Prompt: Rainbow

((I’m back! Fell into a bit of a writer’s block earlier in the week, but I’m slowly getting back on track! Anyway, here’s another prompt from this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send in one!))

Zepheera crept furtively up to the drawing room where she was sure to find her husband. They both kept supplies for their personal crafts in there – pinched fabric and old socks and small pins for Zepheera’s sewing and knitting, and paper scraps and pencil tips for Orrick’s drawing – but Orrick used it most often. There was a sizable crack in the floorboard that made up the ceiling in the small room, giving him ideal lighting (second only to sketching outside, which was risky for a five-inch-tall man).

He sat with his back to the door, granting Zepheera the perfect opportunity to sneak up on him and plant a quick kiss on his fair cheek.

“Happy anniversary,” she chirped, wrapping her arms around his shoulders from behind.

Orrick started, then sighed and took one of Zepheera’s hands in his left one (his right was used for drawing and therefore covered in graphite). “Ah yes, how festive. Celebrating five years of marriage with a heart attack. Love you too, Zeph.”

Sarcasm aside, he smiled and pecked the back of Zepheera’s hand. She chuckled and pulled away, pulling up an empty spool to sit alongside him.

“And I was still thoughtful enough to make you this.” She presented a coil of rope she’d made to replace the one that had snapped on him a month and a half prior. This one she’d twisted herself using three lengths of dark-colored sewing thread to allow for more stability and durability. “Couldn’t manage to swipe your hook, but now that it’s officially yours we can attach it later.”

Orrick’s mouth hung open as he hastily cleaned his hands on a damp cloth. He took the rope in a firm grip, testing its strength and observing the feel of it.

“So this is what you’ve been sneakin’ around to do,” he smirked.

She nudged him playfully. “Unlike some, I’ve been borrowing since I was ten. I’ve long since mastered the art of the sneak.”

He pulled Zepheera in close, her slim frame fitting right into the crook of his arm. “I love it. Thanks.”

Zepheera smiled and leaned into his chest.

“Alright, let’s see what you’ve drawn for me this time.”

Regardless of how long she’d known him, Orrick’s skill still managed to impress Zepheera. Not only was his talent for pencil sketches unmatched by anyone she’d had ever met, but he was able to remember moments and images with uncanny accuracy and then transfer them into a drawing without flaw.

He never got tired of drawing Zepheera. There didn’t even need to be an occasion, but Zepheera was sure to receive a drawing from her husband for her birthday or an anniversary. Usually of herself and always unprompted.

She recognized this year’s portrait as a scene from their trip to the garden two weeks before. It had been raining for four days straight, keeping the humans in the house at all times, which in turn all but trapped the borrowers in their own home under the floor. Orrick and Zepheera knew it was irrational to be afraid of a flood washing away their livelihood since the house was on elevated ground, but after days of being cooped up they started to worry. Finally a bright, sunny day came along and the humans went into town too resupply and socialize. This left Zepheera and Orrick ample time to meander about the less waterlogged parts of the garden.

In the picture, Zepheera was leaning back on her hands, basking in the sunlight with her eyes closed. She remembered the exact moment: the way the warm breeze had blown through her long, dark hair and blessedly filled her lungs with the fresh air they had been deprived of all week. She just hadn’t realized Orrick had been watching.

She gaped at the level of detail in the sketch, from the tiny four-petal flower Orrick had picked and tucked behind Zepheera’s ear, to the clouds in the sky and…

“What’s that?” She pointed to a gray streak that stretched across the sky, darker and more linear than the fluffy clouds.

“It’s a rainbow,” he explained.

Zepheera frowned at it for a moment. “C’mon, I pointed it out to you. Don’t you remember?”

Recognition lit up Zepheera’s deep violet eyes. “Oh yeah, I remember. But that was later on, I was half-asleep.”

“It was still there, even if I didn’t notice it at the moment. I was just…admiring a more beautiful view.”

Orrick shook his head at the cheesiness of his own line.

Zepheera smiled anyway, moving the drawing from his lap to her own. The rainbow didn’t really matter too much. At the end of the day, it was a background detail in a portrait that was focused entirely on Zepheera.

“Thanks, love. It’s wonderful.”

Orrick gave her shoulders a squeeze and kissed her hair, which had been pulled back into a messy, careless bun.

With a smirk, she added, “I do appreciate how you tried to distinguish the colors from each other.

“Well!” Orrick scoffed, a mirthful smile playing across his lips. “If you want a life-like rainbow, then you’re going to have to borrow your poor deprived husband some colored pencil tips.”

“In this house? With possibly the least artistic humans in existence?” Zepheera giggled.


Now it was Zepheera’s turn to shake her head.

“You’re a dunce,” she sighed.

“Yeah, but I’m your dunce.”

Zepheera smirked and lifted her chin to meet his bright blue gaze. “And don’t you forget it.”

She leaned up as he leaned down to press his lips against hers. In that moment, they couldn’t be more content.

