Forbidden Love: A Fetch Flash Fiction Haibun

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Princess Ondina walked along Rsevfha Beach as the larger of Zecor’s twin suns followed its small companion below the horizon. Three of the planet’s seven moons had risen, but they were outshone by the presence of the little man who stood at the monarch’s side.

“Serab, I am selfish,” the Princess confessed. “I am sorry my brother took you prisoner but pleased that he made you my bodyguard. His joke backfired on him. I never felt like this before. You are the best friend I could imagine and more.”

impossible dream
small, strong hands and stalwart heart
my forbidden love


This Flash Fiction Haibun features the Princess Ondina, reluctant captive monarch of the fascist regime of East Zecor and her bodyguard and secret love, Serab, a common thief captured by Ondina's cruel brother King Qweh and presented to Ondina as a jest. The joke backfired when Ondina not only accepted Serab as her bodyguard but fell in love with him.

The image I chose to illustrate this piece is nearly perfect except for the size of the people shown in the silhouette. Ondina was six feet tall and Serab stood around five foot four.

The people of Zecor have an elflike appearance. Qweh and Ondina are half-siblings. As Ketil Nagel explains to his friends in Team Netherworld's first published novella, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventures in the Xura Dream House, the dark-complexioned Qweh's mother was of the Wxzca line and the fair Ondina's mother was from the Welryv line. The pair's father is from the Welryv line.

The ruling race of Zecor, regardless of subtype, is tall. King Qweh was seven foot seven while Ondina was six feet tall. Serab, on the other hand, was an Ahprizite hybrid. The Ahprizites were a small, elflike race. At five foot four, Serab would have been very tall for an Ahprizite.

For the sort who would quibble that a Haibun can only be non-fiction:

1. I don't care.

2. Not according to Poetry Soup.

3. See 1.

If you enjoyed this little WIP excerpt and liked reading the background of the people of Zecor, please consider picking up a copy of Team Netherworld's Fetching first novella.

I hope to be back to sharing excerpts from Ketil and Yitzy's adventure next week. I am continuing to make headway on The Ballad of Gerry Clifford despite personal setbacks.

Carpe Diem Love Month: Moonlight Moving: A Fetch Story Poem

Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

the moonlight moving
across a traumatized sky
above a dead world


I have not been well. My diabetes has decided to behave in a more completely shitty fashion than it had previously done, so not only do I find myself dealing with the frustration of contending with this garbage condition, I find myself mired in self-loathing because I learned at a young age that anything shy of physical perfection was a personal failure. I will say with unflinching honesty that if it weren't for the fact that I still serve a purpose in assisting my son, I would punch my own ticket. I realize that suicide ideation is an uncomfortable subject, but please refrain from the blah blah counseling blah and blah blah medications blah rhetoric. Counseling doesn't help, and psych meds cause me to become manic and psychotic, two things that I, shockingly, don't enjoy being.

This poem describes the dead world of Zetar 6 (Zecor), a key player in the Fetch Universe. Fetch is Team Netherworld's flagship story, which was born in early November of 2014 when I was working at the retirement community where I would work for close to 11 years. The idea was born when I learned that someone who had meant a great deal to me for many years had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. This person was only 55 years old at the time of diagnosis--the same age that I am now. 

In my shock and grief, I walked through the vast retirement community and was prompted with the idea of finally starting a project that I had envisioned taking on for close to forty years. I had always wanted to write a backstory for the Lights of Zetar, a Star Trek episode which has been universally panned by critics and which has its problems, but has, nonetheless, always fascinated (and scared the bejeezus out of ) me.

The inspiration to finally begin this project and to incorporate it with my beloved Cthulhu Mythos came from a mind other than my own. I will not go into detail except to say that this inspirational individual was noncorporeal, and you can think whatever the hell you want about that, I'm not going to argue with you. I refer to this presence as Gem, and I am deeply grateful to him for the gift he gave me. I am saddened by the fact that when I am gone, the door to this world will close. No-one enjoys my work, and I am well aware of that. My writing style is entirely unappealing to most people, and my personality even more so.

I love you, Gem, but sometimes I am not sure if you possess much in the way of good sense. If you did, you surely would have chosen a scribe who was less of a complete and utter train wreck of a human being to be your co-conspirator.


Money Monday + About Me Monday: WTF is an Influencer?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In my quest to try and return to blogging about ways to make and save money, I headed to the Rakuten website to copy my referral code. For those who aren't aware, Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is a site where you can save money when you shop through their links. You can also get an extension for Chrome which will cue you if there is a potential to save money through Rakuten at a site where you are shopping.

There was also an invitation at Rakuten's site to apply to become an influencer.

