Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tall Tail: The Guardian

Hehehe! I couldn't help myself with the title... (Titles are hard for me, just so you know...) Anyway, MOTIVATION MONDAY IS BACK!!! (In case you missed it) I am so excited! This is probably my favorite flash contest (Thanks, Wakefield Mahon) for two reasons. One, I get to write 500 words! This is the longest flash competition I enter regularly and I LOVE the freedom to flesh out an idea. Two, it's a first sentence prompt. I think I like this as a discovery writer because it gives me even more freedom. I can take the sentence WHEREVER I WANT. Yeah, I'm so glad it's back!

This weeks prompt was the sentence: [Toto], I have a feeling we're not [in Kansas] anymore!

(The words in brackets [ ] give you wiggle room to replace words to fit your story.)

I didn't know Motivation Monday was coming back, so it caught me off guard, but I had to enter! So I woke up early and wrote it in 40 minutes without editing... So it's not as sharp as I'd like it. And the worst part about it is the names...I just didn't have time to get the right ones. This is the first time I've ever written from an animal's perspective, so that was fun. Something different. The third person viewpoint was hard. I don't use it much and when I do I usually go in tight, but I stayed a little back this time. I'm not sure it was the right choice, but I thought I'd try it. I also don't know much about foxes...I don't know exactly why I picked them, but I think I somehow made them a cross between a dog and a cat? I don't know. I was trying to do some worldbuilding for a furture novel Little Red Riding Hood retelling with a scifi-ish twist. Even with all that, it turned out fun and I won an Honorable Mention! WooHoo! Anyway, I hope you like it! Let me know what you think! :)


“Shifting Sand, I have a feeling we’re not in Furania anymore!” Shining Water dipped her nose to the ground and sniffed at the detritus on the forest floor.

“Howling Hounds, Shiner! Whatever gave you that idea?” He flipped his head and raised the tuft of hair on his neck.

“There’s no need for the sarcasm, Shifty, I was just – ”

“Stating the obvious?” Shifty interrupted. “Did you think passing through the portal into the guardian’s land would put us back in the hollow?”

Shiner dipped her head almost to the ground and lowered her bushy tail between her legs, “Of course not. I guess I thought stating the obvious would help me be a little less nervous.”

Shifty moved forward to nuzzle his friend, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped. I guess I’m a little nervous too.”

“I wasn’t even sure it would work! I mean, Lumpy seemed to be telling the truth, but if wolves ever got anything right…”

“…the streams would dry up and the land fall from under our feet, I know. But it looks like he was at least telling part of the truth. C’mon!” Shifty took one last look at the tree behind him pulsing the white glow from the rift in its trunk, then put his head to the ground and his ears up as they moved away.

They soon came to a clearing with a little house in the center. They dipped low to the ground and watched as a female – something – emerged from behind carrying food in a basket.

“Grandmother!” The animal bared her teeth.

Shiner whispered, “Do you suppose she’s the Guardian?”

“Rose? Is that you?” Came an answer from within and the front door banged open hastily. “You weren’t supposed to be here until after noon!” This female was much older. It carried a staff with a hook on the end and wore a red cape with a hood drawn up.

“No. This one is.” Shifty replied.

“Are you going somewhere?” The young one looked around, “I thought maybe we could picnic at the lake and it would take time to get there…” Her voice trailed off as she stared at the old one.

The old one glanced hastily around the clearing and shook her head, “It’s not safe right now dear. Go on inside. I’ll only be a moment.” The young one was waved inside and the old one shut the door. She closed her eyes and held the staff out, then her head turned unerringly toward the hiding foxes.

“She’s seen us!” Shiner whined, a small whimper escaped.

“No she hasn’t, we’re too well hidden… But she’s heard you for sure now!”

“She’s going to beat us like Lumpy said!” And Shiner bolted from the brush back to the Portal. The old one watched her go, then looked back at the hiding place. Shifty had a moment of panic and accidentally marked the spot before running after her as fast as he could.

Another Miracle

This piece was written for Flash! Friday March 8th at Rebekah Postupak's blog. The prompt was a 200 word story (10 word grace either way) based on the photo prompt:

Foggy field

I finished it in 206 words... That was tough... :)  I'm not really thrilled with the ending, but I had to re-write it several times and what I wanted to say was just TOO MANY WORDS... Grrr. Ah well. Enjoy!

Gabriel finished his morning prayers, making his way around the steaming earth that held the hopes of the world, or would have if they’d known of it. There would be sprouts tomorrow. Finally.

A tingle went up his spine. He turned to see the lad running like a hare hunted.

Jonas tumbled to the ground at his feet, gasping for breath, “The river. They’ve found a way though somehow…”

“No.” Gabriel breathed and glanced back at the tilled earth in frustration. “I need more time!”

“Then ask for it.” Fear and trust warred in Jonas’s eyes.

“I’ve already asked for too much…Another miracle would be…”

“Necessary?” Passion contorted his face. “Perhaps there is no such thing as too much. Perhaps we’re supposed to ask for everything.”

“But…That’s not tradition. I’m not prepared! I haven’t completed the rituals…”

“If you don’t ask, we’re dead! What have we got to lose?”

