We’re kinda late.
Last week was . . . weird. Um. Yeah. I lost my great-grandma and that was stressful. So uh. No blog post.
But now we have one, and even though it’s Tuesday at least we have it, right?
It’s Inktober time! Last year was Promptober, this year is Inktober. Here is the list.
So here are the first five days of Inktober 2021, as written by Ashley Everhart to the best of her abilities. Enjoy.
Day 1: Crystal
Flickering shadows are not the greatest thing to see in a dark, narrow cave. Obviously they were only cast by the rocks, by Shelby and Lucas themselves. Not any horrible monsters or anything like that.
Lucas always had an overactive imagination.
If he perhaps walked a little closer behind his big sister, that was nobody’s business but his own.
“Almost there,” Shelby whispered, voice shaky with excitement suppressed into near-silence. The lantern swung in her hand as she lifted it higher, dark shapes swooping up the walls. Lucas cringed, clutching Shelby’s coat in a dirty hand.
“Shelby,” he hissed. “It’s late, we’re not supposed to be out here. We’re gonna get in trouble!”
“Oh, hush. You’re such a baby. Here I am, risking my life to show you my own secret–”
“What do you mean risking your life!?”
“–and you don’t even have the decency to enjoy it!” Shelby sighed dramatically, but he could see the playful smirk tugging at her lips when she threw a glance back at him. “Just wait, it’s worth it.”
Lucas frowned. He didn’t think anything that you had to get out of bed in the middle of the night and go out in the cold and go into a dark tunnel for would be worth it. Ever. He was probably going to get grounded, actually, that was totally what was going to happen. Yep. Either he would get grounded or be absorbed by the shadow monsters and neither of those were very good options.
Something caught the lantern’s glow down the tunnel, sending a flash of purple-tinted light into Lucas’ eyes. Shelby grinned and grabbed his wrist, tugging him faster. He almost resisted, but there was something shiny in the cave and oh it was pretty.
An entire cavern. An entire cavern filled with nothing but violet clusters of crystals, walls, ceiling, even parts of the floor. Light from the lantern turned lavender as the crystals took it and lit up like Christmas lights. The room took on a diffuse purple glow.
Lucas blinked, mouth open, looking like a goldfish. Nothing behind those wide eyes but whoa.
“Isn’t it cool?” Shelby squealed giddily. “Wh . . . h . . . how!?”
“Dad showed me. He explained, I don’t remember, but it’s like . . . it’s like a huge geode. Or something. Isn’t it cool!?”
“It’s awesome,” Lucas breathed. He could only stare, basking in the enchanted light.
Until the lantern flickered out.
“Well,” Shelby said with a nervous laugh when they both stopped screaming. “How good is your night vision?”
Day 2: Suit
Gavin smiled, nodding along as Councilman What’s-His-Bucket yammered on about something, probably to do with politics or stocks. Gavin really just was not paying attention.
He hated parties like this! So! Much!
Why did father think it was a good idea to send him? Okay, sure, somebody had to go to represent the family, it would be societal death if the Fairfields weren’t in attendance for one of the most important galas of the year. But Gavin?
No. That was a bad idea, actually. Case in point: this very conversation. Clayton or Emily would be able to follow it, act interested, remember everything that was said and everything that wasn’t, and use it to their advantage. But Gavin? Gavin was stood here nodding like a ninny, paying more attention to the way the suit jacket sleeves brushed annoyingly against his wrists than to the man’s rant about uh . . . real estate? Maybe?
To be fair, he wasn’t sure anybody could pay full attention to anything. It was loud, a million people all talking over each other, some band playing music that nobody was listening to, clinking of glasses and silverware echoing off the ridiculously high ceilings.
Seriously why does it need to be so tall.
Makes you dizzy just looking up.
Finally, finally, the man’s wife pushed her way to the crowd and rescued Gavin from the incomprehensible monologue. She didn’t do it on purpose, but the few seconds of distraction as she begged her husband to dance was enough for Gavin to excuse himself to the refreshment table. He doubted Sir Something-Or-Other even noticed he was gone.
Sidestepping and weaving his way to the edge of the crowd was the easy part, although he nearly knocked off a woman’s towering wig and narrowly avoided a glass of punch to the face as a man enthusiastically gestured with his drink. The hard part was avoiding getting caught again once he was out.
The big double doors near the front opened to let someone in, and a gust of cool night air curled around his face and ruffled his hair. He breathed in deep, closing his eyes and wishing he was out there. Wishing father and mother weren’t counting on him to make a good impression.
