Flash Fiction: Vampire for President

For Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge
 “Vampire for President
1,821 words

I ran my knife across the short length of wood slowly. There was no need to rush.

My hands I left to their familiar task while my eyes watched the television flicker. The announcer droned on.

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the lovely candidate Candice Rosewin!”

The TV grew loud with applause. Everyone liked Candice. She was a pretty enough young woman I thought. Carefully dress and with the kind of open face that made people trust her. Reminded me of a girlfriend I once had. Nice girl. Great lay.

“And now we will hear from our next presidential candidate–”

I leaned in closer to the TV and licked my dry lips.

“Harold Sangor!”

The applause was not as loud this time. Sangor was not as well liked as Candice. But those who did clap, did so fervently.

The man who began speaking in a quiet voice, so different from Candice’s lively once, looked sickly. He was old, pale and had perpetual bloodshot eyes.

I barely listened to what He had to say. I didn’t care what the unnatural thing claimed to support. By tomorrow morning he would be dead. I glanced at the flyer on the table next to me. It advertised and event featuring both candidates early the next morning. The location was a park near home. It was the perfect opportunity. I grinned at the thought. It would be something, in the hunter community, to boast that I killed a vampire trying to be president.

I planned and prepared my stakes late into the night, snatching a couple hours of sleep before dawn. The next day was heavily overcast as it usually was this time of year. The vampire probably planned around it to avoid the sun’s burning rays. I stowed away the gear I would need in my heavy overcoat. The sunless sky giving me a good excuse to wear it.

A large crowd had already started to form when I arrived even though the event was hours away. The crowd split into two very distinct groups  Once side, obviously for Candice was full of younger people milling around excitedly. Candice’s platform was all about government reform and bringing the focus back to the home, to education.

Sangor’s group was night to Candice’s day. They were mostly older generations, by their clothing they had month to throw around. They were far more subdued than the other group and most looked as if they would rather be anywhere else. Like sleeping the day away.

That there were a few vampires among them as well, I had no doubt. But that would come later. I wanted the big one first. The small fry could wait.

I shuffled my way towards the front of the crowd. I stuck closer to Candice’s group  figuring they were less likely to look at me too closely. many were dressed just as oddly as I way. I passed one couple who looked like they dressed themselves from and 80’s thrift shop.

I drew close to the small stage that had been set up, it was covered in red, white, and blue ribbons, security was already present, preventing anyone from getting too close.

The stage was attached to a small community storage room with a door set in the back of the room. The room wasn’t used that often, mostly used to store supplies for summer BBQ’s and children’s’ plays.

I didn’t worry about them too much. They would be too distracted when the time came. My thoughts drifted to the small bomb I had hidden in a nearby tree two days ago. A glance as I walked by earlier confirmed that it hadn’t been found.

Small town like this, security would be minimal. No extremist presidential assassins in  this podunk town. Just one very good vampire hunter.

Shortly before the event was due to start, several black SUVs drove up to the side road, vomiting several security guards dressed as black as the cars. There were a few more security than I was expecting but no matter, my plan was still sound.

The crowd roared once they spotted Candice and Sangor get out of their cars.

I waited until the two candidates were on the stage before hitting the button hidden in one pocket. A small boom shook the park as a large oak tree exploded.

There was instant panic as the crowd began to run in all directions. Security immediately started ushering the candidates into the small community room at the back of the stage.

Seizing my chance, I stripped off my overcoat revealing a suit exactly like the ones security was wearing, complete with ear piece. In the confusion, not one realized I wasn’t one of them. They didn’t notice when I started darting all of the security with a very strong sleeping potion I bought off a witch. Very handy stuff, could take out an ox and keep him down for several hours.

The few still up did notice when I shut and barred the door behind me though. Muffled shouts and pounding thudded on the door. But the door was solid. Bear’s roamed through the park sometimes and the community didn’t want them getting to their burger buns.

“Hey! Who are you–” called a security man but down he went with a dart to the neck. One more short of my dark gun and the last of the security guys were down, leaving me with the two political candidates.

They both stared at me with shock. Candice’s large hat had been shifted askew so it hung sideways on her head. Sangor’s flabby mouth hung wide open.

“I say who are you!” Said Sangor, coming to his senses first, his face grew red and he took a menacing step towards me.

“I’m the hunter who’s going to kill you! Undead scum!” Cheesy I know, but I couldn’t resist. I pulled a freshly sharped stake from inside my jacket and lept towards the man.

The point of my stake was inches from his heart with a pale, delicate hand gripped my wrist with a surprising amount of strength. Sangor dropped to the ground in a dead faint. I regrettably let out a squeak and tried to pull my hand away to no avail.

“I’ll let you go if you promise not to stab me with that stake of yours.” came a cool voice.

I looked over in shock, first at the small hand holding on to mine with such strength and then up to Candice’s smiling face. “May I let go?” I nodded dumbly. “Excellent.”

I rubbed my wrist where she hand gripped it, there were red mark there now in the perfect shape of her fingers. They would purple into bruises later I was sure.

