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This is one of those things I really want to talk about but I can’t give out too many details yet. The publisher hasn’t given me the green light to name names, but one of my short stories has been accepted in an anthology that should become available the weekend after Labor Day (or so).
It’s a tad unusual. The publisher wrote a novel and thus created a universe. He’s writing a sequel to that novel, but in-between the first and the second, he invited various writers to try their/our hand at crafting a short tale in that self-same universe.
So of course I did and it was accepted.
The graphic at the top is a heavily cropped image of the poster for all three books, and while it’s pretty colorful, it (hopefully) reveals nothing.
I will provide you with a bit of an excerpt just to whet your whistle, metaphorically speaking.
Image of “The Tower” Tarot card found at biddytarot.com/
Sir Edward, the Black Prince, was startled to stupefaction at discovering himself suddenly removed from the cries, blood, and gore of the Battle of Crécy. Father had left the field intentionally, gambling on his son’s ability to win the day. Now sorcery had stolen victory from him and placed him where?
Her hideous screams followed her all the way down from the top of the tower as she fell, their last echo dying as she struck the earth and stone with a sickening “thump.” She bounced once, which almost made him laugh to his horror, then she ceased to move at all.
The night, for it was night here, was illuminated by flashes of lightning, rolling thunder causing him to tremble. His sturdy mount, white mane and noble stature, struggled against the bit and reins, trying to escape the macabre scene, but he was in control…barely.
Post apocalyptic art by Albert Goodwin, 1903 – a work in the public domain
Gray-haired, burnt-skinned Santos had forgotten the number of times he had appealed to the Glow for an end to his journey through the hell lands. He couldn’t fool himself with the placebo anymore, and so as he put out the campfire and slipped on his rucksack, the dull pain in his right knee became his rough companion with each step, thanks to the oblique scar left by the direwolf last Fall.
The old woman he encountered in one of the shelters reclaimed from a flatlands hell crater had tried to minister to him, but the scar tissue had already formed, and her potions were far too weak to repair damaged cartilage. Being maimed didn’t bother him as much as the fact that having to leave her alone again, she died two days hence, probably by the same pack that had struck at him, as evidenced by the sign of the carrion birds circling above her hut.
But heartstrings weren’t something he could afford. She had refused to go with him when he asked. The reluctant ranger told her the plague to the East was spreading by rats and sand hares, had consumed his community, and that the only safety was his destination, the half-mythical city beyond the western foothills. But she said she’d made her peace with the high desert and the hell lands. Her husband and five sons had died during the first disaster, and being of prairie stock, she chose to stay, to tend their graves, living off of a meager garden, wearing sackcloth and ashes.
She never said her name or how long she’d been alone, but he kept seeing her face, cut and grooved with wrinkles like a river delta as step by step, limping, praying to the Glow with each gasp of pain, he kept walking.
Found at ComicVine.com
Spider silk clung at the doors, over the windows, across everything she had left behind. It was the one place she had allowed to remain, had not purged with fire, the first home she had ever known with Mommy and Daddy.
But that was over twenty years ago. She and Daddy had abandoned their small mountain retreat after Mommy died of cancer. It, along with everything else Daddy owned, had passed down to her in trust when he died. She had only been five at the time, and Daddy’s boss, billionaire Keyne Harlan, took care of everything for her, adopted her, provided her with the finest of everything, home, clothes, education, everything a little girl needed to grow up. Everything except love.
“I wish I didn’t have to do this.” Twenty-five year old inventor and heiress Alise Egan was standing on the front porch of the new dilapidated cottage in the High Sierras, thirty miles from Yosemite National Park. Keyne and his usual entourage used to rent several suites at the Yosemite Valley Lodge twice a year as she was growing up, Spring and Autumn, taking her to the park for their biannual bicycle and music festival, but it was the closest she ever got to the Egan’s vacation home up until now.
© Gah Learner
“Honey, come here. The full moon is so beautiful tonight.” Robin and Noah Clarke were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in a small resort town and had just returned to their hotel room after dinner.
“Full moon?” Noah picked up his smartphone and started pushing virtual buttons.
“Can’t you leave that thing alone and come watch the moon with me, please?” Minor annoyance etched her voice. “We’re on our second honeymoon…”
“That can’t be the Moon. Moonrise isn’t for another hour and the window faces west.”
Robin turned and looked out again. “Oh my God. You’re right. It’s getting bigger.”
I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields 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.
The light in the photo is apparently the Moon, but then again, what if it isn’t?
To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.
© A Mixed Bag 2013
“Thank God we stocked up on supplies before it got bad, Rick.”
“Must be the frustrated Boy Scout in me. Never want to get caught with my shorts down.”
Rick and Rachel Norman turned when they heard the giggling behind them. Their daughters, five-year-old Amie and her two-and-a-half-year-old sister Hannah were laughing. “Daddy’s shorts down,” Amie chuckled. The girls thought the idea was hilarious. As long as Mom and Dad were with them, they had nothing to worry about.
“You two squirts want breakfast?” Daddy pretended to chase the now squealing children while Mommy turned back to look out the window. The food wouldn’t last forever and the news said the devastating series of rainstorms assailing California had no end in sight. Years of drought and now this.
“No power, so it’s cereal again, kids.” Daddy served them with entertaining flourish getting the milk from the cooler. Like Rachel, he was worried too. They had to hold out until the rescuers came. News radio said Police and Firefighters were making sweeps of the different neighborhoods by boat, but they could only go so fast.
“Soon, God. Make it soon for the sake of our Babies,” he uttered his silent prayer.
Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction for September 10th 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200 even.
My wife is out of town and my son works weekends, so I spent all Saturday and Sunday with my two grandchildren. They can be a handful, especially my two-year-old granddaughter, but they are definitely worth it. Monday morning and back at work again. I won’t see them for at least another week, so of course they’re on my mind.
I know it would probably have made more sense to choose Houston, New Orleans, or any place in Florida as the scene of my disaster, but given the long-standing drought California has endured, I thought I’d “spread the wealth,” so to speak.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.