others soon. A small dangerous smile curled the corner of his mouth. There were many types of ghost. Perhaps it was time to be a more violent one.


Another first line stolen from Bek. See who else found the physical realm unsettling here.

Legal Theft Project: Layered Lies

Marnie found me in a corner where I’d begun to collect attention. I tossed her a smile and she shook her head. “You’re incorrigible.”

“You expected something else?”

She pursed her lips, but her eyes were laughing. “Perhaps a dash more polish.”

“I’m only polished when I’m working.” I set my empty champagne flute on a passing tray and rolled up the sleeves of my shirt to the elbow. Marnie sighed, she’d lent me the designer garment.

“You know I make this look good.”

“I know.” She slipped her arm through mine. “Reyes has been asking about you, actually. You could have a contract with him if you wanted it.” She unconsciously slicked down an errant pleat of her mint dress, one of the designers originals.

I tilted my head in false thought. “You know, I do have a wish to see my face twenty to thirty times life sized.”

The laugh I startled out of her was worth more than any score.

“It shall have to wait, I have many more capers ahead of me before I become a public figure.” Funny, I only noticed how tense I’d been now that I was relaxing. Damn it, I love this kind of party, but I’d been hiding in a corner, drinking champagne.

Marnie smiled. “You alright?”

I shrugged expressively and surveyed the room. “I don’t belong here.”

Marnie looked at me. I’d said it almost absently and half to myself. I skimmed my eyes over Armani suits and Versace dresses, cinema queens and billionaires, the wealthy and the famous, and they brought me both envy and a quiet anger. I know Marnie saw it, she reads people the way I read rooms, intuitively and extremely well.

“Do you want to go?”

I shook my head. “I don’t get to see you or this carnival often enough. It’ll pass.”

A voice spoke up, preceding the click of approaching heels. “Marnie, how are you tonight?”

I didn’t turn. She wasn’t supposed to be here tonight. Marnie replied that she was enjoying herself and I could tell there was a silent exchange where Marnie indicated that I was not bothering her and not to worry everything would be fine, when she ever so slightly faltered, so I turned around so she could introduce me. Whatever name she called me, I didn’t notice or care which man of mystery I was tonight. I gave Bell a gracious nod. I didn’t trust myself to any of the other greetings available. Her disapproval was a frigid living thing and I gave into the dare and met her eyes. It was a mistake. Unable to name the feeling, something vivid and alive, near kin to recognition, but unarticulated jumped between her mismatched eyes and my contact enhanced green ones. All I wanted to do was run, but if I ran, she would chase.

I pulled on every reserved snobbish commentary, every supercilious mannerism, and every lie turned fluid and silver on my tongue. Never has anyone fled so quickly into a defensive conversation. Marnie laid a hand on my arm and drew me away from Bell with a few murmured comments. Bell watched us go for a moment, I could physically feel when she stopped watching us. I wasn’t fooling Marnie, but she let me make my excuses and vanish into the evening.


I’ve been a very selfish thief and not distributing my spoils. This first line was stolen awhile ago, check out what the other thieves divvied up in the corner here.

Legal Theft Project: Vengeance

There simply were no words. His people were already dead, blood pooling on the stones from their slit throats. The enemy stood in an arc, hands red and outstretched to the mage at the focal point of the arc. Offering blood, his people’s blood and all that came with it, to their leader. Between him and the enemy mages were guards and warriors. Whatever was happening they had to stop it. He felt his sister at his shoulder and they dove from the cave shelf. Lightning blasted from his hands and he struck down the closest priest. His sister swirled down, dealing death with a touch and disappearing into the dark to strike the next. The air was thick and close with the scents of the sea and blood and magic. More of the enemy swept into the cave. He loosed his chain and spun metal and magic through the cave. Fighting rolled and writhed. They were only two, but they were lethal. His sister broke through the guardians and slew two of the mages with precision hits from her short swords. He grinned as she darted away from their return magic. Spin. Spark. War.