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Midnight – Epilogue


Midnight | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Four hours there and four hours back. Like a school trip, Donna had called it. Such a duration was the main reason Donna had chosen to sunbathe in the Midnight Leisure Palace rather than accompany the Doctor and Zepheera on their little field trip to the Sapphire Waterfall.

Only two months since the borrower had joined their travels in the TARDIS, after the Doctor rescued her from a terrible circumstance, and Zepheera was already willing to spend the next eight hours locked in a box with several unknown humans. All for what would probably amount to fifteen minutes of a pretty view. Donna had to admit it was a rather brave decision for someone less than five inches tall.

Then again, she supposed Zepheera could have agreed to go because the Doctor would be there, and he was going because

Zepheera was gonna keep him company. Go figure.

Four hours later, the pool was still empty, apart from Donna in her robe and long chair. A few people had come and gone, but she paid them no mind. In fact, she didn’t think much of it when another set of footsteps echoed from the entrance hallway. Then she remembered that all the others who visited the pool had either been rowdy family groups or extra-friendly individuals chatting up the quiet staff. The silence of this person’s approach piqued Donna’s interest enough to open her eyes and turn to look.

She gasped and sat bolt upright at the sight of the Doctor rounding the corner, his long overcoat draped over one arm. It was much too early for their return. Something was wrong, she just knew it; everything about him threw up red flags in Donna’s mind, from his stony expression to his somber gait. Full of concern, she got up and approached him slowly.

When she got close enough, her breath caught at Zepheera’s notable absence from his shoulder. The Doctor shook his head when he saw the worry in Donna’s eyes, and he nodded toward his left shoulder. Now that she was closer, Donna could detect the slightest raise in the Doctor’s loosened collar on that side. Miniscule fingers curled around the edge of the fabric as the borrower underneath, partially illuminated by the potent x-tonic light, peeked warily out at Donna.

Donna’s heart sank. Zepheera hadn’t acted like this around her since before they’d gotten to know each other as close friends, and she’d never known the Doctor to be so quiet.

Something happened.

Finding out what would have to wait. For now, Donna’s friends were hurting and needed her comfort. Without a word, she pulled the Doctor into a tight hug, careful to avoid his left shoulder.

It took a moment, but the Doctor eventually hugged her back. A minute later, Donna felt the tiniest of weights dropping onto her own shoulder. A wave of relief swept over her as Zepheera nestled into the soft fabric of the robe near her neck. Whatever happened out there, it hadn’t affected any of the progress between the odd pair of women.

“Alright,” she mumbled into the Doctor’s shoulder, warning them both that she was about to pull away. Meeting his dark gaze only filled Donna with determination. “Tell me everything.”

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Prompt: Fragile

From this list of one-word prompts, which I’m still taking. Feel free to send me one!


The seven-year-old groaned as she was gently shaken awake by her uncle. She rolled onto her back and sleepily blinked up at him from his lap. He smiled and brushed her tousled hair back. “It’s time, sweets,” he whispered.

Zepheera grumbled unintelligibly, covering her head with the blanket Boston had wrapped around her earlier in the night.

He chuckled and scooped up his small niece into his arms.

“C’mon, sleepyhead,” he grunted as he stood and headed out. “You wanna meet the baby, don’t you?”

Zepheera pouted and buried her face in his shoulder. She really didn’t, but she knew that was wrong to say so she held her tongue. She wasn’t sure how she should feel about the new baby. It wasn’t like she was worried about the baby stealing her love; her stepfather had no idea how to talk to her, and the attention she got from her mother was all bad. Zepheera had never seen a baby, but her uncle described them as small and chubby.

Then he had to explain to her what ‘chubby’ meant.

All Zepheera knew was that she had been sent away to her uncle’s home for what felt like days (even though Boston insisted the day hadn’t passed) while her stepfather and his sister took her mother away while she was in labor. No one would tell her what labor was. Clearly, it was time-consuming.

Boston put Zepheera down when they were outside her house. She gripped the leg of his trousers, almost hiding behind them as they stood in the doorway of her parents’ bedroom. She’d never been in there, and she’d learned to be wary of any room her mother was in.

Her mother was asleep in bed, her bright red hair pasted to her forehead with sweat. Zepheera frowned, staring for a moment to determine if that was even the same person. She looked so…relaxed. Peaceful.

And she’d never put much thought to it, but her mother was quite beautiful in such a natural state.

“How’d she do?” Boston asked, cutting off Zepheera’s thoughts. She realized that her stepfather was sitting beside the bed.

Baycliff smiled wearily at Boston, his golden eyes bright even in the late-night darkness. “Sis says she did great. Hardly screamed. Boy, did she want to, though.” He tilted his head when he saw Zepheera peering curiously at the bundle of fabric he was holding.

“Come see your little brother.”

It took an encouraging nudge from her uncle for Zepheera to pad carefully across the room. She gasped softly when she got close enough to see an itty-bitty head and pudgy little arms poking out of the bundle. Uncle Boston had said small, but she didn’t think it’d be that small.

