Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Posts Tagged ‘Short Story’

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.



Heart shackles, Mind chains

In Writing on January 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Lynn stepped back, her bloody kai held in a loose grip.  She looked on, unmoved by the figure whimpering on the wet pavement before her; she would subjugate herself no longer.  The pall over her soul lifted a little more.  Every time she stepped away from her tortured past, moved to pull herself from the pit she allowed others to put her in, her soul grew from the struggles to take back her life.

Her psyche still carried a stain, like a gangrenous stench lingering unnoticed by those around her.  She would no longer allow what went before to dictate her choices however.  Life was effort, a battle to prove herself daily.  From here out, she would revel in the marvelous joys around her.  This was her life, her choice, and her mind.  Woes betide those who would take them from her.

Without rancor, she tossed the kai beside the man, turned her back, and walked away.  Her heart held no pity, sorrow, nor anger at he father; she forgave him.  He would have power over her no longer.  Her life was her own; she was on her way to live it, her way.  Finally unfettered, she smiled, for the first time.


In Writing on January 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm


Journal: Day Three 

Bruises and scrapes cover my body.  My arm, thank God, is not broken.  I still do not know were I am, or even where the ship was headed.  Nevertheless, I have my life, and that is no small thing.  Chills rack my body intermittently; not an auspicious start to my journal, but it will have to do for now. 

Day Seven 

I am still weak from my fever, but the native’s have generously taken me in and seen to my comfort. 

Day Twelve 

The village is quiet.  Shadows dance across the huts, courting the orange glow of the bonfire.  Only twenty people survived the mysterious illness, the disease sweeping through them like wildfire.  Some died after a few hours, others lingered in agony for days before succumbing.  Hundreds of men, women, and children slain.  When the dead outnumbered the living, we cremated them. 

Most of the remaining natives shun me now.  The new Shaman rattles his bones at me whenever I pass and three young women sit on the ground outside my hut.  Our inability to communicate, as we do not speak the same language, hinders the human contact I am allowed.  Still, I must try. 


Journal: Day Twenty-One 

Forced at spear-point to climb aboard the small boat—with the same three young women who guarded my hut—we traveled to the next island.  Standing on the shore I looked back across the intervening ocean.  The funeral pyre threw incandescent fireflies into the night sky.  Ghostly figures ran through the village lighting the huts, burying the necropolis along with its people. 

Day Two-Hundred-One 

Milli, Nina, and Olivia now speak English well enough to explain why we were sent to this island.  It came as quite a shock to find out I am married and living on the Isle of the Gods.  Quite funny really, now that I look back on it; my heroic attempt to resist their continued advances turned out to be a waste of time these six months.  No doubt I will laugh for a very long time, after I stop crying.  The Incarrii view me as a God—the God of Death and Disease—born to a mortal shell.  The only way to save their people was to send me here with the chosen sacrifice, three virgin sisters; who do not believe me when I tell them I am not a God.  


Journal: Day Two-Hundred-Nine 

The girls will not leave me alone.  They badger me about completing my husbandly duties—ignoring my pleas and denials that we are not married.  Following me everywhere, giggling about the most innocuous things, and just making a general nuisance of themselves caused me to lose my temper six times already.  I must admit—if only to myself—that it is becoming harder a harder to resist them.  Sometimes I wonder why I do so at all.  There is no Mrs. Rodger Defoe back home and they are of proper age.  Is it because there are three of them?  I do not know anymore. 

Day Three-Hundred-Sixty-Six 

I am now—officially—a married man.  Last night my depression reached its peak.  I have now been on this God cursed rock for one year.  Trapped, surrounded by women, and condemned to death on this lonely Isle, I succumbed.  However, I also learned that I was not alone with my feelings.  For the past year I stood strong in my resistance of temptation.  My wives though, went through near constant rejection while I basked in my own self-congratulatory magnificence.  I need to earn their forgiveness. 


Journal: Day Three-Thousand-Six-Hundred-Ninety-one 

The people of the surrounding islands are thriving now.  Only the priests visit the Isle, but they always bring tribute—food and treasure—and taking away wisdom.  Ironic how, I the God of Death, now bestows posterity upon them.  

My children are healthy and happy, running up and down the beach, climbing and clamoring over rocks, soaking in the love of their mothers.  The new clergy wanted to take the young ones away, but I forbid them until the childe in question reaches twenty.  Raised and worshiped as Gods, my offspring have already spawned fascinating new legends. 

Robert, whom the high priest named Ra, is the Sun God.  His twin Sister Liz, renamed Isis, is the Goddess of Love and Fertility.  My youngest son Hugh recently named my successor, Hu, the God of Death. 

I have wealth.  I have power.  Multitudes adore me and praise my name.  My family is safe and they want for nothing.  My whim is law.  Nevertheless, my days are always clouded.  A shadow hangs over me; a pall covers my soul, and will until the day I die.  

I have everything a man could wish for, but freedom.

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:




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.

What she doesn’t say

In Writing on January 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm

I looked down into her dark eyes. It still amazed me how much she could communicate with them, and not say a word. Opened a little more than usual and she pleaded. The delicate arch of an eyebrow asked why not. A slow blink; I love you.

I nodded my head and her answering smile was like the sun coming up. It made my whole day better. It was easier to forget that she hadn’t spoken in two years. Not since mom died.

Looking at the display, she pointed out the dolls she wanted. When she tapped the dollhouse I frowned. She frowned right back up at me. I sighed and shrugged, nodding my acceptance to the sales woman. Sal nodded, and began to pick out furniture. This was going to a long shopping trip.

We stood at the checkout line, watching the clerk pick up and scan each item, wrap them, then put them in a bag. As the total displayed on the register I frowned, and looked down at Sal. She looked back up at me and smiled. I couldn’t help myself and smiled with her.

The clerk handed me my change and I thanked her, she thanked me in kind and told me what a beautiful daughter I had. I thanked her again, wondering how many more times we would thank each other when I felt a tug on my pants.

I looked down into Sal’s eyes and asked, “What is it dear?”

My heart beat faster and sweat broke out on my palms; I couldn’t read her eyes. I didn’t know what she was trying to say. My panic must have bled through because she reached up and patted my arm.

“Thank you daddy,” my daughter said.