Well-come!

Sticky: And well-met! This is my writing blog! Where the world of imagination combines with letters to form words and then into a (possibly) coherent piece of work. Poems, short stories, etc. Whatever springs forth from this mind into a collected string of words shall be here.

You are hereby warned that the content here may contain that suited for 18+ years of age (this is not an adult themed blog).

The short stories are inspired by a book that provides sentence prompts as a catalyst.  The book is published by Picadilly (USA) Inc. Copyright 2018. The cover writing is very fitting.

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And without further ado, my humble and amateur works, COMMENCE.

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#11 – The Innocent

Until that day, fear had been an idea, a concept. Now it was real: a feeling I would carry inside me for the rest of my life. The day began innocently enough, with the usual routine: the servants waking me up, washing my face, dressing me. The typical 5 course breakfast. I remember the wild boar bacon and fluffy pancakes with apricot and strawberry preserves all washed down with fresh, table-prepared orange juice. Then it was off to my schooling. Everything was normal until physical fitness. That’s when my life was turned upside-down forever.

My ever-present bodyguard had whisked me away from my sparring lesson with no explanation. While on the run, I’d glimpsed some commotion at the courtyard gates, but since my bodyguard was one of the best in the land (second only to my father’s contingent), there was no worry in me. I’d assumed it was merely another exercise to prepare me for ruling the nation. The military often ran practice scenarios.
Soon we were in a carriage racing through the woods. Far from scared, I was excited, for rarely was I allowed outside the confines of the Royal Estate! I was dying to look out the window, but my guardian glared at me disapprovingly. That would be unsafe.

Finally, we halted, shaking me out of a nap. Deep voices sounded outside, so I set an ear to the door and surreptitiously peeked out the window. My bodyguard was talking to a very large man surrounded by other big men. They looked like the brigands in my story books. Excitement bubbled up inside me again. Indeed, they must be discussing the plan for my abduction. What a thrilling military exercise today! I was trying to decide what kind of abductee I should be, spirited or acquiescing, when a girl was presented to my guard. The sight of her face was astounding! She could’ve been my twin! And, she was wearing the exact same dress I was! Not only was this scenario going to be amazingly fun to go through, but I was going to make a new friend too!

So eager was I to get this all started, that I almost opened the door. Almost. What I saw next would replay in my mind for the rest of my life.

My bodyguard smiled and nodded his approval. All the men took several steps back, leaving her by herself, when suddenly, the biggest dogs I’d ever seen leapt at her and began ripping her apart. I could not look away, paralyzed in horror. The agonizing scene seemed to go on forever, but in reality, it was a matter of seconds. The brigands filled the dogs full of arrows and proceeded to throw the bodily remains into sacks. My 10-year-old self fainted.

I never again saw my parents nor my home. The kingdom mourned the death of their princess by wolves for months. Fear became my constant companion for the next 10 years. We’ve become rather accustomed to each other, honestly. My bodyguard resigned, citing “unreconcilable guilt for the failure to protect the princess” and enjoyed not only a generous severance package for “undeniable loyalty” to the Royal Family but a massive payoff from my sale into what is effectively the high-class black market. In fact, he was provided the honor of being my very first client.

Revenge has been my only reason for living. I shall inflict terror and pain unto every last person responsible for what happened to me. Further, I shall punish those who would capitalize off the fear of slavery and then reclaim my kingdom.

Soon.

#10 – The Wall

The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown in the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before they caught him. This was his very last chance. Not only would this be his third strike but staying on that side of The Wall was plain suicide come dawn. He had lost so much already in his escape bids. He mustn’t fail! Good God, he thought, wiping the sweat dripping like rain from his brow. Please help me, I beg Thee! He stopped at the big tree with the cave-like roots to catch his breath.

Snap! Crack! Rustle! He froze. The sound got closer and he broke into a mad run. No way! He’d made sure to give himself a significant head start!! His plan had been perfect! It had to have been a spy, but that didn’t make sense either. He’d been careful to keep to himself after Mikaiel…he swallowed and tried to think of something else. This was no time to mourn. His partner was gone.

Thinking calmly again, he cut to his left and slowed down a little. Panicked crashing would only make him easier to track. This was his third attempt. He knew his way better than anyone even though the forest was blacker than the Overlord’s soul. His current path might take longer, but it was also trickier. His knowledge of the terrain exceeded any of the remaining trackers allowing him a valuable lead.