Blessed isolation for a few minutes as most people gravitated to the dance floor. Gavin discreetly stuffed a few small pastries into his mouth. They weren’t even that good, though they probably cost way too much to even think about.
He almost choked on them when a lady screamed, throwing the noisy but ordered static of the room into absolute chaos.
Something small and red barreled into him, shoving him away from the dessert table and into a tiny side room closed off by a curtain. Gavin could only make a pained little oof sound. What was happening, exactly?
Whatever had shoved him continued doing so, pressing him into the wall of the tiny room. Gavin wondered distantly what it was for; maybe for when you needed a break from the chaos? That would be nice.
Hold on the red thing was a person.That was just a whole human actually.
The person — okay that looked like a child, actually, that was a kid — shushed him, pressing him against the wall and staying perfectly still, eyes trained on the still-settling curtain as if expecting it to attack at any moment.
The chaos out in the ballroom only got louder. The kid hissed through his teeth, muttering something under his breath. He reached up, touching something right next to Gavin’s ear.
The wall behind him was just! Gone! How!? And then he was flat on his back, wind knocked out of him yet again.
The kid grabbed his wrist and hauled him to his feet, pulling him into the space where the wall used to be. Oh. Secret passage. That. That made sense.
Wait, no it didn’t, what was happening?!
“Sorry . . . what?” Gavin said slowly, which wasn’t exactly what he had meant to say. But that was what came out.The kid glanced back at him, slowing in his high-speed dragging.
“You . . . who are you? What is going on?”
He did not elaborate.
After another minute or so Gavin planted his feet and stopped.
The kid stopped too, turning and looking at him. Gavin finally got a good look at him, illuminated as he was by the dim fluorescent lights of the passage. (Now he thought about it, that was kind of weird. Didn’t secret passages usually end up being dark or lit by medieval-looking torches?)
Fluffy blond hair fell over bright blue eyes. Harsh shadows made the violet circles under them more prominent. A gap between the front teeth, freckles and scars scattered in disjointed constellations over his nose and cheekbones. A deep scarlet suit hung on his thin frame, neat and clean in a stark contrast to the rest of him.
The kid — okay, maybe not a kid. Like fourteen, maybe — huffed in annoyance.
“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” he mumbled.Gavin blinked again.
“Okay, okay,” Gavin pulled his arm out of the boy’s grasp, taking a step back. “Please explain what’s going on.”
“I needed to get in here, you were in the way. Awfully rude of you, y’know.”
“ . . .no?”
“Yeah! Incredibly rude of you, standing in the way of my escape route. Can’t believe your audacity.” Red rolled his eyes.
“Escape? Like, like actually escaping or just getting away from the party . . .?”
“What do I look like, some melodramatic princess or something? Of course actually escaping!”
Gavin nodded slowly. “Okay. Why?”
Red puffed out his cheeks. “None of your business.”
He gestured to the tunnel they were stood in. “You kinda made it my business?”
“Well, if you absolutely must know–” The boy puffed up his chest, folding his arms. “I’m a master thief, and I’ve just stolen a priceless treasure right from under the President’s nose.”
Um. That. Okay.
“Why would you do that? I’m pretty sure that’s . . . very illegal?”
“Pfft, I will never get caught! I’m just that talented.”
Gavin frowned. That did not sound entirely correct. Also, that was not an answer to his question. He decided to not mention that.
“Where does this passage go?”
Red shrugged. “Just outside. It goes clear under the walls and lets out near the river. You can probably get back inside, you’ll just have to walk through some mud. But your stupid rich people shoes deserve it, they are ugly.”
Gavin glanced down at his shoes. “Yeah. I don’t like them much. Why . . .why’d you bring me with you?”
Red shrugged again. “You were in the way.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Yes it does.”
Gavin huffed. “Okay then. So, what, I’m supposed to just . . . leave? Without telling anybody about you stealing . . . what did you steal, anyhow?”
The boy blinked. “Something . . . very secret and important and too cool for you to even know about.”
Gavin raised his eyebrows. “You don’t even know what you stole?”
“I do! I totally do! Obviously, cause I’m the one who stole it and am a master thief and good at everything!”
“You have no idea.”
The kid scowled. “It’s . . . it’s in, like, a box. I just haven’t opened it yet.”
“ . . . you know what, okay.” Gavin looked over his shoulder. He could see the closed door of the passage in the greenish light. Ick. Oh it was so gross and creepy in here. “So I’m just gonna go, actually.”
“No!” Red grabbed his sleeve. “No. You can’t. That isn’t allowed. You . . . you have to come with me. And promise that you won’t tell any guards about me. Yeah. And then you can go back to the stupid party. But if you tell them I will . . . I’ll like, kill you.”
