A day in which you write something is a day well-spent

Posts tagged ‘short story’

Flash Fiction Friday ~ By the Blade of a Barbarian Pt. 4


If you aren’t caught up with Gortha’s adventure, please see my previous posts!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Gortha’s first thought, when she awoke, was wondering how the battle had gone. Her next thought, as she opened her eyes to see darkness, was bewilderment at her continued existence.

Her arms were bound behind her; her ankles were restricted, as well. Still, she believed that she could break the thin rope with some effort. Her planning was interrupted by the sound of shuffling nearby.

It was distant, so she knew that it came from outside her dark prison. Holding her breath, Gortha listened intently, trying to determine how many goblins were present and why they had captured her rather than kill her.

She knew that she needed to escape and expose the Griffons as the traitorous scum they were. However, her first task would be to escape her imprisonment, find her sword, and kill as many of the flop-eared creatures as she could on her way out.

The barbarian heard her captors speaking in low voices outside, but she couldn’t make out what they were saying. Even so, the tone and pitch of the voices told her enough.

Those Griffon bastards captured me, not the goblins! Gortha bared her teeth in the darkness, letting out a low growl. Her headache from the knockout blow throbbed as she strained against the bonds. Tempus, grant me strength, she prayed to her god. The ropes around her forearms snapped, then she made quick work of the ones on her ankles.

She crawled carefully on her hands and knees, feeling around in the darkness for a wall, door, or other object she could use to get her bearings. Her outstretched hands finally touched the stretched, animal hide wall. Gortha dug her fingers underneath it, trying to tug it up in order to get a good look at where she was being kept. It took some effort due to the fact that the Griffons had apparently nailed the wall down into the hard-packed earth. Still, with some murmurs to Tempus strengthening her and more than a few curses, the muscular barbarian was able to pry it free enough to see outside.

She could tell that the day was darkening into dusk from what little she could see. The sun was already behind the treeline of Lurkwood. Gortha could also make out Griffon tribesmen, a lot of them, nearby. There wouldn’t be any easy way to get past them, but she was beyond caring about getting out without more than a little bloodshed.

Now, where is… There. She spotted the tribe’s armory where her sword would be kept. It wasn’t far, so she figured that she could find her sword and make a break for it before they were able to get their self-satisfied heads out of their asses.

A sound behind her made her jump up and spin around, only to be thrown to the ground by a pair of burly warriors in thick, layered, leather armor. The door to her prison had been opened while she lay like a fool on the floor.

“We should have a word, Gortha Goblinreaver,” said the silhouette in the doorway.

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Flash Fiction Friday ~ By the Blade of a Barbarian, Pt. 3


If you aren’t caught up on Gortha’s tale, you can find previous work here:

Part 1
Part 2

For the first time since anyone present could remember, the Griffons and Black Ravens fought together, side by side.

The swarm of goblins boiled out from amidst the trees of Lurkwood, howling and waving their rusty weapons before them. Gortha’s experience fighting them had given her the ability to understand most of their tongue. She was determined to put her knowledge to the test before the day was done. The loyal Raven would find out the truth of the sudden resurgence of goblin raids.

Her greatsword cleaved through into one creature in front of her, and Gortha used the same movement to slice into another within range. Goblin warriors fell all around her, cut down by both her tribe and the Griffons. She paused for a moment, struck by a sudden realization.

Her kin fought ferociously and without remorse, but they killed cleanly, giving the creatures a quick death. In stark contrast, their “friends” murdered the goblins eagerly and often cruelly, cutting off limbs or dealing nonlethal but extremely painful damage before ending their lives with a thrust to the lungs so they would drown in their own blood or with a long-lasting gut wound.

Her disgust for the actions of the other tribe grew every second she watched. Then, she noticed a pair of shadows just within the treeline. By their small and squat shapes, she assumed they were a cowardly couple of goblins. While she watched, however, one lifted a hand toward a trio of Ravens fighting alongside each other and making quick work of their opponents. Flames erupted from the ground beneath them, setting the yellow grass alight as well as their clothing.

A shaman! Gortha thought, fear making her heart race. Her burning kinsmen screamed and leapt out of the area of effect, rolling in the dirt. Before they could rise again, half a dozen goblins got to them and silenced their cries forever.

Anger drowned out the fear. Lifting her sword, Gortha charged toward the spellcaster, screaming for strength:

“TEMPUS!”

Unfortunately for them, the pair of goblins didn’t see her coming until her sword sliced the head off of the scraggly shaman.

The other goblin shrieked and tried to run, but Gortha’s iron-toed boot cut his legs from under him. He screamed as she loomed over him. Speaking in his tongue, she snarled, “You friend with Griffons?”

He looked confused. She lifted him by the scruff of his neck and pointed at the battling Griffon chief.

“You friend with Griffon chief?”

The goblin shook his head. “He not friend. No way no how.”

Gortha’s disappointment almost overwhelmed her, but the creature continued.

“He chase us and kill us and torture us until we run. We run, and he follow, make us run to your tribe. Then you tribe kill us and chase us.”

A sharp pain at the back of her skull drowned out her sudden excitement with unconsciousness.

Flash Fiction Friday –By the Blade of a Barbarian Pt. 2


(If you haven’t read Part 1 in the Fiction Series, please take a look and get caught up on Gortha’s adventure! By the Blade of a Barbarian, Part 1

“You had something to do with this attack!” her chief was shouting when she jogged up, Jorgran following close behind. Gortha could see that things were getting heated. Her people were restless, responding to the anger in their chief.

The chief of the Griffons stood just across the way with his own people, his arms folded over his bare chest and his expression smug.

“We did not attack you, Raven. We came from our nest to be sure you were well.” The Griffon chief spread his beefy arms wide, grinning.