“I don’t know…”

Jonas grunted in exasperation, “I’ll do it then.” He began to pray.

Gabriel took a deep breath and placed his hand on Jonas’s shoulder. “You’re right. Forgive me.” He bent to pray. Together they begged for another miracle to protect the first – For a way, yet again, to save the world.

The earth moved…

Monster Chairs

This piece was written for Flash! Friday February 22nd over at Rebekah Postupak's blog. This was a 150-200 word story based on the photo prompt:

Chairs Alin

...REALLY awesome photo! I had so much fun writing this one! I was totally proud of didn't win anything. :(  HOWEVER, Rebekah used it for her Flash Points piece that week! It was really fun to see someone break down my writing and analyze it a bit. (I love you, Rebekah!) So, without further adieu, coming in at 200 words exactly - Monter Chairs! :)

“Well that… wasn’t what I expected at all!” Tempest stared unblinking at the chairs, her mouth hanging open slightly.

“But the spell worked, right? You did it! No more zombies!” Constance began a celebratory dance with all the exuberance of one who only moments before wasn’t sure she would live through the hour.

“Worked? No, it didn’t exactly work.” Tempest still hadn’t blinked. She gestured expansively with her hand at the chairs, “they’re not supposed to be there.”

Constance stopped dancing, “The chairs? But what does it matter? They’re not zombies anymore.”

Tempest finally blinked, turned to Constance, and raised her eyebrows, “What does it matter? The spell didn’t work. If one thing didn’t work, how can we know what happened? Did it change them into chairs? Did it switch them with chairs from somewhere? Is this temporary? What happens –” She glanced back at the chairs.

The chairs were walking toward them.

“Connie, they’re moving.” Tempest took a step backward.

Constance inhaled slowly through her nose, “They’re chairs. What can they do to us?”

Tempest grabbed her by the arm, “C’mon! Who knows what they are! The spell went wrong somehow!”

Constance stumbled, “They can’t hurt us… Can they?”

Murder Mystery

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted anything! Life kind of blew up for me this past month. You all know about my Writing Excuses Retreat win, but that very same week my hubby was offered a job that he accepted. Which means this month was spent packing and cleaning so that we could put our house on the market so that we can move out of state. I haven't had any time to get on the computer, much less write...mostly. Anyway, long story short, the house is for sale and it looks good enough I don't have to spend EVERY free second making it look better. :)

I have written four flash pieces this past month that I haven't posted, so here's the first one. It was for Flash! Friday over at Rebekah Postupak's blog. It's a great flash fiction site if you're looking to jump in and join us! The prompts change each week, so you never know what's coming. In addition to the Friday prompt, she also has a critique piece on one of the non-winning entries and an interview with the overall winner that week. Super fun!

This piece was written for Feb 15th's competition. That week was a 150-400 word murder mystery story based on your choice of both a weapon and location.



 I chose the poisoned wine and the staircase. It came in at 398 words. Enjoy! :)

By the way, this was one of my first attempts at 3rd person omniscient viewpoint...I'm not sure it came out right, but it was fun! It was way longer and I had to cut a lot out to fit the word count...

The poison took time to increase in potency to the point where it would kill. That made it untraceable. It was placed in the wine and left to age. It would be opened tonight.

They were drinking out of custom goblets. The glass cup was ensconced within intricate iron filigree. Each was unique: a dragon, a fox, a ram, a bull, a stag, a snake, and an eagle.

The goblets were left alone in the kitchen, full and awaiting service, for too long.  It needed only a moment to place the poison. The deed was done.

The girl, unknowing, carried the tray into the dining room, placed it on the buffet, curtsied, and withdrew. The conversation stopped as each eyed the goblets with knowing looks.

“Splendid!” Gordon stood and waved his arms toward the drinks, “Grab a goblet and we shall discuss business particulars upstairs.”

His six guests filed over and picked one seemingly at random.

“Look here!” exclaimed Tidus, “I do believe this is a bull! Beautiful work.”

The rest raised their goblets to see the animal on their own. Michael said in disgust, “I’ll not have a stag! Give me the bull!” And he yanked the goblet out of Tidus’ hand and replaced it with the stag.

Marcus laughed, “I don’t know how I ended up with the snake, but that seems more befitting your character, Caius.” He held it out with a quirk of his eyebrow.

Caius smirked, inclined his head, and exchanged his own ram.

“And if there is anyone quite so cunning as a fox it’s Bartholomew. This cup was made for you.” Peter raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips as he waited to see whether Bartholomew would take it.

Bartholomew squinted his eyes at Peter for a moment before reaching for the fox. He held it up and examined it before handing his own dragon to Peter.

“Oh my!” Peter continued, “And this is a dragon! Surely this belongs to the master of the house!” He turned toward Gordon and smiled.

Gordon eyed his own eagle for a moment before relinquishing it with a small smile and a nod of his head. “Are we all thus arranged?” He didn’t wait for a reply, “To my partners in crime, may we grow stronger together.” They each raised their goblet and drank.

As they all ascended the spiral staircase, Michael fell down dead.