Friday, April 29, 2016

Tuesday Flash Fiction Train Challenge Round 4/Part 4

Here I am sliding in at the last minute again for the #TuesFlashFicTrain Challenge with my next take on Gloria's story!

Gloria crept down the hallway in the direction the two intruders had gone. She’d been thrilled to find the invisibility shawl still folded in its original plastic packing. Once beneath its cover she noticed the light was a bit dimmer, and the sound of her footsteps seemed muffled. She hoped that effect would help her get close enough to her quarry to perform the spells she’d decided on.

Working her way through the maze of hallways, Gloria checked each door she passed. So far all had been locked. She had a pretty good idea where the men had been headed. The main security office; it handled the incoming calls as well as keeping the non-witch personnel from accidentally stumbling upon the work that went on after hours. If people found out exactly how the city’s infrastructure was really kept together…well, it would not be good.

Gloria rounded the next corner and nearly ran into the pair of scoundrels she’d been hunting.

“Come on Tom! We won’t have all night.” The deep voice came from a tall, dark haired man wearing a long, black cloak. He wielded an ivory wand carved with symbols that made Gloria’s stomach heave. 

The other man was a foot and a half shorter and dressed in faded jeans and a dirty pocket t-shirt. “This is an art Manny, if you're in a hurry just use that twig you're waving around instead.” He never looked up from the knob he was working with a lock pick.

Manny just scowled at the other man’s back. Gloria knew he couldn’t use the wand to force the door without causing several alarm wards to sound. The designers hadn’t counted on a simple thieves’ trick in this part of the building.

Under the cover of the shawl, Gloria lit a yellow candle and pulled one of the packets and a small marble bowl from her pocket. After measuring the proper amount for a stasis spell she drew a breath and opened her mouth to recite the paralysis incantation. 

But, when she formed the words, no sound came from her throat. Not only was she hidden visibly, she evidently couldn’t be heard either. And if she couldn’t recite the spell, her wand, the candle and powder were useless. 

Gloria silently cursed herself for not reading the packaging completely. She hadn’t grabbed an invisibility shawl, she was wearing a solitude shield.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Tara gave us "south" this week for the 100 Word Challenge. having finally gotten the peas in today (here in the north), this is where I went...

Bitter wind blew, raising goose bumps on the back of her neck. The long running winter had almost broken her will.

The stubborn daffodils, refusing to be held at bay kept her from giving up completely.

She stood in the yard, waiting for the dog to finish investigating the frosted grass. 

Her breath exited in cold cast miniature clouds. 

As she shivered in her light jacket, the dog raised a nose to the wind.

She curiously lifted her own muted sense to sniff the air.

Her eyes widened in delight.

Ever so faint, from the south, she smelled spring arrive.

Tuesday Flash Fiction Train R4W3

I didn't get a chance to play at Kat's TuesFlashFicTrain last week, but Stacy'sentry was perfect. Here's what I came up with to follow.

Gloria backed out of the room never taking her eyes off Harvey’s back. With nowhere else to go, she returned to the supply closet. She ducked inside and pulled the door shut.

She kept one ear to the door as she lit one of the candles she’d just collected. “I don’t know what’s going on,” she whispered to the flickering taper, “but if Harvey thinks he can ‘take care’ of me, he’s got another thing coming.!”

Squinting in the restless light, Gloria scanned the overflowing shelves. “Ah ha!” she grabbed a small pouch tucked neatly between two jars.

“Won’t be quite as powerful without my wand, but it’ll have to do.”

She poured just a pinch of silver powder from the pouch into the palm of her hand.  After reciting a short incantation, Gloria blew the shimmering dust into the air; then walked beneath it.

She exited the closet again, shutting the door with a firm hand. Gloria walked back to the office to see Harvey expectantly awaiting her, having heard the door close.

“There you are, Glo.” Harvey smiled, “I thought I’d catch you before you went on break, get this over with.”

Gloria smiled back, the candles clutched in her hand. “Sure, Harvey. What’s this meeting about anyhow?”

“Oh, just some security measures we need to go over.”

Gloria kept smiling. “Okay, your office?”

