Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

New Moons (Parts 1-4, 200 words each)

In Writing on January 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm

The wooden planks of the wagon bed creaked as the horse pulled us along.  My hands, chained to the floor between my feet, were rubbed raw; clear liquid oozed from under my shackles.  I raised my head, careful not to meet the eyes of the other children; even among slaves, there was a pecking order.

I rested my head against the black pitted bars of our cage, trying to suck in some clean air.  The Master gave us no food and precious little water; barely enough to sustain life let alone bathe.  Without sustenance, I wouldn’t be able to keep up my illusion.  Just the thought of my deception being revealed was enough to make my heart race. 

My gaze drifted over to the girl next to me, and the dark blemish beneath her.  The wood, painted black repeatedly with her blood, refused to take any more offering.  Pooling, the viscous liquid ran along the narrow grooves in the floor.  The lurching stop of the wagon sent rippling waves over the surface of the crimson stain.  The Master cursed, then shouted,

“Out of the way traveler!  You block the King’s Highway!”

“Aye, I’ve been waiting for you,” came the reply.

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

“There’s no profit for you here, brigand,” the slaver drew himself up, puffing out his chest.

“Ah, I see you misunderstand the situation,” I said shaking my head.  “You see, it’s not your money I’m after.”

The slaver narrowed his eyes, hiding them in folds of glistening fat.  Gesturing with the first two fingers on my right hand, I called Taji from the edge of the trees.  She padded on soft paws to my side.  Her fur, gilded by the setting sun, brushed my hand.  The slaver’s horse snorted and shook its head, but the hold on its reins kept the beast in check.

“What are you talking about?”  He demanded, smoothing his greasy hair.

I clenched my fist.  Taji bounded from my side, leapt over the snorting horse, and grabbed the slaver in her jaws.  The screaming fat man and the ominously silent dog fell with a muffled thump. I caught the horse’s reins before it bolted, while the slaver gurgled as he died in the ditch.  I looked into the wagon; dirty faces peered back at me.

A child pressed his face to the bars, croaking, “Let us out.”

Not one to be a pushover, I asked, “Why?”

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

I couldn’t answer the man as he absently scratched the gold and silver dog behind the ears.  Tears burned in my eyes as hope shattered like glass, cutting painfully into my soul. 

The man grimaced, threw back his cloak, and walked away.  The dog, sat staring up through the bars.  Those knowing amber orbs held me; I sat captivated, even as the iron door screamed open on tortured hinges.  I could not tear my gaze away.  Long cramped muscles, demanding surcease, tightened my body into a ball, forcing me to the floor, and into oblivion.

I awoke disoriented, with a musky scent surrounding me.  White bandages covered my wrists as I pushed a heavy cloak from my face.  I turned; searching for the food I smelled cooking, but found my savior.  He passed me a plate and I shoveled food in my mouth with both hands.

“Easy, it’ll come up if you eat too fast,” he admonished.  “Here, drink this.”

I set the plate down reluctantly. 

“Where are the others?”  I asked.

“Gone,” he said.

“Can you help me get home?”  When he didn’t answer I added, “You’ll be rewarded.” 

“Only as far as Gorstauk,” he replied after a moment.

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

I wrapped the sleeping child in my cloak again and set him down by the warmth of the fire.

“Am I doing the right thing old girl?”  I asked Taji.  She lifted her head from her paws and nodded.

“You sure?”  She cocked her head to the side, snorted, and lay back down.

“Okay, we’ll keep searching then.”  She raised an eyebrow. 

“Do you always have to have the last word?”  I asked, she huffed and turned away.

Turning back to the fire, I watched the boy sleep.  Curled in a ball, hands tucked between his knees, he shivered and shook his head repeatedly in negation.  Could this boy help me find the one for whom I searched?

Three months since the girl ran away from home, and no telling how long with the slaver. 

A chance remark in the last village led me to believe that this slaver was the one.  But there had been no sign of the girl. 

With the surrounding countryside war-torn, the flesh peddlers found easy pickings.  The human vultures circled around misery and death, feasting on the suffering of others. 

If I didn’t find the girl soon, my honor would be lost with her.

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

So you want to write a story

In Writing on January 11, 2010 at 1:16 am

So you want to write a story.  You’ve been reading for years and now you’re ready to take the next step.  You have something to say and want to ‘give it a go’, and why not?  First, learn the language, take classes or read how-to books.  Second, learn how to write, see number one.  Third, have something to say, something that comes, not just from the bottom of you heart, But from the deepest untouched part of your soul.  Got it?  Good, you can tell me how to do that.