Gavin stepped back a bit, but honestly? That didn’t sound very sincere. If he didn’t know better he’d think that Red was scared. Did he know better?
“I . . .” Oh, gosh, this was not gonna end well. “I promise. I won’t tell anybody.” He hesitated. “But why did you steal it?”
Red looked down. “I . . . somebody told me to. I dunno. Said they’d pay me for it. A lot.”
And from the look of him he. Probably needed money. Badly. Gavin sighed. “How much?” Ugh, father was going to kill him for this . . .
Red shifted. “A hundred sovereigns.”
That . . . honestly wasn’t that much. Definitely not enough to warrant breaking into a gala and stealing some sort of precious item right out from under the President’s nose.
“Let’s make a deal.” Gavin pulled his wallet from his suit pocket. “I will give you two hundred sovereigns if you give me the . . . the thing, and we both pretend this never happened.”
Red blinked, mouth hanging open. “Two hund–” He squinted. “Why?”
Gavin shrugged. “I don’t know.”
There was a moment of quiet. The horrible creepy lights buzzed. A shiver ran down Gavin’s spine. Red bit his lip, then rolled his eyes and stuck out a grubby hand.
Gavin let out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding and shook the hand, internally grimacing at the dirt transferred to his own. “Okay. Hand over the box.”
“Stupid box anyway,” Red grumbled, taking a tiny wooden chest from his pocket and shoving it into Gavin’s hands, greedily snatching the offered money. Then he hesitated. “But. But could you maybe. Maybe still come with me? I mean you can’t go back through there anyhow, they’ll notice, it probably doesn’t even open from the inside anyway–”
“Yeah.” Gavin cut him off before he could ramble further. “Might as well.”
Twenty minutes later Gavin set the tiny box on the edge of the President’s table, completely unnoticed by anyone else. The ball had resumed, albeit slightly more tense than before, and guards were combing the building to find the box. They’d come across it eventually.
No one would even look twice at the middle Fairfield child, hands in his suit pockets, running his thumb over his empty wallet.
Day 3: Vessel
Wind whips with a ferocity that thwaps the sail against itself. Casey winces, clenching her fingers around the splintery post at the edge of the dock.
She doesn’t want to get on the boat.
It isn’t like it’s storming or anything; the wind isn’t even relatively strong today. But the little waves slap against the side of the sailboat and rock it side to side concerningly.
She doesn’t want to get on the boat.
Her brother rolls his eyes, half-grinning as he fastens some ropes and unties others. Casey has no idea what he’s doing and she doesn’t want to.
She doesn’t want to get on the boat.
Her brother tugs on her arm, bringing her closer, telling her that it’s perfectly safe. That he goes out almost every day, that there’s no way she will fall in the water, and even if she did she’s wearing a life jacket and won’t sink.
She doesn’t want to get on the boat.
The moment Casey’s foot touches the deck, the entire boat shifts. That is terrifying. She clutches her brother’s arm, nearly knocking him over. He laughs, pulling her to the seat, reminding her to duck when he tells her.
She is in the boat.
It’s terrifying, but her brother is laughing and water is spraying into her face and the wind is whipping her hair, and maybe it isn’t all that bad.
Day Four: Knot
This day is going fantastically.
That was sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell.
I mean, it’s one thing to get caught in a supervillain attack. Those happen all the time, I’m kind of used to it, honestly. It’s another thing to get like. Actually caught in it.
Like as in I got captured by the supervillain.
Which supervillain even is this? He’s got, like, a cape. Which really doesn’t narrow it down, but that’s all I can see right now because the guy is floating menacingly a few feet away from me.
The floating might be a clue but I can’t think of which ones can do that.
It’s sort of hard to concentrate when you’re being held hostage.
He’s monologuing, which is stupid because of course he is. I think he’s maybe talking to a camera drone? That would make sense.
A goon is standing over me, which is uncomfy. Really uncomfy, more uncomfy than the rough rope around my arms. Man’s tall. And buff. Kind of normal for a goon but geez sir calm down.
Speaking of the ropes, though.
I hiss through my teeth a little, trying to subtly weasel out of them. I probably could, if given a bit of time. And if the stupid goon would just back up a few inches.
Will could get out of this in no time. He could become immaterial and just phase through, no problem, like the annoying stupid idiot he is. Ben was strong enough to just snap them like rubber bands. Dad . . . well, Dad wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place, but if he was he would slice through the rope with his feathers and then beat the crap out of these idiots with his wings.
