Happy Book Birthday Half Breeds!

Half Breeds 1

Kicked out of private school, Allen has to brave a public high school where most of the kids don’t know supernatural creatures exist. He expects to be miserable, but he finds himself romantically pursued by two people: a shy, but fascinating boy named Jeremy and a spunky girl named Chloe. The demon in Allen wants to feed off Chloe, but the human part of him is falling for Jeremy. Which will win?

Today, my first stand alone story, a novelette called Half Breeds is released to the wild. The ebook is for sale and ready to download on Amazon and on Nine Star Press’ website.

Of all the short stories that I’ve written, Half Breeds is one of my favorites. Sometimes I struggle portraying emotion and sexual tension without being corny, but in this story more so than others, I feel like I managed to balance emotion, tension and humor.

Half Breeds may be a paranormal tale featuring teens who are half demon and half angel, but in it, I explore very human concepts, like sexuality, consent, self-image and the feeling of being a monster. These are topics I love to write about because they are always snaking around in my mind, but sometimes, they make people uncomfortable.

Since consent and sexual harassment are largely discussed, public issues, I was a little worried how readers would react to a particular scene where Allen, the main character, doesn’t respect another characters revoked consent while they are making out. It’s an important scene because it’s a realistic situation in Allen makes the wrong choice, and has to face the consequences of it.

One review said “The bathroom scene made me a little uncomfortable to be honest but I think if you truly read it in the context of the story it’s tolerable…… kind of” while another said “Codair handles these issues with grace and humor.” The point, at least to a certain extent, was to make the readers uncomfortable, to make sure they saw how the character made the wrong decisions, and how it affected him after.  I don’t want to alienate readers, but on occasion, I write things people shouldn’t be comfortable with because in some ways, it forces people to think about the issues more than hash tags  or vague posts.

Serious issues aside, I hope you find that Half Breeds a spooky and funny Halloween story that makes you think.

 

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New Micro Fiction: Padded Walls

Note: As some of you know, I often participate in a weekly writing contest called “Cracked Flash Fiction Competition.” The following piece won this week. I owe this weeks judge, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, a big thank you for catching my typos and still choosing my story in spite of the,.

Padded Walls

By Sara Codair

“When this is over, I want my sanity back,” said Elena as matter-of-factly as one could say anything when wearing a straightjacket in a padded room.

The padded walls spread their crusty purple lips, revealing row upon row of pointy yellow teeth and laughed.

“I mean it.” She waggled her pointer finger at the ceiling.

“Who says it will ever be over?” The wall’s lips cracked as it spoke.

“Who said I was talking to you,” retorted Elena, tearing her eyes away from the ceiling so she could glare at the wall.

Black blood dripped out of the wall’s cracked lip, trickling down to the floor. “No one leaves here alive.”

Elena laughed. The sound was harsher, more maniacal than it had been two weeks ago.

“You do not believe?” asked the wall.

“You’re the reason I’m here.” She crouched down, wriggling in the straightjacket that was not nearly as tight as the orderlies thought, thankful for all the months she’d trained prior to taking this assignment.

“You can’t do that,” said the wall.

Elena arched one eyebrow as she shrugged off the jacket and used it to wipe up the black blood.

The wall opened its mouth and screamed. Elena didn’t flinch. It inhaled, sucking in air so hard her hair blew towards its maw. She closed her eyes, cleared her mind of the all the drug-induced hallucinations she’d had during her stay Frommington Hospital, waiting for the wall to show its true face.

She whispered words of power in the ancient tongue. The blood soaked jacket caught fire. The wall screamed as it burned with the jacket. The door opened as orderlies rushed in to put out the fire. Elena charged through them and strolled out of the burning hospital like she owned the place.

Micro Fiction: Mr. Meowsker’s Bright Idea

Here is a little story, inspired by a prompt from Cracked Flash, to start your week:

Mr. Meowsker’s Bright Idea

By Sara Codair

“You’re my favorite monster,” said Annnaly, running her fingers over Gruffer’s fluffy face. Her black cat, Meowsker’s, was perched on here shoulder. He leaned forward licked the bridge of Gruffer’s nose.

Gruffer made a noise – a cross between a grunt and a huff. It was the only sound he ever made, but Annnaly imagined that if he was capable of human speech, he would be saying “Was?”

Nerves twined through her chest like poison ivy. She leaned her forehead against his, cupping his flat face in her hands. “The government says I can’t keep you. The made monster collections illegal. They…they want me to put you down.”

Tears streamed out of Annnaly’s eyes, dragging a river of black and blue cosmetic sludge from her face to Gruffer’s. She held his face, sobbing, not caring that Mr. Meowsker climbed off of her and onto Gruffer. She didn’t know what he did until she felt two enormous paws patting her back.

Looking up, she saw Mr. Meowsker proudly perched on Gruffer’s hear with his restrains dangling from his mouth. A smile cracked across her lips. “You brilliant feline.”

