Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Girl and the Sorcerer - A Star Wars Short Story

The Girl and the Sorcerer
Rating: PG
Pairings: Han/Leia
Disclaimer: The franchise belongs to George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company.
Notes: This is a gender-reversed version of the Grimm's Fairy Tale Jorinda and Joringel.

Once upon a time, in the forest kingdom of Alderaan, lived a strong and fair maiden named Leia Organa. She became engaged to a handsome, hearty trader named Han Solo. They were seldom seen without each other. They would go for long walks in the woods and fields, with Han's beloved dog Chewbacca by their side. Han brought Leia the most beautiful flowers from the lands he traveled to. Leia sold the flowers and fruits and vegetables he brought in her shop on the edge of Alder Town.

There was an old castle on the edge of the Alderaan Forest. Bast Castle was the home of the fearsome Darth Vader and his master Palpatine. Vader was a shape-shifter. He'd once been human, happily married to a beautiful court lady named Padme. One day, she went out walking in the woods...and never returned. Vader searched for his beloved Padme for years, but she had vanished into thin air. A dark sorcerer in the woods told him that she had run away with another. He vowed that if he could not be happy and have his bride, no man would. Any man in love who came close to the castle was transformed into a helpless creature, a small bird or kitten or mouse. A woman would be frozen in place until the moon rose.

One evening, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca wandered further from Alder Town than usual. It was a chilly spring evening, cold and windy. Leia shivered and pulled her wrap around her shoulders. Big, furry Chewbacca stayed close to his master. Even Han, who was normally laughing and joking, seemed worried.

I don't like this,” he said. “I think we're lost.” Chewie whimpered by his leg. He reached down and gave him a comforting scratch between the ears.

Leia tried to smile, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. “We'll be all right. I'm sure my shop is just around the next corner.”

Maybe it was an hour ago.” Han squeezed her hand. “Face it. We're lost. We have no idea where we are. We could be at the sorcerer's castle, for all we know! I heard hundreds of men have just up and disappeared here. They say the Prince of Yavin vanished near this very spot just a few months ago.”

Leia shook her head. “Oh, I'm sure we're not that far...”

The sun was just going down when it's last dying rays illuminated a crumbling old castle. It was tall and forbidding, with ancient stone towers and moss-covered walls. A rusted gate surrounded the entire area.

Han stepped back. Chewie snarled at his master's feet. Something didn't smell right to him. “I think this is it. It sure looks like the place everyone talks about in the stories.”

I don't see Vader, though.” Leia turned around, expecting the imposing black figure of everyone's nightmares to suddenly appear before her eyes. “Maybe he finally died.”

No, sweetheart. If the stories are true, he's a sorcerer. They live for hundreds of years.” The dark-haired trader shivered. “I'm afraid we're not gonna get out of this alive.”

Don't be such a spoil sport!” Leia put her arm around his back. “We'll be fine.”

Han winced as a cat hissed in the distance, and an owl hooted. “I hope you're right, sweetheart.”
They'd gone no more than a few steps when Chewie stopped, growling. A huge black cat with yellow eyes crossed in front of them, hissing at the trio. Chewie lunged for the cat...but the cat lifted it's claws, knocking Chewie into a tree despite its smaller size.

Han lunged angrily for the cat as it sprinted towards the castle gates. “Hey, you ball of black fur, that's my dog you just attacked! He didn't do anything to you!”

Leia tried to follow him, but to her horror, she found she couldn't move a muscle. Her legs were rooted to the spot. She couldn't call to Han, or hurry to Chewie to see if he was all right.

Leia!” Han had started back towards her when he saw her stop. “What's goin' on?” The cat hissed again, lunging for him. As he grabbed the cat by the scruff of it's neck, a misty black light surrounded him. “What are you doing?” His hazel eyes widened as he dropped the feline onto the mossy ground. “What's happening to me?” To his horror, his fingers were lengthening into brown wings, his mouth into a grayish beak. Feathers grew over his navy peasant jacket and brown trousers. “Lei...lei...lei..”

When the black light receded, a reddish-brown sparrow was flying as fast as it could away from the cat. The sparrow landed on Leia's shoulder and tried to nuzzle her, then sing in her ear. Leia wanted badly to respond to him, but the moon was not yet out, and she remained paralyzed.

The black mist surrounded the cat. A figure stepped from the black wind, tall and imposing in a thick cape and glossy black armor. “I would be honored if you would remain with us, little sparrow.”

The magician took the bird in his gloved hands. The small bird struggled and bit and pecked at his fingers, squirming as hard as he could. “You're behaving more like a human than a bird. We'll have to change that.” He gently ran his thumb over the sparrow's back and wings, murmuring something in its ear. The sparrow finally stopped struggling, but he continued to chirp, trying to call to his beloved fiancee. “No, little bird. You belong to my master now. You'll never see your mate again.”

The moment the moon rose, Leia stumbled, now able to move again. She stomped over to the black magician, grabbing him by the arm. “I know who you are. You're Darth Vader, the evil sorcerer who kidnapped all those men in the woods. I won't let you keep my Han. I love him!” Leia swore the bird chirped something that sounded like “I know.”

