Friday, August 28, 2015

SWC #7- the asylum

So I decided to go with some backstory for Peril this time.

Writing Prompts

Peril peered at the sign overhead. "The Criminally Insane" She studied the ground once more. Her hand seemed very small in Whorlie's hand. Why were they here? Why would Whorlie take her here? What had happened to father? Was he here?

She didn't look back, although she wanted too. She knew Kejan wouldn't be there. She wished he. Of course, she trusted Whorlie. He was father's top man, and he always protected her from the sneers of father's other men. Still she liked Kejan more. He was a bit younger than most the others. He never looked at her the way they did. Kejan never used that big word that she didn't understand.


Instead, he taught her things. A lot of things. Kejan taught her to read. He taught her how to set snares for catching dinner. He taught her all about the woods. He taught her never to let on how much she really knew. Not even Whorlie would've known she could read that sign with ease.

He taught her that there were very bad people in the world. He said that some of them were father's men. He hoped one day she would not have to be around such bad people. He said that he was one of them.

That she did not believe. Why would Kejan be bad? If he was all that bad, why would he be so kind to her? If he was bad, he would be more like the other men. He would call her things like "witch" and "demon child." He would threaten to burn her under a tree like they did. Or worse, he would be like her father, and deny she existed.  

But Kejan wasn't here with his peaceful presence. So Peril tightened her grip on Whorlie's hand and he squeezed back in reassurance. It was part of how they communicated with each other. Somehow she knew when Whorlie told her it was time to hide, or eat, or sleep just by a squeeze of her shoulder or by a small nod and a smile. 

The castle mansion rose above them. She detested the walls. Gray brick and musty. The halls echoed with noise. People screaming and crying and muttering and running. Why were they here? 

Whorlie asked a few directions to the "head of this madhouse," but Peril tried to block it all out. She wasn't here. There was no roof. No walls. No wailing. She was alone in a wood with the wind teasing the trees and the creek trickling through the grass. 

It worked until they entered a very dark hall. It really wasn't any darker than the other halls. In fact, it was much quieter here. Near silent. But it felt so much more darker. And that's why it took her from her daydream. It must've. A large door waited at the end of the hall and Whorlie didn't even knock. 

"I see you've brought her." A man behind a desk stood. No, he didn't stand. He towered. His ivory skin contrasted with the black bleakness of the whole room. 

Whorlie shook his head, "But what of--"

"He is dead," the other man said with strong certainty.

Somehow Peril knew they meant her father. She didn't know how she knew. But she did. Something inside her told her she ought to feel sad. She ought to cry. But how could one ever cry for a father? It wasn't like they cared. It wasn't like they did anything of importance in a person's life. Oh, he'd helped bring her into this life. But if she was supposed to owe him something for that, then forget it. Something else deep down. A grim amusement was glad that she wouldn't have to see him again. 

He had tried to kill her once. 

"How old is she?" the man nodded to Peril.

"Does it matter, Matagan?" Whorlie stood more in front of her. What was going on?

Matagan shrugged. "For the records."

"Five years," Whorlie answered. "Is this really necessary? I mean, you've gotten him. Why--"

Matagan waved him away. "You know this will help you go free. We've been through this."

"Yes, but she's done nothing. To put her here. She's merely--"

"Whorlie," that all-too commanding voice returned to Matagan, "It is not this place that is haunted. It is simply a building. It's the people that it houses to free the rest of society from their kind. And she," Matagan pointed at Peril, "She is more haunted than I've ever seen. You know what her mother was, and with her father too. You know what she'll become."

Peril stuck her chin out. She wouldn't let this man know how terrified she was that maybe they were right. Maybe everything they ever said was true. She never knew her mother, but if her mother had been a sorceress, perhaps the spirits would come haunt her too? What if she went mad like father? What if she turned out as a bad person who hurt other people? The people that Kejan warned her against. The person her father was. What if--

"Just look at her eyes." Matagan jerked a hand toward her with disdain.

Peril blinked her eyes, not simultaneously. She blinked one right after another. It always freaked out father's men when she did that. It accentuated the fact that her eyes were each a different color. One a burning amber, the other an icy blue. Or so father's men had said

Whorlie shook his head. "I know. I'.m sorry."

"Hm, yes." Matagan's gaze fell down to Peril in full study mode now. He walked around her, but she simply turned with him. Always facing him. 

