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


I rolled over.


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


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.


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.”


“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.”


“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?