#CarrotRanchRocks – “Shooting Stars”

carrot ranch rocks

Charli Mills from CarrotRanch.com has come up with a fun challenge called “Carrot Ranch Rocks. I love rocks. There is a certain energy I feel radiating from them. They have stories to tell and Charli picked up on that energy.

Here’s what she has to say:

“Here is a place where we can spin stories around the beach fire after a day of hunting rocks along the Keweenaw shores of Lake Superior. Here is where literary art meets geology.

We use rocks as prompts to write fiction stories of 99 words, no more, no less. Our writers are from a global community called Carrot Ranch, and their bylines include where they live.
If by serendipity, you have found a rock that reads #CarrotRanchRocks, you can look it up in our feed by its serial number. Your rock will have a photo, place of origin, date found, and a possible identity. Best of all, your rock will feature in its own story.
Please let us know in the comments if you have found the rock and where (general area, no personal details). Tell us if you plan to keep it, gift it, or hide it for someone else to find.
If you are a writer interested in participating, read the note Writer Guidelines and email Charli Mills at wordsforpeople@gmail.com. Be sure to read Our Story.
My first rock is MSP-09–17-07. It was found at McLain State Park in September 2017. This is a large sparkly quartz with large garnets present.
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The garnets have a bronze color!
“Shooting Stars”

At the top of the hill, Leandra gazed in awe at the stars sprinkled across the January sky. She shivered as bright streaks of light trailed behind the shooting stars. If only one of those falling stars would land nearby. She’d pick it up and put it in her pocket knowing her birthday wish had come true.

As if the heavens heard her plea, a tiny meteor hurled toward the earth landing at her feet. She switched on her flashlight seeing quartz and copper garnets sparkling in the beam. Garnets were her birthstone, now a gift from the universe.

© 2018 Colleen M. Chesebro

Perserverance Keep writing! ❤

“The Dream Rock” – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction

smile at carrot ranch

March 22, 2018, Carrot Ranch Literary Community prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the theme “follow your dreams.” Bonus points for throwing a badge into the tale. Go where the prompt leads.

  • Respond by March 27, 2018, by leaving a link, pingback or story in the comments.
  • If you want your story published in the weekly collection, also post it at Carrot Ranch on Facebook in the post newsfeed (this is the second posting of your story).
  • Follow the style of the flash fiction that follows.
  • Leave a short link on FB with your story if you want one included in the title.
  • Rules are here.

 

follow your dreams

Abby followed her dream to the edge of a field filled with thorny weeds that twisted like ivy. Dead animals lay scattered, their bloated carcasses rotting beneath the blistering sun. An apocalyptic scent of death hung in the air. A boulder filled with glittery quartz striations moved closer.

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“This is our world without the bees,” said the rock. “The effects of climate change ravage the earth, disrupting the growth patterns. Animals die because their forage can’t mature without pollination.”

Abby swallowed the hard knot of truth. “What can I do?”

“You must save the bees.”

bee-colonies

Image Credit: “Mural Artivist Paints London In Bees To Save Them – 16 Photos”

This has been a sneak peek into “The Meadow Fairy,” book II in my YA paranormal fantasy series, The Heart Stone Chronicles. 16-year-old Abby Forester accepts her legacy to her mother and the fairy nymphs by attempting to find a cure to stop the bees from dying. Can she do it? Stay tuned…

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My dream boulder inspiration

Like Charli Mills, I LOVE rocks and yes, they do talk to my characters. I was so excited to figure out a talking dream rock sequence which was the perfect opportunity to earn my first Carrot Ranch Rocks badge.

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GiddyUPand write some flash fiction at CarrotRanch.com

A Halloween Encounter

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The yellow smudge of a setting sun slipped behind the trees leaving a warm glow to the field.  Nightbirds scattered, roosting in the trees while insects droned on in a constant monotony. The air felt cooler after the heat of the day. Ground fog swirled around the grasses casting eerie shadows on the ground. The evening gloom was rapidly approaching. I shivered in anticipation.

Not far off in the field, our two neighbor horses steadily crunched grass, their teeth reflecting bone-white in the rays of the setting sun.  It was Halloween night – All Hallows Eve.  Children would soon fill the neighborhood with the sounds of laughter, as they went from house to house showing off their costumes and collecting treats.

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My eyes drifted toward the horse hole which was visible in the fading light.  The horses visited me daily looking for handouts of carrots or even an occasional apple. They hung their necks through the opening, all the while munching, as I rubbed their velvety noses.  They were the best neighbors.