Vader continued stroking the bird with his thumb, until it's hazel eyes became glassy and it's song vacant. The owl they saw earlier soared by, an old white and black owl with glowing yellow eyes. Vader opened his hands, allowing the owl to carry the sparrow off to the castle. Leia tried to grab at the owl, but Vader took her by the arms before she could reach it. “You're better off returning to town and forgetting about love. It'll only hurt you in the end.”

No!” Leia tried hard not to cry around this monster. “I won't lose Han the way you lost your Padme.”

Do not mention her name! Ever!” He finally threw the struggling girl to the ground. “If I ever see you anywhere near this castle ever again, I will turn you completely into stone. Go, and take that giant mountain of fur with you!”

Leia took Chewbacca into arms as best she could. “Han,” she sobbed into the night, “if you can hear me, I will come for you. I swear it. I don't know how, but I will.”

Determined to find the way to defeat Vader, Leia closed her shop, gathered Chewbacca and a few necessary items into Han's old carriage, and left for the desert kingdom Tatoonie. Her twin brother Luke had moved there years ago. He was apprenticed to a great magician, Obi-Wan Kenobi, before the elderly man passed away. He now ran Obi-Wan's school and garden, with the help of his servants Artur and Cecil.

Leia!” He went out to greet her the moment she arrived. “I'm so glad to see you.” He wrapped his arms around her. For all his great powers, Luke was really a gentle youth, with golden hair and blue eyes. He knew Han Solo as well, for the trader often brought him news and supplies when passing through Tatoonie. He gave Leia a sunny smile. “For what do I owe this visit? Where's Han? When's the wedding?”

To Luke's surprised, his strong-willed sister blinked back tears at the mention of her fiancee. “That's what I'm here about. Han's gone. We got lost in the forest and found Bast Castle. Vader has him. There isn't going to be a wedding unless I can turn him back!”

Bast Castle?” Luke's sweet face darkened. “Come on. You can explain this better inside.”

Leia told Luke everything that had happened a few weeks before over a meal of goat's milk, rabbit and vegetable stew, and just-baked bread. “I miss Han so much, but I don't know how to use magic like you do.” She finally pushed her bowl aside. “Now I wish I'd come with you when you asked and learned, too. I spent two weeks wandering around near the woods, hoping to even get a glimpse of him.”

Leia,” Luke said quietly, “there is one thing. There's a lily that grows in the desert scrub land that is said to be so powerful, it can not only ward off evil magic, but end it. Anything enchanted that you touch with it will be cured. Anything evil will lose its potency.”

Well,” his sister insisted eagerly, “where is it? I have to find it!”

Luke frowned. “It's in Obi-Wan's garden. He was cultivating it in the hope that he and I would be able to restore Vader to his original form. It only appears at night, in the light of the full moon.”

Chewbacca whimpered under the table. Leia handed him a bit of rabbit. “Well then,” she stood and picked up the bowl, “why don't I help you with the dishes? As soon as the moon comes out, I'll look for it in the garden.”

Leia.” Luke put his hand on his sister's shoulder. “If you're going to go after Vader and his master, I'm coming with you. I won't let you do this alone. You're my twin, and Han is my friend.” He gave her a small smile. “I know a few tricks that will distract him while you release your fiancee.”

Leia threw her arms around him. “Thank you, Luke. You're the best twin ever.”

What are twins for?” He hefted the soup pot. Chewie licked his bowl filled with scraps clean. “Let's go out and get these washed. The sooner we can get to the garden, the better.”

That night, the two and the dog made their way out to the plot of land behind Luke's cottage. Obi-Wan had originally planted the garden when he first came to Tatoonie in the hopes of training magic-sensitive youths. It was filled with every magical plant or flower that could grow in a desert, from cacti blossoms whose juice could heal gaping wounds to lupine with the ability to put anything to sleep. The flora was planted in neat rows, bordered by sagebrush and cacti.

Leia was about to despair of every finding the flower when she saw something sparkle in a dark corner. An enormous white star-shaped bloom stood all alone, surrounded by a strange silvery mist. The moonlight fell on a single pearl in its center. The mists danced around the pearl, giving it a strange, lustrous sheen.

You found it!” Luke hurried over to her, with Chewbacca at her heels. “The Luminous Pearl Star is one of a kind. It only grows in Tatoonie, and even here, it's rare. It's made of pure white magic. Dark magic can't touch it. When you go to Bast Castle, you'll be able to walk in without being paralyzed.”

His sister frowned. “But what about you? Vader will turn you into a bird, or a kitten! I couldn't bear to lose two men I love.”

You won't.” Luke pulled out a small bag. “Obi-Wan taught me a few tricks and potions before he died. I can handle Vader. You concentrate on finding Han.” Chewie barked, nudging Luke's leg. “You too, boy. I know you miss him.”

They returned to Alderaan the very next morning in the carriage. Leia kept the flower close to her in a small pouch. She was amazed by its ability to retain its shape and color, even after being confined for several days. Its glow seemed more intense than ever.

This time, they were able to ride right up to the castle gate. Vader once again met them there. “So, you defied my orders and came back.”

I want my fiancee.” Leia held out the flower. Vader pulled back, hissing angrily.

Where did you get that?” Vader's voice sounded strained.

I gave it to her.” Luke pulled out his bag. “My master Obi-Wan wanted you to return to us, Anakin Skywalker. Your love Padme was murdered by your master. Palpatine wants your magic. He's using you.”