“Yeah, that’s perfect!” Harvey grinned as he gestured for her to precede him.

Harvey and his companion exited the office and strolled down the narrow hallway past the supply closet and turned the next corner.

A few minutes after they passed, the closet door opened a sliver; then wider as Gloria stepped out. She ran quickly to her desk and snatched her wand and a book of basic spells. Her pocket bulged with what she hoped would be the most useful ingredients to find out what the two men and her sleazy supervisor were up to. 

She also carried a shimmering invisibility shawl. Before she left the office again, she threw it over her shoulders. As soon as Harvey figured out the ‘Gloria’ he was escorting to his office was actually the janitor’s dust mop, he’d be back.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Without the Letter Before B

Muddled through this week's 100 Word Chllenge without the letter before B. 
100 Word Challenge

None of those. Not here. They’ll throw you out if you do.

I’m serious. Mustn’t do it!

How difficult could it be?

Terribly difficult.

See, words ditto-ing themselves so soon.

But, finished one fourth!

Trying to think thoughts without them.

Mind numbing!

Fingers fidgeting over the keys.

The first to come to mind, must be thrown out.

Shuffling through the options. 

Begin over.

Sighs upon sighs.

Over fifty percent now.

Ooh! Two thirds!

Heh heh, three fourths to the end.

Not much longer, four fifths.

I will do it!

Such silliness to nine tenths.


I’ve found the end.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Flash Fiction Train Challenge R4-W1

Popping into the Tuesday Flash Fiction Challenge with Kat Avila again.  Here's this week's offering.

Gloria hustled to grab her jacket from the locker room, then ran for the time clock. She’d gotten a late start this evening; her keys managing to not be where she’d expected. Ten minutes wasted searching for them left her rushing to be at her post on time. As she rounded the corner she slammed into Harvey.

“Pushing the time limits tonight, Glo?” he asked.

Gloria muttered about the missing keys as she attempted to side-step the assistant supervisor. He anticipated the move and blocked her escape. “Don’t forget to check in on your break tonight. I need a word with you.”

“Yeah, sure.” Gloria made another attempt to pass him.

Harvey grabbed her arm, his eyes bored into hers, “Seriously, Gloria, you need to show up this time.”

She wrenched her arm from his grasp, “Fine, Harvey, I’ll find you.” She stared at him until he stepped aside and let her pass. As she hurried away, she could feel him watching her. Shivers rippled up her back telling her to turn and make certain he hadn’t followed her. She resisted the urge; this time. She supposed she’d better make the meeting, Harvey would make the paranoia worse if she kept defying him.

Gloria punched her card with one minute to spare. The sense of relief she’d gotten from being on time faded as she walked the long hall to her cubicle. At this hour no one else was on duty. The dim night-lights cast eerie shadows along the way. 

She hated the night shift. The old building seemed intent on letting her know she was alone in this section. Random thumps and groans echoed down the hallway. When she reached her department, the only light came from her desk. At least someone had left it on for her. She shuffled to the space as quietly as she could. The rap of her heels only accentuated the empty desks she passed on the way.

Gloria dropped into her chair with a sigh. The screen in front of her was already filling with tasks to be attended. She opened the large drawer in the desk and cringed as it uttered a metallic shriek. Shuddering, she dropped her handbag inside and kicked it shut. She gingerly tested the next drawer, relieved with its hushed compliance. She shuffled through its interior until she located her wand and candles.

After printing out the list of problems to fix, she pulled up a map of the city and zoomed in on her sector. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Flash Fiction Train; Round 3, Part 5

Sneaking in at the very last minute with my offering for Kat Avila's Tuesday Flash Fiction Train

Rita stood in the middle of the aisle, eyes squeezed shut. The screams no longer reached her ears and she shuddered in anguish at the result of her rage. The memories had flooded her mind, intermingled with the taunts of the old woman and other passengers. 

She had let it overcome her.

A hand touched her shoulder then stroked her cheek.


She ignored the whisper, soft and warm as a summer’s breeze. But Walter would not be shunned.

“Rita, open your eyes. Look at me.”