“Do you want to hold him?” her stepfather asked Zepheera, to her unfiltered surprise. She glanced at her passed out mother, who would never entrust Zepheera with anything nearly as delicate as this baby seemed to be. Still, as long as it was being offered… She nodded.

Baycliff carefully passed the bundle to Zepheera, showing her how to properly support the head in a sturdy yet gentle grip. Even so, she froze once she had the baby all to herself. She could feel his little feet shifting in his sleep against her arm. He hardly weighed a thing, even to Zepheera who was small for her age.

‘Small and chubby’, though accurate, were hardly the tip of the iceberg of adjectives that flooded into Zepheera’s mind as she took in every detail of her brother. He was light, soft, warm, innocent, and so pale; even Zepheera’s very light brown skin seemed dark against his.

Her uncle’s even darker hand reached down to smooth down the baby’s unruly strawberry-blond hair. It was an innocent enough gesture, but it made Zepheera stiffen a little. Seeing how big Boston’s hand was in comparison expanded her list of words for the baby: weak, helpless, fragile. Something protective awoke inside her, and she held the bundle closer despite the fact that Uncle Boston was one of the only people in the world Zepheera loved and trusted.

Boston sat cross-legged on the floor and carefully pulled his niece in to sit in his lap, to help her relax.

“What’s his name?”

“Kernel,” Baycliff replied.

Somehow, having a name to match the face added a new layer to what Zepheera thought about the whole affair. This was a brand-new person in her arms. He would be a man one day, but for now Zepheera could hold him without issue.

“Kernel…” Zepheera echoed, barely a whisper. On an impulse, she leaned down to gingerly kiss his forehead. His little brow scrunched in spite of how soft Zepheera had tried to be, and his buttery-yellow eyes blinked sleepily open.

“Hi, Kernel,” said Zepheera fondly, unable to hold back a smile. “I’m your big sister. You’re safe with me, I promise.”

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Zepheera-Vision — The Companion


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 2.5 | Part 3


Both the borrower and the Time Lord turned to look at the human standing in the entrance to the TARDIS console room. The
red-haired woman was shrugging on a jacket as she stepped in. “Who are you talking to?”

“I’m in the middle of something, Donna,” said the Doctor pointedly

Donna rolled her eyes and approached with purpose in her steps. “No use keeping secrets from me, Spaceman, I live here too.”

Her gaze quickly fell on Zepheera, whose heartbeat quickened at the contact with a completely new human – Donna, the Doctor had called her.

“Blimey, get a load of that!” the human exclaimed. Zepheera flinched at the volume and backed up into the screen behind her, pulling her knees close again. She squeezed her eyes shut, overwhelmed by the sight of two giants looming over her.

The Doctor looked appalled by his companion’s behavior. “Donna, lower your voice,” he rebuked. “She’s been through a lot, no need to frighten her all over again by gawking!”

Without waiting for a response, he turned back to the four and a half inch tall woman huddled on the sill of his monitor. “Zepheera… C’mon, look at me,” he coaxed.

Considering she was outnumbered, Zepheera had no choice but to obey. She lifted her head to look up at the Doctor and Donna, who had come around to stand behind the Doctor’s right shoulder. The Doctor smiled encouragingly.

“That’s it. See? No harm done. This is just my friend, Donna. She travels with me.”

“She’s so teeny,” Donna cooed, leaning over the Doctor to stretch a finger toward Zepheera, as if touching her would somehow prove her existence further. Zepheera backed away from the sudden approach before the Doctor stopped the human.

“No no, don’t do that,” he warned firmly. “Really. Don’t.”

Looking a bit sheepish, Donna withdrew her hand. “Was she always this small?”

Now it was the Doctor’s turn to roll his eyes. “Yes, now would you back off for a minute and let me get on with this?”

Much to Zepheera’s surprise, the human stepped away with a muttered apology. Once she was out of sight, the Doctor addressed Zepheera again. “Sorry about that. She’s harmless, I promise.” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Anyway, what I meant to say was, I’d like you to stay. At least for a while, just so I can make sure all those drugs didn’t leave you with any permanent damage. If you could bear with me for a few days, I’ll take you wherever you want to go. Does that sound alright to you?”

Zepheera supposed that was fair. At least it didn’t sound like she’d be locked in a cage anymore. She nodded her approval.

The Doctor smiled. “Brilliant. Welcome aboard, then. Er, is there anything you want to do now?”

It took some digging, but Zepheera realized there was a lot she wanted to do. She wanted to sleep in a bed, she wanted to eat a meal that consisted of more than old cheese and bread, she wanted to drink an entire thimbleful of some kind of alcoholic drink. She looked down at herself; she wanted to wear clothes that made her feel like a person again. Then she touched a lock of her dark hair. It had already been getting long at the time of her capture, and it had grown past her shoulders over the months.

