Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Murder at Elsinore Manor

Elsinore Manor was a foreboding building at the best of times, but tonight, as we grew closer to where it loomed in the gloom of gathering clouds, while the dark ivy writhed in the wind and tapped at the tall gothic windows from which a faint glow of sickly light was peering into the dim valley, I felt a sense of growing dread. My school friend, Hamlet, had sent me an unexpected telegram and asked that I come as soon as possible. I had not spoken to Hamlet in some time, so I felt certain that this summons was more a matter of business than of catching up between friends. Hamlet knew of my thriving practice as a private consulting detective. Now, as the hired trap pulled up to the manor and the butler swung open the massive wooden doors with an ominous creak, I found myself wishing I had requested more information before coming.
“Good evening, Mr. Choric,” the butler intoned disinterestedly. “Young Mr. DeMarco is waiting in the drawing room.”
Hamlet DeMarco had his back to me when I entered. He was leaning on the ornate mantel with one lean arm and staring down into the flickering fire. His shoulders were tense and he was deathly still. I cleared my throat, and he started and turned in one motion, pale as if he had seen a ghost. Then his face cleared with relief upon seeing me. “Horatio!” he exclaimed, “My old friend. I’m so pleased you could make it.” As he said this he moved past me and peered out into the hall. Evidently satisfied, he shut the drawing room door firmly and turned the lock.
“Come,” he said, “sit near the fire. The weather is beginning to turn nasty.” It was not until we were seated that I noticed his appearance. He fell into staring at the fire again when we sat down, and his long thin fingers tapped against the side of the chair nervously. He was pale, with ghastly dark circles under his eyes as though he hadn’t slept for days. His suit was wrinkled, and all black, down to the shirt, which made his face look even paler. His hair was unkempt and hastily swept to one side, and he had patches of stubble on his chin from a careless shave.
“Hamlet,” I said with great concern, “what has happened? Why have you called me to Elsinore?”
“Something is rotten, Horatio,” he said in a low voice, “Something is rotten in the estate of DeMarco.” He looked up from the fire with a strange gleam in his eye. “My father is dead.”
I had not known. I immediately expressed my deepest regrets, which he acknowledged impatiently. When we fell again into silence, he pulled from his jacket pocket a folded piece of paper, which he handed to me. I looked it over curiously. It was covered on one side in writing and appeared to be addressed to the local police. “What’s this?” I asked.
“This,” he leaned toward me and lowered his voice even further, “is a letter written by my father just before his death. It expresses his deep suspicions of a plot against him by my uncle, his brother. A plot to murder him.” Hamlet’s jaw clenched and he gripped the arm of the chair, knuckles white. “He died before he could post the letter.” He released the arm of the chair and ran both hands through his hair, making him look quite wild with it sticking up in odd directions. “Mother inherited everything, of course. And now, just a few months after father’s death, Claudius has asked her to marry him. Is that not suspicious? I know now that they must have been having an affair while father was alive. I never suspected…” He trailed off and rubbed his eyes wearily.
“Have you gone to the police yet, Hamlet?” I asked.
“No, no, and that is where you come in,” he said. “I don’t want Claudius to know that I suspect that my father was murdered. If I go to the police, Claudius is warned; he has time to get rid of evidence and construct an alibi before any kind of investigation can be made. To find this letter was to know my father’s will for me from beyond the grave, and I must obey. I want to be sure of his guilt, Horatio. I need to be able to prove it. Then we can take all the evidence we have to the police, and he—and my mother—will get what they deserve.”
