Microfiction Monday: The Escape

Microfiction is a subset of flash fiction (fiction of 1000 words or less) in which stories have 300 words or less. This one is something between fantasy and horror, and the inspiration was chosen by Ali Malin: “grilled cheese and triceratops.”

The once-grand dining hall was lit only by the candles illuminating the chipped plate that held Kensia’s final meal. “Eat up,” Dallan, the soldier-priest who was her jailer and only human companion ordered from the darkness. “This is what you wanted.” Indeed, Kensia had requested the simple fare of gooey melted cheese sandwiches and root vegetables. She had eaten one sandwich for appearances, and was nibbling the crusts of the other, being sure to leave as much cheese as possible for Elegda.

The demonic whispering was muted in the hushed dining hall. There were no mirrors left in there, after all. They’d been shattered in the surrender. Anything reflective. The soldier-priests had thought they knew how to prevent her night-dark magic.

They didn’t know what she knew.

She ate the crusts of the sandwich, taking her time to savor the drips of melted cheese, cooling in the night air. Elegda liked the gooey heart of the sandwiches almost as much as she liked the hotly metallic taste of a terrified heart bursting between her fangs.

Kensia laid her fork down, and noticed that Dallan flinched, the triceratops patch on his sleeve flashing in the candlelight. Good. She wanted him a little afraid. Elegda wanted him a little afraid. “Dallan,” she said sweetly, “Could I have a few more carrots?”

The soldier-priest sighed. “I’ll go get you some.”

“Thank you,” Kensia said softly. She waited till his footsteps had faded, then moved quickly, tilting her glass of water onto the table. The reflection shown in the light. Her tongue twisted around the incantations of summoning, and she closed her eyes, feeling hot demon claws pick at her handcuffs. Freedom tasted delicious, she thought.

She kept her eyes closed even after Dallan’s screaming began. Humans were so dramatic about being sacrificed.

 

 

How I Earned A Legacy of Expectation Defiance.

It happened a lot.

“And this is our art director, Goose,” My boss said, introducing me to the parents who were visiting our camp (or visiting members from the council that owned our camp, or any number of other people).

I smiled. “It’s nice to meet y’all.”

The mother tilted her head. “You…don’t sound like you’re from around here.”

“No, ma’am. I’m from North Carolina.”

My boss grinned, a hint of amusement. She’d once told me she loved the looks on people’s faces when she introduced me to them; I was not unlike a lost tropical bird to many people, even in Pennsylvania. “And she goes to school in Michigan.”

“Oh, are you studying art?” the father asked.

“No, sir. Biology. Microbiology, specifically.”

Both parents stopped and stared at me. You could see the wheels turning, trying to understand how all the pieces of me that they had just been handed fit together, how any of it made sense. My boss just beamed. I smiled too. I never really got tired of the confusion either. I earned that quiet little mischief.

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THAT student.

On a chilly day in January 2009 I found myself signing up for classes at the community college near my hometown in NC. I had previously attended a 4-year university about 4 hours from my home, and was, frankly, still stunned over how quickly my life had changed when I had finally told my parents that I just could not go back to that school, that my mental health just couldn’t handle it anymore. Somewhere underneath the blank pale mask of shock was anger, thrumming low and deep, that I had to take a college algebra class before I could work on any of my dreaded math requirements. I didn’t want to take an algebra class, I didn’t want to take any math class that I didn’t have to, because math wasn’t just something I loathed, it was something I feared: I had been diagnosed with dyscalculia the previous spring, and I still wasn’t entirely sure that there was even a place for someone like me in the science world.

In hindsight, that math class is possibly the best damn thing that ever happened to me. Because I learned not just how to finally do math I was supposed to figure out in high school (and never did), I learned a lot about, well, learning.

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Pay Attention.

So, as I stated in my introductory post, I recently graduated with a degree in biology. You might have also noticed that at 28 years old, I’m a little older than a lot of students completing their bachelors’ degrees.

Did you start college late? No. I started college right out of high school like many people do, roughly 2 months past my 18th birthday. In fact, the first phase of my freshman orientation was the day after I turned 18. I was so cute and so dumb.

Did you take time off? Yes, but not as much as the time span might imply. I took a break in spring and fall of 2006, and another break in fall of 2010.

Did you only take classes part-time? No, I usually took between 13 and 17 credit hours per semester.