He didn’t believe it when it happened. He looked over and saw his sister deliver a perfect short thrust through one enemy’s back. A killing blow. She had already moved on, economical with motion and no time to waste on a dead man. The dead man’s blade took her through the side. Even then, she turned and struck him again. Treated him as a living man, but the damage was done.  He didn’t bother to scream her name. He roared, wordlessly, and reached out to the blood in the air and wrenched it to his will. He was near her and she was dead and he stood above her and he tore everything this cave had to give, everything he had left in him, and he killed. He plundered the power of those he killed and rode it toward the man who impossibly still stood. He hurled his power into a bolt so white and sharp, the air turned blues and black. And the other man blocked with a wall of water which boiled. The steam blew back at the enemy and he screamed. The cave was full of death and he knew he would join it. He made his peace. Knew what powered a spell as powerful as he wanted. He whipped his chain around his own neck and cursed the man who killed his sister.

The man stumbled back and he poured everything into his desire. He felt his life draining. Then everything turned to light and fire and he screamed. And screamed. And screamed.


 

I have been robbed. See what left the thieves speechless.

Legal Theft Project: Once More With Feeling

I would have shut up, but he gave me the “If you do that one more time I’m gonna murder you” look and I adore dodging homicide. A beat later, I ease into the first verse  and by the second line I’m sliding behind a pillar to evade the lightning bolt. He holds his fire as I sing the next few lines, but I can’t help it and by line eight, I swing around the pillar a la singing in the rain and look straight at him. Deep breath while rolling out of the way and into the last two lines of the verse. Build up the bridge. I have a good voice, strong lungs, and know how to use both. Pop lyrics soar between the columns and bounce off the vaulted ceiling. Everyone else is collapsing in laughter. The collapsing also drops them out of the danger range of the purposeful and pointed electric annoyance doing its best to catch me, but so far so good.

The chorus is the absolute best part and we put on quite a show. I skid across the floor, cover behind tables, and pop up at the beginning of every line to direct all of the saccharinely critical lyrics at the ends of his platinum blonde hair. The last line of the chorus and I throw my arms open wide, but I timed it wrong and I finish my note and a bolt hits me straight in the chest. I fly across the room and hit the wall hard. There’s silence for a moment, and then everyone laughs. Well, I cough first, but then I laugh. After a beat, he laughs too and comes over to give me a hand up. I take it.

“You’re supposed to have better taste than this, Oh lord of poetry.”

“While most days I would agree with you, it rhymes, so, therefore it is poetry. Light, happy poetry, but poetry. Plus, I would call that performance poetic. We square, oh lord of storms?” I offer my hand.

He takes it, my hand tingles with the remnants of sparks. “Even enough. Just know that I am going to pick all of the music for the next revelle.”

I blink. “This is going to be painful for me, isn’t it.”

“Probably.”

I sigh. Then, “Still worth it.”


My turn to share the wealth, see what my group of thieves did with this first line over here.

 

Legal Theft Project: Locks and Blooms

Rell had mixed feelings about the attic. His siblings did not know why he continued to visit so often. His sister was flat out concerned. It wasn’t that he didn’t know why he went, he simply didn’t want to explain his visits to anyone else.

A bouquet of fresh flowers tucked in the crook of his arm, he knocked on the attic door. He waited a beat, took the key from his pocket, unlocked it, stepped in, and smoothly locked the door behind him. “Hello Mother.”

The room seemed to wrap him up and swirl him into the paintings that were stacked against the walls, piled on the floors. The reams of loose paper covered in sketches, smeared with charcoal, or dotted with spilled paint filled the cracks between the canvases like waves around rocks. The paperscape was framed around open floor, giving way to the space demanded by arm chair, bed, and tray. His mother was not in the civilized hollows. She was standing near one of the few high windows staring at her easel. Paint was dripping off of the palette and onto the side of her dress, neatly missing the protective apron. Rell moved along the path to the tray and settled his flowers into the blue vase. “I brought you a few late bloomers. They smell lovely.”

“Everything blooms and blossoms and burns out,” his mother said. She turned from her canvas. Rell came up beside her and looked at her painting as she looked up at his cheek. She’d gone through a lot of red again. There was no image to be seen, shades of red, orange, and yellow violently slashed and splashed across the canvas with occasional thin suggestions of black lines or green and blue specks.

“Rell, when did you get so tall?” she asked. Her brow furrowed like his sister’s when she was working out a puzzle.

