Short Story

Flash Fiction – Turkey Dinner

Gobble, gobble.

“Look at them, all fattened up and ready to be throttled,” he said to his wife.

“Please honey. I know we eat them but I don’t want to talk about that in front of them,” she replied.

Gobble, gobble.

“Why? It’s not like they understand.”

“I know, but look at them. They are so cute when they’re this fluffy.”

“Cute? Are you crazy? They are the ugliest creatures on the face of the planet.” He shook his head.

Gobble, gobble.

“I know, but we raised them since they were babies. They’ve grown on me. Besides they look better with meat on their bones than when they were scrawny and underfed.”

“Ha! You’re so sentimental. At least all of these will live another year, with Thanksgiving being over.”

Gobble, gobble.

“True. Do you think we should have given one to the new neighbors?” she asked, feeling suddenly guilty.

“Make up your mind woman. I thought you wanted them all to live?”

“That’s not exactly what I said. Being neighborly is more important than my guilt over killing pets. You know they are my favorite food. I just don’t want to think of the live ones as food. Why do you think I always make you choose one and cook it?”

He laughed again and pointed to the large male sitting under a tree reading. The one with the overalls. “Even that one? Can you honestly tell me you enjoy Tom prattling at you day after day?”

Gobble, gobble.

She scowled. “No, that one I don’t mind considering butchering.” Her face brightened. “Want human for Christmas too? Gobble, Gobble.”

The two turkeys turned hungry eyes to next month’s dinner.

***

Farmer Tom jerked awake from his unintended nap on the porch. He sat forward in his rocking chair as he tried to shake off the dream. He glanced around the yard. The turkeys seemed to be doing fine. He looked to the tree where two of the birds stared at him with dark, glittering eyes.

Gobble, gobble.

He rushed into the house and found his wife. “I’m willing to do a vegetarian Christmas if you still want to.”

 


I wrote this one sitting in my car. I don’t know what the inspiration was. I just started writing and this disturbing story came out lol. I can tell you I despise turkey. On a club sandwich with ham it’s tolerable but I never eat it by itself.


WR

Flash Fiction – Last Supper

“Are you going to eat that?” he asked. It was fairly boring as far as ‘last straws’ went, but it did me in. It wasn’t the first time he voiced the question, nor was it the fortieth. I stopped counting long ago and started plotting.

If he ever waited until it looked like I was finished it wouldn’t have annoyed me so much. But he wanted my food before I was halfway done. I read all kinds of things into it, of course. He was greedy or selfish. He thought I was fat and was trying to keep me from eating too much. He was inconsiderate or just plain hungry. He thought I was a great cook and couldn’t get enough.

All these thoughts ran through my head as I dug the hole. I realized it didn’t matter why he did it. What really mattered was it bugged me and he knew it. Why this bothered me more than his lying and cheating I’ll never know.

After I put the shovel away and washed up, I made his last supper. I included all his favorites. Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed corn, and fried biscuits. Since I knew what would happen later, I ate as I cooked. I have to say, that was the best meal I’ve made in a long time. I put every bit of skill I had into it to make it perfect.

He sat at the table as usual, a cloth napkin tucked into his shirt. Oh how I hated when he did that! He held a knife in one hand and a fork in the other. I wanted to punch him right in the stereotype, but I kept a sweet smile on my face as I fixed his plate.

“Let’s go outside. It’s a beautiful night and we should enjoy it.”

He agreed and took himself and his cutlery out to the picnic table in the back yard. I followed with the plate.  Once he was seated I went straight to the hole, dumped the meal in it, and marched straight back to the house, locking the door behind me.

His already packed suitcase went out the window, along with everything else he owned. The entire time he stood over the hole staring down. He wept, not for me, but for his favorite foods lying wasted, six feet below him.

I guess he did think I’m a great cook. I’m glad I decided to throw the food in the hole instead of him.

 


This is one of the stories I wrote yesterday while sitting in the dentist’s office waiting on my kid to get a temporary crown. It’s not very nice but it’s nicer than the other one. I’ll edit it and probably post it tomorrow.

The prompt was the first line: “Are you going to eat that?”

