Archive for the Writing Category

R2,G37: Knight in the Museum

Posted in FlashFiction2016, Writing on September 26, 2016 by redeemingthewizard

Sir Powell never let a little thing like fully understanding the situation hold him back from charging in to save the day.

Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away (truth be told, it wasn’t all that far. Two kingdoms over and up one, really).  Within this semi-far, sort of close kingdom there lived a knight.  He was a knight of valor, bravery and derring-do.  His name was Sir Powell and he was well known throughout his own kingdom, and tales of his feats were already the talk of every tavern hall, which was why he was traveling abroad (hence the one up) to ‘spread the word’ as it were.

One day, while riding through the woods he came upon a most curious inn.  It was three stories high, stood at a crossroads, and bore a large, brightly colored sign above the front door that read “MUSE-EOM o’ WUNDEr”.

It was also on fire.

In the crossroads stood a woman and a large bug waving at the knight and pointing at the building.  Spurring his horse forward, the noble knight rushed to their side, dismounting with a flourish.  The breastplate that held his family crest and motto flashed in the sun and both the woman and the giant cockroach flinched back from the glare.  They each wore faded work aprons in colors of the sign.

“It appears your shop has been attacked!  Dragons I presume!” he exclaimed.

“Umm…oh! Yes! Dragons!” stammered the cockroach.

“And poor Mr. White!  He’s still inside!” cried the woman.

“Is that so?”  Sir Powell looked to the burning building, before setting his face with determination.

“Was in the Map Room upstairs last time I saw him,” added her shorter companion, antenna twitching.

“Then there’s not a moment to lose. I will save your husband!”  As the knight spun to face the Inn, the woman reached for his arm, a look of confusion on her face but the cockroach beside her restrained her arm with a shake of his head.  Oblivious to the silent interaction between the two, the knight leapt forward, hurling himself through the front door, his battle cry the family motto “Respice Finem!”

“I really should learn latin someday,” he muttered to himself as he did each time he raced into battle.

Light smoke drifted about as the knight threw himself through a stand of Flags of Faerie that had been done in crayon on linen napkins and found himself face to face with the Dreaded Bwak Bawk Beast which consisted of three turkey heads inexpertly stapled to the body of a bear.  Beyond that, he found the stairs.

Ascending them two at a time into denser smoke, he passed a set of barrel heads mounted to the wall which had been crudely painted under a sign that read The 5 Shields of the Troll King Mog and just missed hitting his head on another sign protruding from the wall that read Map Room.

Bursting inside the smaller room, he found it wallpapered in pamphlets and brochures offering Guided Directions to the Huts of the Seven Witches of the Ichorbound Forrest, and another detailing Favored Ale Houses of King Dunganar in Holdmar City and the nearby town of Timberwollop.  The latter sported a 10% off coupon in the bottom corner.  Movement in the periphery of his vision kept Sir Powell from dashing back into the hallway.  A good thing as the groaning crash of failing wooden beams filled the hallway with smoke, cinders and heat.  The cat beneath a display rack hissed at this new danger, jumping up upon the desk on the far side of the room.

His exit blocked, the good knight scooped up the frightened cat and, intent on saving at least one life, charged forward throwing himself through the closed window and into the cool air beyond as a gout of flame licked at his back.

Thankfully the water trough broke his fall.

Sputtering and attempting to blow water off his face, Sir Powell found that a frightened, wet cat was synonymous with violently enraged cat.  Sir Powell extracted himself with a grimace of pain from the remains of the watering trough and held forth the struggling white bundle of claws and teeth to the woman and the talking roach.

“I only found the cat…” began Sir Powell, attempting with difficulty to both fend off and contain the ferocious beast.

“Mr. White!” the woman exclaimed!  “You saved him!”  The cat continued to eviscerate Sir Powell’s gloves and sleeves with the occasional swipe at his face.

“Me and the Mrs can’t thank you enough,” beamed the cockroach.  He hugged her leg affectionately with several free arms.

“Such a brave hero!” beamed the woman.

“Shrewd and clever too,” added the cockroach.  “Dragon attack looks a lot better on the insurance forms than Fire Beetle Nest in the attic.”

“The Mrs?” asked Sir Powell, dazed and in some pain from his fall.

“Funny bit of irony that exit, eh Sir Knight?” noted the cockroach.  “Well, with your family motto being what it is…”  The knight stared blankly at the cockroach.  “Respice Finem; Look before you leap.”

“Ah.  Yes.  That.”  Commented Sir Powell in a deadpan voice and the conversation withered along with the grass closest to the blazing Inn.  The three of them watched the building burn and Mr. White glowered at them all, clutched in the woman’s arms.

“Well I must be off!” Announced Sir Powell when the silence grew uncomfortable and he levered his bruised body into the saddle.  “I’m sorry about your business.”

“It’ll all work out,” said the woman with a wry smile.  The cockroach nodded in agreement.   Without another word, or a glance at his map, Sir Powell wheeled his horse around and set off once again albeit somewhat gingerly.

It’s safe to say that the curators of the “MUSE-EOM o’ WUNDEr” lived happily ever after when the fat insurance settlement from the Goblin Guild arrived.  Sir Powell less so, as his course took him down the trail to what his unused map identified as Burnt Bone Valley.

 

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R1,G37: Circinus Descending

Posted in FlashFiction2016, Writing on July 26, 2016 by redeemingthewizard

Single minded focus on a lofty goal can leave you blinded to dangers right in front of you. 