“Now then, I don’t think we have much time before my security gets through that door.” Now that she mentioned it, the banging had gotten a lot louder, as if they were using something ram the bear-proof door. I had a minute, maybe more before they got in there and found me. My original plan had been to kill the vampire, knock Candice out and escape through a small hatch I knew was on the roof before blending in to the security again on my way out. But that plan was out the window now.

Candice stood straight, hands crossed in front of her and looked over at me with a amused look on my face. “I’m going to assume you’re one of the hunters I was told about and that you thought Harold was a vampire.” I nodded again. She gave a satisfied nod and looked down at Sangor, still passed out on the floor. “Can’t say I can’t see where you got that Idea from. He is a right bloodsucker and he does look the part, but sadly he is very much human. He fairly reeks of humanity. Although that might also be death, I’m still figuring out these new senses.” She gave a little sigh and nudged Sangor with her foots. He gave a little moan but showed no signs of getting up soon.

I shook my head, finally coming to my senses. “You’re a vampire!” I blurted out.

She looked at me, on perfectly sculpted eye brow arched. “Well yes, I thought that was obvious by now. Turned a couple weeks ago, bad night to go slumming for some good Greek food. Food I’ll never have again,” she sighed and leaned her head against one hand before continuing. “My campaign manager thought I should drop out of the race. I told him no of course. I was too close! I wasn’t going to let a little thing like being a vampire stop me from running for president. And before you ask all the blood I drink comes from blood banks, I’m never drunk from a human, nor do I plan to.”

“But you go outside! In the sun!” Just last week she had visited a children’s park for story time.

She gave a little smile. “Large hats and very good moisturizing sunscreen do amazing things.”

I could only stare at her in shock, much to my embarrassment. Never would I have thought she was a vampire. She seemed so… human.

“Now then, I can’t have you killing me, so why don’t I hire you instead? I could use a good bodyguard who could protect me from other hunters.” Her eyes became thoughtful and she tapped one finger against her bright red lips. “Yes, I think that would be an excellent plan.”

“I can’t work for you! I should kill you!” I sputtered trying to regain control of the situation.

“What? And let Harold win? You weren’t planning on voting for him were you?” She peered at me, her eyes intense. I looked away.

“Well no, of course not. Obviously.” I muttered. I shifted my feet and looked around, trying to find a way out of this mess. The room was sadly bare after being unused for most of winter.

“And do you have a plan on how you’re going to get out of here with out the many security men outside tackling you and putting you where you won’t see the sun for many many years? Almost like a vampire yourself?” She laughed at her little joke. Dammit, she was cute.

“Not yet but–”

“Then it’s settled. I’ll tell the men outside you were my undercover bodyguard and you managed to thwart off an assassination attempt by…” She pointed, “Johnson over there. He’s and ass and always staring at my tits.”

Before he could say anything she had moved to the door, unlatched it, and flung it wide open. “Coming?” She called back to me.

“I…guess?” I walked slowly towards the door, Candice was already explaining the fake story she had come up with, using quick tears to great effect while I stood behind her, still in shock. What the hell just happened?

Flash Fiction: Sidereal

For Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge
 “Sidereal
1,056 words

The sky above me is bright with the light of the stars, their light gentle and cold on the snowy ground. The light guided my path, illuminating the trees around me, if I had left on a cloudy night I would have never found my way.

I pull my arms tighter around myself, my breath coming out in puffs of white. I wished the stars were kind enough to lend their heat as well, but the stars were cold and so was I.

The snow crunched under my feet. I cursed the recent snowfall that would show my path to any who might find it. Not that it would matter if they didn’t find me in time.

I fell into a kind of trance as I walked, trusting my feet to find their footing as my eyes watched the stars. It wouldn’t be long now I guessed.

All too soon, I reached the bottom of the witch kill, almost stumbling into it. I dropped my gaze to the small hill before me, a tiny hut perched on top like a crown. A light glowed in one of the windows like a guiding star, the barest traces of smoke curled form the chimney.

My sure feet found the path and I began my ascent up the hill. The stars gathered more closely here, arranged in a bright pool, bathing the little hut in their light.

When I reached the top, she was waiting for me. Standing in her doorway, the inviting light and warmth beckoning me behind me.

“I guessed you would come this night,” Her voice was quiet and had the harshness of one who has breathed in many winters.

“Then you know why I’ve come?” My own voice came out in a croak.

The witch nodded and turned towards the light. “Come, I have prepared tea, you must be frozen after walking so far.”

I hesitate on the doorstep, the dividing line between the cold light of the stars and the warm light of the witches fire. I was suddenly struck with doubts, was this the right thing to do?

I looked up at the stars again, and watched as they seemed to glow brighter than before. I took that as a sign and stepped into the small hut.

The warmth came over me like a wave and immediately sent pins and needles inot my fingers and toes.

The witch guided me to a chair neat the fire and pushed a mug of steaming tea sweetened with honey into my hands.

I sipped the hot liquid gratefully, feeling it’s warmth slowly spread.

I gazed around the small hut, it was more lavishly furnished than I had expected. A heavy trundle bed, it’s wood lovingly carved and painted with spring flowers took up one wall. Bundles of dried herbs hung from the ceiling, their earthy scent filling the room.