I was ready this time. Last Halloween I ran out of candy early. This year I made sure I had plenty of treats to hand out to the kids. My pumpkins were lit, and the decorations spread around the front porch were inviting – not too scary for the little kids. I made myself comfortable in a chair and sipped a glass of wine, enjoying the descending darkness.

The kids came from every corner of the neighborhood, dressed as fairy princesses with dainty shoes, green colored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skeletons, Count Dracula’s, monsters of every variety you could imagine. Babies were dressed up as bugs, teddy bears, and even a vampire baby stopped at my door to receive a treat.

The darkness filled the neighborhood. The street lights were lit, and a warm glow cast long shadows on the road. The children ran ahead of their parents, filled with excitement.  Parents milled about in small groups watching their kids, always near. I smiled at the sounds of laughter which completed the friendly Halloween atmosphere. I couldn’t help but marvel at how cute the kids were, enjoying the banter they exchanged with their friends.

By late evening, most of the children and parents were finished with Trick or Treat and were heading home. A few crying fairies stomped their way behind their parents, mad because the great adventure was over for another year.

I cleaned up the porch and put away the decorations in the storage bin.  It was a lovely Monday night, unusual for this time of year. I refilled my glass and walked out back to the patio which overlooked the field where the neighbor horses grazed.

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The view was amazing. Stars lightly sprinkled the sky spread out like a mantle overhead. The warmth of the day had dissipated, and I could feel the coolness creep in between the folds of my sweater. I sipped my wine and appreciated the spectacular beauty of the night sky.

Suddenly, the most obnoxious odor seemed to waft, thick like a fog, drifting in the air around the horse hole. Far in the distance, I could hear the neighbor horses running as their thundering hooves hit the ground. They ran hard, and their frightened cries filled the field. I was rooted to the spot, unable to move. My heart leaped into my throat, and I couldn’t breathe.

It was then, in the inky blackness of the field that I saw him – the Headless Horseman! His profile glowed in the shimmery darkness of the horse hole! A large orange head burned with an intensity that scared me deep into my bones. I felt the wine glass fall from my hand and shatter on the ground. Shards of glass flew into the air, spraying bits of glass into my hair.

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(Image Credit: Telltale Games)

The horseman’s black steed snorted flashes of lightning through his muzzle, and his blood-red eyes glared at me.  The creature balanced a glowing Jack-o-lantern in his right hand. I could see him clearly, and there was NO head. The apparition was so lifelike that I could make out the buttons on his coat which were visible in the light from the glowing pumpkin.

I swallowed hard and felt my eyes popping out of my head. I stared transfixed at the horse hole for what seemed like hours but was only, in reality, a few seconds. The Headless Horseman whirled about on his black steed and disappeared into the blackness. The fog churned in great billows and drifted about the field in his wake.

Slowly, the smell faded. The fog grew thicker, and moisture dripped from the leaves on the trees. I trembled uncontrollably. All around me, I heard no sounds. My breaths came in great gasps. I whirled around, trying to catch my breath. I stopped to gaze once again at the horse hole. It was dark – just swirling fog and an eerie quiet which lingered, jangling my nerves.

He was gone. I felt my heart pound a quick staccato in my chest. With great effort, I relaxed my tightened muscles and walked toward the horse hole for one last look. My shoes crunched in the ruins of the wine glass beneath my feet. Behind me, inside the house, a light came on in the kitchen which illuminated the patio outside.

“Colleen, it’s getting late. Come inside,” my husband, Ron called out to me.

“On my way.” I surveyed the area one last time. I took my time walking toward the back door. My thoughts milled about in my head. How could I tell him what had just happened without him laughing at me?

Maybe I better keep this encounter to myself, I thought. Too much wine and a tad too much chocolate could be the answer to my vision. I shook my head at the broken wine glass on the patio, realizing that red wine would stain the concrete. The stain had already spread, and a dark patch of discoloration was visible beneath my feet. With a shrug, I turned and walked away.

I traipsed into the house, locked the door, and turned off the light.That was enough Halloween for this year.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my scary encounter from when we lived in Florida! ❤ True story! 😀

happy-halloween

Busted – A Short Story

By now, Colleen has hopefully shaken off the long road trip, had time to stretch her legs, and started to put things in order. It’s an exciting time, starting a new adventure. It’s safe to say we’re all eager to learn about this new chapter and hear all the stories when she returns to the helm. In the meantime, I thought I would pop in to share a short story with you.

It’s a piece of flash fiction which includes two of my favourite characters from one of my series – Fractured. I wrote it in response to the following prompt – ‘You’ve got something stuck between your teeth.’ I hope you enjoy.