At this point, most of us have probably heard the term "influencer." But like me, many of you may be saying "that's nice and all, but WTF is an influencer, really?"

According to this Quora site, an influencer is "a person who has the ability to make a group of people follow him and take him as an example due to his personality, authority, success, goals, values, abilities etc. He inspires people and becomes an anchor that keeps people together in other words he builds a community around him."

So, you know, probably not me.

According to YouTuber Critical, as seen in the video at the end of this post, an influencer is generally an egotistical douchebag who will go to extremes to feed their own narcissistic need for adulation. Hopefully, that isn't what people think of me.

Generally, I tend to see "influencers" as being fake. I don't do well with fake. I have no desire to be seen as a trend-setter. I don't care whether or not people think I'm attractive, and I am certainly not the height of fashion. I'm more like the anti-fashion broad.

I have something to say, but if I have to pretend to be something I'm not to get followers, then those are not the followers for me. I don't necessarily even want to be seen as a "leader." I make plenty of mistakes and if I decide to jump off a cliff, I don't want people jumping off after me just because I thought it was a good idea at the time. If I had my druthers, I'd like to be seen as a teacher who had the capacity to entertain.

I'm not an expert on...well, anything, really. I do know a little about blogging but I have a bit of a prickly personality and I don't play by the rules. I've been following a blogger named Janice Wald for several years now and I would recommend her to bloggers wanting to learn how to build a social media presence and monetize their online efforts.

There is a link to one of Janice's books at the end of the post. If you purchase the book through the link, I will receive a small commission from Amazon.

Janice has a weekly blog hop called Inspire Me Monday. I won't be linking there this week because this post isn't entirely family-friendly. My language didn't get too spicy, but my pal Critical definitely turns the profane heat up to Habanero!

Your Ornery Hostess with the Mostest,
Aunt Cie

Come As You Are Party: Wired Differently or Just a Flake?

Image by Wolfgang Eckert from Pixabay

It is my hope to back away from apologizing for who I am and instead explain about myself so that those I interact with might develop an understanding of those of us who are wired differently.

I have type 2 bipolar disorder and ADD as well as complex PTSD and OCD. I wasn't properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder or OCD until I was almost 40. I didn't know I had ADD until I was in my 50s. I was just always scolded for being forgetful and distracted. I have always vacillated between being Ms. Wonderful and being that flakey a-hole that everyone hates. I understand why it happens now, but I can't change the past. I wish people would try to understand me a little better, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

My son will be 30 this year. He is high-functioning autistic and has ADHD as well as anxiety issues and major depression. He is very intelligent and has read the entire Amber series (Roger Zelazny), much of Tolkien's writing, The Count of Monte Cristo, the works of C.S. Lewis, and the list goes on, but he can't learn from a textbook to save his life. I think the current educational system does a very poor job of addressing the needs of those who are not neurotypical. 

I technically also have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, but it is my opinion that borderline personality disorder is actually a form of complex PTSD and is an outdated and sexist diagnosis. It is almost exclusively applied to girls and women. Everyone who has it has endured some form of trauma, whether physical, psychological, sexual or a combination thereof. 

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

WEP February 2020 Challenge: Cafe Terrace

Genre: General Fiction
(The work that this will become part of is paranormal/sci-fi)

Word Count: 1000

Rating: PG-13 (profanity, discussion of adult situations)

Full critique accepted providing you agree to use the Hamburger Method.

Here is the kind of critique that is acceptable:
"I liked it when Paul told the roaming fishmonger that he wasn't interested in buying week-old fish. I am a bit confused as to why you are mentioning the fishmonger since he doesn't appear in the story. The fishmonger seems like an interesting character."

This is the kind of critique that is not acceptable:
"I don't usually read about farty old bastards reminiscing about their bygone youth, and I really don't care that Paul is sad about Gerry losing his memory. Paul seems really immature for a guy in his fifties, and I don't care about his wife either."

Further notes follow the story.

As Paul Clifford drifted off to sleep in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2015, he dreamed of the unseasonably warm Valentine’s day in 1981. The then 27-year-old guitarist had been booted from the house by his wife with a kiss on the cheek and a swat on the backside as she told him to go walk off his nervous energy before it rubbed off on their five-and-a-half-week-old daughter. Paul promised Sophia that he would be back in time for their date that night. He jumped on his bad motor scooter and rode from the couple’s home in North Wembley to the Crouch End suburb where he had lived from 1963 to adulthood.

