Wednesday, May 23, 2018

100 Words a Day 1208


The members of the Iron Brotherhood filed through the Threshold of Infinity, each pressing their lips to their fingers before touching their palms to the Eye of Astro-Eternity. Once inside the grand meeting hall, they took their appoint places at the Dark Table. When all the seats were filled, except the Siege Perilous, they began to intone the Litany of The Castigation of Man. This lasted until the Hour of the Wane Man. When their chanting ceased, the gibbous moon was high overhead, visible through the Window of the Pale Eye. As a single entity, they stood up and turned.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1207


When the red mist faded, Shahzad’s lungs were working like bellows. He looked down. His slippery hands held an enormous sword that he didn’t recognize. He looked around. Corpses lay so thick that he wouldn’t be able to find a bare patch of ground between himself and the field’s edge. He dropped the sword and stumbled forward, unsure in which direction his camp lay. He was tired. Lifting his feet was a struggle and by the time he reached the tree line he had fallen many times. Eventually, he found the a sea of empty tents with smoldering cooking fires.

Monday, May 21, 2018

100 Words a Day 1206


“Hi there.” 

An elaborate glass filled with an unusual, swirling liquid appeared next to Jake’s cheap beer. The owner of the glass had a smooth, soft arm the color of melted caramel.

“Uh, hello,” Jake said, turning. The eyes of the woman who addressed him were dark and smoky, but flashed with something he would’ve described as predatory, if he’d possessed the awareness. Nor did he notice the sinister appearance created by the sharp lines of her makeup.

“Your beer’s empty,” she said.

“Huh? It’s fresh.”

He lifted the can and shook it. Nothing.

“Let me buy you a drink.”


Sunday, May 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1205


Elizabeth’s eyes asked again why he had to go. She held their daughter in one arm and reflexively clutched the air with the other.

“Och, Lizzy. Yah know I have ta go.”

“Can’t yah find somefin else?”

George shook his head. He said something, but the deep horn of The Day Star drowned out what he said.

Lizzy looked up at the ship. The bow leered down at her. Other crewmen walked up the long gangplank, heads bent. Like the condemned.

George turned and took a step towards the behemoth. Lizzy suddenly seized him his arm with her free hand.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1204


The ship cut through the frothing undersea, bioluminescent algae turning crimson as it touched the metal hull. The ship’s wake looked like the trail left by a wounded animal.

Johnathan Bartlett leaned on the railing, looking down at the water being churned by the propeller.

“Jimmy.”

John turned. Herbert limped towards him.

“What is it?”

“It’s eating through the hull. The front hold is flooding.

He rushed towards the bow. Herbert hurried to follow. The hold was half-flooded by the time they reached it. The glowing algae turned the room blood-red. It felt like an omen.

“What about the sharks?”

Friday, May 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1203

I felt awful when I woke up. My head hurt and my muscles ached. I eased myself into a sitting position. The light from the window made me squint when hit it my eyes. I wanted to fall back into bed, but I forced myself to stand. I staggered to the bathroom. I turned the water on and splashed some water on my face. When I looked up at the mirror, I went as cold as the water coming from the tap. I reached up and touched my face, to make sure it was still there. I had no reflection.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

100 Words a Day 1202

A guard appeared at the end of the alley. Sahla turned and started running back the way she had come. The guards chasing her were already coming down the alley. She cast a quick glance over her shoulder, more guards. She drew her sword. It was straight and strong. Precious stones, mismatched, decorated the hilt. She charged towards one set of guards, reaching into her belt pouch as she did so. As she reached the first guard, she threw the contents of her pouch in his face. He fell back, screaming and dropping his sword among the dark alley muck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1201

With one great, final swing, the grinning giant’s ax tore out the last of the woody flesh supporting the Life Tree. It started to lean and a terrible sound filled the air. Every being anywhere on the Infinite Plane stopped what they were doing and stared as the tree fell. Its terrible death cry overwhelmed all other sounds. After the enormous trunk hit the ground, the awful wail stopped. It was replaced by the sound of the tree impacting the earth. After that, a great tremor shook the whole of the plane, carrying with it the lament of the ages.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

100 Words a Day 1200

Morg peeled the prickly skin from the fruit with his knife, as he had seen Faraj do. Underneath, the meat of the fruit was bright red. As he handled the fruit, its cool, sticky juice covered his hand. The first bite was unlike anything he’d ever eaten. The flesh of the fruit seemed to dissolve as he bit into it, releasing more of its sugary juice. It left a cool trail down his throat when he swallowed it, giving him some small relief from the desert heat.

“It’s good, eh?” Faraj asked.

Morg nodded, sucking the juice from his fingers.

Monday, May 14, 2018

100 Words a Day 1199

Rachel stepped through the door of her apartment and onto the moving walkway. The security lock closed around her feet. A familiar beep indicated that it had confirmed her identity. It whisked her away, handing her off to other moving walkways, until she arrived at work. The locks unclamped and she stepped onto the platform outside her office. After changing shoes, she stepped onto the office walkway. It carried her deeper into the building. It ran more smoothly than the public moving walkway, but it was pitch dark. It deposited her at her cubicle, lit by a buzzing florescent light.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1198


The only one who saw it coming was a little girl looking out her window. And she thought it was just a strange flock of birds. She didn’t have time to realize her mistake; her building was the first to be destroyed. The enemy’s latest wonder weapon, a fleet of glider-mounted bomb, soared silently over the town. When they reached the center of city, the gliders dove.

The explosions shattered the early-morning tranquility. As the echoes of destruction faded, wails of pain and terror replaced them. When the sun was up and the smoke had cleared, few buildings still stood.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

100 Words a Day 1197

“Are the interlopers prepared?” Sasha asked.

Alexi nodded, eyes hard.

Sasha donned her ceremonial robe and took the Dagger of Eternity from its waiting place. She strode through the main doors, pausing to look at the assembled community. They stood in a circle on the large green before the temple. At the center of the circle were a series of large standing Xs. Tied to each was one of the interlopers. When they saw her, they started shouting.

Sasha ignored their insistences that they were simply traders. Even if they were, the dictates of the Lord of Eternity were clear.

Friday, May 11, 2018

100 Words a Day 1196


The lights in the submarine went out, plunging the interior into absolute darkness. The engines ceased.

“I hate passing through the Wyrding Depth,” Joseph said. His voice echoed through the silent ship.

The Wyrding Depth ran from about 300 feet to about 350 feet. Some unknown phenomenon caused the all mechanical and electrical functions on submersibles to cease. While unnerving, this wasn’t especially problematic during descent. When attempting to return to the surface however, it meant that crews were entirely dependent on compressed air to ascend. More than one crew had been lost because of insufficient supply or a malfunction.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

100 Words a Day 1195


Herold’s feet ached so badly he could hardly walk. It had started as a rash. Then his skin bubbled. Last night, the bottoms of his feet had burst and were leaking an ugly pus. He could smell it even through his socks and shoes.

I’ll have to throw them away when I make it out, he thought to himself.

The pain in his feet made traveling hard. He knew he had at least a few more days of walking before he got out. He was happy that he had at least found a familiar trail that he knew led out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

100 Words a Day 1194


My belief that the dark jungle verdure would never end was abruptly shattered when my machete clanged off a heavy piece of stone. It had been so covered in vines that I had thought it was part of an old tree trunk. I was intrigued. Once my leaden arm had recovered from the jarring impact, I cleared the old foliage. This revealed a statue that reminded me of the tiki idols the natives worshipped elsewhere on the island. Where those bore at least a passing resemblance to human faces however, this one had great, bulbous eyes and no evident mouth.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

100 Words a Day 1193


It was the worst time of the year for my commute. The traffic was as bad, as it always was. I could never get the inside of the car to be a comfortable temperature, so I was constantly fiddling with the temperature controls. I had to squint against the sun for the entire hour, both ways.

