Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing


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Do Not Touch – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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Derrick stared at the little shop’s door in disbelief. When his friends had told him that a New Age store was now occupying the old Blockbuster Video location, he thought he’d take a look since his aunt was into healing crystals and stuff like that and he thought he could get her a nice birthday present there.

This place – “The Occult Shoppe” – didn’t look all that New Age to him at all. The lighting in the store was rather dim, and from what he could see there were all sorts of odd and creepy items inside that looked far from what he’d consider holistic.

Derrick shook off his uncertainty and went inside to see exactly what was for sale. As soon as he did, he felt like he’d walked into a store in some fantasy story. As he wandered around, he saw displays of different herbs and jars of what looked like animal parts. There were all sorts of books, decks of cards, and jars and pots of different sizes all around. He saw necklaces with pendants of different crystals, too. He was somewhat relieved to see some books and items for what looked more like New Age type things, too, such as crystals, incense, meditation, self-healing, angels, spirituality, and more. But he also found some creepier things, too, that sent chills down his spine, like Ouija boards and things that looked as if they were for more darkly paranormal practices, and he quickly moved away from them.

A strange box high on a shelf in a far corner of the store caught his eye. Beneath it was a sign that said Do Not Touch, Or Else. He inched towards the shelf, drawn to the box. He’d never seen its like before. It wasn’t very big, maybe only 6″ wide and 5″ high. But it’s carved design was very intricate and unique, and didn’t seem to be from any recognizable cultural region. He wanted to study it. But more than that, he wanted to see what was in the box.

He stood there, staring up at the box. He wanted so much to reach up and take down the box. But the sign said Do Not Touch, Or Else.

Or else what? Derrick wondered. They’ll kick me out of the store? Make me buy it if I drop it and break it? Curse me? Yeah, right. As if.

He reached up and took the box down from the shelf. He turned it in his hands a few times, studying the design but unable to recognize its origin. Turning the box upright, he slowly started to lift the lid. As he did so, he felt a jolt like static electricity go through him.

When he had the lid fully open, he gazed inside and gasped. The box dropped from his hands and he ran out of the store. He wanted to get away from the store as quickly as possible.

In his frightened rush, he didn’t pay attention to where he was going. So he didn’t see the car coming when he ran into the street.

 


 

This short story is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “oc”:

The Friday Reminder for #SoCS & #JusJoJan Daily Prompt, Jan. 20th, 2018


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Christmas Contrast – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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Jessica stepped up to the door, took a deep breath, and rang the doorbell. The loud chime was a sharp contrast to the silence of the winter evening. A moment later the door opened and her friend and co-worker, Eric, greeted her.

“Hey, Jess! Glad you could come! The party’s already started, so go on in.”

“Thanks,” Jess said, stepping inside. She held up a small brown bag to him. “Here. I brought along a bottle of wine for the party. Hope it’s ok.”

Eric grinned and took the gift from her. “Thanks! We’ll definitely put this to good use later. The party’s in the living room. Go join everyone, and I’ll put this in the kitchen then join you all.”

The living room was decked out for Christmas. Jessica first noticed all the garland, ribbons, and decorations that were set around and smiled. Then she spotted the Christmas tree in the far corner and gasped. It was the loveliest tree she’d ever seen, and she thought it put the rest of the decorations in the room to shame.

Other friends from work – Olivia, Mitch, Darren, Michelle – and a handsome young man she didn’t recognize were seated around the coffee table and waved to her as she came into the room. Jessica grinned and joined them, taking a seat on the couch next to the young man she didn’t know.

“Hi, Jess,” the young man said. “Glad you could make it. You look really nice this evening, by the way.”

Jessica started slightly when she heard his voice and realized who it was. She had never seen Jimmy without his glasses, or with his hair cut neatly, or dressed up like he was. He had never struck her as the type to go to a party, either.

Eric came in then and turned on the karaoke machine. Jimmy instantly got up and,  to Jessica’s surprise, started singing a Christmas song. Jessica stared at him the entire time in disbelief. This Jimmy was such a stark contrast to the one she knew at work.

