short story

Alphabetti Spaghetti – Word Game

This time, the story (based on a version of the 7x7x7 exercise) incorporates seven words beginning with B. They each have seven letters, but I broke the rules a little this week. I went over my 700 word limit by 27. It’s also based on a character from the Collective series, and I will be continuing the story, so my apologies for how it ends. You can find out what happens next week.

The incorporated words are; bargain, brother, battery, banquet, breathe, barrier and bathtub.

Warrior’s Embrace

Cody looked down at the pot on his leg, then the bannister, and shrugged. What the hell?  Planting his butt on the wooden rail, he handed his crutches to the first person he saw, leaned back and began his ride.

“Holy shit!” he shouted, less than halfway down the stairs. He was beginning to pick up some serious speed.

“What the-?”

The rest of the comment faded away as he shot past the gaping resident, towards the floor below. Okay, so he hadn’t really thought things through but, damn it, he was bored. There was nothing fun to do when you were grounded in a safe zone, except annoy his buddies, and that shit got old fast.

Breathe. You’ve got this.

As he approached the lower level, which held the cafeteria and communal zone, he spotted Tamaya stuffing her face. Perhaps it was his blurry vision, but she appeared to be sitting down to a banquet.

She was on her feet at the sound of his whistle, which would have made him smile if he hadn’t been shitting a brick at the thought of face planting at her feet. Luckily, their resident witch intervened a lot. It helped they were friends.

Cody hit a cushion of air and came to an abrupt stop. It tweaked his leg a little, but he couldn’t complain since Tamaya’s magical barrier was like colliding with a cloud.

“Please tell me you tripped and fell onto the bannister,” she said, her green eyes narrowing. “I swear, if I didn’t think of you as a brother, I’d drop you on your ass. On second thoughts, maybe I will.”

He looked down and realised he was hovering above the floor, caught it a witch’s grip. “Oh, come on, short-stuff. I’m going out of my mind here.”

Tamaya lowered her hands and his body followed suit, not as slowly as he would have liked, but he landed on his good leg gently enough. “You can’t pull that crap, Cody. For gods sake, you broke your leg in three places.”

“Yeah, and you say that like I had a skiing accident.” He’d been thrown against a wall. Again.

When you were in the middle of a war, and your enemies were of the supernatural variety, that kind of thing happened a lot. Though it could have been worse, the demon could have petrified his insides.

“Are you telling me you never broke a bone skiing?”

He grinned at that, because she had a point. He was accident prone. Earlier, he’d almost drowned himself in a makeshift bathtub trying to keep his leg dry. “Well, there was this one time-”

“Ahem.”

Cody barely had time to turn before his crutches were being thrust at him. The young man he’d caught unawares at the top of the stairs walked away without a word.

“Let me make you a deal before you upset anybody else,” Tamaya said, drawing his attention. “If you stay out of trouble for the next few days, I’ll find a workable solution to get you healed up and ready to roll.”

By workable she meant by non-magical means. He was being stubborn, he knew that. The elves had offered to do him a solid and speed up his recovery. But he couldn’t bring himself to go down that route. Not yet.

“Maybe I’ll make a bargain with the great and mighty Oz,” he joked, because seriously, what was a supernatural war without a god or two? He liked to joke Orion Reece was the god behind the curtain.

His wrist communicator bleeped, reminding him to take his medication. The thing ran on body heat or some shit, like he was a giant battery. If that were the case, he needed a little extra juice. “Listen, I need to hit the med centre, so I’ll let you get back to feeding your face.”

“That’s okay. I was just about done.” She bumped her shoulder against his arm. “Come on. I’ll walk with you.”

Cody didn’t argue. Things were never dull with Tamaya around, and he could use the distraction.

They had just reached the medical unit when a piercing scream echoed through the halls. Every cell in Cody’s body resonated with dread, and he shot towards the sound like a rocket. He didn’t even feel the pain when he dropped his crutches and began to run.


Don’t forget to let me know how you get on if you decide to take part, or if you would like me to incorporate words in the next installment.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

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Taste of home

I hadn’t intended to post anything today, but after reading a beautiful poem written by the Lonely Author, inspiration struck and I couldn’t get the emerging story out of my head. It followed me around until I had to pull out my trusty pad and get it down on paper. It’s a short one for me, only 400 words (I know, shocker, right?).

Taste of home

Joseph stared into the horizon, his eyes burning, not from the sun, but the tears that continued to fill his soul. He was drowning without his Sunita. Every second, every minute, every hour, he ached with the need to see her.

Though his gaze never wavered, he was aware of his luxurious surroundings, the kingdom he had built for her. The soft padded seat beneath his body, the fine thread of the blanket that did nothing to warm him. She was his centre, his heart, his life. It meant nothing without her.

A soft breeze brought with it the scent of apple blossoms, mixed with the fruit he was unable to eat. As it lifted his hair in a soft caress, he imagined it was her fingers, her voice whispering past his ears. What he wouldn’t give for the sweet taste of her lips.

Then, as the sun began to descend, he saw her. The dying embers cast a glow across her pretty face, her body shimmering with his tears so that the blooms in their garden shrouded her in the soft colours of their love.

All at once, time slipped away and Joseph remembered everything; their first kiss, their last. The moment he had made her his and all that came after.

With a sign of relief, he dropped to his knees before her, grateful for all his life had given him, and ready to join his Sunita again. She was his forever kiss.

***

Rebecca rushed across the garden, calling out her grandfather’s name. In her heart she knew what she would find. She’d known the moment she’d seen him fall forward from the chair. He had been waiting for days, his body growing frailer with each passing hour as he’d stared beyond the garden he’d built for her grandmother.