I had a headache from the bright sunlight. I knew from experience that it would last most of the day. And I would get another headache on the drive home. I asked myself, and not for the first time, why I didn’t change jobs.

Monday, May 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1192


The smoke from the small cooking fire was invisible in thick morning fog.

“Time to get up, girl,” the old hag said, giving Sarah a light shake.

The old woman stood straight and strong, like the trees. Her face was unmarred by the lines that creased across of many of the women she’d grown up with and her clothing was sturdy and well-made. She was clearly ancient, but her age was as indeterminate as the age of the vast forest.

Sarah stretched and threw back her fur blanket. When she stood up, she only came up to the hag’s chin.

Friday, May 4, 2018

100 Words a Day 1191


Aicher found himself standing in a graveyard under a twilight sky. A chill wind, thick with the stench of decay, made him turn. There was a pale man behind him, wane and with sunken cheeks. When he saw Aicher’s face, his cataracted eyes lit up and he smiled. He reached out with both arms, white shroud slipping back and revealing shriveled arms.

“My son,” he said in a dusty voice.

“Father.” Aicher embraced the wan man. He felt bones beneath the old man's papery flesh.

“I’m so tired. I tried to come when you called, but it’s so difficult now.”

Thursday, May 3, 2018

100 Words a Day 1190


They had prayed around the body all night. Their voices were hoarse. The corpse was still. The sun started to peek over the horizon, and the supplicants collapsed in exhaustion. Their god had not answered their prayers. Now they were too spent to even grieve. When they had rested sufficiently, they would rise and begin funeral preparations. It would take an entire day to complete. By the time they had finished, they would be sufficiently recovered from their night of prayers and be ready to let their grief out in long wails. These too were a prayer to their god.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

100 Words a Day 1189


The jungle humidity dragged on them, imparting a lethargy to the two men that reduced the speed and enthusiasm of their poling to a minimum. Regular dipping of their heads in the slow-moving water did little to cool them, and there was constant danger of emerging with some river parasite stuck to their face. They forgot that this part of the river ran through the range of an especially hostile group. The heat made it hard to think. They were still many miles from their destination when the lead man tottered for a moment, then fell headlong into the water.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

100 Words a Day 1188


It was a cold February morning when I finally decided to brave my uncle’s wrath and descend the basement stairs, to see for myself what was making so much noise. There was no sound on the journey down apart from the creaking of the old stairs. The light switch did nothing. Fortunately, I’d had the forethought to bring a flashlight. The first thing the beam illuminated was a large, wooden crate covered in faded writing. I thought I could make out the words “live specimen.” A thud made me turn and flash the light into the corner of the room.

Monday, April 30, 2018

100 Words a Day 1187


Even with the moisture mask and hydration suit, I was still parched.

I swallowed a thick glob of saliva and said, “I gotta have another sip.”

Ajax stopped and turned. He pulled his mask off.

“I could use a drink myself.”

The area around his eyes was sunburnt. My skin stung as I removed my own mask.

“You’re burned as shit,” Ajas said before taking a gulp of his water.

“You don’t look much better,” I said.

Thirst quenched, we re-donned our masks and resumed walking. It wasn’t long before we needed to drink again. I couldn’t believe the heat.

100 Words a Day 1186

The peacock walked out of the lurid dreamscape where I had found myself. It stood before me and spread its great tail feathers. Then it turned its head, to look at me with one of its black eyes. I examined the feathers. I was surprised to see that, as I moved my gaze from one side of its tail to the other, the “eyes” of the feathers followed me. I even saw one of them blink. I looked back at the peacock’s head. It was staring at me with its other eye. I tried to walk around it, but couldn’t

Thursday, April 26, 2018

100 Words a Day 1185

After hours of painful needling, the tattoo was complete. Ichita stayed on her stomach, despite the discomfort caused by the rough table. The tattoo artist put down her needles and picked up a small jar. She slathered on enough to cover Ichita’s back. She sighed as the cool unguent soothed the hot prickling left by the needles. She applied several other pastes to Ichita’s back and sent her home.

The next morning, Ichita returned to the old lady’s house where she removed the paste. The tattoo under the paste was vivid and bright. It looked like it was coming alive.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

100 Words a Day 1184

Sara alighted on the ground and resumed her human form.

“Did you see anything?” Hugora asked, staring into Sara’s green eyes with her own enormous brown ones.

“They’re gone.” Unlike most people, the giant eyes of the dvergr didn’t make her uncomfortable.

“So we can go in then?”

“Yes, and finally put an end to this.”

Hugora spit on the ground and picked up her two-handed axe. She turned to Arnold.

The gnome nodded and patted his small pack. The explosives were ready to go.

The trio looked around continuously as they approached the silent gate. It was slightly ajar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

100 Words a Day 1183


“Sure would hate to have this happen on my honeymoon,” Bill said, binoculars trained on Greg Stone’s room.

“Really? You wouldn’t want to be murdered on your honeymoon?” Jeff replied, screwing the next piece of his rifle on.

“Yeah, I mean. You’re on your honeymoon and then, BLAMO! You’re dead.”

“Maybe they should’ve thought of that before running off with all those drugs.”

Bill lowered the binoculars. “I’m not saying I don’t get it. I’m just saying I’d hate to get shot on my honeymoon.”

Jeff shrugged.

“What about the wife? Might be awkward to explain to her new in-laws.”

Monday, April 23, 2018

100 Words a Day 1182

There was another officer heaving in the corner where the hallway turned. He ignored the man as he passed. Nobody wanted to be recognized in that state. The stench hung heavy in the air after he passed though the next set of double doors. He tried breathing through his mouth; it helped.

There was an officer outside the door where it all had happened. He nodded at Jason and open the door for him. The miasma that invaded Jason’s nostrils made him stumble. His eyes watered and his stomach started to turn over. He just made it to the bathroom.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1181


“Ugh, what’s that smell?” John wrinkled his nose.

“The man who arrived last night. Keeps calling himself a paladin of Neros.” Gregory responded.

“Who the hell is Neros?”

Gregory shrugged. “Some god.”

“Tsk. What sort of god wants followers who smell like that?”

“I heard it’s some sort of god of the dead.”

“The gods don’t exist. And even if they had existed, they all died in The War That Split the Land.”

“How can you believe in that if you don’t believe in any gods?”

“I don’t. I’m just saying that if there had been any gods, they’re dead.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

100 Words a Day 1180


I reached over and fumbled for the sleep button. I didn’t want to get up. My limbs were heavy. Was I getting sick? I hoped not; it was only Tuesday.

When my alarm went off again, it made my face and chest ache. I groaned and pushed the covers away. I stumbled out of bed, groping for the light switch. The light stabbed my eyes.

I turned away and looked out the window. Snow had accumulated on the sill last night, and it was still coming down. The urge to return to bed redoubled. That’s why I was so tired.

Friday, April 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1179


Morg awoke with a start. It was pitch black; his fire had gone out. His heart started pounding; he would freeze if he didn’t get it started again. The mountains air was frigid. He felt around; he could feel the warm ground where his fire had gone with his left hand, the demon hand. He reached for the spot with his right hand, drawing it back in pain when he touched the hot remnants of the fire. He stopped and blew on his hand. As he was shaking the stinging pain away he realized that he wasn’t cold at all.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1178

“What’s on that island, Grandpa?” Asmund asked, pointing to a small piece of land they could barely see.

