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It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve not written much fiction lately, so this challenge has come along at an unusual time. That said, it could be a great time, as I’ve decided to share a piece of my novel in an attempt to push myself into getting it edited.

The challenge has been set for me by the lovely Paige Randall. Despite having only ever met her in the digital sense (via Twitter) she’s been a positive influence on my writing and this, I suspect, is why she chose to nominate me for the 7-7-7 challenge.

The idea is to take a work-in-progress (WIP), jump to the seventh line of the seventh page, then share the next seven lines. It’s a nice idea, hopefully showcasing something interesting from the early stages of whatever you’re working on and letting others decide if the writing is doing its job.

And so, you’ll meet Niiko in the middle of a fight scene, but she isn’t all that she seems…

– – – – – – – – – – –

Niiko noticed the beauty of the blade in a fleeting moment of clarity, the fine detail of the ancient Athrinian runes etched into one edge, the dim blue glow of the circular crest above the hilt and how the sword’s softly-curving blade resembled a desert snake’s body.

An intense pain racked her body, shattering the peaceful clarity before quickly dissipating, leaving her numb once more.

The demon would not release her without a fight.

* * *

The cloaked ranger heard the familiar hum of Shadowfell, its thirst for blood finally sated. Using the black cape of the downed assassin, he wiped the excess gore from the blade’s edges and turned toward the girl.

Her slender fist broke his nose, blood spraying as his head snapped back and he thundered into the dirt.

“Fool,” the voice hissed unnaturally from the girl’s lips, “you think I would fall so easily?”

– – – – – – – – – – –

Now, I don’t really have anyone to nominate for the 7-7-7 challenge myself, but I will at least urge you to visit my friend, Andy Flood, and read his wonderful variety of writing at Words Beyond.

The council meeting had not gone well. They had lost all hope, heedless of Darus’ own belief. “Misplaced,” they had called it. “A fool’s hope,” they said.

 

He stood on the balcony outside the now empty council chambers, overlooking the deserted gardens outside the city walls. Flowers had already begun to wilt, shrubbery withered and the grass grew taller by the day.

 

The girl sat at the edge of the garden, looking out across the plains. She had been there for days, silently guarding the city gates. Whatever drove her, he would likely never know, but he had seen what she could do and it had given him the hope that the council had so easily dismissed.

 

His wife, Orla, appeared at his side, clad in armour.

 

“What are you doing in that?” He demanded.

 

“They are coming, Darus. She is coming. I am not going to stand by and do nothing.”

 

“You shouldn’t-“

 

“This is no time for misguided chivalry, my love.” She turned to face him now, laying a hand on his cheek. “I will not wait to die in here, I won’t let you die alone out there. If the world falls, I will be right beside you.”

The following story was inspired by this image.

The following story was inspired by this image.

 

The Four ruled here once, many lifetimes ago. Their Towers stand vacant at the four corners of the world, locked by powerful magicks that no mortal can dispel.

A generation has passed since all trace of The Four’s presence disappeared from historical records, by the emperor’s decree. His fear of the prophecy blinds him, and in his madness he leaves the world to fall into ruin.

I left the world behind, choosing to live in solitude by the sea. I refused to destroy the historical texts, instead hiding them away in a library secreted away beneath my home.

The ignorant tyrant can keep his empire.

I still believe in The Four.

*

*

Photo provided by http://helenfloodphotography.wordpress.com/

She was small, maybe five feet or so, with the cutest little hint of fat peeking over the waist of her underwear. This belied her agility, as she soon showed by leaping into the branches of the trees above, swinging up and perching overhead, bare feet curling round the branch. Her yellow eyes, like a wild cat’s, looked down on Kym from the trees, watching with a mix of curiosity, fear and mild recognition.

How long had she been living out here in the forest? Kym wondered. She must have been born out here, those eyes weren’t human, must’ve developed over time. But how had she grown to adult size, what creature had protected the girl through childhood?

At length, the wild girl slowly clambered, insect-like, down the tree trunk. She tilted her head, brown hair hanging lank down one side of her face, loose strands clinging to her sweaty, dirt-streaked face in the humid atmosphere.

Those yellow eyes fixed Kym with their primal stare.

“Friend?” The wild girl asked.

Kym smiled. “Friend.”

The night had been uneventful. Perhaps they had finally learned to fear him, the way it should be.

He stalked the rooftops anyway, watching the humans scuttle about like insects on the street below. Scared shadows darted through circles of light beneath street lamps, knowing their place at the bottom of the food chain.

A lone truck headed toward town, bright headlights preceding its speedy arrival.

 Too speedy.

The ground began to shake, shockwaves causing the buildings to tremble and knock him off balance. Steadying himself, he watched as showers of dirt and concrete spat from the earth behind the speeding truck, concealing some terrible form, its colossal shape lunging in and out of the ground in the ever-expanding storm of debris.

Another explosion of dirt detonated behind the truck, causing the driver to lose control. Tyres squealing, rubber grinding uselessly against uneven ground, it jackknifed.

From the shower of asphalt and earth, a screaming beast emerged. A wyrm, its maw unfolding like toothed wings in an unholy shriek, reared out of the ground. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as the monster arced through the air, its snake-like body a skyscraper in length and girth. With impossible quickness, it crashed through the concrete road, the truck obliterated by the cataclysmic force.

Watching the spectacle unfold below, he grinned. Breaking into a run, then a sprint, he calculated where the wyrm would emerge. Sure enough, it shattered the asphalt below, the violent quake almost obliterating the structures around it.

