Another Flash Fiction Challenge

A Day at the Zoo with Micah

The zoo was her favorite place to go to on a date. I couldn’t remember how many times we’ve come here and yet every time Holly acted like it were her first, pointing and grinning like a six year old while clutching my arm.

 

Watching her, it was nearly the same as back then. Except she wasn’t holding onto me and now, it actually was her first.

Continue reading “Another Flash Fiction Challenge”

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Sub-Genre Smash Up (Part Two) Flash Fiction: The Ivory Flower

It’s Friday and that means Chuck Wendig hosted another Flash Fiction Challenge….and that today’s the deadline for last week’s challenge.

This one, I had to do.  It’s another Sub-Genre Smash-Up. The last time I did one it was a Superhero Noir (Which you can no longer see since it’s under heavy reconstruction *cough*) and I loved the result so much that I had to do this one as well, especially when an idea came  rushing to me out of nowhere.

It’s Cyberpunk Sword & Sorcery this time.

Honestly, there was much more I wanted to do here and there’s more telling than showing in the last half than I would have liked, but alas, it’s only 1000 words. If anything, this is sort of a blue-print, a plan, an idea for what can be a much longer and deeper story that I’d like to do one day.

So here ya go. Something new for a change!

 

~~~~

The Ivory Flower

 

Ryan scratched his synthetic red hair as he followed their money ticket – CEO of Medical Solutions Corporation, Vivian Pearl. “We can’t trust a chick like her.  Lyon? Lyon, you listening?”

The six-foot blond giant blinked and looked at him, his face an unemotional mask. “Oh. Yes, brother?”

The idiot didn’t even bother to move his lips, sending the words directly to Ryan’s neurocomp.

“Hey, can’t you stay off the Net for a single minute? We’re on a mission here.”

“Yes. Sorry,” Lyon said, the words issuing from his lips this time. “I agree, but the live video feed she showed us was authentic, not altered in any way.”

Ryan bit the inside of his cheek. “I know. I checked myself. But still…”

Lyon stopped walking and Ryan added, “I’m not giving up! Anything if it means…What is it?”

“…Someone’s following us.

“Huh. That was fast,” Ryan said, already searching for the person’s neuronet access point.

But Ryan couldn’t find any. There was just…nothing.

He wondered if his brother had been mistaken when a cloaked figure rushed towards them, pulling out a sword.

Lyon stepped in front of Ryan. The blade sliced right through his electronic guts–oil and lubricant spilling onto the street. The android smashed a large fist against the side of the assailant’s head. The body hit the ground like a bag of rocks.

Ryan grabbed his brother’s arm. “Easy! Don’t kill him! Are you okay?”

Lyon removed the blade from his body calmly and seemed fine. Ryan pulled back the assassin’s hood and blinked as he realized it was actually a girl wearing metal armor. He recognized flower symbol etched on her chestplate and spun around.

“Hey, what’s the meaning of—”

The CEO was gone. Ryan quickly scanned the area, looking for her neuro signature, but found nothing.

“GODDAMNIT!”

~~~~

“So let me get this straight,” Ryan said. “You’re from another world.”

Danielle, as she called herself, nodded. “Yes. The magic of the Emerald Orb transported us here a year ago. My sister, her Royal Highness Princess Vivian, and next in line for the throne, currently possesses it.”

“Yes, because magic exists in your world,” Ryan said, rubbing his head.

“I apologize for the attack. I was too desperate.” She took his hand. “Please, help me. I need the Orb. My sister and I need to return home!”

Ryan swallowed. “Lyon, are you listening to this?”

His brother was sitting in the corner of their electronic junk shop of an apartment, making repairs to his body. He shrugged.

“Useless,” Ryan muttered with a sigh. “Alright. We’ll help you.”

Danielle’s face lit up. “You will?!”

“With one condition.” Ryan pointed to the flower on her armor. “I need this.”

Danielle blinked and glanced at the design. “The Ivory Flower?”

“It’s long been extinct, but your sister showed it to us,” Ryan said. “I’ll help you get your Orb if you help me get this flower.”

“It’s our country’s most secret royal artifact,” Danielle said, worry in her voice. “One flower blooms once every ten years. Its petals have kept our leaders healthy and youthful for centuries. I can’t even explain how important this flower is to our nation…”

“Just one petal then,” Ryan said. “It’s important.”

Danielle was quiet for a moment.

“Very well.”

Ryan grinned and shook her hand. “It’s a deal.”

