You are an assassin. A little girl has just come up to you, handed you all her pocket money and asked you to kill her abusive relative.
“Kid . . . how did you find me?”
She looked up at me, eyes wide and intent, never once lowering the fistful of bills. She wore a blue dress and sandals with Miss Piggy printed on them. A seashell hung on a thong around her neck. She had a black eye, and bruises on her neck and arms. On one shoulder I could read the shape of a belt buckle in the bruising. She couldn’t have been more than twelve.
“My dad has a book of names. Your name was circled AND underlined under ‘cleaner.’ ”
“You didn’t locate me with just a name.”
“Welllll . . . there was another name that said ‘finder.’ She was good at finding you.”
I put a hand over my face. Marigold would take an assignment from anybody. This kid would be dog meat when her dad got the bill. Continue reading “Ripped Off”
Um, no. How about we don’t, and say we did…
Artwork by Tomislav Jagnjic (ArtStation)
I stared up at the living mountain before us. We rode atop a ridge, and we could look at the spiral emblem on its ‘face’ without craning our necks too far. When we got close, we’d have to climb its body just to attack the top of its toe.
“So . . . that’s the thing, huh?”
Jamon looked on with me, nodding once. “Yup.”
Continue reading “Retirement Plans”
In the year 2017, all guns stopped functioning. Any ranged weapons much more advanced than crossbows simply fall apart upon completion. 200 years later nothing has changed. Describe the arsenal of the futuristic knight, and what a battle might look like.
An editorial note: This is going to get a little technical. I focused on the arsenal, not the battle, not adhering strictly to the prompt. There’s little story here, except the story of a craftsman excelling in his field. This is my indulgence in engineering weirdness.
Some people will enjoy that – others will find this entry mired in useless detail. Both of these readers would be correct.
I turned the last screw again until the seam vanished and the chamber was sealed. I picked up the empty magazine and began loading cartridges in. The explosive charge was a little more intense than the guns of ages past would be. The chamber of this weapon was robust enough to withstand it. Instead of a bullet, each cartridge was merely crimped to contain the charge. Finally, I loaded the last cartridge and slid the magazine into the port. It slid into a slot carved into the back of the hammer until the back and bottom of the magazine laid flush. I pulled the slide on the top of the warhammer back, chambering the first round.
Continue reading “Hammer and Blade”
How does the grim reaper react to the zombie apocalypse?
I looked over the world with frustration and resignation.
I didn’t really look, of course. I observed from every eye, heard through every ear. Every insect and squirrel, even from the eyes of every human alive, I watched the world. I tasted the soil from the roots of every tree and scented the water from the nares of every fish. Secrets were not safe from me unless they were safe from life itself. Or . . . unlife.
Continue reading “Grim Garden”
You slay the princess you were trying to save. Instead of being angry, the king thanks you and awards you the dragon that was keeping her in the tower.
“I . . . I have questions.”
“Ask them, human.” I could tell he was trying to whisper. His voice was like the grinding of stone on stone, and I could feel the vibration of it in my bones.
“Okay, look. First, my name is Caliban. And to start . . . who was this witch, that she could fool an entire kingdom into revering her as their adored princess? And how did she put a dragon under her spell? Aren’t dragons supposed to resist magic? And what use was it for her to make the king think he had her as a daughter, and then be awarded like a piece of meat to some knight? And what hold does the king have over you that he can just give you to me?”
The dragon just stared at me balefully, his jaw muscle twitching.
“Do I have to order it? Can I order it? Answer me.”
The dragon winced at the order – it looked like he had to obey me, but he did not have to make it easy for me.
“In order. Her name was Alina. She possessed great artifacts that enhanced her strength, stolen from me. Normally, yes. The king loved his imaginary daughter too much to marry her off, but to inherit the throne she needed a husband that she could control, an idiot knight was ideal. The king . . . holds the eggs of my clutch, and I must obey him for my children’s sake. Yes. And yes. I will not repeat myself.
Continue reading “Dragonkin”
Your main character is a Tree. An oak, if you are undecided, otherwise, your choice.
For centuries I’d stood in close company with many others like me. My companions made many demands. I had taken root in rocky soil, and they all wanted to drink from the earth. It was not easy to live with so many hungry companions, some much taller, reaching much deeper than I.
After the Infestation, times were not so lean. The others were fewer, and the land thus richer. It was the first time I had been thankful for woodpeckers; they dug into my flesh, but they also ate the pests that threatened me. For a long time after that, I drank from the earth and spread my arms to the sun. Though the children of the lost grew and crowded once more, I was already tall and broad. My leaves spread wide, and my roots spread deep, breaking the rock apart beneath me to reach deeper, richer sources.
Continue reading “Until the World Changes Again”
Write your superhero origin story.
It was an ordinary day, other than the explosion. I ground through the paperwork, filling office supplies and costs into each line. I entered manufacturer information and item numbers. I checked little boxes. It was a commercial supplier. It was under contract. It was a green purchase. I submitted the paperwork to our financial officer, I got it back. I submitted it our authorizing official, I got it back. Finally, I logged into a website and bought six hundred boxes of paper clips.
Then the bomb went off.
Continue reading “The Day I Died”