“Nooo,” she sobbed, “I can’t look! I can’t!”

She could hear the people on the bus again. “What’s wrong with you, girly girl?” it was the screech of the old woman.

Again she heard the soft voice, “Hush now, Lucy. You haven’t walked in her steps. Go still yourself.”


“Sit, Lucy.”

As Rita finally opened her eyes, she saw the old woman trudge to an empty seat. The bus moved steadily down the street, the passengers still staring at her, but without the hostility she remembered. There was no blood, no shattered windows. No one screamed.

Rita looked back to Walter, “I thought…I thought I killed them!”

“You almost did.” Walter said, “but you stopped before it became real. You chose life over death.”


Walter smiled at her. “Because you are stronger than the coven. They couldn’t control you as easily as they thought.”

“But the memories, the pain.”

“Lies. All of it.”

Rita shook her head in confusion, it had seemed so real. But as she tried to recall the fear and hate, the feelings faded.

“You are free, Rita.” As he turned to go, Walter looked back one more time, “See you in my dreams.” 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Blown Away

My offering for this week's Coldly Calculating prompt at Our Write Side.
Coldly Calc Featured Image

Sherry sat on the back porch listening to the newly opened leaves shuffle against each other in the gusty spring air. She loved the smell of fresh growth. Though this morning it was tainted with the strong flavor of bleach..

She sighed, it couldn’t be helped. In the end, bleach was the only answer. Some things just couldn’t be washed away with soap and water. At least not entirely. 

She rose from her seat and headed for the garage. Once there, she searched the neatly organized shelves. “Ah! There you are!” she grinned as she bent to retrieve the mason jar filled with the soft blue hue chosen for her bedroom. “And he thought I was silly to save some of the paint.”

Rummaging further, Sherry found a paint brush. it had been carefully cleaned and stored after use. She glanced around the garage contentedly. Everything neat and tidy. Just as it should be.

She took the brush and jar inside. Refusing to be distracted by the clutter in the kitchen, Sherry strode purposefully into the bedroom. It would only take a few minutes to touch up the spots left by the scouring pad. 

After she finished, she scurried through the kitchen once more; only taking time to toss the blue tinged brush at the sink. Once the jar was tucked safely back on its shelf in the garage, she took a deep breath. The kitchen would have to be tackled next. The longer she left it, the more stressed she’d get. 

As Sherry crossed the yard, she was momentarily mesmerized by the movement of three sheets waving lazily in the breeze. They were secured to the line with her grandmother’s old clothespins. She smiled. No hint of stain was visible in the bright spring sunshine.

Now, on to the kitchen she told herself. With lips pressed in a determined line, she stepped into the space. 

He’d thought he surprise her with a spaghetti dinner. It had been thoughtful of him she supposed. But what could he have been thinking? Leaving puddles of sauce on her normally spotless stove. And so many pans crusted with filth in her shiny sink.

Sherry swallowed the bile and dove into the task. 

Well, at least it wasn’t a mistake he’d make again.

Riding the Flash Fiction Train, Round 3/Week 3

I've been regularly joining in at Kat Avila'a Fiction Trials to play a story writing challenge. Check out this week's offerings, then come back to play on the Flash Fiction Train. Here's my offering...

Rita glared at her reflection in the mirror. She looked awful. The cold wasn’t budging and it was just a miracle she made it through the conference call. Thankfully Laura had been on her game and kept the conversation grounded.

A yawn, interrupted by a new bout of coughing brought Rita back to the perusal of her image. Her eyes were bloodshot and puffy. Her nose reddened and tender from the continuous application of tissues. With a sigh she pulled the bottle from the medicine cabinet.

As much as she needed to dampen her symptoms and get a good night’s sleep, Rita was hesitant to dose herself again. The dreams induced by the vile liquid were becoming harder to shake off. The most recent dream had conjured a name for the mystery man. At the thought, Rita’s lips tingled at the memory.

“No.” She spoke to the mirror, “I'm not going to do it!”

