Thursday, December 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1261

“Anything’s possible on the moor.”

I’d thought that the old man was repeating a bit of folk musing, or else trying to scare me, when he’d said those words in his hoarse voice. But as I wandered, utterly lost, having long ago given up on walking towards what I had assumed were the lights of some house, I came to understand what he’d meant. Weird noises issued from the darkness and strange shapes stalked the edge of my vision. When the thick clouds parted, the moon was always in a different spot, and I never recognized any of the constellations.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

100 Words a Day 1260

Alex shifted in his chair as the sound of the voices neared. He glanced over his shoulder. There were two men coming down the row of cubicles, one walking slightly in front of the other. Alex was sure they were coming for him. He thought he could hear the heels of each mans’ feet striking the ground as they came closer. He caught the lead man’s eye and snapped back around. He stared down hard at his desk, heart racing. He forced himself to look at his computer screen and struggled to act normal. Maybe they weren’t coming for him.

Friday, December 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1259

The warriors of Ish Tamir attributed the prowess of their armies to their great devotion to the sun god Altarir, and they claimed, in public at least, that they would never lose so long as they fought under their god’s watchful eye. During times of war, fighting men were exempt from the rigorous devotions their sun god demanded. They joked, always out of earshot of Altarir’s priests, that they were so successful because they got to sleep in the day of the battle. Hosts normally assembled just after dawn, when the Ish Tamir would normally already be deep in prayer.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

100 Words a Day 1258

Spring had arrived. And that meant a renewing of the campaign against The Bastard King. He had holed up in a fortress build on the side of one of the floating continents, which made it notoriously difficult to assault. It was situated such that any invaders would constantly struggle against the gravity shifts. The Red Bull had a plan however. He’d made a pact with a strange elf, one who could change his shape. He promised that he and his troupe would sneak into the castle and open the gates. When the Bull had asked how, the elf simply smiled.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

100 Words a Day 1257

“Once I was criminal, but now I’m a cultist.”

“Usually it goes the other way, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Emilio leaned back in his chair. “Yeah, usually it does go the other way. But,” he shrugged. “That’s how it goes sometimes.”

“You seem pretty okay with the transition.”

Emilio shrugged again. “Yeah, being in a cult isn’t as bad as you’d expect. Always plenty to eat.”

“But, aren’t their weird rules and stuff?”

“Yeah… there’s a few of those, but they don’t bother me. Beats worrying about someone trying to kill me.”

“Uh huh…” Gasper nodded slowly, confused by the man.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

100 Words a Day 1256

Dave was so exhausted by the stop-and-go traffic that he oozed out of his car more than he stepped out of it. He staggered down the street and huffed up his front stairs. The fuzziness in his brain made it hard to get the key in the lock. When he finally did manage to unlock the door, he sagged against it until it opened.

He pushed the door shut and stumbled towards his room, shedding his backpack and then his clothes as he went. Down to his underwear when he finally reached his bed, he collapsed onto it and slept.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

100 Words a Day 1255

The door creaked open revealing an old spiral staircase. The steps were covered with thinning carpet, worn by the tread of many feet. The bare brick walls that surrounded the staircase were cracked and crumbling. The handrail squeaked when I put my weight on it. I sighed.

It’d always been rundown, but it was never this bad. It was like when I went home and saw my mom limping for the first time. It wasn’t much of a limp, but it shattered the illusion that the things I’d taken for granted in my life were as perpetual as they seemed.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

100 Words a Day 1254

The late night and early morning drivers had kept the roads free of snow, but the lawns and trees wore their winter best. The sidewalks, not so much. The tramp of commuter-boots had turned the snow to ice trails or grey, slushy bumps. The lawns and carefully manicured trees were hidden beneath a layer of snow that was hard to look at, not because it was sparkling in the sun, but because the cloudy sky made it so uniform in color. The flags and tabletop umbrellas hung limp, the only movement was the occasional commuter, either driving or on foot.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

100 Words a Day 1253

“No, no, no,” I whispered as my car used up the last of its gas.
I coasted onto the shoulder as the last of my car’s momentum dissipated. The landscape was silent except for my breathing. I got out of the car and looked down the road in one direction and then the other.
It was miles to a gas station. But I was broke anyways. I got back in my car. My head hit the steering wheel. A cold, uncomfortable tingling pressed down on my chest before spreading to my fingers and toes. I started shaking and sobbing.