 


WR

Flash Fiction – Saving Up

Marisa saved for months. Every dime went towards her goal. It was hard, she was a spender, but she kept her target in sight. When she could, she went to the store to look at it. Her eyes would widen and her heart would swell each time as she admired its perfection. The shopkeeper kept a spotlight on it, clearly it was the most important item in the store. She worried sometimes about them running out of stock. She wasn’t the only one who regularly admired the prize after all. But all she could do was keep saving and keep her fingers crossed it would be there when she was ready.

At times, she regretted not having access to more money but as her mother always told her, she would appreciate it more because she worked hard to get it. She’d done everything she possibly could to earn enough so she knew she had the right to be proud of herself.

Today was the day. She woke up early and got ready carefully. In the car on the way to the store she had to force herself not to freak out or cry from excitement.

Finally they arrived, but a few minutes early. She took her mom’s hand and dragged her to the window for the last time.

There it was, the world’s most perfect doll. At forty dollars, it had been completely out of her price range. She had to do all her brother’s chores for a month to get him to give her his allowance. With a lot of begging, she managed to talk her mom into showing her how to load the dishwasher and to mop so she could do both to come up with most of the rest.

She even helped her dad rake leaves and take out the trash to get the last couple of dollars. Staring up at the doll’s long dark hair and skin exactly the same color her own, Marisa knew it was all worth it.

She would have to get creative to come up with ways to earn enough money for clothing for the doll. She was too small to use the washing machine and not strong enough to push the mower like her brother did sometimes, but she would find a way.

After an eternity the store opened. Marisa ran straight to the window display and picked up her future doll. It was the very last one that looked the way she wanted and she almost wept with joy. Her mom told her this close to Christmas there wouldn’t be any more coming in.

As she started to make her way to the front, a girl from her class named Lily ran past her. Curious, she turned to see if the other child was going to get one of the special dolls.

“Mom, they only have blond ones left,” Lily cried.

Her mom tried to calm the girl by telling her they might be able to order one or get one after Christmas. Marissa’s heart broke for her friend. She knew there would be no more, at least not for a long time.

“But I’ve been saving for six months.” The girl sat on the floor, put her head on her knees and cried.

Six months? Marissa didn’t even know the doll existed until three months ago.  She looked at her friend and then her doll. They had the same color skin too, with the same long black hair. She wasn’t surprised they both wanted the same doll.

As she thought about what she wanted to do, she walked back to the display window and glanced at the dolls still on the table. It took her a few minutes but she found one on the bottom of the stack with the same dark skin but much shorter and much lighter brown hair. It’s hair wasn’t black but it still had the same beautiful face. She picked it up and went to the crying girl.

“Lily, how about you buy this one,” she said and handed her friend the doll she’d worked so hard to get.

“Are you sure?”

“I found one I like better,” she lied.

Lily dried her tears and they went to the register together. She hugged her friend tight and they made a pact to share clothes as they got them. Their mothers had those weird expressions parents sometimes wear that neither of them understood.

Back in the car Marissa looked over every detail of her purchase. “Mom, her hair is nice right?”

“It’s perfect.”

“She still looks like me doesn’t she?”

“Yes she does.”

“Good. Can I get a haircut?”

“Let’s go make an appointment now.”

 


This story  came to me from a writing prompt I found this morning.

Write a story involving a large purchase.

I was sitting at the dentist’s office while my daughter got a temporary crown after having a root canal. I knew it would take a while so I brought my laptop. They didn’t have Wi-Fi so I didn’t work on my Nanowrimo project.

Instead, I pulled out my phone, went to WordPress and looked up writing prompts. I found a couple I liked and wrote two pieces of flash fiction. Since I was on a roll I looked up more and found the one I used for this story. As soon as I read it I knew I wouldn’t be writing about buying a car or a refrigerator. I also knew I would be writing something involving someone who didn’t have much money.

I wrote a couple of tentative starters out but neither really spoke to me. Then I thought about what a large purchase would be to a young child. I didn’t know I was going to write about a doll at first, only that the kid had been saving for months.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any further because my daughter came out and I had to pack up my stuff and go. We stopped for lunch and by the time we got home my back hurt and I wasn’t able to write.