His tone of voice as he pronounced this judgment against his mother frightened me. All the time I had known him, Hamlet had always been unwilling to condemn people; or, at least, unwilling to say his opinion of them. But I could see where he was coming from, and I knew he had a valid point about the benefits of a secret investigation, so I decided to give it a day or two and see if I could help him. I told him as much and he nodded at me gratefully. I stood. “But, Hamlet,” I said, “Realize that this is a dangerous game we are playing. If your uncle Claudius is a murderer, he may be a danger to you as well.”
He looked up at me, head tilted, that curious gleam in his eyes. He smiled a slow, dangerous smile. “I’ve always been good at games,” he said.
I did not sleep well that night. A dream chased me; Hamlet was rushing toward a terrible danger, and turned on me when I tried to stop him.
I was up early, and headed down for breakfast. I was not the first; someone was piling a plate high with breakfast meats when I slid open the door. He turned and raised his eyebrows. The surprise was mutual. It was Hamlet’s school roommate, Reggie Stern. Reggie was a thin, hunched man with an oily slick of thin hair. He was the type to participate in poker night, then go to the dean the next morning and rat out his schoolmates.
“Horatio,” he said in false cheer. “Good to see you.”
“Likewise,” I lied. “What brings you to Elsinore?”
He took a huge bite of food and chewed slowly, rolling it around in his mouth as he rolled around possible answers in his mind. He swallowed. “I was invited.”
“Oh, by Hamlet?”
Another long pause. “No,” he said finally, “by Uncle Claudius.” Reggie lowered his voice then and leaned in, dramatically cupping a hand around his mouth to tell me a secret. “Hamlet is not well, y’know?” He pointed circles around his ear and bugged his eyes out for a moment. “Claudius thought it’d be good for him to see his best schoolmate.” He gestured to himself and tucked into his plate of food, quite self-satisfied.
I managed to keep the disdain from my face until I was at the buffet table and my back was to him. A few minutes later, the doors opened again and a family of three joined me at the buffet table. There was a ponderous old man in an old fashioned three piece suit, pontificating on the value of breakfast to a lithe young man in a sweater. The young man nodded in the right places and ignored everything except his breakfast plate. A young lady followed the pair silently. She was tall and graceful, with short dark hair in a modern style. Her dress was modest without being dowdy, and her face was lively. She acknowledged Reggie and me with a condescending nod and a smile, respectively.
When I sat down at the opposite end of the table from Reggie, she followed and sat across from me. “You must be Horatio,” she said, holding out her hand. I shook it and acknowledged that I was. “When Hamlet let it drop at dinner last night that you were coming, I thought Reggie was going to have a conniption. So I knew I would like you. Are you any good at charades? Hamlet has got a plan for this evening involving charades.” She smiled at me. I began to reply, but then the door slid open once again and Hamlet wafted in like a ghost, wearing the same black suit as the night before. He passed by the buffet table and came immediately to my side at the table.
“Good morning, Mr. DeMarco,” the girl beamed at him.
“Ophelia,” he nodded vaguely in her direction. His eyes wandered the room.
When the doors slid open the final time, Hamlet turned in his chair and stared as Gertrude and Claudius entered the room together. A thick silence fell over the room. The pair took their places at the table as quickly as they could.
Claudius cleared his throat. “Laertes, tell me about your plans to go back to school.”
Laertes sighed, put down his fork and began telling everyone about his school. Ophelia tried to catch Hamlet’s attention and whisper something conspiratorially; he caught her eye and deliberately looked away. She seemed surprised.
“And now Hamlet, my favorite nephew,” Claudius said with a raised eyebrow and an ambiguous level of sincerity. “You are not looking well, son. Black does not do you any favors. Gertrude,” He rubbed his hand on her back possessively, “you agree with me, don’t you?” Gertrude nodded, her brow furrowed with concern. Hamlet’s glare darkened and his hand curled into a fist at his side.
Yet he held his tongue. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Yesterday I woke up feeling poetic. And then I wrote this song. I worked on it in the afternoon when I should probably have been doing homework, but my epic procrastination skills are another story.