“The MacNivens live there.”

“Who’s that?”

“Hasn’t your mother told you about them?”

“No, Grandpa.”

The old man grumbled. “They come in the night for children.”

Asmund’s eyes widened. “How do they get here? There’s no rainbow bridge.”

“Their god helps them cross, little Asmund. In exchange for the hearts and livers of the little boys and girls they bring back with them. The rest of the body the MacNivens keep and eat.”

Asmund’s eyes got even wider. “Don’t they have cows?”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1177

Sarah stepped out onto the terrace and looked down onto the tiers of fields. Her family had owned them for as long as anyone could remember. They said they were a gift from the gods. Sarah’s family was already at work. They marched mechanically in a row, cutting the tall grain with ancient scythes.

Sarah could pick out each of her relatively by their shape and gait. At the far end was her great, great, great grandfather Baram. His corpse was the cleanest. The bones had been picked clean long ago. Sarah smiled. She loved having her relatives so close.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

100 Words a Day 1176

“Nurse,” I said, gesturing weakly that she should come closer.

Her eyes twinkled. She sauntered towards me, smiling. When she was beside my bed, she looked at the machine I was attached to, adjusting a few knobs.

“What can I do for you Mr. Drayton?” she asked, leaning close to me.

“I, I need to confess something.”

“Oh?” her eyes lit up.

“Yes. I killed people when I was younger. And I never got caught.”

The nurses’ smile grew even wider.

“Same.”

Before I could react she stood up and turned a dial. My vision blurred and my heart raced.

Monday, April 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1175

When Marcus awoke, he found himself in an unfamiliar forest. In place of his soft mattress was an enormous bed vegetation full of aromatic and multi-colored flowers. Weird tress stood in place of his bedroom walls. He was more confused than worried.

He stood and stretched, not remembering when he had last felt so refreshed. A single path led away from the clearing. Unsure what else to do, he started walking down the path.

Strange birdcalls followed him. He wasn’t walking long before he found another clearing. There was a giant tree in the middle, full of strange, strange birds.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

100 Words a Day 1174


The first thing to emerge from the spacecraft was either a robot or a being wearing some sort of suit. Soldiers dressed in their own heavy environmental gear clomped across the grass, laden with instruments ranging from Giger counters to thermometers. The thing waited patiently as the men inspected it. Once they had finished, sounds began to issue from what looked like a mouth.

“Greetings, Earthlings.”

Everyone watching looked at the person next to them. Did it really just say that?

After a brief conversation, the door to the spacecraft opened again. A pair of pseudopods emerged and looked about.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

100 Words a Day 1173


My hand shook as I picked up the coupe. A good sign. I couldn’t remember what number drink it was. Also a good sign. I closed my eyes and tipped my head back. The cold, sugary, boozy, magical liquid ran crackling over my tongue and cascaded down my throat. I felt it tingle all the way down before it settled in my stomach and another wave of warmth flowed out to the tips of my fingers and toes. My face relaxed and I smiled. I put the fragile glass back down on the marble bar.

“Ahhhh,” I sighed with satisfaction.

Friday, April 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1172

“Why is all our stuff outside, Mommy?”

Mommy didn’t answer me; she just stood there and cried. There was a piece of paper on the door. Mommy stuck her key in the door, but it didn’t work.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?” I didn’t understand.

Some of our neighbors poked their heads into the hall to see what was going on.

“Hey! That’s mine!” One of them was walking away with my favorite blanket.

Mommy continued sobbing, and she fell to her knees and leaned against the wall. A policeman appeared at the top of the stairs and started walked towards us.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

100 Words a Day 1171

Ibefa stumbled through the dark street. The many mugs of beer he’d consumed made it hard to find his way. He was squinting up at the dim buildings, trying to figure out where he was that he didn’t notice the three rough men emerging from the deep shadows. He found himself on the ground, the back of his head aching. At first he thought it was the next morning. Then he felt the plunge of the first knife. He managed one cry of pain before iron hands clamped over his mouth. A baker found Ibefa’s body early the next morning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

100 Words a Day 1170

Every full moon the residents of Marsh Edge lock and barred their doors. They shuttered and braced their windows. Children huddled under their blankets while fathers stalked back and forth, holding knives, clubs, or whatever other weapons they had at hand.

Well before the moon reached its zenith the wailing would begin, far off in the soggy marsh. It would wend along the crude trails to the village. It would go up and down, calling to the terrified residents in their crude dwellings. Sometimes one would answer. And the next day, their home would be empty of all its inhabitants.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

100 Words a Day 1169

Those gods that had been able to overcome their celestial lethargy manifested in the Temple of the Pantheon. The great fire was down to embers and the stone of the building was cracked and dirty. The seats were less than half-filled. Those in attendance were wane and weak, sagging in their stone chairs. They would be unable to grant the wishes of their supplicants for some time. The largest chair was empty except for a shadow, all that was left of their father, though his influence was still felt throughout the world, especially among the elves who bear his curse.

Monday, April 9, 2018

100 Words a Day 1168

The screams were all Otto heard as he sprinted down the corridor. His hear was racing by the time he reached the lab door. The clear door revealed Francisco struggling with the alien lifeform. Another scientist was unmoving on the floor. Francisco aimed a small torch at the thing, but it dodged adroitly.  Then it was on his face. Unable to scream, he gurgled.

“We’ve got to help them!” Peter cried, trying the door.

“No!” Otto pulled him away.

Before Peter could stop him, Otto opened another panel and slammed a button, ejecting the lab into space, away from earth.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

100 Words a Day 1167


She huddled under the bed. They were stomping and growling. She hadn’t made it to the litterbox. She had tried, but she was sick and her legs hurt. She had tried to tell them, but they never understood. They’d gotten scarier and scarier, and she spent more and more time under the couch; she was too scared to stay under the bed usually. Once they had stopped growling, she cautiously emerged from her hiding place and tried to leap onto the bed. She managed to get her front paws on top of the mattress, but fell back to the floor.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1166


Sandra stood on the balcony and sighed, watching the street below. Her father sat and watched the sunset, taking lazy pulls on a long cigar. Her mother sat beside him, fanning herself and watching Sandra.

The heat of the day lingered, slowly released from where it had accumulated in the stone and metal parts of the city. Sandra couldn’t see it from where she stood, but sweat bled through the ratty shirts worn by the laborers returning home after their day’s work. The only thing the bled through her finely-tailored dress was boredom.

“Sandra, let’s go inside,” her mother said.

Friday, April 6, 2018

100 Words a Day 1165


Okuro grimaced. Even with his cane bearing most of the weight meant for his leg, he felt a stab of pain each time he put his right foot down. Everyone walking the same direction passed him as he hobbled down the street. The few block walk took him many times what it would’ve taken him when he had lived on the street as a young man.

Despite the pain, Okuro continued. He slipped his free hand into his jacket, reassured by the presence of his old knife.  He looked over his shoulder at the pair of young men following him.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

100 Words a Day 1164

Eljena closed her eyes and pictured a whippoorwill. She imagined its small beak and large eyes. And the earthy colors of its feathers. The familiar sensation of transformation emanated out from her center and flowed down her limbs into the tips of her digits and the top of her head.

When she opened her eyes, her vision had changed. And she was much closer to the ground, standing among tall stands of green grass. She launched herself into the air and alighted on a branch.