At some point I got a message from some people in my writing group. Actually, this message came in at the same time as I was silently pissing and moaning about being tired of laying down. I was having one of those angry at pain moments and I’m sick. So when one of them suggested we do a 25 minute writing prompt I was hesitant.

I wanted to, but was afraid I wouldn’t be able to. So I said maybe. Then I got stubborn. I got up, opened my laptop and pulled up the story I started this morning. By the time I got all set up the timer had started so I did too.

I wrote 535 words in that sprint and kept going until the above story was almost 800 words. I’m so thankful writing can pull me out of the kind of funk I was in. I’m even more thankful for my writing group. They more unknowingly knocked me out of my BS mode than pulled though, which is exactly what I needed.

There is a chance I’ll feel sorry for myself again tonight. I feel myself going downhill but at least I got a few things accomplished. Hell, I even threw something in the slow cooker earlier! So I’ll take an Advil, a Sudophed (spelling?), make some hot tea, and hope for the best.

Also, pardon the terrible title. I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t give it away.


WR

Flash Fiction – The Perfect Man

“Seriously Karen, he’s the perfect man.” Mona announced to her best friend and co-worker.

Karen’s raised a single eyebrow. “I’ve heard that one before; six months ago was the last time I think.”

Mona laughed. “I know, I know. But this time I mean it.”

“So how is this one perfect?” She told herself to withhold judgement.

“He’s sweet but not the annoying kind. He holds the door for me but doesn’t complain if I pay for dinner sometimes. He’s smart, emotionally stable, and he makes me laugh.” Mona’s knitted brow made Karen wonder what was wrong with the guy. Perfect was never really perfect when it came to her friend’s choice in men.

“Does he have a decent job? You have a habit of finding men who can’t keep their shit together.”

“Yes, he’s an analyst and he just got promoted. He’s been with the same company for ten years. He’s not the kind I would have to support.”

Karen nodded. “Good, he sounds great. So what’s the problem?”

Mona glared at her but Karen waited patiently knowing the ‘but’ was coming.

“It can’t work.”

“Why?”

“Many reasons. He’s so perfect I could never be the woman he deserves.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“He also thinks I’m perfect. We both know that’s not true. How could I live up to his expectations?”

“I’m sure he likes you the way you are, Mona.”

“There’s more. He’s a neat freak, you should see his house. I throw my socks on the floor and forget to do laundry until my closet is empty. I would drive him crazy.”

“Relationships are all about compromise. You can adjust to each other if your feelings are strong enough.”

Mona sighed. “He likes fine dining and I’d rather have burgers and pizza. He dresses in suits and I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl. He watches crime dramas and I like Star Trek.”

“You like to dress up and he probably likes to dress down. You can suck it up and watch his shows and he can do the same. Why are you trying to talk yourself out of this?”

“I don’t have a choice. There is one major road block I can’t get past.”

“What?”

“This morning I was offered three million to kill him.”

“Oh, I see. I wonder what he did to warrant someone hiring one of the two best assassins in the country to take him out.”

“I was curious at first too, but for that amount of money, it was easy to lose interest in the whys of it.”

“Yeah, but sometimes our job sucks right?”

Mona nodded. “Romance is all fine and good but business is business. Still, my deadline is in a month. I think I’ll enjoy him while I can. He is the perfect man after all.”

“Good girl.”


Have you ever had a story come to you and not know where it came from? This story popped in my head, almost fully formed, while in the car on the way to eat lunch with my husband yesterday. I got out my journal and wrote down all my thoughts on it and finished up before we pulled into the parking lot.

There was nothing in particular that I can see inspired. I was just looking out the window watching other cars and story happened.

It’s not my best but at this point I’m happy words came out of me. I’ve stalled out on my Nanowrimo project and need to work on another one but I don’t know which one. For all I know this may turn into a half a month of short story writing. I would be okay with it.

I’m almost convinced I can’t win Nanowrimo this year. I was frustrated at first but not now.

I had back surgery this year. My recovery has been a roller coaster. I had an injection and it’s helped some but I’m still in a bad place with pain. I’m forced to spend a quarter of my awake time laying down.