When he finished, Jimmy returned to this seat and Olivia got up to sing next.

“You were great,” Jessica told Jimmy. “I never knew you were such a good singer, or that you liked to do karaoke.”

“Oh, I’m sure there’s a lot you don’t know about me,” he said, giving her a wink.

“Oh, I’m sure there is,” she replied with a smile. “And I look forward to learning more.”

 


This short story is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “contrast”:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec.16/17


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Solstice Fest – A Short Story For Christmas (Chronicles of Riss)

It’s coming up on Christmas, so I thought I’d share a “magical” holiday short story with you all. This is one of the stories that can be found in my short story collection, Chronicles of Riss. If you like this one, why not check out all the other fun adventures in the book, too?


 

Solstice Fest

There was a definite nip in the air, and I pulled my cloak tighter about me and continued to stroll along the streets of the city of Eastover. As I walked, I watched the bustling crowds and enjoyed the festive decorations of colorful ribbons, holly wreaths, and garland that had been put up over the last few weeks in preparation for tomorrow. What’s so special about tomorrow? It’s the winter solstice, and everyone over the world celebrates it with a big holiday festival known as Solstice Fest. It is usually preferable for there to be snow during the Fest, and if the cold and overcast sky were any indication, there definitely would be snow this year.

As I walked, I couldn’t help but remember the Solstice Fests that I had celebrated with my family when I was a child. We always had such fun singing, dancing, feasting, and playing games. And I always received such nice gifts. I remembered a doll that I was given one year. I loved it so much. I had wanted to take the doll with me when I went to stay with Althor, but he wouldn’t let me bring her. She’s probably destroyed now, I thought sadly. Probably got burned up with the house when the bandits raided…

Finding myself beginning to dwell on the unhappy subject of the death of my parents seven years ago when I was only eight years old, I shook my head to clear the thoughts away and looked around for something to cheer me up. Something like food.

I noticed that I had stopped walking during my reverie and that I now stood in front of a street vendor who sold sweetmeats. The old man behind the cart noticed me. “Hey, miss!” he called to me. “How about some sweetmeats? I’m running a Solstice Fest special. You can get five sticks of sweetmeat for only two gold pieces.”

He calls that a special? I would hate to see his usual prices. I considered lowering the hood of my cloak so the old man could see my blue hair and know just who I was and get a better deal out of it, but I decided not to. I had kept my hood up not only because it was cold outside, but because I wanted my identity hidden. I wanted to enjoy the holiday as a normal person and not have everyone acting scared of me and being overly nice to me because of who I am – the infamous sorceress Marissa Cobalt. Besides, I was hungry, and just didn’t feel like complaining or looking elsewhere. “Deal,” I told him, and pulled a couple of gold coins from the leather bag on my belt and stepped forward to pay the man.

With a smile on my lips and five sticks of sweetmeat in hand, I turned and stepped away from the vendor, only to feel something slam into my side and to find myself sprawled on the ground and my food scattered in the street.

My…my food,” I said sadly as I sat up.

I…I’m sorry, miss,” said a small, shy voice beside me. I turned and saw a small blonde girl only about eight years old pick herself up off the ground. Her little pink dress and gray cloak looked somewhat dirty but otherwise in good condition. “I was in a hurry, and didn’t see you.”

I gave her small smile. “It’s all right, sweetie. No harm done. Run along home now.”

She smiled back. “Okay. Good-bye, miss!” she said, then ran off down the street.

I stood up and looked sorrowfully down at my now ruined lunch. Two gold pieces gone, and nothing to show for it. Maybe the vendor saw what happened and will have pity on me, I thought hopefully. I was about to turn around to talk to the vendor when…

There she is!” an angry man’s voice yelled. “Get her!”

“”Huh?” I muttered, and instinctively looked in the direction of the voice. A group of five big men were running down the street, right towards me.

What did I do now?! I thought, and took off running.

Stop her!” called one of the men. “Stop that little thief!”

Thief?” I said as I ran. “But I haven’t stolen anything today. At least, not from any innocents.”