Carefully but swiftly he proceeded, reminding himself of the mission. Not just about the vital information embedded inside his body, but of freedom and most importantly the lives of the blissfully unaware populace that had no idea what was regularly sacrificed for them. He allowed himself a small smile, thinking of what would happen if they really knew the dirty secrets of Existence.

The Wall was so close he could almost smell the fresh air, almost see the clear skies. Then, he heard it: the aerials and the hounds. He broke into a desperate sprint. This was it. It was fetters or freedom! Heaven or hell!

There! His elation plummeted like a brick to his feet. This was the wrong part of the Wall! His calculations were several meters off, but there was nothing left to be done. Projectiles sprayed around him and jaws snapped at his extremities. He clenched his teeth, shut his eyes, prayed and jumped—jumped like he’d never jumped before. He had to clear it! He just HAD to! He was so close!

The next thing he knew he was staring up at an orange sky, the brilliance of the rising sun stinging his dark-accustomed eyes. It was not doing any favors for the throbbing in his skull. My God, he prayed, lifting his head and studying The Wall before of him. Praise be unto You and Your Holy Name!

With an immense groan he painfully sat himself up to get a better look at the other side. Through the clear Wall there was an uninhibited view of the obvious lack of trees despite the pervading darkness. Only singed ground and a lingering, evil smoke that seemed to taunt him angrily, remained of the forest he’d just traversed. Powering through the agony, he rose from the ground and limped off before tentatively testing his wings. Back on this side of the Wall they were no longer unusable, but one was severely damaged. He’d have to walk. Given the virtual impossibility of what he’d just accomplished, his countenance should have been bright, but was instead, overwhelmingly sad.

#9 – The Wish

It flashed through the sky and then was gone. Lucy was sure she had seen a UFO and was equally sure aliens were here to secretly make contact with a human being. Maybe they would choose her. Maybe she would get to visit their ship. Maybe she could finally escape this reality. She’d always known that she was born in the wrong time period, millennia too early. She didn’t fit in this average town in this average country on this average planet. It was all very dull, and she was destined for the stars! Around here she was a nobody. Just the weird alien-obsessed girl that dreamed of being chosen. If only they would abduct her! She’d beg them take her back to their planet. Maybe she could even be their queen!

Lucy giggled to herself and flushed as her teenage brain conjured up hot alien romance. Charlie, seated one desk over, noticed and made a loud, malicious comment too rude to be repeated. The class dissolved into laughter and the teacher fought to bring it back under control. Lucy struggled to control her tears. When the bell rang at long last, she gathered her stuff and ran for it. She dodged the waiting group of bullies, passed her house and ended up in the fields where she usually saw the UFO. She wished as hard as she could for them to come and save her from this miserable human life. The tears flowed freely. Exhausted, she fell asleep.

In a haze, she was being walked through unfamiliarity. The ground was hard yet peculiar, as if it was pushing back against her every step—akin to musculature resistance to applied force. Everything seemed dim and obfuscated like something was blocking her vision, but she could feel nothing on her head. Upon arrival at the destination, she was directed to a raised, flat table. It was made up of similar material to the rest of the place and pushed against her as she sat on it.

Lucy was giddy with anticipation. Maybe this wasn’t a dream at all! Maybe this was what she wanted all along! Her wish was coming true! The “table” wriggled against her bouncing body, triggering a lightning tingle in her nether regions that shot to her chest and throughout her body. She giggled out loud, drunk with anticipation. Shortly thereafter, two figures arrived and approached. Once again Lucy could not see their features in detail. Instead, she imagined them as super-hot alien scientists as she lay eagerly on the table. This was it! The two figures did not emit any noise, but she sensed confusion in their evaluation of her. Taking a few breaths, she tried to focus on calming down so that they could proceed unhindered. Even if they killed her, she would die happier than she’d ever been in life.

Cold, warm and other indescribable sensations traversed her body. Lifting, moving, turning, spreading, tasting, poking…whatever they wanted to do, she was their puppet. There was no pain at all in their manipulation. She wanted desperately to touch them, beg them, converse with them, but suddenly, something bade her open her eyes.

The stars shone in the clear night sky out in that familiar field. She could feel her backpack resting against her leg and hear the crickets chirping around her. Disappointment filled her, but she was happy, nonetheless. An insistent itch on her arm revealed a glowing, embedded symbol. Lucy grinned. They’d be back for her.

