Flash Fic: Human Care

Prometheus concept art

Time for a new story! This time I got inspired by several prompts on Tumblr {like this one and this beautiful gem} talking about how aliens would view us humans. They are hilarious and such an inspiration. Expect more ‘humans are weird’ stories, because this was just too much fun. So sit back, enjoy, and tell me what you think!

“Get. In. There. You. Momzer piece of. Shtik,” I grunted as I tried to kick the fuel injector for the atmo-thrusters back into place. I overbalanced at the last one, falling onto the floor on my back. On the bright side, the injector snapped into place with a satisfying clunk.
 …I stayed there for a moment, catching my breath when a shadow fell over me. Looking up, I saw an indigo-and-grey face looking down at me in worry. “Oh, hey, Kel’Jarr,” I greeted him.
 “Human-Keira,” he seemed to pause for a moment, “hey.” He continued hesitantly.
 …I tried not to smile at how awkward he returned the human greeting, but it was a lost cause.
 …“Why are you currently on the floor?” he continued, “Are you injured?”
 …“Nah, I’m fine. I was just in a fight with the fuel injector. I won,” I grinned at him, rolling to my feet.
 …Kel’Jarr looked at the thing like it was going to jump out and bite him.
 “So, what’s up?” I asked him, fighting a laugh when his gaze slipped upwards. I picked up a rag to try and wipe some of the grease of my hands. Lost cause, especially my nails, but a girl can try, right? “Human expression, K.J.,” I explained, “it means ‘what did you need or why did you want to talk to me?’.”
 …“I see,” he nodded, obviously mentally filing the information away in his ‘humans are odd’ folder, “well then, what is ‘up’ is that I brought you a hot Earth beverage.” He thrust a steaming cup in my direction. “I believe you call it ‘coffee’.”
 …That got my attention. “You got me coffee?” I made grabby hands towards the cup until he handed it over. Sweet, sweet coffee, it had been too long. It was rich and dark, with a hint of vanilla. It was perfect. “Marry me.” I joked, although I really should have known better after three months on  Caelestis.
 Kel’Jarr’s black eyes widened comically and he blushed dark purple. “My apologies, I wasn’t made aware of the cultural connotations of giving coffee or of the ease with which you humans propose a life-long bond. I believed it was preceded with months of ‘dates’, social outings where the persons in question –“
 …I took pity on him and interrupted. “No, Kel’Jarr, it’s okay. It’s a – a human jest. Sometimes we use it when someone does something that makes us happy.”
 …He took a moment to digest that. “So this coffee has made you happy?” he asked, an intense glint in his eyes.
 Very, thank you. It’s great coffee.” I took another sip.
 Kel’Jarr looked off to a spot just above my head as if waiting to see if something was going to happen. When it didn’t he simply nodded and left.
 …I stared at him, wondering what the hell that was about. My new-found friends had been acting strangely the last couple of days. True, I, and us humans in general, hadn’t had a lot of experience with the Spaceborn races and human crew was apparently new to Caelestis, so we were all still figuring each other out. Still, they were being weird. I didn’t have a lot of time to think on it. When I raised the cup of heavenly, delicious coffee towards my lips again the fuel injector beeped at me again. I groaned and went to see what it wanted this time.