I turned a corner, and found myself catching up to the little blonde girl who had bumped into me just a few moments earlier. I quickly realized that it wasn’t me they were after, but her.

Hey, you!” I called to her.

She stopped running and turned to look at me. As she did, she saw the group of men turn the corner behind me. Her eyes widened with recognition and fear, and she took off running again.

I chased after her. As I ran, I checked my belt for my purse. Sure enough, it was gone.

I caught up to the little girl after she had turned another corner and grabbed her shoulder, bringing us both to a stop. I could hear the men who were chasing us getting closer.

If you want to get out of this without any trouble,” I told her, my voice low but commanding, “stay quiet and play along. Got it?”

She nodded. I released her and turned around, ready to face the men. They rounded the corner a moment later and stopped suddenly when they saw us standing there.

There’s that little thief,” said the big, tall, dark-haired man in the lead. “Get her!”

I stood in front of the little girl and lowered my hood, revealing my blue hair and identity. The men and the little girl all gasped.

M…Marissa Cobalt,” stammered the men.

What do you mean by chasing my little sister around town and calling her a thief?” I snapped. “You’ve scared her half to death.” Mentally, though, I was casting a spell by picturing runes in my mind.

The little girl took her cue. As I softly whispered the incantation, she stepped up close beside me and grabbed and held on to my arm tightly with both hands. “Big Sister, don’t let them hurt me,” she said softly, putting just the right amount of fear into her voice. That girl would make a good actress one day.

Your sister?” said the lead man. “I…I didn’t know she was your sister, Miss Marissa. She…she ran into me and knocked me down. Then she apologized and ran off. After that, I noticed that my bag of money was gone from my belt. My friends and I took off after her to get it back.”

Well, I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you’re confused,” I said, putting a slight emphasis on the word “confused” and waving my hand ever so slightly in the direction of the men. A blank expression formed on their faces. “My sister here is not a thief. She didn’t steal your purse. You probably left it somewhere, or forgot to bring it when you left home this morning. Maybe you should got back and check.”

The men nodded, then slowly turned around and shuffled off back they way they had come.

With a satisfied smile on my face, I turned my attention to the little girl. She smiled up at me. “Well, thank you, Miss Marissa,” she said. “Good-bye!” She started to walk off.

Not so fast,” I said sternly, grabbing her arm.

She stopped and looked at me with wide eyes.

Hand it over,” I commanded.

She blinked at me as if she didn’t know what I was talking about. But I knew better. She should definitely go into acting when she grows up.

My purse,” I clarified for her unnecessarily.

Oh, that,” she said. She reached around under her cloak and brought out my little bag of coins. “Sorry. Here.”

I took my purse from her little hand and attached it back to my belt. “Now the other one,” I told her.

Huh?” she said.

The other purse that you took. You know, the one that belongs to that man who was chasing us. I’ll take it, as well. Both as payment for me helping you out and as your apology for ruining my lunch.”

But…”

No buts. Hand it over.”

She sighed and reluctantly brought forth another leather bag full of coins from under her cloak and handed it to me.

Thank you,” I said. “Now, run along home.”

But instead, she sat down on the ground and started to cry. Rather loudly, too.

Dumbstruck, I just stood there and stared at her. After a moment, I found my voice. “Hey, not so loud,” I told her. “Someone will hear us.”

“But now what will Tommy and I do?” she said. “We needed that money for food. We haven’t eaten in days.”

My eyes went wide. “Who’s Tommy?” I said.

My little brother.”

What about your parents?”

We’re alone.”

I squatted down beside her and put an arm around her heaving shoulders. “What happened?” I asked softly.

We ran away from home. Mamma and Daddy were arguing and yelling at each other all the time and stopped paying attention to us. When they would, it wasn’t like it used to be. After a while, we got tired of all the yelling. And we were afraid Mamma or Daddy might leave. We wanted it back the way it was, before all the yelling, when they paid attention to us. So we thought that if they missed us, they might stop all the fighting and things would go back to normal when we got home.”