She replaced the bottle and shuffled out of the bathroom. Her slippers scuffed the carpet, the small noise causing her head to pound. She dropped onto the couch grabbing the knitted throw from the back. She wrapped herself in its warmth. As long as she stayed upright she kept the drainage from choking her. She closed her eyes and drifted into an unsettled doze.

“You're back! I didn’t think I would see you so soon.” He reached to stroke her cheek.

Rita pulled back, “Who are you? Why do you haunt my sleep?” 

His eyes filled with hurt, “I’m Walter. I’ve always been here for you.”

“Not always. Only if I use that gawd-awful cold medicine.” Rita narrowed her eyes, “which I did not take tonight!”

“No, I’m always here, Rita. You just don’t remember…”

“Oh, I’d remember, just like I remembered last night’s dream.” 

Walter sighed, “It’s not a dream to me, Rita.”

“Really? Then, I think it’s time you explain why that is!”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Paper

Sneaking in to  The 100 Word Challenge  at the last minute with my offering; a memory.100 Word Challenge

It lay on the front walk. Wrapped in an orange plastic baggie. I watch it from the window, that bright beacon, begging me to rescue it. 

It calls to me. “Look! The Times’ Crossword, and don’t forget the sudoku.”

I gaze at it as morning slips to the afternoon. “I’m the Sunday paper; comics, sales stuffers, coupons and news!”

The afternoon wanes, still it beckons. “Editorials?”

Just before the sun sets, I rise from my chair and bring it in. 

Turning the pages hesitantly.

I gasp at his picture; though I knew it would be there.

Under the heading: Obituaries.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Check Mate

I took a stab at the Fractured Friday prompt at Our Write Side this week. The challenge was to take a famous love triangle and mix it up, change the story a bit. I chose the Arthurian trio; Guinevere, Lancelot, and of course the King himself, Arthur.

“Lance, babe. He’s the King.” 

Lancelot frowned at his fiance, “So what? How does that give him the right to claim you? There’s plenty of other girls out there. Available girls.” Lance paused and stared at Guinevere with narrowed eyes, “unless…you lobbied for his attention!”

‘Vere eye-rolled a sigh. “Really Lance, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Maids and fancy dresses. And riches! Hey, don’t worry, we can still see each other.”

“We can ‘see’ each other?” Lance snorted, “Right, I’ll wave as you roll by in the royal carriage on your way to the royal bed.”

“Don’t be an oaf, Lancelot! Marrying the King is politics. We can still, you know, be together. It’s common practice, all the kings have mistresses, I’ll have you.” She batted her lashes at her erstwhile boyfriend. “It’ll be exciting!”

Lancelot grunted, he knew his arguments were in vain. His Guinevere had always acted like royalty. Well, being the Queen was as royal as it gets. “Fine ‘Vere, be the Queen, but I’m not sitting at your knee like a pet dog.”

“Of course not, silly man. I already told Arty how special you are. He’s going to make you a knight!” ‘Vere clapped her hands in delight at her own ingenuity.

“Oh yeah? With armor and stuff?” Lance began to smile, “that’ll be cool, ‘Vere, good idea!


Lancelot knelt before his King. Excalibur touched each shoulder in the solemn ceremony of knighthood.

“Rise, Sir Lancelot! Knight of the Round Table.” Arthur’s words echoed around the hall.

Lance rose, beaming giddily within Arthur’s embrace. As the celebrations began, he found the Queen and reached to give her a hug of thanks.

She dodged his grasp. “Not here, Lance!” she whispered. “I’ll send for you later. Go now, party hearty!” Then, she slipped away.

Lance sighed in resignation and returned to the festivities. After a few flagons of mead and a couple of hours of merry making, he was feeling more optimistic. As the party wound down he readied himself to retire to his quarters where he’d await the Queen’s summons. 

He approached Arthur to make his good-night and reiterate his thanks.

“Ah, Sir Lancelot! I’m glad I caught you.” The King smiled at him, “how quickly can you suit up and saddle your steed?”


“I have an important task for you. A dragon needs slaying, my boy! It’s already eaten two of my best knights. But, the Queen assures me you are the best of the best.” The King waited as Lancelot hesitated, “come along, Sir Knight, time to get a move on!”