 

~~~~

 

The next night, after formulating a quick plan, Ryan, Danielle and Lyon broke into Medical Solution Corporation Headquarters.

Three went in, but only one returned.

 

~~~~

 

Ryan stepped into his dark apartment.

He sat quietly at his console, his burnt hands throbbing.

The events played on an endless loop on his neurocomp and he made a note to delete the memories, but not right now. He needed to remember or he’d wonder why Lyon wasn’t in his usual chair.

What Danielle failed to mention was that her sister, Queen-To-Be Vivian, was a powerful sorceress and that even the simplest spells caused neurocomps to go haywire, rendering him useless.

They were cornered by Vivian’s magic and defense systems. They were going to all be blasted to bits. But Lyon. Stupid Lyon….

Ryan pushed a button on the console and a panel in the wall slid up into ceiling. It revealed a glass chamber. A young boy laid inside, deep in cryogenic sleep. Ryan stood and touched the glass, fingering the name plate: “Leon.”

The transfer to the android body wasn’t without its bugs. The stupid kid forgot his own name, convinced it was Lyon and not Leon.

It didn’t matter now.

Ryan closed his eyes. He could still see it, feel it. The explosion as Lyon self-destructed, taking with him all of Vivian’s defense weapons and everything else in the Command Room…including the glass case holding the Ivory Flower.

It was fitting. Without Lyon, Ryan no longer needed the stupid thing anyways.

The explosion also activated the Orb, which Vivian held in her hands. Danielle tackled her to the ground as green electricity engulfed them both.

Danielle looked to him, said something he couldn’t hear, and vanished.

Well, Ryan sure learned his lesson.

Don’t make deals with princesses?

Ryan nodded. “Exactly.”  His eyes widened. “LYON!?”

Yo!

“But where are you?!”

I uploaded myself to your internal server. You didn’t even notice. I guess my death must have hit you pretty hard, huh? Yes, I know, I know. There there. Don’t cry.

Ryan laughed. It wasn’t Lyon. It was Leon! His personality was back.

“We’ll return you to your body,” he decided. “It should last at least a little bit. We’ll figure something—”

His words cut off as he gasped in pain. A sharp, high pitched interference violated his senses.

Danielle stepped out of the magic  portal that appeared briefly in the middle of his living room. Her hair was longer and the Orb was embedded into a gauntlet on her arm.

She held in her hands…

“I told you I’d come back,” she said as she smiled and offered him the Ivory Flower.

The Promotion

Okay, remember when I said there be two posts today?

I lied. I lied hardcore. But according to Chuck Wendig, that’s what we writers are.

Liars.

So can’t help it apparently.

So anyways, I guess I’ll do what I always do when I don’t have something prepared and time has run out.

Provide an old story I wrote ages ago.

(I was actually going to post a brand spanking new story, but it just wouldn’t come.  Hopefully tomorrow it’ll make its beautiful appearance).

Let’s see what’s buried on my hard drive…

Here’s something. This was my one of first serious attempts at a standalone short story. I’m a novel sort of girl and even then I can’t leave it at one novel (my novels come in threes), so it was definitely difficult to write an entire story with a definite ending in 1000 words. It has gotten easier with practice.

I liked this one, though others didn’t apparently since it was rejected. Ah well.

Fair warning, some mild violence ahead.

Enjoy!

 

AN OFFICER’S PROMOTION

 

 

Officer Zane had a bad feeling. He stood on the bridge that led to the entrance of the Guerra colony. A grunt of no rank worth mentioning was waiting for his electronic signature. It was for the cargo ship that just delivered the new battery plant. According to his official report, the old plant had broken down due to a soldier’s negligence.

Actually it had been Zane’s duty to inspect the plant, but he didn’t have the time to take care of it. The probation of an insignificant soldier was a small price to pay to keep his own record clean, but the malfunction left every weapon on the colony without power. They were defenseless.

Zane usually read every official letter he received, but this time he pressed his thumb onto the screen without even looking. The shadowy trees that enclosed the colony held his attention and he couldn’t look away.

It had been months since he had been stationed on this primitive planet and there never had been any problems. He was diligent and patient, expecting a promotion.

But now, something seemed off.

The day seemed normal. Most of the soldiers were on leave. Zane shoved aside a Private and his sweetheart and ignored the Private’s clumsy salute as he strained his ears. What was that sound? It was hard to hear over the mindless chatter around him.