Let me know what you think. Also, any suggestions for a song title? I am nortoriously bad at naming things.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Doctor Who tag

1| If you decided to name your first born child after any Doctor Who character, male or female, who would it be?

"Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All," of course.

2| What is your favourite colour of the Doctor's shoes?

Red, definitely.

3| Look around yourself and name the one thing that is TARDIS blue in your house!

My fingernails, my favorite dress, my laptop.

4| If you could pick who plays the Twelfth Doctor which actor would you choose and why?

I don't have anyone in mind for the Doctor, but I think Jethro (from Midnight) should come back as a companion. Because his character was pretty great, he had a lot of potential, and also I really love the actor, Colin Morgan. He is the main character on Merlin, and his acting skills are fantastic.


5| The Doctor is going back in time again, which historical era should he visit?

I love to see the Doctor meet Nikola Tesla, Actual Mad Scientist.

6| Would you REALLY go with the Doctor in the TARDIS?

Yes, I think I really would.

7| Who's your favorite Doctor and why?

TEN. Because Coverse sneakers and brainy specs and HAIR and "Welll..." and he always tried to save everyone and he believed in people more than they believed in themselves and THAT COAT billowing out behind him and he saw the incredible beauty in the so-called "ordinary" and he was like fire and ice and rage, but so beautiful and light and love all at the same time, and he had an awful lot of running to do so "ALLONS-Y!"

8| Would you be afraid to spend Christmas in London?

Apprehensive, but not afraid.

9| Do you look at an ordinary screwdriver and think 'this could be a bit more sonic?'

Don't we all?

10| Angel statues, plastic mannequins, Christmas trees - what ordinary everyday object would you love to make an object of terror to Whovians were you Steven Moffat?

That slight movement in your periphrial vision, the tiny shadow in the corner of your eye when there is nothing there. It's all in your mind.

11| The TARDIS lands in your garden and the Doctor steps out. What is the first thing you say to him?


12| Who is your favorite actor who has played the Doctor so far and why?

David Tennant. Because even in those moments when I disapproved of what the Doctor was doing (*ahem* "Waters of Mars") I still understood why he was acting the way he was and I was still, ultimately, on his side. David Tennant is a phenomenol actor.

13| Have you seen any Classic Doctor Who? If so, which Doctor/episode(s) is your favorite?

I've seen a little bit. I like the fourth Doctor, and I am partial to the first classic Who episode I saw, "The Ark in Space," with the green bubble-wrap bug monster.

14| Which are the creepiest, scariest and all-out meanest baddies in all the Who-niverse?

The Weeping Angels on their first appearance were pretty great. I wish Moffat had let them alone for awhile. Also the Vashta Nerada scare me.

15| Who is/are your favorite Companion(s) and why?

I love Rose, Martha, Donna, Rory, and a bunch of one-episode companions, but I am partial to Donna. She was awesome. I think they spent the most time on actual character development for her.

16| Did you cry more watching Doomsday or The Angels Take Manhattan?

Doomsday. When I finished watching it, I sat there at my computer, sobbing my eyes out. I was almost late for work.

17| What is your favorite quote from the show?

“I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams.”

18| Which Doctor (including all previous regenerations) would you most like to be the companion of, and why?

I think it's clear this is the tenth Doctor.

19| Which of the following are you more scared of, the Daleks, Cybermen, or the Weeping Angles?

Weeping Angels.

20| Who are some of your favorite guest stars in the series?

Colin Morgan, and Carey Mulligan.

21| What was your first experience with Doctor Who and how did you hear about the series?

I heard about it through a friend, watched the first two episodes of NewWho, and thought it was really wierd and not my thing at all. But then I just kept hearing about it everywhere. It seemed like something I SHOULD like. So I watched "Blink" and was completely hooked. After that I went back to the beginning of the ninth Doctor and watched straight through three seasons in a matter of weeks. And things have never been the same.

22| The Ninth Doctor said, 'Fantastic!', Ten said, 'Allons-y', and Eleven says, 'Geronimo'; what would you like to be the signature exclamation of the Twelfth Doctor?

I don't know. Maybe "I don't know!"

23| If you were trapped in an episode, which one would it be?

Tough question. I am trying really hard to think of an episode where nothing horrible would happen to me.

24| Which is your favorite episode with each Doctor (Nine, Ten and Eleven)?

Nine: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
Ten: Blink, or... Silence in the Library
Eleven: Asylum of the Daleks, maybe

25| After watching a certain Doctor Who episode, did you summon up the courage to try fish sticks and custard?