By the time she reached him, her mother was by her side, and together they eased him back into the chair. A chair her grandmother had made and upholstered as she’d joked about a king needing his throne.

She’d grown up with stories of her grandparents’ adventures, and as she looked in her grandfather’s peaceful, smiling face, she knew his wait was over. He was with his Sunita again, about to embark on an entirely different journey.

Bowing her head when her mother confirmed what she already knew, she let the tears fall and allowed her mother’s gentle hands to comfort her.


Thanks for stopping by

Mel

Worth the wait

I apologise for posting twice in one day (sort of – it’s after midnight here), and a largely unedited piece at that. I would have waited, but it seemed a good example to complement my A to Z posts. Sam has been in my head for the last two days, and has been driving me mad! 

Worth the wait

“Talk me through the risks again.”

Sam barely resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she turned to look at her best friend. “Talk you through it, huh?” Oh, what the hell. She let her eyes roll and watched Michael’s lips twitch. “Tell me…who’s having this operation?” she demanded, even as she swallowed down her own amusement. She couldn’t help it. His green eyes were dancing with devilment, despite the underlying concern.

“You.”

“And who has considered every single angle when it comes to the procedure?”

“You,” Michael said, though he jabbed a thumb to indicate himself and pulled a laugh from her.

“Uh-huh. So, one more time, who should be freaking out about being put under the knife?”

“Nobody should be freaking out.”

They both turned at the reprimand, eyes to the door where Sam’s father stood with his arms crossed over his chest. “And don’t talk about Dr Conners like he’s a butcher. He wields a scalpel not a cleaver.”

“You two are as bad as each other,” Michael grumbled.

That earned one of her father’s grins; wide and unapologetic – just like the man. He walked over to the bed and placed a hand on her shoulder. “You’re going to be fine.” His voice held the kind of authority others feared, like his word was law.

So, when he placed his other hand on Michael’s shoulder, and said, “You too, Mikey,” her friend visibly relaxed. Or he did until a porter entered the room with a thick folder tucked beneath his arm and a harried look on his face.

“I’m here to escort you down to theatre,” he said, as though the operating rooms were situated in the bowels of hell. Hmm, she was more nervous than she thought.

Time to pull up your big girl panties. The thought made her snort out a laugh when it dawned on her she would need them soon enough.

“Okay, let’s do this,” she said, slipping out of bed, even as her father was slipping her robe around her shoulders.

“You’ve got this, kiddo,” he whispered.

Calm washed over her at the familiar words because, after everything she had endured, every treatment, the endless therapies, his reassurance had been the glue that kept her together. It was the reason she walked out of the room with her head held high.

***

Michael squirmed in the hard-backed chair, staring into his cold coffee so he didn’t have to meet David’s knowing gaze. Christ, but he wanted to pace. If he didn’t do something with the excess energy his emotions would strangle him.

The waiting was killing him, or perhaps it was the knowledge he would soon have everything he wanted – Sam.

It had been so easy in the beginning. She had asked for his patience, and he had given it to her. He loved her, so how could he not? But the longer they waited, the more their need grew until friendship wasn’t enough for either of them. Of course, Sam was strong one. She wouldn’t even kiss him. Not until after the surgery.

“You know,” David said, conversationally. “You have every right to be angry that she held out on you for so long.”

The laugh tore loose from his aching chest. He was shocked that he had it in him to laugh, though Sam’s father had a way of cutting to the heart of the matter. That, at least, wasn’t a surprise.

“I understand why she wants to wait,” he said, because it was the truth. This was about her, it had always been about her, and she gave him everything he needed. It wasn’t Sam’s fault that he was an impatient fool desperate to begin their life together.

“Thank you.” David’s large hand covered his own, and he looked up into watery brown eyes the colour of his daughter’s. The man never hid his emotions, yet in all the years Michael had known him, David had only cried once – at his wife’s funeral. “Thank you for always seeing her.”

He was too overwhelmed to reply. Thankfully, David took pity on him. He pulled his hand back and rose to his feet. “Why don’t we take a walk through the grounds. If nothing else, it will settle that nervous tick you seem to have developed.”

Michael looked down to where his leg was bouncing, and then back up. Like Sam, her father understood what he needed, and right now, he needed to move.

They had just left the cafeteria when David’s phone buzzed, thwarting their plans. Not that it mattered. The alert was from the nursing staff. Sam was in recovery.

“You’ve got this, kiddo,” David said, making him laugh again. It didn’t shock him this time. Not now the wait was over.

***

The moment Sam awoke, she was hit by a wave of pain so strong it took her breath. She knew she should hit the morphine button, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Not yet.

Instead, she concentrated on what was beneath the pain, a dual sensation she struggled to process. She certainly wouldn’t have been able to put it into words. She felt at once complete and empty, though the latter was more an absence of the weight between her legs. That heavy, awful appendage that seemed to pull on her soul. And really, wasn’t that the thing she couldn’t truly explain, the loathing she’d felt for something that formed part of her body. It hadn’t belonged. She might have been born with male genitalia, but she didn’t have to like it.

Now it was gone, and the knowledge made her breath hitch. It was finally over, and regardless of whether it made sense to anyone else, she could finally be who she was meant to be, without a physical reminder that there had been a mix up in the organ department.

“I can’t decide if that’s a smile or a grimace,” her father said, rising from the chair beside the bed. “Press the button, stubborn girl.”

Her finger moved to trigger the morphine into her system as she turned to look at him. When their eyes locked, her father smiled so wide it had to hurt. Her cheeks certainly did. “I’m okay, Pop.” Everything they felt passed silently between them – there was no need for further words.

Her father nodded, glancing briefly across the room before he turned to leave.

A second later, Michael was filling her field of vision. “Hi,” she whispered.