No!” Vader shot black light out at the young man. “He's easing my pain! He wasn't the sorcerer who took Padme from me!”

He's using your power!” Luke easily leaped away from the light. “When he's gotten what he wants, he'll get rid of you!”

Leia wanted to help her brother, but she knew there was very little she could do. The flower could protect, but she doubted it could shoot magic. She and Chewbacca hurried past the combatants and into the castle.

She and Chewbacca listened for the sound of animals calling out. Chewbacca was a dog, and his hearing was far more sensitive than any human's. The moment he heard his master's warble, he let out a happy bark and loped over to a long, winding staircase.

You hear something, Chewie?” The big, furry brown dog nodded, tugging his mistress up the stairs. There was a heavy door at the top. Leia touched the flower to the lock, opening it easily.

The tower room was far larger on the inside than it was on the outside! Cages lined the circular walls. Each one contained a poor small animal that had once been a man, a mouse or a kitten or a puppy or a bird. They were far less noisy than Leia expected. The dogs whimpered. The kittens purred sadly. The mice barely squeaked. The birds' chirping was subdued. Some were little more than skin, bones, and wrinkles, too old-looking for young animals.

At the far end of the room was what appeared to be a black cloak. A withered, dead-white finger stuck out of the fabric. A small reddish-brown sparrow perched on the tip. Another finger stroked the scar under his beak. “Yes, my handsome pet. You will sing for me, on my bidding.” The bird sang, but its warble was heartrendingly sad and full of longing. “Yes, sing for me, pretty bird. Sing, and then I will take enough energy to keep me young for a long time.”

That's what you think!” Leia waved the flower at him. “Release my fiancee at once!” Chewbacca bared his teeth at the elderly sorcerer.

Palpatine was truly an awful sight. He was all skin and bones and wrinkles. His eyes glowed a hideous shade of yellow. “How did you get in here, girl? Didn't my apprentice turn you into stone at the doorway? He must be getting lazy.”

My brother's keeping him occupied.” She held out the flower. “I won't let you take Han's life. I'll bet that's what you did to Vader's Padme, didn't you? Drained her of her energy, then killed her.”

Ahh, my first pet.” Palpatine's thin-lipped smile chilled the young woman to her bones. “She made such a graceful little swan. I did so enjoy watching her swim on the pond in the courtyard before I drained her. I never tasted such delicate, sweet energy.” He lifted his hands. “If you will not leave, little will be destroyed.”

Leia braced herself as he shot purple lightning from his fingertips. Chewbacca leaned against her leg, whimpering. To her surprise, a white mist from the flower surrounded her and Chewie, protecting them. The lightning only went around it.

Palpatine hissed. “That has white magic. I can feel it. Where did you get it?”

Wouldn't you like to know?” Leia reached over him. “You can't hurt me while I have this. Now, I'm just going to free my fiancee...”

Oh no. I'm not losing my pet that easily!” He dodged her lunge, surprisingly nimble for such an ancient crone. Before Leia or Chewbacca could stop him, his purple lightning gathered around him. When it burst away, he was now a ragged, yellow-eyed owl. The larger bird wrapped his talon around the sparrow as it tried to fly to Leia and flapped speedily out the window.

No!” Leia watched the owl...but then, her gaze fell on the other cages. She needed help to rescue Han. She touched each cage with the pearl. It and its occupant glowed white, and was replaced by a handsome man. She ran around the room with the pearl, opening every cage, until the entire room was filled with men of various ages and sizes.

One tall man with curly dark hair and a gentle smile bowed before her. “I thank you, Senorita. I am Principe Kes, of the Kingdom of Yavin. I became lost in the forest two months ago and was captured by that terrible enchanter and turned into a kitten. I wanted nothing more than to return to my wife, the Principa Shara.”

Leia curtsied as best she could. “Thank you, Your Highness. I'm glad I could help.” She stood, turning to the doorway. “Now, I must ask a favor of all of you. Palpatine has my fiancee, Han Solo. Will you all help me get him back?”

The men bowed as one for her, including the Prince. “Anything for the woman who saved our lives and our energy,” Kes insisted.

They all followed her downstairs, just in time to see Luke knock Vader to the ground, white magic surrounding him. “You're not really evil, Vader,” Luke said gently. “You're hurt and angry and heartbroken, but not evil. I can feel it.”

Leia took advantage of the distraction to touch Vader with the flower. To her surprise, instead of killing him, the white mist seemed to penetrate him, change him. When the mist dissolved, it revealed a good-looking older man in his 40's, with curly gray-yellow hair and a scraggly grayish beard. His eyes, once the same muddy yellow as his master, were now a clear sapphire blue.

You're Sir Anakin!” yelled one tall man with brown hair pulled back into a bun. “You were one of the greatest knights ever in the Kingdom of Naboo. Everyone thought you were dead!” The other men glared at him, angry for his part their abductions and abuse.

Look out!” Another man, a tall fellow with straight black hair, pointed upwards at the sky. The round, gold moon gave enough light to reveal the owl diving straight for them, the sparrow still in its talon. It's hooting seemed more like evil cackles to Leia.

No!” Anakin reached out and grabbed the owl before it could fly away. “I won't let this young woman lose her lover like I lost Padme!” It took Kes, Anakin, and Luke to subdue the owl and pry the sparrow out of its talon.

