Tag: writing

Caroline’s Curiosities

Hello! I have something for my blog today that’s a bit different from what I usually post. I recently wrote a short sci-fi/horror story. I like stories that create a vast world of their own, yet are short and to the point and can stand on their own. Some of my favorite short stories are The Veldt, The Landlady, and The Tell-Tale Heart, and they were some of the inspirations for this story.

In the following story, there are several gore/blood mentions, so if you would be grossed out by that, this may not be for you. If you’re alright with reading something a little creepy, then without further ado, I present…


• Caroline’s Curiosities •
a short story by Lillian Maggio

He didn’t ever think he would find himself taking advantage of Caroline’s services, but due to unforeseen circumstances, he came to desire a new eye. Since then, he had saved up all of his points for this occasion, even skipping meals to ensure that he had enough for her best. After all, he wasn’t too fond of the idea of making a second trip to her establishment if he were to become dissatisfied with his purchase.

With an intense feeling of hunger gnawing at him, he made his way to Caroline’s Curiosities, a little store in a strip mall. Once he stepped inside and the doorbells gave a welcoming jingle, his hunger was replaced with a thankfulness that he had not eaten earlier in the day. Smells of blood and isopropyl alcohol overwhelmed his senses, complementing the sight of several jars of various body parts preserved in a glowing, viscous liquid. Behind the counter, Caroline stood on a stool with her back to him, placing a jar on the top shelf of her display case. A hand, presumably fresh.

“I’ll be with you in just one moment, hon,” she said as she nudged the jar ever-so-slightly to the left. Caroline was proud of how neat and clean she kept her collection, and she wouldn’t have it any less than perfectly arranged. She carefully shut the glass cabinet door and hopped down off of her stool, turning to face him with a friendly smile.

“Ah, it’s you,” Caroline remarked in a friendly tone. “I wondered when you’d be back. If I remember correctly, you made quite the mess for me to clean when you first stopped in for a tour, what with your…” She struggled to find the right phrase, her fingers tapping rhythmically on the countertop as she thought. “Your ‘throwing up,’ I believe you call it. Not the strongest stomach you’ve got there. But all the same, I knew you’d be back.”

Every second she continued to speak, he grew more and more unsettled by her casual manner, and how she acted as if she knew so much about him when they had only met once before. And her remark about his stomach wasn’t exactly comforting, considering her line of work, and her… hobbies.

He shook off these thoughts as best he could and got to the point. “I’d like to purchase a mechanical eye, please. The best one you have. I should have enough,” he said, voice quivering slightly He was suddenly aware that he was trembling. He felt as if every part of his body was screaming in protest to what he was about to go through with.

Caroline noticed his behavior and chuckled. “Are you sure about that?” she teased. “You don’t exactly sound enthusiastic about all this.”

He nodded.

“I’ll take your word for it, then.” She turned her back to him once again and began rummaging through drawers to find what she was looking for. When she did, she held up to him a small gray sphere. A darker gray circle marked the “iris” of the mechanical eye and in the center of a yellow rectangle within it was what appeared to be a small camera aperture.

“This is my best and most recent work when it comes to eyes,” she informed him. “I’d wager that it’s better than the real deal. Resolution so high you couldn’t see the pixels if you tried, and certain signals make it switch to a night-vision mode. Isn’t too easily damaged, either. Waterproof, of course — it’d have to be. And if you like what you see, it’ll be three hundred points.” She pulled up his balance on a holographic screen and whistled. “You’re a lucky man. You’ve got three hundred and four! Just barely enough.”

Lucky. Was he really? “I’ll take it,” he said with feigned certainty.

Caroline motioned for him to follow, and led him into the back room where the operation table lay. He had almost gotten used to the smells in the front, but the odors were even more pungent in this room. He winced, and his eyes began to water, but he didn’t make a sound. He took some minimal amount of comfort in the silence, in the moments without Caroline’s sweet yet bitter voice, in the seconds without the audible crying, in the minutes before the pain. But the silence was all too quickly broken.

“Before we do this,” Caroline began, in a much more serious tone than she’d had previously, “I want you to really think about it. Giving up a part of yourself, however small, is irreversible. Irrevocable. You can’t take it back once it’s gone. And once you’ve given up a little bit, you may find it all too easy to let other parts of you slip away, slowly but surely, until one day, you have nothing left to give.” She paused, letting the words sink in. “Just know what may come of this if you allow me to proceed.”