“Hi.” His smile lit the green of his irises. “How do you feel?”

Sam didn’t even need to think about it. “Whole. I feel whole.”

“I was hoping you’d say that,” he said, running a hand down her cheek. And then he kissed her. It was everything she had hoped it would be.


Thanks for stopping by

Mel

 

Sleeping Giant #writephoto

Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Thanks for the inspiration, Sue 🙂

Reflection

“What does it mean?”

Tamaya stared at the water, which had gathered in the frozen eye socket of Medea, the sleeping giant of Nearyon. She studied Aaron’s reflection as it fluttered across the surface in the beginnings of a watery dance. “I think it means she’s being summoned.”

A shadow flashed across the water, the merest glimpse of Esha flying in to land. The siren tucked her wings tight to her back and peered over Aaron’s shoulder. “She doesn’t appear to be weeping anymore. Is that good or bad?”

“I have no idea.” Tamaya turned in a circle, taking in the bodies littered across the stone – the mountain Medea had become almost a thousand years ago. The absence of blood could only mean one thing – the process had begun. Tamaya recognised the signs for what they were, and based on the clean surface around the slain villagers’, she knew their blood had not trickled down the mountain like Medea’s tears. No. The stone had absorbed it – a sacrifice to coax the great beast.

Tamaya’s gaze moved to her teammates, and for the first time since they arrived in Nearyon, she wondered if they were right for the job. “I think we need to bring in Orion. If she does rise, we don’t have the power to control her.”

“That’s not entirely true. You could reverse the process and force her back into slumber.” Aaron frowned as they felt the stone vibrate beneath them. “And I know you can channel Orion’s power. We all can.”

He had a point. As members of the Collective they were bound to one another; a familial network of thirteen. The others had their own assignments, but they would lend their power if needed.

“There’s a reason that even the gods are afraid of her,” she said, pulling the bandanna from her head to wipe the perspiration from her neck. “And she is going to be royally pissed that she was awoken without permission.”

“We don’t know for sure she didn’t plan this,” Esha said. “Shit, for all we know the villagers’ sacrificed themselves.” Her wings came unfurled, the red tips glinting in the sun.

Tamaya dropped to her knees and leaned over so her face was close to the water, so close her breath sent tiny ripples across the surface. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she said, without bothering to look up.

Gathering her power, she felt the pull of the elements as she searched for a connection. It snapped into place a second before the water changed, and she was looking into the eye of Medea. A deep bronze that seemed to burn with the power of the sun.

‘Why do you wish to prevent me from rising, little one?’

The voice in her mind was heavy and rich. There was enough strength to crush her beneath the weight of it. Tamaya wasn’t afraid. Not yet. She could also feel Aaron and Esha’s telepathic presence. ‘With respect, we are simply alarmed by the timing. It is unexpected.’

The pressure in her head eased a little. ‘I did not ask to be disturbed from my slumber unless such a time arose that my people were in danger.’

‘And yet your people were the ones sacrificed here today.’ Tamaya felt Aaron’s soft rebuke in her mind, but ignored it. ‘Are we to understand there is a threat to Nearyon?’

Instead of responding with words, Medea sent images filtering into Tamaya’s mind. She saw Medea’s loyal followers, those who understood that when the time came, only she would have the power to save them. This conviction, passed down through generations, was a kind of knowing that culminated in Medea’s awakening. The villagers had sensed great danger, a danger Tamaya and her team had not seen.

‘Gather your forces, little one. For a war is coming.’ Medea said, before severing the connection.

A moment later, Tamaya and her teammates were tossed from the mountain as Medea shed her sleeping form. Esha caught them instinctively, though there was no need. Medea assured them a soft landing by easing their descent with a swish of her long, elegant tail.

“Holy shit,” Tamaya breathed, looking up at the great beast. She had heard the stories, had listened avidly as her grandmother regaled her with tales of Medea and her journey into sleep. But she was not prepared for the beauty of a legend come to life. She found herself looking into eyes of power and grace. Eyes that until a few minutes ago had been hollow sockets in the mountain.

Those eyes, fanned with incredible lashes, blinked once and then Medea shot forward and took to the sky. She flashed across the clearing like a searing flame, no longer the sleeping giant, but a magnificent, fiery dragon.

“Well,” Aaron said, grinning up at the sky. “I hate to say I told you so, but she looked pretty calm to me.”

Tamaya went to punch his shoulder, but he was too quick. He dodged her easily. “I still don’t like it. We’ve seen no evidence of violence in the realm, except for the villagers here today.”

“That doesn’t mean anything and you know it. Trouble is always brewing.” Aaron swung an arm around her neck, and this time he wasn’t fast enough to dodge her when she elbowed him in the ribs. He laughed, but didn’t release her. “Let’s rendezvous with the others and decide if we want to join this particular fight.”

She ducked out from under his arm. First, she wanted to repair the damage to the land caused by Medea’s transformation. But she should have known better. Instead of an empty crater, the earth had righted itself and melded seamlessly with the rolling valley.

“Okay. Fine. Let’s head out,” she said, hiding her grin as Esha and Aaron’s laughter followed her out of the clearing.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Feverish: Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes #7

Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes

This week, Ronovan challenged us to write a story incorporating a minimum of three words from the following list: dog, cat, toy, fever, ski, fluffy, machete, purple drink. We were also encouraged to write a humour piece. To find out more, click here.

To keep the word count down, I decided to write a two-part story. The second part isn’t written yet, so I may be able to tie it in with the prompt next week (I’ll try my best).

I decided to use (as I often do) familiar characters for this tale, so here is a little background:

After the Demonic War, a battle which devastated the mortal realm, humans now stick to the world’s major cities. To even the score, and to protect those cities, hunters joined together to establish cells across the globe. Maddison Wood is part of an alpha cell within the north of England. Though a skilled fighter and powerful witch, Maddison can be brash, and unpredictable. She has a penchant for trouble, and is usually the first to volunteer in battle.