I see. And how long ago was this?”

A couple of weeks.”

A couple of weeks?! Why haven’t you gone home yet?”

Mamma and Daddy never came for us. So we’re not going home. It’s just me and Tommy now.”

But don’t you want to go home?”

If Mamma and Daddy wanted us. But they never came for us. So they don’t want us. So we’re not going home.”

I shook my head softly. “Sweetie, I’m sure they want you. I’m sure they miss you. They’ve probably looked everywhere for you. You’ve probably just wandered farther away from home than they would have expected you to. They’re probably sitting at home right now, worried sick and hoping you’ll come home soon.”

She looked at me hopefully. “You think so?”

I know so.” A wistful tone entered my voice as I said, “You know, you’re lucky to have parents. Especially now, at Solstice Fest.”

But you have parents, too, don’t you, Miss Marissa?”

I did. And they missed me a lot while I was gone away learning magic, and were so happy to see me when I would come home for a visit. But they died when I was your age. I loved them very much, and still do. I miss them all the time. You love your parents, don’t you?”

She nodded.

And you miss them, right?”

She nodded again.

So, how would you like to give them a nice surprise present for Solstice Fest?”

She nodded again. “What present?”

You and your brother. I’m going to take you both home.”

Really?!”

Yep. Now, where’s your brother?”

We stood up, and the little girl led me down the street a few blocks to an abandoned building. She opened the door and we entered a dark room that was empty save for a couple of piles of hay. A young blond boy about five years old lay atop one of the piles in a tattered shirt and pants. As we entered, he sat up.

Lyla! You’re back!” he said with a big grin on his face. “Did you bring any food?”

No, Tommy,” she said somberly.

The little boy’s face fell.

Lyla put a happier tone to her voice and told him, “But I brought something better.”

Tommy perked up. “Better than food? What?”

The girl pointed at me. “Miss Marissa. She’s taking us home.”

Hooray!” Tommy cried out. He climbed down from his pile of hay, ran over to me, and hugged me. Lyla joined in.

I laughed. “Okay, okay,” I said as I pried the two kids off me. “It’s time to get you two home. Where are we going?”

Liten,” Lyla said.

Liten? You’re lucky. I was just in that little village the other day. We can be there in no time.”

Really?” Tommy asked.

Yes.”

How?” Lyla queried.

I winked. “Magic.”

Magic?!” the siblings said. “Yay!”

I chuckled. Those two kids sure were cute. As I pictured the runes in my mind, I told the kids to hold my hands. When they had a good grip on me, I pictured the village, said the incantation, and activated the spell by saying “Teleport!”

A blinding flash of white light later, we were standing in the middle of a street in a quaint little village bustling with activity. Solstice Fest decorations dotted the buildings around us. We looked around, and I asked the kids, “So, where’s your house?”

Before the kids could answer, a woman’s very surprised voice cried out behind us, “Lyla! Tommy!”

We turned around to see a tall, pretty blonde woman and a somewhat attractive tall blond man standing just a few feet away from us, hand in hand.

Mamma!” the children cried out happily. “Daddy!” They ran to their parents, who knelt down and hugged them tightly. As I stood there, watching the scene with a smile on my face, I wished I could hug my parents like that again.

After a few moments, the parents stood up and faced me. The father held Lyla and Tommy tightly in his arms.

Miss Marissa,” said the mother. “Thank you so much for bringing Lyla and Tommy home to us.”

Oh, it was my pleasure. Those two are such sweet kids.”

Why don’t you stay with us for dinner and Solstice Fest? It’s the least we can do to thank you.”

Yeah!” said Tommy.

Please stay!” said Lyla.

I laughed. “How can I say no?”

As I followed the happily reunited family home, it started to snow.


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Take A Guess – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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“Guess what.”

“What?”

“Guess.”

“Why don’t you just tell me?”

“Nuh-uh. Guess.”

He rolls his eyes. “Just tell me.”

She shakes her head. “Just guess, ok?  A wild guess.”

“A wild guess? Fine. I guess that you really enjoy annoying me.”