Monday, November 26, 2018

100 Words a Day 1252

The train galloped along. I’d long ago lost count of the number of times the train chugged, but the scenery was unchanged. It had been nothing but moors for hours. The other passengers towered over me, men with long, waxed moustaches and stiff suits. After briefly acknowledging one another, and ignoring me, they’d shaken open large newspapers and I hadn’t seen any of their faces since. The lunch cart came and went, ignored by the men, and I ate the sandwich my mother had prepared for me. Not sure what else to do, I leaned against the window and sighed.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

100 Words a Day 1251

Whenever one of the white birds with the long necks and long legs left the water they would perch on a nearby branch and swallowed whole whatever fish they had caught. When they were full, they would spread their black-banded wings and stretch themselves up as tall as possible, pointing their long, yellow beaks towards the sky. Once the sun and habitually-warm breeze had dried their feathers, they would return to their nests to feed their eternally-hungry chicks. The baby birds were protected by their speckled camouflage and a vigilant parent who always remained behind while the other was feeding.  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

100 Words a Day 1250

I looked ahead just in time to see Azag’s foot plunge deep into slimy, sluggish water. Once he’d extracted himself, we carefully probed the wetlands around us with sticks, looking for a way forward.
“It’s all too deep,” he said. “And getting dark. We may as well go back to that last island; I need to dry out or I’ll get the rot.”
I grunted in agreement and we retraced our steps to one of the rare raised patches of land. Within a small circle of trees there was enough room to build a fire and put our bedrolls down.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1249

“Raise the chains one final time,” Yeolof cried, thrusting his sword into the air.
The windlass turned, winding up the great chains and raising the enormous gate. A soon as it was high enough, men began passing under it and rushing towards army waiting to meet them.
“I’ll see you on the other side!” Yeolof called to me before joining the men flooding into the field.
Once the men were in the plain, they assembled into a loose formation and charged the Sons of Lurio. They were under no illusion that they might win; it was  an act of defiance.

Monday, November 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1248

Niona had been uncharacteristically robust during the last century and her worship had extended beyond the superstitious sailors and fishermen of the floating lands. Now it was common to see merchants wearing the talisman of the wave around their necks if they had business with the sea. Her burst of energy was beginning to fade however. As the divine lethargy overcame her, she was less and less able to stir her cauldron that controlled the winds and currents of the sea and errant storms and unpredictable waves began make water travel something that men faced only out of absolute necessity.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1247

Morg’s cloak flapped as he sprinted through the narrow, twisting alleyways. His injured leg made it hard to run; the mob was gaining on him. A blind turn brought him face to face with a stone wall. He started climbing. The sound of the pursuers grew as he slowly ascended, his demon arm smashing handholds on one side while the claws of his angorbor fingers dug into the space between the misshapen stones. He was just throwing one leg over the wall when he felt something strike him from behind. He slipped down and someone started pulling on his cloak.

Friday, November 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1246

The snowflakes drifted down from the white-clouded sky, abundant but unhurried, and covered the autumn ground. This first winter dusting fell on a land that was silent and still and where no wind blew. Animals and men watched the white transformation from the comfort of their dens, warmed by their families, fires, or both, and unwilling to disturb the slow turning of the season. When they finally did emerge, the soft snow was struck from roofs and shaken from fur. Parents watched as their young leapt and played in the pillowy stuff, sometimes chasing a flake that was still afloat.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

100 Words a Day 1245

Morg turned as the door opened. He didn’t recognize the physical shape of the being standing in the frame, but he knew him nonetheless. His eyes widened. He shot to his feet.

“You!” he cried and balled both hands into fists.

“I was worried you wouldn’t recognize me,” the man replied, stepping into the room.

Most of the skin on his face had been replaced with blue scales. His lips were black, framing a mouth full of white, pointy teeth. His wings were gone, replaced by a second set of arms that looked like they’d once belonged to a gorilla.

Friday, September 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1244

The Tar Kingdom men stalked over to the bar. It was impossible to tell if they were raiders or sailors from a merchant ship. The room parted before the rough men like the sea before the prow of a fast ship. When they reached the bar, they growled their request at the inn’s proprietor, an enormous man covered in nautical tattoos. They crashed against him like a ship against sharp rocks, unable to faze him with their bluster. After several minutes of bargaining, one of the sailors took three gold studs from his ear and placed them on the table.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

100 Words a Day 1243

The row of trees that lined the road on either side up to the castle were old, with thick trunks. Rusted chains emerged from the rough bark, slowly being absorbed by the trees as time progressed.  Fresher loops of chain secured wretched unfortunates all along the way, victims of the wrath of the king of the moor. They were in various states of decay, those that were lucky enough to be dead. The less fortunate slumped against the gnarled, woody flesh of their jailors or hung in crude cages suspended on the larger branches and swinging slowly in the wind.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

100 Words a Day 1242

“How was your weekend?” I asked.