Her words felt like a knife being twisted deep in his gut as their truth sank in ever further, and he felt the worst pain right then, before he even sat on the table, as he swore to himself that this would be it, that all he needed was an eye, that he would never come back for more, but deep down suspecting, no, knowing, that he would be back, that one day she would be right, that he wouldn’t have anything left to give and every little piece of what used to be him would be another jar in her collection, on display for all to see, a cautionary tale, a warning to never, ever say yes to Caroline and her bitter yet sweet voice and her all-too-tempting offers of perfect vision and perfect hands and a perfect mind and a perfect everything.

“I understand. I’m ready.”

•     •     

It was an eye, but it was not his. It was foreign. It was cold. His body accepted it, but he did not.

“This one’s on me,” Caroline said, brushing her hands on her stained apron. “Don’t worry about payment.”

“But you said –”

“I know what I said. Three hundred points is nothing to me. I probably earn ten times that in average day,” she said with a sigh and a smile. “It’s alright. I do my best to provide good customer service. It’s what turns first-timers into repeat customers. Besides…” She held up his eye just inches in front of her own. “I think blue will look good on me.”

Where have I been? Who’s this chick??

Where have I been? Who’s this chick??

First of all, the question no one asked, but I’m about to answer: Where have I been? School! I have by no means given up on art, but I have been very busy getting adjusted to a new school and keeping up with a college-level class. I have been drawing in my personal sketchbook and have been creating for my art class, but (as my followers can tell) I haven’t been as active on my blog.

have been in the planning phase for a webcomic that I hope to be able to create, although that may be in the far future. I am also participating in a couple of stories on Storium, so I can connect with other writers and hopefully improve my writing style. I’ve been working on improving my art and getting inspiration from other artists like Kasey Golden. I’m not dead! However, I’ve started focusing more on developing my artwork on my own instead of trying to maintain a regular blogging schedule.

Second question: Who is this girl? Like I said, I have started using Storium, which a friend from my school recently introduced me to. I haven’t begun any games yet, but preparing for them has given me a reason to get back into character design. I wanted to participate in a friend’s science-fiction story, so that gave me a prompt to design a new character! I started thinking about things that weren’t done often in modern sci-fi stories, and then remembered a Kasey Golden video I watched with an alien who worked at a fast food restaurant. With this inspiration, I started designing my own character, and that’s how I came up with this cutie right here!

Sou Icon - Colored
She seems bored. Or fed up with someone? Maybe just tired!

This is Sourelise, or Sou. She belongs to a rat-like species of alien, and she worked in various fast food joints throughout the Milky Way before being hired on a starship. She doesn’t make friends easily, but she’ll have to learn to cooperate with her fellow crew members if she doesn’t want to go back to working at a burger restaurant on Pluto.

I’m experimenting with different ways of coloring, and it’s really fun to use digital programs to fill in my traditional lineart! It takes some getting used to, but I really like the way this piece turned out. I guess you could count this towards my series of animal girls? You know, since she’s based on a rat. Just kidding! I had a great time just designing a character for fun, and I hope to share more art with my followers when I find the time. I may use this character for my own projects in the future, but for now, I’ll just be playing as her on Storium.

Anyway, thanks for following me, even though I don’t post much. It means a lot to have people supporting me on my artistic journey! Until next time (whenever that may be), PenPrin out.



Wanted: Friend (Some Experience Required)

I’m going to be honest. When I say that, I don’t just mean for a sentence or two. This entire post is about me being as honest as I can. About myself, about my experiences, about everything. Oh, and maybe I’ll joke around a little.

Putting myself out in the open and asking, “Anyone wanna be friends?” makes me feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable. I have undiagnosed anxiety, meaning it doesn’t take a doctor to figure it out – I have anxiety!! (LOL) I don’t go out of my way to be around people, even people that I know. Even people that I like. It’s hard for me because I’m a person with very specific emotional needs.

Several years ago, from ages 5 to 7, this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me in the least. In fact, everywhere I went, I would walk up to other kids and greet them by saying, “Hi! I’m Lilli! Want to be my friend and play?” In about the sixth grade, though, I started to become much more introverted. It wasn’t really just “growing up,” but rather the people around me who taught me to be that way.

