Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Rescue

In Uncategorized, Writing on December 27, 2009 at 2:26 am

Photo Prompt

Raj ‘aud knelt in the snow, his dead sister cradled in his arms.  Fresh tears scalded his wind burned cheeks as he vented his grief.  He tried to reach them, ran as fast as he could and almost caught up, but they dumped her body onto the trail; mocking him.

He checked his sword, making sure it was secure in his scabbard, and set his skis in motion.  The bitter cold lanced through him; his eyes watered and he rubbed away the tears before they could freeze to his face.  Leaving his beautiful sister alone and untended, naked to the elements waiting on their father, filled him with sorrow; She deserved better than to be left on the side of the trail like discarded carrion.  However, he had to fight for the living.  Shara and little Tizzy were still held by the slavers.  He had to get them back.

Raj covered Shara’s mouth with his hand as she sat up wide-eyed.  He raised a finger to his lips warning her to be quiet.  He pointed to himself, then her, and finally Tizzy, willing her to understand.  And she seemed to, nodding her head.  He motioned Shara to follow as he scooped his little sister into his arms and crept away.  They moved a short distance into the trees following pale slivers of moonlight to safety.  Raj set Tizzy down and motioned Shara behind him, then lifted his hunting horn from his belt to his lips.  A single pure sorrowful note lifted into the night air, faded, then stilled.  He gazed at the moon above the clearing were the slavers had camped.  They stirred at the sound of his horn, but had no time to do more as the sky filled with arrows, and death rained down among the slavers.

Disaster

In Uncategorized, Writing on December 23, 2009 at 2:01 am

The land tolled as if struck.  Undulating waves of soil threw me to the ground.  Stunned, I watched my apartment building collapse in on itself.

“Noooooo,” I screamed.

All arguments and counters flew from my convulsing mind as I shuddered in time with the earth.  Tremors threatened to knock me off my feet as I raced to the rubble that was my life.

I dug, pulled, shoved, and fought my way to her.  Bleeding, broken, and impotent, the EMS carried me away.

I sat cradling my raw lacerated hands, the noise around me muted.  Someone close by asked me questions I couldn’t hear.

Roiling over and over through my mind were her last words.

“I called and called, why didn’t you answer your phone?”  She demanded.

“I didn’t know you called,” I replied, my temper rising.  “My phone died on me.”

“Why aren’t you ever around when I need you?”  She accused.

Mad, but not wanting to argue while my wife lay sick in bed, I stepped outside to have a smoke.

Home, again

In Writing on December 23, 2009 at 1:59 am

Isabella gripped the rough tree bark as wolves prowled below.  They didn’t howl, didn’t snarl, nor did they snap at each other; they circled, watching her.  White fur faded into the snow until she could only make out the black dots of their eyes and nose.

Exhausted, she rested her head on her shoulder.  Feeling her body begin to slide, Isabella hugged the thin pine as hard as she could.  She had run for hours as the pack chased her through the forest.  Now nearing the end of her strength, Isabella wondered why they had never attacked.  She was sure they’d had plenty of opportunity. 

Isabella threw a startled look above her as she heard a limb break.  But there was nothing there.  She looked around, confused.  The frigid air sapped her mind and muscles.  Her eyelids drooped but she couldn’t make herself care.  Weary to the bone, she sensed more than saw the hands that reached for her.

Isabella ’s mother looked up apprehensively as the door opened.  Gabriel , coming in, noticed and said,

“She’s fine.  Gave me a bit of a run she did.”

Gently, he laid her in bed and gazed upon the daughter he’d never known.

Wizards

In Writing on December 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Thar moved quickly but carefully around his smoky lab.  He grabbed jars seemingly at random from the shelves that surrounded the room.  The thin old man shook out handfuls of this and sprinkled pinches of that into the smoking cauldron set in the middle of the floor.  Tossing the last jar onto the heap of other discarded containers, Thar glanced worriedly out the west window.  The sun, half below the horizon, still gilded the rose-colored clouds with gold.