#8 – My Quest

Looking back, it could have gone either way. It didn’t work out, which makes it look like fate, or a stupid decision, or both. But at the time, I did have a few things in my favor. I had youth, pride and popular support. Had. Although it’s only been a few years, I’m older and much wiser these days. A part of me wonders what it would have been like if things had worked out differently, but then again, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’d still be that brash, petulant fool. Just older and most likely more foolish.

Hoisting the heavy sack into my shoulders, I made my way through the jostling, cursing and pushing crowd. Ruefully, I remembered when everyone would scramble out of my way, as I led my retinue of giggling, buxom women around the city. My frivolity shames me. Having anything and everything I could possibly want with regard only for myself…
Shaking the memory out of my mind, I rounded the bend, eager to be relieved of my burden. The farmhouse was quaint, but it had been my home for the last five years. The old couple took me in even though my disgrace preceded me—something I will forever be grateful for. It wasn’t long before I blended into peasant life. Forgotten. Or so I thought.

Setting the sack down in the kitchen, I rolled the kinks out of my muscles. No one was home, but their absence was not uncommon. With the supplies stored, I made my way to the barn loft I called my room to change tunics. The sight of a familiar, voluptuous body halted my steps. Any man who looked at her ample curves, soft skin and too-tight dress would launch right into feral mode, but my heart only raged a cold fury. How dare she come back here after chewing me up and spitting me out? However, the look on her face stopped any snarky remarks. It was contorted with fear.

She rushed over towards me, a nasty bruise evident on her tearstained face. She thrust an envelope into my hands that I tore open immediately. The letter inside was cryptic and difficult to understand. Underneath that was a key wrapped in a paper with the old couple’s handwriting. I swallowed. I knew what the key was for…and I knew what it meant that I was now holding it.

An arrow whizzed by my face and lodged into the fencepost behind me. We scrambled in opposite directions. I wasted no time grabbing my meager belongings and racing towards the locked chest. With fumbling hands and a quick glance behind me, I turned the key and it released with a click. Inside were an old sword, armor, a dagger, a map and a crest on a chain, all adorned with the same emblem—an emblem I never thought I’d see again.

My meaning of life, my quest, had begun.

#7 – The Ever After

The yellow lines on the highway sped by in a blur, and we flew through the night, and we felt free. But we weren’t and we knew it. We were running away from something, and running away was never the path to freedom. I thought about telling John to turn back. I thought about suggesting we try to convince his parents that our love was real and that we didn’t want to live our lives together without their blessing. However, one look at his handsome face marred by anger and hurt, and I knew that would be a no-go for years. His eyes were red and intensely focused on the road. Someone else would think he was just stressed and tired, but I knew better.

I gently placed my hand on his thigh and rubbed slowly with my thumb, hoping to reassure him. His muscles relaxed a little and he managed a lopsided smile. Even though it wasn’t a full-on beam, my heart leapt at his gorgeousness. He took my hand and pressed a kiss to it. What did I ever do to deserve such a man?

The rest of the ride was easier and he eased off the gas into cruising speed. I wanted so badly to hold him, to kiss him, to touch him all over and ease the pain, but I didn’t wish to impede his concentration, so I fell asleep instead. The sun was starting to peek above the horizon when we finally arrived. I yawned and unfolded stiffly out the door, eager to collapse into an actual bed. 6 hours in a car could really mess a body up and we weren’t all that young anymore. John tossed my bag at me and pack-horsed the rest himself.

A gasp escaped my lips as I gazed up at the stone building we’d be spending the rest of our lives together. It was a stunning castle structure, complete with climbing vines and an uninhibited view of the ocean it had likely stood sentinel over for centuries. A mountain backdrop abutting a green hill that rolled into a lush forest. The property was so picturesque it could’ve appeared in a novel or a movie! I half expected to see a dragon roosting on the cliffs below the steep drop into the churning waters below.

Hoofbeats brought me back to reality, and I looked up to see my shining knight riding towards me on a big bay horse. Just when I thought my mouth couldn’t gape any wider. He grinned charmingly and hoisted me up in front of him. John’s muscular body pressed into mine from behind and we rode over the hills and through the woods.

