Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ascension Guest Writer: Jaye Wells

Jaye holds a very special place at The Clarity of Night and these contests. Beyond being a great friend, Jaye earned esteemed recognition for her story "I Can Dig It" in the immensely competitive "Lonely Moon" Short Fiction Contest. This spring (I can't wait!!), Jaye will be celebrating the major release of her first novel Red-Headed Stepchild. Here's the juice:

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she's on. She's never brought her work home with her---until now.

The idea for the story was sparked by her entry!! I'm so very honored to host a forum for that sort of creative energy. Thank you, Jaye, for all that you've done, and all the support you continue to give. We wish you all success!

(Catch Jaye over at her website and The League of Reluctant Adults.)

**********

Some of Us Are Looking at the Stars
by Jaye Wells


The hangover of Soviet Russia still pulses here despite the infusion of Western luxuries like toilet paper and fresh bread. Irena clings to her baguette and tries to ignore the stale scent of urine. The smell intensifies as the escalator descends and mingles with another odor—the grey scent of despair.

Irena is smiling. Her red lips are unnaturally chromatic in this drab underworld. She fingers the badges of honor on her neck, remembering the pleasure-pain of penetration. She shifts and revels in the secret sting between her thighs. Her body is descending into Moscow's bowels, but inside she's flying.

A Babushka bumps Irena on her way down the steel steps. She mutters about young people with their heads in the clouds. Irena wonders if the old woman ever felt this quickening in her belly, this divine anticipation. She shakes her head. Babushkas would rather stare at their sensible black shoes than revel in the promise of stars.

A whistle screeches through the tunnels. Irena reaches the bottom of the escalator and blends into the muddy puddle of humanity pooling there. Their heads hang as they shuffle toward the train's hungry mouths.

Irena surrenders herself to the tide. She knows she will say yes to him. Say yes to an eternity of nights spiced with copper. The blood will be troublesome, of course. But when you've spent your life surrounded by grey, a world soaked in red sounds like heaven.

30 comments:

Scott said...

As always I love your style. You have such a distinctive voice; I could almost know it was you without your name on the piece. I can feel the subway system with all my senses, which you have cleverly woven into this piece.

Best of luck with your new novel, Jaye. I can't wait to get a copy.

strugglingwriter said...

Great last line.

Great use of all the senses. I always shudder at "the stale scent of urine".

Great descriptions here and it leaves the reader wanting more.

Paul

Sarah Hina said...

I love this, Jaye. The pulsing promise of a more vivid world lifts her eyes, even as she embraces the shadows, too.

Your writing is so sharp and convincing. I felt the seediness and staleness of that old world, and why she would long to be something different.

And I can't wait to read Red-Headed Stepchild (duh)!!!

Margaret said...

Even in a grey, drab world theres a garden of Eden.

All we have to do is grab what life offers us.

I loved your story, savoured it with all my senses.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Jaye, Every emotion was captured so beautifully! The last line was a knock-out "But when you've spent your life surrounded by grey, a world soaked in red sounds like heaven." All the very best for your novel... I'll make sure to grab a copy! :-D

BrownPhantom said...

"Her body is descending into Moscow's bowels, but inside she's flying" . Most of your lines are great even in isolation.

If the homepage of League of Reluctant Adults is anything to go by, reader's are in for a treasure :).

-Prashant Dhanke

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

The passion embedded in this piece is so minutely palpable!Loved the imagery,and the title is like the icing on the cake.

Congratulations on the novel,I am sure it's just the start of a saga of wonderful writing :)

The Preacherman said...

Wow! - nuff said

laughingwolf said...

jaye, this tale sent shivers up and down my spine, well done!

and grats on the upcoming publication :D

Meghan said...

Powerful use of images and scents. Fantastic!

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks, everyone. Congrats to all the entrants. I enjoyed reading everyone's takes on the theme.

Aine said...

A descent into heaven... quite an intriguing glimpse of Irena. I love the image of the train's hungry mouths. Like she's entering the belly of a serpent. Wow.

You know Jason and I will be keeping two of the copies of Red-Headed Stepchild that we buy-- otherwise we'd be fighting over who gets to read it first!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I loved the setting of this piece. You made every word count with your intelligent writing and sensory images. These 250 words read like a novel!

Kudos on your upcoming book!!! I will be looking for it.

Karen said...

Jaye, if this is a preview of your style and voice in Red Headed Stepchild, I'm sold!!

The contrast of the grey, urine-scented bowels of Moscow with the zinging in Irena's blood is fantastic! This girl is sizzling with the possibilities of her future.

You've done an outstanding job of creating a different reality.

I'll be looking for your book. Can't wait!

sawan said...

thats very strong words. m waiting for the treat :P yes, the release of "Red-Headed Stepchild"

one more believer said...

just another day's ride on the escalator.. but oh so much more... the color of red is powerful throughout... youth and age colliding in colors and thought...

ceedy said...

Anticipation of something that is possible and different brings out deep rooted emotions - so well portrayed in this piece.

kunal said...

jaye congratulations.. i can't believe i am personally writing these comments to a would-be-soon novelist.

i would buy ur book at any cost and i will read it.

Its a promise.

kathie said...

Superb as usual, Jaye...can't wait to settle in for an entire book!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I like the setting of the story, how the crowd drives the action, how Irena seems to be moving along. Kind of like Chaos Theory: Out of chaos comes order. Also, the duality of "red" isn't missed.

bluesugarpoet said...

"the grey scent of despair" - loved that line. Vivid imagery from start to finish! Looking forward to reading your novel. :) -jana

McKoala said...

Lovely writing, showing the contrasts very powerfully.

JaneyV said...

I love the image of the red in contrast with the grey world around Irena. Your piece is intense and beautifully wrought. Congratulations! I can't wait to read your novel. You have a great gift for hooking and pulling the reader into your wonderful stories.

jason evans said...

Such potency carries the scene. Almost liked getting steeped in the sounds and smells. I feel immersed with the character, ready for the thrill of the swim.

There's an in-your-face emotion and rawness to your writing, Jaye. Can't wait to see how you weild it in your novel!!

Thanks for sharing your success and your example with us. :)

Catvibe said...

Congratulations on your upcoming book Jaye! Loved your story here.

Ÿ∂ Μ Î ŋÎ said...

While it ended, I found myself trying to come out of the imagery you had built up. Every word you’ve used is strong and seems perfect. Excellent writing :)

Vesper said...

I like the raw qualty of your writing, the powerful images. What an intense story! Well done!

Looking forward to reading your novel. :-)

mukta said...

I loved your skillful use of colors. You create a heavy, dreary world that is thick with possibilities with these splashes of color. You capture that metallic, mechanical essence of the escalator, and this fills your story.
Delicious!

pjd said...

Oh, wow. The word choice and rhythm are masterful, the imagery exquisite. Her potential future meeting her on the steps. Life is all about choices, isn't it?

Chris Eldin said...

A complete story. Very well executed. I love that you reference color and smell. It makes your vignette even more intimate.
Kudos!!!
:-)