Tuesday, February 28, 2017

a year in music : ii

f e b r u a r y

click picture for playlist of these songs <3 

i. machine
[ misterwives ]

ii. chase me
[ dreamcatcher ]

iii. yesterday
[ block b ]

iv. something just like this
[ the chainsmokers and coldplay ]

v. hand clap
[ fitz and the tantrum ]

vi. don't recall
[ kard ]

vii. spring day
[ bts ]

viii. the walker
[ fitz and the simmons ]

ix. rookie
[ red velvet ]

x. knock knock
[ twice ]

xi. liar
[ clc ]

xii. intro : the most beautiful moment in life
[ bts ]

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

beautiful people : hand-holding and secrets

happy valentines day, guys!

it seemed so fitting to save this couples edition of beautiful people for the holiday traditionally known for coupley things. however, because I am a rebel, my couple is not one of a romantic, shippy nature, but instead, I chose my extremely platonic soulmates, Cora and Neil.

*screams into the void about how much I love these two characters*

bear with me here, but I love them a lot and their relationship is one of my favourites out of ALL my writing. and that's saying a lot. (yes, they even beat out Riley and Matt, my long time OTP). so sit back, relax, and enjoy the adorableness that is about to head your way.

1. how and why did they meet? 

Neil and Cora met at Mercy Hospital on a cold November afternoon. that day, Neil was saddled with taking Foxglove's next door neighbour's kid (it's complicated) to see her cousin, who has leukemia. it was supposed to be perfectly simple--slip into the hospital, drop her off, disappear. however, because Neil happens to be a reaper, things didn't work out quite so easily. the moment people noticed a reaper in their midst (and in a hospital full of sick and dying people, none the less), they started to freak out. and so Cora enters the scene.

this is not a pleasant encounter. much glowering and sarcasm took place. you could almost assume that these two are going to be mortal enemies for the rest of their lives, and they kind of are, but future events change how they see each other forever and make them into something more.

2. what were their first impressions of each other?

A heavy silence passed, and then-- “What’s up?” A bright voice from behind me echoed loudly around the deserted lobby. I startled at the sudden sound, whirling around in alarm.
A young woman in purple scrubs stood just a few feet behind me, a hand on her rounded hip. Her massive curly hair was pulled into a bun that defied all logic of gravity, and much like the shining chrome of the hospital, her umber skin gleamed.
When our eyes met, everything went cold.
The golden stars bloomed behind her pupils too. Just like Wilson. Just like every other guardian I’d ever met.
Her lips tightened into a thin line after just one glance at me. She knew. They always did. “Do we have a problem, Lily?”

It wasn’t him. My tall, handsome stranger with the little girl dressed in pink, following him closely was nowhere to be found. In his place stood a bony man, barely even more than a boy, with longish stringy hair.

His hair was gray. ashen, like death itself.

He shifted uncomfortably as I stared at him, disappointment and disgust pooling together in my stomach. His dark clothes cut through the tranquility like a knife, and when his deep brown eyes grazed mine, a prickle of nervous energy struck my neck.

A reaper.

I never knew exactly how I knew what I was looking at--I just noticed it, just like I noticed his long gangly arms hanging loosely at his sides and the mole nestled above his lip, close to his sharp nose. Something changed in the air in that moment, and everything within me tensed, ready to strike.

*I wrote this scene from both perspectives because I really wanted to capture how they both saw each other
**Cora's perspective is very much influenced by the fact that Neil is NOT Foxglove. more on that later.
*** I apologize for the tinyness of the font...copying from Google Docs is not my friend. ugh.

3. how would they prove their love for each other?

Cora would die for him. Neil would do anything in his power to keep her alive. unfortunately, fate has other plans.