Pulling the barbed metal whip from his belt, he leapt from the crumbling rooftop.

Aiming for the beast’s gaping maw.
The night was about to get interesting, after all.

 

 

Once again, I’d like to apologise for the poor formatting. No matter what I do, WordPress makes a mess of the formatting, creating odd spacing between lines and often completely ignoring indentations and the like.

Hopefully you’ll forgive these issues and just enjoy the story.

Protector

 

 

The shadow towered over them, a monster in the doorway at the end of the hall. It bore down on them, a steady and inexorable approach, the threat of harm thick in the air.

His friend, sword clutched tight and staring defiantly at the blackness that poured into the archway, was no match for this beast. He was brave but young, innocent to the ways of battle.

Heedless to the danger, he leapt between the young boy and the onrushing beast, baring his teeth and snarling a warning to the monster as it approached the door arch…

 

* * *

 

The letterbox rattled, mail dropping harmlessly to the floor.

“It’s okay, boy,” his owner whispered, bending down to softly stroke the puppy’s head. “It’s just the postman.”

Accepting the affection, the young dog watched the shadow recede from the doorway before turning to his young friend, the baby boy running to him, smiling wide and embracing him lovingly.

Brent sat on his bed, trying to wake up and start his day. Rubbing his eyes, he stood and opened the curtains lazily to flood his bedroom with the hazy light of the spring morning.

    As usual the view was somewhat spoiled by the junk yard behind his house.

    “What the hell’s that?” he wondered aloud.

    Atop one of the many piles of rusting metal and assorted timbers, a shape lay slumped over the remains of a car door. Wrapped in plastic, whatever-it-was resembled a body, its head twisted back at an unnatural angle.

    He dismissed it as his imagination, hauled himself to the bathroom to wash up. Upon his return to the bedroom, curiosity getting the better of him, he looked over to the junk yard once more.

    His blood ran cold.

    The plastic-wrapped body was sitting up, head lolling painfully to one side, its gaze locked on to Brent’s wide eyes. He had to believe this was a nightmare, closing his eyes and wishing for it to end. Opening them again, he let out a sigh of relief as the body had disappeared.

    Think it’s time to lay off the sauce, he thought.

    Brent froze again, the sound of rustling plastic wrap coming from behind him…

He sat on the grass, looking out over the shallow valley before him. Left arm resting on one bent knee, he looked the picture of calm. The gentle swishing of Stacey’s bare feet on the grass announced her arrival, even before her legs appeared in his periphery.

    “Out here again?” She sat beside him as she spoke.

    He rubbed wearily at his stubbly jaw, thumb and forefinger worrying at his tired eyes. Then, “you ever wonder what your next step is?”

    “I find it’s easier not to think about it. If there’s sand under my feet, I go barefoot. If it’s snow, I put on boots.”

    “And if there’s no ground left to walk?”

    “What’s this about?” Stacey’s concerned eyes were fixed on him.

 

    He had no answer.

 

*  *  *

 

Hello all.

 

Well, those who are left, I guess.

 

I’m in the process of trying to edit my novel, design its cover and even think of a name for the darned thing, but I’ve also found time/inspiration for other works. This is technically the second (the first one isn’t finished yet) but it’s the first one to make it to completion, though that shouldn’t be a surprise since this is flash fiction and about 130 words.

 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading my return to flash fiction writing. Let me know what you think. 🙂

 

Gaz

Well, this is my last story for a few weeks as I really, REALLY need to push myself to write the end of my book.

It was a difficult one this time, as I wanted to write something humorous and cynical (should have been easy to write cynical stuff, that’s who I am!) but it completely changed as I wrote it, turning into something massively different.

Anyway, Madison’s story is here and I’d like to thank her once more for starting this wonderful group.

Mine is here…

Rainbow Memorial

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Kel said to Yri, taking in the emerald fields and deep blue skies.

    The sisters wandered down the rainbow bridge hand-in-hand, their bare feet tingling with every step and their plum-coloured hair floating on the breeze. The bridge was a small leak from their own bright world, the colours emerging through the clouds over Earth.

    They came to the same spot every year, to where their mother was buried. She had been one of the first to come to Earth, falling in love with their mortal father, and she’d always wanted to be buried here.

    They knelt at the base of the sole cherry blossom tree at the edge of the clearing, the name “Gia” carved into its slim trunk.

    Through tears, the sisters shared memories of their mother until nightfall.

This week’s prompt could so easily have been my chance to showcase my (in development) novel’s characters again, but I decided that it was another chance to continue using my newly-born character from both last week and, initially, the barbed wire prompt from the week before!

Thanks as always go to Madison Woods, without whom this (fast-growing) group wouldn’t even exist. Please visit the link there for her story and many other wonderful tales of varying genres.

 

My story this week…

 

Moonlight Sonata

 

 

The moon always brings out the crazies.

 

    He grinned in the moonlight, breathing in the smell of dead things and gorging himself on the sweet music of screaming creatures.

    He had decided the barbed whip wasn’t enough tonight. He cracked his knuckles, now sticky with blood. It didn’t matter which creatures had stained his fists, all that mattered was the freak’s face he was currently turning to pulp.

    He stood, shaking the blood off his hands, crimson spattering his long white coat. He didn’t care.

    A giant stood before him all tooth and claw, saliva pouring from its maw. He beckoned the colossus with one hand, relishing the chance for a real fight at last.

 

    After all, the moon did bring out the crazies.

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