I have tried it. The custard was slightly burnt, but otherwise it was not bad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I've been tagged! Thanks, Melody.

These are the rules...

1. You must post eleven facts about yourself.

2. You must also answer the eleven questions the awarder has given you and make up eleven questions for your awardees to answer in turn.

3. Tag eleven fellow bloggers

4. Notify them that you've awarded them

5. No tagging back

6. And the eleven blogs you tag must have less than 200 followers.
...but I'm not going to follow them. I will do step 2, and tag a few bloggers.
Here are Melody's questions:
1. What's your favorite hair-and-eye color combination?

I love red hair and green eyes. Also blonde hair. Also dark hair and blue eyes... really I don't have a preference. I think every combination is pretty.

2. Who is an unpopular character you rather like but would find difficult to defend?

I find that Martha Jones is often disliked. She is a companion to the Doctor on Doctor Who. I am guessing that people don't like her because she was in unrequited love with the Doctor... which is one of the reasons I do like her. Because falling for someone who doesn't care for you doesn't make you a weak person. It is a thing that happens.

Martha Jones fell in love with a man who never looked at her that way. Yet she was strong enough to be there for him and be totally awesome. She was clever. She saved the world a few times. No big deal. She took care of people. Shakespeare wrote sonnets about her. She walked all over the world, completely alone, telling a story that saved all of time and caused an entire awful year to have never happened. Martha Jones was epic.

And in the end, she was strong enough to walk away. She knew that as long as she was with the Doctor, she couldn't get over him. She had too much dignity to stay and continue to feel overlooked. So she told the Doctor the truth and left, saving herself and saving her friendship with the Doctor in the long run.

Sorry, I just have a lot of feelings about this character. I would be very interested in seeing the other side, though. If you are a Doctor Who watcher who doesn't like Martha, I would genuinely like to hear your argument.

3. What is your second-favorite version of Pride and Prejudice? (It might be assumed that those who like P&P95 would have P&P05 as their second-favorite and vice versa, but this is not always the case.) And if you haven't seen at least two versions of P&P... why haven't you? :D

I will always be partial to P&P95 with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth... because that was the first Jane Austen I was exposed to and I have loved it for a long time. I like the character development in that version, because I think it is very close to the book. There are problems with it, of course, but you learn to overlook problems in movies you truly love.

So I guess my second favorite version is the modern Youtube version produced by Hank Green. There are over 50 episodes so far, of 3-4 minutes each, and they are so close to the first proposal... it should happen any time now. This version is told as a video blog that Lizzie is keeping. The way they have updated the story has been really clever.

4. What is the book you're most embarrassed to tell people you haven't read when they ask? (Not that I want to embarrass you or anything. Haha.)

I've never read Catcher in the Rye. Nor have I read many of Dickens' works. These are embarrassing because I'm a literature major, so I really should have read more of these classics by now.

I'm also embarrassed not to have read Princess Academy; Palace of Stone. The first one is one of my favorite books, but I just haven't found the time to read the second one.  

5. What is your favorite game? (As in, card and board games.)

I like "Pit" a lot, because it is quick and fun and doesn't take too much talent. I think my favorite, though, is probably "Clue" because I have always loved mysteries.

6. Do you typically write in cursive or printing?

7. What is something you promised yourself when you were younger that you would never do, but ended up doing later on?

I was very different when I was a kid. I don't much like my past self, honestly. I was very girly and sensitive, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I was also very pretentious about it. I could be very snobby... but I didn't realize it until I grew up a little.

Not that I am perfect now.

Anyway, as one specific example, I never thought I would be interested in science fiction anything. Now I love it.

8. How do you say "era"--"air-uh" or "ear-uh"?

"Air-uh"-- unless I am trying to sound posh.

9. Do you keep a journal/diary, and if so, do you write in it often?

Yes, I do, and I try to write in it at least several times a week. It is essential to my sanity.

10. If you could suddenly have the ability to play an instrument that you've never even tried before, which would you choose?