4. what would be an ideal date?

oh boy. let's put it this way--Neil gets dragged along on a Very Awkward Date with Foxglove and Cora to the Halloway Carnival. pretty much everything goes wrong about this date including: Foxglove disappears. Neil screams like a small child. a malevolent spirit shows up. my characters eat funnel cakes and I hate them for it. Neil passes out. a psychic reads Neil's future and it's not pretty. Foxglove and Cora are sickeningly cute together and it makes my poor little third wheel want to die. and finally, Neil is kidnapped.

thankfully, no clowns show up. that truly would be the world's worst date.

even though this may not seem like the greatest scenario, this is actually one of Cora and Neil's favourite memories of each other...they really bond through this experience. and it is the first time they hold hands. fight me, guys, but I am HERE for platonic hand holding.

5. is there something that they emphatically disagree on?

Cora HATES Neil's smoking habit. actually, she hates a lot of his habits. Neil couldn't care less.

6. list five food quirk they know about each other.

  • Neil knows Cora's subway order by heart
  • on nights after particularly hard reapings, Cora makes sure that Neil has his ultimate comfort food: Sprite and a really cheesy omelet
  • they both really, really love Thai food. particularly take out from that one place down the road from Neil's apartment
  • both of them aren't allowed to cook. (except for omelets. that's the one thing they both can make.) it just doesn't work out well. case in point: that one time Cora tried to make Foxglove a romantic dinner and they almost burnt down their apartment
  • when they get coffee, Neil always takes a sip of Cora's, even though he hates sweet drinks. he doesn't even know why he does it--it's almost unconscious. 

7. what's one thing they know about each other that no one else does?

Cora knows that Neil killed someone--not as a reaper, but as something else, something more than this physical world. Neil knows that Cora secretly dreams of being a normal person, of having a human life, instead of living as a guardian.

8. what's one thing that they keep a secret from each other?

Neil keeps what the Grim discovers about her a secret for a long time. Cora can't tell him that she doesn't entirely trust him, especially after she witnesses what he can do to people.

9. how would their lives be different without each other?

oh man...I don't like thinking about this. these two definitely made each other better. Cora would still be living under the shadow of her family, afraid to be someone who doesn't align with their wishes. Neil would be more lost than he ever was--Cora was the thing that pulled him back from the edge at the very last moment, even though he never thought in a million years that a guardian would be the one to save him.

10. where do they each see this relationship going?

they want to stay by each other's side forever. that's what soulmates do, right?

oh man... *stares wistfully at all the piles of homework I must do before I work on this book* I love these two. I love their stories. I love their hearts and how they change over the course of Tethered. the struggles of being a college student balancing school, blogging, work, AND writing. *sighs* I'm hoping to work on fixing my plot issues this week. we'll see though...this history midterm may get the best of me yet.

behold, an accurate representation of my impending doom...

also, this has been a PSA. tell your friends you love them with pride. they deserve it.

hope y'all have a spectacular Valentine's day!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


+ halloway +

they walk on my streets, alive but not really living. content to waste away and become stagnant shells of all that they've been. they whine and complain about the constantly dreary skies above them and the bare, bony earth beneath, but they never once wonder if maybe it is their own despondency that has destroyed the spring and the summer and all brightness of life.

or maybe the darkness in the streets comes from the dead who are truly walking in their midst.

their footsteps ring differently against the soil--rich with desperation, starving for peace. their hopelessness is a different kind--long-lived and patient--because they have walked this earth longer than any being should ever have to.

loss and hunger fill my bones. in a way, I am one and the same with both of them--alive but stagnant, desperate to be put out of my misery.

I am Halloway, and I know no end.

+ cobwebs +


I am the little woman's house, my rickety and ramshackle shell belying the warmth and security within the bare bones. her toes dig deep into the rich rug beneath her trembling feet, and she stares him down like she should have done when things first started to unravel.


"No." she won't hear another word from him; she is still too weak to listen to his beguiling tongue. if she did, she would fall, just like she always had before.

her love for him is like the fire burning strong in the hearth--unwavering, unfaltering, forever faithful.

"you need to leave," she insists.

he steps for the splintering door, his footsteps blurred with hesitation. his fingers wrap around the doorknob, but he makes no move to open the door. they all called him a spider, didn't they? his long, bony fingers and flint-like eyes, along with the greasy ease he has when moving from room to room. treacherous, conniving, spinner of webs. his touch is like cobwebs, clinging desperately for an excuse to stay.