“I’m not sure, I wasn’t paying attention.” Now that she was looking at him, he led her over to the arm chair and gently took the palette from her fingers. Her hands and forearms were streaked with paint – like fire twining up her wrists.

“You know you should always pay attention. Inattention leads to knitted socks in the steeple chase.”

Rell nodded like that had made sense. He sat down on the edge of the bed and took his mother’s hand. “What kind of day is today?”

“Purple. Deep and warm and floating like violets in the smoke.” She smiled and her free hand pushed Rell’s hair back from his forehead, smearing a little bit of paint in its place. “You’re so sad Rell, what’s wrong?”

Trust his mother. “I lost my cat yesterday and she hasn’t come back yet.”

His mother looked at him, understanding. “She dead, dear.”

Rell nodded slowly. “I was afraid of that.”

“We’ll all be dead. The spiders are coming for our heads, but you mustn’t worry. The fires burn bright enough to chase the shadows with them. Don’t sleep in the shadows. They will steal you away and all you hear is screaming…”

Rell sat and talked for a little while longer with his mother, edging around the raw, the dark, and the truth. He stood when she grabbed a paint brush and set up a new canvas.

“I’ll see you next week, Mother.” She didn’t seem to hear him. She started singing, off key and intensely as he left and locked the door behind him. He leaned against it for the space of a breath. Pulling the edges of himself back under his skin and dusting the dried paint from his temple. No, his siblings did not understand, and that made it all the more important that he keep going. Maybe one day they’d figure it out.

___________________________________________________

I’ve been robbed. Repeatedly – by a ring of first line thieves. Take a look at what they put in their attics.

Legal Theft Project: Things That Change & Things That Stay The Same

The breeze sank to the floor as soon as it came through the windows, rolling stubbornly across the length of the room. As if it knew it would have to fight for every rustle of drapery, shift of paper, and swirl of dust it stirred. Everything in the room was heavy, dark, solid, and rich. One man’s image of a king, empty now of all but the echoes that linger where that man once walked. The former master of these chambers was not coming back. Its new occupant wondered that the room did not crash down on him in disapproval.

Muddy boots, worn leather, and serviceable weapons did not make the proper picture against the backdrop of old wood and silk. The very carpet seemed to disapprove. Well, he was going to be the king. The room would just have to get used to him.

The king in all but coronation took another look around and decided he would redecorate. He’d never cared for red. Maybe he’d have some of his old furnishings brought over instead of living among his uncle’s choices. Not that his furnishings would approve of him any better, but at least they would dislike him for abandonment instead of intrusion. On second thought, perhaps he’d better commission entirely new furnishings. And he hated that he now had to consider what political and cultural information the act of changing his furnishings would entail.

He’d taken the royal chambers because he wanted there to be no doubt he was going to rule. After the shocking death of his uncle and cousin, strength and compassion were needed. Promises of stability and power and continuity. He sank into one of the armchairs and rubbed his temple. He knew what he needed to do. He’d done this on a smaller scale before – and then had dropped it all on his eminently capable steward and fled.

He contemplated the long dark spiral of days spent in service to his country, the bright chain links of the past couple years, and the bottles of wine hidden behind dark wood cabinet doors. Drink was the immediate, easy, answer. But it wasn’t the right answer.

There was a knock at the door before he could give in to temptation. He stood and turned toward the sound. The door opened and his dearest friend stepped through. “You made quite an impression on the staff,” Callen said. “They glared at me until I said my name. Though I’m surprised you didn’t simply permit the guard access.”

“Sets a bad precedent. A man could then steal a uniform and pass blithely through. Better to leave it to names and additional identification.”

“And I thought you were paranoid before,” Callen said.

All he did was raise an eyebrow.

“And you have good reason,” Callen admitted.

“Flame and Blood I do.” The soon to be king walked over to his friend. “But for now, let’s beat the tar out of each other.”

“At your service, sir.” Callen grinned. “I’m here to keep you sane.”

“And I’m here to keep you humble.”

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We all ganged up on Thief Lord Gwen and stole this first line from her over at ApprenticeNeverMaster. Check out the ring of thievery here.