Adventure’s Bitter Memories

old tree

© Sandra Crook

Nine-year-old Taylor jumped grabbing the tree’s largest branch and pulled himself up. He danced among the leaves this way and that like cinematic swashbuckler’s of old, wielding his sword.

“Taylor, Grandpa said it’s time for dinner.”

Darn. His twin sister Paris. “I’ll be down in a minute.”

“He said now.”

The boy stopped and looked down at her. He used to ignore Paris but they’d been through too much together. He remembered when the demons were real and she almost died.

“Okay. Coming.” With acrobatics honed on the battlefield of Dragonworld he deftly landed near his twin. “I’m here now.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

As you might have guessed, I’m again leveraging ideas I’ve presented in The Whisperer, Mr. Covingham’s Secret and other similar stories about a group of five siblings who are somehow spirited away to another realm, one of dragons and demons, of friendship and warfare.

In today’s tale, I showcase two of Zooey’s siblings, twins Taylor and Paris. I’m writing a novel with these children at the center. I’ve got four chapters in rough draft now and am continuing to write. Hopefully, these wee tales will whet your appetite.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

For a different point of view on the old tree, and a look at one of Taylor’s other siblings, read The Remembering Tree, an expanded tale based on today’s prompt.

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The Gremlins Will Get You If You Don’t Watch Out

gremlin

From the 1984 film “Gremlins”.

Landon was practicing using his invisibility cloak. Buddy had cast more spells on it to keep the cloak from pulling him too far into the invisible universe the way it once had his sister.

She was a lot older now but still a baby, especially when she threw her big tantrums. Buddy was busy talking with Grandpa in his study and his sister Dani was playing with her toys in the living room. Here was his chance to play a trick on her. He looked at himself in the bathroom mirror to make sure he couldn’t see himself, then he snuck out into the hallway.

The living stuffed animals were playing a rousing game of “Uno” in his bedroom so they wouldn’t be in the way.

He tiptoed into the living room. He could see Buddy and Grandpa in the study through the glass doors. They were still talking. Grandpa was showing the little Ambrosial Dragon something on his laptop. Dani had her back to him playing with her duplos. I wouldn’t matter if she were looking right at him though, since she’d see right through him.

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Fox Strikes a Bargain

fox

© A Mixed Bag – 2012

The Fantastic Mr. Fox was pissed. It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. He and his mates were supposed to outwit those three dumb farmers and steal all the food, but when he was raiding Bean’s henhouse, the old boy got the upper hand and caught him in a box trap.

Oh, it’s the middle of the night to be sure so he’s still in bed, but when dawn comes, the bastard and his two pals would have him cold and then where would the Fox’s family be?

“If you agree not to hurt us, we’ll let you out.”

“What? Who’s there?”

“Are you daft? You’re in a henhouse. We’re the hens.”

“If you let me out and I don’t hurt you, what is my family supposed to eat, not to mention my friend Badger and his brood? We have a right to live, too.”

“We know where the farmers keep their larder. Play it smart, and you’ll eat like kings.”

“Seems reasonable. Okay ladies, you have a bargain.”

Thanks to the tunneling skills of Fox and Badger, from that day forth, the livestock and the woodland animals cooperated and they all lived well.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of October 1st 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

Yes, I leveraged Roald Dahl’s 1970 children’s tale Fantastic Mr. Fox for this one. It was the second thing I thought of when I saw the photo. Actually, I thought three things.

First, that fox looked pissed. Second, the Fantastic Mr. Fox popped into my head, so I looked the book up on Wikipedia. The third was I didn’t have the heart to write about a dead and taxidermied animal.

I also didn’t think it appropriate (though it would be natural) for the fox to be freed only to kill and eat the hens, so I worked out a deal between the two “factions” where they’d all benefit.

True story. I used to live in a home in the local foothills and behind my house was a small wild area. We did periodically see a fox hunting out there who we dubbed “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” We even saw him once walking in our backyard with a mouse’s tail hanging out his mouth (presumably the rest of the mouse was inside).

Alas, he killed Mr. Duck’s mate at one point and the Duck was very cranky from that day on.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The New Home

shoes spider webs

© Sarah Potter

After he died, I put Dad’s old shoes in my closet and then forgot about them.

Come Autumn, I decided to clean out my closet and found them again. This time, they weren’t old shoes anymore.

“Grandpa, what’s that?”

My six-year-old granddaughter had caught me about get rid of the infested footwear.

“Just old shoes.”

“They’re filled with spider webs. Do Charlotte’s babies live there?”

I’d shown Mia the movie “Charlotte’s Web” recently. Now I knew what I had to do.

Mia and I found a safe place for them in my shed.

I’m still not getting a pig.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

It is true that after my Dad died in April, I took a pair of his old shoes as a backup pair to the ones I currently wear. It’s also true that recently, I showed my grandchildren the 2006 live action version film version of Charlotte’s Web. The combination of the two, plus the photo, inspired this wee tale.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Monster Under Carrie’s Bed

monster

Poster from the film “Under the Bed” (2012)

Carrie heard the strange scratching sounds in the walls of her bedroom again.

“Mommy! Daddy!” She screamed out to her parents for the third time that night.

Daddy trudged into her bedroom. It had been an exhausting week. For the past five nights, Carrie kept swearing something was making scary noises in her walls. For the past five nights, her parents Bill and Sandy came in, but they could never hear anything.