"go home," she says. like one of his webs in the wind, her voice sways, and she moves with it. "your son deserves to have a dad. he needs you."

"but I need you."

"do you even realize how selfish you are?" he moves toward her, but she stops him with single stab of her finger. the baby tendrils of her bangs fall gently into her eyes, but there is nothing gentle about that gaze. "you chose her first. you chose to have a son. they should be your priority. not me."

her resentment for that bleeds deep into the floor.

"I don't want to see you again," she firmly states as her insides turn watery and weak-willed. "not even if you're dying."

"I thought you loved me." the words are spat angrily, burying deep in her skin like stinging nettles.

"I do." she really did. "what I don't love is what I've turned you into."

she hated him for changing. he'd become something even she couldn't recognize; not white, not black. instead, he was now an ever-shifting gray, refusing to commit to anything--not even her.

no matter how much he protested, he hadn't chosen her entirely. some part of him was going to leave someday, despite the fact that she loved him. it was inevitable. so she might as well do something about it now, before the pain grows too much.

when she turns her back on him, I shake--the war between their burning human bodies mirrors the celestial battle of the storm outside.

he waits for her to turn around, but not long enough. just as she wavers, hungry for one final look at his face, the door clicks shut, as silent and as passive as he was in everything else.

the cobwebs are brushed away by the storm, and the love that should have been burns out, like it never even happened.

little did the woman know that six months later, Arata Ruthers would be dead, and his son would stand exactly where he once stood, leaving me helpless to his raw anger and confusion. like father, like son.

+ boyhood +

I am the apartment he drags the stranger home to, warm and cold at the same time. both of them are paler than the yellowing paint of the walls, both terrified of two very different things.

"you--you're a reaper?" the shorter boy brushes his long, dripping hair out of his eyes. his boots are scuffed and stained with engine grease, and they skid noisily on the wooden floor as he shifts. a pool of rainwater collects between them. while they are hushed, the storm rages on outside.

the other boy--the one with dead eyes, gray hair, and terror tightening his throat--can't look at him. the angles of his face match his father's, and like the spider, his fingers are cobwebs too.

but this boy is no spider. he is a moth, flying too close to light for warmth, only to die.

"I'm sorry," he says, wringing his hands. nervous energy saps through him, and the floorboards unconsciously squeak beneath him. "I didn't want you to know."

"why?" although his face is panicked and pale, the short boy has eyes that burned. "because you thought I would shun you, like the rest of this stupid town?"

he dropped his head. "yes."

the single word speaks of a million hurts.

"what do I have to do?" the brave boy asks.


"what do I have to make you trust me when I say I'm your friend, ghosts and all?" he strains to  look the taller boy in the eyes. he's not afraid of the deep bruises that gather upon his friend's cheekbones or the ways his eyes drift away to look at something that's not actually there. "I mean it, when I say that. I will always mean that."

the reaper's son swallows hard. "just stay. that's all I need. someone to lean on."

the first boy nods. "then I'll be that for you. your wall. your support. whatever you need, whenever you need it. I promise."

+ daybreak +

when day and night meet for the first time without the eyes of the world resting on them, I am the sun setting low in the sky, and the foggy haze settling over the abandoned 7-11 like a dream. the girl, lost. the boy, broken. they watch each other, taught to hate and kick and bite...not to look at each other like this.

in that moment, they are helpless. running from something bigger than life. afraid to be what their souls hold. 

the emotions are stifling, and yet, they are silent. 

"you were right," he finally says. "I'm a monster."

she hadn't meant it when she said that. or maybe she had. she didn't know any more. 

"my name is Neil Ruthers," he says, slumping down to the grimy floor in a sprawled mess, " and I'm a year and eight months sober." 

he holds the bottle out at arms length and chokes on his bitter laughter.

the girl doesn't want to be there. she doesn't want to talk to this strange, drunken man. but something deep within her keeps her standing there, rooted to the earth.

she can't leave him. 

and that was the beginning.