 …I opened the door to my bunk the next night to find another crew-mate anxiously waiting for me. At least, from the way the dark purple tentacles on her head were swishing back and forth, she seemed nervous.
 “Xanni, is everything alright?” I asked her.
 …Instead of responding she held out a shiny pink rock, glittering in the artificial lights. It was very pretty. When I didn’t make any move to take it she started talking. “Human-K – I mean, Keira. To the Xerronovians, crystals symbolise the everlasting,” she explained, placing the stone in my hand.
 …“Okay?” I tried.
 …She took a deep breath, her hair swishing wildly for a moment. “It is often exchanged as a token of friendship. To show the unbreakable bond between them. I found this one on the Ophros mission. Its colour reminded me of you.” She smiled almost shyly, her gaze flicking up to my fading pink-dyed hair.
 …“You’re – you’re giving me a stone of everlasting friendship?” I asked, needing the clarification. When she nodded I couldn’t help but smile. “Wow, Xanni, that is beautiful, thank you.” I thought for a moment. “We have an ancient human custom like this as well,” I told her, untying one of the handmade bracelets I had around my wrist. “These are called friendship bracelets. We wear them as a sign of – well, friendship.” I tied the lavender coloured bracelet around her wrist. “The colour matches you,” I told her, grinning.
 …Xanni held her wrist up into the light, cerulean eyes glittering with wonderment. Her hair tendrils gently reached out, feeling the knotted bracelet. She gave me a wide smile.
 “There is another custom that follows the exchange of friendship gifts,” I told her solemnly, like it was a big deal, “We need to hug, come on.” I gently tugged her into my arms and closed them around her.
 …She was stiff in surprise for a moment before practically melting into the embrace. Her tentacles ran through my dreadlocks, which felt very weird, but nice in a way. Almost like being petted. When we let go and stepped back she looked at my hair for a moment before focussing back on my face. “This has made you happy, yes?” Xanni asked, suddenly intense.
 …“Yes, Xanni, it made me happy.” I smiled at her.
 …She nodded, gaze flicking up again. “Good,” she stated, “will we still have ‘movie night’ tomorrow? I am curious to how this ‘Doctor’ will get out of the library.”
 …I grinned. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

 …Two days later found me sitting in a bustling mess during break while my three friends hovered at my table. No, really. Shifting-from-foot-to-foot, shooting-meaningful-glances hovering. “Hey guys, what’s up?” I tried.
 …Xanni, Kel’Jarr and Shakris exchanged a glance before Shakris stepped forward. He put a squirming ball of bright orange, lime-green and black fur on the table before me.
 …It turned out to be some kind of creature that reminded me most of cross between a cat and a fox. Almost neon green fur covered its belly and gave way to shocking orange on its flanks. Black fur covered its back and spiralled over its face and sides in almost tribal markings. It had tiny horns on top of his fox-like head. Green eyes glittered bright and intelligent. Its fluffy black-and-orange tale swished back and forth lazily as it took in its surroundings. And me.
 …I couldn’t help the squeal of pure excitement, it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. The three crew-mates at my table looked up at the sound, alarmed, but my attention was all on the neon ball of fluff in front of me. “Look at the pretty kitty!” I exclaimed as I raised my hand to pet it. “Yes, you are beautiful, aren’t you? So pretty and bright.” I turned to Shakris. “Is he yours?” I asked as I ran my hand down soft fur.