The wind blew and the sound came more clearly. Screaming? He saw movement in the trees. A soldier staggered out and collapsed dead, back studded with spears. Zane watched as a swarm of children poured out of the trees like provoked army ants. Brown skinned boys wearing loincloths brandished bloodied spears. Their small bodies thundered down the clearing, their faces alive with excitement.

By the time Officer Zane’s sharp mind had processed the situation, he was running in the opposite direction. It would take hours before the new battery plant was installed and their power restored. The primitives on the planet had been declared harmless. An attack had never been expected and the soldiers had no training in killing hundreds of bloodthirsty children. They were doomed. It was time retreat.

At the opposite end of the bridge, a tunnel led to the docks. Zane ran for it. He didn’t look back as the couple on the bridge screamed in agony. He couldn’t save them even if he wanted to—which he didn’t.
There was no time. The only spaceship on the planet was the cargo ship. It had been unloaded a few minutes ago and would soon take off. Zane had to make it. He had worked too hard to die now.

The narrow tunnel was crowded with new settlers and they slowed him down.  Zane had to dodge crying children and parents demanding answers. He didn’t bother explaining. They would soon get their answers from brats no older than their own. He knew abandoning his post was career suicide, but surviving was more important. He’d start over if he had to. It didn’t matter how long it took.

Once he left the tunnel, brilliant sunlight and chaos greeted him. The ship waited thirty feet away in the center of a lake. Along the shore, civilians and soldiers alike fought over the small boats that would take them to safety.

As the cries of the killing frenzy in the tunnel reached Zane’s ears, he raced down the everglade, prepared to fight for a boat. It wasn’t necessary. As the murdering swarm spilled out of the tunnel, panic erupted. Settlers abandoned the boats, throwing themselves into the lake.

Zane didn’t hesitate. He jumped into an empty boat and started the engine, but a hand grabbed his arm. A dying woman, impaled by a spear, stood in chest-deep water, holding up her child with the last ounce of her strength.

“Please… Please, take her!”

Zane was ready to hit the throttle and leave them both behind when he made eye contact with the little girl. Large, watery blue eyes looked at him with fear and confusion. He cursed and grabbed her.

The moment the girl left her mother’s arms, she began to cry. Zane sat her down on the bottom of the boat and did his best to ignore her. The ship was taking off. He zigzagged his way across the lake, dodging spears and floating bodies.

A shadow loomed over his boat. Without thinking, he threw his body over the child. Pain struck him as a spear sank into his shoulder, splattering the toddler’s face with blood. She screamed. Zane wanted to apologize and wipe the blood away and beg her to stop crying—it was giving him a headache.

There was no time for that. He looked up. The cargo bay doors were still open. Gathering the child in his good arm, he stood on the edge of the boat. Spears whistled by left and right. The doors started to close. He jumped.

The cargo doors snapped shut as Zane rolled across the metal floor. The spear twisted in his shoulder and the child bawled in his ears. His vision swam and shadowy figures appeared at his side. Someone took the little girl from his arms.

“Thank you,” he gasped, ears still ringing.

Zane grunted with pain as they removed the spear. He couldn’t see them, but heard them speak in hushed tones.

“Damn. It’s poisoned.”

“Do we have the antidote?”

“Use the broad spectrum stuff. Hopefully it’ll work.”

Dread washed over him. Was he still going to die? After everything he’d worked for? Everything he’s suffered?

At least the child is safe, he thought. The only noble deed he’s ever done in his life. Would it be enough to get into heaven?

“That child… Is that Marianne Sinclair?”

“Wait, General Sinclair’s daughter?”

“His wife and daughter were on the roster. They came on vacation.”

“My God…”

There was a sharp pain as the antidote was injected. His vision darkened, but Officer Zane smiled.

His promotion was secured.

The Last — A Beasts Flash Fic

Celeste makes an appearance once again and comes to the rescue, saving me from writer’s block!

