The Princess and the Bear

girl and bear

Photo credit: Google images – found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Catherine and Vincent were in love, but cursed by the evil Bishop of Aquila to forever be apart. She had spurned his blasphemous advances, and though thought to be the faithful servant of the Holy Pope, he in fact was in league with dark and sinister forces.

He discovered her affair with Vincent, Captain of the King’s Guard, a relationship forbade her due to her royal blood, and so with His Majesty’s blessings, a powerful spell born in Hell forever changed the man Vincent was into a huge, ferocious beast.

“Oh, sure. You want it now. Can’t you wait until we get to the cabin? In case you haven’t noticed, its freezing.”

Come on, Baby. Don’t be like that. You’re just mad because I was hibernating with those other bears.”

“I noticed how you had your eye on the large female.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Dark Mirror

shack and mirror

© Yinglan Z.

When Chance Bailey returned to his deceased father’s estate, he found nothing but refuse and rubble. The woman he had a “chance” encounter with in that dive bar on the wharf had been his long-lost sister, and she had taken the bulk of the old man’s wealth, which should have been their shared inheritance. Now all he had was a single 18th century gold coin and his father’s ruined land.

There was an old shed and a strange black mirror, which he had never seen before. Yet when he presented his coin to father’s solicitor, he was told vast riches could be found here.

It didn’t look like glass. More like iron filings swirled by magnetism. Chance reached out with recently washed fingers and touched.

Then he was in a cave on an island hundreds of years and thousands of miles away. There were chests full of gold doubloons, all the wealth he would ever need. This was the secret of the old man’s fortune. The mirror was the greatest treasure of them all.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of April 10, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

Yesterday, in response to a different challenge, I wrote The Pit Fiend Promise in which a man who had lived a wasted life after being rejected by his wealthy father, finds out via a mysterious messenger (his long lost sister, though he didn’t recognize her), that “the old man” had died, and his inheritance was there for the taking (half actually, since sister had gotten there first).

In today’s story, though it seems at first that Chance has inherited nothing but ashes, he discovers the secret to how his father built wealth in the first place. Now how will he use it?

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

An Unlikely Seagull

seagull

© Alastair Forbes

Sixteen year old Jeff would do anything, even go to the zoo with his parents and brothers, rather than deal with Suzanna’s jealousy. He had to turn off the ringtone and vibrate features on his iPhone and block the SMS service so she couldn’t call or text him.

At first, he thought he was going to be bored, but all of the different animal exhibits were interesting and even fun.

He still couldn’t get his mind off of Suzanna, though. When they started dating, she seemed nice, if a bit strange, but now she was totally possessive. Lucky he had Jan to talk to, but if Suzanna ever found out…

There was a big crowd in front of him at the Seal exhibit, but he wanted a photo, so he held his phone over his head to get a picture.

“Hey!” Jeff felt a sudden jerk and looked up to see a large seagull flying away with his iPhone. Mom and Dad were going to kill him.

Suzanne landed behind the public restrooms at Ocean Beach near Sloat and then transformed back into a teenage girl. “Now we’ll see what you’ve been texting to that little slut Jan.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of April 8th, 2018. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

I must confess that I read Joy Pixley’s story Secret Salvos before crafting my tale, so I was probably influenced by it.

The object in the gull’s mouth looks kind of like a cell phone, though I doubt the bird could hold something so (relatively) heavy in its beak for very long. That means it couldn’t be an ordinary seagull, could it?

Way, way back in the day, like the late 1970s, I remember visiting the San Francisco Zoo (where my story is set) and I was about to feed a seal a piece of fish, holding it (the fish, not the seal) above my head, when I felt a sudden jerk and the fish was gone. A seagull had flown down and plucked it out of my hand. I let Suzanna do the same thing with Jeff’s phone.

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

Oh, I understand the host of this challenge has to let it go at the end of the month due to health problems. My schedule prevents me from having sufficient discretionary time to pick it up, but I hope someone else will.

The New Apprentice

falcon

A peregrine falcon flies near the Throgs Neck Bridge. Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin.

Landon stood majestically on top of the wind-swept plateau dressed in archaic and stereotypical magician’s apparel. The robe draped over his slight nine-year-old frame from neck to ankle was colored a deep violet with bright yellow crescent moons and five-pointed stars dappled generously across the fabric. His head was adorned with a tall, conical hat made of the same material, displaying identical hue and decoration.

In his right hand, he held a long, slender wand made of a dark wood with no name, and on his left hand and wrist, he bore a thick, heavy glove of leather. High above in the deep azure sky, he saw a mere speck of darkness contrast against the pink and yellow clouds, spread thin as paper by the light of the setting sun to his back.

The wind rushed past his ears, but he could still hear the distinct cry of the falcon circling over his head. The bird of prey was too high for him to hear the boy, but he projected his thoughts into the heavens and the avian would be compelled to respond.

“You must choose now, Perry. Is she to join us or not?”

Continue reading

The Dragon’s Legerdemain

stuffed toys

Produced by DollyAndPaws and found at Etsy

The dragon was about the size of a small St Bernard and covered with golden scales. He had two hind legs but his forearms ended with what could have been hands complete with opposable thumbs. His eyes where the most human thing about him, a crystal clear blue, like water in a mountain stream. When he opened his mouth, the first thing you saw were hundreds of needle-thin, razor-sharp teeth, and then a long, tapered tongue the color of raspberries.