I have had some relationships with people whom, if I were to meet again, I would not choose to be around. I don’t regret knowing them, per se, because even though they weren’t the greatest people, they did shape me into the human being that I am today. For that, I’m grateful.

I want to live by the Bible verse Proverbs 13:20. It says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” I’ve been the companion of fools for a while, so I’m hoping to get in touch with some wise men/women.

Job Description

Since I’m a complicated person, I have somewhat-complicated needs. There are a lot of things I look for in a friend, so I think the best way to list them all is… in a list. Woot!

  1. Please don’t just become my friend because you find out I also like something you like. I’ve had a few friends who would only hang out with me because we had a few interests in common, and once one / both of us grew out of those things, the relationship became awkward and strained as we tried to figure out something to talk about. I would prefer to have friends I can connect to on a deeper emotional level – talk about serious feelings, ask each other for life advice, etc. 

    A long time ago, the only thing that brought me to a new friend was our shared interest in Minecraft. Also that we both liked to role-play, and not many other people in our class did. As we grew out of Minecraft, though, fewer and fewer things actually held us together. Interactions outside of our “fantasy world” became awkward and strained until we just stopped talking altogether. I really don’t want another repeat of that experience.

  1. Try to be open to new points of view outside of your own. I struggle with this as well, but it can be difficult to have a conversation with someone when they absolutely will not consider your views. Usually this hasn’t been a problem with girls I have met — mostly boys. Not trying to be sexist, that’s just what I’ve experienced in my own life. 
  2. Be a person who talks and listens relatively equally. I dislike it when people constantly steer the conversation towards themselves, but I also find it awkward when my partner in conversation is just staring at me, waiting for me to talk, or making random noises (eg. “meow” and “blargh”) to break the silence. 
  3. Try to just pay attention and be there when I’m explaining a problem I’m having. Unless I ask for advice, chances are, I don’t want it! I like having friends that I can talk / vent to. When I’m trying to express how I feel about an issue, I don’t always want help. More often than not I’m just talking about it to get it off my chest. If I want your perspective or your help, I will most likely ask for it. 

    I used to be really bad about this, and I feel terrible for some of the things I’ve said when I should have just been listening. A couple of years ago, an online friend of mine was once telling me about a negative experience that she had when talking to someone else online. She sent me screenshots of their conversations and overall seemed pretty upset.A normal person’s reaction: Wow! They seem pretty rude. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

    My reaction: What exactly is it that’s bothering you? Have you tried talking to them about it? Here’s how I think you should deal with the situation! [insert five-paragraph life-coaching session that would make anyone regret talking to me]

    If my friend had asked for advice, it would have been different, but she just wanted someone to relate to. I looked back on this interaction and realized that I would be very hurt and annoyed if someone did the same thing to me when I just wanted to talk. I want to be better about this, and I’d hope that my friends in the future would avoid doing that, too.

  1. Be willing to have fun and joke around! I have had friends who barely smile and can’t take a playful joke. It’s not very easy for me to be around them. I also don’t enjoy being in the company of people who can’t have fun playing a game. I’ll give an example / recount an experience when this happened. 

    I was having a Halloween party for six of my friends. I’m going to call these people A, B, C, D, E, and F to respect their privacy. During a previous hangout with just A, B, C and myself, we made up a game together with very few rules. Since it was so much fun with the four of us, I wanted to play with all six of my guests! D was alright with playing the game, but E and F really wanted to add more rules. They insisted that the game be more serious, and that it have mechanics like rolling dice to determine the outcomes of different in-game events. This lead to everyone arguing about how the game should be played instead of just going with the flow and having a good time. Because of this negative experience, I’d hope that my friends in the future are willing to be more spontaneous and less controlling. Rules are okay in life, and exist to protect us and others! However, it’s not cool to tack on unnecessary regulations to a silly game.

Those are some basic things that I would like to see in others. But it isn’t all about you! (LOL) Here are some things you should know about me and my personality.