"Impertinent, she is," Matagan mumbled."Is she smart?"

Whorlie shrugged. "She's five, sir? She's shown no development of her parents as of yet."

Matagan did his "hm, yes," response again. He waved a hand at Whorlie. "You may go."

Whorlie moved but Peril did not release his hand. He gave her a smile and the shoulder squeeze to stay. Peril shook her head and clenched her teeth. What was he doing? She wouldn't stay in this monstrous place. She'd trusted him. 

"Now Peril." Whorlie knelt. "This man here is going to take good care of you, okay? I have dangerous business to attend--"

Peril hugged his neck. Whorlie lied. This man intended to do no such thing. 

Whorlie worked to free himself from her entangling grip. "You'll be safe here. Nobody will try to burn you or touch you or hurt you in any way." 

She let go. Because it was useless. She was only five. No matter how she fought, in the end Whorlie would leave and she would stay with Mr. Creeps the human tower.

Why was Kejan not here? No, she knew. Kejan would not have let this happen. Whorlie made sure Kejan wouldn't be here. She took a step away from Whorlie in disgust. He may go and leave her if he wish. But she would not stay here. 

Whorlie left. Peril stood in the middle of that dark room and toed the cobbled floor. Matagan lifted her chin, but she jerked away and bit his finger. 

Matagan clubbed her on the head and she let go. He was rather composed for someone who'd gotten bit. "Insolent girl." He glared at her. "And Whorlie said you weren't crazed yet."

Oh, she wasn't. But if that's what they wished to believe, she could play it up. And when they weren't looking, she'd get away. 

Matagan called for someone. Peril didn't remember much else. Except that they put her in a stupid white dress. Frilly and silky. Nothing like one would wear in a mental ward. But then all the prisoners had worn everyday clothes, not just her. 

She made them drag her to a room then. They said it was "her room" but it was only a room. The asylum would never, never be her home. She would not belong here. If she could ever help it. She would refuse to speak. Not a peep. They could think she was crazy. What did they know? 

There was only one other thing Peril remembered about that day.

That first evening, the nightmares started. 

The asylum?


  1. Wow, that was amazing.So sad though, was not expecting it to be so sad. Poor Peril, *grabs her and hugs her* congrats you're as terrible to your characters as I am. Loved this, your writing is top notch.

    1. Yeah, Peril's backstory is all rather downcast and tragic.
      Haha! *smirks* I know. ;)

  2. I am seriously enamored with your writing style!!! Your pacing and characters are on this so much.

    1. Thanks so much! I always fear I delve too much into internal monologue, so it's always helpful when someone says the pacing's good. :D Thank you!

  3. Peril sounds like an interesting little girl, and this whole snippet is very intriguing (especially since I haven't read any others so I'm not hugely familiar with the context). But Peril definitely sounds like a character I'd love to read more about, and Kejan and Whorlie both sound very intriguing too. Great post! :)

    1. Thanks! Yeah, Peril can be a crazy contradiction as she gets older. I really do love Peril though. It's hard to pick a favorite, but she would be among them. :)

  4. This is so amazing oh my goodness! It's lovely, can't wait to read more!

    a little bit of sunshine

  5. I LOVE IT!! Aaahhhhhhggg it was so good. I felt like I got a bunch of information while still being mostly in the dark. XD Perilllllll~!!! I need to read MOAR! MOAAARR!!

    1. Yay! I'm so glad. That was like the whole point of the story! Giving information but not giving it all. This made me so happy. You have no idea. :)

  6. I literally just read Liz's twist on the prompt, so it's great to read the original here :D :D I love Peril's name, and her voice, and basically everything about the dialogue.

    1. Liz's was awesome! Just- THE WORDS!

      Thanks! Peril's one of my favorites. I'm glad you like the dialogue. I used to be really apprehensive about my dialogue, and I still doubt it a little. Thank you!

  7. Oh, this was such a fascinating read, Ashley! You are a really talented writer - Peril sounded ADORABLE (and a little creepy, let's be honest!). I think sharing your work is a super brave choice, so I admire you for that!
    Beth x

    1. Thanks so much!
      Peril is very clever for a five year old, also she can get spiteful. So yeah, she might come off as a little creepy.
      Thanks again!


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