The truth is, I’m lucky to have written as much as I have this month. I’m choosing to be happy with however many words I end up with. At least I’m trying. That’s all I can really do.


WR

Flash Fiction – A Man’s World (and a quick update)

This is from a writing prompt posted in my writing group. It was the amazing picture of a man kneeling down on one knee with several arrows sprouting from his back. It took me quite some time to come up with an idea but when I finally did, I wrote this in a 25 minute timed exercise.


A Man’s World

Conneth dropped to one knee as Elyse approached to survey her victorious champions. Exhausted with blood loss he was glad of a reason to rest. The arrows still lodged in his back might kill him but not kneeling before the crown Princess would definitely cost him his head. He hadn’t fought and killed scores of men for her just to end up one of her victims.

As she passed by, he chanced a quick glance. The royal brat wrinkled her nose up at the sight of the injured but devoted men prostrated before her. He returned his gaze to the ground. Rumor had it she threw men she didn’t have killed in the fabled dungeons of Sarvon for not showing the proper deference.

Not for the first time Conneth wished men could rule. Elyse’s older brother Landor would be a great ruler. He understood the plight of men in this kingdom, but it would never happen. If Elyse didn’t survive to become queen her closest female cousin would ascend the throne, even if the girl hadn’t reached her majority.

Someday, probably not in Conneth’s lifetime, men would not be thought of as lesser creatures. They would not be bred merely to cater to a lady’s whim or to fight wars started by women. What he wouldn’t give to be able to choose his own wife and make his own decisions.

Being paraded at the multitude of Men’s Balls for some random female to bargain with his mother for his hand was degrading. It didn’t help that he was reaching an age where he was almost too old to be marriageable. It was unfair that he would be forced to either marry a stranger who would rule his life or risk being labels a bachelor. His stomach tightened painfully at the thought.

His head jerked up at unexpected movement in front of him. Elyse stood looking down at him. There was a light in her eyes he didn’t like. She stared at him for several minutes as he defiantly glared back. The blood running down his back distracted him but if he was going to die, he was going to go out in his own way.

“This one,” Elyse said to the man beside her, her personal slave mage. “Heal him, send him to my tent. Oh and find his mother.” She turned and walked away.

Confused he stared at the mage as the man bent over him and began the healing.  “What is going on Victor?”

“You poor bastard. You’ve been chosen as the Princess Elyse’s next consort. I probably should have let you die. Maybe you’ll survive longer than the last three. I gave you a little extra stamina, you’re going to need it. Her um…appetites are voracious.” The sympathy on the man’s face was almost painful.

“Sex?” he asked but he knew the answer. Wasn’t that what women really wanted men for? For the first time in his life Conneth passed out from fear.

*rough draft: 496 words


I am choosing not to edit this due to Nanowrimo starting tomorrow. My inner editor is safely tucked away and I hope not to see it until December. I’m going to the kick off event tonight and will start writing my novel at midnight. I’m wimpy so I won’t stay very late but I like the way it starts off Nano. On Tuesday I’ll write for as many hours as I can handle (which of course my stupid back will decide).

I have a procedure scheduled for Thursday, an injection, which will mess up my writing stride but might enable me to get through November and finish Nano.

There is no way to know how often I’ll be posting here during next month. My regular Wednesday posts hopefully and the Saturday post for sure will show up. Updates will be sporadic.

You might see some excerpts but no more short stories as I’ll be concentrating on one project (hopefully).

 

Flash Fiction – The Cage

Niall the Handsome spied her through the boards covering the window, though it took a moment for him to notice. In the middle of an otherwise empty room stood a large metal cage on a marble column. It was much too large for a bird but movement inside it caught his eye.

The first thing he observed was some fluffy, womanly cloth, as white as the cage. Was it a nest? As he stared, trying to figure out what he was seeing, the creature inside pressed up against the bars and stared at him. He fell back in shock. A woman? Who could be so evil as to put a human being inside such a prison?

Gold fever may have brought him to this distant castle but life was more precious and he must save her. Besides, Niall was a knight and she was beautiful. Had not she looked at him longingly? The gallant knight always saved the damsel in distress. Duty first, then riches.

