MftS: Within Shadows

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Within Shadows

Not knowing what to expect, he made his way into the dark of the forest, fingers clenched on the hilt of the ancient dagger as he picked a careful route. His eyes strained, peering into the shadows that crouched beneath the trees. Each branch that scraped against skin made him flinch; every rustle of movement caused his heart to race. They could be anywhere: watching, waiting. Ready to strike.

So many people – friends, family – had already died, their faces twisted into agonised rictuses. Those who still remained huddled within the dubious safety of their homes, too scared to venture outside. This was their only hope. He was their only hope.

He wasn’t a coward but…

How could he fight an enemy he couldn’t even see?

Word Count: 110


Some of you may have noticed that my presence on the blog has reduced recently. This is mainly because I’ve decided to join in with NaNoWriMo this year and have been spending a lot of time planning the novel I’m intending to write – tentatively titled ‘The Age of the Dragonlords’. Because of this I’ll be blogging less and less over the next few weeks and during November I’ll be on the blog with only the occasional update or photography post. I’ll miss visiting everyone’s posts (I love you all!) but hopefully I’ll be back in December and not too engrossed in editing…

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MftS: Interlude

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Interlude

Now this is living the life of Riley.

Axien blinked open his eyes, yawning as he rolled away from the bright sunlight that bathed him. He felt as indulgent as one of the pampered cats that stalked the temple precinct. It had been so long since he’d last been able to relax.

He’d savour it while he could – after all, it wouldn’t be long before work summoned him again. For months now he’d been kept busy. The war kept everyone busy. It was… draining. Even sleeping in his own bed had been a scarce occurrence of late.

Axien groaned as a tentative knock sounded. He reluctantly rose from his bed, pulling on work clothes as he ordered the visitor to enter. It seemed his interlude was over.

“Sir.” The servant’s voice shook. His eyes remained lowered. “A new prisoner has been brought in. Lord Brecan asks that you to attend.”

The Chief Interrogator’s work was never over.

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MftS: Guardian upon the Tower

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Guardian upon the Tower

Few knew about the castle hidden inside the island. Only the watchtower was visible to the world beyond. The chambers within which his people lived, where intricate carvings gleamed in softly enchanted light, were hidden beneath the rocky slopes. As Garrin watched a group of tourists wheezing their way to the island’s summit, he hoped it stayed that way.

From his vantage point upon the tower, concealed behind a veil of magic, he observed such groups with unpleasant regularity. He felt little but disgust. Their disrespectful antics as they traipsed over the ancient masonry, voices loud and brash, was nothing compared to the debris left in their wake.

The girl was different.

She fascinated him. Day after day she sat in silent serenity, her pencil skimming over the sketchpad upon her knee. An enticing curl of auburn hair tumbled over her forehead. A gentle smile curved her lips.

He wondered how she’d smile at the sight of the citadel below.

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MftS: Silent Guardian

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Silent Guardian

From her small balcony, the witch watched the world go by.

It was a peaceful life – the perfect escape from civilisation’s exhausting demands. Charms draped the house in jingling disorder, shielding it from her neighbours’ notice; others sewn into her clothes diverted their attention as she mingled with their crowds.

As much as she loved the quiet, she did have to admit to the occasional bout of loneliness. Her three hundred years of guardianship had stretched on in the long silence demanded but, at times, she longed to talk to… someone. Anyone.

Those times were rare, however.

As she watched the girl skip along the path – a path that had been familiar with her tread alone for centuries – she knew her peace was about to be shattered. She shivered, unsettled, as she faced the realisation that her duty neared its end. The universe had chosen her replacement.

Her long silence was finally over. She rose to her feet.

“Greetings, Child,” she said.

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MftS: The Bare Bones

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt: © 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

The Bare Bones

The cemetery spread along the area known as Devil’s Abode. Some knew it by a different name: The Gateway, home to the King of Bones.

The group paraded in solemn order, Andrew’s coffin borne aloft. Will’s despair grew with every step he took. Had he not left early, not been distracted by seductively swaying hips, he could have stopped them – his brother would still be alive.

Tears dampened his cheeks as they entered the mausoleum, descending into darkness. For centuries their family had interred their dead within the chamber below, the underworld’s guardian assuring the departed soul’s safe passage.

“Farewell, brother,” Will murmured as they placed Andy’s casket before the king upon his skeletal throne.

Piercing eyes glinted as the ancient being turned his gaze in Will’s direction: uncovering truth; easing guilt. A voice rumbled through his mind. “No blame lies with you, wise protector. The brave one made his own choices.”

Will bowed his head, accepting absolution.

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MftS & SPF: A Sister’s Love

This post is in response to both Monday’s Finish the Story and the Sunday Photo Fiction flash fiction challenges, run by and Alistair Forbes, respectively. Monday’s Finish the Story, run by Barbara W. Beacham gives  a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics. Alistair Forbes Sunday Photo Fiction challenge gives a photo prompt and asks that you complete the story in around 200 words.

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2015-08-24 – Photo taken of an old photo in 2014 – Barbara W. Beacham

A Sister’s Love

The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be anything special.

After all, how could he, with blood tainted by an unmarried, working-class mother? His arrogant relatives rarely missed an opportunity to remind him that they fed and clothed an orphaned by-blow out of charity alone. Even decades later the pain of their disregard stung.

Only Edith had supported him.

Luigi touched gnarled fingers to the faded face of his beloved half-sister, the picture drawing him to days nearly a century past.

“My success was all because of her,” he told the biographer scribbling notes.

Edith’s affection never wavered, despite her mother’s disdain. She’d dried his tears and encouraged his play among the cogs and wheels, uncaring of the smears of grease; she’d praised his strange contraptions. Later she’d used her own allowance to augment the pittance granted to him, allowing him to follow his dreams of intricate clockwork.

Without her he’d never have become one of the world’s greatest horologists.

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An intricate wristwatch – © Alistair Forbes

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frogs.

               Monday’s Finish the Story                                                  Sunday Photo Fiction

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MftS: The Prophet’s Words

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt - © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt – © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

The Prophet’s Words

“I see absolutely everything,” Draeg answered, glaring at the man invading his sanctum, “past, present and future. And it is true – the treaty with your people compels me to answer your questions.”

The sun was at its peak when the man arrived, disturbing the most potent dreamtime. From the flouncy clothes and measly bag of tribute, he was obviously a townsman who’d heard tales of the dragon prophet. He hadn’t, however, heeded the warnings.

“I,” the man announced pompously, “am embarking upon an overseas venture. Will it be profitable, Wyrm?”

Draeg huffed a wisp of smoke. His response was carefully worded. “A great profit will be made from the venture,” he said.

The only requirement was truth and truth he spoke. A profit would be made but not by the arrogant merchant.

Finally alone again, he settled back into the dreamscape with a sense of satisfaction. The pettiest vengeance was always the most enjoyable.

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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