Feverish – Part One

Maddison was not having a good day. But then, truth be told, she wasn’t having a good week. It began with a virus, a virus with a ridiculous name – imp fever. She managed to burn the impish strain from her system, but not before she’d made a complete fool of herself. She had been nice. Nice. Some would say, even buoyant, like a teenager cursed with the happy vibe.

Granted, she’d been cured. Tobias Locke, on the other hand, had enough angry juice in him to start another war. If Maddison got the good mojo, the Hympe King drank from the wrong cup. His rage made him dangerous. So much so, his guards saw it necessary to keep him sedated until they found a cure. The fact imp fever was serious business to Tobias’ race, meant the Enchanted League were on high alert. It was the reason Maddison called a time out on her Watcher duties.

When it came to back up, Donovan, her sidekick extraordinaire, was as good as useless – given he was a hympe. The danger to her friend put a major crimp in their style. Donovan was so freaked out, in fact, he wouldn’t go near her, and that was after Maddison cleansed herself of the happy trip.

“Are you ready to do this thing or what?” Riley asked, stepping through the portal without waiting for a reply.

Riley was the best tracker Maddison knew, but he didn’t relish the thought of hunting in the Enchanted Forest when a third of the hympe population were dropping like flies and they had no idea what plethora of emotions would permeate the air.

Maddison stepped through after her surly friend, prepared now to see Aronmyre for the first time. Tobias’ kingdom was the jewel of the Enchanted Forest. Not that she would ever tell Tobias how much she loved his land. She would rather drink aiscline juice, which tasted as bad as it sounded.

Today she didn’t get to appreciate her surroundings. For one, she stepped into a potential minefield of teeth and testosterone. The sheer number of wolves and panthera in the same place, at the same time, had to equal trouble.

“What the hell is going on?” she demanded, when Fitz, a lieutenant and one of the feline changelings stepped forward.

“We’ve been summoned by the League,” Fitz said, holding out his hand.

Maddison rolled her eyes when Riley growled beside her. Based on the tension in Riley’s body, she knew she was pushing it, but Maddison didn’t care. Her hair whipped out and the braid wrapped around Fitz’s hand. He was a tactile creature and he needed the contact. It was the best she could give.

“Talk, cat,” Riley said, in a voice so low and rough, Maddison sensed he was losing control of the wolf.

“We need to find the original source of the virus, and to do that we need to track. Unfortunately there are so many contaminants in the air, due to the number of sick, the League figure they need all the help they can get.”

“You can all go home now. I’ll find the threat.”

Maddison had to bite down hard on her lip to prevent the grin. She turned to Riley with a blank expression. “Feeling confident, tiger?”

His eyes flashed at the provocation. “Really? In a valley full of cats, you’re going with that.”

She ignored him and turned back to Fitz. “How did you get the pack to-” Maddison sucked in breath as light exploded across the clearing. “You have got to be frigging kidding me.”

Orion Reece appeared with his usual fanfare and, apparently, he didn’t have time for games. All in the clearing had frozen in their last position, making them temporary statues. All except Maddison and Riley.

“Hmm.” Orion turned in a full circle, taking in his surroundings. “It really can rain cats and dogs!”

Maddison stifled a laugh, and Riley growled. Understandably, he took issue; it was not the first time Orion labelled him a dog. “Easy, wolf-man,” she whispered. Then turned on Orion. He might be a god, but he didn’t impress her. Much. “If you’re here to ask a favour, we’re kind of busy.”

“Woody.” His tone was conciliatory, and this time Maddison wanted to growl. He used the name to get a rise out of her. “I’m here to help. Why must you be so defensive?”

She narrowed her eyes. “What’s it going to cost?”

Orion’s smile was slow and cunning. “I haven’t decided yet. But you need my help, and it’s a price you can pay, so stop with the bitching.” He waved his hand with a sorcerer’s flourish. A glass appeared in his hand. “Drink this,” he said, holding it out to Riley.

“You expect me to consume an unidentified…” Riley’s gaze dropped to the glass. “Purple drink, a concoction which you plucked from the air?”

“If you don’t accept my help, the king won’t make it. Another two hours and his current mood swings will be permanent.” Orion shrugged. “Personally, I think it’s funny to watch him rage out, but I’m guessing others don’t agree with me.” His eyes were on Maddison now.

“I’ll drink it,” she said, bored of the game. Maddison knew Orion would never harm her, and if Tobias’ life was truly in danger, she would take the risk.

“You can’t.” Orion sighed with exaggerated patience. “This is a onetime deal, so decide. The magic requires an…adequate tracker.”

Before Maddison could argue the point, Riley grabbed the glass and downed the liquid. She watched with unconcealed fascination as her friend exploded into wolf form and took off across the clearing.

When she turned back to Orion he was gone, and the world around her came unstuck. Maddison ignored the confused look on Fitz’s face, but touched a hand to his arm. “Riley has a lead. Let’s go.”

She didn’t wait for an answer, she ran after Riley and hoped Orion wasn’t playing one of his sick games.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Imprisoning a Dual Discord by Louise Findlay

header for dual discord

One of my writing friends, Louise Findlay, recently released a short story, Imprisoning a Duel Discord. Click here for more details. It is my great pleasure to be able to share a sneak preview with you today.

cover for dual discordImprisoning a Duel Discord Description

The world is in musical order. To maintain balance, a team of Government Agents, named Harmony, track down, experiment on and sometimes kill those who express the music of dissonance. Those like Psycha, a duel Discord of Vyla and Sios; a prime lab rat to Harmony.