He circled the ancient building, searching for an entrance. The back door was unlocked. He entered cautiously. When he encountered no guards or magic traps he boldly rushed to the grand hall he’d seen the girl in.

She stood when she saw him. He was surprised there was enough room but she was small. Good, he thought, her added weight wouldn’t strain his horse when they rode off into the sunset. Plus, he would be able to carry much of the purported gold.

The girl seemed nervous so he checked the room for magic traps as he made his way to her. After what felt like ages he reached her. There was only a metal pin for a lock so opening the door was easy. She must be simple, which suited him perfectly. Smart and beautiful damsels were not the type of lady Niall preferred.  He smiled with the knowledge this would be the best day he’d ever had.

He pulled the door and reached a hand out to her. Her eyebrows knit in fear and she backed away from him. Sympathy welled in him. The poor thing probably thought he was going to hurt her. He smiled reassuringly and leaned further into the cage.

Suddenly she smiled and he felt himself pulled all the way inside with her. The door slammed shut and the pin magically appeared back in its place.

“What is going on?”

She put a finger to her lips and pointed over his shoulder.

“She doesn’t speak but I can hear her thoughts,” a cold voice sounded.

“Free me at once,” the knight tried to demand but his voice quavered when he saw who spoke – the great wizard Zehagan.

“I cannot. She has wanted a pet for so long and it took weeks of work on my part to get you here. She wanted someone stupid enough to believe the rumors of riches but handsome enough to spend the next five years with.”

“What happens in five years?”

The wizard pointed to a pile of well-gnawed bones in a corner. “I’m surprised you didn’t see them when you broke into my home, Niall the Handsome.” Then he laughed and turned to the girl. “Yes my sweet, stupid and handsome. I’ll let you two get to know each other, I have work to do.”

Niall screamed and shook the bars as Zehagan departed. He kept screaming as the girl, who was much stronger than she looked, held him tightly.

 


This came from a picture prompt found by the leader of my writing group. It was a black and white photo of a woman in a cage. I don’t know what color her dress was but I chose to see it as white. She was sitting on seat surrounded by tulle.

While talking about it with my friend I suddenly, and inexplicably thought of my dogs. They sleep in a five foot pen with no top. At bed time one of them, Link, comes into my bedroom and starts the stare down. If you speak to him he runs to the living room. One of us opens the door and he goes right in. He knows when he is ready and his internal clock is spot on.

If the door is not closed within a few minutes he repeats the process. He will keep this up until someone closed and latches that gate. If a dog can wear a relieved expression, this one does. Neither he or his brother can sleep with that door open. They don’t care that it’s open on top, as long a foot and a half of tiny metal rods is closed in front of them.

Thus my story seed was planted. I thought about the girl in the cage being rescued by a brave, handsome knight (for the cheesy factor) but she doesn’t want to be saved. She was perfectly content in her cage. Then I decided her cage protected her from something that could/would eat the knight but I’ve actually done something similar so I dismissed the idea. When I realized she didn’t need protection, but maybe a snack at some point, more words filled in the blanks and I ended with this story.

I know it needs editing. In fact, I planned to polish it up and pare it down to 500 words as soon as I got home from writing group. I even opened the file. Then life. So many distractions occurred (although it only took the first one) I simply forgot to do it. Still, I wanted to post it tonight so this is probably the roughest rough draft I’ve posted in a very long time.


WR

Flash Fiction – Finding The Right Tactic

Ten year old Jack watched his mother carefully as she prepared what she called her morning “wake up” drink. It didn’t look so hard to make, he thought. He might even be able to do it himself. Still, he hated getting in trouble so he would try to get permission before being sneaky.

“Mom, why do I always have to drink little kid stuff?” he blurted out. Oops.

“Because,” she replied in her annoyed tone.

Frustration overtook good sense. “Because why? It’s not fair! I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want a grown up beverage.” Maybe he was going about this wrong. He plastered on his sweetest smile and prepared to charm her.

This was an argument they had every morning for two weeks so he was surprised when his mom fixed him the adult drink and sat it in front of him. Wide-eyed, he stared at it for several moments before taking a sip. When it didn’t burn his tongue he took a longer swig, finishing half.