The sound of hooting drew my gaze up to the rafters where a pair of snowy white owns nested, their golden eyes watching us.

“They’re names are Marya and Houdin. They’ve been with me for a very long time.” The witch sank into a chair across from me, her old bones creaking with the effort.

I sipped my tea and studied the witch. I’d seen her before, when she would come into the village to trade for supplies.

She had always looked exactly the same, year after year ever since I was a young child. Old and ragged, like she could die at any time.

But here, in her hut under the stars, the witch seemed younger, stronger. Her white hair was pulled back in an intricate braid and she wore a finely woven shawl embroidered with roses.

And her eyes, I ‘d never seen such a pale blue, light a pair of twin stars shining from her face.

“So, she began when I had finished my tea, “you’ve lost someone close to you, yes?”

I nodded, clutching the empty mug, trying to absorb any lingering warmth.

“And so you’ve heart the stories, that I am and witch and I can do things?”

I nodded once more, feeling stronger now.

“And you have payment?”

I nodded a third time. I reached aching fingers into my fur coat, finding the small pocket hidden deep inside. I pulled out a small bag and set it in the witches outstretched hand.

She weighed the small bag thoughtfully. I held my breath and hoped the stories I had grown up with were true.

“Yes, this will do.” I let out my held breath with a soft sigh. The witch quickly hid away the small bag.

“Come now, we must do this quickly, dawn is already on it’s way.” The witch hustled about the hut, putting away the tea cups and trading her embroidered shawl for one lined with tiny silver bells that chimed as she moved.

I moved more slowly, my bones still not recovered from the hike to the witch.

Eventually the witch led me outside, back into the starlight.

She led me to a small clearing behind her hut. Standing stones, none higher than my waist, made a large circle.

The witch motioned for me to stand in the center of the circle.

“What was their name child?” The witches voice was clearer now, the years falling away.

“Geralt, Geralt Bloom.” I whispered the name of my husband, slain two months prior when warriors from another village attacked.

“Look up then and see him.” The witch pointed one long finger up to the stairs clustered over the hut.

“See how bright he shines for you.”

My eyes wide, I searched the stars. There, one star looked brighter than the rest, it’s light pulsing gently, like a heartbeat. I could feel tears streak down my cheeks, warm before freezing in the cold air.

“Keep your eyes on him.” The witch commanded. I didn’t even dare to blink.

The witch began to chant in a low hum, moving around the rings of stone, the bells on her shawl ringing in my eyes.

As she changed I could feel myself getting lighter, the starts growing larger and brighter until they were all I could see.

I couldn’t hear the witches bells anymore. Nor was I cold. I was warm, finally warm with my Geralt at my side.

Stars aren’t cold after all.

Flash Fiction: The Deal

For Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge
 “The Deal
2,054 words

“Who are you?”

A shadow stalks around her. The only light coming from the burning ember of a cigarette hanging from where the shadows mouth should be.

“I’m the one who’s going to change your fate”

“Why you?” She gulped in the darkness. She would have thought she would be cold in the darkness, but instead she was warm, too warm. Sweat trickled down her cheek.

“Why me? Why not me?” A chair squeals across the floor, sending echoes ringing. The shadow seemed to drop into it. The cigarette bobbles in the darkness. “Because this is what I do, my job, so to speak. A job I have been doing for a very, very long time.”

She heard a sound, like a deep drawing of breath, the cigarette ember glowing brighter. She could just make out a form behind the cigarette. The shadow blew out the smoke, sending it billowing out around her. The smoke smelled strangely sweet.

Suddenly a bright light shot down in a spot light around her.

She cried out and threw an arm over her eyes.

Sorry about that,” came the shadows voice.

Slowly her eyes adjusted to the bright light. She was in a pool of light extending a few feet out from her chair, the rest of the room was still in total darkness.

Movement across from her, the shadow leaned forward, coming into the light just enough to reveal red eyes, red hair and the face of a young woman.

“Now then, why don’t you start at the beginning?”

The beginning? She thought back over the past couple weeks, to the blood, the sweat, the pain.

It all began at the fighting club, she decided. She needed the money to pay her brothers debt and it was the fastest way she know to get cash. She had fought. She had been good, very good. She made enough to cover her brothers debts and then some. But then she got greedy.

She found herself pouring the whole story out to this shadow woman. The metal chair becoming slick with sweat under her. She couldn’t look away from the shadow woman’s eyes. They were red, a deep red, the color of the red stones, garnets, her pupils were lit with a fire. Maybe the heat in the room was coming from her eyes, the shone so bright.

She spoke about how she made the fight master make the battles harder, the stakes higher. And she kept winning. Until her last fight.

The fight club had one rule.

Her opponent was huge, easily twice her size. What’s more, he knew how to use his size, and how to push her buttons.

Do not kill.

He had said something, she didn’t even know what it was anymore. She just remembered the white hot rage. When she came too he was dead. His throat smashed into meat.

The crowds were silent, until they began to scream with rage. All knew the rule, all kept the rule, until she broke it.