 …Shakris’ scales turned darker for a moment. “No Human-Keira, he is yours. The Faeturim resembles the Earth-cat most, even if it is significantly more dangerous. It has a soft temperament, but when cornered, it will set its tail aflame.”
 …My eyes widened. “It can set its tail on FIRE? That is like, the coolest thing ever. That’s it, now I have to call you Sparky.” I cooed at the fire-fox-cat for another moment. “But wait, why did you give me a pet that can set the ship on fire?”
 …“My ‘Human Care’ pamphlet spoke of the ease of which humans bond with smaller creatures, especially those you consider ‘fluffy’,” Shakris explained, looking slightly uncomfortable, “It also implied that the more dangerous it was, the happier it would make you. Since you are obviously unhappy, we wished to remedy this by giving you a small companion.”
 …I stared at him, surprised. “Human Care pamph – you know what, not important right now. Why would you think I’m unhappy? I am happy.”
 …“You are wilting.” Kel’Jarr chimed in.
 …“Wilting?”  I really had no idea what was going on.
 …“Your hair,” Xanni started carefully, “it’s been losing colour.”
 …“Yes,” Shakris continued, “first we thought it might be vitamin deficiency, since Human-Joe and Human-Laura don’t have the same problem. But scans show –“
 …I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing. The confused looks on their faces didn’t help and it took about a minute for the full-out laughter to calm into occasional giggles. Sparky was sniffing my face as if checking if I was okay and Shakris looked ready to call a medic. “Guys, I’m fine. Really. I am not wilting. My hair is dyed.”
 …“Dyed?” Shakris asked.
 “Yeah, as in, artificial colouring. I dyed it pink before we boarded but it doesn’t last forever. My real hair is the same boring blonde as Joe’s.” I tried not to flinch at the sudden buzzing of the scanner Shakris was holding next to my head.
 …“Fascinating,” he stated, ever the scientist, “they combined 2,5-diaminotoluene with 5-amino-2-methylphenol and a range of harsh chemicals. Tell me, what is the cultural significance of colouring one’s hair?”
 …“No significance, it’s mostly cosmetic. Lots of humans do it.”
 …“Fascinating. Kel’Jarr, look at this, if we added the polymer bindings we discovered on Ophros we could make the colours last much longer.”
 …“I see, which colour do you think, blue?” Kel’Jarr took the tablet from Shakris and started typing furiously.
 …The blue of the ‘Doctor’s’ spaceship would compliment her blue irises.” Xanni chimed in.
 …“Whoah, whoah, wait a minute guys, don’t I get a say in this.” I interrupted, but I was smiling as I said it.
 …“Of course, Human-Keira, our apologies.” Shakris bowed slightly. “We will of course consider your input for choice of colour.”
 …I snorted. “Thank you for the consideration, Shakris. So you actually want me to dye my hair a bright colour?”
 …“Yes.”  They answered in unison. It was almost creepy.
 …“We like you more vibrant,” Xanni confessed, her hair tendrils twisting happily, “more – like yourself.”
 …I smiled at my friends, my new-found family. “Alright, you pick something.”
 …Sparky curled up on the table in front of me, emitting a strange rumbling that almost sounded like purring.
 …I kept petting him as I watched my friends discuss which colour would be most ‘aesthetically pleasing’ with my skin- and eye colour. Happiness bubbled up in me, unbidden, and I couldn’t help grinning. I’d finally found a home.