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Busted

Riley crept into Merc Hall like the animal he undoubtedly was; all stealth and sanguine movement. Once a prominent government building, it now served as a beacon in the aftermath of war – a sanctuary for those like him. A mercenary for hire. The energy of the place pulsed along his skin, perhaps the result of so many hunters under one roof. Even subdued by sleep he could feel the danger they represented.

Tonight it only confused his wolf, because he could sense an underlying threat. He knew something or someone was waiting for him in the dark.

Using his night vision to navigate the corridors, he focused on his surroundings. It was hard to rein in the beast after so much freedom, and tonight had been all about the darker side to his nature. His claws pricked at his skin in anticipation, but he didn’t relinquish control. Not when his nose had picked up the scent coming from his room.

Friend not foe. He knew who it was before he heard her voice.

“Relax, wolf-man, there are no monsters in this closet.” The words were pitched at the perfect level for his hearing, despite the door between them.

“Shit,” he muttered, turning the handle. “How many times do I have to tell you I don’t need an upgrade?” His gaze narrowed on Maddison. She had made herself comfortable on the floor, her back against his bed. “And,” he growled, stepping into the room and closing them in. “Closet or not, it’s private. Which means.” He paused to show off a little fang. “You’re invading my space.”

It didn’t surprise him when she rolled her eyes. “Changelings,” she said, on a sigh. “Always so damn territorial.”

He wanted to smile so badly his jaw ached. “Why are you here, Maddy?”

“I was worried about you.” She got to her feet in a quick, fluid motion, which was almost feline.

“Now you’re just trying to piss me off.”

Her grin was sly. “What? I can’t be concerned for the big, bad wolf?” When she put a hand on his arm he felt himself settle. The damn witch had always been able to do that because his wolf saw her as pack; whenever she touched him, Riley calmed. “Look,” she said, releasing him. “I know danger is part of the job description and, let’s face it, trouble tends to follow you around. But you’re hiding something, and I wanted to make sure it didn’t get you killed.”

Riley didn’t respond right away. He walked over to the portable fridge to grab a beer. “I don’t need a keeper, Maddy, and I’m not hiding anything. I just needed to blow off some steam.”

Her hand reached out to snatch the bottle, but her eyes never left his. “Bull. Shit.”

The growl came out before he could stop it, which annoyed the hell out of him. He rarely lost his cool. “You’re not going to let this go are you?” he asked, dropping to sit cross-legged on the floor.

Maddison followed his lead, her green eyes sharp and assessing as they met his. “I guess it’s a moot point, since you’ve obviously taken care of the problem.” Her body relaxed the moment the words left her mouth.

“You seem pretty sure about that.” He let out a long sigh, tired of the secret anyway. “Look, it was personal, okay. I found out who attacked Simmons and I needed to take care of it. I owed him.” Truth be told, he owed nobody more than the woman in front of him. Maddison hadn’t known Simmons well, but she would never question his right to avenge a friend’s death.

“Ah, so because Jonas ordered you to stay out of it, you had to keep a low profile,” Maddy said, before taking a swig of beer. “That explains the sneaking around.”

“I don’t sneak,” he muttered, then scowled for good measure. “And Jonas might be leader of the pack, but he doesn’t know everything.”

“Aw,” she said, toeing his boot with her own. “I’ve never been a member of a pack.”

His wolf grinned at her teasing. “Shut up, Maddy.”

She tipped the bottle towards him. “Fine, I’ll let it drop. On the condition that you take back-up next time.”

“If there is a next time, I’ll take you along. How about that?”

“Now we’re talking,” she said, a little too excited at the prospect of getting her hands dirty.

She was true to her word though. She didn’t hound him for details as they shared the beer and talked of their active assignments.

An hour later she took the hint and stood to leave. “See you at feeding time,” she said, strolling to the door.

“Maddy?” She paused to look back at him, one eyebrow raised in question. “How did you know? That I found him?”

“Please,” she said, with her customary eye-roll. “There’s little that gets by me in this place.” She paused again on the threshold. “Oh, and by the way…you’ve got something stuck between your teeth.”

Thanks for reading.

Mel

Breathing life into your characters

Father and Daughter by susan52: DeviantArt
Father and Daughter by susan52: DeviantArt

I’ve been thinking a lot about role models and how they influence a writer’s work; the ways this translates to our readers.

There’s a reason writers become invested in their characters, why they often refer to them as real; a living, breathing part of the world as they know it. They have a history, complex personalities, and emotional depth. For readers, if we’re lucky, this equates to a character springing to life on the page.

