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Fantasy stories by various authors.


Just Up the Beach

Donnie’s window muffled the clank of swords and the pop of rifles as if they were being played from an old radio. He hopped from his bed, walked over his array of toy soldiers on the floor, and watched the bright display along the shore.

When he woke the next morning his neck ached from sleeping with his head on the sill. The beach was calm and quiet in the dawning light.

“Just a dream, Donnie,” his dad said at breakfast, when Donnie told him of the battle on the beach. “This summer home is old and creaky. You’re just not used to it yet.”

“Eat up,” said his mom, pushing a plate of pancakes in front of his doubtful face.

When his parents settled into their Adirondack chairs on the porch with their coffee and their books, Donnie went down to the beach. An unusual rusty odor haunted the salty air as he walked along the edge of the water, letting the waves wash over his feet.

Something brushed against his ankle. Bending over, he plucked a small bullet casing from the water and rolled it his fingers, then he walked toward the fort.

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All Heaven in a Rage

She’s evil, the witch next door, she and her feline fiends. She with her hooked beak, they with their killing claws and dagger teeth that take my darling pretty birds.

I grab my broom. I throw the back door wide as her cats come creeping and leaping down into my garden. Black cats with marble eyes, brown streaky ones, milk ones with sulfurous spots.

My robin lovebirds dance on the seed table, pecking together in the morning mist. My blessed ravens squabble below in the weeds over scraps. I keep one eye on the weathervane, perched high on my leaky roof. The wind comes from the east north east, it’s safe and true; one degree westwards and it’ll blow me a deadly note. But I shan’t be caught out; I won’t be distracted whilst tending my herb garden to perish the way my wicked-hearted mother went, felled by the cursed changing of the wind. No true witch can endure the faerie wind which blows from the west with all its pale magic. My mother was careless, the faerie wind won’t get me, the oldest witch of Suburbville.

The cats though, and she next door, they ooze constant sneakiness and cunning; my feathered ones always dine in mortal danger.

I rattle my broom in the air; the furred ones pause in their wickedness.

“Woman! Cats!” I screech, stumbling to the fence, swiping at stalking cats. I bang on the wooden slats until my crooked teeth jangle.

And at last she appears, the cantankerous one, all bone and pallid chops, draped in washed out cloths and feathers, feathers I say, the worm.

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Fiddler’s Tale

Ivy clung to thick stone walls surrounding the cottage entry. Shade from the castle’s high turreted tower gave some relief from the summer sun. An herb patch rested to the left of the entry providing a scent to the thick muggy air. Smoke curled from the cobblestone chimney defying the summer morning’s warmth.

Entertaining a fire in the cottage was unpleasant, but the baker lived in the castle. Letal and Mary lived outside the castle. Taking their cooking to the baker took a lot of time. On days when Letal entertained the king with his music, Mary took the bread out to the baker. However, with Letal home she chose to endure the heat of the fire. He was glad for it. They were still sappy newly weds, and felt near physical pain at separation.

“Letal,” Mary called from the fire’s hearth laying thick her best damsel in distress tone of voice.

“Yes, my wife?” Letal responded, enjoying the playful attitude of his wife.

“When are you going to stop adding, ‘my wife,’ to everything you say?”

“I like the sound of it. So, never, … my wife.” He smiled at her as he spoke, showing imperfect yellow teeth. However, he had all of his teeth and was proud of it. He showed his teeth whenever he smiled.

“Do you have a tune in that fiddle of yours for getting rid of flies from the kitchen?” She teased Letal, knowing he hated anyone calling his viola a fiddle.

“My viola? Yes, my wife.”

“Well play it, my husband.”

He pulled the bow across the finely tuned cords, playing a simple tune composed of three repeating notes. The tune did not sound like much. However, the flies fled for the window.

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I Had Enough Silver

I had enough silver to hire the turnip farmer as a guide, but did he speak the truth? “You can believe it, Gregory. It lives in the western wilderness, the most fearsome serpent I’ve ever seen.” Mud from baiting a hook stained his hands but did not reach the sleeves of his yellow shirt.