So that’s it! I had a lot of fun with this one and I think it shows. By the way, this is Sparky, made by the amazingly talented Lee Cross. Seriously, check out her amazing posable creatures by clicking on the picture!

Posable Fire Fox by Lee Cross

Flash Fiction: Death’s Diner

Or, how this post also could be called: I won, I won, I won! I talked to you guys before in these posts that I entered the Fantastic Story Competition, a collaboration between Dutch Comic Con, the American Book Centre and the Fantastic Genre Foundation. Last weekend was Dutch Comic Con, which was a blast in and of itself, but it was also where on Saturday I got to read my story to a crowd {eep!} and where on Sunday they announced the winner. And… {drum-roll} I won first place! Which is such an amazing feeling, I can’t even tell you.

I had the idea of a character in my head where the character was immortal, but could die. They were simply brought back to life every time. It was part of a bigger story idea that never saw the light but it got me thinking: what would their relationship with Death be like? Which brought me to this story which I can finally share with you guys and gals! Enjoy, and tell me what you think!

DeathsDiner
Club Ed by CLUI.org

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I met Death in a small ‘50s-style diner in the middle of a desert.
He didn’t seem surprised to see me, I mean, why would he. He just pushed the extra slice of lemon pie in front of him over to me and gestured for me to sit down. “Hello again, old friend.” I greeted him as I slid onto the cracked red leather bench. “It’s been a while.”
He looked up at that, his weathered face incredulous. “I wouldn’t call two months ‘a while’, Tana,” he admonished with a quirk of his lips.
I opened my mouth to respond when a waitress appeared at our table.
“Anything else I can get you guys?” she asked.
Death sat back and smoothed out the front of his charcoal-and-black business suit. “Two coffees please, Rosie, and she’ll have the Scottish chocolate pancakes, extra side of bacon,” he nodded towards me.
I raised an eyebrow at him, I wasn’t much of a fan of breakfast foods and he knew it.
“Trust me,” he told me, and I did. Death knows his food.
Rosie sauntered back to the bar to place our order and top off our coffees.
Death waited until she was gone again before he turned to me. “A garotte, kid, really? I thought you knew better by now. Especially after that thing in Rome,” he took a sip of coffee. “So tell me what happened.”
I shrugged, still feeling the phantom of a wire digging into my throat. “Intrigue, betrayal, death. You know, the usual.” I wasn’t angry, not yet, I knew the rage would come a few days later. And when it did it would burn like an inferno, blazing everything to the ground. “Don’t worry, it won’t happen again.”
“I know you’ll make sure it won’t.” He smiled, his dark eyes still worried. “I’ll put Carver on the list, then?”
I flashed him a quick grin as Rosie put a stack of dark chocolate pancakes in front of me. “Expect him in a few days.”
“I look forward to it,” he said with a smile that sent shivers down my spine. Death doesn’t like it when you mess with his friends.
At this thought the tension in me uncoiled a bit.
“It’ll teach them not to mess with a phoenix.” He mocked.
I rolled my eyes at that. “You know that’s not what I am.” I told him and took a bite of my pancakes. They had whisky syrup on them. They were delicious, as promised.
Smug bastard.
My protest was waved away by a thin hand. “Close enough, and it’s what they call you anyway. Your ‘code name’.” His tone told me exactly what he thought about that one. He took the last bite of my lemon pie, I pretended to be offended even though I always left him the last piece. “So, you were saying,” he invited.
“Do you remember the evil organization I was chasing after?” I waited for his nod to continue. “Well, after last time, I figured there had to be someone within IBI that worked for them. You know Rhodes?”
Death got that far off look where he remembers everything about a person. “Michael Avery Rhodes, 58, unhappily married to Bernice, head of the International Bureau of Intelligence. Would that not make him your boss?”
“Yeah,” I answered, a spark of anger flaring up and dying down again. “turns out it’s him. He burned me, I’m guessing he gave Carver the kill order. We were supposed to be partners in this mission. Fucker killed me in my sleep.” I took another bite of pancake. “I’ll burn them both when I get back.” I grinned. “Now, enough about me. Tell me something.”
“You know, sometimes I think you only visit me to listen to my stories.” Death joked, but I could see real concern in his eyes.
“Not for a while.” I promised, and it was true. The loneliness and solitude that came with being truly immortal was less in this era of growth and science and connection. There was too much to see, too many people to meet.
He must have seen that I meant it, for he only nodded and dropped that conversation.
“Oh, I know!” I went on. “Tell me what you remember about the King.”
“Of Wallachia? Are you still obsessed with vampires?”
I rolled my eyes, slightly embarrassed. “No, I mean the King.” I gestured towards the black and white photo that hung above the bar.

For the rest of the day, Death did exactly that. He spun stories about Elvis and when those ran out, he told me about the Elvis-impersonators he had collected over the years. Their demises running from completely mundane to something that involved a dare, chocolate pudding and a single live chicken.
Don’t ask, trust me, I’m sorry I did.
By the time the sun was setting, my stomach was hurting from laughing so much, and I was warm and comfortable in this diner in the middle of nowhere.
Death turned to me again, face serious. “It’s time.”
I knew, but I didn’t want to leave this place where everything was easy and I could just be. And I didn’t think Death wanted to either. “I know.” I answered as he laid his hand on the table. I braced myself and placed my hand in his. It was like touching shadow. Shadow that suddenly grew teeth and dug into the innermost part of yourself and ripped out a piece. The pain was indescribable. Through tear filled eyes I watched as the copper and orange light crawled down my arm and into his, where it dispersed into bluish-black light. My payment for another death. He didn’t apologize and I didn’t lie and say it was fine. That I was fine. We’ve learned that much over the years.
I smiled at him and squeezed his hand. “See you soon, my friend.”
He squeezed back. “Not for a while, I hope.”
Then everything went black.