The sun was setting as we lay on soft grass, relishing the view, the sounds, the smells, the everything. Tears rolled down my face. Everything crashed down on me simultaneously: his parents’ rejection, the arguing, the unreal future I was about to start, and his unwavering devotion to me. How could someone like him ever love someone like me? Why? Why should I deserve this?

John awoke and turned, wiping and kissing my tears away. Our lips found each other, and I dissolved into him.

#6 – The Truth

Reporters are trained to develop a sixth sense, a nose for when a story smells fishy. And something about this one wasn’t right. First of all, it literally smelled fishy. Mark had always been ridiculed for it, but he hated seafood. Secondly, it was too convenient: the expedition of the ages headed by the two most notable marine biologists of the generation, descending to the ocean depths in person to investigate the newly discovered and widely publicized Subterra Door in the Mirage Trench—popularly theorized to be THE door to center of the hollow earth—and they chalk the tragedy up to mechanical failure. Heck, they aren’t even allowing family members to view the bodies, citing legalities, contractual investigative privacy and other official rubbish.

Honestly, he even doubted the underwater craft before him (a seemingly legitimate hunk of metal) was even the same vessel!

The press release was over, but Mark wasn’t about to let this slide…he couldn’t afford to leave it alone. If he could not come up with a good story to drum up interest for the paper, this was it for his career. Everyone had always doubted his line of work and he couldn’t bear to think about the misery of taking over the family business. Mortician? Well, yes, the pay was WAY better than his unreliable income, but mortician? He shuddered at the thought. Horribly depressing and creepy as heck.

That night, he snooped around a nondescript facility. His informant’s intel had been well worth the premium. Before he knew it, Mark was inside and security none the wiser. The first thing he noticed was that the building was far larger than necessary for a secure hospital. A furtive glance at the elevator panel revealed an astonishing number of levels below. 50 to be exact.

While the informant had taken care of electronic security for him to get inside, he was now on his own. He noted and snapped quick shots of the place with the camera in his glasses. The remainder of payment would be in the form of information trade. Mark’s stomach was all butterflies, but the rush of adrenaline made him giddy with courage. He was like James Bond or Ethan Hunt!

In the medical bay, he took every precaution, but quickly realized that no one was in it. In fact, it seemed no one had been in there for a while. The beds were empty and a fine dust layer coated the room. Mark chewed on his lip holding back a laugh. He was right! It was all a coverup. He continued through the halls and stairs, snapping occasional pictures and marveling over the lack of physical guards…they must be confident that no one had seen through their ruse.

Noise suddenly attracted him, and he moved stealthily towards the source. Hugging low on the wall, he peered through the window. His eyes widened in astonishment, but not because the deceased researchers were alive and well: the massive warehouse bay (it must have been an old hangar) was filled with glass cages and tanks. Inside them were creatures–mythical creatures right out of fantasy books. Real, breathing, snorting, flaming.

Greedily he snapped images upon images. He thought of the fame, the money, the sensationalism of it all. He’d be a hero! Mark could not wait to get back and shove it all into the faces of his doubters. With one last snap, he turned to escape, when he felt a sharp pain, and everything went black.

#5 – The Will

The wind whispered through the dark, empty trees like a warning in a foreign language. Winter was coming, and with winter came death were she not adequately prepared. If not from the bitter conditions, then illness, predators, or the worst: humans. Samara was happy now and swore to do anything in her power to maintain her freedom.

Safe in her carefully planned refuge, she made her daily rounds and rehearsed for the umpteenth time the plan in the event her home was compromised. There was a system of reinforced tunnels engineered for stability yet rigged to collapse if necessary. She’d designed two main access points: the first involved navigating the caves and mountain rock, while the other employed a camouflaged boulder. Then there was the secret path that required swimming but was only used in case of emergency. Even airflow had been carefully accounted for. It had taken quite some time to design, shape and implement the hideout, but thanks to the miners before her, her past in infrastructure engineering and basic survival instincts, she was well pleased with the outcome.

This had afforded her two years of life more than she ever thought she’d be allowed, and she planned to stay alive if God willed it. They would never stop searching for her and one day, she’d have to pack up and do this all over again, eliminate the threat, or die fighting. She clenched her teeth, hard, as unpleasant images of her past rose unbidden in her mind. Death would be a welcome respite for what they’d have in store if she were to fall into their clutches.