Regardless of the process or how much planning is involved, as writers, we draw from our environment, and our experience. We observe behaviour, ask questions, have a sensitivity to body language, and pay attention. But it’s more than that. The people we meet, those we know – we use these observations to build unique fictional people. Then we give them a place to belong.

It’s not always a conscious decision and, like people as a whole, most have a variety of influences – their literary genes are inherited from all we see and hear. That’s why it’s so much fun when a character comes to us out of the blue. It can be difficult to pinpoint where they actually came from given the amount of information we carry in our head! It’s hard not to wonder at the magic of imagination, of fantasy, and marvel at the way the world around us has a direct influence on all we convey.

I can’t deny that many of my female characters are strong, passionate women. Quite simply, this is due to the fact I’m surrounded by resilient women. My mum is one of the strongest people I know. She is bubbly and affectionate, but, whenever I’m channelling sass – I think of her! My sister inherited that strength and I not only rely on her, I wouldn’t be the person I am without her.

And it’s not only my immediate family. My great-grandmother was a force to be reckoned with, a woman who practically raised four boys singled handed. Those boys (my grandfather included), were said to be hellions in their youth! She used tough love, an endless supply of patience and an iron will to keep them on the straight and narrow. I recognise her in a number of my characters, which isn’t a surprise.

The stories I grew with, family stories, certainly have an impact. My experiences of love and commitment, friendship and loyalty are also threaded through my work. I wouldn’t call us a military family per se, but most of the men served at one time or another and my grandmother lost her brother to the war. I never knew him, not personally, but through her I came to understand the man he was. It’s not only the good, it’s also the hurts and the disappointments we feel personally, and share with those closest to us.

I’ve had many wonderful male role models in my life. My brother is younger than me, but he’s my hero. It’s because of him I wrote my romantic crime series, and the experiences he shares about his life in the army all find their way onto the page. I haven’t personally served, but I understand camaraderie and the value of friendship and that’s what I try to reflect within the team I created. Growing up I had a lot more in common with boys than girls. My best friend, Tony, taught me valuable lessons about loyalty. He also has a wicked sense of humour, and I’m able to draw on those lessons.

That’s why, if we’re lucky, we connect with so many of our readers because, whatever the situation, whatever the outcome, it’s the characters who speak to, and for us. It’s in the connections they make, how they love, view the world and interact. A cacophony of life experiences that begin with our role models and build from there. That’s when a character truly comes to life. It’s what makes them memorable and why we want to spend time with them as often as we can. At least that’s how I see it.

There is a unique voice that lives within all of us. We might be shaped by others, but that’s not all there is, and it’s not all we give to our characters either. You could say, in one sense, the characters are an extension of us. So when a reader identifies with them, draws strength, laughs, cries, and celebrates their lives as we do, it’s a special kind of connection. There’s nothing quite like it. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Consumed: A Short Story

halloween cupcake

Happy Halloween, everyone. I convinced Colleen to let me post a spooky story today, and hope you all enjoy it. Whatever you’re doing; spending time with friends, attending a party, travelling across the country (we’re thinking of you, Colleen), working, relaxing – have a great day and stay safe.


Matthew

I pressed my hand over Cindy’s mouth and shook my head. Her big, tortured blue eyes were bright with tears. I didn’t need to read the fear; I could feel it. It pressed all around us, battling my own. The tiny closet was suffocating. It was a vacuum, sucking out all hope of salvation and bleeding us dry.

At the pounding on the bedroom door, my body jerked; drawing my attention. The door was holding strong, mainly due to all the furniture we’d pushed up against it. It would not hold forever.

When the barrier collapsed and he came into the room, he would see the balcony window wide open. This was part of my plan; to convince him we’d made a run for it. He had to believe we were desperate enough. I’d left other clues; a knotted bed sheet tied to the railing, one of the mattresses on the ground below.

It was a risk. If any part of him remained, he would see right through the ploy. Even desperate I would never lead my sister into a nightmare. What was out there – it was worse than the hell we were already living. Unless he found us.

I felt my hand spasm in response to a loud crack and almost lost it when Cindy’s head shot back. It struck the wall of the closet, the sound impossibly loud in the tight space. The silence that followed prickled along my skin.

I knew what it meant. He had found a way in, this monster who used to be our brother.

Cindy drew my attention when I felt her draw in breath; a scream building in her throat. I knew it, and was powerless to stop it. I tried anyway, my eyes pleading with hers to keep it together.