So that’s it! I really tried to capture what my husband called ‘the lazy-sunday-afternoon vibe’ and I think I succeeded, don’t you? This whole process was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever. And it’s not done yet because it also got me an invitation to the ‘Day of the Fantastical Book’ next week, with writers workshops and panels. It’s going to be great. These were the prizes:

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Five copies of the book they printed which contained all the stories {does that mean I’m published now?}, gift vouchers for the American Book Centre, a ticket to the Day of the Fantastical Book and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Holding a book in your hands that has your name {spelled wrong, oops} and story in it is such an unreal experience, but so, so cool. Leaves you wanting more… So onto the next story!

 

 

Flash Fiction: Bloody Werewolves

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By Gemini-1970 on Tumblr

It’s been hectic here on the story front. I’ve been working on the plot of my novel idea and things are picking up steam. I finally have more of a feel of where I want the story to go and the characters are finally coming to life. Good things!

Annnnnd…. I’m a finalist in the Fantastic Story Competition! {gasp!} My story, Death’s Diner, made the shortlist of ten stories. This weekend is Dutch Comic Con, where on Saturday I will read my story to the public {oh dear… public speaking!} and on Sunday the winner will be announced. After this weekend I’ll post the story here, if you can’t wait, you can read it (and the rest of the shortlist) here.

Anyway, on to this weeks story! It’s set in the city where my novel idea is set, and Scotty is actually one of the character the main character will have a lot of interactions with. It’s a story which dives a little bit into the background of the character, which also allows me to get a better feel for her personality. So enjoy!

 

