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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.

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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.

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.

In a bit of a new twist this week, the photo prompt Madison gave us is via Mary Shipman. I really struggled getting anything from it, but ended up finding something in the end – something longer than the usual #FridayFictioneers stories I write, coming in at a hefty 191 words! I cut it down from over 200 words but really didn’t want to cut it any further as it wouldn’t tell the story that I wanted to tell.

Anyway, for more excellent stories based on the prompt below, visit Madison’s story.

And once again, another warning that the following story of mine is almost twice the normal 100-word guideline, coming in at 191 words…

Trapped

    Naomi awoke in the gloom of an unknown house. The windows were boarded up, only a few thin shafts of hazy sunlight dappled the bed she sat upon. The musty smell of damp filled the thick air, mixing with an acrid odour she couldn’t place – and it scared her.

    Boards creaked above, mingling with the unmistakeable sound of heavy footfalls. A metallic scraping joined in the spine-chilling chorus that dragged its way across the ceiling.

    She dashed for the door but the handle rattled uselessly. She shouldered and kicked to no avail.

    She was trapped.

    Gravelly laughter scythed through the house, freezing Naomi’s blood. Where’s it coming from?

    She felt the unnatural presence behind her and lost her breath as blades wrapped around her throat. Fighting the agony, she turned to see her attacker but saw only the barbed whip of blades reaching from the shadows.

    Gritty cackling seemed to come from all around as her strength faded and the blades bit deeper into her neck.

    “Even she-devils can’t hide from me.” The hoarse voice was the last thing she heard as the whip pulled taut, yanking her unlife away.

This week could have ended with two stories again, like last week. My original idea was another horror piece, another Silent Hill-inspired tale of darkness – being a big fan of the videogames, the barbed wire fence brings with it a completely different imagery than I imagine it would with others!

Anyway, on my way home yesterday, the idea took on a completely new tone and setting. Again I must thank Madison Woods for her wonderful photo prompts, without which this whole idea wouldn’t be here. To that end, here’s her story this week: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/barbed-wire-and-bulls/

As for mine, complete with photo prompt, it’s here:

Hunter/Hunted

 

The rain refreshed him. Rivulets of cooling water ran down his cheeks, shining softly even in the darkening evening.

     His whip of barbed metal, forged in both fire and magic generations ago, was coiled like a jagged snake of blades in his fist, ready to strike.

     The city lay empty before him, traffic lights blinking randomly in the darkness, when the shrieking and howling began. Angular shadows, teeth and claws glistening in the encroaching moonlight, scrambled from rooftops and alleyways.

     The whip sang its metallic deathsong as it uncoiled to the floor.

     He smiled.

 

     Tonight would be a good night.

Once again it’s a Friday and Madison Woods has given us this wonderful photo prompt to work from:

Her story is here: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/dynamite/drip-100-words/

And here is my effort this week…

Death Will Be Our Saviour

Drip…drip…drip…

    The crystal clear droplets soon turned to rubies as my blood mingled with the waters.

    I am dying.

    I go to my brothers and sisters in the Watchtowers, knowing that the world will be left a better place. My blood will wash away the corruption that has spread throughout the roots of this wretched planet.

    The riders will sniff out my life-essence as it cleanses nature, and they will cleanse the rest of the world that I am now dissolving from, floating away on the ether.

    Drip…

    Drip…

    Drip…

    The riders are coming.

*

*

*

As I was reading some of today’s stories, I got a second idea based on the prompt and couldn’t leave it alone. Hopefully y’all won’t mind reading a second story today!

Ebb and Flow

The pool swelled with life, waves tumbling over one another and lapping gently at the edge of the great marble bath.

Asrin, the Spirit of Life watched over the waters, counting the droplets that fell from the Soul Tree. “A productive cycle, this lot,” she remarked with a knowing smile.

Her sister, Nirsa, the Spirit of Death and her literal opposite, stepped up beside her. “Shit,” she cursed, “looks like I’m gonna be busy this generation.”

Nirsa shed her silk shift before securing the dagger’s blade between her teeth and diving into the pool.

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