So today is a special edition of Clyde’s corner…not only do you get to see what hijinks the bird is getting up to now, but it actually CONTINUES into a very special story over at Kriss Morton’s blog for Fourth Wall Friday! What happens when a wannabe muse channels Olde School magic on Friday the 13th (and with a full moon, no less)? Well…
I was really learning to hate that holier than thou clearing of the throat sound, especially when it rumbled right in my ear when I was so close to becoming at one with the couch. “Milady bard, have you not a list you need to be seeing to?”
If I had learned one thing since writing Olde School, is that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hide from Clyde. It didn’t matter that he was fictional, it didn’t matter that he was from another realm, it didn’t matter that he was a bird. When he wanted something, he found me.
I opened an eye, glanced up at the little animal that perched on my chest, and took the small, scrawled list that he held out between his toes. He watched me examine the scrap paper with large, blue-green eyes. His feathers shimmered blue and green in the light, though there were hints of iridescent gold and indigo when he moved just right. I couldn’t be sure, but Paddlelump must have been feeding him more; he definitely felt more substantial than the last time he’d visited, or else he was the one eating my cheese sticks out of the fridge.
It was hard to tell if the scratches were his handwriting or mine, but it didn’t matter. It was still a list of promotional commitments and other short-term goals that I hadn’t gotten to yet. “Oh, right,” I sighed before I chucked it over my shoulder and rolled onto my side, arm flung over my head.
“You need to see to your duties!” he growled, his voice half threat and half conniving seduction. Thankfully he didn’t phrase it as a command. His vocal influence didn’t put me in the thrall it did other book characters, but it still was a hell of a mental whammy when he wanted it to be.
“You just want a fan harem,” I muttered underneath my arm. “How a little brat like you has such a ginormous ego, I’ll never know.”
I yelped at a sharp, burning pain and when I sat up I had three new scratches on my arm. “You were the one who said you wished to apply yourself to your career. You would let your creation waste away so that you may slumber? I did not take you for a slummock or a gullible princess with a penchant for produce or disdain for thimbles.”
It took me a moment to decipher that. “You don’t use thimbles when you spin. I don’t think, anyway.” I’d have to google that later. “Clyde, I’m really tired. Everything has exploded lately. I just need some time to get myself together!” I pleaded. “Besides, we just had a blog tour…” I trailed off at a soft, incessant patter. He had moved to the side table and regarded my excuses with utter disdain as he tapped his foot at me. The little monstrosity was actually tapping his foot at me. Time for a new approach. “Besides, in this realm it’s bad to do anything too important on Friday the thirteenth,” I reasoned.
His tiny brow furrowed and his feathery topknot slid to one side as he tilted his head. “Explain. Remember that I have known more manipulations in the eons I have existed than breaths you have taken, so do not try to fool me.”
“Oh, of course not!” I agreed, hoping he wouldn’t see through the charm I tried to ooze. Really, I was way too tired to ooze anything, never mind charm, but it was worth a try to get him off my case. “Friday the thirteenth is considered unlucky here, so it’s best not to do anything lest it all get wrecked.”
“I still fail to comprehend. Why would a date be unlucky?”
I opened and shut my mouth a few times. “Well…it’s got something to do with superstitions, I guess, but I mean there are historical reasons for it!” And here I considered myself an intelligent person. “Wait, here!” I grabbed my phone and tilted it against the table lamp, the appropriate wiki page cued up. Clyde hopped in front of it, beak moving silently as he read, his feathers ruffling in concentration.
“The screen has gone blank. I require the use of your flesh.”
“You’ve got to start talking less creepy,” I sighed and swiped the screen. He ignored me until he needed me to expand a section. Finally, he hopped back around and gave me a long, searching look. “You cannot be serious. Your realm takes those follies seriously?”
“What, doesn’t The Land have bad luck?”
The emasculated Olde One shrugged. For the briefest of moments his beak seemed to extend and produce needle teeth, and then he was back to normal. “Here and there, aye, but mostly as residual effects of things I may have contributed to.”
I blinked and tried to ignore it. I probably needed to switch to new contacts. “So there’s no day where everyone looks over their shoulder so some unknown force doesn’t screw things up for them?”
Clyde’s wings rippled in thought and it looked as if he grew a second set wings with jagged, razor-like feathers, but just as before a second later he was back to normal. “Now? Nay, ‘tis no real need. Back in the day? That was considered a weekend, though I was never on the receiving end.”