Enjoy?

~~~

 

The Last

 

Celeste ran as fast as her aching  legs could carry her, the forest a green blur streaking past. Branches whipped across her arms, her skin slick with blood and sweat. She tripped on a root and fell hard against the ground. The skin of her palms bled and her ankle throbbed, but she barely felt any of it.

Dead.

She gritted her teeth as tears ran down her cheeks.

Dead, all dead. The thought repeated itself over and over; banging like a bell  inside  her head. She clutched her fists, barely able to see through her tears and white hair that had fallen into her face. She wanted to sob, but now was not the time.

Her head snapped up as a shadow passed overhead. A chance!

Celeste rose to her feet, still bleeding. She followed the moving shadow even if it meant her death. Revenge would be worth it. The face of her mother, dead on the ground, was burned vividly into her mind.

The forest abruptly ended  and  she found herself on open ground. Her eyes—on the sky—were blinded by the  harsh sunlight. She looked away just  in time to  see  the large dark shape in front of her.

She stumbled onto the moist grass directly in front of it.  Looking up, her face burned with rage.

“Dragon,” she snarled.

It was one of the largest she has ever seen, its body stretched across the field. Its scales were a mix of black and dark crimson with a streak of bright red down its spine. She grinned at the sight of the gashes across its body and left eye, knowing it was the work of her clan. At least they  hadn’t died without a fight.

Neither would she.

She tried to rise, but a violent gust of wind pushed her back down. The ground trembled  as  another dragon landed behind her.

It was a black dragon and much smaller than the other. It too was injured, but less severely.

The black dragon laughed at her, displaying his blood strained, sharp teeth.

“The last one, Zander. You have the honor of finally ending this miserable war.”

There was nothing she could do. She didn’t even have the strength to transform. All the anger in the world wasn’t enough to avenge her family. She still refused to look away from the larger dragon`s eyes boring into her gaze.

“The last one.”  Its  voice was deep and powerful. “Has it really come down to this?”

“What are you muttering about?” The black dragon’s  voice  pitched high with annoyance.

Sweat ran down Celeste’s temple, but she continued to meet Zander’s stare. If she was going to die, she would at least die with dignity.

He smirked at her.

Furious, Celeste reached for the last once of her strength to wipe the smirk off its face, but before she could move, Zander moved first. It unfurled its wings and Celeste shut her eyes against the gust of wind as it took to the air. It was a brief flight and it landed between her and the other dragon.

“Traitor! What are you doing!!” the black dragon roared.

“It’s over, Nox.. Whether she lives or dies, it’s over.”

“It’s not over till they’re all dead! Don’t you want revenge for our kin? Revenge for our families?”

“It won’t bring them back.”

“Get out of my way!!”

The black dragon dove around the Zander. Celeste dashed for the nearest tree, but had gone only a few feet when a deafening roar stopped her. The sound was like honey to her ears –the sound of a dragon in pain.

Spinning around, she watched Zander on top of the black dragon, clawing and biting its neck. Breaking apart its scales, it inhaled deeply and let out its flame against the exposed flesh of its own kind.  The black dragon  died cursing Zander’s name. When it was over, Zander collapsed too, and its body melted away, leaving in its place the tattered body of a  human.

Celeste found her feet taking her closer to him.  In  his human shape, blood  spilled freely from his wounds, sluggishly  soaking  his knees. It was her chance!

With a burst of energy, she grabbed a large rock from the ground and raised it high. Before she could bring it down on his head, he turned his ruined face to her.

She froze, rock held high.

He smirked at her again.

“What’s the matter?” he asked. “I’m powerless. Exact your revenge as you see fit.  That’s what Nox was about to do to you. It’s fitting.”

Even in the body of a weak human, close to death, he had a deep, powerful voice. His dark hair was damp with blood and his bare chest  was striped with gashes from both friend and foe.

Celeste dropped the rock.

Her entire body trembled with fury, her nails digging into her palms until they bled.

“You think you get to decide how this will end? …How dare you!”

In an outburst of rage, she found the strength to transform. Her tall, blond human form was replaced with that of a majestic unicorn.

The dragon made no move as Celeste snorted in anger in his face. She could kill him with the slight flick of her horn, or kick him around until his every bone broke and all her frustration, rage and grief were extinguished.

His body remained stock still, accepting death without as much as a shiver. Celeste neighed loudly and reared up on her hind legs. Still, Zander did not move.

“I don’t understand!!” she screamed in his mind. “Why! Why did you kill your brother?! Wouldn’t it been easier to kill me?! I am the last! My clan was the last! If you wanted it to be over, why not just kill me?!”

She bucked and kicked and circled around him, kicking up clumps of earth and grass until she had spent all her energies and collapsed onto the ground, back in her human form. Her shoulders heaved with each breath she took.