“Bloody place has changed so much,” Paul mused as he parked his scooter in front of La Parisienne Café on Wisteria Avenue. Paul entered the café and asked if he could use their telephone. After ringing up his brother, he asked if he could take tea on the terrace. The proprietor, a doughy, middle-aged, olive-skinned man with wild waves of black hair, a welcoming smile, and a warm Greek accent invited Young Sir to have a seat wherever he chose.

When Gerry stepped out of a cab an hour later, he looked rather the worse for wear. Paul hailed from the terrace with a sunny grin.

The proprietor led the bedraggled Gerry to the table and procured a teacup.

“Could I have coffee instead, Mate?” Gerry inquired. “Black, very strong.”

The affable gentleman returned to the interior of the shop.

“Funny pair, them,” he remarked to his brother. “Same size, similar faces, I am thinking them to be brothers or half-brothers. But the one is so sunny with his shining golden curls, and the other looks like he just crawled out of a tomb.”

“I think the dark-haired one is nursing a hangover,” the tall, slender brother observed. “You and I are a funny pair when you think about it. We are the Laurel and Hardy of pastries, the fat and the thin.”

Both brothers laughed, and the plump brother brought Gerry his coffee, walking in on the middle of a mild dispute.

“Why the bloody hell are you sitting on the terrace in the middle of feckin’ February?” Gerry demanded, shivering as he pulled his jacket around himself.

 “Ain’t my fault yer a feckin’ vampire what can’t tolerate the sun. Don’t be a cunt.”

“And don’t you be a right boor in front of this chap,” Gerry admonished, lighting a cigarette.

“Pardon my language,” Paul said, turning to the proprietor. “We’re brothers, and sometimes…”

“Yes, yes, this I know,” the proprietor laughed. “I work with my brother, the skinny broomstick behind the counter. It is funny you mention you sit on terrace. My name, you see, is Taras Tarasios. My brother is Xavier. We welcome you into our shop anytime. Will you young gentlemen be taking lunch today?”

“Yeah, Mate, that would be good,” Gerry agreed. “Bit of a bender last night, I’m afraid. Probably ought to get something other than coffee in me. Nothing too heavy, though. Annie would have my head if I slagged off dinner tonight ‘cause I ate too much lunch.”

“Maybe we could split something,” Paul suggested. “Bowl of soup apiece, then a sandwich to share. Whatever you’ve got on special, Mr. Taras.”

 “So, how’s Danny doing?” Paul asked, referencing Gerry’s son, born five days before Paul’s daughter.

“Well, he ain’t had a seizure in twenty hours, so I guess he’s arite,” Gerry said. “Are you sure this bird you’ve hired to watch the kiddas tonight is up to the task of caring for a wee chap with seizures?”

“Well, she ain’t just any bird, she’s a nurse,” Paul replied, looking on with concern as Gerry procured a flask from his coat pocket and poured some of the contents into his coffee.

“Hair of the dog that bit me,” Gerry explained. “You needn’t say anything, Paulie. I’ve got to get this trouble of mine under wraps. I don’t want me son growing up with a drunkard for a father.”

“Gerry, if I was speaking with anyone else, I’d say this wasn’t my business, but you’re the closest person in the world to me, so I’ve gotta ask. Are you happy being married to Anne?”

“Well, who the hell else was I going to marry?” Gerry quipped. “Seeing as I put her in a family way, it only seemed the right thing to do. Don’t start with me, Paulie. Not everyone is so fortunate as you and Sophia, who have a love affair so sickenly sweet it could rot the teeth right out of your head. Not sure I’d want one, really. Wouldn’t be able to concentrate on business if all I could think of was the love of me life. I’d always be dropping clinkers from me guitar like you do these days.”

“Aw, go fuck yourself,” Paul chuckled, lighting a cigarette. “Yeah, I got lucky when I landed Sophia. Never thought a beautiful bird like her would take to a feckin’ ugly blighter like me.”


Paul turned to look at the person shaking his shoulder. He woke to see Sophia’s worried eyes and realized that there were tears on his face.

“You said you wanted me to wake you so you could have lunch with Gerry at the care center,” Sophia said.

Paul sniffled and dried his eyes. Sophia procured a comb and ordered Paul to sit while she combed his thinning hair.

“What were you dreaming about, Love?” Sophia inquired.

“A Valentine’s day years ago when I met Gerry at that café in Crouch End,” Paul said. “Alice and Danny were barely more than a month old, and me and Gerry…well, I was twenty-seven and he was twenty-nine, but we hardly seemed more than kids ourselves. Now he’s forgetting more and more as the days pass. Every day I lose a bit more of me brother.”

Sophia put down the comb and embraced her husband as he wept.

~Cie for Team Netherworld~

Further Notes:
This piece will become a chapter in the current WIP from this universe, tentatively titled The Ballad of Gerry Clifford.