No dragon had been seen in the region during the reigns of the last four kings, and most disappeared within a generation after the settlers drained the swamps. “How many dragons have you seen?” I inquired.

He chuckled. “Um, well, I’ve seen plenty of brown rock snakes.”

“You compare rock snakes to dragons?”

“I’m telling you it stood bigger than a bear. Came upon my sister as she dug turnips.”

“She cried out?”

“No, my sister neither hears nor speaks, but you never met a kindlier girl. She ran back to find me mending the plow. Never too early to start preparing for sowing, you know. Pale as a corpse, she moved her mouth in vain and pointed.”

“What did you do?”

“As soon as I saw it, I took my father’s spear from above the fireplace. He served as a spearman, a great one, in the king’s army, and he taught me a little.”

A woman’s voice piped up from atop a small boulder that sat against the riverside. “Ralph, you’ve never seen a dragon, and I’ve never known you to miss a chance to back down from a fight.” The voice belonged to a woman he called his twin cousin, maybe younger than Ralph and with a nose like the blade of my battle axe. Her brown hair hung down in three braids.

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The Artist, Perfect in His Craft

Artatra stormed down the five hundred black marble steps to his laboratories and warrens. It was utterly intolerable, the restrictions under which he worked. That a mind such as his should be yoked to an unimaginative, plodding, stupid . . . well, not stupid, exactly. That was the problem! If the Presence in the Throne was stupid, it could be worked around. The mind behind that mask was sly, it was well-ordered, and it knew far more than it rightly ought. It was unimaginably worse than stupid—it was a functioning mind that lacked vision.

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Erosion

Fred looked down on her burnt form. His squinting eyes bookmarked a crumpled expression and one twitching nostril that threatened to make his voluminous mustache crawl away to find a more appetizing site. Smokey smells replaced the expected morning scent of sagebrush after rain. Her right arm flung wildly above her reposed form, clawed at the scorched bark of an ancient pinyon destroyed by the previous night’s fire.

He scratched his back and rubbed his fingers through the mustache to calm its twitching, then cleared his throat. He looked at the late morning sun, as if to burn the image of her scorched flesh out of his mind.

She opened one eye slightly. Her voice rasp, “I must have slipped out. It won’t let me back in.” Her left fist unclenched, but the right hand kept rubbing raw burnt fingers against the remains of the pinyon.

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Frozen Heart

The snowfall muffled the distant highway, and frosted autumn leaves still clung to their branches. Cody perched on the bench’s edge. His pug flopped into the carpet of snow at his feet. He watched Rachel’s fingers molding the handful of snow—clumsy and awkward. So simple, so ordinary. Magicless.

It was beautiful.

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The Real Stuff

I was headin’ out to feed the cows when I heard a zinnia ask, “You got a minute?”

I shoulda known. When a flower asks you if you got a minute, it’s gonna take more’n a minute.

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Night Market

A few candles flickered in the room, casting shadows on the curved wall. A rabbit here, a house there, assorted flowers and even a wine glass. A thousand different shapes wandered the room. They were just pieces of paper suspended from string, mere ornaments guided by a mobile above, but the candlelight made them more. It brought the shapes to life.

It unnerved her.

“Take your time,” said the Whispering Woman. The words were no encouragement. You only came to the Whispering Woman if you were desperate. Desperation didn’t exactly breed patience. The girl wandered between shapes and string, chewing at her lip. None of them called to her. They all seemed random and unconnected, both to one another and her life. She thought about grabbing one at random and being done with the whole, terrible process, but then her future would be decided.

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Don’t Open That Box

I’ve known Kimball since I was a kid. He lived in the abandoned space between my building and the red brick one on the left. Kimball slept under a mattress that he propped up against the alley’s old chain link fence that kept us kids from getting to school on time.

Kimball was harmless enough. He didn’t talk or scream at ghosts or people on fake cell phones. His arms were clean—no needle tracks. No one ever saw him even drink coffee. But, he was still a bum, and mom hated us talking to him.

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Mymud – an interactive novel

Mymud is a multi-player, interactive novel. It is experimental and still heavily in the writing stages.

Try out the Mymud interactive novel over at mymud.io.

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