   I startled awake by the sound of my front door slamming open.
“Werewolves, Scotty? Seriously?” My sister’s voice called out to me as she made her way towards my bedroom.
I eased my hand away from the knife hidden under my pillow at the familiar sound of her voice.
“This is what you’ve been hiding, bloody werewolves?!” She finally burst into my room in a flurry of dark curls and designer clothes.
“Rosie -” I sighed, so not ready for this discussion at ass-o’clock in the morning.
“Don’t you ‘Rosie’ me, Philomina Bethany Maria Scott.”
Uh-oh, full name usage was a very bad sign. “I’m sorry?” I ventured. By the glare I received I could tell that was not the response she was looking for. I winced, rubbing my hands over my face in an attempt to wake myself up a bit more. I glanced at the clock despairingly and said goodbye to any sleep I might have gotten that night. I’d spent most of the night researching Glaistigs, Green women who lure unsuspecting travellers to their deaths – fun times – for the pack and had only gone to sleep an hour ago. When I looked at my sister again her glare seemed a little less frosty.
She sat down next to me on the bed and patted my leg. She looked at me for a long moment. “I was worried,” she admitted finally. “You were pulling away from me, from us, again and you were showing up with bruises,” she took a shaky breath. “After Trevor-” she trailed off.
She didn’t have to finish that thought. My still sleeping brain jolted more awake as I realized what this would look like to my family. Trevor had slowly kept me away from my family and friends. And after he hit me the first time, well, I was so ashamed that I pulled away even more. There was a reason I hadn’t spoken to my sister in months before I’d finally had the guts to toss him out.
I’d tried to keep my family safe by keeping them out of the werewolf thing. Knowing there was a whole other world out there was dangerous. I absently traced the scar on my forearm. “Rosie, I’m sorry. I didn’t think about how it would look to you. That you’d think – wait, how did you find out it was werewolves?” I looked at her sharply.
She looked back with a mixture of defiance and embarrassment. “I talked to Rowan Hearne.”
“So you walked up to the alpha of the pack and – what?” I asked.
“I may have seen you two together in the city,” she confessed. “I may also have gone over there to warn him what would happen if he was the cause of those bruises around your neck.” She gave the neck in question a meaningful look.
“Wait,” I said, willing my body to wake up as I pulled myself up to sit against my headboard. It’s not like I was going to get any more sleep tonight anyway. “you went to Alpha Hearne and accused him of – what? – abusing me?”
“I may have.” Rosie sniffed indignantly.
I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing. “Oh my God, I wish I’d been there to see his face. Did he do the scowly thing, please tell me he did the scowly thing? With the eyebrows?”
“I was half tempted to warn him his face might stay that way at the stroke of midnight.” My sister grinned at me. “I mean, how do his eyebrows do that?”
“I think he practices his glaring in a mirror.” We both collapsed into a heap of giggles at the thought of big-and-strong-alpha Rowan standing in the mirror practising intimidation techniques.
“He told me to keep you away from them, you know?” Rosie told me, still giggling.
“Are you going to?” I asked, sobering a little.
“Of course not. If anything that told me how much they need you. And you need them. He cares about you, obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t try to keep you safe.”
I felt a warm glow in my chest at the words and was sure my cheeks were red. My sister noticed, raising one eyebrow in question. “Shut up.” I told her, giving her a light shove. She backed off, hands raised in surrender, but I noticed the calculating gleam in her eyes.
“It does make you wonder what else is out there, doesn’t it?” She asked, changing the subject. “What else have we met?”
I glanced over to the Monster Manual on my desk, filled with sticky notes. “There’s a lot of them.” I admitted. “I’m working on it.” I gestured towards the stack of books.
She nodded primly. “Well, keep me updated. I am in this now too, you realise?” She gave me a pointed look which looked so much like mom my heart clenched. “No more hiding things.” The from me was left unsaid but I heard it anyway.
“I promise.” I told her, squeezing her wrist for a moment.
“And of course we have to tell dad about this.”
That thought made my heart skip a beat. “No, why would we need to tell dad? I mean, there’s an ocean between us anyway and it’s not like there’s anything he could do from London and -”
“His daughter is running around with mythological creatures that shouldn’t exist and getting hurt in the process.” Another pointed look towards my poor bruised neck. “Secondly, he’s a member of cabinet in Her Majesty’s Government, of course he needs to know!” My sister admonished me. “Who knows how many werewolves live in London?”
“Three hundred seventy two as per November last year.” I murmured absently.
“Scotty!” My sister exclaimed, clearly shocked.
“Yes, I already figured that out! You know how I get when I discover something that interests me. I need to know everything, this is not news to you.”
“No, but how could you keep this from father?” She took a deep breath. “Did you ever consider that he might help them, the wolves? If he knows, he could make life easier for them as well.”
The downside to having sisters is that they know exactly what makes you tick. She just gave the only argument that would work, and from the look on her face, she knew it. I sighed. “I’ll think about it.”
Rosie nodded, apparently satisfied. “Now, your friend Claire said you learned about werewolves on the night you kicked out that tosser Trevor.” She waited for my embarrassed nod. “Tell me.” She demanded, laying on her side on the bed.
I scooted down and laid next to her. “You’ll like this story.” I grinned. “I’ve never seen Trevor that terrified.” And for the next hour, I did exactly that. I told her about how I found out and everything that had happened since until we both fell asleep, still side by side, just like when we were little. And even though I didn’t know I had missed this, missed her, I felt a lot lighter, like a weight had been lifted from my heart.

 

So that’s it for this week! I’m hoping to upload a new story every week. {plans, yay!} For now, tell me what you think!

Flash Fiction: Noor

noorraven
From MedievalWitch’s tumblr. It doesn’t exist anymore, if anyone knows whom I should credit, let me know!