The guards chasing her charged around the corner. Their anticipatory grins turned to open-mouthed confusion.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

100 Words a Day 163

Glorian focused his will and sent lightning streaking from his fingertips. It struck two of the bandits in their chests, hurtling them backwards. They slammed into the hard ground while the sound of the thunder still roared through the air. The other brigands hesitated. They had never seen an elf before, and had thought a lone traveler an easy mark. The unmoving bodies of their companions caused them to reassess the situation.

Glorian sent a jet of flame towards another bandit. It enveloped the poor man, sending him screaming into the woods. That was too much for the remaining men.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

100 Words a Day 1162


Illian returned to his wagon and stripped off his costume. He dipped it in the small bucket and hung it up to dry. As he did so, he noticed the spot on his hand. The makeup had rubbed off. He covered the midnight blotch with his other hand and looked hurriedly around. He was alone in his wagon.

There was a knock on the door.

“Just a second!” He rushed over to his chest and threw the lid back. He snatched the small jar of paste and slathered it all over the spot. He grew frantic when the knock repeated.

Monday, April 2, 2018

100 Words a Day 1161


The heads of the merchant families met in the temple. It was also the largest facility for forging the steel goods they relied on for trade. They had to shout to be heard over the choir of hammer blows and the organ-bellows that stoked the divine fires. The dvergr skilled enough to have earned anvils in the great hall trailed dark ash wherever they went. The smithy tasks normally performed by goblins were handled by young dvergr, specially selected for their religious devotion and their potential as steel artisans. The greatest among them were selected to be the steel priests.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

100 Words a Day 1160

The priestess wore a robe that was covered in dirt and full of holes. It smelled of rot and had been passed from one priestess to the next for as long as anyone could remember. It was the robe of the priestess of Death.

The congregation was isolated and few survived to adulthood. They hoped that their prayers would appease Death and that he wouldn’t let the shadow of his hand fall across their young. Failing that, they hoped he would pass that same shadow over their deceased, that they might rise up again and help till the rocky fields.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

100 Words a Day 1159

Craigar used his hand to block out the searing light coming through the cave entrance. It was just a point of light several hundred feet away, but it made his teeth ache. He turned around and donned his dark goggles. He couldn’t believe how bright topside was.

A light breeze, strange, but pleasant, touched the back of his neck as he finished with his goggles. He inhaled through his nose and started coughing. Merchants returning from trips above had exposed him to the fragrant things called fruits and flowers, but he’d had no idea their odor could be so strong.

Friday, March 30, 2018

100 Words a Day 1158


Garrac’s face turned red and his cheeks puffed. The chest yielded, first with a creak, then a groan, and finally a snap. He stumbled back, losing the pry bar when the pressure released. He didn’t hear the clang as the bar hit the stone floor, his eyes were locked on the rainbow glow emitting from the open chest. Visions of the contents danced across Garrac’s mind. He rushed back and swept away the fragments of wood that had broken off the lid. He thrust both arms elbow-deep into the contents of the chest. He couldn’t believe he’d finally found it.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

100 Words a Day 1157


Two dull thuds shook the airship’s hull and the strange hum produced during flight ceased. Iluviar stood up from the narrow berth where he had been sleeping. Gathering his things, he heard the muffled sound of several voices through the wall, talking excitedly. Humans coming from the observation deck, he thought. Airship travel was nothing new to him, but the majority of passengers on this trip seemed to have hardly seen one before. He wondered how enthralling they would find it when one of them vanished mysteriously and the tall, red-robed captain said they must’ve “fallen overboard,” during the night.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

100 Words a Day 1156


Shade sent a tendril of his power down to the mortal realm. It wended to and fro, guided by the droning chant of his supplicant. Despite the shining beacon of the woman’s faith, Shade had difficulty locating her. Even his ability to see outside of the celestial sphere had become hazy since the divine war.

When he finally did locate his priestess, he strained to hear her clearly enough to comprehend her desires. After he finally understood, he inhaled and blew into the mouth of the corpse at his worshipper’s feet. Its lungs filled with divine air and it stirred.

Monday, March 26, 2018

100 Words a Day 1155


The blade hurt on the way out almost as much as it had hurt on the way in. Morg managed to keep his focus however, and the wound didn’t bleed once the steel was free from it. Anyone looking closely would’ve seen Morg’s flesh wriggling and reaching across the hole. When two bits of flesh met, they held together and the wound slowly closed.

“It’ll take more than that, elf,” Morg growled at the slender man with pointy ears holding a sword with a jeweled hilt the dripped with Morg’s blood.

“I’ll put it through your eye next time, boy.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

100 Words a Day 1154


The faint plea of Uckthar’s supplicant penetrated the thick, sleepy haze that had settled on his mind. It tickled his brain, the way a sparrow tickles a tree branch as it hops along. He brushed it away with a thought. The plea came again, this time nipping at him like a puppy eager to play. He tried to ignore it. Eventually though, the persistent call overcame his perpetual lethargy and he bent his will towards the old man in the small shrine. He heard the man’s words and sighed. It would require a great expenditure for even that simple request.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1153


The large terminal windows permitted the sunlight to enter, but forbid the heat from escaping. The air conditioner wheezed continuously; the temperature continued to climb. The flight delays meant all the seats were occupied by overheated, sweating masses of humanity, whose higher faculties were slowly eroded by the increasingly intolerable environmental state. Those who hadn’t managed to find a seat were slumped down on the floor. When thirst finally drove someone to their feet, their presence was marked by a sweat stain. The kiosks had already run out of water, and the soda fountains at the restaurants were being taxed.

Monday, March 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1152


I awoke with a start, the troubadour’s haunting dirge still caressing my ear. I inhaled through my nose to calm my racing heart and found my nostrils filled with the stale stink of dirty bodies and work animals. Rolling over, I retched over the side of my bed. Fortunately, the urge to vomit was replaced by rough coughs before I ruined my carpet. After my coughs subsided, I lay back in bed and wiped the sheen of sweat from my brow. The dream came back to me; I was on the same pilgrimage as the grotesque figures in the painting.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1151


“Do you see the size of that one?” Erik shouted.

He thrust his finger towards one of the twisted trees that were scattered through the marsh. A giant mosquito perched on the rough bark, buzzing loudly. It was the largest he’d seen so far.

“Shit, don’t point at it. What if it notices us?”

The two men froze, ignoring the conventionally-sized insects that crawled over their exposed skin. The gigantic mosquito took flight and vanished deeper into the stinking marsh.

The men resumed their slog through the thigh-high water, trying to ignore the unseen things rubbing against their tired legs.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

100 Words a Day 1150


Gazi put her craggy hand on the rough tunnel floor. She could feel the cave spider’s web blocking the path, but not her acolyte. The spider chittered, hoping Gazi’s curiosity bring her to be ensnared in its trap.

Instead, Gazi placed her hands on the stone and whispered a prayer. A moment later she pushed, and felt her hands sink into the stone as though it were wet clay. She continued pushing until she had passed entirely into the rock wall. She swam through the rock until the spider’s web was behind her. After emerging, she continued down the tunnel.

Friday, March 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1149


“If one more motherfucker cuts me off…” I growled.

Then some asshole in a Chevy Equinox jerked into my lane and slammed on his breaks. I laid on the horn.

The driver stopped and put it in park. Then they got out of their car. It was a middle-aged man who looked like he used to be athletic, but was still a bully. He stormed towards me.

I was salivating like a dog when a bell rings. I was going to give this fuckface such a beating his own mother wouldn’t be able to tell his face from his ass.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

100 Words a Day 1148


“Before we arrive at the village, my lord, you should know that the inhabitants are all possessed of a bizarre look and manner. Perhaps due to inbreeding, as is so common in places of extreme isolation, they universally speak with a lisp.”