“I want to cut my hair,” she told him.  She was certain she wouldn’t feel
anything like her old self until she did. And she had a feeling she could ask for the rest at any time.


Thanks again for the prompts @wingedkuriboh27​!

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Zepheera-Vision Preface — The Companion

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 2.5 | Part 3

Zepheera moaned softly as she sluggishly came to. The events of the last few hours replayed choppily in her mind. The man…he had picked her up and held her close to his chest as he fought his way through all of the metal men in his path. She remembered gripping the brown pinstriped fabric of his suit just to keep steady. He took her somewhere and tried to get her to talk, but her drug-addled mind refused to let her respond. Then he made her drink something, and everything after that was fuzzy.

The more conscious she became, the more she noticed about her surroundings. The surface on which she lay was strangely leathery and warm…and if she listened closely, she could hear a muted thrum coming from deep within, pressing up against her body in a one-two-three-four.

It was alive. It was a hand!

She shot up with a startled exclamation, falling back on her hands and knees as the uneven ground twitched in surprise. As the hand flattened beneath her, she huddled into a frightened ball, awaiting the inevitable harm to befall her.

“It’s okay!” the man from before whispered, though it was still more than loud enough to make the borrower flinch. “You’re safe. I’m so sorry, I didn’t think you’d be awake for another few hours.”

Zepheera turned her head in the slightest to peek through the gap in the arm covering her head. He was so remarkably large, a small part of her wondered if he could even detect such a small movement.

“Look, er… I don’t mean to scare you. Would it help if I set you down?”

Zepheera frowned in confusion. She knew better than to trust this behemoth of a man after everything she’d been through. Still, he did rescue her from that lab, and he hadn’t made a move to hurt her yet. Hell, he’d had her in his hands while she was asleep! He could have easily done her in then. But he didn’t, and something about those enormous brown orbs insisted that he could be trustworthy.

Slowly lowering her arms from her head, she clutched them close to her chest as she mustered up all of her courage and nodded.

The man smiled, pleased by her response. “Alright. Here we go.”

His fingers curled back up, stretching over Zepheera’s head as he slowly leaned forward and reached out toward a flat but narrow silver surface. She practically scrambled out of his hand, grateful for the solid ground.

Without the giant man filling her vision, Zepheera took in the rest of her surroundings. He sat back in a faded yellow seat, full of holes and duct-tape patches. The room was enormous and dome-like, covered in dim, round lights. Nothing else made sense beyond that; whatever she was standing on hovered above an endless sea of strange-looking levers and dials and cranks.

“What’s your name?” The question made Zepheera’s attention snap up to the man. She pressed her back against the wall behind her and eyed him warily. He sighed, an action that ruffled Zepheera’s shoulder-length hair even at a distance. “I’m trying to help you. I need to know that you’re alright.”

She bit her lip, then swallowed thickly past the lump in her throat. It had been a while since she’d spoken to anyone.

“Zepheera,” she answered, her voice hoarse from disuse.

The man smiled again. “Beautiful name,” he remarked. “I’m the Doctor.” Her eyes flared up with terror again, and he quickly added, “No no no no, not that kind of doctor. Please listen, whatever they did to you, I’m not like them, I promise. Trust me, I only want to help.”

Unsure if she believed him or not, Zepheera forced herself to relax a little and nodded to show she understood.

“I’m going to ask you a few more questions, Zepheera,” the Doctor informed her. “Just to make sure you’re okay now that that nasty drug’s out of your system.”

Zepheera slid her back against the wall until she sat with her knees hugged to her chest. “Okay,” she murmured. She resigned herself to his care as long as he simply seemed concerned for her. That wasn’t a feeling she’d ever expected from someone his size.

As her fear slowly dissipated, curiosity began to take its place. Zepheera began to ask the Doctor questions of her own, and before long they had a back and forth going. Zepheera told the Doctor how she ended up in that lab (leaving out the details about her hidden village) and what exactly they had done to her and the few others like her. She explained that she was the only one left in that place. In return, she learned where exactly she was: inside the Doctor’s TARDIS, which apparently could travel through time and space with ease.

It was the Doctor’s turn to ask a question. “How old are you?”

Zepheera frowned, realizing that she wasn’t sure. “What day is it?” She had been captured a couple months before her birthday, but she wasn’t entirely sure how much time she’d spent in that lab.

The Doctor leaned forward and pressed a button on the console, causing the wall behind Zepheera to light up. She jumped and whirl around to stare at the massive screen behind her as it displayed a series of concentric circles. “May seventh, year twenty eighty-five,” he recited.

Six months, she thought despondently.

“I, erm. I guess that makes me a hundred and fifty-eight.” Happy birthday to me.

The Doctor’s brow rose as he sat back. “Wow. Older than you look,” he mused. “Do you all age so slowly?”

A sad smile tugged at her lips. “Nah, it’s…just me, I think.” She took a steadying breath before asking, “How old are you?”

“Nine hundred and five,” he replied without hesitation.