Mr. Meowsker purred like a motorcycle.

When the inspectors came to make sure Annnaly, the lady with the largest monster collection on the planet, had put down all her monsters, they were greeted by a hoard of hungry teeth and claws, not the taxidermied monster-corpses they expected.

Annaly wanted to taxidermy the inspectors and keep them as trophies, mementos from the first day of the coup, but there was literally nothing left by the time the monsters were done with them.

Micro Fiction: Migratory Blues

Here is another little story from Cracked Flash – this one was a runner up.

Migratory Blues

By Sara Codair

They unfurled their wings, shifted their weight and lifted off the rotting branch. Fuz smiled as the north wind hit their face. It was damp and mild, a sure sign spring had arrived in mid-regions. Circling high above the mud-sodden earth, they searched for one last southern meal.

They dove when they spotted slow movement – a tiny rodent whose legs were getting sucked in with every step. Within in seconds, the little critter was in Fuz’s claws, being carried back to the their nest.

After a hearty, albeit muddy meal, Fuz sprayed the nest with their scent and flew north.

#

Three days later, Fuz arrived to the mid realms, only to find the ground there had already turned to claw sucking mud. Their stomach grumbled as they circled over mud and water. They plucked an eel out of a pond and perched on a damp rock to eat it, but it wriggled all the way down.

Each year, it seemed the mid-realms spring got closer to that of the southern realms.

Fuz signed, flapped their tired wings and was airborne once again, hoping the north was having an early spring too, or else he would freeze to death.

#

Touching down in the north, Fuz was glad to have solid ground beneath their claw’s. The sun was shining, and prey animals were scurrying about – a living buffet. They feasted on rodents, lizards and insects until their belly felt like it would burst. Then they found a solid tree branch – one they noted was still devoid of leaves, and sprawled out for a nap in the sun.

Later, the howling wind woke them. The sun was gone, and frost coated the edges of their feathers and beak. They stood, struggling to take off, but the wind was too strong and cold.

Micro Fiction: Be Better by Sara Codair

Note: This piece was originally written for Cracked Flash’s weekly writing contest. It didn’t win, but I still thought it was worth sharing since it is one of the first pieces I’ve written using gender neutral pronouns. I’ve been researching them for a while and often feel that if they were more known, I would rather use some neutral than she/her.

In the end, I think this piece was more of an excercise than a full story, but I’d love to hear what you all think of the Ey/Eir and how it worked in the piece. -Sara

Be Better
by Sara Codair

Eli, the captain of the guard, watched two figures silently move through the shadows. Ey unholstered eir blaster then stalked after them. Eir heart raced as they approached the supply house. The manager reported canned goods and medicine stolen, but no one had caught the culprit. Eli suspected that was because eir investigators pitied the fools who lived outside the compound.

The figures walked right past the supply house into the scrapyard. Nothing was reported stolen from there, though they rarely inventoried it since no one used cars. It was too dangerous for Eli’s people to leave the compound.

Ey followed the thieves right up to a rusty carcass of a pickup truck and waited until their heads vanished into the hood. Ey aimed eir blaster. “Freeze! Put your hands where I can see them.”

The two figures turned. Judging by their wrinkles, stubbly pale skin and flat chests, Eli guessed they were two middle aged white men – the kind of people that made it too dangerous for eir to live in out in the world.

“Please don’t shoot.” Both men dropped to their knees. “The government has gone nuts. We need your help.”

“Get off my property!” Eli undid the safety.

“Please let me take this. I’ll pay you back with labor. I have no money, my truck is broken, and my daughter needs to get to a hospital. She’s has a major infection.”

Part of Eli wanted to send the men away, reject them in the same way society had rejected eir, but as ey watched them look at her like they were praying to some forgotten god, ey couldn’t do it. “Take the part and bring your daughter here. We have doctors, and could use some help turning over the fields next week.”

Micro Fiction: Bullet Hole in a Yellow Window

Bullet Hole in a Yellow Window

By Sara Codair

Congealed sugar crystals.

Bubbles captured in amber.

Spider webs waiting to trap unsuspecting flies.

A perfectly round path to another world where your blood isn’t splattered all over the sofa, sinking into the deepest part of the cushion staining pure white stuffing red.

In that other world you’re still smiling at me, laughing with me and loving everything about me. In that other world, I’m free to love you out in the open, free to live a hundred years by your side.

“You have the right to remain silent,” says the man in this world, encircling my wrist in metal.

###

I wrote this story for the 100 word story photo challenge back in August. They never posted a winner for August, but you can see the photo here if you want: https://www.facebook.com/100wordstory/photos/a.374368579247657.94462.213141275370389/1298620266822479/?type=3&theater

Publication and Politics

For the past few years, I had been living under a metaphorical rock. Things like the news, current, events, and politics gave me panic attacks. Last year, I had a wake up call and realized that ignoring  the news wasn’t making it any less scary.