“Really?”

“Yes, my lord, and they practice a particularly backwards religion deifying snakes. They’ve gone so far as to forbid the killing of the things in their territory. Oddly though, despite the dense population of snakes in the surrounding area, they never seem to enter the village grounds.”

“We shall need caution when we bed down tonight then.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

100 Words a Day 1147


Rururox lifted her snout and inhaled the scent of the humans they were tracking. There were several of them, with horses, probably a caravan. She licked up the drool accumulating on her mouth. Humans rarely traveled the underside of the continent and the gnolls considered their meat a delicacy, flavored as it was by the variety of fragrant plants they consumed that were unavailable on the underside.

Rururox turned back to her hunting party. Their snouts were pointed in the direction the scent on the air suggested the humans had traveled, though eventually they’d have to adjust for the wind.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1146


Cecil crawled from the wreckage of the airship, covered in scrapes and cuts. Once sufficiently recovered, he pushed himself to his feet and looked over the debris. He saw no movement. Slowly, he dug through the shattered timber, searching   for other survivors.

Cecil abandoned the search after finding the smashed bodies of a few of the other passengers. He instead started to search for supplies and his armor. Anything breakable had been destroyed. He did manage to find the heavy chest holding his armor. It was intact. He wasn’t sure how useful it would be however, stranded in the wilderness.

Monday, March 12, 2018

100 Words a Day 1145


Zenbios passed the speaking stone to Talaos. Like the others, Talaos bore the scars of many battles. The best-known had pulled one side of his mouth up, giving him a perpetual half-smile and the name The Grinning Butcher.

“We’re discussing the prospect of war with the state of Pentheos. Many compelling arguments have been made in support of invasion. At the heart of each proponent though, is a desire for glory, wealth slaves, or some other thing. For my part, I care not for any of these things. Go to war or stay at home, I simply love to kill.”

Saturday, March 10, 2018

100 Words a Day 1144


Fikri woke late and struggled to rise. He checked the offering he had placed the night before. The little altar held a battered statue, worn smooth in places by the touch of time and many hands. Fikri touched the idol’s featureless face with the three fingers of his left hand, as his father and grandfather had every day.

The worn spots on his prayer pillow struggled to expel the two divots from the hours he’d spent droning ancient adulations. The offering lay where he had placed it yesterday, before his supplications. His petitioning hadn’t roused Urtarr from his godly slumber.

Friday, March 9, 2018

100 Words a Day 1143


She put her hand on the tree. Its life energy was sluggish, not wane. It was waiting for the invigorating touch of spring air before it would stir itself. The taste of the nutrients in the soil crackled across her tongue and the sun warmed her skin all over, even though she stood in the shadow of the massive tree. Something touched her neck. She didn’t flinch, recognizing the sensation of a squirrel stirring in its den high overhead. She looked up, locating the clump of leaves and made a chittering noise. The squirrel’s poked out and it chittered curiously.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

100 Words a Day 1142


The music started, the double doors opened, everyone turned in their chairs. Standing in the doorway, framed by the setting sun, stood the bride’s silhouette. She walked down the aisle carefully timing her steps to the music. Once she was out of the sunlight and fully in the building, sunbeams filtered through the building’s strained glass, painting her white dress. Everyone’s heads turned, following her as she walked past them. When she reached the end of the aisle, the music stopped. The only thing that broke the silence of the hall were the creaking of chairs as the guests settled.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1141


The woman awoke and saw two unfamiliar men staring down at her. Behind them she could see an unfamiliar ceiling.

“How are you feeling?” the older man asked. He had a close-trimmed grey, beard.

“I’m…” her stomach roiled.

The younger man dashed out of view, so fast his floppy cap fell off. He returned just in time to catch her vomit in a wide-mouthed earn.

“Are you feeling better?” he asked when she’d finished.

She nodded.

“Can you remember anything?” the young man asked.

“I remember…” she trailed off.

“Don’t rush her.” The older man said. “It will take time.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

100 Words a Day 1140


“But what is it?”

“It’s a motorized scythe,” the diminutive man replied. “It’ll mow a field in less than half the normal time.”

“Well, at the price you’re asking, it had better.”

“It will pay for itself in a few years.”

“If it breaks?”

“It’s made of wood and steel, any piece you can’t make yourself you can get from your smith.”

“And who’ll bring in the crop in the meantime?”

“Well, certainly there must be labor you can hire in the short-term.”

“Tss, if you think there’s free hands at harvest time, you’ve a lot to learn about farming.”

Monday, March 5, 2018

100 Words a Day 1139


“What do they call this place again?” Arthur asked his companion.

“A café,” Gregory replied.

“Café.”

“Yes.” Gregory sipped from his clay mug. His eyes widened. “What an amazing product, this coffee.”

“Yes, its rejuvenatory powers are unparalleled.”

“And that’s exactly why I brought you here, Arthur. The natives are content to sit in their cafes and sip their coffee, and that’s that.” He put his hand on his friend’s arm. “But between us two, I think we can take this coffee across all the rainbow bridges. A café in every neighborhood. Filled with those of monetary and temporal means.”

Sunday, March 4, 2018

100 Words a Day 1138


Grusun carefully placed the lockpick back in bag. The ancient lock refused to open.

“Time to get the hammer,” he said to himself, a habit developed over years of working alone.

He rummaged through his pack, emerging with a sledgehammer. Grusun drew the hammer back and smashed it against the lock. The impact sent a metallic clang echoing down the tunnel.

The door remained shut. Grusun struck the lock several more times, then bent down to examine the results. The lock was intact, but Grusun could see that the hammer-blows had cracked the casing around the mechanism.

“It’s a start.”

Saturday, March 3, 2018

100 Words a Day 1137


The airships shrank as Stanik plummeted through the air. The sounds of shot and men’s screams faded. All that was left was the wind rushing by. He had thought about the possibility of this moment many times; the whole crew had. But that didn’t prepare him. He couldn’t scream. He didn’t feel his heart racing. It wasn’t until his plunge began to slow that his shock started to dissipate. It wasn’t until after his fall was completely arrested and he was floating in one of the neutral zones that were scattered throughout the sky that panic began to set in.

Friday, March 2, 2018

100 Words a Day 1136


“We need to get back inside,” I said, unnecessarily.

My fingers were stiff. I could barely close them around the handles of my tools. Everyone struggled to get their equipment back into their bags.

Initially the engine wouldn’t turnover. After the first sputter, we all looked at each other. I could see in their eyes that they were imagining someone finding us tomorrow, seated and frozen to death.

Everyone sighed when the motor finally roared to life. It growled as it idled, angry at being roused. We started to drive slowly back to the ship, accelerating as the engine warmed.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

100 Words a Day 1135


The view out the window showed a cold, brown, and barren landscape. The inside of the house was equally bleak. A visitor, were that by some miracle there was one, wouldn’t have been given any indication that it was in fact, Christmas day. There was no tree decorated with a riotous explosion of lights and ornaments of innumerable theme. There were no gifts, wrapped carefully with paper that would be thoughtlessly torn away. The small table was bare. The kitchen was spotless, having just experienced its weekly cleaning. There were no signs of any preparation for the receiving of guests.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

100 Words a Day 1134


Merik’s aching head woke him. He was looking up at the sky. When he tried to sit up it made the world spin, so he dropped back down. He could feel that he was on an open bed of a wagon, bouncing along a rough road. Merik turned his head to look to the left. Loping next to the cart was a being like he had never.