She ran then, breaking the lock on the fighting cage and taking off through the crowd, hands trying to grab on to her, her shirt tore, She lost some hair too probably. There were gunshots as well, pain. She gripped her arm where it throbbed dully with pain where a bullet had grazed her. It was clean and bandaged now. When did that happen?

She faltered, what happened next? Shew couldn’t remember, just running and then darkness, and warmth. And then she woke up in the chair.

She opened her eyes as her voice faded. Her gaze dropped to her hands where they lay curled in her lap. The knuckles cut and bruised from fighting. But the blood, Gerik’s blood, was gone. Washed away without her knowing.

“Hmmm…” The shadow woman leaned back in her chair, cigarette perched between two fingers. She was all in black, black business suit, black gloves, black shirt.

She lifted her gaze to the woman. There, a tiny spot of color among the black. A round jewel that glimmered like ice, changing colors from blue, to purple, to white, hung surrounded by what looked like a large heavy chain link.

“Do you know who owned that fight club who’s rule you broke?”

Her gaze snapped back up to meet the shadow woman’s. Her face was neutral.

“I don’t know, some underground boss I think.” The shadow woman’s gaze intensified, as if she was looking into her soul. She was burning under that gaze, she could die under that gaze.

And just like that the flames were banked and she could look away, gasping for air. She hadn’t realized she had been holding her breath.

She carefully looked back at the woman and flinched, the shadow woman was smiling now, a soft smile, interest and something else shimmering in those eyes.

“My name is Myris Black, I own the club you fought in.”

She gripped the sides of the chair and gulped. She knew that name. Myris Black owned half of the Seattle underground. She was very good at what she did and was also very secretive. NO one had seen her face and lived to tell about it.

“Are you going to kill me?” she whispered, her voice shaking.

Myris laughed, it was a sharp laugh that snapped and echoed through the room. The woman leaned forward.

Her eyes noticed the cigarette still dangling from Myris’ hand. Despite the time she was sure was passing, the cigarette hadn’t burned down any farther.

“Well, that is up to you. You see, I have no killing rule for an important reason. I don’t like killing. It’s a waste and most often unnecessary. In that mind, I would rather not kill you if I don’t have to. So, like I told you in the beginning, I am going to decided your fate. I want you to work for me, Danica Wynn Henry.”

“Wait what?” She couldn’t have heard right. Did Myris Black just offer her a job? The sweat chilled on her skin, was it suddenly cooler in the room?

Myris took a deep drag of her cigarette, the embers climbing down the shaft, climbing almost to her lips. The smoke she blew out had that same sweet scent as before. She snapped her fingers and suddenly the rest of the lights in the room came on, chasing away the shadows. She was in a small room. The walls were covered in some dark wood, the same wood that covered the floor. There were no windows but she could see a large heavy door behind the shadow woman. She couldn’t help but keep calling her that, it seemed, fitting. Even in the light.

“I want you to work for me. There are some odd jobs I would like you to handle for me. I don’t get out much otherwise I would handle them myself. I will, of course, pay you well for your services.”

“You want me to be a assassin?” She mumbled incredulously.

Myris raised an eyebrow. “No, nothing I ask you to do would be morally wrong. Illegal yes. So what do you say Miss Henry?”

“Just Wynn works.” She heard herself say. Her brain was having troubles figuring out just what was going on. “Why would you offer me a job?” She asked finally.

The shadow woman rested her elbows on her knees and her chin on her clasped hands. Where did the cigarette go? She look at the ground but saw no abandoned butt.

“I have several reasons why I want to hire you. 1, you’re a very good fighter. I watched most of your fights. Your strength in particular is most impressive. 2, your reasons for fighting were noble. Trying to pay off your brothers debts. I liked that.” Myris cocked her head. “Despite what happened after you paid your brothers debts. 3, like I said before I don’t like killing because it is unnecessary, and wasteful. I think you could be very useful to me. You’re less useful dead.”

“How do you know I won’t betray you? Go to the cops with what you look like? They might reward me for that. And how do I know you won’t just kill me later? Or use me to do horrible things? I’ve heard the stories about you.” She was halfway out of the chair by now, her eyes flicking to the door behind the other woman. Was it locked? She might be able to break it down.

“Somehow I don’t think you’ll go to the police, not with a warrant out for your arrest, there were many angry witnesses at the club. But I can make that go away.”

“You have connections in the police?”

“Obviously. I wouldn’t be much of a ‘underground boss’ if I didn’t.”

She shifted in her chair. “And the other part? About asking me to do things I wouldn’t want to do?”

Myris smiled, an amused smile. “You’ll just have to trust me that I won’t. So, do we have a deal?”

“I don’t have much of a choice do I?” She clasped her hands together tightly, tight enough to make the cuts on her knuckles split open. She focused on the pain.

“You do have a choice. I did offer you one.”

“Oh yeah, working for you or death, that’s a great couple choices there.” Wynn snorted and clenched her arms around her body. There was no choice, she thought to herself angrily.

Myris shrugged. “A choice is still a choice. I know some who would choose death over working for me.”

“Then I guess I say yes.” She felt defeated. All she wanted to do was pay off her brother’s debts. How could it come to this?