Luke handed the little brown bird to Leia. The brown bird chirped happily, nudging Luke's finger. “Here, sis. I believe turning him back should be your job.”

He set the bird on the ground. Leia smiled and touched him with the flower. The white mist enveloped the sparrow. His chirping became a very human groan. When the mist subsided, Han Solo was rubbing his fluffy red-brown head. “What took you so long, sweetheart?” he asked with a teasing grin.

Han!” she threw herself into his arms. “God, I missed you so much!” The men around them cheered.

Han just hugged as hard as he could. “I love you, Leia.”

She gave him a grin in return. “I know.”

Kes and Luke still held Palpatine the owl, who struggled in their arms. “What are we going to do with him?”

Anakin's blue eyes had a nasty gleam in them. He took the owl by the scruff of its neck and deposited it in front of Chewbacca. “Here, dog. How'd you like a nice, plump, juicy bird for dinner?” The enormous brown mastiff barked and leaped onto the owl, tearing it and biting it until there was nothing left but a few feathers.

Han and Leia returned to the Kingdom of Alderaan, where they were wed. They became the most prosperous traders and store owners in the land. They also remained good friends with the Prince and Princess, later King and Queen, of Yavin. The royal couple even made them the godparents of their son Poe after his birth, and they in turn became the godparents of Leia and Han's son Benjamin. Chewbacca stayed their beloved and faithful companion.

Anakin did not get as warm a reception in the Kingdom of Naboo. He was put on trial for kidnapping and accessory to murder. The tribunal acquitted him, but others continued to accuse him. He fled to the hills, where it's assumed he lives out the rest of his days quietly, for he has never been seen again.

Luke went back to Tatoonie with the flower...but not alone. He was quite taken with the handsome fellow with the dark hair and blue eyes, a young horseman from the Kingdom of Corellia named Wedge. The two lived together in Obi-Wan's cottage for years, tending to the magical flowers and raising a little orphan girl named Rey. The pearl star flower was replanted in the garden, where it remains to this day.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Upcoming Stories and Story Ideas

This is a list of stories I'm working on, hope to work on soon, and am developing ideas for. Keep in mind that this list can and will change depending on what I'm interested in at any given time and what else is going on in my life.

Currently Working On:

Star Wars Original Trilogy

Fairy Tales

Jack and the Beanstalk or the Grimm's Fairy Tale Jorinda and Joringel

Tales of the Gold Wookie (Alternative Universe 1930's Adventure) - It's 1939. Layla and Luke Skylark are fresh out of the University of Arizona and ready to change the world. She's an archaeologist; he's a reporter. While Luke is content to be an intern for world-weary veteran crime reporter Benton Kennally, Layla is far more ambitious. She wants to find lost treasures for her idol, museum owner Marta Mothma. Her current obsession is rescuing the (reportedly magical) lost royal jewels of the Kingdom of Alderaan from nasty General Tarkin and the Empire.

Luke convinces her to hire Harry Solomon, a pilot with a dilapidated plane who runs his own charter service, to take them to where the treasures were last seen. Layla's not happy with the idea at first. Harry is rude, arrogant, and only cares about getting his share of the treasure. Not to mention, some of his former bosses make Tarkin look like a kitten. Tarkin has his own formidable underling, the corrupt industrialist Derek Vader. After Kennally gets into trouble with Vader, Luke insists on bringing along venerable old Asian archaeology professor Takamashi Yoda as their guide.

Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

Nutcracker-Inspired Story - Clara Marie Stahlbaum (known as "Rey" to her friends) receives an old wooden nutcracker from her mysterious Uncle Luke Drosselmayer on Christmas Eve. Her older brother Benjamin teases her about her fondness for such a homely, old-fashioned gift. Her mother Leia and her father Hans are more understanding. She's upset when Benjamin accidentally breaks it, then claims it's not fit to crack nuts for the rats in the house. Their menacing tutor, Ebeneezer Snoke, agrees. Rey doesn't like Snoke at all, but Benjamin trusts him utterly.

That night, Rey creeps down to the Christmas tree to see her Nutcracker again. The moment she falls asleep with him in her arms, she has a most peculiar dream. Uncle Luke is a magician, banished from the Land of Sweets by the evil Rat King Snoke and his apprentice Kylo Ren. The Nutcracker Prince, the true ruler of the land, has vanished and is presumed dead. Lady Leia, the Sugar Plum Fairy, leads an army of toys, candy, and snowflakes to find the prince and free her beloved Fairy Cavalier Han, who has been kidnapped is being held hostage by Snoke in the Gingerbread Castle. Rey finds herself caught up in the search...and falling for the half-human, half-wooden Nutcracker.

Coming Up Next:

Star Wars Original Trilogy

Original Snow Queen-Inspired Action/Fantasy - Set in the three years between New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, and my first story set within the regular Star Wars universe. Han, Chewie, Leia, and Luke are on a diplomatic mission to buy supplies from a snow planet that's remained neutral in the battle between the Empire and Rebellion. Leia's hoping to sway them to the Alliance's side. Unlike Hoth, this planet is inhabited, mainly by criminals and nasty goblins. It's queen is a shrewd magician with her own ice-based powers. The goblins, determined to make mischief, get slivers of a Force-sensitive crystal in Luke's eyes and heart. It turns him into the opposite of his usual self...making him cold and distant to his two best friends. Leia, Han, and Chewie have to dodge the planet's shadier citizens and a summer witch with her own plans in order to free Luke from the goblins' spell and find out just what the Snow Queen is up to.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Sequel Trilogy)

The Resistance Kids Go Camping (Alternative Universe 1940's Comedy) - Leia takes the female Resistance Kids on a trip to her family's cabin in the Adirondack Mountains for some much-needed rest and relaxation. Things take a spooky turn when the girls' campfire urban legend may be more than a little true...