Did you change your major a million times? Well…yes and no. I started my college career as a creative writing major because I was 18, had always loved writing, and had grand visions writing the next great American novel or more. My freshman year was bogged down with gen ed/liberal studies credits (and was also a trainwreck for other reasons) and so it wasn’t until fall of 2005 that I took a creative writing class…and discovered that I loved writing, but hated creative writing classes. So then I moved to English literature instead. After returning from my year off, I took a couple of English literature courses and discovered that while I loved them, I really wanted to do biology instead. So I switched to biology (with a microbiology emphasis), and have been clawing, scratching and biting my way through that ever since. There was one minor switch that occurred late in the game: in winter of 2013, I, having realized I didn’t actually want to be a microbiologist and that biochemistry just was not worth the level of misery I was experiencing, dropped my microbio concentration to just general biology (Sorry, biochemists. You’re all wonderful, miraculous wizards, but that class is like a casserole of sadness and suffering made up of all the worst bits of biology and chemistry.)

So what took you so long to graduate?

Well.

The toll that anxiety and depression can take on a college student is a discussion that I will have, but it’s for another day. Today, we’re going to talk about ADHD, people (like me!) who have ADHD, and the many ways in which college and academia in general can really suck for people like me.

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Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome.

Hi.

I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Nikki.

Nikki Facts


1) Nikki was born on June 10th, 1986. That makes her a Tiger in the Chinese zodiac, a Gemini in Western astrology, and it made her mother very glad that she didn’t have to be pregnant through the ENTIRE miserably hot, steamy Carolina summer.

2) Nikki was born and raised in North Carolina, but her shiny new biology degree is from Northern Michigan University, which is located in Marquette, Michigan, just shy of 1000 miles from her sleepy little hometown in North Carolina. Nikki has a case of wanderlust. Nikki also has student loans.

3) Nikki has lived and worked in 5 different states since she was 21. These states are: North Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Nikki taught art to small, medium and large children, in the woods, for multiple years in a row. Nikki can and will teach any kind of art–even if she’s bad at it, like macrame–but her specialty is painting.

4) Nikki wants to go into public health. Why public health? Well, it started in 2012, in Nikki’s first semester at NMU. There was a course offered called Disease in Society, and in it, Nikki got to learn about not just the microbiological impacts of different pathogens, but how those diseases impacted humans at the population level, as well as how they impacted society. The entire course was fascinating, but the tail end of the course focused on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Seeing how badly even modern governments flubbed a serious health crisis made Nikki want to work to do BETTER, somehow.

5) Nikki kind of has a thing about birds. Any birds, really, but especially geese. You have to understand, the goose thing started at camp. There were two nesting pairs of nonmigratory Canada geese that lived on the lake at her first camp, and as the art building was down on the lake, Nikki saw these geese all the time. Nikki enjoyed watching the geese and watching their babies turn into fledglings and then into adults themselves. Nobody else save for the directors and the camp ranger seemed to really appreciate these geese, and Nikki just kinda felt a solidarity with them. Don’t hate on the geese.

6) Nikki is a musician. She sings soprano, took voice lessons all through middle and high school, and has spent an ungodly amount of time in choirs over the last 16+ years. “Carmina Burana” remains the best concert she’s ever gotten to participate in.

7) This is the list about things for which Nikki is not sorry:

  • Nikki is very liberal and a strong believer in social justice and in not being a fucking asshole to other people. She’s going into public health, disparities of any sort are of great concern to her. She is especially not sorry about this.
  • Nikki is a feminist and an ally. She is sorry she’s not sorry.
  • Nikki’s Twitter followers say that she missed a prime opportunity to have a career in professional swearing. She remains unrepentant about this as well.
  • Nikki’s Twitter followers say that she missed a prime opportunity to have a career in professional swearing. She does not like to knowingly use words that are hurtful to oppressed groups, but she is and will always be completely without remorse about calling someone a shitweasel if they are in fact behaving like a shitweasel.
  • Nikki likes puns. She is STILL not sorry about that.
  • Nikki loves glitter. Like really fucking loves glitter. #sorrynotsorry
  • Nikki likes things that are brightly colored and pretty. Who’s sorry? Not Nikki.
  • Nikki enjoys questionable humor like poop jokes and naughty innuendos. And she is and will always be NOT SORRY.

8) Nikki likes to write and read. Got a book recommendation? Nikki will take them. Need a book recommendation? Nikki has them.

9) Common nicknames for Nikki:

  • Goose
  • Goosie
  • Gooser
  • Avian Brain
  • Bird
  • Birdie
  • Hobbit (Nikki is quite petite)
  • Birdhobbit.

Thank you, welcome to my blog.