‘Vere hummed to herself as she brushed her golden curls. She donned her prettiest nightgown in anticipation. When the knock at her door came, she jumped up and hurried to greet her lover.

She threw the door open, ready to throw herself at Lance. It took great effort to maintain the smile she was wearing.

“My Queen, you look lovely tonight,” Arthur said dryly as he walked past her into the bed chamber.

Guinevere followed numbly, her heart trembled as the King removed his robes.

Friday, February 12, 2016


This week's word is 'luck' at  the 100 Word Challenge over at Tara's place.. 

Greta looked warily at the hand held out to her. It was large and rough; black dirt embedded under the nails.

She forced a smile to her lips as she allowed her carefully manicured fingers to be swallowed within its grasp.

He towered over her as he led her to the dance floor. she spied the perfectly matched couples swirling gracefully. 

Greta swallowed her sigh. The luck of the draw.

His arm encircled her waist and he twirled her into the music. Greta’s reserve fled as the crowd moved back to watch. 

That night, he danced her into her dreams.

100 Word Challenge
100 Word Challenge

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

There's a Monster Under the Bed


Bobby’s blankets lay on the floor again. The monster under the bed pulls them off every night as Bobby sleeps.

The monster lives among the dust bunnies and one shoe that's whisked away in the middle of the night. Bobby knows it’s a monster. He hears it at night grumbling and mumbling. He dares not get up to look. Bobby has no wish to join the shoe.

Even in the morning light it’s all he can do to dive under the bed and quickly grab the stray.

If only the monster wouldn’t mess with his blankets. Bobby knows if he pulls them off the floor at night he’ll drag the beast with them. Then the monster won’t be under the bed. It will be in the bed with him.

So, he shivers through the night because he's cold without his blanket, and he's afraid of the monster under his bed.

Mommy doesn’t believe him.
Mommies never do. They're stubborn that way. 

But Bobby has a plan.
It’s a great plan and he spends the day putting it into action.

He borrows the stapler and the glue from Mommy’s desk. 
He makes the bed himself, then glues the blankets tight and staples them into place. 

He smiles as he shimmies under the covers.

But Bobby should have taken the stapler and the glue back to Mommy’s desk.
Because he can hear the monster grumbling and mumbling as it walks around the bed, gluing and stapling.
Coming closer and closer.
Stapling and gluing.


Two socks enter.
Only to lose sight of each other in the agitation and tumble.
Lost somewhere between drain and lint trap,
Or upon the aberrant path leading to the dark side of the moon.
One lonely sock waits in my drawer.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Only Answer

This weeks  100 Word Challenge word is 'idea'.  

Toss and turn. Turn and toss. My head just wouldn’t let go. 

A senseless exercise, I couldn’t change the past. All the should haves and could haves, too late.

The moon rose, the moon set. 

At sunrise I dragged my weary body out of bed and trudged blindly for the coffee maker.

It was over that first cup that an idea began to form. 

With shaking hands I grabbed the phone and put my plan into motion. 

When you said hello I rushed into it, “Don’t hang up! I have to tell you something.”

“Ok, what?” you snarled.

“I’m sorry.”

Eight More to Go

Can you stand another tale of Joe and Charlie, the two slightly inept demon's? I just can't help myself sometimes
Linked up with Coldly Calculating at Our Write Side
Coldly Calc Featured Image

“Where we going Joe?”

“Home Charlie, the Boss finally got us outta that witches nest, and I need a break.”

“So…what're we doing in limbo land?”

“What? What are you talking about”? Joe looked around. His partner was right, the land was hazy and soft, no recognizable landmarks. “Oh man. This just isn’t right.”

“You're tellin’ me! I didn’t like this place the first time, it ain't got no better.” Charlie stumbled over a step hidden in the gray swirl that flowed through the landscape in random patterns.

Joe tried to remember the first time he was stuck here. It had taken forever to get out. As his memories coalesced, his eyes widened. “Charlie, you remember where we came in?”

“No, I’m just lookin’ for a way out.”