“This is really good. What is it?”

“Water.”

Jack finished it off. “May I have some more please?” he asked in his most polite voice. He feared he was pushing her too far but she only nodded and filled his glass again.

His mother’s odd little smile confused him but the water was so good and he felt so grown up, he didn’t even complain when she dumped his triple mocha latte. He was glad he won this round but hoped she would give in regularly.


 

It’s always struck me as strange seeing young kids drinking coffee drinks. I hated coffee as a kid and it was always a grown up drink to me. I know it’s not any different than someone drinking a soda, in fact, it’s probably more healthy. Still, it’s odd and makes me feel old. You know, the whole ‘kids these days’ thoughts we all eventually have.


WR

Short Story – Aethyr

This is not flash fiction. I mention this because it was supposed to be. Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt (saving me from having to) and it sparked an idea. The picture was of a woman made of smoke. It almost looked like an X-ray. Actually it was hard to decide if she was made of smoke or if the smoke was just rising from her body. Either way, it was beautiful and brought my muse out of hiding.

This is the roughest of rough drafts. I’m posting it now because I could spend days either fixing it or expanding it and my fantasy novel needs my attention.


Aethyr

Laeryn’s time was short. She lost more of herself every day and wouldn’t be able to hold her form for much longer. Soon she would become one with the Aethyr, but she held herself back. Before she left the ordinary world she had much to accomplish.

She thought back to the day the priestess came to her. Laeryn sat in front of the fire pit in her family’s common room. In shock she watched as her very essence rose like smoke from her lifted arm. Comparing her disappearing aura to smoke was unfair. Her personal colors were not a dull gray but ranged from the blush of pink to a fiery red, a sure indication she was Aethyr bound.

Her surprise was complete. She’d always thought of herself as ordinary, certainly not worthy of this honor. A good seamstress, but at only nineteen summers of age she had little experience. Her mother claimed she was Goddess gifted but Laeryn never believed it.

Now as she lost a little more of herself each night she acknowledged her mother was correct but not in the way she had assumed.

Laeryn pushed her thoughts aside and got back to work. She carefully sorted everything in her wedding chest, then mended anything requiring it. By tomorrow she would no longer be in her home so she needed to finish her tasks. She worked until dawn. When she was done she went to her sister’s room and dragged the other girl’s chest back into her own room. Lanae would switch rooms once Laeryn was gone.

Her sister came in and sat on the bed. “Will you watch over me once you’re … up there?”

“You mean part of the Aethyr? Of course,” Laeryn replied. “Don’t be sad,” she added when she saw tears forming in Lanae’s eyes. She moved to hug the girl and let her cry herself out.

“I’ll miss you.”

“In a way I’ll always be with you. It will be in a different form but still me. Besides, your life is going to improve now. As First Daughter you’ll be able to marry higher, maybe even the lad Iain if he ever gets his head on straight!”

They laughed together until their parents awoke. Lanae left the room quickly. Laeryn wasn’t surprised. Both girls knew what their mother was going to do and she didn’t blame her sister for escaping when she could.

As expected her father stood stiffly in the doorway as her mother questioned her. It started with an examination of her wedding chest and ended with her tearfully begging Laeryn to change her mind and stay with them. Mother knew there was no going back but she couldn’t seem to help herself.

Laeryn let her work her way through it all before wrapping her arms around the grieving woman. “I can’t stay but I’ve made sure you will be taken care of and I’ll be as an unseen guardian. Always know you’ll be under my protection.

“I know, and I’m sorry. I’m so proud you are one of the chosen, but I’m sad to see you go. If I’ve judged how much of your essence you’ve lost, after tonight we’ll never see you again.”

“Yes, mother, tonight.”

A twinge of guilt struck Laeryn. She didn’t want to upset her family but she had little choice. When the priestess entered her home a week ago to explain what was happening she could have decided against becoming one with the Aethyr. Once the need was explained to her things changed. Without the Aethyr and the joined souls, the people of this land could perish.