Digital art by me. You are welcome to use it, but please credit me. (Cara Hartley, The Real Cie, The Ornery Old Lady, or even Cie Cheesemeister will do.)

I worked with the geriatric population including many people with dementia for a cumulative of around 25 years. I had to get out of the field when it started to become personal. It's one thing to be a caregiver whose patient has dementia. It's quite another when it's someone you know.

Wordy Thursday: Platonic Friendships are Important

The Ornery Old Lady is not a fan of WordPress.

Wordpress' overly aggressive Spam filter is the bane of my existence on many occasions. I attempted to leave the following comment on this post about the best fictional couples. The comment may have gone to a moderation queue, but I suspect it was eaten as Spam. 

Here is my comment.

My most recently published work is a buddy story rather than a romance, but I guess one could say there's a lot of bromance in this book. 

There's a fun pairing between a human ghost and a Lovecraftian creature who meet up with a couple of ghouls who are longtime friends. This odd bunch form a quartet on a quest to save the Universe from itself. 

The older I get, the more I prefer to write about platonic bonds rather than romantic ones. Romance seems so often to contain a toxic and possessive undertone. Admissibly, I may just be old and bitter. I never was any good at romance in real life.

Here are some further thoughts, and a bit of shameless self-promotion.

The Dreamlands Bro Squad consists of:

Ketil Nagel, the spirit of a Swedish underground metal vocalist who sacrificed himself to the vampire goddess Mormo on 6 June 1991, when he was 25 years old.

Robin Roberts, a ghoul who was a petty thief during his lifetime. Robin perished in London during the influenza pandemic of 1918. He morphed into a ghoul due to dabbling in the wrong magic for the right reasons.

John Tamboli, a ghoul who in life made what money he could by doing a variety of odd jobs. He wasn't particular about the legality of the jobs he was hired for. John also perished in London during the influenza pandemic and morphed into a ghoul for similar reasons to Robin's.

"Yitzy," a member of the Great Race of Yith. Yithians in their best-known form are long-lived asexual creatures who reproduce infrequently by means of spores. Yitzy is not in any way bothered by being perceived as masculine and would not be bothered by being perceived as feminine. 

There is not one sliver, scad, or iota of romantic interaction in this novella. But there is bromance aplenty. 

I find that platonic friendships tend to take a backseat to romantic ties. I feel that this is a shame. Bromance, sisterly love, and opposite-sex platonic friendships are just as important as romantic bonds. 

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Ornery Owl
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

The Great Race of Yith were created by H.P. Lovecraft.
The ghouls referenced in this post are Lovecraftian ghouls.

Insecure Writers Support Group 5 February 2020

The question:
February 5 question - Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

The answer:
That photo above.

The story in question was a bit of paranormal romance tripe written by a very stupid, very self-absorbed, very obsessed, very messed-up, and very incorrectly diagnosed psychologically disturbed young woman. Yeah, that would be me, or at least who I used to be, and I suppose I should have some sympathy for the silly twit, but honestly, most of the time I'd just like to go kick her simpering ass until she gets some sense because I'm still paying for her shithead mistakes. If I'm to be honest, I hate her a whole lot.

The story was based around a fellow with whom this screwed-up young lady was obsessed. She created a character in his image. That character was tall and moderately muscular with dark golden-blond hair and dark blue eyes. He was ruggedly handsome, and he was a reluctant vampire. 

The story was lacking a lot of things, and one of the things it was lacking was a good villain. Miss Simpering Twit started writing it in 1986 or 1987, somewhere thereabouts. She put it aside for a while because it was stalled. In 1990, she ended up having her only child, a son, which caused her to mature somewhat. Her son grew up listening to great music because although Miss Simpering Twit may have been a simpering twit, she did have great taste in music.

I don't remember exactly when or how the album Poison was discovered. Ms. Simpering Twit was a fan of Alice Cooper. She may have been shopping for CDs with birthday money or such and discovered it then. The CD was released in July 1989. It became a fast favorite. Then one day Ms. Simpering Twit was looking at the cover, and it came to her like a a vision.

Pretty-boy reluctant vampire Andrew should have an evil and not reluctant badass brother. When employing his glamour, he would look quite similar to Alice Cooper on the Poison CD cover. When not employing his glamour, he would look more like the image on Alice Cooper's shirt. His name was Jarius or Jared, depending on how much he was trying to blend into modern society.

I still like Jared, and, to a degree, I like Andrew, although I hate what he represents. I finished the story, sort of. A lot of changes were made to it. I published it through a POD publishing company. Hell, I even ended up with a number one fan. This was back in 2007

I learned that having a "number one fan" is scary. 