Being able to disrupt harmony by voice and hands alone makes Psycha far more dangerous than the usual Discord. Will she run into trouble trying to protect her boyfriend, Caleb? Will her desire to destroy Harmony prove fatal for her? What will be left of her if she ever gets captured?

quote from duel discord.png

Imprisoning a Duel Discord Excerpt

Psycha

What had Caleb gotten himself into this time? We were discords for music’s sake. We couldn’t strike back against Harmony if we ran, and be damned if he got caught. He was a Tara Discord not a Vyla like me. He was more vulnerable and I knew for a fact he left his Tara back at camp. Careless. That was so unlike him. He was usually methodical and paranoid. He couldn’t afford to throw his life away on a whim. I was the reckless one.

I hummed a tune to try and find his wavelength. Discords stuck out like a sore thumb, and he was a Tara. He was invisible without it, but I knew his musical signature like the back of my hand. I was almost certain I could pick something up, and I did. The three note discordant hum that was uniquely Caleb was faintly ringing in the air. I rushed to try and catch up to him. There was no way he would get captured on my watch. Cinder would kill me.

No. I caught sight of a man with the Harmony symbol on the back of his black suit. The tell-tale sign of a sharp, with two notes at the bottom and a treble clef in the middle, made him the enemy. I’d seen what happened to Discords when Harmony got a hold of them. They were mere husks of their former selves; dead and despondent inside. Their life cruelly ripped away. I would not let that happen to Caleb.

I screamed out notes at the man’s back, notes which clashed horribly. It was music to me, but the assailant recoiled, clutching his head in pain. How dare he try and take away the thing that made Caleb who he was. Being Discords defined us.

My enemy retaliated by taking out his Ko and trying to play me into submission. The harmony was excruciating to me. I was a duel Vyla/Sios Discord. Normal Discords were three parts discord and one-part harmony. I was fully Discord. I could control music with my voice and by touch alone. I hated Harmony for what they did to us, and I knew I’d be their prime lab rat.

“Caleb, run” I shouted.

I was bombarding him with musical assaults, but I had to be careful not to hit Caleb. He was powerless without his Tara. Why did he not bring it with him?

“I’m not leaving you,” he said.

Ah. Blood ran down my cheek when a note hit. Harmony and dissonance were opposites. One could hurt the other. Harmony were the government and Dissonance were the outcasts. I would make them pay for condemning us to a lifetime of running. Harmony agents lived to capture us.

“Go, you idiot. Get back to camp. You’re defenceless,” I ordered.

At last, he managed to see sense and fled. I couldn’t protect him if he was in the way. I waved a shield to protect against the agent’s next attack. Now Caleb was safe I could really let loose without fear of hurting him. I used my voice and hands in tandem to unleash a barrage of musical weapons at him. Streams of note swords and arrows flew at the enemy. He was pretty quick to keep up with me, but he couldn’t deflect everything I threw at him.

I started to hum a dissonant melody designed to sweep into his soul. I would poison his harmony with dissonance. He let out a hiss, which told me I was successful. I screamed as more musical implements of doom attacked me. I used the blood trickling down my arm in a note. Blood notes packed a mean punch. Judging by the look on his face, it did.

“Just die, Harmony bastard,” I said.

“Bring it, Discord cur,” he replied.

I screamed like a banshee. When he was distracted, I flung a spear at him. I turned his cries into a gag with a wave of my hand. His voice was grating to my ears.

Ah. A melody hit me straight in the neck and continued to constrain my throat. I tried to catch my breath, but it was impossible. I flailed around, trying to swipe him off me, but to no avail. I couldn’t let him get me. I couldn’t be captured. I finally managed to get him to relent, but my vision turned hazy as I gasped for breath.

second quote dual discord

About the Author

louise findlayLouise Findlay writes fantasy (general short stories) and inspirational poetry. She enjoys reading and writing about mythological creatures, such as angels and demons, but has a soft spot for vampires. Louise is currently in the midst of writing a vampire novella about two vampire clans whose deputy’s clash in a big way, entitled A Spy in the Sagax Vampires.

She general writes ebooks, but she is a part of a few anthologies which are in print, and is working on a special secret project this year.

Twitter: @authorlouise

Website: louisefindlaybooks.com

eBooks: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/angel7090695001

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Chicken: Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes #3

Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes

Created for Ronovan’s weekly writing prompt challenge. For more details click here.

airplaine

“Jesus Christ, you can’t play chicken with a plane. For god’s sake, Sadie. Have you lost your mind?”

This from a girl who races the Snaefell Mountain Course for kicks. Seriously, the deadliest racetrack in the world or, if not the deadliest, certainly up there in the top ten, and she accuses me of being crazy. At least I had two extra wheels and an obstacle free track. If you didn’t count the private jet in our path, and the fact we were on a runway facing a relative giant. Okay, so maybe she had a point.

I didn’t tell her that. Instead I turned to the passenger seat with raised brows and sweetness in my tone. “You know Mother doesn’t like it when you use the Lord’s name in vain,” I told her, well aware Mother could hear our conversation and was probably laughing her ass off. “And you did that shit…twice.”

Anna threw her arms in the air, gesticulating her frustration – as is her way. “I tell you what. As you’re so determined to get us killed, why don’t I apologise personally when we meet her at the god damned pearly gates.”

To hide my smile, I dipped my head and worked the gears. “I’m pretty sure that’s blasphemous too.”

“Oh, give it a rest. The pair of you,” Mother snapped, her voice filling the car through the on-board navigation system; a sweet little upgrade from yours truly. What can I say? I’m a woman of many talents.