It humanoid. But it was taller than anyone Merik had ever seen and rail thin. Long, stiff hair stood straight up off its bare arms. It was bald except for single, long braid.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

100 Words a Day 1133


“The whole of the land is against you, Sarah. If you fight and struggle, you’ll just freeze to death. Take the Cold Kiss, it’s the only way you’ll survive.”

Sarah stood, shivering. She tried to scowl at Zoe, but her face was too cold.

“Never!”

“Please Sarah, there’s no other way. You won’t have to worry about the cold, hunger, anything. And we’ll be together again. Forever.”

Sarah looked into Zoe’s eyes, completely ice-blue where they had been brown before, and she wanted to give in. Those eyes implored her. Zoe reached out with a hand, pale and tinged blue.

Monday, February 26, 2018

100 Words a Day 1132


When she inhaled the room’s smoky air, it filled her nostrils with a medley of smells. The club was full, and nearly every patron was taking regular, lingering pulls from large, pungent cigars. Flavored tobacco was the latest craze.  The slow, intermittent exhales contained notes of vanilla, strawberry, mint, and a host of other things.

The odor of the room evolved as she walked towards the stage. She passed a table of fashionable young women; the smell of vanilla and lavender overwhelmed all others. The odors of Coffee and rum replaced it as the women’s excited conversation faded behind her.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

100 Words a Day 1131


Bisliev blinked; the sun was unbearable after his time underground.

“Wane gods, that’s bright!” Vakhaev side.

“Better than spending another instant underground.”

“Cliff’s edge, you’ll get no argument here.”

“And,” Bisliev inhaled, completely expanding his chest and flaring his nostrils. “Are those blue cups?

Vakhaev inhaled, “Fire and Steel! Something better.”

Bisliev ignored him. He was bent over in the grass by the side of the road.

“If I never smell another mold or fungus it will be too soon.”

“Wane gods, that’s true. Don’t think I’ll ever be able eat stinky cheese again.”

“Let’s find a lot of beer.”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

100 Words a Day 1130


“It’s so quiet out here.”

“I know. I come out here a lot, to be by myself. Or when the city gets to be too much.”

“The memories you mean.”

“Yes… the memories… That’s why I brought you here. I thought it might be as salubrious for you as it has been for me.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that.”

“I’ve always tried to look out for you, you know.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I just brought you here so you would know the way. I can’t look out for you anymore.”

“Why not?”

“I’m… leaving.”

“What? Where are you going?”

“Far away.”

Friday, February 23, 2018

100 Words a Day 1129


“Who was that on the phone? The police? What did they say?”

“There was an accident.”

“Is he okay?”

“They’re sending someone over to speak with us in person.”

“I told you not to let him take the car! This is all your fault!”

“It wasn’t a car accident.”

“What happened? What happened to him?”

“They wouldn’t go into detail over the phone. They just told me there’d been an accident at the bar he was at.”

“I knew we shouldn’t have let him go there. I told you that.”

“Yes. You did. I just told him to be careful.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1128


“Pass me the ladle, would you.”

“Sure, no problem.”

“Thanks.”

“How’s the soup?”

“Delicious. The meat is so tender. What did you say it was?”

“I didn’t.”

“Well. What is it?”

“Come on, don’t be coy. I must know.”

“Well, remember those raiders that came through here two days ago.”

“The guys that tried to steal our onions? Yeah, what about them? Did they have this with them?”

“Not exactly.”

“What?”

“Well, let’s just say that raid solved our meat problems for the next few weeks, now that the refrigerator is running.”

“Wait, are you saying…”

“Yep.”

“I feel sick.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

100 Words a Day 1127


“Ugh, I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday.”

“Tell me about it. It feels like it should be Saturday morning.”

“You two are such creampuffs. When I was your age, we didn’t have days off.  We worked on in the fields, sunrise to sunset.”

“Sure, sure ,sure. And if you weren’t fortunate enough to have a dinosaur to ride, you had to walk uphill both ways. Life’s changed.”

“Yeah, and don’t go on another rant about salad days and the best times of our lives. Maybe if you’d taken better care of yourself, you wouldn’t be such a creaky old man.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1126


“This coffee’s cold.”

“You should be happy we have coffee at all.”

“Aw, that’s the same sorta nonsense those people goin’ on about bein’ happy to have a job are makin’.”

“What?”

“Nobody should be grateful to have a job. That’s just nonsense the bosses feed you to keep you from actin’ up.”

“Keep it down, man. Do you want somebody to hear?”

“What if they do? Are they going put me up against a wall? No, they’re gonna do nothing. Maybe fire me.”

“Fine, then shut up because I don’t want someone thinking I’m the one sprouting your bullshit.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1125


“This rain is horrible.”

“Good thing we beat the army though. They’ll churn the roads till they’re impassible.”

“If we hadn’t beaten the army, we’d be strung up on hooks like a couple of stuck pigs.”

“You’re right there.”

“We’ll have to huff it through the night as is. And a damn cold one it’ll be.”

“It’s just a little rain.”

“Sure, sure. You’ve had ten times worse when you were a boy and I’m just some soft city folk.”

“Both of those are true, yes.”

“I’m not sure what’s worse: being on the run or being stuck with you.”

Sunday, February 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1124


The unfamiliar, upon seeing the opposing armies, would wonder what noble’s son was being entrusted to lead such a large assemblage of men. His armor was black with gold whorls and edging. When he removed his helmet, the face revealed was angelic. His skin was pale and without blemish. His eyes were piercing blue. With one shake of his head, his pressed-down locks, golden in color, sprang back to their habitual curls. He smiled at the men around him. They puffed out their chests as his infectious confidence washed over them. He re-donned his helmet, raised his sword, and charged.

Friday, February 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1123


They were late, again. I shivered outside, wondering when someone would arrive to open the door.

How did I end up here?

Reviewing the events of my life, I found no singular moment that had lead me to my current state. They say the way to improve something is through the elimination of small inefficiencies. My life seemed to have involved the accumulation of said inefficiencies.

Those readers who are more self-righteous are not doubt thinking something about working your way up a ladder of some kind. For that to work, the first rung has to still be within reach.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

100 Words a Day 1122


The first thing one notices upon entering The Resplendent Vision, the most well-known opium den in the city of Coramor is the dreamy smoke that hangs heavy in the air, exhaled by the multitude of reclining bodies. It surrounds the habitual user, the addict, like a blanket, warmed by fire and ready to banish the bone-chill of a cold evening. To the staff, it was like a tapestry, a feature of the room, but unnoticed unless someone drew attention to it. To everyone else, it was like the gases that sometimes escaped the mine near the city, noxious and vertigo-inducing.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1121


The highlight of the children’s week was the box. When their father brought it inside, they crowded around him. He often tripped over the skinny, eager gaggle as they fought to be the first to see what the truck gave them that week.

Their father set the box on the table and used an old kitchen knife to cut the tape. The children fell silent.

The box popped open and the father bent the flaps back. The first thing he removed was a can of peaches. The children chittered to each other; they hadn’t had anything sweet in several weeks.

Monday, February 12, 2018

100 Words a Day 1120


I didn’t recognize the thing that emerged from the cave. It stood on muscular hind legs and was covered in hair ranging in color from slate gray to jet black. It had a barrel chest that thrust forward, like a soldier’s. Long arms extended from large shoulders and ended in meaty hands. It wore a leather breastplate and battle-skirt decorated with intricate whorls done in bright red stitching. The enormous nostrils on its face flared and it peered into the undergrowth surrounding the cave. My heart surged when its dark eyes, full of low cunning, roved over my hiding place.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

100 Words a Day 1119


“At best, man is an ill-prepared, unwelcome visitor to the ocean’s hidden depths.”