‘Please,’ I mouthed, our gazes locked.

I felt tears burn when I saw her shoulders relax, and Cindy nodded against my hand. She had my back. I let the tears fall; the only response I was able to give. I didn’t make a sound, I didn’t move. I stared into my sister’s eyes and, in doing so, gave her what I always gave her. My promise that I would keep her safe.

After a long, tense moment, I turned my head and peered through the slats in the door. Seeing the monstrosity that was our brother almost broke me. So I turned back to Cindy, snapping my eyes shut and squeezing them tight in a nonverbal command. She complied immediately, which lifted some of the weight from my chest. Cindy did not need to see the thing crawling over our barricade into the bedroom.

I had no choice but to face it, and what I saw extinguished all hope we would ever get our brother back. The virus had eaten away at his humanity until there was nothing left. Jerry’s jaw hung slack and foam frothed at the corners of his mouth. His eyes were bloodshot, his body twitching with barely contained violence. The pain of seeing him that way seared through me until it was all I could feel.

When those eyes honed in on the closet, I fought the urge to scoot back. He knew. My plan had failed, and now we were cornered.

Jerry moved slow, drawing it out; red eyes narrowed on target. The reality of what would happen; the loss, the fear. It exploded in my head and something snapped.

I didn’t think. I moved. I grabbed the first heavy object I could put my hand on, which turned out to be a dumbbell and surged out of the closet.

Jerry’s expression showed no surprise as I tackled him and we fell to the thick, carpeted floor. There was only death in his eyes.

No. No. No. No.

I struck the monster who used to be my brother over and over; feeling the anger and injustice burn through me. I saw nothing, felt nothing, but the uncontrollable need to be free of this nightmare.

***

Cindy

I moved on shaky legs to the edge of the closet, trying to pry my eyes away from the horror in front of me. We had lost Jerry to a vicious disease and the unfairness of that was hard to live with.

It hit us all hard but, Matthew, my sweet, protective older brother – it almost destroyed him. It was eating at him, even now.

“Matt,” I whispered, terrified of what might happen if I lost him too. If I couldn’t bring him back from the edge.

I took another step toward him; the scene burning itself into my retinas. Matthew battled with a monster only he appeared to understand. I wanted to know what he saw; why the thought of losing me drove him into darkness when there should be so much light. He loved me, so much his protective streak could be suffocating. Yet there was beauty in it too.

“Matty?”

He didn’t respond to my call. He didn’t respond to anything until the lights went out. Then I felt him move. Matthew dropped the dumbbell and scrambled backwards. I saw his outline, thanks to a trickle of moonlight, and instinctively I responded to his fear. I scooted back into the closet and curled myself into a ball. I just wanted it to be over.

***

Matthew

As I shot into the closet, slamming the doors closed, I questioned the logic of shutting us back in our prison. There was blood all over my face. My brother’s blood. No, a monster’s blood; diseased and possibly contagious. What if I hurt my sister? The thought of it was so huge there was no room for anything else. It didn’t even register when the lights flicked back on. But it did register when I saw my mom.

“Mom,” I whispered, pushing open the doors. I felt only relief in her presence, knowing she would protect Cindy. I had to relinquish the job. I was contaminated. I could feel it; squirming in my blood like a poisonous snake.

“You have to take Cindy, mom,” I said, unable to look at my sister. “I’m infected.” I swiped at my face, but it was too late now. It was too late to save myself.

“That’s why I’m here, baby,” she whispered, dropping to her knees. “There’s a cure. We can fight this.” One hand gripped my chin, forcing my head up. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

I wanted to believe her. So much I fell into her arms and buried myself against her.

***

Cindy

“He’ll be okay now, sweetheart,” mom said, stepping away from the bed.

I nodded, and climbed up to lay beside Matthew. He was asleep. Finally. He hadn’t even protested when mom gave him the treatment.

“I wonder what he saw,” I whispered, smoothing the hair from his forehead.

“I don’t know, honey. But he’ll be okay. I promise. We’ll get through this.”

Again I nodded. It wasn’t easy, but I pushed away my doubts. I had to be strong for Matthew. His delusions were getting worse, and had been since Jerry died. This was a side effect of grief.

“Don’t worry,” I said, leaning to kiss his temple. “I’ll protect you. We’ll beat those monsters together, Matty. You’re not alone.” Then I curled an arm around him and held on.

***

Thanks for reading.

Mel

The Elf Killer – Part IV: A New Discovery

Mel’s Midweek Writing Prompt for this week is: Option 1: Sentence Starter –

I live in a society without rules, without boundaries; it is a dark and desolate place.