Julie Keesh, code name Mother because of her tough love and organisational prowess, is a woman you listen to. Everyone I know is afraid of her, and I mean everyone. Whoever you are, and whatever the assignment, when Julie is the voice in your ear, you pay attention. Incidentally, she’s also our biological mother; Anna and I are in the family business.

“And, when I said stop the plane, Sadie. I did not mean put yourself in its path.” Mother’s voice had dropped low, which scared me a lot more than the prospect of being flipped off the runway like a bug in an expensive Italian car. “This is not an episode of Fast and Furious, so get your head out of your ass and back in the game.”

Did I mention the scary part? The Keeshter, as some of our team call her, rarely minces her words.

“Copy that,” I said, aiming off the track to execute an emergency stop. “But just so we’re clear,” I continued, throwing open the driver door as I turned to grab the extrapolator; one of my all-time favourite weapons (yes, I designed it). “This is more Mission Impossible than Fast and Furious. I have much better tech.”

I heard Anna groan. “Guys, those movies are like a million years old. You’re killing me.”

This was a slight exaggeration, something else Anna is prone to do. The films are no more than thirty years old and they still rock. In my humble opinion. Not that I corrected my sister. I was too busy lining up my moving target, setting the parameters and, bam, I let her rip.

The missile sailed through the air, locked on and settled with a thud that was definitely in my head; like the sweet music of my invention. I couldn’t hear a thing over the roar of the engine, and Anna’s delayed whoop – which she yelled right in my ear.

A few seconds later, likely due to the fact all its systems had failed, the plane rumbled to a stop on the runway and I was back in the car.

“Go. Go. Go,” Anna screeched when we saw the plane door start to open.

“Are you going to tell us why we had to keep her grounded?” I asked Mother, then accelerated towards the elegant beast.

“That’s a need to know, my girl and, trust me, you do not need to know.”

Before I had the chance to respond, five modified SUV’s cut into our path and they were motoring. Whatever was in that plane, they didn’t want it getting out.

“Head back to central command. Your part is done,” Mother said with, it has to be said, a note of distraction. “Nice work.”

I turned to Anna, who shrugged in a non-verbal ‘don’t ask me,’ and turned the wheel to get the hell out of the there.

I couldn’t help looking back, the jet centred in my rear view mirror against a backdrop of clear, blue sky, and wondering what danger it contained within. Given that we were pulled from a major assignment, and given the barest minimum in terms of intel, it had to be bad.

“Next time, let me in on the plan before I start ranting like an idiot,” Anna said, pulling her feet up to rest on the dash.

“Oh, honey,” I replied, back to sickly sweet as I knocked her feet to the floor. “What would be the fun in that?”

***

Thanks for reading.

Mel

The Freestyle Writing Challenge: Home

39176985_mCandice from ‘I came for the soup’, a talented writer and fellow participant in #blogbattle (run by Rachael Ritchey) challenged me to take part in the freestyle writing challenge.

I’m sure you know the rules by now, but here they are:

  1. Open a blank document.
  2. Set a stop watch or mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes.
  3. Your topic is at the foot of this post. DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!
  4. Once you start writing, do not stop until the alarm sounds!
  5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check. (The challenge is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought-flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
  6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals.
  7. At the end of your post, write down “No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the timeframe.
  8. Copy and paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees, and copy / paste these rules along with your nomination (at least 5 bloggers).

I’m going to bend the rules slightly, because I’m not going to nominate anyone in particular. Most people have completed the challenge at least once, and for those who haven’t and are reading this, I highly recommend it – it’s great fun.

Here is the challenge set by Candice:

You have just purchased your first home. It is old and not in the best condition. It is so terrible that everyone even the neighbors has warned you not to purchase it, but you have. On day one of moving in, as soon as you step across the threshold of the front door, you are transported into  another place in time. Where have you gone? What is happening there? Who is there with you?

Home

Okay, this is it.

I pressed forward, ignoring the voices in my head; the whispers of my friends, my family, even the damn neighbours. Everyone had something to say about this house. Everyone had an opinion. It didn’t matter about mine. But then, how did I explain that the place called to me? My dad worried about me on a good day, I couldn’t image what he would say if I told him the house called to me – the pull far stronger than anything I had felt before.

The first thing I noticed when I crossed the threshold were the colours. The worn, faded wallpaper I had expected to see had been replaced by swirls of moody gold. It was something from another time, another place. Glancing down at my feet, I registered the polished wood. During my viewing of the house I had almost tripped over the threadbare carpet in the entrance hall. There was no danger of that now. The floor gleamed. A safety hazard, certainly. My parents didn’t call me Frank for nothing.

The temperature in the room was almost tropical, like a warm hug; a welcome home. I continued forward, stopping briefly when a young boy shot past. He giggled, winking at me in apology. His appearance was so unexpected I followed him, dodging other bodies as I went; people who seemed to pop-up like a storybook as soon as my feet stepped in their direction.

It was only then that I noticed the noise. It started gradually, and slowly built into a crescendo of sounds I could barely distinguish. There was so much colour, and sound, and movement. It made my head spin.

A bang, the crack of wood, reverberated around the hall. I realised it was the door slamming shut behind me. I turned, glancing at the once rundown entryway. It was gone. Now all I saw were swirls of gold.

(Number of Words = 317 in 10 minutes)


Now it’s your turn. Here is my challenge, should you choose to accept it.

You awake to discover you are in a laboratory, strapped to a table. How did you get there? Why are you there? What happened to you? Can you figure it out in time? It’s up to you!


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

The Flip Side – In response to Esther Newton’s Writing Challenge

I’ve been reading Esther’s blog for a while now, and love the weekly writing challenge she posts. I try to take part when I can, usually in the comments (for the short challenges), but this week I wanted to create a story in response to one of the themes – horror.

