Robin – Mirror Image

Prompt: She studied her face in the mirror.

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Despite it being her day off Robin rose early. There were times she enjoyed sleeping in or even lazing in bed: usually when she’d had an exhausting day previously or, less often, when she had a warm body to curl up against. The warm body that had shared her bed last night wasn’t the sort she laid around for though.┬áHenderson, her beloved shepherd, slowly stirred as she gave a stretch and pushed back the covers, reaching down to stroke through the thick fur on his neck. His tail thumped gently on the duvet as he lifted his head to give a broad yawn.

The air in her quarters was somewhat chilly on her bare arms and after slipping out of bed she shuffled to her closet door, pulling a thin hoodie down off a hook and drawing it over her shoulders. Henderson hopped down and padded in his owner’s wake as she made her way to the small kitchen. It was breakfast for both of them. The dog sat patiently until his bowl was filled and when he’d begun eating Robin saw to her own, pulling a nutrition shake out of the fridge. She usually only sat down and had a formal breakfast when she had company or when she stayed over with her father. As it was the shake would suffice until lunch.

She headed to the bathroom then, raising the dimmer switch slowly so she didn’t half blind herself. Setting her breakfast on the counter she turned on the water, lathering up a bar of soap and washing her face, the cool water helping to drive the lingering sleepiness from her. She wasn’t the sort to linger when getting ready and took up a towel to pat her face dry, catching her own reflection in the mirror. She didn’t like to think of herself as vain, never spent hours in front of the glass, but a mood came into her and she stopped and began to study her face in the mirror.

Robin had never been ashamed of the way she looked, even during her teenage years when she’d been more gangly than anything, a sharp contrast from the toned muscle she sported now. She’d never really fallen into trends. Her mother had always encouraged her and showed her how to be comfortable in herself and not to have to feel like she needed fancy things to give her life value. It might have helped she’d spent most of her young life on various ranches and farms on a quiet little backwater world. It was hard to get too caught up in yourself when you were covered in dust or mud or helping a mare birth in the middle of the night.

She ran her fingers over her cheeks, wishing she saw more of her mother in her face. There were hints, her nose, the curve of her lips, even her slightly high forehead. Her mother had always been the most beautiful woman in her eyes and though she’d feared time would fade the memories of her they remained as vivid as ever as the years went on. Memories surfaced unbidden and she gently fingered the ring her mother had left her.

The scent of rain and a distant rumble of thunder, curling in close to her mother’s softness as they rocked gently back and forth on the porch to watch the storm roll away into the distance.

The hot, dry, dust-choked air thickening with every hoof beat. Her mother’s voice in the distance as she ordered the dogs. She couldn’t see her in the swirling haze but felt safe knowing she was near.

Bedtimes, bruises, sweet smells in the kitchen, laughter.

She remembered the last days too and even now, after all these years, she had to swallow down a lump in her throat. She was happy and loved and though she still missed her it gave her solace to know her mother’s last wish had been fulfilled. It filled her with joy to see her mother’s smile echoed in her own.

Her mother had raised her alone through most of her young life which made it interesting that most of her looks came from her father. He’d found her late, after her mother’s passing, but she loved him no less and their bond had grown strong in the years since she’d come to live with him. Things weren’t always perfect but no relationship ever was. Her jaw and cheekbones were his, lending strong definition to her face. Some might have called her features somewhat masculine but it had never bothered her.

Her father’s influence was perhaps more noticeable because of the other features he’d passed to her. Her eyes were the same blue as his, her hair the same sleek black, and if there was a slight point to the ends of her ears first meeting her father had answered where they’d come from.

It had been less than a day since she’d last seen her father. She didn’t need photographs and memories to recall him, though she cherished both, and while she took up a brush to work through her long black hair her eyes trailed the lines of her face as she thought of him.

A gentle kiss to her forehead as her father tucked her in, softly bidding his ‘Sunshine’ good night. Drifting away at ease knowing he was near, watching the stars out her window.

Her aching body, drenched in sweat after the final combat test, heartbeat in her ears. The pride in her father’s eyes at her triumph, the strength of his arms as he hugged her, filling her with happiness.

Conversations, training, fine meals shared planet-side, joy.

There were darker days too, perhaps more than most lives might hold. Her father had been alone for a long time but she’d embraced all of him and never turned away on the bad days. He could appear hard as a rock to those who didn’t know him but to her he’d always be ‘Daddy’.

She didn’t realize she’d stopped brushing her hair until her reflection in the glass suddenly went blurry. Blinking helped diffuse some of the tears and she laid the brush down as she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Robin wasn’t the weepy sort but thinking about both her parents filled her with a potent mix of emotions, from joy, to love, to some sorrow, and everything in between.

She felt lucky to have had two such wonderful people in her life, who’d shaped who she was far more deeply than her outward features. Despite the few tears she laughed, a true sense of joy and warmth moving through her.