“It was great!” Susie responded, smiling. “I went to this new bar with my girlfriends.”

“Cool,” I said, absently, not terribly interested.

“What about you?”

“Nothing exciting. Just sat at home and played video games.”

We fell silent. We didn’t’ have much in common beyond the fact that we worked in the same office.

Our lack of commonalities was apparent from the moment I arrived at the office. There’d been a party that day and our boss had introduced us, assuming that the two young people would have plenty to talk about. We didn’t.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1241

The villagers huddled together in the house furthest away from the moor, trying to escape the stinking, chill wind that blew in off their foreboding neighbor’s low, barren hills. The unpredictable wind brought a whiff of the moor’s power howling through the village, tearing at their tightly-shut doors. People caught outside had been known to vanish and the cracks in people’s shutters often revealed strange lights bobbing through the village streets. Anyone who possessed doubts that all things were possible on the moor quickly had them dispelled after a night of weird howls and strange scratchings against their front door.

Monday, August 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1240

The rain was cascading off my coat in large rivulets moments after I exited of the cab. The dark clouds added a sinister quality to the dirty streets that was normally confined to the alleys. I squinted into the downpour. The block was deserted, except for a lonely sentinel doing his best to huddle under the ragged awning of a corner store. The man blew into his hands and rubbed them, to little effect I assumed. He ducked into the store when he looked up and saw me. I waited several wet minutes in the rain, but he didn’t reemerge.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1239

Murg held the ever-burning candle overhead and shouted, her prayers echoing off the steel walls just like the flickering firelight from the great central brazier. The tip of the candle grew white-hot. She began drawing on the shield. The runes flowed easily from her gnarled hand, the pattern burning in her mind. Before she realized, she was finished. She blinked and looked down at the shield. The runes glowed like molten metal on the ashy steel. She lifted the shield. It was lighter than before. A great blaze of light issued from the shield when she shouted the sacred word.

Friday, August 3, 2018

100 Words a Day 1238

When we emerged from the Night Depth, the cause of the earlier lurch was revealed to be one of the enormous leviathans that inhabited the lower known reaches of the Unending Depths. I could see the thing’s flailing lightpods, used to attract prey in the cold, black beneath, through the porthole. The sub groaned as the monster squeezed it with giant, muscular tentacles.

The room was plunged into blackness. The sub rocked again as the creature pushed off of the sub and vanished again. My relief was short-lived. The light didn’t return and I felt the sub being to sink.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

100 Words a Day 1237

Jack sighed with relief when the snowmobile finally sputtered to life. The engine took a few minutes to warm up and he used that time to calm himself down. He wouldn’t have survived a march back to the research station across the crusty snowfield.

A headwind picked up as he set off, sucking the heat of the snowmobile engine away before it had a chance to warm him. After only a few minutes, he could feel his fingers beginning to get cold. He turned the heat up on his suit and hoped it would be enough to get him back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

100 Words a Day 1236

The soles of the old high tops were smooth, but the yellow canvas was clean. And the white logo shined not unlike the day the shoes left the store. The laces had been replaced many times, sometimes due to damage and other times due to changes in fashion. The current ones had a black and white checker pattern and were neatly tied. The shoes had been in their original box, which was equally well cared for. The corners were undamaged. And once the dust had been wiped off the lid, the whole thing looked nearly new, waiting to be worn.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

100 Words a day 1235

When the remnants of the king’s army reached the castle, they found the bridge drawn up. The sentries laughed when the demanded admittance. In response, the army surrounded the walls and prepared to starve and batter the inhabitants into submission. Unbeknownst to them however, the defenders had sent out the call for aid. The clash of men that resulted was the first battle of the War of Two Lovers and Two Kings. The king’s army was repulsed. But as word of the fight spread, many people flocked to the banner of the fallen king, including his only son, a bastard.

Monday, July 23, 2018

100 Words a Day 1234

The two lovers fell away from one another. It was several minutes before their exhausted panting faded, replaced by calm even breaths. They called for refreshments. Thought they made no efforts to cover them themselves the servants made no effort avert their eyes, so accustomed to the sight had they become. After the servants had departed, the pair fed each other from the silver plates and drank from the jeweled chalices left behind.