Now it was Zepheera’s turn to be surprised. “So, way older than you look.”

The Doctor smirked, then adopted a more thoughtful expression. “Zepheera… Is there anything for you to go back to? A home, family, friends?”

Her heart stuttered at the question. As surprisingly pleasant as this man seemed, she was definitely not comfortable leading him to her people. She still had a duty to protect them until she had a full grasp of this new situation. “No,” she answered evenly. “Nothing.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said the Doctor earnestly. He rubbed the back of his neck as he seemed to carefully consider his next words. “Well, if you’d like, you could – I mean, it would be entirely up to you, of course, but… I was wondering if you wanted to–”


Zepheera’s entire body tensed at this new voice.

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The Stranger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 2.5 | Part 3

Zepheera leaned wearily against the clear acrylic that made up the opening of her kennel. She, the other borrowers, and the rats had all been kept in this large structure made up of dozens of small cubby-like containers, each about the size of a shoebox.

Though, Zepheera supposed now it was just her and the rats.

Each had a secure lock system, and the front hatches thankfully had a few air holes drilled into them. The rest of the walls were opaque, isolating each specimen thoroughly. She couldn’t see the rats she heard scratching futilely at their own walls. Even clean of drugs, Zepheera had given up on escape long ago.

The room was empty, so Zepheera had nothing to look at other than her own hand as it traced the tiny air hole nearby. It was too small for her to reach through, though she’d tried. She’d nearly broken her hand in the process, she recalled distantly. Even the memory of pain couldn’t evoke any emotion in her.

With a loud smash of the door, several human scientists burst into the room. Zepheera blinked slowly as she lifted her head to look at them. They were frantic, screaming and yelling things that couldn’t quite make it into her prison at such a distance.

They were followed by what Zepheera could only describe as metal men. Five entered, one for each scientist, stomping in time. Their soulless black eyes completely disregarded the unit that held Zepheera and the rats.

The metal men spoke in deep, cold voices, but she couldn’t process what they were saying. In short order, they cornered the scientists and touched them with outstretched silver hands.  The humans’ bodies succumbed to the electricity shooting through them, and they fell dead the instant they were let go.

Zepheera didn’t even have the capacity to react.

The silver intruders spoke among themselves, but Zepheera couldn’t hear what they were saying. She numbly crawled closer to the air holes, some deep part of her aware that it was important to know what exactly was going on.

“Oi, metalheads!” roared a new voice from the direction of the door. Zepheera calmly turned her head to look, finding a strange-looking man filling the doorway. He wore a brown pinstriped suit with red converse, a style of shoe Zepheera had thought to be long out of style. He was thin as a matchstick and had hair so unruly it could almost be dubbed rebellious. His eyes were wild with adrenaline, aimed solidly at the intruders. “Have you had your shots? Seems to me like you’re due for a booster!

He hurled a small cylindrical device at the metal men, and it stuck fast right dab in the middle of one’s chest. They all screamed as a massive field of energy surrounded them, and just like the humans before them, they collapsed one by one.

Without missing a beat, the man crossed the room quickly, examining the bodies of the scientists. He sighed when they all turned up dead. Then he stepped over to one of the metal creatures, prying his device off of its chest. He raised a small tool – a probe, it looked like – and activated the charge once again.

His eyes scanned the room as he pocketed the device, passing right over Zepheera before returning in a double take.

“What?” he frowned and walked carefully over.

The most Zepheera was able to react was a slight raise of her eyebrows. By all accounts, she should be scared out of her wits. She’d just watched this man presumably kill a bunch of silver nightmares who had murdered humans moments before. She couldn’t even begin to think what this man could have in store for someone like her, even if she were in a right state of mind.

To her nonexistent surprise, he simply leaned down and peered in at the borrower, concern etched in his features.

“Oh, you poor soul, what have they done to you?”

Zepheera blinked slowly at him.

He clenched his jaw in determination and attempted to open the hatch by hand. She knew he couldn’t do it that way, there were higher levels of security for the test subjects to eliminate chance of escape. Even so, his proximity to her awoke the instincts that had been drilled into her since childhood, and she backed away from him at a sluggish pace.

Abandoning that strategy, the stranger whipped out his probe, buzzing it at the lock. It released and the door swung open. She froze when he reached a hand in, laying it palm-up next to Zepheera.

“Come with me,” he urged, pleading with those big brown eyes.

She stared at his hand for a second, but made no move toward or away from it. The man blinked in confusion at her non-reaction and tried again. “Don’t be afraid, I’m not gonna hurt–”

Before he could finish, more ominous stomping could be heard in the hallway outside. The man glanced between the borrower and the door, conflicted for a moment. Finally, he turned an apologetic look to Zepheera.

“I’m so sorry, there’s no time.” That said, the hand shifted to scoop up the four and a half inch tall woman into its cupped palm.