“I had a hunch you might. Now take my hand and we can seal the deal.” The shadow woman removed one of her gloves, revealing a oddly dainty white hand. She held it out to Wynn.

Wynn stared at the small hand, the nails perfectly manicured, the hand perfectly still. She felt silly to feel so threatened by a hand like that. But she was.

She reach out her own scarred and now bleeding hand and grasped the shadow woman’s hand. The shadow woman squeezed and she felt a burst of heat that ran from her head to her toes. She snatched her hand back as soon as she could. She stared at her hand, there was no burn. There wasn’t any blood either.

“What was that?” She whispered as she turned over her hand. The cuts were still there, the bruises too. But the cuts were closed again, all trace of blood gone.

“That was me putting my mark on you.” said the shadow woman as she pulled her glove back on. “No need to worry, it isn’t a physical one. But it will all me to find you easily and act as a warning to others who can see it.”

“Your mark? Like some kinda brand?” Like she owns me, Wynn thought to herself.

“Not a brand, you are person, not cattle. Like of it like you’re wearing an invisible uniform shirt.” Myris stood and straightened her jacket.

“One I can’t take off,” she muttered under her breath. She stared at her hand again, she look up at Myris, the other woman stood behind the other chair, back straight, hands clasped behind her back. She seemed to be studying Wynn. “What are you?” she said softly. Myris smiled, that soft, and intense smile.

“I don’t think you’re quite ready for that yet. I’ll be leaving now, I have other matters to attend to, outside this room you’ll find a driver, Tomas. He will take you where ever you need to go, he has a package for you, take it.”

Wynn grunted and slowly stood up, surprised her muscles didn’t scream at her.

“I will see you again Wynn. I look forward to our partnership.” Myris Black left the small room, a room that suddenly became very cold.

Wynn left the room slowly, Myris was gone when she came out into a hallway. A man stood next to the door, Tomas she guessed. He held a package in his hands.

“Welcome.” He nodded.

“Take me home please?” she said in a weak voice. She need a still drink. Or five.


Life Update

So technically I have two blogs through wordpress. This one was intended just for my fiction and another for my general blog posts. But then I realized that was a silly idea. So I’m going to forget about my other blog (jakbebop) and instead just post to this one.

So then, this is an update to this post about my new years resolutions.

Now that we are almost three months into the year, and about a month and a half since I made my goals I thought I would post an update as to how my goals were going. So, without further adieu :

Goal 1: To Read More

My goal for this year is to read 35 books, lower than last years goal of 50 (which I didn’t make). So far I’ve read 10 books this year, which puts me 4 books head of schedule according to goodreads.

The books I’ve read are:

  • The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham
  • Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
  • Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Iron & Blood by Gail Z Martin
  • Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
  • Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  • Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

So far I’m off to a really good start, but then again I always read more in the beginning of the year. My to-read stack is still pretty large, but there’s also Dragon Quest VIII. So hopefully I’ll keep it up. There are a lot of books I really want to read.

Goal 2:  To Write More

My goal for this was to write 500 words a week. And while I’m not sure if I’ve actually hit 500 words a week, I have been writing every week. I’ve managed three new short stories through Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenges. I’ve also written up the beginnings of another story that I haven’t posted online. Plus I’ve written up a couple of old story ideas. Getting them out of my old notebook and into my Evernote account. So that counts right? Either way, I’ve written a lot more in the past two months than I have… since ever I think. Outside of NaNoWriMo. It’s becoming a habit, wanting to write and actually going out and doing it, rather than thinking about it. And that…makes me really happy. And with everything else going on, I need that.

Goal 3: Bake More

This has been going pretty well. I’ve almost mastered Merry Berry’s Lemon Drizzle Cake which makes me very excited. And I made a recipe that’s been sitting in my queue for a long time, Chewy Honey Cookies. Oh man, they were so good! Like a cross between a sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie but with the flavor of honey. I could not stop eating them. Makes me really glad I can bring most of this stuff to my DnD group and have them eat it, otherwise I would put on so much weight!

I also made the best biscuits of my life for breakfast one week. They were perfectly flaky and soft and buttery. The layers! I wish I had taken a picture of them. The layers were so beautiful.

A couple other things I made didn’t turn out as great, but they were learning experiences so I’ll count that as a win.


 

So in Conclusion: I’m doing pretty well, I think. But the beginning is the easy part. Following through is the hard part. I’ll post more updates as the year continues.

 

Flash Fiction: The Wellspring

For Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge
“The Wellspring”
Doing a good thing sometimes means being evil
775 words, a little short but I didn’t feel like it needed to be longer

 

She was going to be damned for this.

People would curse her name for this.

Nevertheless she persisted.

Her fingers ached where they gripped the rock, bleeding where slivers of rock cut into them. Still she climbed.

The wind threatened to pull her from the cliff face, she gripped harder.

She looked above her, the top was close, it wouldn’t be long now. Her mind was blank, focused on putting one hand above the other. And avoiding what she was about to do.

After what seemed an eternity, she reached the top. The wind was weaker here, ad if it realized there would be no stopping her.