If you’re just starting out, you really don’t need to worry about where it comes from.  What you need to do is write.  Do not be afraid to fail.  Do not be afraid to suck.  You will, we all do.  Just write.

Some things to keep in mind when trying to craft a story:

Showing cause & effect.  If your character does something, it should have some type of consequence.  Remember:  Every action has an equal and opposite re-action.

Compare and contrast to develop an idea.  Use other characters to show what may or may not work in your story.  (This Guy failed to accomplish something because…  While this Gal succeeded because she had the right idea.)

Use classification to a purpose.  Most people will tell you to stay away from cliché’s and archetypes, to come up with something original.  But why would you do that now?  You’re just practicing your writing, use what ever you want.  What you want to do is give it purpose.  If you use a cliché, make it work, sweat, and bleed in your story.  Have it earn its place in your writing.

I’ll leave it to you to decide the order of importance of:

Setting

Plot

Character

But these are the three main things you must have in any story.  Everything else follows naturally.

Things to describe:

Who, what, when, where, why, and how.  I’ve heard some say that this is only for journalistic writing, but that’s not true.  This goes for each character, each experience, and each world visited by your writing.  These are things we need to know.

Do not forget the five senses.  Touch, Sight, Smell, Sound, Taste.  Often, new writers will miss these touches that can add so much to any piece of writing.  Don’t forget them, open up your world to us, make it unforgettable.

Choose and limit a subject.  Find out where you want to start, and where you want to end.

To care too much

In Writing on January 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I held my breath as Jovi stared into his open palm.  My stomach dipped and rolled in time with his.  Our symbiotic nexus allowed me to take most of his emotions as my own.  He would only be dimly aware of the distraction. 

I stood apart from the others around him.  If the Decca learned of our joining, they would banish us from the Guild.  But why should I move on when he might fail?  We were in this together, he and I.

“Please Aeryn,” he begged.  “I need your help.”  He grasped my shoulders, squeezing.  “You know I can do it.  You’ve seen me do it.  But I get so nervous around others; I’ll need your help.”

He said all the right words.  Kissed me at the right time.  How could I say no to this man?  I spelled our link to degrade just after sunset.

I drew the circle around him, then drew my own, leaving a gap so I could cross back inside.  I connected them with the complex design that would join us together.  The formations complete, I concentrated and recited the formula.

For an instant lightning struck between us, connecting our minds.  I gritted my teeth at the pain jarring through me.  As soon as it begun, it was over.  I could feel his emotions, his elation, joy, and…  Triumph?  Confused I opened my eyes and his feelings fled my mind.  I saw Jovi sitting within his circle meditating, collecting his thoughts, and banishing his emotions.

Walking beside him to the Trials, I could feel nothing from him.  He was doing good, and my heart swelled with pride.  He could do this all on his own.  But when we separated, and as I walked to the side of the Decca, his emotions burst from behind his shields.  But he wasn’t affected.  I took the roiling conflagration of his torment into me.  Joy, fear, and yes, triumph poured forth masking my own fears for a moment.  But why would he be feeling contempt now?  Then he looked at me.  My breath caught in my throat, and my heart shattered within my breast; his contempt was for me.

Sparks appeared out on nowhere; jumping and skittering across his open palm, bouncing off his fingers and joining together above his hand.  They grew and brightened, casting his face in shadows as the light of the sun failed.  Smoke gathered in wisps and floated into the sky.  I gathered my wits and the remains of my heart, and walked away, severing our link.

Jovi’s emotions left me to flood back into him.  The growing night fled the fireball as his concentration failed him.  The concussion whipped my robes around my legs, but I never looked back.

Lurker

In Writing on January 3, 2010 at 10:55 am

Photo

They didn’t know me, couldn’t know me, in this incarnation.  I watched them from the lurking shadows, poised to fall on the unwary.  Sitting among darkness and death, I remembered bits and pieces of my past life.  Misery and pain spun through spider webs of gossamer memory. 

Movement on the snow-dusted path snapped me from my reverie; another naïve trespasser passed into my domain.  My blood surged in anticipation, the short tussle, the scream of anguish and fear, and the taste of hot blood on my tongue.

My muscles tensed as my prey drew near.  The mouse would never know what hit it, I thought as my whiskers twitched.

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.