The Flip Side

“Why do we have to split up?” Michael asked his two friends. He already regretted coming to the house. He hated the place.

“Aww…Mickey’s scared. Did you pack you blanket, Mickey? Did mommy pack-”

Michael clocked him on the jaw. “Shut the hell up, Dave. “You’re the one with the glow worm night light.”

“Cut it out, both of you.” Joe stepped between them. “We made the bet, so we have to deal with it.” He grabbed his backpack from the dust covered floorboards. “I’ll see you on the flip-side.”

“Try not to wet the bed,” David called after him.

“You’re such a jerk, you know that?” Michael sighed, running his gaze around the filthy bedroom. He wasn’t going anywhere near the bed; the bugs were having a party in the mattress.

“You have no sense of humour, Mike. That’s your problem.” David was already at the door. “Holler if you need anything.”

Like my head testing?

Michael grimaced as he lay his sleeping bag out on the floor. He was going to burn the thing as soon as he could. Crazy shit always happened in their little town, and he didn’t need to spend the night in an abandoned house to prove the thing was haunted. He could practically feel the ghosts breathing down his neck.

He shuddered, and climbed into his sleeping bag. It was going to be a long night.

“Stupid,” Michael muttered as he positioned himself with his back against the wall, facing the door. “This is so stupid.”

His voice sounded too loud in the dusty room; the house throwing his words back at him, taunting him. Had it been this quiet before? He could have been alone, so intense was his isolation. Michael was tempted to call out to his friends, if only to reassure himself they were still with him. If the rumours were true, it wouldn’t be the first time people had vanished in this house.

It was almost a relief when he heard the sounds coming from the bedroom across the hall. Almost. Something was off about the guttural, quality of the noise.

Get a grip, Mike. It’s just Dave fooling around.

He listened intently, squinting at the door as though he might somehow see through it. A beam of moonlight filtered through the grimy window, drawing his gaze. Michael saw the twisted branches of a tree reflected across the ground, like bony fingers reaching toward him.

His pulse skittered when he heard a floorboard creek in the hall, and his eyes swung back to the door. Something was out there.

Michael stared at the doorknob for so long his eyes began to ache. Tears blurred his vision, but were quickly blinked away. He was just beginning to relax when the knob turned abruptly, and the door swung open with enough force to slam against the wall. He felt the vibration all the way to his toes.

Relief flooded him when he glimpsed David’s outline. “Dave, you scared the shit out of me.” The raspy sound of his friend’s breathing sent a shiver of alarm through him. “Seriously, Dave. You’re not funny.”

But David didn’t reply. He only stared at him, his chest heaving and the hostility coming off him in waves.

Michael scrambled out of his sleeping bag. He almost stumbled when David stalked towards him. As David passed through the beam of moonlight, Michael saw his eyes for the first time. They were dead, vacant, and so cold Michael shivered. He scrambled back, bumping up against something hard; probably the cabinet he’d noticed earlier.

“Dave?”

His friend roared, leaping at him like a cat. He wrapped his skinny hands around Michael’s neck and squeezed. David’s breath hit him like a slap. It smelled like decay, so rotten Michael’s stomach heaved.

As the air began to back up in his lungs, his survival instinct took over. Michael floundered, his hands trying to push his friend back. It was no use. David’s arms were like a steel trap. There was no getting out of it. In his desperation he forgot all the self-defence moves his father had taught him, and instead felt blindly behind him, not sure what he was looking for until his hand settled around something hard and heavy.

Without thinking Michael grabbed hold of the object, raising his arm quickly and decisively and bringing it down on David’s head. At first the blow had no affect, so he hit him again. And again. Michael couldn’t stop hitting him. Even when his friend was on the ground, he couldn’t stop.

When the frenzy passed he looked down in horror at the blood, at the face which was now unrecognisable. Michael sank to his knees and vomited beside the body of his friend.

“No. No. No.”

Pain ripped across Michael’s chest. He had killed David. How could he have killed his best friend? The thought had him retching again. The smell of blood, of decay, or lost friendship consumed him, and he heaved until he had nothing left.

“Mike!” Joe shot into the room.  “Mickey? We need to get out of here. Now. We have to leave.”

“I can’t leave him.” Michael was rocking now. His thoughts shattered, his guilt like a noose around his neck.

“Snap out of it, Mike. We have to help Dave. He’s hurt.”

Michael looked up, horror in his eyes. “He’s dead.”

“What?” Joe glanced down at the body for the first time. “No. He’s not.” He turned to the door. “Dave. You okay, buddy?”

“Just get me the hell out of here, man. No bet is worth this shit.”

The sound of his friend’s voice almost sent Michael over the edge. Until he realised the sound was coming from the room across the hall. He looked down, seeing for the first time the yellowed skin of the body beside him. It wasn’t David. It wasn’t his friend. He was on his feet a heartbeat later, and following Joe across the room.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Guest Post by Louise Findlay

I have a special treat for you today, a short-story written by Louise Findlay. If you would like to know more about Louise and her work, I featured her on my author blog during the Fantasy Solstice Tour. For further details, click here.

Vicious Vines by Louise Findlay

I so hated this world. The clogging smell of petrol and dust. I could feel the air on my skin, all contaminated like a stain on my soul. I wasn’t wasteful like the humans. Clothes weren’t a necessity for me. I could just weave vines into makeshift garments, to stave off the cold. It was a waste making clothes from cloth and linen. It harmed plants and if they suffered, I suffered.

I always thought my unusual green eyes were a mark of my connection to the environment. The plants thought so. Their piercing shade certainly stood out from my auburn hair.

I was scared that my skin was taking on a greenish hue. I didn’t think I would change, but I didn’t really know what was happening to me; that was the worrying thing. The plants were happy though. As I accessed my powers I was becoming more like them by the day.