It wasn’t until he had descended deep enough such that his world was a solid blue color, impenetrable as the night, that he finally understood his teacher’s words. When he looked ahead, he worried about what was below. When he looked down, he wondered what lurked behind him.

The fish he encountered swam away in irritation. In their eyes, he was a strange beast, best to be avoided in hopes it would leave. Other, hidden things also marked his slow progress, tailing him lazily through the water.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

100 Words a Day 1118

The powdered design flared up, white hot for a moment, when Huragard slammed his hammer down on the shield with a holy shout. It cooled to a smoldering orange. The lines on the steel were straight and even in color.

“This will fetch a good price,” Huragard declared, barrel chest swelling with pride. Truly, the gods continued to smile on him. The high priest of Ashome had even installed one of his hammers in the temple to Fire to Steel.

Ulgar examined the shield with his merchant’s eye. “It might be hard to sell. I’ll have to find a nobleman.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1117

“I’ve been told you sell souls.”

“That I do,” the old woman replied. “What kind do you want?”

She leaned forward and grinned at me, eager eyes wide. It made me uneasy.

“A boy like you probably wants the soul of a nice girl.”

She looked me up and down. “Or a naughty girl.”

I swallowed. “Uh, no. Just the cheapest one will be fine.”

Her smile fell to a frown.

“Get yourself in debt, did you?”

I blushed.


“Don’t worry, boy. Happens all the time.” She waved her hand dismissively and started puttering towards the back of her shop.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

100 Words a Day 1116

“You’ve still got that old cat?” Greg asked.

“Of course,” Steve replied, picking up the cat in question and cradling him in his arms. It rumbled when Steve picked him up, but deigned to be held.

The cat wasn’t quite a bag of bones, but it moving in that direction. Its fur was thinning in places. Frostbite and fights had taken bits of its ears over the years. After Steve put him down, the cat limped, its back leg was arthritic, over to its spot near the heater. He plopped down in his bed and started grooming his thin tail.

Monday, February 5, 2018

100 Words a Day 1115

Gaaz placed her hands on the cave floor, listening to the vibrations. She couldn’t summon the energies to meld with the stone. But she was confident the darkness, ever an ally to her people, would protect her. A heavy limp slowed her considerably and it wasn’t long before the echoes of pursuit reached her. She turned down a familiar side passage, carefully skirting a pit in the middle of path. On the other side, she drew a stone from her satchel. After whispering a few words to the pebble she threw it at the hole. Then she turned and fled.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

100 Words a Day 1114

“Do you think we should go look for them?”

“No, I think you should shut the damn door and stop letting the cold in. If they can’t travel further, they’ll make camp.”

Kaz shut the door reluctantly and returned to the fire.

“I’m worried about them,” he said. “I can’t remember the last time it was this cold and they’ve never been this late before.”

“I told you,” Leja snapped. “They’re fine. They probably just made camp for the night.”

Leja’s words failed to quell the worry bubbling in Kaz’s gut. He kept glancing at the door throughout the night.


Friday, February 2, 2018

100 Words a Day 1113

Kaikura held his hands over the corpse and whispered the prayer his father had taught him long ago. He had been attempting the ritual nightly for two weeks with no results. Zhoggal had either ignored his entreaties or his limited energies had been focused elsewhere. Kaikura had feared that tonight would be the same.


Then he felt a turgid energy begin to swirl through the small basement room. It stank. He smiled and kept praying. The corpse rose to its feet and waited. Kaikura finished his prayer and stood, elated. The animated body stared straight ahead, awaiting its first command.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

100 Words a Day 1112

When they found the wreckage at the bottom of the cliff, it was clear there were no survivors.

“Hopefully the chest is intact,” Haram said, casually kicking a limb as he walked.

When Grick saw the bloody projectile, he fell to his knees and vomited. Arash patted him on the back as he passed.

“It’s okay, boy. Happens to everyone their first time. Nothing to be ashamed of.”

Ignoring the carnage, Arash and Haram surveyed the battered remains of the carriage.

“Good frame, to survive that fall,” Arash said.


“Yeah. Does it say who made it? I’d like one myself.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

100 Words a Day 1111

The goblins marched down the craggy passage in darkness. The druid led the others unaided; the most basic test of their order was the memorization of the sacred path. Each supplicant had their hand on the shoulder of the one in front. All wore iron-soled boots. These, along with the gong carried by the druid, sent walls of sound echoing throughout the tunnels. Although the goblins served the duergar, the squat folk avoided these tunnels wherever possible. It was dedicated to the wane gods, Darkness and Echo, of the goblins, and was known to have a taste for duergar flesh.

Monday, January 29, 2018

100 Words a Day 1110

When Ostera emerged from her tent, the watch was still removing bodies from the trench. The Sons of Lurio had unleashed a new bombard, enormous and firing rounds that shook the earth. They released some strange alchemical mixture that filled the air with noxious fumes. Anyone who inhaled the miasma was doubled over with fits of coughing. That passed, but was followed soon after by fever and rasping breaths. Death was the end result.


Command wasn’t sure what to do with the bodies. No one knew if burning them would release the fumes anew. There were too many to bury.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

100 Words a Day 1109

I slipped and tumbled down the dune. When I reached the base, I leapt up and danced, trying to shake out the hot sand that had found its way through the gaps in my clothing. That night, when I bedded down, my skin was itchy and irritated. I woke up repeatedly. It ultimately saved my life.


While tossing and turning, I heard a strange noise outside the tent. The guide I consulted before setting out had briefed me on the dangers I was likely to encounter, but I couldn’t remember him describing a sound like the one I was hearing.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

100 Words a Day 1108

Jenna slipped silently from her hiding spot. She stalked down the alley, making no more noise than her silhouette did as it glided along the grimy wall. The man she was pursuing stumbled to and fro, like beer sloshing in a drunkard’s mug. He staggered against a wall, swearing when he stepped in a pile of unknown composition. Jenna held her knife ready as she closed the distance. The man thrust himself away from the wall and took a few more stumbling steps. He didn’t understand the bright burst of pain the plunging dagger produced, and died confused and gurgling.

Friday, January 26, 2018

100 Words a Day 1107

“Meow.”

I rolled over.

“Meow.”

“No Ziggurat. It’s not time to get up.” I rolled over again.

“Meeeeow.”

I tried to push Ziggurat off the bed. He deftly skipped away and sauntered to the foot of the bed. I knew he was just biding his time. After a few seconds, he would walk back over to my face and start pawing at me.

“Meow.”

I pushed him away and checked my phone. It was 5:30 AM.

“Just because I woke up early and fed you one time does not mean this is a normal thing.”

“Meow.”


“Please let me sleep.”

Thursday, January 25, 2018

100 Words a Day 1106

Morg tossed the onion back onto the cart. It was too small and too mushy. He turned to leave.

“You don’t want my onions boy? They’re the finest around,” the merchant declared, staring daggers down his hawkish nose.

Morg looked at the merchant and shook his head. “These onions are terrible. I’d be sick if I ate one.”


The man opened his mouth again, but Morg was already leaving. The boy’s stomach was grumbling, but it wouldn’t do to fill it with spoiled food. He counted his remaining coins. Hardly enough for an onion even if it had been edible. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

100 Words a Day 1105

An angry cry echoed through the valley. The miners cast uneasy glances towards the open windows. Those men nearest slammed the shutters closed, muting the sound, but doing little to quell the chorus of shifting chairs.

“What was that?” I asked Beorg.

“A duergar revenant.”

I furrowed my brow.

“A decapitated duergar is cursed to wander, seeking vengeance.”