She smiled, and her reflection smiled back.

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Writing Exercise, July 12

“Throw away the lights, the definitions and say of what you see in the dark.”

For not the first time in his life, he threw off his human form. That form he found the most restrictive of them all, out of them all. Despite their brains and their technology and their advances… they could communicate across the globe in seconds but were unable to see what was right in front of them. He truly did wonder how they’d managed to make it this far, out shine every other species to become dominant. But that was part of the reason he masqued in their bodies, mimicked them. For what better way to gain the advantage than to slip behind the other’s lines and walk a few miles in their skins?

But returning to the truth was something he longed for and needed, despite all the time he spent in designer suits and encased in sleek, sexy metal and chrome to get from here to there. No, it was returning to the truth, fur and four legged the sights and sounds were so much richer and more real and it was nearly impossible to hide anything from his knowing. This was the way to seek secrets, the proper way. Here they all knew him and the human name he carried that followed him, tainting him in a way, and for daring to walk between the forms he was both loved and reviled. He drank in every single moment of it.

Writing Exercise, March 31

The prompt: Every morning…

Every morning, when he woke, it was to the sound of the alarm blaring on the night stand close to his ear. He never needed more than a few of those shrill rings to be drawn up out of his slumber, no matter how deep it might have been. Dreams had no defense against it. He was the alarms slave. He took comfort in the fact that he wasn’t the only one. But only a little.

There was a routine, every morning, weither work beckoned or not. Covers up, glasses on, to his feet before trudging off to face the day. He had read about sleep and routines in some magazine in a doctors office once, one of those psudo-medical journals that those in the medical profession figure are dumbed down enough so the rest of the world can figure them out. It had said, he recalled clearly, that it is a good idea to wake up at the same time every single morning. And, being in the state he had been at the time and quite desperate to try just about anything, he had. And the habit had merely stuck.

He couldn’t honestly say weither or not it had done anything for the better.

He pulled the blinds open after having navigated his way out of the bedroom into the small living room of the flat, flooding the room with the early light of the morning, still tinged with the oranges of sunrise. He leaned against the window, despite the crew neck and striped boxers that adorned him, and looked outside at the day. Birds were singing, one or two people jogging, all the things he saw every single morning. They no longer held his attention. Morning was not his time, though he greeted it everday.

Leaving the window to itself and the world for later he shuffled into the kitchen where the pot was already half full from the automatic brew setting. Just enough time to make up some toast. There were very, very few things in his life he liked, or was even proud of, but toast and coffee, that was something he… if he couldn’t like, could at least take comfort in. It was his, no matter how many other people in the wide world out there were having the exact same thing. It was his, in his kitchen, and in his life.

Breakfast, then a quick shower, shave, brushing of teeth, and dressing. And then work, as it was five out of the seven days of the week. His routine. Always.

He hardly even noticed when the phone suddenly rang…

A Writing Exercise

The prompt: ‘So these were my friends…’

So these were my friends. My friends. My beautiful infuriating friends. How often had we had such arguments. A hundred times? More? I couldn’t possibly count them all. Yet… still, they were all I had. All any of us had.

Ashley, George, Daniel. It wasn’t as if they were perfect, I could hardly say the same of myself at times. Well, most times. Apart we had nothing, but together, ah yes, together there was nothing that could possibly stop us.

Or, thats how it used to be.
And then he came along.

Tall, proud, and golden; Terrance Olridder was everything any of us could ever want, could only ever hope to be. He was the kind of man that women scream over when it first begins, and then cry over once it ends. The kind of man that other men either bow before in awe, or bow before while cursing dark profanities in the back of their minds. He wasn’t a bad person. No, not by a long shot, though… perhaps I thought so, in the beginning. Of course I thought so.

I will admit to my own fallicies in my own time.

But that is hardly what is important anymore.

I remember them, my friends, though even now their faces dull in my memory even as I try my very hardest to scrape every inch I can and create a lasting effigy in my mind. Ashley, beautiful in her own way. Wide eyes, warm as wood. One could only think of being embraced by trees and warmth. I always thought of the far off forests when we were alone together. How she managed, I will never know.

George was our bright one. Always looking to the skies, searching for that spark of goodness that he was so very sure lived in all of us. I never was able to agree with him on that. Everytime I mentioned so he flashed me with those bright blue eyes and for a few moments I forgot everything, my own fears, doubts, and misgivings. For those few moments I believed in what he had to say. He could do that to anyone, I was sure.

Daniel was the darkness. Even as it filled his outward manner and looks, reminded one of a man birthed from shadows. Ebony skin that seemed to pull the very light out of the air. He was mesmerizing to behold. We knew each other a long, long time. Since we were children. He and I, we understood each other as perhaps a very few understand each other. I loved him as a friend, a brother. I always will.

Even now.