After finishing, the man stood and stretched the long muscles of his arms and legs. They were hardened by years in the saddle. And covered by scars.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1233

Though the bed was large enough for two, Sir Bedivere was the sole occupant. He lay on his side, cradling a sword in a plain, old scabbard. His arms were wrapped around it in the way that a man might embrace his sleeping wife. His hands however, clutched the handle to the point of turning white.

There was a crash somewhere else in the castle. He coiled around the sword, covering it with his body. His lips rested involuntarily on the pommel. Despite being well-used, the exquisite detail hadn’t faded. Gradually, he relaxed, and eventually rolled back onto his side.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

100 Words a Day 1232

As I wandered through the submarine, I found my calls answered only by echoes. I felt no motion and the periscope revealed only darkness. When I loosened the hatch, water began leaking in, forcing me to quickly tighten it again.

We must be on the bottom. The thought set my heart pounding. I had to know.

I struggled into a deep-dive suit and clomped into the airlock. When the outer door opened, my headlamp revealed a kelp forest anchored to the sandy floor. The long, thick strands swayed slowly in the soft ocean current. Strange fish fled from the light.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1231

The onset of the thirst was sudden and all-consuming. I cast the sweat-drenched sheet off of my emaciated body and rolled out of bed, crashing onto the floor. I was so weak. But the thirst. The thirst crackled at every nerve-ending of my body. I dragged my wane body across the floor. Initially without destination, I gradually became aware of a scent tickling the tips of my nose hairs. I followed that electrifying odor down the many flights of stairs, until I was lying atop the cold basement stones, lying in wait for the scurrying rats, full of precious blood.

Monday, July 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1230

Carter held his handkerchief to his face and hurried through the coughing bunkhouse, eyes on the floor, and not for the first time cursed the architectural and bureaucratic incompetence that forced him to walk daily through that repository of the diseased.  Some instinct made him look up. There was a narrow, sickly-shouldered man walking towards him. When they were closer, Carter observed a face replete with alien features. The man’s large, bulging eyes seemed to be looking in opposite directions and weird flaps of skin hung under either side of his jaw. He held a strange idol between wet-looking fingers.

Friday, July 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1229

“Happy Birthday!”

I started of bed and crashed onto the floor, hitting my head on something. I looked up and saw a blurry mass of people blocking my view of my room. I rubbed my eyes and the mass coalesced into my friends and family. They stared at me expectantly. My head was starting to ache from whatever it had hit.


“It’s your birthday!” my mom declared.

“No it isn’t.” I shook my head.

“Yes it is. It’s September 10th.”

“That’s Steve’s birthday, Mom.”

I could see her brain working. She suddenly deflated when she realized I was right.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

100 Words a Day 1228

“Uff,” Pat said after finishing his long swig. “Whoever named this the Suffering Bastard knew what he was talking about. I’m feeling better already.”

Some of the pain lines on his face faded. But the dark circles around his eyes remained, and his skin was still pale.

“Ready to do it again?” Sarah asked, eyes twinkling.

“Not sure I can,” John said, holding his Bloody Mary against his forehead, which was sweating.

Pat stared down at his mug. It was carved in the shape of the strange idols that doted the islands. Its big eyes sat atop a lurid grin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

100 Words a Day 1227

After the submarine breached the ice, there was a moment of relief when the hatch opened. Our cries of elation were swept away by the roaring arctic wind however. We looked around. We saw nothing but a field of cracked ice, broken only by an enormous frozen pillar thrusting towards the clear blue sky some distance away.  Within minutes, our teeth started chattering, despite our heavy coats. It seemed we had traded death by suffocation for death by freezing.  The wind died suddenly and we could hear the shifting ice crackling, laughing at our plight.  

“We won’t last the night.”

Sunday, July 8, 2018

100 Words a Day 1226

The beach bar was just like they’d imagined it would be.  Four bamboo poles supported a roof of dried grass. The bar itself was equally native in appearance; composed of what appeared to be local materials, more bamboo, wood, rope made of natural fibers, etc. It was surrounded by tables made of old-looking barrels and shaded by dried grass umbrellas. And staffed by locals selected for their comely appearance and affability as much as their ability to mix drinks. The modern infrastructure required for the bar that the visitors expected, refrigerator, CO2 lines, taps, etc. was concealed behind primitive trappings.

Friday, July 6, 2018

100 Words a Day 1225

“Hey, has anybody seen Chad lately?”