“Don't look too hard Charlie,” Joe backed up, he peered through the fog looking for the door he’d just entered.

“Uh, why?” Charlie stopped exploring and edged closer to Joe.

“Do you remember what happened when you found your way ‘out’ the first time?”

“Um, let me see, I found a key somewheres, then tripped a dozen times on all this crap laying around. Busted my snout more than once.” Charlie had a bad habit of reliving his memories while he talked, “Ow! Dammit! Just like that,” he said as he pushed himself off the ground.

“Hey! Look Joe, I found the key!” 

“No Charlie! Throw it away! We don’t want the key!”


Before Joe could grab the key and throw it, a doorway gleamed red-gold two yards from them. “Oh no.”

“There Joe, just like last time, the way out!”

Joe rolled his eyes, “Charlie, that’s not the way out.”

“It’s not?”

Joe walked toward the door, resigned to the inevitable. The Boss was evidently still mad at them. 

“No Charlie, it’s the way in. This is limbo?”


Joe just sighed. 

“Oh. OH!, Joe I don’t wanna!” Charlie wailed.

Joe grabbed Charlie's arm and pulled him forward. “C’mon. No going back, which one’s next? Do you remember? Lust or gluttony?”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

After Shock

Living alone means you always know where your things are. There’s no one to put the sugar on the wrong shelf. Nobody to fold the kitchen towels, then stack them in the linen closet. Or, leave every light on in the house.

Living alone simplifies everything. No opposition when picking a movie. Meals made easier with only one set of taste buds to consider. 

Daily routines are never compromised by the needs of another. 

Then one day you stand motionless in the middle of a room and realize you’ve lost your way. It’s such an odd thing to lose. 

Why is the daily routine so important? You have no schedule to follow, no reason to have lunch exactly at noon. Or supper at six. 

Is it truly necessary to get out of bed by seven? Is it necessary to get out of bed at all? 

Old habits keep you moving. Hunger pangs remind you to throw a plastic tray into the microwave. 

The dark tells you it’s time to go to bed. The sun insists it’s time to rise.

One day you find you’ve lost your voice. It’s such an odd thing to lose.

Good morning no longer falls from your smiling lips. No one asks what you want to do today.

You look in the mirror at eyes that cried through the night while you slept. The lips in the reflection no longer to smile at you. 

The silence of the house surrounds you. Every movement you make echoes through the empty rooms that used to be your home.

Finally, you just lose it.

It, is such an odd thing to lose.

Where's the Cheese?

“Where is the damn cheese?”

The cat replies with a knowing wink before slipping away to its feline agenda.

A glance at the dog provides no answer.

Then a blur of gray crosses the floor.



Guess who stole the cheddar.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


100 Word ChallengeI'm joining Tara on her inaugural hosting of  the 100 Word Challenge. I think I've missed writing within a specific word count. 

The cellar never bothered her. She wasn’t one to be spooked by dark corners or the peculiar smell of damp dirt. It was the perfect environment for jars of fruits and vegetables preserved for winter use. 

Recently, the trips left her rattled. Small noises emanating from the dark corners. The smell of damp dirt becoming more foul than peculiar.

She stubbornly shook off the idea she was being watched. 

She ignored the tingles down her spine, the raised hair at her nape.

Until she saw the eyes glowing from the dark corner. And the long claws scratching in the dirt.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Running Free

Another stab at Master Class Monday at Our Write Side
Master Class Featured Image

Fiona ran through the forest. A stark landscape of naked trees and fresh snowfall kept her within full view of her pursuers. Her breath blew  puffs of steam as her feet crunched the ice crusted snow. She didn’t dare look behind her. If she could see their eyes she knew it was the end of her run. 

Her feet were numb, the boots not tall enough to keep the snow from soaking her socks. Bushes and fallen branches conspired to throw Fiona to the ground. Fear was her friend, it gave adrenal fueled strength to her tiring legs. But fear couldn’t change the landscape.

While Fiona scanned the ground in front of her, she failed to mark the sudden end of the tree-line. She tumbled down a steep bank and hit the frozen river hard. Scrambling on the icy surface, she regained her feet. Finally, she turned to look behind.