Dad is such a boss.
But Dad isn’t here, it’s only me. The only non-powered one in the family.
You know what sucks more? This isn’t the first time I’ve been captured. Not even the second time.
No this happens a lot.
I guess all supervillains are just idiots, because they seem to assume that since I don’t have any superpowers, I’m not a threat and they can safely snatch me to use as leverage. Which is dumb. Because I might not be able to do much to them, but my dad and brothers sure can. And guess how happy they are when some idiot steals their baby sister?
So I’m trying to get out of the rope, so I can run. Or punch this stupid goon in his stupid face. He smells like generic men’s body spray. Ew.
Cape turns to me, and oh. It’s the one guy, the uhhhh. The one. With the magnet powers! That’s probably why he’s floating, we are on top of a metal rooftop right now. He’s got a Z on his suit but I don’t remember what it stands for.
“Your father will be here soon,” he says, in that stupid menacing voice they all use.
I snort. “Yeah. That’s not good for you.”
“Oh, I think–”
“I don’t care what you think, big man, you are an idiot.”
He frowns. Looks stupid under his stupid mask. Aaaaand there, the knot comes loose.
Behind him, a hand reaches up through the rooftop. Like. Straight through. It’s a pretty average looking hand, long thin fingers, covered in a blue glove, but like the opacity has been turned way down. It reaches up, revealing a yellow-sleeved arm.
I bite my lip to keep from laughing as it latches on to the way-too-extra cape and yanks.
Magnet Man goes down like a sack of potatoes, squawking with all the vocal skill of a ticked-off seagull. The goon inhales sharply and goes for the gun at his side but gets absolutely divebombed by a winged man.
My dad, the Only Man Ever.
I let out a victorious whoop which turns quickly into a squeal as Ben scoops me up, holding me like a baby as Will climbs out of the roof, slowly becoming more opaque as he starts fighting Magnet Man. Well, fighting is kind of a generous term. It’s more of just kicking the poor guy viciously while he’s still on the ground. Will isn’t very good at the whole ‘fair fight’ bit.
Ben backs away from where Dad is now joining in with threats and flared wings.
“You good?” he says, his voice rumbling through his chest and into mine.
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine. These guys are stupid.” I squirm a little but I don’t want him to put me down. Even if constantly getting kidnapped is very stressful and sometimes . . . you know . . . traumatizing, getting rescued is always really nice. My big brothers and my dad beating the living daylights out of whoever messed with me.
“I think he gets the message,” I call.
Will looks up, breaking into a grin. “Clem!”
Magnet Man groans in pain.
Dad leaves him and walks over to us, void-black wings curling around Ben and I, knocking his forehead into mine.
Will phases in to join in the group hug.
“So,” Dad says after a minute. “You’re not ever going to the mall by yourself again.”
“Oh, c’mon, Dad—”
Day 5: Raven
Ravens are omens in fiction. Bringers of bad news. A sign of death, doom, destruction.
In real life, they just like dead stuff.
Not Jinx, though. Jinx doesn’t like dead stuff.
You could, however, say he’s an omen of doom. Because whenever he shows up, calamity and destruction follow. Mostly because he causes it.
Jinx is special. That’s what Aislinn always says. He’s the only person he knows who can turn into a bird whenever he wants. He’s the only person he knows with golden eyes. He’s the only person he knows who is a changeling.
He isn’t lonely, though! Not at all. He has many human friends, they are all very cool and he loves them. Rayne steals his feathers and makes necklaces out of them. Brynna and Jorgan play pirates and revolution with him. Jazper gives him shiny metal scraps from his blacksmith shop. Ariella gives him cookies. Zaiden lets him play in the big wagon and sometimes gives him hugs, and Zaiden gives very good hugs for a grumpy guy. Mick lets him ride on his hoverboard and listen to the fun music on his headphones. Kayden is the best big brother, and the coolest crime fighter and Jinx is the best sidekick ever for him.
Sometimes Jinx wonders what it would be like, if he had grown up with other fae. People who would know what to do when he couldn’t control his magic, or when he lost feathers and felt sick, or when he did mean things and didn’t know why.
But he knew what it would be like. The fae didn’t want him. That’s why Aislinn has him now. He doesn’t want them either, he has his humans, his family.
Aislinn doesn’t see him as an omen of doom. She sees him as hers, her boy, her Jinx. And she is his human. And that’s good enough.
Even if he does steal all of her shinies.
And that’s it for week one! I hope you enjoyed, I actually had a surprising amount of fun writing these. Hopefully it stays that way the rest of the month.