Her eyes grew large with wonder as she gazed upon the scene before her. Where the cliff and the hills surrounding it were dirt covered and barren, the top was teeming with life.

Greenery filled her vision. Flowers, bushes, fruit trees of every kind fought for space; growing around each other and even through each other. The air was scented with the perfume of hundreds of flowers.

And the power, it thrummed against her skin. she gulped and felt her knees go weak. What it would be to lay down and simply bask in the pure power that was the wellspring. The Source of magic.

A loud boom broke her from her trance. She looked behind, back to the lights she had come from. The bright colors of another magic powered explosion spread across the sky. They seemed small and dim from so far away. Dull compared to the green surrounding the riot of color surrounding the wellspring.

Her hand reached fro the small packet inside her coat pocket. So small, seemingly benign. But she knew the destruction it would create.

She walked into the greenery, her palms sweaty.

The leaves and wines seemed to caress her, welcome her into their domain, unaware of her task. The greenery should have a talk with the wind.

She didn’t have far to walk, which was good, her legs already shook with exhaustion from the hike and then the climb.

There it was, it was smaller than she thought it would be. No more than three feet across. Closer to a puddle. It’s waters shimmered in a rainbow of colors, it glowed slightly.

Small mushrooms grew around it’s edges. Vibrant in colors nature never intended  Infected by the magic of the wellspring.

She knelt by the waters edge, careful not to smash any of the mushrooms.

She reached a hand out, over the water. Tendrils of magic smoke rose up from the water, twisting towards her fingers. Just as it was about to reach her she snatched her hand away, afraid of what would happen if the smoke touched her.

She licked dry lips and reached a shaking hand into her pocket and pulled out the tiny packet of powder. Powder made from the heart of a murdered person. She tried not to think about who had to die to make this powder.

She stared down at the packet and thought of the words her brother hand told her before she left on the mission.

“Doing a good thing sometimes being evil Evvy,” He had said. His voice had been sad, but sure.

“Are we doing a good thing?” I had asked.

“This is the most good thing. People will die, yes. Lots of people. But the wars will stop. They have to, once there is nothing left to fight for. And that will save so many more people.”

“Yes brother.”

I closed by eyes, unwilling to think about what happened next. His soft sigh as her knife slid into his neck.

The water ripped as her tears fell, changing colors, from deep red, to blue, to green.

She would not fail her brother, her world.

Before she could think, she flicked the paper open and scattered the powder over the surface of the pool.

The effect was immediate  The bright colors disappeared in an instant, the water turning black and beginning to bubble.

The mushrooms crumbled and turned to dust ad the blackness, the death reached them.

All around her a ring of death grew. Leaves turned black and shrived as the magic sustaining them died. Fruit rotted and dropped to the ground in wet plops. Trees crashed over, their trucks rotted through.

The perfume of flowers turned into the stench of decay.

The death would spread, traveling from the wellspring down into all of the le lines converged under it. In less than a day all the magic int he world would be dead. And with it the wars that had plagued the world for centuries.

So she hoped.

Flash Fiction: She Broke Gods

For Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge
“She Broke Gods”(Title by thomasmhewlett)  1,509 words

No one is quite sure how it happened. Did man push too far? A disease, their consciousness disappearing, leaving only their power behind to rage out of control?

No one knows for sure but one day the gods, all of them went insane. Once benevolent, incorporeal beings who shared their power with man, they became crazed, suddenly obsessed with the one thing they didn’t have. A body.

Instead of sharing their man with man they instead took over man. Stealing their bodies, their memories, their life. Burning through it like a wildfire among weeds.Humanity struggled to fight the power they had been dependent on for so long, they did not do well.

But one god resisted the madness, one god who could help the humans fight back. Caedem, God of emotions. He shared his power with a select few, his ordained priests. The few who cold withstand channeling the amount of power needed to break a god.

But his priests were few and the gods were many. Eventually Ceadem, and humanity, lost. That was ten years ago.

++++++

The warehouse was covered in dust. Everything was after the mad gods destroyed everything.

Beams of sunlight through broken windows illuminated a large room that was mostly empty. A few broken boxes, a torn up couch.

One particularly large beam of light shown down upon a table that had three people sitting around it. Two men and a woman. The men drank and played some kind of card game while the women tinkered with some broken device, and unlit cigar hung from her lips.

All three were coated in the same dust that covered everything else.

The three were quiet, there was no need for words; until a loud screech from outside echoed through the warehouse and shattered the silence.

The two men looked up from their game, their eyes on the door, their hands on rifles leaning against the table. The woman continued to tinker with the machine in her hands, tightening some screws.

A shadow of a man appeared in the opened doorway, his face covered in shadow. The two men tightened their grip on the guns but didn’t move.

The man in shadow spotted the group and stumbled towards them, coming into the path of of beam of sunlight, revealing a young man, covered in the same dust as the three, but his hands were covered in blood. The two men lurch to their feet, bringing the rifles into view.

“Please!” He cried as he stumbled closer. “I need a priest!”

“You look like one yourself there boy,” The man on the left nodded towards the young man’s jacket, tight in the shoulders but still with Ceadems patch on the breast.