“Lucky you,” I countered, though it was hard to focus when his eyes started to glow bright green.
“What in the realm are you looking at?” he enquired, and I could have sworn his tongue had produced barbs. I quickly rubbed my face. Sure enough, he was back to normal, or as normal as Clyde could get.
“Nothing, I just thought I saw…well, you looked different for a moment. Did…you didn’t get your powers back, did you?” That really would be my luck.
He snorted. “If I did, would I be bothered to beg you to promote my cause? Still, ‘tis strange. I feel somewhat giddy but I attributed that to inter-realm travel.”
Weird. “Anyway, I obviously just can’t do anything today. I might get trapped in a mirror, have a ladder fall on me, get eaten by a black cat, or hacked up by a guy in a hockey mask. There are all sorts of terrors just waiting out there! Besides, it’s a full moon out tonight. That makes it worse.” True, it wasn’t fully night yet, but hopefully the setting of the sun outside would add to the dramatic effect. The things I did to watch TV and take a nap.
To my surprise, he nodded. “That I would believe. Alignment of the stars does effect what happens to those below them.” As he talked he expanded, or rather the possibility of Clyde expanded until he’d almost filled the room.
I gasped and curled in a ball, certain he’d tear the roof right off the house. “Holy—”
“Milady bard? You do seem to be of a nervous disposition today.” I lowered my arms and opened a clenched eye. The little bird was perfectly harmless and just as tiny as he always was.
“Okay, I know I didn’t imagine that! Clyde, you’re changing!”
He considered this and stared at his own feet as they grew massive talons that promptly shrunk back. “Ah, I wondered why I felt odd. ‘Twould make sense with your moon being full the same as our realm’s is. Apparently your thirteenth of Friday magic and combined moon power must be influencing things. I would not fret, however.”
“But you’re turning into…into…”
He shrugged, completely apathetic to the physical changes that came and went. “’Tis less of a realm-ending threat and more like how you get so cranky every moon—” Blast him, he was still good at dodging pillows. “It must be a quirk in your realm. This never happens in Kingdom City.”
Aha. An out. “You see? It’s Friday the thirteenth plus the full moon!” I hoped it was. I really didn’t need Clyde becoming some sort of werebird if he visited at the wrong time.
He’d relocated to the top of the couch and was pacing now, still somewhat suspicious. “Are you certain this is the case? You are not trying to use your gift of turning a tale against me?” His claws had begun to sketch out little runes along the back of the couch, causing the nap to briefly show his efforts. I quickly grabbed my new remote and put it on the table. He had little magic left, but the last time he’d given in to his nervous habits my last device had gone missing.
“Of course not! Why would I do that? I’m just hedging my bet and laying low!”
“Then in that case, the status of your moon may lend us aid to help get you through this endeavor.”
I nodded until I realized that he wasn’t quite agreeing with me. It also didn’t help that the little lines in the nap of the couch had started to glow. As exhausted as I was, it was all too easy to shoot up off the piece of furniture. “Clyde, what are you doing?! What’s going on!?”
“Is it not obvious? I am keeping you safe from the dangers of this night, sweet bard,” Clyde replied, doing a little dance around the runes he’d scratched out. His feathers had puffed up and his wings and tail fanned the back of the couch, as if he was trying to put out an invisible fire. It would have looked ridiculous had the odd glow not shot up in a giant, bright column that was accompanied by blasts of wind.
Okay, enough was enough! “Clyde, stop it! I’ll work on the list, I’ll chug some caffeine—”
“Nay, ‘tis for the best! I must keep my bard safe until this horrid day passes from your realm!” His deep voice turned guttural as he chanted words that I couldn’t begin to understand, words that gave me a horrible, creeping feeling of dread just the same. Again he seemed to expand then contract, his monstrous form superimposed over his sweet one. I didn’t have time to think about it, though, because the wind had caught me up and was dragging me straight into the strange, glowing vortex that had started to swirl in the middle of my couch.
“Clyde!” I screamed, fighting the pull of the magic.
“You may thank me later, sweet bard! Just keep safe and work on your list until daybreak!”
I clawed at the carpet, but couldn’t avoid the force that picked me right up off the floor and yanked me into the couch. One moment I was staring up close and personal at every fiber and dust particle, and the next I was surrounded by blue-green light and massive, sucking force.
Then there was nothing at all except bright light and that awful, guttural muttering of incantations.
You could even win an ecopy of the book!