Hi guys! Soooo…. It’s been a while {again, I know}. But, the good news is I come with a new story! Dutch Comic Con, together with the American Book Centre here in the Netherlands is organizing a short story competition. I’m so excited. It could be written in English or Dutch, and couldn’t be more than 1000 words. The last part was a bit more difficult for me, but somehow I managed. First I wrote a story called Death’s Diner {which I’m hoping to post after the competition is over}, but I worried that it lacked action. So I wrote another story. In the end I decided I liked Death’s Diner better, and sent that one in. But, I’m still rather proud of my other story, so I wanted to share this one with you.

It’s part Dutch mythology, part pen-and-paper RPG. Noor is the character I play in our Pathfinder games, this is a tiny bit of her backstory. She is a warpriest to the Goddess Baduhenna, Goddess of war and madness. Baduhenna, however, is a ‘real’ Goddess from Dutch mythology. I wrote about her here. So who knows, maybe this is how the Frisians actually won the battle against the Romans {grins maniacally} Are you ready? Here we go!

The rage burned in my stomach, the taste of revenge like blood on my tongue. The forest was filled with the sounds of battle, the screams of our oppressors. Although they were greater in number, the forest was on our side tonight.

I spotted him then, my prey. My vision blurred red as I advanced on him, the rest of the world falling away. It felt like I was about to burst out of my skin, like the fire inside was consuming me. Burning away all that made me sane. A feral grin spread on my face as I embraced the fire, embraced the madness. “Relanius!” I called.

The man before me turned to face me. For a moment, his face looked like that of a demon, evil curling around him in tendrils of shadow.

“You will pay with your blood for what you did to my sister, to my people,” I growled. “I swear it!”

“You cannot win this, Noor!” He called back. “This little rebellion will be struck down, just like the rest of your people.” This was the monster that killed my sister, and tossed her bloody and battered body onto our doorstep. This was the man who broke my parents and because of that, something within me finally broke free.

I wanted to wrap my hands around his throat and squeeze until the life left his eyes. I wanted to cut him for every pain he had caused my sister and watch his blood paint the forest floor red. I wanted his life.

“Yes.” A voice whispered on the breeze. “Now.”

I charged, my attack too wide but made up for by force. I didn’t draw blood, but the monster staggered. I kept advancing, blow after blow. He was more trained, but I was wilder and stronger than I had ever been. The rage within me like fire through my veins, strengthening my strikes.

The shadows over his face swirled like smoke, giving me a glimpse of eyes wide with terror before they burned with hell-fire once again.

I had scared the monster, I realised. A laugh tore out of my throat, ringing through the forest. Part of me wondered what this made me.

“Good” whispered the wind.

A larger part of me agreed with her. With each blow, which each drop of blood spilled, the red haze grew, until the entire world was pulsing like a heartbeat. The only thing that existed were me and my prey. Both of us locked in this fatal dance.

I was losing myself, a distant part of me realised, but I couldn’t stop it. I could only hate and laugh and strike.

Suddenly everything fell silent.

Clarity.

Pain.

So much pain.

The forest around me turned from red to green and black again in the light of the moon overhead. I looked down to the sword protruding from my chest in disbelief.

My killer had the same shock in his eyes, like he hadn’t believed he could win.

Blood filled my lungs. My sword clattered to the ground as my body lost all its borrowed strength. The forest was dimming around the edges, darkness coming to claim me. The gladius was pulled from my chest, a spray of blood coming with it. As my back hit the forest floor, the world went black.

The darkness was cold and absolute. A whisper of feathers sounded behind me and I turned, but still saw nothing.

“I heard your vow.” A female voice whispered, the same one I had heard in the forest. “Blood for blood. The blood of those invaders for the blood of your people, for your sister.”

“Yes.” I answered.

“I felt your fire. I feel it even now.” Her voice came from all directions and curled around me, like a cloak of ink and feathers.

“Yes.” The rage was still there, tempered now, away from the heat of battle.

“Do you wish to return? To finish what you had vowed to do?” She asked.

“Yes.” No hesitation.

“Will you not rest until your task is complete?” The voice filled with power, with promise.

“Yes.”

“Will you bleed them all for what they did to My people, to My forest?”

I realised then, who I was talking to. There was only one answer.

“This is my vow to you, Baduhenna, Goddess of our forest. Upon my blood and my soul, you have my word.” At these words warmth surrounded me.

“Rise, then, my daughter. Rise and show them that which they should really fear in My forest.”

I felt cold lips upon my forehead, the taste of blood once again on my tongue. I opened my eyes and looked up to the night sky.

Crows flew past the moon, their battle cries mixing with those all around me.

I pushed to my feet and took up my sword again. My body took a step forward without conscious thought. I felt distant, like I was one step behind myself, looking through the eyes of a stranger. Baduhenna, I realised as my hand reached out to touch an attacking enemy.

His eyes turn black, like a crow, before he turned to his closest ally and with a manic laugh threw himself at him.

A next attack was struck down with one swipe of my sword, the second blow digging deep into the man’s neck.

The Goddess was using my body to walk across the battlefield. A touch for one enemy, a fatal blow for the next. Another touch, another strike. On and on.

Feathers, black as night, always at the edge of my vision.

When dawn broke, the battle was done. Before me lay the bodies of my enemies.

“Is it done?” I asked my Goddess.

“No, my child, many cowards ran. The monster who took your sister lives still. They will scatter like the wind, but we will find them.” Answered She. “Your journey has only just begun.”

I smiled. “Good.”

So there you have it! A bit of mythology, a bit of fiction, a bit of geekery, a lot of blood {muaha} I need to wait a little bit longer to know if I made it to the top 10 of the story competition, but as soon as I know, you’ll know! Let me know what you think about this one, I’d love to hear from you guys! ‘Til next time!

Flash Fic: Rule the World

So! I’m waiting on my shiny new lenses for my shiny new camera before I take new pics of the stuff I made in the last weeks. I just don’t get the level of detail and sharpness I want with my phone, so we’ll all have to be patient until I get my new stuff!

In the mean time I thought I’d share with you a little thing I’ve been doing. My friend Chantal is hosting a course on creative writing at her workplace, and I’ve been joining in on-and-off when I had some time. So I thought it might be fun to share some of these creative writing stories with you guys!

The prompt for this one was: Dialogue only, start with the sentences ‘What are you thinking about?’ ‘How I’m going to take over the world’ Think Pinky and the Brain. So here we go!

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“What are you thinking about?”

“How I’m going to take over the world.”

“Oh, honey, really? We’re at the recital of your youngest son, the least you can do is pay attention.”

“I know, darling, but -”

“No, no buts, you know he worked very hard on this. For weeks he’s been looking forward to you coming to see how he leaves his inferior classmates in the dust.”

“Sweetie, I’m an evil genius, it’s who I am! I can’t just turn it off!”

“Off course I understand that, but we’re your family. We just want to spend time with you. When is the last time we had a romantic night together, just the two of us?”

“Ha! That one is easy; two months ago I took you to Venice.”

“Yes, to test your new freeze-ray on the canals. Don’t lie, that was never about me.”

“Hmm.”

“Sweetie, we all want to see you succeed in your plans to take over the world, but we’re afraid you’ll forget about us. I mean, just last week -… What is Argon holding? Is that -?”

“Yes.”

“From your lab?”

“Yes”

“Is it reversible?”

“No! Oh, I’m so proud, that’s my boy!”

So that’s it, I just had this image of a husband and wife sitting at a recital and the rest wrote itself. Chantal said the genuis reminded her of Gru, well. nothing wrong with that, right?

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Tell me what you think! Loved it? Hated it? Did I have someone change shirts twice? Should I post stories like this more often? I’d love to hear from you!