I ended up getting death threats.

I spent thousands of dollars and learned the hard way that POD publishing is terrible.

I stopped writing for several years.

The story isn't even that bad, but I know that I'll never re-release it or write the second book in the series. There's too much bad blood with it.

I still love the Poison album. Tell me Alice Cooper doesn't just look the part of a badass vampire.

Ornery and Insecure
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

A Tasty Offer: MFRW Book Hooks + Tidbit Tuesday 5 February 2020

Geeky Gandy Stafford's lifelong fantasy comes true when he meets the otherworldly Dorma and Desyra. These last remnants of a botched extraterrestrial invasion discover that they require a great deal of energy to maintain their human forms.

The easiest way to obtain essential power?

Sex, and lots of it.

“Oh, good!” Gandy replied. “I...I probably wouldn’t taste that good anyway. My diet isn’t exactly stellar. I’m a bit of a junk food junkie. I could get you something to eat, though. Would you like some ice cream? Oh. You probably don’t even know what ice cream is, do you?”

“We wish to learn of your planet. Teach us what you know.”

Come as You Are Party/Catching Up With the Ornery Old Lady

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Hiya people! I had myself a little bit of a mental breakdown over the past week and went MIA, not, I'm sure, that anyone missed me. I came to one of those crossroads points in my life where I needed to make a critical decision. I'll just let this tentative introduction that I wrote for the book I'm currently working on tell you all about it.


Here's how I will introduce my longer, more involved books from this day forward.

The chapters in my books can be read as standalone short stories or interpreted cohesively as a longer novelette/novella/novel. During the first half of my life, I had a lot of people tell me that my writing would never be good until I was able to make it conform to their ideals. Now that I am in the second half of my life, I refuse to apologize any longer for the way my mind and brain work or to force my writing to conform to rules decreed by others.

I have ADD (attention deficit disorder), type 2 bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These factors affect the way my brain processes information and the way I write. While I strive to make my writing concise in its own way and to continually improve my skills, I will never be able to write novel-length stories in a cohesive fashion. My mind simply cannot stop developing subplots.

It came to a point where I realized that I must either stop sharing my work or start sharing it without apologies for the fact that I neither think nor write like other people. I have chosen to share my work with an explanation but no apology.

I write the way I see the Universe as working: in a sometimes seemingly haphazard and disconnected fashion with an unseen thread connecting aspects in surprising ways. As the Tenth Doctor once said, “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective point of view, it is more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff.”

My stories are a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, and I will no longer apologize for that. I will simply issue the warning that you are now entering the Zone Where Normal Things Don't Happen Very Often, as was once revealed on Johnny Bravo.

If that sort of thing really is your bag, Baby, then welcome! Leave your expectations at the door, and come join Team Netherworld for an adventure like no other! You may at times be baffled, but I promise that you will never be bored.

Cie the Ornery Old Lady with a Mind Like a Maze
I would dare you to try and figure me out
But that wouldn't be fair
Because I've never managed to figure myself out!

Check out the latest and greatest from Team Netherworld

Weekend Writing Warriors/Snippet Sunday 2 February 2020

Click the Banner to read other snippets

The following snippet is from Team Netherworld's recently published novella, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House. The previous snippet from this story can be found here. Further details and a link to purchase the book will follow!

“Yithian, I fear the concept of ‘overly simplistic’ has evaded you. Your explanations are always quite detailed. However, I am tremendously pleased that you have decided to assist me. I did not know it at the time but embarking on this task which I have placed before myself is much more pleasant with a companion. Not just any companion, mind, but the right sort of companion. Perhaps it is so that the Universe felt that we ought to meet. As you have observed, it certainly seems that we can benefit one another. Now, shall we enter the house together?”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

I have generally used the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop to share WIPs up to the point when the WIP is published. However, the WIP I had been sharing has done some really weird things, and I am trying to get it under control. So, I am going to be sharing the adventures of Ketil and Yitzy for a while. I love this story, so it isn't as if it pains me to share it. It also gives me an excuse to share some fun pictures of members of the Great Race of Yith. However, I thought that this time I would share an image of Ketil that I created while messing about in Pixlr.

The amateur ghost photographer ran screaming from the building moments after capturing this image, which pleased Ketil to no end.

I won't take up too much space in this post rattling on about personal issues. If you're interested, you can catch up with me on Sunday at the Come as You Are Party.

Ornery Literary Services Featuring CHEAP PROOFREADING and BOOK REVIEWS

  Free use image by Marisa Sias on Pixabay Hello everyone, I've been dealing with a lot of personal stuff, so I haven't been around ...