Until that night she hadn’t known the Aethyr was weakening. No one knew. You couldn’t tell with the bare eye, but the priestesses could. Then the old woman gave her the information that convinced her. Laeryn was the youngest person with the potential to join the Aethyr in centuries. Sure very ill children with the wasting sickness became a part of the land’s protection but they weren’t born to become Aethyr like Laeryn was. For her to be called, the need must be great indeed. So she made up her mind.

Now as she hugged her mother, she felt more resolved than ever, despite the guilt. Without her sacrifice all her people, including her family could die and she had it in her power to keep it from happening.

“I love you mother.”

“I love you too,” the woman said as she moved away to allow her husband to embrace their daughter.

He said nothing, just held Laeryn tight for a while before nodding at her and taking her mother away. She silently thanked him.

After lunch the priestess came for her. There was one more tearful but silent goodbye. The moment was the last they had together and no one wanted to spoil it with more words.

The two women started the long walk through the city and up the hill to the temple. As they walked by the familiar old buildings Laeryn let the sadness wash over her. It was the last time she would see this place. Many of her neighbors stood at their door and nodded to her as she passed them.

They eventually reached the part of the town she had never seen. The strong class divide had kept her from entering the more prosperous areas. Now, all the noble and rich had respect in their eyes and perhaps a little pity. She thought they suspected how much she was needed.

When they reached the temple she was led straight to the main altar. The priestess left her there, having already given her instructions. Laeryn spent the rest of the afternoon in prayer and deep thought. She prayed to the Goddess, then to the people now part of the Aethyr. She figured the Goddess didn’t mind since she created the Aethyr.

As night fell acolytes entered the room and lit several torches. They did little to light the room but it was enough Laeryn could see her essence leaving her body. After a few minutes the old priestess entered with a very old woman holding onto her arm for assistance. They went to the altar and she helped the elderly woman onto it before signaling Laeryn to approach. She left the two alone.

Once she reached the top of the steps her eyes met the other woman’s.

“Are you frightened?” the woman asked her.

“Yes.” Laeryn whispered.

“I was too when it was my turn. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt but a warning. You seem determined but once you join the others will try to overwhelm you. It’s a bit of a test, but if you’re strong they will stop. Otherwise your mind gets stamped down. If you want that then don’t fight. You understand?

“I think so.”

The old woman laughed. “You don’t, but you will. Lay here beside me, I can see it’s almost your time. Your aura is solid red now, it will be only minutes.”

Laeryn climbed onto the altar and lie down. She was shaking. The other woman grabbed her hand and immediately her nerves calmed. She turned her head and smiled.

Only moments later her final transformation began. Red streams of light and smoke rose from her and her body dissipated. The cloud of her essence hovered in the air above the ancient woman before entering her body. When the process was complete she was much younger and looked a bit like the woman who’d sacrificed herself.

Laeryn sensed the others’ thoughts. Not only the current ruler’s but all the previous Aethyrs’ as well. Before she could make sense of it all her consciousness was embroiled in a debate for who would control the body. The current ruler absolutely refused on the grounds she had ruled for 300 years and deserved a rest.

Most of the others expressed the same lack of desire and a few indicated they would be willing, as long as it wasn’t for too long. The most recent Aethyr suggested letting the new girl do it, focusing all the attention on Laeryn.

She didn’t want to lose herself but she damn sure didn’t want to BE the Aethyr. She assumed she would become part of the whole, not the one in control! There was no way she was ready for the responsibility. As the Aethyr had warned her, the other minds began overwhelming her as they bickered back and forth listened to nothing she said. Laeryn was their best chance to avoid being the leader of the people again.

Finally, in frustration, she agreed to rule, as long as they helped her learn how. She could feel the smug satisfaction from each.

She opened her eyes and sat up. Looking to her side she saw the other body was gone. She left the altar and walked down the steps. The head priestess entered and knelt before her.

“I am Aethyr,” she said. The priestess nodded and led her to her rooms. Laeryn Aethyr was forced to rule her land for almost five hundred years, through six sacrifices, until she finally refused another term when her body failed again and got to rest for a time.

 


I know there are many flaws. I used the word ‘woman’ a whopping eleven times for example. However, as previously mentioned, I have other work I need to concentrate on. This story just kept growing. The plan was a few hundred words. I quickly realized that wouldn’t be enough so planned for 500. I ended up with 1,533. This was before I could go in and add description!