She giggles. “I do. But that’s not the right answer. Guess again.”

He shakes his head. “No. I give up. Just tell me already.”

She leans over and whispers in his ear, “Guess what. I love you.”

His eyes widen in surprise. He never would have guessed it.


This short and sweet bit is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “guess”:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Aug. 12/17

 


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In The Beginning – Tell A Story Day 2016

Well, today is once again Tell A Story Day, but unfortunately, I didn’t remember in time to come up with a story, so I’m resharing this one from last year.

Jeanne Owens, author

So, I found out a couple of days ago that today is Tell A Story Day. I had been playing around with the idea for a story the last few days, so I decided to use it for Tell A Story Day and share it here and treat you all to a BRAND NEW story featuring my mercenary sorceress character, Marissa Cobalt (star of Kismet and Tell and Chronicles of Riss)! Enjoy!

In The Beginning:

An Early Adventure in Sorcery

Sunlight glinted on the blue water of the Incara Ocean. The day was beautiful, bright and sunny. There was a light warm breeze that blew my long blue hair into my face, but I didn’t mind. I just stood at the railing of the ship and stared out at the water. I’d never seen the ocean before, and my fourteen-year-old self couldn’t get enough of the sight.

Sailors and…

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First Things First – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS #NewYearsEve #amwriting

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“First things first, Ida,” Allie’s voice said over the phone. “Before I tell you what happened with Martin, tell me, what are your New Year’s Eve plans?”

“What?” Ida replied, instantly becoming defensive. She knew her friend all too well and could tell the question wasn’t simple curiosity. “Why? What have you got up your sleeve now, Allie?”

“Just tell me, Ida,” Allie replied, and Ida pictured her friend rolling her eyes.

Ida sighed. “Nothing. I’ll probably just stay home and marathon a TV show.”

Allie scoffed. “Oh, that’s no good, Ida. You need to get out and have some fun. Ring in the New Year the right way!”

“And I suppose you know just the right place, huh?”

“Of course!”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Actually, I’m having a little get-together at my place. Just for close friends. And I’d like you to come.”

To Ida, that was code for “I have someone I’d like you to meet,” and Ida rolled her eyes. Allie was always trying to fix her up with someone, even though she didn’t have the best track record when it came to relationships herself.

“Ida?” Allie asked tentatively when she didn’t get a quick response. “What do you think? Will you come?”

“What’s he like?”

“Huh?”

“What’s he like? I know you just want me to come so you can try to hook me up with someone.”

“That’s not true! I just want you to get out and have some fun for a change! And it’s New Year’s Eve! You have to celebrate it right!”

“And?” Ida prompted.

Allie sighed. “And he’s a great guy. Dark haired. Green eyes. Handsome.  A real gentleman. Has a sense of humor. Enjoys the outdoors. Animal lover. Your type of guy.”

Ida had to admit, he did sound like her kind of guy. Maybe Allie’s party wouldn’t be so bad, after all.

“Ida? Well?”

“Okay. Fine. I’ll come. The way this year’s gone, I probably should do something fun for a change to bring it to an end.”


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “first/last”:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 31/16


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Matter – Tuesday Use It In A Sentence #tuesdayuseitinasentence

“Captain!” came the call over the intercom.

With a sigh, Captain Wilson closed his book and hit the intercom button. “What is it, Miles?” he said tersely. “I thought my standing orders were that I was not to be disturbed when I was reading unless it was a matter of utmost importance.”

“This is a matter of utmost importance, sir!”

“Well, what’s the matter, then?”

“It’s the dark matter reactor, sir! It’s about to go critical!”

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner!”

“We didn’t want to disturb you, sir, and thought we could correct the problem ourselves before it got out of hand.”

“Obviously, you were wrong.”

“Yes, sir.”

“There’s nothing that can be done, then?”

“No, sir.”

“Issue the order to abandon ship, then.”

“Yes, sir!”


This post is part of the Tuesday Use It In A Sentence prompt, “matter”:

https://stephaniecolpron.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/tuesdayuseitinasentence-matter/