 

Angela’s lungs burned as she dove headlong through the overgrown brush trail, ducking her head to plow through the heavy palm fronds, guided only by the gibbous moon.  Sticky air, and condensation from her reckless flight through the fronds, further dampened her hair and made the bronze tube she clutched slip precious millimeters in her grip.

Bursting through to the open, the blond-haired woman flight propelled her onto the aging suspension bridge that spanned the ravine.  The bridge creaked, groaning in objection under her weight, and as if to voice its complaint, caught her foot between two of planks pitching her forward.  Angela landed hard on her elbows and knees, her face coming to rest on one of the dew slick slats of the bridge.  The river, swollen from the rainy season, frothed as it roared past.  She struggled to her feet, her burden still held tightly against her chest.

“Angela stop!”

The young professor spun at the command.  Michael.  Of course it was Michael, although gone was the well-groomed mogul of the pharmaceutical industry, replaced by a sweat stained t-shirt, boxers, and untied boots. He hovered in the space between the jungle and the yawning ravine, his dark hair ruffled by the disgruntled air that rose from the turbulence below.

“We need that!” he pleaded gesturing to her burden.  “Please!  This is everything we’ve strived for!  Think of all your work!  The weeks we’ve spent in this green hell!  We can’t quit now!”

“No!” The tenor of her voice surprised her: so much anger, resentment, and disappointment spilling out in one simple word.  “I won’t let you do this Michael!  This won’t be another wonder product to reap more glorious profits!”

“Please Angela!” Michael pleaded.  “Without that—I mean without you we won’t be able to triangulate the entrance!  Just two more days!  That’s all we need!”  Michael took a step forward, extending his hand over the threshold of the bridge, but she shook her head and clutched the brass tube closer to her chest.  “We’re going to be rich Angela,” he soothed.  “And you can spend all your time researching whatever your heart desires.”  He took a shuffling step forward but Angela took a larger step backwards, nearly losing her balance on the slick slats.  Michael froze as both the woman and ancient assembly of ropes and planks wobbled and swayed unsteadily.

“Please Angela!  Come back to camp.  We’ll talk about it. How about a percentage of the proceeds go to charity?  I’ll name a foundation after you.”

“Ha!” it was a cold and mirthless laugh.  “You remember what you told me after that night in Dhaka?”  Fire burned in her gaze.  “It was a lie, wasn’t it.  Every last word of it!”  Michael’s silence was damning.  “YOU BASTARD!”

He looked away out over the moonlit jungle, and when he looked back he wore his boardroom face.

“It’s too damn hot for this,” he muttered.  “But fine, let’s play hardball.”  Angela took another tentative step backwards and the bridge creaked in subtle menace.  “Not exactly flush with options are you m’dear? You think you can run faster than me carrying that?  Or maybe you think you can hide better than Derrick and his team can track?”  Angela shot a look over her shoulder to the dark jungle awaiting her.  “Two days march back to the last village we saw.  Think you can stay ahead of them that long?”  He chuckled dryly.  “I’ll make you a deal.  Give me the telescope, and I won’t tell Derrick you ran away until morning.  Nice little head start eh?”  Angela glowered at him, hesitating before setting her it gently at her feet.  “Good girl!” Michael smirked while Angela backed slowly across the bridge, one hand on the rope rail and the other fingering the handle of knife she’d nicked from Derrick’s tent.  Get to the other side.  Cut the rope.  Slow them down.

“Shit Angela, you were always too altruistic,” Michael taunted as she went.  “Made you easy to dupe, easy to manipulate and even easier to seduce.”  She felt her face flush and she spun on the bridge drawing the knife to face him.

“You think so?” she shouted.  “Well your chart’s incomplete!  I wasn’t going to commit everything to paper for you and that thug!” Releasing the rail she jabbed a finger at her head.  “It’s safely up here and you’ll never get it!” Defiance raged across her face as stark realization flooded his.  Cold prickles crawled down her neck at her mistake.  She brought the knife down to the opposite rope rail continuing to back up.  “What did pet Derrick say? ‘Four days walk to ford the river?’  Wonder how he’ll handle the news.  Still going to wait ‘till morning to tell him?” she spat.

“He won’t have to,” Derricks deep basso carried over the river’s churning as he emerged from the jungle, pistol in hand.  “I think we’re done here.”

“What?” demanded Michael.  “Put that away. I’ve got this.”

“You overplayed your hand jackass, and now you’re useless to us.”  The rapport of the .45 careened off the ravine walls as Michael staggered backwards propelled by the impact of the shot.  The aged support post let out an objectionable crack under Michael’s weight and was quickly joined by a chorus of smaller, sharper notes as vines and ropes surrendered quick succession at the loss of their ancient anchor as both vanished over the edge.

“Damn it!”  Derrick lunged forward as the bridge spasmed, the brass telescope hopping before tumbling end over end, the moonlight flashing off its polished surface.  Angela felt the bridge tense before attempting to buck her.  Then everything slewed sideways.  Without hesitation, she threw herself over the failing rail towards the center of the river below.

“Son of a bitch!” Derrick cursed as he watched Angela disappear into the darkened ravine.  “Armando,” he called back into the jungle.

“Yeah chief?”

“Wake the boys!  Find the bodies then we do this the old fashioned way.”

NYC Midnight 2016 Flash Fiction contest

Posted in FlashFiction2016, Writing on July 24, 2016 by redeemingthewizard

Just a quick note to let folks know that there’s going to be some new things dropping in here over the next few months as I use this platform to host my Flash Fiction entries for the NYC Midnight 2016 Flash Fiction contest.

I was given my first assignment on Friday at 11:59 PM; Genre: Thriller. Location: A Suspension Bridge. Object: a Telescope. I’ll post the results here soon!