Piano. Or drums. If the ability to play comes with a free instrument, then maybe mandolin or melodica or something interesting like that.

11. Which fellow blogger are you the most curious to know the looks of? (I mean, admit it. We're all curious, are we not?)
I don't know; I never really thought about it.


My questions:

1. What is your favorite character trait in a main character?
2. Who is a character you don't like even though most people seem to love them, and why?
3. What is your ideal job?
4. What is your favorite book from your childhood?
5. Is time travel a possibility? How would it work?
6. Do you like to write stories, poetry, essays, etc.?
7. What is something you always thought you would do that you never ended up doing?
8. Do you have an accent?
9. Do you have a "bucket list" of things you would like to do before you die?
10. What is your favorite meal?
11. What fictional character do you most identify with?


I tag:



Friday, October 19, 2012


The rapidly approaching month of November, with all the novel writing it brings, has got me thinking about the writing process quite a bit lately.

I've been watching the lectures by Brandon Sanderson found at, and he give excellent advice on everything from plot to characters to style, and throws gummy bears at students who ask questions in the class, which I found amusing.

One of his lectures got me thinking about conflict in novels... conflict is basically another word for plot, because nothing that happens has any weight unless there is some kind of conflict. The basic, classic conflicts are Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man, and Man vs. Himself (the word "man" being used as a non-gender-specific word). So any time a character comes up against a tornado, the apocolypse, or an abnormal amount of pollen in the air, that is Man vs. Nature. When they are up against the views of society, against a villain, or just against someone who disagrees with them, that is Man vs. Man. And Man vs. Himself is all about internal conflict... whether it is self-doubt or too much confidence, if the conflict stems from something about the character, that is Man vs. Himself.

I love the use of conflict in plot. But not all conflict. I couldn't figure out the difference for a long time. I would read something or see something and think "Well, yes, there is great conflict there... lots of tension... but I don't like it at all. It feels off somehow."

The thing is, the conflicts I love are inevitable conflicts. They are neccessary. When I read a plot twist, my should reaction should be "How could I have not seen this coming?!" You can't just throw characters in opposition to each other, you have to make sure that, given the circumstances, this is the thing that had to happen, because if it didn't, the things you love about the characters would be false. When everything you love about two elements is on the line and conflicting with each other, you have found a good use of conflict.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


And in the interests of updating people on my life now, here is me in a video. I play the ukulele now, kinda. My ukulele is quite pretentiously named Hypatia Persephone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time is a tricky thing

Eveything is different now.

When I say "everything" I mean both the tangible and intangible, reality-based and imaginary... Blogger looks different, for one thing, and I feel strange coming back to it, like one of those days where you take a nap and when you wake up everything feels slightly wrong, like an alternate reality.

Putting Blogger aside, I feel like I am an alternate reality... I am such a different person now than I was when I started this blog, and yet I am the same. The person I am now contains the person I was then, but that is no longer eveything.

I live in a different city now, in an apartment. Near enough that I go home every weekend. I live in perpetual conflict of emotion--it feels really good to be independent, and to be in school again after a long summer, and to have a place that is my own. I also really miss my family.

I stopped using Blogger because I had become someone who didn't need it anymore. For quite awhile, I didn't have anything to say. Now, I think, I have things to say and not many people to whom to say them.

I wonder: do I still have followers? Will this post show up on anyone's dashboard? Do any followers I may have even remember who I am? Will I ever stop with the rhetorical questions?

Only time will tell.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I am still alive and life goes on. I have not blogged in what feels like forever. I hope you are still here, unknown people to whom I am writing.

This morning I got up early, started the coffee pot, reset my alarm, and collapsed back into bed for 15 more minutes of sleep. This is typical. Then I had my coffee, checked my email, looked at pictures of shoes, and played my ukulele for awhile.

Are these shoes not adorable? They remind me of Ms. Frizzle, fictional teacher extraordinaire.

Then I got ready to go and took off in the car. I listen to Phineas and Ferb soundtracks in the car more than I can admit without sounding silly. But you can't tell me this is not a fun song: