Flash Fiction Challenge: Rebirth of the Dragon

Holy bunches of updates, Batman!  While last week’s flash fiction challenge took almost the whole week to write, I managed to get this one out of my skull-meats in less than a day. The gist of the challenge was to go to this site and generate a D&D character backstory, and somehow turn that into ~1k words. It just so happens that this week marked the sixth anniversary of getting one of my good friends into Pathfinder (a 3.5 variant) and pen and paper in general. At that point my friends group was running a pick-up game of one shots based in a tavern that grew into something more and one day faded away. Add thinking about that to awesome Facebook friends generating more characters, and this is what I wound up with. Normally I end this preamble with ‘I hope you enjoy!’ and I still kind of do, but really, I’m writing this one for me, so yeah. Good times.

“You think this will work, Krecdax?”

The young gnome eyed his halfling companion over the dust covered bar of the abandoned tavern. “Don’t know. Don’t care.”

“If we get this open, we might be able to save the Dragon.”

Krecdax glanced at the cracked door, the gutted stone fireplace, the rotting roof beams. “I don’t know, kid, maybe it’s time for the Dragon to die. It had a good run, for a tavern, but it’s seen better days.”

“But what if that locket holds untold riches? Or a treasure map? Think of the opportunity! Think of the -“

“Don’t say it.” Krecdax came to the Gold Dragon Inn in its heyday. Some words held more danger than others.

“Think of the adventure!”

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Good Intentions

Hey everybody! It’s time for another Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge! . This week’s challenge was to go to the idiomatic and turn on mixed up idiom into a 1k word story. I got “The Road to Hell is a Girl’s Best Friend” and the resulting bit of wording is what poured out of my brain when I read that. Hope you enjoy!

“What’ve we got?” Elaine asked as she carefully blew sand off the lenses of her wraparound sunglasses. Rubbing the sand away would scratch the polarized plastic, and she doubted she’d find replacement lenses anytime soon.

“Convoy, ma’am,” Renner called down from his watch post. “Ain’t flying no flags. Should I fire a warning shot, let ‘em know to be heading elsewhere?”

Elaine fought down the urge to say yes. “Renner, in twenty years, when have I ever asked you to fire a warning shot?”

The guardsman coughed. “Never. Ma’am.”

“That’s right. They can come in if they want. They got something to trade, we trade. They got an eye for trouble, well, you’d best not be wasting ammo on warnings.”

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Trial by Moonlight

Time for another flash fiction challenge from TerribleMinds! This time the story had to be a mix of two subgenres  chosen randomly from a list of twenty. I got ‘Shapeshifter’ and ‘Military Sci-Fi’ so, of course, I came up with a tale about werewolves in space! or something similar, at least. Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing it. Enjoy!

Jeremiah forced himself to remember that no one designed spacecraft craft controls for four paws. He struggled to reign in his emotions as the Relentless drone tore through the hull of the cargo ship at the heart of the caravan. Deep breaths. Calming breaths. Ignore the stale taste of recirculated air. Calm. Focus. Sweat matted the thick hair on his arms. Please stay arms, please. The young pilot banked left, away from the caravan. Better shots than him could take out the small probes. Jeremiah knew he couldn’t hit the wide side of a storage bay if he didn’t have his targeting computer engaged. No. Hunt the source. Hunt the Relentless. Tear their throats. His mouth felt cramped. He ran his tongue over rows of too sharp teeth. Focus! If he lost control on his first solo mission, the Terrans would never let him into the Galactic Fleet. He had to prove worthy.

“Mr. Collins, is everything alright?” Mary Nguyen, Captain of the Moonlight Ravager, spoke through his comm.

“Everything’s fine, ma’am. Just need to stretch my legs a little bit.”

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Chasing the Things We Run From

Time for another flash fiction challenge from TerribleMinds! This time the story had to incorporate insomnia in a creative way. At the very least, insomnia is there. This one kind of burned it’s way out of my brain. Not super polished, but I feel it fits the piece. Anyway, enjoy!

The blast of a car horn, loud and long and angry, breaks through the haze. I swerve right, barely avoiding the muscle car bearing down on my little economy cruiser.

Look around. Nothing familiar.

How long have I been driving? Days? Weeks? Months?

Years?

Drinking coffee in identical breakfast joints in identical little towns scattered across the map. Lunch and dinner from the same drive throughs with different names and different faces. Bathrooms at gas stations. Sleep at, well… Nowhere. Everywhere. Caffeinate. Do everything to stay awake.

If I close my eyes I see it. I see her. The blue dress matching her blue eyes. Fear. Sea salt in the air. A cracking ringing sound in my ears. Blood. So much blood. I’ve loved her. I’ve always loved her. But I don’t know her name. Don’t know her face. Except for this moment. This everything. Her hand stroking my cheek. Dropping away.

Gone.

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Flash Fiction Challenge: The Tunnel Beneath

Time for another challenge from Terribleminds. This time, I needed to pick a random image and write a short story about it. This is the image I settled on. Here’s the story. Hope you like it! 

Silent footfalls on matted leaves, still damp with the final rains of autumn. A body, passing quietly through the skeletal trees, no crack of twigs or branches disturbed to alert any watchers above. Rusted metal binding oak still clotted with rich earth.

Jade smiled as the ancient wooden door slid open without a single creak, exposing a rough dirt tunnel leading deep into the darkness.

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Audio Fiction: Sibling Rivalry

One of the short stories I wrote that got shortlisted on the  Mash Stories Blog just made its audio debut. I’m happy with the choice of narrator, but it was written almost a year ago, and I’m painfully aware of how of my style has changed for the better since then.

Still, it’s the first story I wrote set in the Psychomachina universe, and without it I wouldn’t have Red and Mal. So, here it is if you want to give it a listen.

 

FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE: A dog’s dream

Time for another challenge from Terribleminds. This time, I needed to write a short story in five sentences, a real mindset shift after spending the last few months working on a novel length draft. 

The dog barked at the birds outside the window, protecting his family from the intruders in the lawn.

The birds enraged him, not just for being in his yard, but he envied their flight, their freedom.

On a walk, an ancient sorceress (nearly twenty) offered to turn him into a cardinal.

The former dog soared through the skies on scarlet wings, but his heart felt hollow.

He spent the rest of his days on a branch outside the window, singing songs to the family he loved, wishing he could come inside just one last time.