Click here to learn more about this creative writing challenge. Believe me, it is addictive! I love it. These are my stream of consciousness stories. I write them as they come into my mind with the prompt from the challenge. In addition, I have been posting my contributions to ReadWave. Check it out. It is another great site to display your writing talent.

***

Rawmall slowly rolled over on the hard-packed earthen floor of the burned out elven hut. His head throbbed and felt like brilliant flashes of lightning were slicing into his brain. The acrid smell of smoke lingered in the hut as well as another unsavory aroma, of which he could not remember the source.

Gently, so as to not disturb his pounding head, he shifted his weight to his hands and knees. He balanced himself for a moment. Once the hammering in his brain subsided, he rose to his feet. Rawmall noticed that darkness had descended on the burned out elven community of Morr. He staggered towards the grey ashy remains of a fire where a cauldron was perched, still warm. The stench was overpowering and suddenly he remembered the events of the day.

The slaughtered body of the blue-haired elf, the human head of the elf killer boiling in the cauldron, and Nedra the Witch, all flooded his memory with the force of an assault from an enemy. There had to be at least fifty occupants of the elven community that were bewitched by Nedra somewhere in the Timmoral Forest waiting to be found. For a moment, Rawmall found himself temporarily blinded as the jaded fragments of his memory came together.

“I live in a society without rules, without boundaries; it is a dark and desolate place,” he thought to himself. Damn, that witch, Nedra! She had been pursuing him for the last couple of years now. Rawmall knew her game. She was a soul-eater. Every time she devoured her prey, she gained their strength. Men, women, elves, trolls, even half-breeds like himself, had fallen to her womanly wiles. Nedra was a seductive enchantress who always got her way. How he had escaped this time and why, he did not know.

A cupboard near the overturned table produced a loaf of stale bread and a gourd filled with water. Not the best meal, thought Rawmall, but better than nothing. Crouching in the shadows he ate his dinner slowly. In the silence he heard a slight rustling sound behind him.

Rawmall stopped eating and quietly set his dinner on the floor. Stealthily he crept toward the far corner of the burned-out hut. A dark shape moved softly toward the fire with little creeping motions. Its appearance was distorted and covered with some type of dark cloth. Suddenly, two brilliant blue eyes peered out from beneath the dark material.

It was a grundolyn female. She was small, only about two and a half feet tall, with pale skin and dark hair. Grundolyns work for the elves in exchange for a place to live. They have been the servants to the elves since the beginning of time. Many grundolyns live with the same family for generations. How this one came to survive Nedra’s bewitching was a mystery to Rawmall.

“It’s alright little one,” said Rawmall to the grundolyn. “You’re safe with me.”

The grundolyn stared at Rawmall and shivered, pulling the dark cloth around her shoulders. She spied the bread and water gourd on the floor and ran towards them. She grabbed the gourd and drank deeply. Water leaked out of her tiny mouth and dripped down her chin.

Rawmall sat back on his haunches watching the grundolyn with a puzzled look on his face. “How did you end up here, and not bewitched like the elves and the rest of the grundolyns,” he patiently asked her.

She shook her head and started to eat the bread, tearing it into shreds she could fit inside her small mouth. Rawmall repeated the question to the grundolyn, this time raising his voice. The grundolyn still did not respond. What the devil kind of black magic is this, thought Rawmall.

The grundolyn looked at Rawmall and covered her ears with her hands. Then she placed her hands over her mouth. She repeated this a second time. Rawmall edged closer towards the fire and pointed at his lips and then pointed to the grundolyn, motioning for her to look at him. “Can you hear me?” he asked her.

She shook her head trying to tell him “no.” She opened her mouth and pointed inside, nothing came out. It was then Rawmall realized that the grundolyn was deaf and dumb. She could not hear Nedra’s curse so it had no effect on her!

724 Words

Thanks for reading my continuing saga of the elves in Timmoral Forest.

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My Elf Killer Saga is Trending on ReadWave

My friend Hugh, from Hugh’s Views and News, shared his great news last week that his story, The Truth App, was trending on ReadWave.

This was a new platform for me, so I checked it out. I like the simplicity of the forum. It is easy to read and comment on other people’s writing. I joined and posted my Elf Killer Stories. Part II and Part III of the Elf Killer Saga is featured on the Trending page of ReadWave! My excitement overwhelms me! 😀 Thanks, Hugh for the great tip!

If you have the time, please check out ReadWave as another source for your writing.

Happy Monday!