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Prompt: Hollow

Part one of a three-part story which combines two prompts from @wingedkuriboh27, one of which is shown below. The second prompt will be revealed tomorrow in the third part, which is a Zepheera-Vision.


This is in reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

Earth, 2085 A.D.

No matter how adaptable borrowers could be to their environments, they couldn’t escape the rise of technology for long. They weren’t a worldwide phenomenon yet, but a few poor souls had fallen into the hands of human scientists. The lucky ones were studied humanely. Others were experimented on.

Zepheera supposed her luck would have had to run out eventually.

She didn’t regret it, not for a second. Her sacrifice distracted the searchers from a hidden colony she’d established long ago. Rather than lose all those lives and their hard work, Zepheera led the humans far away and allowed herself to be captured.

For the good of her people.

As a result, Zepheera ended up in the custody of scientists whose main role was to test new drugs. Until the recent discovery of borrowers, they’d had to resort to testing on rodents. In their minds, borrowers were close enough in physiology to humans that they made perfect test subjects. However, they’d only managed to scrounge up a handful of the tiny people along with Zepheera, so they kept the rodents around as a fallback.

This turned out to be a smart move as all of the other borrower test subjects died under the scientists’…care. Either they overdosed or starved themselves out or passed away from some other incidental circumstance. The humans did little to prevent their deaths, happy to perform autopsies and postmortems on the miniature cadavers.

Zepheera, on the other hand, they fought to keep her alive. She wasn’t like the others. They found out quickly that she could heal wounds momentarily; she’d been nicked by the pair of scissors they’d used to snip off the clothes she’d been wearing. They gave her a simple frock and decided she was their most valuable specimen, to be kept alive at any cost. They even force fed her when she participated in the hunger strike with the few friends she’d been able to make in that hell.

Now, she could barely remember any of their names, her brain was so addled with drugs.

They had her on a rotation. They’d give her one drug one day, give her two days to recover, and then start again with a different drug. She never learned the names of these drugs, but she recognized them from how they made her feel. One made her hyper and restless, another filled her with manic rage, and yet another made her unreasonably happy.

Today’s drug simply made her feel hollow.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 2.5 | Part 3

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Prompt: Wish

This one got loooong xD I just couldn’t stop, and of course I HAD to reference a certain song sung by a certain Cliff Edwards. (Seriously, the timeline is perfect)

Yet another insight to an unseen character from my main story, I am on a roll with these!

In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

5. Wish

Zepheera wandered the dark passages inside the walls of the human flat. She couldn’t sleep. Walking by herself, especially at night, had proven to help Zepheera clear her mind on numerous occasions, and it had become a ritual of sorts.

She perked up as something caught her ear. It sounded like distant music, but it was difficult to make out through the dry wall and layers of dust surrounding her. Excitement filled her heart. The beans never played music this late. She picked up the pace, almost jogging across beams, zipping up ladders much faster than she had ever dared.

Finally, she came across a door, carefully cut to match the wallpaper outside. This led to a side-table in the humans’ sitting room. The door was safely hidden behind knick-knacks and the occasional stack of books, while still providing a decent view of the room beyond. From there, it was usually an easy hop onto the ever-present ottoman to the floor, and from there any good borrower had access to the entire room.

But Zepheera knew better than to enter right away. Instead she eased the door open just a crack and peeked out The lights were still on, as well as the radio on the far side of the room. She could make out a pair of knees on the armchair and a light snoring could be heard behind the radio’s soft violins. She let go of the tension in her shoulders once she knew the human was safely asleep.

Leaving the door cracked, she sat down next to it and closed her eyes as she listened. It was hard to imagine a human bean to match the singer she heard. Beans were massive, dangerously intelligent beasts that existed to provide people like her things to borrower. This voice was crooning, trembling with vibrato, and seemed to float right into her mind. He didn’t sound dangerous at all. This made Zepheera all the more curious as he began a new verse.

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Zepheera frowned. Quite a few of those words eluded her, but from what little she could understand, it seemed to go against what she’d been taught. She inwardly remarked that humans must be very different from borrowers, but kept listening.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

“You’re up late.”

She gasped, startled by the sudden voice, and opened her eyes to see her uncle half illuminated by the tiny opening.

“Uncle Boston, you scared me!” Zepheera huffed, crossing her arms indignantly. “Anyway, you’re up, too,” she pointed out.

Boston shrugged. “They left the radio on.”

Zepheera’s expression softened. “Right. Sorry.” Her uncle lived behind the mantelpiece where the radio always sat. This usually didn’t bother him unless he was trying to sleep, like tonight.

He chuckled lightly, white teeth standing out against his brown skin in the dim lighting. He bent to sit next to his young niece. “And anyway, I’m a grown-up and you’re a child. You should be in bed, not out here by yourself.”

Zepheera scoffed. “I’m thirteen,” she reminded him. “Baycliff says I’m almost old enough to get married!”

Boston’s smile faltered in the slightest and he shook his head, his wild halo of black hair swaying in time with the simple motion. “Yeah, well your stepfather doesn’t know you like I do.”