Everything hurt more and more, and I could hear the plants’ cries in my head. It was agonising; the constant screaming plaguing my mind. Humans destroyed everything they touched. They were responsible for the death and destruction of all this wildlife. I didn’t count myself among their number.

I made a last ditch attempt to free myself from this burden. Humans didn’t listen to reason, they only cared about what benefited them.  They would pay for laying waste to the forests. They would pay for driving animals out of their homes. They would pay for uprooting plants from their habitat.

It was all the humans fault. Their industrial revolution; building things at the expense of others. It would come back to haunt them. I would make sure of it.

I didn’t have full control over my plant powers, but I knew I could rely on them to do what I wanted. To bring vengeance down upon the human menace.

I might have been content to leave them alone if I didn’t hear the constant screaming inside my head day and night; in my every waking moment and in my dreams as well. It was like having a drill constantly mining away at my brain.

CRACK! It was an agonising shift in my fingers whenever I called the vines to me. Every time I felt the change grow stronger. I didn’t know how to both keep my power, and halt the change. Part of me welcomed it, though the other part just wanted to stay the same.

I would do to the humans what was slowly happening to me. Yes, poetic justice. I’d infect them with plant genes. Then I would watch them trying to survive in their urban metropolis. It would take a lot of strength, but it would be worth it. I forced myself to create balls of swirling energy. The downside was that it was a bit too obvious. Humans ran and fought against anything they didn’t understand. They might escape my curse. Just as my muscles were about to give out, I condensed the energy to vapour. That would do. A swirling mist to encase and infect them.

Hahahaha. I walked for miles to the nearest town and watched the chaos unfold. It worked better than I’d ever imagined. I heard them crying out as they struggled to walk, could hear the conversion in my mind. Their thoughts were being simplified into matters which only concerned plants: food, water, sunlight and procreation. The newly converted plants were weak willed. I knew I could control them if I so desired. Why was I doing this? It was part vengeance; I felt the plants’ pain and wanted the cause of it to pay. But it was also to stop the pain. I couldn’t live with it any longer. It was slowly killing me.

Kathryx

Damn. I was going to kill whoever cursed me to this existence. No one harmed me and got away with it. No one harmed Kathryx without consequences. I had survived unspeakable torments.

As soon as I saw the eerie green mist I knew it was malevolent. I knew my body was changing. I could feel the crippling pain that accompanied it. Arrgh. It was like my body was being torn in two, and only half of me wanted to resist. But the other part, the part which was already damned, did not. I would find whoever did this, and they would pay. On my life they would pay.

The sunlight. It was like a blinding inferno of heavenly day. It nourished the vines that were slowly creeping up my face, but it burned my eyes. I was torn between sacred night and heavenly fire. As a vampire, daylight was my enemy. As a plant, it was quickly becoming my friend.

I suppose my vampiric nature was the reason I wasn’t like the humans. It didn’t matter now anyway. I was dead, whether man or woman or vampire. Plants didn’t bleed. My entire food source had been wiped out in one fell swoop. I had no desire to turn into a piece of shrubbery, but my wishes were of no concern. My body was fighting the battle for me. No sword or spear or arrow could fix this; no weapon could. But rendering the person who did this limb from limb, would make me the happiest creature alive.

I tried to resist the overwhelming urge to claw the vines off my face. They would only grow back again. I had tried that already, which resulted in a mauled face. All I could smell was the infestation of plants. When this was all over, if I was still myself, I was going to set fire to them all. Then I spotted it. Food. Human food. If the person wasn’t greenified yet it meant they had something to do with this.

Everything was slowing down. My feet were dragging. I just couldn’t maintain my speed. Once I was but a blip in the eyes of humans, and now I was struggling to walk. I had to find this person before I became rooted to the spot.

There she was. The red haired menace who started all this. I could see it in her eyes. That spark of violence I saw so often in my own kind. Oh, she was going to the feel the wrath of the last vampire alive.

I had my throwing knives out and began to slice the vines off her body as I charged straight at her with red in my eyes. The vines grew back as soon as I severed them.

“Stop it, please. You’re hurting them,” the menace pleaded.

Hurt plants? Oh, I’d show her hurt. She didn’t even know the meaning of pain. Try being left to starve underground, and trying to claw your way to the surface after having acid thrown on your decaying body.

“You change me back now before I decide your corpse is more useful to me,” I commanded.

She was scared. I could see the tears rolling down her face and hear the palpitations of her heart. This little snip of a girl thought she could destroy everything on the planet and not suffer the consequences? Naïve.

I suppose I should have been worried when I saw that glint in her eyes. But what could a human teenager do to me a vampire? Really?

Ugh. The vines were constricting around my body. I could feel the pressure round my neck. I held my breath, but I knew I didn’t have long before suffocation became a real concern.

“Look who’s in control now,” the human taunted.

No human was going to best me. I was the predator, not the prey. I just had to move my arms. The vines. If I ripped them off I might have enough time to kill her before they regrew. It would hurt though; tear my face. The regrowth would take a decade, even with my healing abilities. Disfigurement was better than death by strangulation, and by a human no less.

I tore my razor sharp nails across my face, screaming even as I took one of my knives from the floor and plunged it into her chest.

Instantly, the vines released me. As I stood panting, the human was breathing her last breath. I could feel the infection slowly retract from my body. The plant life began to wither as I watched her pained struggles.

I was free though. Free at last. Before I collapsed from the strain, I heard the human’s last words.

“Vira. My name is Vira” she said, and then promptly died.


http://louisefindlaybooks.com

Read my print books http://lulu.com/spotlight/angel7090695001

Read my eBooks http://smashwords.com/profile/view/angel7090695001


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

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