Remember WENN

Once Upon a Time In the Land of WENN (Alternative Universe Fantasy/Fairy Tale) - Even when Elizabeth and the others leave Port Harbor, looking for the Emerald Talisman, trouble follows. Lady Gloria Redmond has no desire to even discuss the magic that caused her so much grief. There's also the evil candy witch Pavla Nemcova, who has both Jeff Singer and Sir Victor Comstock in her grasp, to contend with.

In Development: 

Star Wars Original Trilogy

Dark Medieval Fantasy (Han/Leia based fantasy) - Inspired by this Tumblr post. Leia is in search of her missing brother Luke, who was in training to be a wizard before their parents were killed and he was kidnapped. He's not the only one who has disappeared. The queen is dying. Her greedy, power-hungry adviser Palapatine is taking over the throne. The queen once had a son, Prince Hannel, but he vanished and is presumed dead. It's rumored that Palapatine is really a dark sorcerer who worked some terrible enchantment on the missing prince.

Leia finds a man imprisoned in a dungeon in a remote corner of the kingdom. The bedraggled man with the auburn hair had once worn fine robes, but now has no idea who he is. All Leia knows is he's insufferably stubborn, an excellent shot with a bow and arrow, and is always accompanied by an enormous Wookie wolf. The two are eventually joined by an eccentric old wizard and a mysterious unicorn with sad blue eyes as they try to find out who the silent man is and avenge Leia's family. 

Superhero Story (Alternative Universe 1970's Superhero/Action Fantasy) - Leah O'Malley is an intern in corrupt Coruscant City by day in 1977. By night, she's Force Girl, a superheroine who is a member of the Rebel League, a society of superheroes and vigilantes who fight the regime of the evil Mayor Palapatine and the devious Chief of Police/super villain Derek Veder. Lucas Weston is a geeky college kid and major comics fan who discovers that the owner of a local book store/comics shop was once The Negotiator, a great World War II/Golden Era superhero...and that Lucas is the inheritor of a superheroic dynasty. Lucas seeks help from Harris Arietta, a carpenter and handyman whose dog Chewbacca always rides with him and acts as a Team Pet.

80's Summer Story (Alternative Universe 1980's Comedy/Action) - Leia and Luke Walker are just out of high school and are celebrating their last two months of freedom before she goes to college for political science and he joins the Coast Guard. Uncle Ben, a local beach bum, owns a series of dilapidated cottages on the beach at the edge of town. He'll let them rent a cottage and keep an eye on them, and they'll run chores and help him with the cottages' upkeep. 

Things go south very quickly when Leia discovers that a nasty corporation wants to buy the cottages, tear them down, force out the permanent residents, and build an elaborate hotel and mall in their place. The Imperial Gang, a motorcycle group, has been threatening the residents and Uncle Ben for months. She and Luke rally the residents, including shady fisherman Hank Solokowski, his British buddy Charlie Bachman, Luke's Coast Guard friend Walter "Wedge" Antilles, and foreign nerds Chip and Arturro, to help fight back.

Fairy Tales

Hansel and Gretel/The Witch In the Wood
Cinderella (Gender-Reversed - Han is Cinderella, Leia is the Princess)

Remember WENN 

Captain Victor, Man of Power (Alternative Universe Superhero/Action) - Set directly after the first season episode "There But Before Grace." Tired of dealing with (and being run all over by) sponsors and confused about his feelings for Betty and Grace Cavendish, Victor Comstock imagines himself as one of those new superheroes that have become popular with the kids, Jeff as his sidekick, Betty as the new girl reporter on the block, C.J as a scientist, Ceila as the daughter of a missing scientist and Victor's other sidekick, Hilary as a snooty actress-turned-society-reporter, Mackie as their boss, and Grace as a Dragon Lady-type villaness.

The Best Radio Christmas Pageant Ever - A kind of "missing scene" story set during the early first season. Victor wants to present the story of the Nativity on the airwaves, but the kids starring in the show are unruly, Hilary wants a bigger role, the sponsor is turning the show into a commercial, and Ceila will have nothing to do with it. And there's reports of a major snowstorm heading for Pittsburgh...

On the Edge of the Precipice Series

The Fox and the Falcon - Betty finds herself head over heels involved in espionage when the true leader of the spy ring becomes known...and Victor Comstock returns with startling news...

Remember WENN Fairy Tale Series

Hilary's Story: Beauty and the Beast - Wrap-around segments set day after fourth-season episode "You've Met Your Match." Story based around third and fourth season. Angry at Scott and Jeff for their behavior the night before and in the past few months in general, Betty and Hilary concoct the story of two sisters who discover that the beastly owner and manager of a dilapidated theater may not be what they appear on the outside...or even inside...