I used to show my students a documentary called “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” shortly before having them write an essay about marketing and advertising. Donald Trump is briefly interviewed in that movie about the profitability of co-promotion. The first few times I showed, no one really even noticed him, but in Fall 2015, that changed. The second he appeared on screen, my students booed him.

At this time, I knew Trump was running for president, but I didn’t take him seriously. I had heard he was racist, and that he was ignorant, but I knew very little about him.

As the semester went on, I heard the students talking more and more about him, his racism, his anti-immigration policies, and his wall. Soon enough, I found my self slowly getting pulled back into the world of current events. I had to know if this guy for real, and if he had any chance of winning.

I started by reading articles that my more educated friends had shared of Facebook. As I reinvented my twitter account to network with other writers and publishers, I followed politicians and news organizations. Eventually, I was looking at their tweets and reading articles on a daily basis.

I came out of my cave. I became informed about the elections, about the environmental issues that were keeping me up at night, and about the human rights / labor rights violations taking place around the world.

Then some beautiful happened. I realized I didn’t need to go out and campaign or donate money to foster change. The bits and pieces of news I consumed were starting to seep their way into my writing. Whether I was imaging an America where health care was sold like a phone or vacation package, an earth without bee’s, or steampunk America where woman never won the right to vote, I could take my fears, my nightmares of a world gone wrong, and share them with everyone.

The first of these stories was published today in an anthology titled “Its All Trumped Up.” This is a collection of stories from writers all around the world that uses fiction to explore nine different ways a Trump presidency could affect the world. Please support us by read and sharing!

No matter what your political views are, please, please, please exercise your right to vote this November! And if your not American, you can still read, and you can use the social media to make your voice heard. We live in a globalized society. This election will have implications far beyond American borders.

 

Micro Essay: Treasure Hunter

Treasure Hunter
by Sara Codair

Waves are locked in ice on a silver day while dreams of summer stroll the shore. The gulls still sing but the tourists are gone. It’s just me who’s crazy enough to comb the beach today, searching for shells and glass hidden beneath the snow. I bend down. My ungloved hand closes on something clear, smooth and cold like a glacier. The heat of my skin melts it at first contact and I let go – its ice, not glass. I keep walking, hoping I’ll see red glint in the dim winter sun – the gold, the holy grail of sea glass.

© 2016 Sara Codair

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This micro-essay was originally published on The Northern Essex Writing Project.

 

 

 

A Short Study in Scholarly Revenge

A Short Study in Scholarly Revenge

By Sara Codair

Life through the lens of a Petri dish: love sacrificed for knowledge. After twenty years searching for truths too small for the naked eye, suffering in my lab, driven mad by failed experiments and failed relationships, I found the answer.

Hours later, I read Studies in Pathology and discovered a twenty-something post-doc discovered it last June and published it today.

She gets the glory, and I get an empty apartment filled with dust and loneliness. She gets a card congratulating her. I get revenge as yellow bubbles grow inside her brain.

It’s easier to create diseases than to cure them.

2012-11-24 09.50.12

©2016 Sara Codair

This piece was originally written for 100 Word Storie’s monthly photo prompt. It wasn’t chosen as a winner, so I thought I would share it here.

The Final

 

The Final

By Sara Codair

It was too late to turn back–for all of them. The test had begun. They would either collaborate and score at least 75% and become wizards, or fail, get their minds wiped, and live out the rest of their lives in a factory.

Gretchen didn’t want to spend her life as a mindless soap- manufacturing drone, but no one would focus. Unfortunately, collaboration was essential. They each had a different piece of the equation to solve on the Physics of Potency exam. Jack was so busy ignoring Ricardo that he missed an important variable, meaning that by the time Gretchen arrived at her portion, she had to redo his before she could answer hers. Felecia was distracting Pi; he messed up his portion. By the time the answer was put into the crystal proctor ball, it was wrong.

“You’re all idiots,” muttered Gretchen, but no one heard her.

“Just focus on your task,” she shouted, and they still didn’t hear her.

When they got five consecutive questions wrong, she lost it. It was statistically impossible to pass now, but she wasn’t going down without a fight. She’d prove she was a capable mage, one way or another.

Enraged as she was, gathering power was easy. She wrapped it around herself like a flaming cocoon. Equations danced across her eyelids; she solved them effortlessly. The numbers translated to words as she spoke, sending flaming energy out from her fingers to her classmates. It twined around their bodies, contorting their forms and until they were just a herd of baaing goats.

The exam board materialized. They were all grinning.

“That’s a pass if I ever saw one,” said the headmaster. The deans all nodded in agreement.

©2016 Sara Codair

An earlier draft of “The Final” was posted on last week’s Cracked Flash competition. It was the honorable mention, so it received some feedback from the judges, so I made some changes and posted the final version here. You can enter this week’s competition at http://crackedflash.blogspot.com/