“I was never ordained,” He said quickly. “Its a matter of life and death, I can’t it back anymore!” His voice is full of desperation, sweat tracking rivers of dirt down his face.

“Hey Rani,” the man on the right calls back to the woman. She still refused to look up. “Didn’t you used to be a priest?”

“None of your damned business,” she replied back. She turned the object around in her hands as if looking for something.

The boy took a step closer but was brought up short as the men finally trained their rifles on him.

“Please,” He called again. “If you were a priest, were you ordained? Do you bear his mark.?”

The woman stops her tinkering, her hand drifting towards her neck, hidden under a faded green banana.

The boy took it as a sign of hope and took a step forward, ignoring the rifles pointed at his heart.

“You’re starting to get on my nerves boy,” she growls. Her fingers grips the machine tightly, the hard edges digging into her fingers.

“Please, if you were ordained then you can help me save her!”

“She made it clear she wants you gone boy,” The man on the left shoved his rifle right up against the boy’s chest.

“Yeah, git gone boy,” They force the boy to take a step back.

“There’s still time to save her! She’s my wife!”

“Boy–” The man on the left began.

“Wait,” A chair squeaked and the two men turned to see the woman, Rani, standing up and facing them, the machine abandoned on the table behind her. Hope blossomed on the young man’s face. “Why do you need an ordained priest, Acolyte?” She nodded towards the white background of Ceadem’s patch on his jacket.

The boy’s ears turned red at the term. “It’s my wife, she’s infected by a god, but it’s a weak one. We’ve been able to keep it at bay of but she’s grown too weak to stop it. But then I heard rumors of an ordained priest in this area, if it’s you, you can complete the ritual and save her!”

The young man gripped the bottom of his coat tightly, his eyes wide and pleading. She spotted a battered silver band adorning one of his fingers.

The two men looked back and forth at Rani and the boy, smirks on their faces.

Rani contemplates  chewing the end of her cigar. After what seemed like an eternity, she tucked her cigar in a pocket of her long jackett and crossed the room towards the boy. As she passed the two men they lowered their rifles and rested them at their side.

“Show me,” She stalked past the boy and headed outside.

The boy grinned wildly and raced again of Rani.

Outside she could hear the screaming.

It was coming from a very beat up truck parked outside.

And older man was leaning against the car, crushing what looked like a hat in his hands, his eyes darting back towards the bed of the truck.

As soon as he spotted Rani and the boy he leapt up from the truck, he looked Rani over his eyes watery and begging for hope.

The boy clasped arms with the old man quickly, gripping his arms tight.

“I’ve found her! The priest!” The boy shouted eagerly.

“Brin is saved!” The old man’s eyes welled with tears.

Rani guessed this Brin was the old man’s daughter.

“I make no promises,” she said walking around the truck. “It’s been a long time.”

“Still you must try,” The old man pleaded.

Rani said nothing as she peeked over the edge of the truck at the source of the screaming.

Lying there on a bed of thin blankets lay a young woman around the same age as the boy.

She writhed in pain, her dark blond hair wet with sweat, her wrists bound to the sides of the truck. A clumsy bandage was wrapped around one of her forearms.

Dark red lines covered every inch of the girls exposed skin, the god trying to take over. Based on the coverage she guessed the god had almost completely taken over. It would be close.

“Can you save her?” The boy asked. She jumped over the edge of the truck, landing heavily at the girls side.

“I’ll try,” she removed the banana from her neck, revealing the violet symbol of Ceadem. It was faded, almost lost against the dark tan of her skin. But as she knelt over the girl, it began to pulse brighter.

Once hand she rest on the girls, the other on her heart. She closed her eyes, remembering the words.

“Finorum est et Ceadem fil evornet Pallas findem…” Her voice was soft as the word wrapped around her like an old friend. She could feel the power flowing through her and into the girl. Her screams few louder.

“Finorum est et Ceadem fil evorent Pallas findem.” her voice rose with the girls screams. The veins began to pulse on the girls skin.

Vaguely she could hear the two behind her saying something but the power rushing through her ears blocked them out.

Her voice rose into a shout. “Finorum est et Ceadem fil eveorent Pallas findem!”

The girls body convulsed once and then was still. The red veins rising from her skin like smoke. All that remained of the broken god.

She leaned back on her heels and watched the smoke rising to the air, quickly fading in the wind, trying not to think about all the smoke she had seen before.

At the edge of her vision she could see the boy clamber into the truck and cradle his sleeping wife. Taking a deep breath she stood up and climbed back down. The boy and the old man ignored her, too busy with the girl.

That suited her just fine. She tied her bandanna back around her neck, the mark faded once more, and walked back to the warehouse.

The two men barely looked up as she took her seat again taking out her cigar and resuming her tinkering.

“All good then?” One of the men asked.

“She’ll live.” She dug around for her screwdriver. “Your turn next Joesph.”

“Alright.” The men grinned and turned back to their game.

Flash Fiction Challenge: Rebellion

For Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge
“Rebellion” 1,117 words

His voice was thunderous in the high ceiling room.