Zepheera couldn’t argue with that. In any case, her uncle wasn’t exactly dragging her back home, so she pulled her knees in close and went back to listening to the radio. A chorus had been added, taking turns with the original singer. They were repeating the last phrase Zepheera had heard, so she hoped she hadn’t missed too much.

Like a bolt out of the blue
Suddenly it comes in view
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

A chill ran up Zepheera’s spine, spreading through her scalp. The strange words combined with the sweet high note the singer ended on moved Zepheera deeply. For one thing, she was no expert on human singing, but it hardly seemed possible for someone to sing such a seemingly astronomical note. And for another…

“Uncle?” she asked quietly as another song began but went ignored. “What’s a star?”

Boston blinked at the sudden question. “Er, well… Do you remember me telling you about the sky?”

Zepheera nodded. She had yet to see it for herself; though her uncle was teaching her to borrow at such a young age, he still insisted there were certain things she wasn’t ready for. One of them being the outside world, and by extension, the sky.

“Well, at night, the sky becomes dark and all these little lights that the beans call stars appear in it.”

Zepheera pondered this, then followed up with another query. “Is it true, then? Can they make wishes come true?”

“Now, Zepheera.” Boston’s naturally kind tone took on a firm edge to it. “We’ve talked about this.”

Heaving a sigh, Zepheera hugged her knees into her chest. “I know, I know…” Her uncle had always emphasized how dangerous it was for borrowers to want for anything apart from basic needs and comforts. If one got too ambitious, they increased their risk of being caught by the beans. And everyone knew that could only end badly.

However, seeing his niece so despondent softened Boston’s heart. He took a deep breath and hopped to his feet. “Let’s go find out for ourselves,” he said, offering a hand to help
Zepheera up.

She looked at his hand quizzically for a moment before sucking in an elated breath. “You mean…?”

Boston nodded. “You’re ready.”

He led Zepheera all the way up to the attic where there was a small round window easily within reach. The two borrowers sat on the sill, the elder smiling as the child stared at the outside world with open wonder. Boston smiled fondly. His brother’s daughter was growing up so fast.

If only he could be here to see it.

“Which star am I supposed to wish on?” she asked.

Boston shrugged. “I suppose you can just pick one.”

Zepheera turned her gaze up to the twinkling specks of light that dazzled the night sky. She chose one at the tip of a bunch that seemed to take the shape of a fishhook in Zepheera’s mind, and she closed her eyes.

Please take me far away from here.

Prompt: Blood

EEEEVIIIIIL ;o; Why can’t you people just let my characters be happy??

Oh, who am I kidding, they were always meant to be like this ;w;

This is another insight to an otherwise unseen character in my main story. Not an excerpt, just a sneak peek into the tortured past of my OC.

In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

16. Blood

“Come on, slowpoke!” Zepheera hissed over her shoulder. “You almost caught me that time!”

“Sissy-y-y!” whined Kernel as he ran after his big sister, whose name was too complex for the four-year-old to pronounce.

Zepheera simply giggled and carried on jogging through the underbelly of the house. She and her brother played this chasing game almost every time they snuck out of their little home in the walls. And every time Kernel would claim that Zepheera had the unfair
advantage, being much older than him at the age of eleven. But she knew that being able to run well was an important skill for a growing borrower to develop, so she insisted upon the game.

She did, however, try to make it easier for him until he got big enough to be able to contest with her. She ran slower so he could catch her, as well as to give him a fair chance at running away from her. She would dodge and weave around the piles of brick and sawdust left over from when the building was made to improve his motor skills and reflexes.

He’ll be a great borrower someday, she’d think at the end of their games. And I’ll have helped.

A cry of distress behind Zepheera made her skid to a stop and whirl around. Kernel had tripped and fallen hard on the dirty concrete, and his shoulders shook with stifled sobs. Even he, who had been babied by their mother, knew how important it was to keep as quiet as possible, no matter what.

Zepheera rushed to his side and helped him sit up. He had dust all in his strawberry-blond mop, and his buttery eyes shone with tears. His right forearm had been scraped from the elbow to halfway up, seemingly from a sharp rock. Crimson blood stood out starkly against the boy’s fair skin.

Kernel whimpered when Zepheera tried to wipe the blood away without so much as a blink. Her heart hurt when it heard his pain.

“It’s okay, Kern,” she whispered reassuringly, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “It’s only a scrape.”

“S-s-stings,” Kernel sniffled burying his face in his sister’s shirt.

Zepheera wrapped a comforting arm around Kernel’s shoulders, but it took her a minute to figure out why he was so upset. Could it really be that this was his first time getting hurt? Looking back, i wasn’t that impossible. Their mother had made certain that Kernel was safe inside their home. Zepheera supposed that now was as good a time as any to
teach her little brother how to handle pain.

“Well, it won’t for long,” she promised. “Know why?”

Kernel shook his head no.