Mr. Eldridge and Gertie's Story: The Man Who Minded the House - Set after and based around the fourth season episode "Work Shift." Mr. Eldridge recalls the story of how a man and a woman (him and Gertie) learn that the grass isn't always greener in someone else's work area when he takes over her household duties and she works in the fields.

Story Ideas: 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Sequel Trilogy)

The Wizard of Oz (Alternative Universe Fantasy-Wizard of Oz-inspired) - Rachel "Rey" Gale lives with her Aunt Leah and Uncle Harry and their two farmhands on a farm outside of Jakkuson, Kansas in 1939. She feels like her life is as gray as the world around her, especially after the nasty man who runs the First Order Manor near-by threatens to take her beloved Westie Terrier BeeBee to the pound and her grouchy cousin demands his share of the farm. A tornado whisks Rey and BeeBee over the rainbow and into the land of Oz. Oz is under the tyrannical rule of the Warlock of the West and his apprentice. Queen Leia was imprisoned in her own magic bubble and banished to the lands of the South, where she amasses an army to stop him. She once ruled with her husband and her wizard brother, but her husband vanished after he was attacked by her son, and her brother is hiding in the Emerald City. Rey has to go to the Emerald City to find the Wizard Skywalker, with the help of a cowardly lion-soldier, a scarecrow who had once worked for the queen, and the Tin Smuggler, who seems to know a lot more about the queen and the Warlock of the West and his apprentice than he'll let on...

Fairy Tales/Fantasy

A Midsummer's Night's Dream
Little Red Riding Hood

Remember WENN

Maltese Falcon Film Noir Spoof II (Alternative Universe Film Noir/Mystery) - Wrap-around set during the late third or early fourth seasons. Hilary and Scott give two different sides of the tale of a dame who may or may not have gotten a private eye involved with smuggling and murder.

Ceila Short Story - Missing scene set during the first season episode "A Capitol Idea." Ceila says good-bye to the station after she's hired by the guy who wanted her to promote Blondie cartoons.

Fairy Tale Series

Jeff's Story - Aladdin and His Magic Lamp
C.J's Story - Jack and the Beanstalk
Victor's Story - King Arthur
Ceila's Story - Goldielocks and the Three Bears
Mackie's Story
Eugenia and Mr. Foley's Story

Original Children's Short Stories

Stories based after childhood memories, including:

Painting someone else's fence.
Little kids running through other people's yards when Mom and Dad aren't looking.
Beach frolics - walking home from the beach.

Introduction - The Resistance Kids and the Haunted House

This was inspired by and is a homage to the "B" comedy series The Bowery Boys. The series basically involved a group of young adults (they weren't really "boys" by the time the series proper began in 1946) who got into wild adventures while hanging around a soda shoppe in their Lower East Side neighborhood. The group did at least five horror-themed comedies over the years. This one borrows some elements from Master Minds, Spook Chasers, and The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters, but like the fairy tales I did earlier in the year, it's also something of a Force Awakens retelling.

(This is going to be a good place to acknowledge that - spoiler alert - Han Solo doesn't die here, and probably won't in the next Force Awakens story I  have planned, either. His death fits the story told in the movie, but it doesn't work with a horror comedy or a relatively light fantasy. I may work it into the sequel-based Wizard of Oz story I'm developing. We'll see what happens.)

I enjoyed doing this one so much, I've decided I'm going to take a note from Monogram/Allied Artists/Warner Bros and turn it into a series. I'm hoping to get to The Resistance Kids Go Camping by sometime in December or early January. We'll see how things go.

The Resistance Kids and the Haunted House, Part 1

Rating: PG (violence – comic and otherwise, mild language)
Pairings: Han/Leia, Finn/Rey
Disclaimer: The franchise belongs to George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company.

There were a lot of things Rey Rider loved about living in the Bowery in 1949. She liked the apartment she, Jessika, and Kaydel lived in. Finn, Snap, and Poe were right next door. Old Maz was downstairs to chaperon, push for the rent, and make the best damn pecan pie in New York. Ok, so the place consisted of three rooms and a barely closet-sized bathroom, the kitchen was attached to the living room, and she had to share a room with Kay and listen to her talk about her dates in her sleep. It beat the corrugated tin shack she lived in when she was working for Unkar Plutt, after she immigrated during the war.

Oh, and Baby. She could never forget Baby. Baby was a plump little corgi pup, the cutest and most playful dog in Manhattan. She was technically Poe's, but she sort of belonged to the whole group. Rey found her shivering and cold in an alley one day, after she'd gotten lost from Poe. Three bigger dogs were trying to pick a fight with her, but Rey chased them away and brought her to Finn, then Poe. Baby gravitated towards her ever since.

The Bowery was beautiful today. The battered storefronts and tenements were never going to win any awards, but nothing could look ugly in a fresh blue sky, with bright orange paper pumpkins and russet brown leaves in the windows. It was late October, just three days before Halloween, and the smell of burning leaves and apple and pear kuchen being made in bakeries was in the air. She took a deep sniff before stepping into Solo's Garage.

Working for Hank Solo was by far the best thing about coming to New York. She'd always loved mechanics. Nothing made her happier than tinkering with a car engine or repairing a toaster that was on the fritz. The brick garage was old and filled to the brim with parts of vehicles probably dating to the first cars sold in the late 1800's.