“We’ll show those demon scum! This little revolt of their will be their last!” The general slammed one meaty fist on the table, several goblets tipping over from the shaking. Dark wine stained heavily marked maps red. “Those dirty buggers should be grateful we let them live at all!”

“Here here!” Some men clapped while others raised their goblets in praise.

The general nodded at his men, clearly pleased with his speech and their reaction. He turned to a general sitting on the left of the table. “Now then, Captain Archibald?” The man looked up. He was a short man, round and with wispy whiskers that made him look rather like a mouse.

“Yes General? You have orders for me?” His voice was high and squeaky, just like a mouse. His hands fiddled with a piece of paper. His goblet was one of those tipped over by the generals earlier exuberance. He eyed the spilled wine regretfully.

“I want you and Captain Guran to take your legions to quell this annoyance. Such a show of force should be enough to squash whatever hop or ideas those little shits might have had.”

“Yes, General Capalan. I shall ready my men to leave at first light.”

“As will I, Sir.” Captain Guran was the youngest man sitting around the table by a good ten years. He lifted his goblet, newly refilled by a servant and downed it. He had already gone through several re-fillings. At least the wine was watered down.

“Excellent, I trust you will have no troubles with this little problem of ours?” The general eyes his captains, his cheeks reddened from wine. His fine blue lined jacket was stretched tight across his belly, the gold buttons straining.

“No problem at all General,” Captain Archibald squeaked.

“Shouldn’t take more than half a day.” proclaimed Captain Guran.

“Excellent, most excellent. Then I call this meeting of the Royal Calderon Army concluded. You are dismissed.”

The captains stood as one and bowed to their general, fist over heart.

General Capalan nodded and practically waddled out of the room, his lieutenant-secretary scurrying behind him.

I blew the ink dry on my notes from the meeting and snapped my folder shut, other lieutenant-secretaries doing the same in our little line along the wall.

“Come Lieutenant Ros, we have work to do!” General Guran drained his goblet one last time and strode out of the room, his long legs moving him forward quickly.

My eyes narrowed in annoyance and hurried after the man. When would he realize not everyone was as tall as he was? I hurried out of the room after him while General Archibald vainly tried to wipe wine off some papers. To save the wine or paperwork I had no idea.

“Must you drink so much, sir?” I asked when I caught up to him in the corridor. Long blue banners emblazoned with the hammer and fist of Calderon flapping along the walls. Someone had opened a window and let a draft in.

“Of course I do Ros, have to keep up appearances don’t I?” He ran a white gloved hand though his dark, slicked back hair. “Besides, my tolerance is much higher than any of those idio–.” He was interrupted by a loud belch that echoed down the corridor.

“You were saying?” I asked, eyebrows raised. He at least had the sense to look sheepish.

“I don’t think the bean soup from lunch agreed with me.” He patted his stomach.

“Whatever you say sir,” I pushed my glasses back up my nose, damn things were constantly slipping. We passed down a flight of sitar to the main level and made our way to the barracks where the soldiers of the 4th legion were stationed.

I opened my folder and reviewed my notes from the meeting. “They did not give us much time to  prepare, and now we will have to deal with Captain Archibald’s legion as well.”

“You worry far too much Ros, we will be fine. I have full faith in you.” The taller man grinned down at me. Despite his claims to a high tolerance, a flush spilled across his cheeks.

“Shouldn’t it be the other way around sir?” I muttered under my breath.

“What was that?”

“Nothing sir, just calculating the speed we will have to move at in order to reach our destination.”

“Ah, very good.”

We walked into the barracks, men jumping up from card tables, beds, and even the floor where cards and books were scattered to salute their officers, fist over heart.

“At ease men,” Captain Guran smiled at his men as they relaxed, some sitting back down at their table and picking up spilled cards. We were close in the 4th legion.

“Do we have new orders General?” Piped up one man, a corporal named Harold.

“We do, our orders are to travel with Archibald’s legion to put down this new revolt in the south.”

“When do we leave sir?”

“As soon as you lot get your gear and horses together!” His orders were said with a grin.

“Yes sir!” The men saluted and the room became a flurry of moment at the men moved out to gather supplies and ready horses and wagons. Soon Captain Guran and I were alone in the room.

We headed towards the back of the room where two closed doors sat. One led to my own private room, the other, to the Captains. We entered the captains room, locking the door behind us.

“It will take us at least half a day’s march to arrive at the location. But we will have to move faster than that if we want to arrive before Captain Archibald’s men.” I set my folder down on the captains desk. I scowled at it. It was covered in papers again. I had just organized it the day before. The man would lose his shoes if I didn’t keep track of them.

 “Will that give your family enough time to prepare?’ Captain Guran asked as he flopped into an overstuffed armchair.

“It’ll have to be.” I opened a small drawer that was almost hidden on the side of the desk and pulled out a small round mirror, it’s edges were lined with the curling script of demons.

“Well then, contact them and let them know now’s the time. Time for our little rebellion out into the light.” He smiled and poured himself a glass of water.

I stared into the mirror, releasing the strands of magic that wrapped around myself. I smiled as bones shifted and hair lightened until the face of a demon stared back. I smiled at my Captain.