Thar breathed deeply, expanding his thin chest, and rubbed a hand across his forehead; leaving an ugly brown-green smear.  Squaring his shoulders, he laced his bony fingers together and stretched his arms out before him.  Pops and creaks ensued and Thar shook out his hands.  He looked about, one last glance before he began his incantations, and smiled.  This just might work.

Wizened fingers wove spell-forms with the ease of long practice.  Syllables of a long dead language flowed from his tongue.  Thar worked his art with confidence, head high, his voice commanding, and power radiated from his aging body.  Still, he knew that the slightest mistake would mean his death.  Despite the risks, Thar loved his chosen profession.  For moments like this, when the sheer joy of accomplishment was his alone.  Years of practice and learning, decades of toil and discipline, all coalesced into one beatific moment.  Thar’s voice, trilling and throbbing with power, reached a crescendo and with a decisive gesture—arms flung out—finished the spell as the last light of the sun dipped below the horizon.  Thad stood waiting, triumphant, for the effects of his spell to manifest.  Between one rapt breath and another, Thar disappeared in a puff of gray smoke.

*******************************************************

At the edge of a small wood, by a burbling stream, sat a modest tower.  Wisps of smoke climbed lazily from the open windows at the top.  Quillan watched and waited.  The sun would set soon.  He had waited centuries, a few moments more wouldn’t hinder his plans.  The night and with it, revenge, were but mere breaths away.  He flexed his wings in anticipation.  His claws tore gouges into the loamy soil as muscles bunched eagerly.  His tail lashed in unconscious fury as he thought of his imprisonment.  Three-hundred years of waiting, three-hundred years of pain, and now all to collect the debt owed him.  What were a dozen heartbeats compared to that?

Quillan hunched in the wooded shadows of twilight, the sunlight still painful after his century’s long captivity.  That hateful golden orb finally slunk its way below the horizon and Quillan bounded out of the wood.  Blessed starlight bathed his scales—soothing the raw agony suffered of the sun—red with the rage that pounded through his mind, Quillan did not notice the smoke that suddenly billowed from the top of the tower.  The beast, not slowing, rammed the building with his huge shoulder.  He felt the satisfying crunch of stone against his armored body.  His momentum carried him a short distance beyond the crumbling tower and he turned, forcing his rage from his belly to his throat.

Quillan had put his time in confinement to good use.  He learned—on his own—to use his birthright, the loss of his race made the experience horrendous.  He faltered through grief and shame but he painfully perfecting the fires of his rage, with Thar as his target.  And as the tower collapsed Quillan breathed his rage, shame, and despair upon the object of his hate.  Burning the stone, watching as it glowed orange and slumped in a pile of luminescent slag.  Quillan sat watching gleefully as the molten stone burned into the earth, never realizing that his quarry had gone.

A Great Weight

In Writing on December 20, 2009 at 1:19 am

The Chair groaned as the man eased his doughy flesh onto the wooden seat.  His small black eyes, veiled in flaps of skin red from exertion, gazed at me in purported wisdom.  He came with the Throne, mores-the-pity, along with the Crown.  He too had inherited his position, as High Counselor, but it seemed the Gods left out true intelligence when they created this grotesque caricature of a man.

I sat and listened on as two pensioners continued to plead thier case to the Crown; not me, I just wore the silly thing.  Granmeri Irosa had suggested, well told me, which minor lordling I would favor with my judgment.  She also advised me on how to quell my idiotic High Counselor.

The two Nobles, glaring daggers at each other, finished their closing statements and Lord Rasondi, High Counselor, Duke of Kossmira asked in his wheezing voice, “Your Highness.  If I may make a suggestion?”

To which I replied, “Only, if you can carry it out with you, when you leave.”

Granmeri had no use for those who could not make use of their own suggestions.