Hank Solo was a great guy. He was really laid-back. There were a lot of things he didn't mind. He didn't care that she was British, Finn was black, Jess' family was from the Philippines, or that she and Jess were girls. He didn't care where you were from or who you were, as long as you could fix a carburetor.

He and his huge Russian buddy Charles were legends in the Bowery. They were both originally from Chicago. They were passing through with a load of opium before getting caught in local gang wars. Hank said losing the opium almost got him killed, but it was the best thing that ever happened to him, because he met his wife, Leia.

Hank looked over his shoulder as she hurried in. “Nice of you to join us, kid.” He tossed her a rag as she pulled on grease-smeared coveralls. “Here. The Falcon's coughing again. Probably her radiator. Better check her out.”

Rey rolled her eyes. “The Falcon” was the truck Hank and Charles drove to New York with their fabled opium shipment in 1917. It apparently hadn't run well even then. Nowadays, it was really a piece of garbage, but Hank would never get rid of it. “She's a classic,” Hank would boast. “She made the Kessel Run through upstate New York in just twelve minutes. Cops haven't caught her yet.”

Finn waved her over. He, Snap, and Jess were already hard at work, up to their elbows in grease and transmission fluid. “Hey, Rey.” Finn had the most infectious grin in the Bowery. There was something so adorable about it. You couldn't help grinning back. “Where have you been all morning? Hank's been askin' about you.”

All four of them were as different as could be. Rey was short and feisty, with brown hair she usually tugged back into three loose buns. Jess was pretty and exotic, with her tanned skin and almond-shaped eyes. Snap was a big guy, with longish brown hair and a scruffy beard. He had a plump, round face that made people think he was a pushover...until they met his fist. Finn was another big guy, with deep cocoa-colored skin and large brown eyes that shined when he was working on a car or talking to his friends.

I took a walk down to the end of Canal Street.” She peered into the hood. “Wrench please, Snap.”

All the way down there?” Snap handed her the requested tool.

I went to see that old house Mr. Ematt was talking about at his real estate agency.” She started twisting lug nuts. “Remember when we went there last week, and he told us about the old Skywalker Manor? He said someone just bought it, but he could probably talk them into letting us have our Halloween party there.”

Finn winced. “Didn't he say that place was haunted?”

Jess grinned as she poked her head out of a Chrysler Saratoga that needed it's engine cleaned. She had a streak of grime across her high cheekbones. “In that case, it would be perfect for our Halloween party. We wouldn't need to hang sheet ghosts on the walls. We'd have real ones.”

Yeah!” Snap leaned into the Falcon next to Rey. “Doesn't it have a huge fireplace? We could tell stories around the fire and roast marshmallows.”

We'd have to clean the chimney.” Finn wiped off his hands with a no-longer-white rag. “And find wood somewhere. And a metal screen. I don't want to burn the house down. Mr. Ematt would never let us hear the end of it. Especially with the housing shortage going on.”

Jess slid under the Chrysler. “I wonder why no one lives there?”

It's too big.” Hank came over to them, a pile of tools his his arms. He tossed one to Jess' disembodied hand when it stuck out. “Too big and too old for most people. No one's lived there since Andrew Waller and his wife Patricia died.”

Rey shivered, and only partially from the chilly wind coming in through the drafty, cracked windows. “How did they die?” She banged on the side of the radiator with her wrench.

Jess slid out, her ears pricked. “Was it gruesome?”

I don't know the details. I got most of the story from Leia and Ol' Benton Kenobi, before Kenobi died in a gang fight.” Hank leaned on the cherry-red hood of a 1933 Buick. “Waller was a cop about 50 years ago. He caught Patricia with his best friend Kenobi, jumped to conclusions, and attacked her. Kenobi apparently gave him a good sock in the chin...but forgot the fireplace was lit. His buddy landed in the fire and ended up burning almost his entire right side off.”

He frowned. “Patricia was pregnant. She went into labor early. Her twins survived. She didn't. They eventually gave the kids to loving families who'd protect them from their father.”

Wow.” Snap grabbed a can of oil. “Now that's spooky. Do you think they're still there?”

Hank put up a hand. “Don't get ideas, kid. There ain't no such thing as ghosts.”

Finn shivered. “I don't know about that. I swear our apartment building's haunted. I keep hearing noises in the middle of the night.”

Jess went back under the Chrysler. “Finn, our apartment building is old. 1800's old. Before radio and the movies, even.”

Right, mate.” Rey smacked him lightly on the shoulder with a towel. “Old buildings make noise. If you think that's bad, you should have seen the orphanage I used to live in when I was in England. It dated to the 1600's. I swear, it creaked and coughed more than the Falcon on the Manhattan Bridge.”

Besides,” Snap added, wiping his hands on a rag, “Poe walks in his sleep when he's nervous. You know he's been crazy these past few days about getting a job with Mrs. Solo. She's his idol, man.”

Jess finally emerged from under the Chrysler, her face streaked with grease. “I wonder who could afford to buy Skywalker Manor? It's a big place. I doubt it was cheap.”

Finn looked up from helping Hank wash the Buick. “Did Ematt tell you? And why would they let us have our party there?”