Most of  the hunting party stood at the top of the bank. Two of their number carefully descended to the river’s edge and tested the footing before moving toward her. 

She uttered a hopeless moan, then turned toward the opposite bank. She moved her feet in an awkward sliding run as the watchers laughed at her attempt to elude them. The two behind her didn’t move any faster. As she crossed the center she glanced between her feet and gasped at the view of running water only inches below the ice. 

A groan sounded from beneath, ending her wide eyed stare and she pushed her body forward. Fiona threw herself across the ice as an ear shattering crack echoed along the river. The treacherous heaving of the failing ice propelled her forward. The water roared as the river broke through the frozen blanket. She raced the free flowing water across the ice. The small floe she stood upon tilted back toward the frigid depths. In terror she thrust her arms forward, grasping for a miracle, and found a low-hanging branch. She gripped the rough bark and dragged herself up the empty bank.

Over the sound of the rushing water she heard the screams of the pair that had followed her. Their cries punctuated by fainter curses from the other bank. She looked back as the river embraced the men and carried them downstream. She met the eyes of their captain across the gap, felt the hatred sharp as a physical blow. 

Panting with exhaustion, Fiona broke the gaze and ran into the next forest of naked trees and fresh fallen snow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cause Way

She hesitated before she left the bridge a second time. 

The first crossing had led to her destiny. A lifetime of rigorous physical training and endless mental preparation culminated in this second crossing. 

One last step unleashed her upon an unsuspecting world.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

There She Goes Again

I've missed Anne Marie. She whispers to me at night, it's time to let her out for a while.
My offering  for Master Class Monday at Our Write Side

Anne Marie listened intently for a repetition of the cracking of leaves behind her. Though she heard no new sound, she silently circled back. The iron broadsword in her grip hummed in anticipation. She sniffed the air; was that a hint of fresh blood on the breeze? 

From tree to tree she crept forward, homing in on the scent. As she neared her target she heard the whisper of soft breaths. And something else…rhythmic tapping, so soft she almost missed it. 

Anne Marie stopped, a memory tickled at her. A thing forgotten, a thing she needed to know.

She tested the breeze again. The blood odor was thicker and foul. And another smell...sulfur. Her eyebrows rose as well as the hair at the nape of her neck. 

With only the old iron blade, did she dare to confront the thing lying in wait? For it was certainly waiting for her. 

Still soft, the tapping continued, insistent and no longer just ahead but all around. 

‘Too late to turn back,’ she told herself, ‘she knows I’m here.’

Anne Marie stood straight and sheathed the sword. 

Three more steps brought her into the circle. Its guardian smiled a welcome as it beckoned her to the center most spot.

She smirked back at the daemon; it wouldn’t be the first time she'd stood at the crossroad to oblivion. Nor would it be the last.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Listen to the Music

The guests had listened politely throughout his performance. As soon as he finished the final ballad the serving girls immediately entered and placed platters on the long table. Gaddy noticed the food was carefully arranged to give the appearance of great bounty. The king’s guests served themselves sparingly, yet the platters barely fed the entire table. The talk at the table was low and stilted.

He wrapped his harp and retrieved his cloak, then Gaddy took a moment to look out a window at the courtyard below. Figures in tattered cloaks and dirty blankets huddled around small campfires, leaning close to one another against cold. Women doled out bits of bread to solemn faced children, then shared what was left with their men.

“They came for my protection.”

Gaddy turned, startled by the voice and its owner, he made a deep bow as he spoke, “Sire.”

The old king answered, “Stand up lad, I’m not above you, nor those gathered below. I have failed them. He leaned on the stone casement, staring at the crowded courtyard.

Gaddy stood silently next to his king, an old man struggling with a war not of making and the impact it was having on the people he’d sworn to protect. He could see tears in the king’s eyes, the droop of shoulders not strong enough to bear the pain.

“Go play for them, Harper. Play them songs of courage and strength. Of hopes fulfilled.” The king turned to Gaddy, “Give them a tiny time of enchantment to pass the night. Make them believe tomorrow will be better.”