  1. I’m shy at first, but… Those who really know me know that I have a penchant for cracking jokes and being very open about my feelings. But that’s only if you get past my “wall of introvert.” When I’m getting to know someone, I tend to walk on eggshells if I’m not yet sure what kind of person they are. This ends up leaving them with the impression that I’m always like that, but I actually have a very different attitude towards the people I know and trust. So if I seem different at first than I do later on, it’s because I’m starting to trust you more! Lucky you!! 
  2. I’m an artist. I enjoy being creative and I love composing music, drawing, and blogging. Because I enjoy being creative, I can be really emotional at times. I used to be very easily influenced by my environment, but right now I’m trying to figure out who I am rather than always trying to imitate what I see online and around me. 
  3. I am totally cool with my parents. A lot of teens my age either are indifferent to their parents or claim to hate them. Some have very good reason to! I know for a fact that there are a lot of not-so-great moms and dads out there. However, it’s my theory that most people just say they hate their parents to seem cooler. Again, I’m not saying that every person who dislikes their parents is doing it for popularity or to be “edgy”! It’s just… a lot of them might be. v(ouo)v

    What I’m getting at is that I don’t hate my parents. In fact, they’re kind-of my best friends right now! They’re really supportive and pretty good listeners. We all enjoy each other’s company and love joking around together. So, needless to say, I’m not too keen on disobeying them out of spite or anything. I wouldn’t really be the type of person who’d enjoy sneaking out late at night when they’re asleep or something like that. I don’t know anyone who’s tried to get me to do that, but I figured I’d put it out there just in case! I’m a good girl. :3 (LOL)
  1. I haven’t had a lot of Christian friends. A lot of the people I was around didn’t believe in God or Jesus for their own reasons. My ex-boyfriend actually put down my faith by saying that the belief in an afterlife is stupid (which is why he’s my ex, LOL). In addition, Christians around my age that I have met have never been very accepting of me, which is funny to me because the Bible teaches us to be loving and be a light unto others. I’m hoping that I can find a friend who believes in God and tries to be a kind person like the Bible tells us to be. 
  2. I want to get closer to God. I don’t reject people who aren’t Christian, but I dislike it when people tell me that my beliefs are dumb. I believe in God, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, I believe that we require His Holy Spirit to be able to do good, and I believe that if we ask Him for forgiveness of our sins, we go to Heaven when we die. I request that people not insult me for believing these things, and I won’t insult anyone for believing anything else! I actually love learning about different religions and perspectives because I think they’re very interesting. IMO, most major religions have the same core values, which are love and peace. But that’s a tangent for another day! 😉 

    I really want to become a better person. I’ve already come very far from the person I was just last year, and I believe that if I let the Holy Spirit take control, I can be even better than I am today. I want to pray more when I’m in times of need, because too often I just forget to ask God for help in the heat of the moment. I want to start reading the Bible regularly, because I don’t. I want to be a light unto others, but usually I just shut myself away in my room and hardly talk to anyone. I don’t think that’s what God intended for me, and I want to start doing better. I hope that any friends I make in the future will support me in those goals.

Submitting Your Application

If you’ve read all of that and you’re still interested, then you’re likely either A – super desperate, or B – someone I’d be interested in pursuing a friendship with. Or C – someone’s mom. (JK) If I’m a little too emotional, jokey, intense, nerdy, artsy-fartsy, etc. for your taste, feel free to avoid me at all costs! If you’re here from my Facebook post – you’ve seen my profile picture! Avoid that face!! (LOL) But if you’d actually like to be my friend… well, this is the job for you. If you’re here from FB, then go ahead and message me, comment on the post, etc. I’d love to know more about you and who you are, but not in a creepy way (haha). Really, though – thank you for taking the time to read all this. I truly appreciate it.

After reading your application, I will get back to you within two to four business days. Thank you for your time! 😉

Comic: Silent Characters

Comic: Silent Characters

I’ve been in a bit of an art funk recently and haven’t had a lot of inspiration to draw, but that completely changed when I got the idea for this cute comic. The outlining was done by hand, and the coloring was done digitally using Photoshop! Thanks for all the help, Crafty B. Anyway, here’s “Silent Characters.”

Silent Characters Comic.png

In case you couldn’t tell, the main character is supposed to be me wearing a Pencil Princess logo tee. The little hand puppets represent Mario and Link, who don’t talk much in their respective games.

With a character like Sonic (who talks far too much IMO), if you’re going to portray them in any sort of fanfiction or fan art, the things they say need to make sense with their character. Otherwise, it’s easy for people to criticize you for not sticking to the source material. But if the character you’re writing about has little to no personality outside of choices you make for them? You can make them say anything you want. Eheheh.

Although, who would disagree that YouTube ads in the middle of videos suck?