“Do not pretend. Your tricks are well-known to the Black Ravens,” Gortha’s chief snarled. His followers echoed the sound, slapping blades and blunt weapons against their palms or shields. “Why did you come if not to attempt our destruction while we fight off our foes?”

“Nay, we have come to offer our aid.” Gortha’s mouth fell open, and the rest of her tribe fell silent.

“Your… aid.” Her chief’s voice was flat and disbelieving.

“Indeed.”

“What would you get out of your offer of aid?” Gortha spoke up. Her chief looked sideways at her, promising a lecture on speaking out of turn later, but she had given a valid point, so he let it pass without protest.

“I am sure we can come up with an agreement should you accept.”

Gortha could see her chief considering the proposal, but she had a forboding feeling that their alliance would last only until the ruthless Griffons saw an opening. The hilt of her sword was slick in her palm while she worried for the safety of her people. Something had to be done to mitigate the inevitable clash of clans.

Flash Fiction Friday~”Jeans and a Hoodie”


TJ stared at the blank sheet of paper in front of him and forced himself to refrain from ripping it to pieces in frustration. He tapped the drawing pencil in his hand against the edge of the easel, trying to get the idea in his head to manifest into an image he could put on the canvas.

It started to take form, albeit slowly. He lifted the pencil and started to draw, closing his eyes every few seconds to see it more clearly.

The outline finished, TJ moved in to shade and define with color. The man on the canvas was starting to look good, he saw, much to his satisfaction. His urban line of clothing hadn’t been doing well, according to the NY Associates, but this design he had seen in a dream the night before would blow them away, he was sure.

The gold-on-black design of the hoodie gave the man in his drawing a stylish and slightly high fashion look. The baggy, navy blue jeans were artfully torn in places to contrast the chic quality of the hoodie.

His cell-phone started playing the first notes of Look at Me.

“Yo, Kyle, what’s up? I’m in the middle of somethin’.”

His best friend had followed him into the design business and was actually his partner.

“Hey, TJ. I’m sorry to bother you, but this couldn’t wait.” His tone was subdued, and TJ was immediately attentive.

“What’s the problem, bro?”

“They’re dropping our contract, TJ. They found someone else to design for the fall selection.”

TJ felt numb. Distantly, he heard his colored pencil hit the tile floor after it slid through his limp fingers.

“They–they can’t!”

“They did. You should have a notice in the mail. I wanted you to hear it from a person, though, not a piece of paper. We’ll find another company to hire us, TJ. Don’t worry.” Kyle hung up.

TJ stared blankly at the design in front of him, wondering how he was going to pay the rent for his New York flat next month without a steady income. He got off the stool and walked over to the window where he could see the view of the skyline. He was going to miss having an apartment.

The sound of muffled thuds hitting the floor followed by the clatter of a falling easel caught his attention. He spun around, his hand moving toward the pocket knife he always kept handy in case of emergencies. It took the man a few moments to realize what he was looking at.

The man in the drawing was still there, but the clothes TJ had designed had fallen off and onto the floor, causing the easel to fall with them. Gold thread glittered against the black fabric, and artfully torn blue jeans poked out from under the large hoodie. The designer stooped down to pick up what had once been a drawing on paper.

The cloth was just as he had imagined it would be when he had put pencil to paper. The design was perfect. Looking at the hoodie in his hands and feeling the texture, TJ started to grin. Laughter bubbled in his chest, forcing its way out of his mouth with wild abandon.

“TJ’s back, baby!” he shouted. The image of a penthouse condo filled his mind at the thought of how much money he would soon be making with his designs. He and Kyle wouldn’t have to grovel for every clothing company for pennies anymore. Life was about to get really awesome.

A special thanks to TJ for his exuberance and willingness to share his dreams and ideas with me.

Flash Fiction Friday~Kathryn


Kathryn walked down the sidewalk quietly but alertly, watching everyone around her with a silent intensity. The college campus was loud at this time of day with students lounging on benches and shouting at each other. To her left, a large group of them were gathered in front of a small stage where a young man was lecturing and gesticulating with a bible in one hand.

She heard nothing. Kathryn was aurally deaf to the world. The excited noises made by the people around her were unnoticed by the young woman. However, the sight of them bouncing around and gesturing made her smile.

Of a sudden, she noticed about two dozen people streaming out of the art building. From their expressions and exaggerated movement of their mouths, she figured that they were upset and shouting.

Concerned, she ran up to one of them and asked what was going on.

There is a fire in the building, she read on the woman’s lips.

Is there anyone else in there? Kathryn asked.

I think someone was looking for her little girl a minute ago. She’s still inside.

Kathryn looked behind the woman and saw that there was, indeed, another one inside, screaming.

It was a large building, so it would be difficult for anyone to find the child before she was injured or burned. Kathryn looked at the windows intently, searching for any sign of her.

Suddenly, something strange happened. As Kathryn scanned the nearly opaque windows above her, her ability to see through them was easier. Even weirder, the young woman thought she could see through the walls around them. Kathryn’s mouth fell open in awe as she stared through was appeared to be a transparent building. Her awe turned to excitement in a moment when she saw the small form huddled underneath what appeared to be a desk on the second floor.

I know where she is! Kathryn told the woman in front of her as clearly as she could, her hands forming the words as they were spoken.

Where? Kathryn read on her lips. Making a split-second decision, Kathryn shrugged off her backpack and started toward the building, knowing that she was the only one who could find the little girl in time.

Follow me; I know where your daughter is, she said to the frantic woman just inside the doors. The one who had told her of the child followed close behind.

As Kathryn led the way to the stairs, she thought of how exciting her life was about to become.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to my dear friend Kathryn Hruska, whose kindness and courage to live in a silent world inspired this origin story.

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