They all looked at each other.

“Last I saw Chad he was leaving the party with that island hottie who started talking to him at the bar,” Lance said

Chet and Bret grinned at each other and high fived.

“That’s my boy!” Chet said.

“I don’t know guys,” Brock said. “I think something’s happened.”

“I be somethings happened! I bet it’s still happening!” Chet said.

“Yeah, man. Don’t be such a wuss.” Bret said, shoving Brock in the chest. “He’s probably learning all the native love-making secrets.”

The other boys laughed and clinked glasses.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

100 Words a Day 1224

The Vicious Snarl wasn’t like the anger of a drinker, or a general ruffian. It originated deep inside me, and it wasn’t a simple desire to fight or dominate through pain or physical control, but a yearning to the hurt the target of my ire as thoroughly as possible. The broader and more horrible the application of the pain, the better. Living alongside the Vicious Snarl was the Sucking Voice. When it emerged from the depths of my psyche, it tried to draw any positive emotion or feeling back down into the depths with it, leaving me with only misery.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

100 Words a Day 1223

Thick bark covered the massive tree. The radiating limbs were so enormous that many lay upon the ground, too large to be supported in the air. The countless small leaves let a dappling of sunlight fall upon the earth beneath the tree. Despite its age, the great oak was free of both moss and lichen.

Whenever the wind picked up, the branches still suspended in the air swayed slowly and their leaves made a soft hissing. The people in the village said was the old tree grumbling that his rest was being disturbed and avoided the tree on windy days.

Friday, June 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1222

The two men walked across the dry field, so sunbaked that not even weeds could survive. The older one knelt down and sifted a handful of dirt between his fingers.

“Too late to plant crops this year, even if they rebuilt the irrigation canal.”

He stood and brushed his hands off.

“We’d better keep moving.”

They continued. Unlike the fields they had crossed closer to the battle lines, there were no artifacts of the ongoing conflict. Doubtless, this farm had been depopulated by the wave of total conscription that had rolled across the country, and not by sword or flame.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1221

The tiny bird had a pair of legs that resembled twigs in both shape and hue. Its body was the color of dirty snow, with a chest of salt and pepper feathers. The curves of its little claws matched that of its black beak. It had brown and black patterned wings that were perfect for blending into the autumn shadows. A solid, dark brown swoosh was painted above the pure, white cheeks on either side of its round head. Its grey crown began at the point where its beak met its face and ran to the back of its skull.

Monday, June 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1220

When the high priestess found the neophyte, the girl was in an out of the way corner of the temple, breaking the place’s silence with her soft sobbing.

“What’s wrong, girl?”

The girl turned. Her face was red and puffy. She wiped her nose.

“What’s wrong?” the elderly priestess rubbed the girl’s back and cooed softly.

The girl sniffled. “I miss him, Priestess.”

The woman sat straight and yanked her hand away. She fell silent and her eyes filled with angry fire.

“He is in a better place. You need to be happy for him.”

“I’m trying,” the tears reappeared.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1219

Do it

I tried to ignore the whispering of the midnight splotch on my back. When I woke this morning, it had spread up my back and was starting to peek over my shoulder. I thought I could feel its soft, cool breath on the side of my neck.

Who knows? Maybe I could.

There was a knock at my wagon door.

“Just a second!”

I yanked a shirt over my head, and swore when I realized it was backwards. After I’d turned my shirt around, I took a deep breath and tried to compose myself.

I opened the door.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

100 Words a Day 1218

The most terrifying thing about the marauding sailors of the Tar Kingdom was their lack of aversion to eating human flesh. They had been, in ages past, pioneers of many navigational and shipbuilding techniques presently in common use.

While sea travel was in its infancy, the problems of hunger and thirst were of an even greater concern than today. And as is often the case, what began as a sometimes-necessity became an accepted practice. And while by no means eager to consume the flesh of men, it was rare now for a sailor to go mad after eating his fellow.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

100 Words a Day 1217

With a final twist of the iron wheel, they sealed the bulkhead and collapsed in a heap. A moment later, a wall of water crashed against the door. They could hear the corridor filling with a soft sloshing.

It took a brave man to climb into submersible, plumb the depths of the Black Sea, and descend deep into the Boreal Trench. But as James looked into the faces trapped in that small room, he saw fear. There were no tears, no wails. Just a few wide eyes and lips pressed tightly together. They stared back at him.

“Well, now what?”