When trying to get the thoughts on paper I ignore details like setting, description, etc, and put it in later. If I do it with this story I have no doubt it will keep growing. Hair color and what the building look like won’t be enough. I’ll want to describe the previous Aethyr’s wrinkles and go into great detail on how large the altar is and how far apart the torches are spaced. If you’ve ever read a post from me then you know I am wordy.

This story had the potential to become a much longer story, maybe even a novel. So I’m reining in my muse. She likes new projects but it’s time to finish the old one. The conversation between me and my muse is a lot like the debate the Aethyrs have every time they need a new body. Except I want to be in charge, and will be!

Any comments or suggestions are welcome and appreciated since I will eventually revisit it. Be gentle, I don’t want my muse to get scared off again. Writer’s block truly sucks.


WR

Flash Fiction – The Street Lamp (AKA a really bad story)

Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt today. Normally these type of prompts don’t work for me. I guess I’d rather come up with my own visual. This time it did work but in an odd way. I’ll explain at the end of the post though.


The Street Lamp

Sara pulled her hood lower to cover more of her face. Fear rather than the cold snow made her shiver. The street lamp near her home shone brightly but she knew it didn’t matter. Perhaps tonight it would happen.

The vampire had been stalking her for weeks. She’d heard he liked blondes so she knew she was a potential victim. It hadn’t stopped her from walking home from work every night though. With her car broken down and no family in the area she had no choice.

She thought she could feel his eyes on her but didn’t know if he followed her or was lying in wait somewhere. As she turned the corner onto her street she tensed, preparing for the worst.

The light went out.

Sara froze with only a slight gasp escaping her lips. Then…nothing. Again. She pulled her hood down and glanced around. With the light gone she could barely see enough to make it the last few steps to her door. Her gaze swept the area one more time and she sighed before going in.

Around the corner, perched on the street lamp, the vampire chuckled as he screwed the bulb back in for the fifteen time in as many days. He knew he shouldn’t tease the girl but he couldn’t seem to help himself. Damn Twihard, she really did bring it on herself. She was so obvious it sickened him.

One day soon he’d show her what vampires were really like. He might even let her live, but he’d never be her Edward, Edwin, or whatever his name was.


The picture was of a snow-covered street with one street lamp. I don’t feel like looking up who it belongs to so I’m not posting it. So when I first saw it I thought “oh crap, I’ll never come up with anything.” Partly because picture prompts don’t normally work for me and partly because I’m in the throes of a bad case of writer’s block.

Then my muse giggled maliciously and this story formed, the bitch. I wasn’t looking for a mocking story, or a bad one but it’s what I got. So I went all out on the bad part. It amused me and in the end that’s all that matters.

I’m not even going to polish it up, although I did search for spelling errors because I’d rather die than leave a misspelled word there!

Rough Draft 265 words.


WR

Flash Fiction (100 Word) – A Single Rose

Keren knew he was going to dump her when Drew gave her a single rose. He didn’t speak, merely handed it to her and walked away wearing his usual smug smile.

Bastard, she thought. In their overly long on-and-off relationship he’d repeated this process four times, making her despise roses.. This time, she decided, would be the last. At least she hoped.

In frustration she ground the rose under her foot, crushing it. The thorns cut her in four places. She met her future husband in the emergency room. He only ever gave her tiger lilies.

 


 

Okay, I lied, it wasn’t 100 words, it was 96. I was trying to write a 6 word story but nothing came to me so I decided to try a fifty word one. I couldn’t do it. Too many words came out and I couldn’t even edit it down. So I tried adding some words to make it one-hundred. I failed at that too but I figured 96 was close enough.

This all started with reading a few pieces of flash fiction that leaned toward romance. I suck at romance. I’m not trying to be overly critical of myself, I simply know my limitations. So I picked an object normally reserved for romantic intentions and some personal experiences and wrote this piece.

I’ve never been dumped with a single rose but I do prefer tiger lilies. They last longer and they have freckles, which in my mind adds character.


Photo by Ryan McGuire