His long, thin wings fluttered but not as fast as a hummingbird’s and his tail wagged back and forth with annoyance like a common house cat, and yet he was far more fierce than even the greatest feline predator in any jungle.

The source of his annoyance, actually it was more like trepidation, was the vision that had manifested before him. It was late on a Sunday morning. Landon had been helping Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon test the boy’s young friend Ana for potentially possessing a latent magical ability. To that end, they were using a story book that allowed the user to bring into reality any tale the book contained. The story they’d chosen was that of a cloud city.

Continue reading

Trapped Between Dark and Darker

black dragon

Found at wallpapersafari.com

In a mysterious floating cloud city, eight-year-old Landon and his friend Ana were trapped in a roomful of inter-dimensional portals by a smoke dragon. When the dragon’s snout broke open a door from the outside, it bumped into the boy, knocking both he and the girl through a gateway into the unknown.

“Landon!” Ana cried out as she fell into nothingness.

The boy reached out and grabbed her by the waist and then used his levitation spell. “No, not this time. We’re not going to fall into another world.” He used the spell to stop and then reverse their motion. He didn’t take the time to look around but concentrated on getting the both of them back up and through the opening to cloud city.

“We’re almost there, Ana.” Landon could see the other side. Some of the mist from the sky city was drifting toward them, but was it mist or smoke? Then an intensely hot stream of flame shot through as the dragon tried to incinerate them from the other world.

Reflexively, Landon, still holding onto Ana, dove beneath the flames and further into…what?

Then the light vanished. Landon and Ana looked up and the doorway back to the cloud city was gone. In fact everything was gone.

Continue reading

Walking in the Clouds

cloud city

(Courtesy of Chung Ti’en Television/YouTube)

She was lost in the fog wondering how she had gotten there. The last thing Ana remembered was playing during recess at school. No, that wasn’t right. School had ended and she walked home. Was it foggy when school let out? No, it only gets foggy in the morning and only on some mornings.

“It’s not fog. It can’t be. I should be able to see houses. I’m not on the sidewalk. The ground is made out of fog. But if that were true, I’d fall through it, yet it feels solid.”

“Wait. Landon?”

Ana woke up safe and warm in bed. Why did she call out to Landon? She liked her friend and she recently found out some very special and secret things about him.

Continue reading

Getting the Stuffing Out

stuffed animals

Image: weplayreplay.com

In our last adventure, Landon magically discovered what happened to the living stuffed animals but in the process, both he and his friend Ana were transformed into stuffed toys and trapped in the stuffed animal universe.

“Landon! What happened to me? What did you do?”

“I’m sorry, Ana. I was trying to bring the stuffed animals back to life but the spell went wrong somehow.”

“But…but how can I be…stuffed?” Ana looked at her hands in astonishment not recognizing them as her own.

Meanwhile, the living stuffed animals were so happy to see Landon, even as a stuffed boy, that they all crowded around him giving him a big group hug.

“Guys, I love you too, but we have a big problem.”

Continue reading

All Stuffed Up

baby

© James Pyles

“Why not, Buddy?”

“No magic. Anna have no magic. Not taking new apprentices. Just you.”

Keeping his promise, Landon told his best (human) friend Anna all about Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon and their adventures together, which started almost a year and a half ago. It had taken a long time to relate everything to Anna. Landon hadn’t realized just how much he and the dragon had gone through together.

“But couldn’t we teach her magic?”

After Landon told Anna everything, she thought it would be really cool if she learned some magic, too. Landon said he’d ask Buddy if he would take her on as his second apprentice. Today in the boy’s bedroom, the dragon gave him the answer.

Only the events that had occurred in Shadow of the Dark Wizard made it absolutely necessary for Buddy to train Landon in the mystic arts, and that was because the child had been accidentally infused with magical energy. If Buddy didn’t teach him how to control the magic inside, the magic would control Landon.

But such wasn’t the case with Anna. Like most other children, she was a perfectly ordinary human and had no access to occult energy, especially in this universe where real magic was all but unknown.

“She’ll really be disappointed.”

Continue reading

Of Ice and Anna

ice monster

Found at DeviantArt.

From the previous story:

The magic lantern amulet around his neck glowed brightly as the boy stood and weaved his spell right in front of the wounded and bleeding creature. A portal opened at his feet and he fell through, just like a person would if the walked over an open manhole.

Landon spoke the magic words in the tongue of the ancient masters and the portal closed. Instantly, the world around them began to fade and shimmer.

“You did it, Landon. You broke the spell. Now the fantasy world the evil water spirit created is evaporating. I love you Landon.” She hugged him. “See you again in about twelve years or so.”

“But by then I’ll be…”

Then everything went black.

Landon woke up. He had to pee, so he got up and stumbled down a long hall to the bathroom. He turned on the light and looked in the mirror shocked. He wasn’t eight years old anymore and this wasn’t the bathroom at Grandpa’s house. It was one of the bathrooms in his dorm. He was in college and he was twenty years old.

Landon woke up. He had to pee, so he got up and stumbled down a short hall to the bathroom. He turned on the light and looked in the mirror. He was relieved to see himself just as he was when he went to sleep. He was back home at Grandpa’s house and he was eight years old like he was supposed to be. Then he used the bathroom and washed his hands.

Going back to his bedroom, he saw his now non-alive stuffed animals lying on his pillow. Some were under his blanket making “lumps” pushing up here and there. But there was something or rather someone missing. Buddy still hadn’t come home. He was overdue. Where could he be?

Continue reading