“Did someone here kill it?”


Beorg shook his head. “But it remembers only the echoes of life. It may slay a random man and think it can finally rest, only to be driven to a new fury when its shameful existence continues.”

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

100 Words a Day 1104

Morg fell to his knees and groaned, stomach roiling. He rolled around, clutching his belly. As he writhed in agony, he reflected back on the meal he’d eaten at the duergar inn. They hadn’t served anything unfamiliar. Unless the particular combination of foods was somehow toxic to humans, it couldn’t have been the cuisine. He managed to get to his hands and knees and crawl towards the door. Then, feeling like his organs were rolling up into his chest, he vomited. He could tell by the smell that he’d been poisoned and probably only his unusual physiology that saved him.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

100 Words a Day 1103

Jason died with a gurgle, knife protruding from his sternum. Convulsing, he rolled from the altar. He left a bloody stain that partially covered the blasphemous symbols chiseled into the marble. A low noise began reverberating through the underground chamber.

“Shit,” Chuck swore.


The volume of the sound increased, filling the room with a blasphemous tone. The chamber shook. The robed men surrounding the altar stumbled to and fro, crying a mix of awe and fear. A sudden shriek silenced the men and pulled them to their knees. The marble altar split apart. From the shattered bits rose a monster.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1102

“How did it look outside?” Diana asked.

Duane shook his head.

“That bad?”

“Yeah. There’s no way we’ll make it today,” he replied, hanging up his gasmask.

“Do you think it’ll be clear by tomorrow?”

Duane shrugged. “Hard to say.”

Diane scowled. “Can’t you make a fucking guess? We need to do a food run.”

“Sorry,” Duane replied. “We’ll have a better idea later tonight.”

“Okay.” Diane relaxed. “Did you see anyone else from the watchtower?”


Duane shook his head again, “The fog was so thick I could hardly see anything. It was hard to breathe even with a mask.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1101

He managed to sit up and nearly throw himself from the bed before the blanket wrapped its wet, cold tentacles around his chest and head. Its suckers roamed over his face while strong muscles squeezed his ribs. The blanket pulled him inexorably back, extending itself over his whole body. He fought it until his heart raced and his lungs burned, but it conquered him in the end. He couldn’t muster the strength to defeat it. It held him there, miserable and helpless, until he relaxed. Then it merely weighed him down, waiting in case he should try to flee again.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1100

Barkad lowered himself down to his old prayer mat. He groaned in sympathy with his joints, tired, stiff, and old. His knees found their familiar, well-worn spot. He put his palms together and raised them above his head. The words of Oagi’s supplication came easy to his lips.


A statue of muscular man was the recipient of his entreaty. Its features had been smoothed by time, giving the man a tired expression in place of the exaltation they used to display. The forearms were missing; they had been broken off and carried away before Barkad had started worshipping of Oagi.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

100 Words a Day 1099

The Center Point was the anchor around which the continents floated. It was a craggy place of charcoal-colored stone run through with veins of iron ore. If it weren’t for the menagerie of demons who called the place home, it would’ve provided the gnomes an inexhaustible supply of ore they could’ve used in the production of their mechanical devices, or traded to the other races of Void.

The few expeditions that had tried to establish a beachhead on Center Point had universally met with disaster. The constant assaults by demons, lack of clean water or nutritious vegetation made habitation untenable.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1098

I was numb as I zipped my tiny suitcase. I hadn’t expected to be leaving the apartment with so little. Or alone. I finished packing by myself; she was gone for the day. It was easier that way.

I lifted my suitcase off the table with ease. I’d left most of my clothes in my dresser. My books were still on the shelf. I was sad to be abandoning some of them, but I didn’t have the space. I didn’t want anything I couldn’t fit in my bag, let someone else decide to do with the leftovers from my life.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

100 Words a Day 1097

When Adam came to, it was with the taste of saltwater on his tongue. He lay on his side, sea lapping against his lips. The sand warmed his cheek on one side, the sun warmed the other.

When he had awoken fully, he dredged himself up onto the shore and puked, vomiting up a gut full of briny water. He wiped the sand and spittle from his mouth, stood, and looked around.


The beach was featureless. Its white sand stood between the water and a wall of tall, thick foliage. It was silent other than the lapping of the sea.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1096

The heat of the practice field made him woozy. Ottmar’s face was covered in sweat and his shoulders burned. He yanked his blade up and into the path of his partner’s own heavy practice sword, groaning with effort. The force of the blow caused a mighty clang and staggered Ottmar. He barely managed to block the next attack and was driven to one knee. His partner drew his leaden arm back for another swing. Ottmar held his sword horizontally and launched himself at the other man. The dull blade crashed into his partner’s midsection, sending him to the dusty ground.

Friday, January 12, 2018

100 Words a Day 1095

When Abidin came to, he was staring at the ceiling. It was familiar, but he didn’t recognize it. The colors were so much more vivid. He didn’t realize they came in so many shades. And the detail was so sharp. It was as though he could read the expressions in the figures’ eyes, not just on their faces.

“Quite a change, no?”

Abidin whipped his head around. Alistair was smiling at him, pointed teeth gleaming in the firelight.

“The detail, I mean. With your new eyes.”

“Yes…” Abidin said, looking all around.


This will do nicely he thought to himself. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

100 Words a Day 1094

No one knew what the Traversers looked like under their heavy robes. No one even knew what they called themselves; Traverser came about because they were the first beings to travel between the floating continents after the War in the Heavens. Their robes were known in every major city of Void and most of the minor ones. It was whispered that they even traded on The Center Point, bartering strange oddities like the tears of a blue-eyed boy, shed on the day his mother died. What they received in return from the demons of that iron ball was anyone’s guess.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

100 Words a Day 1093

Each little bite they took of my brain sent jolts of pain through my skull. I tried rubbing my head with my hands. That didn’t help. The mad pain drove me to scratching at my scalp, till my nails bent and skin bled. I pulled my hair out in clumps, but the pain continued.


When they were sated, I could fall asleep for a time. But when hunger stirred the tiny things to wake, they would resume their gnawing. I would come awake, writhing and shrieking, and wishing for all the world that I would be put to sleep forever.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

100 Words a Day 1092

When I awoke the next day I was confronted by what would prove to be our greatest obstacle.

“How far does it extend?” I asked, shading my eyes from the sun and squinting against the glare reflecting off the ice.

“No one knows. Everyone who ever attempted to cross it died years ago.”

The terrain before us was bare and completely flat. The incessant wind made the snow drifts slither across the frozen sea, like giant white snakes sidewinding across a frozen desert.

I turned towards my companion. “How do we cross?”


“We walk. And hope the ice is thick.”

Monday, January 8, 2018

100 Words a Day 1091

“What about this one?” I asked, pointing to a white box with a picture of a black humidifier.

“I don’t know,” my wife responded. I could tell by the look on her face that she didn’t like it.

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.

“It doesn’t show you the humidity level.”

“So?”

“I wanna be able to see.”

“But that doesn’t change if it's working or not.”

“I know,” she said, exasperated. “I just want to see it.”


“Okay,” I said, shrugging it off as another marital peculiarity and started looking for a humidifier that told you the humidity level.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1090

The old man tied off the last stitch and snipped the excess thread. He smeared a muddy paste over the surgery site to protect the arm from infection and covered his young patient with rough wool blanket. His hands worked by rote to clean and store his instruments and compounds; he hadn’t done anything like that surgery in a long time.


The old man’s chair beckoned. He eased himself down into the old seat, and found his mind troubled. He had broken his vow. And what for? A boy he knew nothing about. And now, would it be like before?