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The Elf Killer – Part III: The Witch of Timmoral Forest

Check out Melissa Barker Simpson’s blog to learn more about the challenge.

I chose Option 1: Sentence Starter –

The first time I died, I was nineteen years old and resigned to my fate; the second time was a different story.

I am continuing the story of the Elf Killer, using the prompts from Mel’s challenge. This is a free writing time for me and allows me to experiment with different genres and characters. I am letting my true pantser out once again! I hope you all enjoy.

Here is Part One of the Elf Killer

Here is Part Two of the Elf Killer

As the darkness arrived in Timmoral Forest, Nedra the Witch watched the shadows grow long and deep as they descended and grew from the tall stature of the trees surrounding the glen. Conjuring her deepest magic she had materialized outside the cave she called home on the edge of the forest in order to safely escape from Rawmall, the half-breed elf.

Nedra paced back and forth in front of the door to her cave thinking of what her next move should be. Damn, Rawmall! That half-breed elf makes my blood boil, she thought. She didn’t need to take any more chances around him. His power over her was purely physical. Nedra wanted him in the worst way. If she succumbed to his charms, she would lose everything, again. Death was much too high a price to pay for a sexual tryst with a half-breed elf at this point. Not yet, anyway.

The night birds cooed above in the leafy canopy of the trees. The sounds of small scurrying animals were heard rustling in the dense carpet of leaves beneath her feet. Stars appeared in the night sky. Nedra slipped silently inside her shadowy cave while the ebony whispers of her gown flowed behind her. The low burning fire beckoned to her while the coals brought a warmth to the coldness of her body.

Nedra stoked the fire with a wave of her hand. Suddenly, another huge flame burst from her palm and glowed with a lavender intensity. Concentrating her thoughts, Nedra watched the blaze of her lust slowly burn to the size of a candle flame. Slowly the flame turned into particles of dust filtering through her fingers.

Nedra stared at the grains of sand and remembered. The first time I died, I was nineteen years old and resigned to my fate; the second time was a different story.

Nedra belonged to a coven of witches that like the dark cats they idolized, had nine lives. It was a certain kind of immortality if handled with the utmost of care. That meant following the rules, something Nedra had always struggled with. If certain urges were controlled, the witches could live long lives while meddling in the existence of others for their own pleasure. It was a blissfully wicked existence.

Impatiently, Nedra tapped her blood-red nails on the chalice she drank deeply from while memories swirled around in the dark recesses of her mind. Losing her first life had been careless on her part. At nineteen, she was too young to know that she had to overpower her thoughts of lust and greed. The Warlock had taken her life force quickly. Nedra had simply vanished in a puff of black smoke.

The dark headed human had been her downfall the second time she lost her life. She had bewitched him into giving her all of his wealth and power. However, once again Nedra had been too young to know that she should never trust a human. He had ended her life by thrusting a sword into her heart as she had fled his grasp taking his riches with her.

Eventually, true to Nedra’s powers, the human found himself a pauper and banished from his mortal kingdom. Madness had propelled the man to cross over into Timmoral Forest where the elven colony had flourished since the beginning of time. Visions of Nedra caused the man to view the world through a mist of red blood. Hatred became his life force.

Once Nedra’s life balance of seven lives had been restored, she cast a spell to bring herself back to Timmoral Forest. This time, she was determined to track the dark-haired human and take his life to pay for the untimely death he had taken from her.

Nedra smiled, remembering how she watched the human butcher the blue haired elf. The human was truly insane. She knew this would be her last chance to possess his soul once more. His life energy would give her the knowledge of the humans. She would become stronger with each soul her darkness absorbed.

She followed the human to the elven community of Morr. It was there she cast a spell on the elves hiding them in the darkest part of the forest as she watched the human burn their small community to the ground. The dark-haired human had never seen her coming.

He got what he deserved, Nedra thought, relishing the memory of the dark-haired human boiling in the caldron at Morr. It had worked. The trap had been set. Rawmall had come seeking the elf killer. Soon Nedra would get what she truly desired, Rawmall the half-breed elf.

776 Words.

Thanks for stopping by,

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The Elf Killer – Part Two

My friend Melissa Barker-Simpson sponsors a weekly writing contest called “Mel’s Midweek Writing Menagerie.” Each week on a Thursday, she posts a new prompt, and contributions will are shared via Featured Fiction. Check out her personal blog to get all the rules.

Here are the options for this week:

Option 1: Sentence Starter –

“What the hell do you expect me to do with that?”