Sandy thought there might be a mouse in the walls. Bill thought that moving to the new house a month ago was harder on their seven-year-old daughter than they thought it would be.

“Daddy, I’m so scared.” Carrie leapt out of her bed and jumped into his arms. He held and comforted his little girl.

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The Mysterious Mummy

mummy

Stephen Voss – Smithsonian Magazine

The Tenth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

Landon had been bored and sleepy until the plane began its final descent toward Cairo International Airport. Then his face was glued to the window taking in every detail of a city that was over a thousand years old. Grandpa was sitting next to him, enjoying his eight-year-old grandson’s enthusiasm.

They had planned this vacation for months, ever since Grandpa read Landon the “Goosebumps” book Return of the Mummy by R.L. Stine. Grandpa actually had a friend in Egypt named Issa Salib who was an archaeologist, a person who studies history by digging at ancient sites like the pyramids, examining what they find…

…like mummies.

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The Magic Boat Ride

boat

© KayllistisQuill.com

Landon knew the boat was magic the minute he saw it. The 10-year-old boy and his 4 1/2-year-old sister Dani were vacationing with their Dad and his latest girlfriend at a beach house in California.

“C’mon, Dani. Let’s have an adventure.” He took his sister’s hand and helped her follow him into the boat.

“What about, Landon?” She looked up at him quizzically.

He stood dramatically facing forward. “Our spaceship to Mars is taking off!”

Imagination abruptly became reality as the magical boat and its tiny passengers rocketed out of Earth’s atmosphere.

This is the third and final piece of flash fiction in my series, inspired by photos at KayllistisQuill.com. The first story is The Prayer followed by Over the Edge.

I had a little fun putting my grandchildren in this one, even though I had to age them about three years.

I allowed myself a maximum of 100 words, and this story came in at a mere 91.

The Adversary

ninja

Image: pngall.com

The Ninth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

It was very early in the morning and the first day back at school after the Christmas break for seven-year-old Landon. Buddy, the Ambrosial Dragon who had become part of the family nearly five months ago, was sitting out in front of Grandpa’s house. Everyone was just getting up except for little 18-month-old Dani, Landon’s sister, who was still warm and asleep in her crib.

Grandpa’s house was outside of town and considered pretty remote. Even then, Buddy didn’t go outside during the day time just in case someone saw him. He looked left and right, up and down. Only the occasional bird overhead. No cars, no people walking, no one to see him.

David, Landon and Dani’s Dad, and Grandpa were going to have to shovel the driveway before they could go anywhere, well, that’s what they thought, anyway.

No one around.

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Savior in a Storm

thunderstormThe Eighth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

Four months ago.

The little Ambrosial Dragon was totally outmatched by the huge Shadow Dragon. Somehow, his mortal foe had detected him crossing the spaces between worlds and had pursued him. The smaller dragon was already almost exhausted. He had been hiding out from Shadow Dragons for months, moving from one realm to another, barely staying ahead of them.

Tonight, his luck had finally run out.

“You will die like all of your kind, golden one. Perish in agony, fool!”

The larger dragon used a combination of magic and brute force, striking his smaller opponent again and again. The little dragon was getting weaker. Fighting back would be useless. He couldn’t even begin to penetrate the dark dragon’s defenses in the current circumstances. But if he could open a doorway into the world he detected earlier, the one where magic almost does not exist, he could escape. The portal would allow only the smaller dragon through. The Shadow Dragon would be much too big to follow.

The Ambrosial Dragon was getting dizzy. It was hard to focus the spell, but if he failed, he’d die.

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The Apprentice

magical

Image: AA VFX YouTube channel

The Sixth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

This story resolves the cliffhanger begun in the previous tale The March of the Stuffed Animals. Read that story before continuing here.

Eldritch magic surrounded Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon and Tarmreiboth the Dark Wizard of Setioval as they battled for the very soul of a seven-year-old boy. Landon was lying unconscious in a circle of light surrounded by living stuffed animals, animated by Landon’s own spell which was secretly taught to him by the Dark Wizard, the animals ultimately being controlled by that same wizard.

Landon’s Dad and Grandpa watched helplessly, held motionless by the dark magic of the stuffed animals, as the dragon and the wizard wove brilliant and violent spells around each other designed to defeat; to annihilate. Buddy fought to take Landon and his family back home and to safety, while Tarmreiboth desired that the child become his apprentice and an operative of evil, perhaps one day to inherit the title of Dark Wizard.

The only illumination in this out-of-the-way “pocket” dimension, not a true realm, but a reality constructed for just this purpose, was from the circle of light surrounded by the stuffed animals and the flashes of magic woven by the two combatants, but somehow, Grandpa and Dad could see everything.

“You cannot defeat me, dragon. You never could. That’s why you ran away with the boy last time.” The wizard was confident and with good reason. Although possibly thousands of years old, in many ways Buddy was still young and immature. He could not make full use of his abilities yet, while Tarmreiboth was at the height of his powers.

“Me fight. Me win. Love Landon. Save him.” If a pure heart and determination were all that mattered, Buddy would have given the dark wizard serious competition, but unfortunately even goodness and love had to give way to superior skills and strength. Buddy could feel himself weakening.

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