“The last thing I wanted,” she cried, her voice muffled against the earth. “…was to be spared by the likes of you.”

There was stillness in the air, the silence only broken by her stifled sobs.

She felt a hand on her head and she stopped crying at once.  Celeste froze. She couldn’t even breathe. What was this?

The dragon gave a heavy sigh. “I deserve to die. I killed the last of my family to preserve the last real beauty of this ugly world. I will be waiting for you to finish this. Till then…”

She watched him walk away, unable to grasp the conflicted emotions raging inside. It was only until he was almost gone from her sight that she realized the millennium war was over and no side had won.

Celeste felt empty. A passing breeze felt as cold as the arctic wind..

By a power greater than her own pride, the last unicorn found herself following the last dragon.

 

Unicorn Flash Fiction!

After a brief hiatus of sorts (*nervous laughter*), here is some Flash Fiction prompted by Chuck Wendig’s weekly flash challenge.

 

 

Sparkly

Celeste knew she was in for some pain when the word “sparkly” was mentioned. She had lost her roommates in the mass mob that was the Holidays shoppers at the Shopping Center. She had wandered into a bookstore, attracted by the CLOSING SALE ad on its large front windows. Somehow she had ended up in the children’s section. The colorful covers might be something her roommate Li would be interested in. She was a bit birdbrained. Celeste wasn’t even sure she could read, despite being a thousand-year old mythological shapeshifter.

While she flipped through a picture book titled “Angry Birds: A Tale of Vengeance,” she heard it.

“Look at the unicorns, mommy! They’re so sparkly!”

A vein above Celeste’s eye twitched. Her head turned towards the voice as if against her will. In a corner of the colorful, but cluttered, preschool section was a whole display of glittery books with glittery unicorns and stuffed unicorn toys. It was surrounded by little girls squealing excitedly to their mothers.

Celeste’s feet took her to the shrine of sparkle and rainbow colors. She picked up a unicorn doll. It was pink. A pink unicorn! With silver tinsel in its mane and tail. There was also a strange tattoo on its butt of a vanilla frosted cake. The image was scented.

She wanted to puke. Is THIS how everyone saw unicorns? The toy’s plastic horns weren’t even sharp! It wasn’t even worth its $1.99 sale price tag. The books were just as bad. “My Little Unicorn” featured anthropomorphic unicorns involved in various humiliating activities, such as tea parties and frolicking in meadows.

Celeste glanced at the mothers, hoping maybe they would see what an atrocity this was. Nope. The female adults beamed and actually encouraged their children, looking just as excited as they picked up an armful of the horrendous toys and books to buy.

They were all human, but still. Had unicorn lore really fallen this low?

Celeste replaced the sacrilegious artifacts and was about to make a swift retreat when a scream pierced the air.

The crowd broke apart as a large rhinoceros charged through the window, showering the terrified customers in glass.

Humans! Your foul stench has tormented me for the last time! Celeste heard the telepathic message loud and clear, as well as any other shapeshifter in the area.

She figured Christmas shopping amidst hundreds of humans didn’t sit well with this one. Still, it was no reason to break a perfectly good window.

The rhino went berserk, destroying bookshelves and trampling over any poor human who didn’t run away quickly enough.

Celeste glanced at the cowering children behind her and grinned. It was the perfect opportunity to show what a real unicorn looked like.

Breaking one of her sacred rules, she stepped into the rhino’s path and shifted into her animal form.

A real unicorn appeared in the middle of the closing Books N Things. She was just as large as the raging rhinoceros, but still majestic — ivory white body, platinum blond mane and tail, three foot long horn as hard as diamond. Celeste made sure the long battle scars across her flank and along her neck were clearly visible by the children.

Not a single patch of pink or glitter to be seen anywhere.

The rhino stopped for a brief second by this dramatic and unexpected appearance. But his rage took over as it charged straight for her. Celeste’s warrior heart raced as she kicked up the floorboards and met his charge with her own.

The impact sent the intruder flying back through the window and into a pretzel stand outside.

Everyone stared. Celeste stood proudly. She had held back, knowing she could have well kicked the nuisance all the way to the parking lot outside, but felt the effect was dramatic enough. There was a minute of shocked silence and Celeste felt pretty good.

“OH MY GOSH!

She blinked. High pitched squeals threatened to rupture her brain. A flood of children from inside and outside of the store surrounded her. Small, dirty, smelly hands petted every inch of her beautiful body

She felt violated

“A real unicorn!!

“It’s so pretty!”

“Mommy, mommy, can we take it home!? Please, please, please!!”

Their voices made her queasy. Dizzy, she knelt down. A mistake. The tiny humans climbed on top of her as if she was an average pony, laughing, tugging on her hair.

Celeste’s last coherent thought was that next year her roommates were getting e-books.

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