Thursday, June 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1216

They sat on the bed, on opposite sides. His face was in his hands and she wiped tears from her eyes.

“I can’t do this,” she said.

He turned towards her. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying,” she exhaled. “Something needs to change.”

“You always do this!” he shot up and stormed out of the bedroom.

She just stared at the floor.

There was a crash. She rushed into the kitchen. Broken plates covered the floor. She looked in his eyes, expecting anger, but saw pain.

“The plates. They landed on my foot.”

A red stain spread across the floor.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

100 Words a Day 1215

“Sister, is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me,” Arawel said.

The frail, blind woman smiled. “You’ve been gone so long. I was worried something’d happened.”

“No, sister. Everything’s fine.”

“Will you stay?”

Arawel shook her head. “I can’t,” she said when she remembered Yag Tsim’s blindess.

“Why not?” The blind woman crawled towards Arawel’s voice, but quickly reached the end of her chain.

Arawel turned and left the rough cave that had been the sisters’ home. Now it was home to only one sister.

“I’ll be back,” she said.

The plaintive cry of the deceived sister followed her to the surface.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

100 Words a Day 1214

The high priestess led the congregation on the slow circumnavigation of the House of the Lord of Eternity that preceded the funeral. Unlike the mourners, her shroud was dirty, gray, and torn. She had received it upon taking her vows fifty years ago and countless hours of frenzied supplication had left it stained with sweat and the dirt of the world. By her side walked a freshly-ordained priestess, shroud the color of sun-bleached bone. The crone smiled as the girl stumbled on the corner of her garment; it would take her a little while to learn to fold it correctly.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

100 Words a Day 1213

The crash of the sub striking the floor of the Black Sea reverberated throughout the ship. The lights flickered.

“Everyone alright? Damage report!” someone screamed over the PA.

“You okay?” Kitteridge called to James, head ringing from hitting the wall.

James didn’t answer.



“James?” Kitteridge called again, stumbling towards the front of the torpedo room.

“Here,” James croaked. He was trapped underneath a torpedo that had slipped its chain.

“Shit,” Kitteridge said. He rushed towards James, then stopped and scrambled back towards the horn.

“I need help down here!”

“What’s wrong Kitteridge?”

“It’s James. He’s under a torpedo.”

Friday, June 1, 2018

100 Words a Day 1212

“Rats. It’s always rats.” Geraldina grumbled.

“Huh?” Susie asked, turning her smooth face towards the older girl.

“They always send you to kill rats.” She leaned on her spear and wiped her brow. “I applied to the University of Adventurers because I wanted to plumb the depths of forgotten tombs. Instead I’m in some brewery cellar killing rats.”

“Do you have your twenty rats yet?” Came call from the top of the cellar stairs.”

Geraldina rolled her eyes. “Yes.”

“Not yet,” Susie responded.

“Well hurry it up. We still need to collect the wildflowers after this.”

Geraldina shook her head.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

100 Words a Day 1211

I shot a glance at the rearview mirror. My mouth went dry when I saw the headlights. They were closer. I pressed the accelerator down as far as I dared; I was still too far outside the city for streetlights, or even straight roads.

I wrenched the wheel back and forth, trying to stay on the pavement. As I swerved, I felt the wheels lose traction as they ran over the muddy ground on either side of the narrow road. I didn’t dare look back, but bright lights reflecting off my rearview mirror told me they were still following me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

100 Words a Day 1210

“Brother Li, this can’t be the right place. There’s no way the greatest boxing master in the province would be in a place like this.”

The three-story building leaned alarmingly to one side. Half a sign hung from a piece of rope: “Gamb.”

“It matches Big Brother’s description,” Li said.

Shrugging, Li took the worn path to the steps of the building. Zhao lagged behind, trying to figure out why a famous teacher would spend his time in a building that barely had one shutter per window.

Li opened the door the two brothers were hit by a smoky cloud.

Monday, May 28, 2018

100 Words a Day 1209

Deep in the bowels of the submarine, neither George nor Neil saw the leviathan emerge from the black abyss. The impact of the great beast against the submersible sent them crashing around the engine room.

Unfazed, George hauled himself over to the pressure gauges as the sub continued to rock under the leviathan’s assault. Neil struggled to stand and was thrown against the walls of the room repeatedly.

“Stop foolin’ around, boy.”

When Neil was finally back at his station, he jumped each time the leviathan’s blows echoed through the metal tube.

“Agh, it’s not even a hundred tons, boy.”

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.


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.


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.”


“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.


“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.