Zepheera covered the scrape with her hand, eliciting a wince from the boy. “Because in a few seconds, it’ll be gone.”

The boy’s eyes grew large at his sister’s confident assertion. “R-really?”

“You bet,” Zepheera gave him her biggest smile. “Ready? One…two…three!”

The sight of the intact scrape wiped the smile from Zepheera’s face and the wonder from Kernel’s. His shoulders started shaking again, and Zepheera hugged him tighter.

“I-it’s okay,” she insisted. Why didn’t it work? “That’s…that’s normal. I promise.”

Is it just me?

All her life, Zepheera’s wounds would always disappear. Bruises faded within hours, if they ever formed at all, and cuts and scrapes like this were easy-peasy. No one had ever explained to her that that was out of the ordinary. She’d never seen her uncle get hurt, nor her mother, but her mother had certainly seen her heal.

Her mother had been the cause of all her pain in the past.

But for now, Zepheera had to push that aside and get help for her brother.

“C’mon, Kernel,” she cooed, lifting him into her arms as she stood. “Let’s go find Uncle Boston. He’ll know what to do.”

She felt his head shake no against her shoulder. “M-mummy… I want mummy,” he moaned pitifully.

Zepheera let out a long sigh. She’d hoped to delay confronting her mother and stepfather about this for as long as possible. But she couldn’t find it in her heart to say no to Kernel, so she started home.

For a moment, she thought about what she might say to her mother about what happened. ‘It was an accident’, ‘I should have been watching him’; but she quickly realized that it didn’t matter what she said. Nothing would alleviate whatever punishment their mother chose for her. Ever since Kernel had been born, Zepheera’s mother had never laid a hand on her in anger. But now Zepheera was responsible for her baby boy being hurt.

She wondered if, for the first time in three years, she would see blood tonight.

Prompt: Evanesce

Hope you were expecting angst! (though honestly, how could you not with a word like ‘evanesce’ xD)

This is actually a bit of a sneak peek into a future plot point for my main story. It’s not an excerpt, but it’s a little look into an otherwise unseen character whose story will be told soon.

In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!

It was the cold that drew Orrick Shelf from sleep. The bed he shared with his wife was always warm when he woke up. If she was awake before him, she waited for him so they could make, or in some cases find breakfast together.

So he was confused when he groggily reached a hand to her side of the bed to find it empty.

He sat up in bed, wrapping the blanket tightly around himself as his head cleared of the fog of sleep. Rubbing his bright blue eyes, he distantly wondered where his wife could be. A quick look around the room told him it was empty. Just like the bed.

With the blanket still draped over his shoulders, he got up and checked the storeroom just adjacent to the bedroom. Still there was no sign of his wife. None of the food had even been touched.

The kitchen and sitting rooms turned up empty as well. By then Orrick was fully awake and worried.

Then he remembered. His wife would sometimes go borrowing on her own. She’d never done it this early in the morning, but on many occasions Orrick would wake up from a nap to a note on her pillow explaining where she’d gone. Maybe she had done the same here. After all, if she was out in the humans’ territory of the house, she must be dead-set on getting something.

A wave of relief swept over Orrick when he returned to the bedroom and saw a slip of paper on the pillow. He sighed heavily, shaking his head at his own inattention. It was with a smile that he picked up and unfolded the note, a little excited to hear about what was so important as to warrant such an early borrowing.

His smile melted and ice shot through his gut as he read the mere two words scratched onto the scrap of paper.

I’m sorry

He frowned, rereading and turning the note over to ensure she’d left him nothing else. What the hell does that mean?

Orrick’s heart was racing, blood roaring in his ears. She couldn’t… She wouldn’t! He simply could not conceive a plausible reason for the love of his life to vanish into thin air!

He ran from room to room, this time calling her name almost nonstop. He got dressed and spent the entire day checking every safe square inch of the house, and all night he searched the humans’ rooms, hoping beyond hope.

In the end, he returned to the home that now only belonged to him. Exhausted, but he couldn’t bear to sleep. Hungry, but he couldn’t bring himself to eat. He dropped his gear off near the door and sat wearily in the nearest chair.

Running his hands through his sharp red hair, he willed himself to pull it together. He couldn’t afford to wallow in misery over his wife’s disappearance. He could almost hear her now, repeating the words she would always say when they went through rough times. It’s okay. We can survive this.

Surviving was a far cry from understanding. It just didn’t make sense. They were happy, always had been. He hadn’t been treating her any differently recently than he had in all the time he knew her – and even if he had without realizing it, she would let him know in no uncertain terms. In hindsight, his wife had seemed a bit distracted the last few days, but nothing she’d said or done even remotely hinted at her intentions to leave.

Orrick let out a long breath and hugged his knees close to his chest. None of that mattered. Looking into the past would do nothing to change the fact that his wife was gone. And she seemed to have done so willingly, leaving no hint as to a reason why or an intention to ever come back.

Zepheera may have disappeared, but his love for her would never evanesce.