“Will it be better, your Majesty?”

“Perhaps if they believe…it will be.”

Gaddy wrapped his cloak about his shoulders and made his way to the courtyard. He walked among the people noting hollow eyes and mournful faces. A small girl with her thumb stuck into her mouth followed his progress with a curious gaze. He gave her a small smile and sat a few yards away. He unwrapped the harp and plucked a string. The tone attracted the attention of the closest groups.

The little girl stared at him, her thumb still tucked securely between her lips. He plucked a second note, an infant chortled in reply from another huddle of folk, quickly hushed by its mother. Gaddy pulled another string encouraging the babe to answer. When it did, he played another.

The little girl removed her thumb and laughed at the game, her mother allowed herself a small smile. Gaddy strummed across the harp causing more heads to turn and scattered giggles to surface. As the children moved closer he picked out a tune and stomped his foot. With the next notes the children stomped along. Men loosened their frowns and clapped in time. Mothers holding children swayed in rhythm.

An old man in a patched cloak, hat pulled low over his face, sat down next to Gaddy with a small drum. As the song progressed the drummer kept time, more of the folk clapped cold hands or stomped tired feet. Laughter became the lyrics as the children danced in circles with each other.

Music rang through the courtyard and warmth pushed away the chill of evening. The drummer stood and invited Gaddy to join him as he walked a path toward the castle doors. Gaddy hesitated; his fellow lifted the brim of his hat and winked. Gaddy nodded and followed, motioning the folk to come along. As they approached the steps the doors swung wide and the musicians and their parade danced into the hall.

Gaddy saw the table had been refilled with breads and bruised fruit. The king’s guard attended, handing out the fare as Gaddy and his drummer led the folk around them. He played every spring and summer tune he knew and when he had played them all, he started over.

Children raced each other from one end of the hall to the other, women and men gathered at the edges laughing and cheering them on. As night fell, Gaddy slowed his fingers bringing toddlers back to their parents. Families gathered in groups as serving women delivered blankets from the great bedrooms of the castle.

The drummer set his instrument aside as Gaddy played lullabies and watched children nod into sleep with smiles still on their faces. When the harp finally silenced, the only sound was the breath of those sleeping

Gaddy turned to the drummer whose eyes were drooping into slumber, “Good night…your Majesty,” he whispered.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Linking again with Master Class Monday at Our Write Side with a bit of bizarre art.

Buddy supposed he ought to clean out the cellar. He'd left it it go far too long. It was part of the job he wasn’t going enjoy. The rest of the work was so fascinating. Watching the process happen kept him rapt with wonder and fair amount of pride.

The steps he followed with such meticulous care, from choosing the perfect specimen to knowing when to end the project. Over thinking and the subsequent tweaking had been the source of much disappointment early in his career.

Now he knew when to leave it alone and let nature finish the job. That was so evident in his latest work. Buddy stood in front of his masterpiece basking in the pleasure that results from a job well done.

He wanted desperately to share this one, it was that damned good.

Before he could set up the display he would absolutely have to dispose of the others. They would be too shoddy next to his latest.

He sucked a deep breath of resolve and grabbed his cleaning supplies along with a large stack of trash bags then bounded down the steps.

When Buddy flicked the light on its glow shone on the tangled pile stored in the corner. He released a sad sigh at the sight. How could he ever have thought them beautiful.

He reached the first of the pile. He'd had hope for this one. Her petite frame and sassy red hair had survived the drying process well, but as time went on her skin had continued to shrink. The result was protruding joints, particularly knees and elbows. As she shrunk, her body hair proved to be difficult to maintain.

He shook his head, over thinking had been his downfall. As he toiled through the pile he giggled. His works resembled a mound of gnarled monkeys. Knobby joints on withered limbs covered in coarse hair.

He had finally realized the obvious, remove the hair right after death. And the most important part, make sure to let them drink all the water they wanted before killing them. Keep that hide plumped and then dry them out slowly. That kept the natural shrinkage to a minimum.

Yes by golly, the round figured blond upstairs was the perfect specimen. The rest? Well, they'd just have to go.