This sentence can appear anywhere in the story. The maximum word count is 1,000 words. The genre can be any of your choosing; either factual or fiction based. You may use art to interpret the sentence, or poetry if you wish.

Option 2: Fanfiction –

Write a scene with one of your favourite characters from film or television.

I decided that I am going to choose Option 1 and continue on with the story of Rawmall, the half-breed elf. Here is The Elk Killer, Part One if you would like to catch up.
I am learning to be a “pantser,” and letting the words flow…

~

Rawmall continued his way through the forest walking in an easterly direction, cautiously looking for any telltale signs of the elf killer. Whoever had killed the blue haired elf was brutal. The killer had left the body to rot and decay where the elf had been slain.

Rawmall shook his head in disbelief. The Elves of Timmoral Forest had a code. They always buried their dead, even their enemies. No elf would have killed another in this manner, he thought as he trudged through a dense copse of trees. Decomposed leaves made a carpet beneath his feet. He pushed his way through an almost impenetrable thicket of bushes with leaf tendrils that curled as they pulled at his arms.

Through the leafy canopy above, Rawmall could see black clouds building against the dusky blue sky. A noticeable greyness descended upon the forest. The wind blew from the north and white lightning sliced through the sky.

In a hurry to beat the weather and to get to the edge of the forest and the elven community of Morr, Rawmall began to run. He positioned his quiver and bow over his shoulder tying the deer skin laces to keep his equipment from falling off his body. He kept up the steady rhythm of his running feet, breathing to conserve energy as his long blond hair streamed out after him.

The velocity of the wind continued to increase pushing against the elf making his trek more difficult with each gust. Determined, Rawmall ran faster, his feet so swift they barely touched the ground. Thunder rumbled and fat drops of rain began to fall slowing his pace. He smelled the smoke from the Village of Morr before he saw it.

Or, what was left of it. The village was a shell of burned out homes. Acrid smoke rose in dark smudges blown about by the mighty wind. Rawmall walked amongst the burned out shells of the elven homes looking for bodies. There were no bodies anywhere in the ruins. From what he could tell the flash point of where the fire began was at the town center, on the village green. A peculiar smell lingered in the air and he could not place its source.

Fifty elves, men, women, and children lived in this small community. Where could they have gone, thought Rawmall? He ran the perimeter of the village noticing that the fire stopped at the edge of the forest. It had not set any of the trees on fire around the boundary of the village. The outside limits were scorch free.

Rawmall noticed that one of the homes had less damage than the rest. He gingerly walked through the scorched earth into what was left of the elven home. A thick oaken table had been turned over in the middle of the room. To the right of the table were the remains of a cooking fire where a great cauldron was suspended, bubbling and hissing over hot coals untouched by the fire that had devastated the village.

Rawmall remembered what the strange smell was once he peered inside the boiling cauldron. There bobbing up and down was the head of a human! Short, closely cropped dark hair clung to the scalded skin. The eye sockets were bare as loose flesh boiled away from the skull leaving thick fat floating on the surface of the boiling liquid. The smell was unforgettable.

“This is black magic! What the hell do you expect me to do with that?” Rawmall said loudly, startled by the sound of his own voice, and the contents bubbling in the cauldron.

“Whatever you want to do with it,” said the voice of a woman in a cunning whisper.

Surprised, Rawmall spun around grabbing his bow, all the while fixing an arrow in place ready to shoot in the direction of the voice. There in front of him stood the small figure of a human woman wearing a long black dress and cape. She shook her long dark hair at him in defiance as she stood waiting for the arrow to find its mark. Her ruby lips curved into a sneer of hatred.

“I suppose you want to know what I did with your elven friends,” said the woman slowly licking her voluptuous lips as she stared at Rawmall.

“That would be nice to know,” growled Rawmall furious with himself that this evil wench had found him again.

“I bewitched them,” she said watching Rawmall’s fury mount even further. “This is the human that killed the elf in the forest. I bewitched the elves and hid them before he got to the village to do any more damage. They are all safe. The damn fool burned the village. When he was done, I took care of the human,” said the dark-haired woman striding across the floor toward Rawmall.

“In fact, the way I see it, you now owe me,” she said placing her hands on her hips staring at him through hooded eyes.

“I owe you nothing,” snarled Rawmall. “Free my friends, then we’ll talk. I do not associate with witches, so make it quick!”

Clearly irritated by Rawmall’s words, the woman’s eyes began to glow a deep emerald-green and a thick noxious fog filled the room. Hours later Rawmall woke up on the floor of the elven hut. The woman was gone.

895 Words – Made up as I typed. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,

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