The girl shrugged. “Some new science business called Starkiller Industries bought it. He said they're going to demolish the place anyway. As long as we stayed out of the boarded-up areas, we had free reign. I guess they figure we couldn't do anything worse to it. ”

Starkiller Industries?” Hank raised an eyebrow. “I think I've heard of them. They're developing new drugs and ways of helping people with brain problems.”

Snap shivered as the fall breeze blew in from Canal Street. “I heard the Nazis did some seriously scary stuff to people's minds. They'd hypnotize them, or something, and would make them kill people.”

You've been listening to I Love A Mystery in the dark again.” Finn polished the chrome on the Chrysler. “It's getting to you, man. No one can do that.”

I'd keep an open mind, if I were you.” Hank tossed the rag into a wicker hamper. “I heard the Nazis experimented with a lot of crazy stuff during the war. Some of it sounded like it was out of Flash Gordon, but it was real.”

Rey sighed. “They're probably just looking for an office building that's away from the grind.”

The others looked at each other doubtfully. Hank rolled his eyes. “We have to finish these cars. The owners will be around before closing. And Rey, you need to get on the Falcon.”

Get on that thing?” A warm, familiar voice filled the air. “Hank, you couldn't make that heap jump-start with five cables and a battery the size of the Empire State Building.”

Poe!” The kids all leaped from around the cars and gathered around their friend. Poe was the group's leader and older brother figure. Rey hadn't seen him look so happy in ages. He was even wearing a natty new suit. His wild black curls were slicked back under his brown hat.

Baby the corgi trotted behind him, her orange collar nearly matching her burnt orange and white fur. She sprinted over to Rey and jumped on her legs, barking happily. “Hi, girl.” Rey patted the dog. “How are you? Happy for your master?” Baby gave another excited yip. She was just happy to see all her favorite people in one place, especially her very favorite, Rey.

Well, did you get it?” Finn gave Poe one of his huge grins. “Did you get the job?”

You are looking,” Poe stated proudly, “at the new junior investigator for Mrs. Leia Organa-Solo herself, only the greatest lady to have ever been a police commissioner in this burg.” Hank snorted but said nothing, concentrating on the Buick.

You got the job!” Finn hugged him. The others gathered around.

Congratulations!” Jess patted him on the shoulder. “I knew you could do it!”

Snap gave him such a slap on the back, Poe almost ended up on top of the Falcon. “You'll be a great investigator.”

I even have my first assignment.” Poe's chest puffed out to three times its normal size. “Mrs. Solo wants me to help find her brother, Mr. Luke Waller, the former Chief of Police. He's been missing for three years, ever since a bunch of hooligans called The Knights of Ren burned down his Home for Wayward Children. He resigned after that and left town. No one's heard from him since.”

I heard about that.” Jess shook her head. “My mom told me about it. She was friends with Mrs. Solo and Mr. Waller. It was horrible. A lot of kids died.”

Yeah.” The small, curly-haired young man looked up at Hank as he shut the top of the Buick. “You know, Mr. Solo, Mrs. Solo was asking about you.”

I'm sure she was.” Hank went to the grimy old porcelain sink and washed his hands.

She wanted to know if I'd seen you.” Poe took Baby from Rey. The puppy licked him on the cheek. “She said you haven't called her in a while.”

I haven't.” The older man wiped his hands on a towel hanging by the sink. “Leia doesn't want to see me.”

That's not what she told me.” Baby pushed her nose under Poe's chin, trying to get his attention. He absently scratched her between the ears. “She misses you. You and Ben.”

Hank hesitated, but finally just shook his head. “She doesn't miss me. We split up for a reason.”

Aw, come on, Hank,” Finn protested. “She's your wife!”

The older man rolled his eyes. “Not anymore. We broke up after our son went in reform school.”

Poe set Baby on the floor and took her leash. “Have you signed the divorce papers yet?”


Rey stuck her chin out. “Then she's still your wife.”

There was an awkward silence for a few seconds before Hank glared at the kids behind him. “Don't you all have other things you could be doing? Like fixing cars?” One look at the older man's angry face sent the kids scurrying towards the hood of the Falcon.

Finn gave Poe one of his big grins. “Are you still going to come to the Halloween party?”

Jess nodded. “Our Wizard of Oz group wouldn't be right without its Scarecrow.”

Wouldn't miss it.” Poe laughed when Baby threw in her own bark. “And Baby's dying to be Toto and try to snitch all the candy, even though I've told her a thousand times that chocolate's not good for dogs.”

You're invited too, Hank,” Rey added. “You and Charles.”

Thanks.” He poked into the Falcon, messing with the wiring. “Wouldn't miss it. Charles is with his wife in Hoboken right now, but I'm sure he'll be happy to get the invitation.”

Poe gathered Baby's leash. “I'll see you guys later. I have to go interview Detective San Tekka. He's been on the force longer than anyone else in the 34th Precinct. He swears he knows something about Luke's location. He was a friend of the family for years.”

You be careful, Sam Spade.” Finn tossed the polish-covered rag in the hamper. “Don't let all those bad guys sell you a lead Maltese Falcon.”

Or fill you full of lead,” Jess added from under the hood of the Saratoga.

I'll be fine. I know what I'm doing.” The smaller man tipped his hat. “I'll see you guys tonight for dinner at Maz's.”

Rey waved at him from under the Falcon's hood. “See you then!”