Samara shivered despite the warmth of her heat source and tried to focus on sleep. Though she needed rest to keep her wits about her, sleep was fraught with as much danger and anxiety as wakefulness. At least awake she could build a physical barrier and fight with tangible weapons. She prayed to merciful God for strength and protection through the night. She needed to survive. She HAD to! Her plan to end her enemies and claim her rightful throne was to start in the Springtime, come hell or highwater…literally!

Her dream consciousness groaned in exasperation: there was no rest for the weary. She had just closed her eyes and he was already stalking her. Whispered words to break and poison her soul, disguises, tricks, anything to ascertain her location and force her surrender or drive her to insanity.

With much effort, she snapped her eyes open to sever the mind link and bolted upright in a cold sweat.

This was going to be a long winter.

#4 – The Greenhorn

“How did you know?” I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought she of all people would never suspect a thing—that she was harmless. Fear flooded my body and tied my stomach into a cold knot at the cheerless grin she formed down at me in the dim light. Yet again my hands struggled to loosen the bonds and my eyes scanned the room for any means of escape and yet again my efforts came up fruitless. Something bad was about to happen to me. Something really bad. There was no knight in shining armor coming to rescue me and I was no James Bond. Heck, HQ wouldn’t have a clue about my predicament, given that I’d just checked in with them not an hour ago. Everything had been going smoothly—ahead of schedule even. The next check-in wouldn’t be for a while. I’d only completed basic training as this was in no way meant to be a high-risk assignment for me. I was a rookie! Green in every way.

She laughed, clearly reveling in my consternation and panic. What do I do?! My mind screamed, struggling to remain calm and think. Plump fingers traced the line of my jaw and I shuddered involuntarily. Her evil grin stretched even wider–if that was at all possible–and she gave my nose a fond tap. Then to my horror, she then unbuttoned her blouse, allowing her ample, bra-less bosom to burst free. I couldn’t help but stare at them wobbling, bouncing, and shaking inches from my face. My career wasn’t the only area I was green in.

Despite the electric tingling that traversed my body and ended south of my belly, I refused to allow her to overpower me. If anything, the lewd intention bolstered my courage. Even when she pushed into me and began to unbutton my shirt, I called upon those hours of mind training to retreat into a meditation state, shutting down all my senses.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think it was going to work. I was too inexperienced in life, too sheltered and I thought it impossible for me to escape primal lust. Her frustrated shriek some time later brought me back and I marveled at my success. Too late I noticed the syringe she produced from the small metal suitcase on the table. THE suitcase. The target of this entire mission. It had been right under our noses the whole time.

“I will make you one of us…I will make you…mine.” At least I’d paid enough attention to the mission documents to know my fate. Briefly, I wondered, if they had chosen someone older, uglier or of the opposite sex, then would this have turned out differently? There was no time to be afraid. I closed my eyes, my life flashing before me, and vowed deep within my soul to try to remember the mission and myself.

Then came the pinch.

#3 – The Feeling

I’ve lived in this town my whole life, and most of the time that’s fine by me. But in late fall when the sky fills with the birds migrating south for the winter, traveling thousands of miles, I get homesick for places I’ve never been. Places like a castle overlooking the countryside; the sky, soaring through the clouds, with the birds high in the atmosphere; moving with and against water currents, playing with the ocean dwellers; traversing the great underground caverns and tunnels. Inexplicable joy and longing at these…memories? Dreams? Wishes??

The feelings are so powerful I’ve considered asking my family, but something keeps telling me not to. To keep it a secret.

The town is small and only getting smaller as the youth leave for the cities. They are drawn by the allure of jobs, mates and lights. It’s not like I’ve never been to the city before, but the countryside, the land, always calls me back. Urbanity oppresses me, induces anxiety, closes in on me as if I’m being fettered and choked. No one understands it. They tell me I’m a strange hill-billy.

They don’t have to get me. Heck, I don’t even get myself.

Today, I’m sitting on a fence after finishing my chores for the day, when Farmer Tom leans on the fence beside me. We watch the fields, the cows and the setting sun for a while in silence, the chilly autumn breeze feeling good on our skin. Suddenly he says, “You feel the call, dontcha.” It’s not really a question. It startles me that he seems to have read my mind: I was just trying, for the millionth time, to make sense of the urges and tugging at my mind, heart and soul. He catches my eye and winks. I gasp aloud. For the first time in my life I see eyes that look like mine. Ever since I can remember I’ve worn special contacts in order to disguise the unique shape of my pupils that change depending on what and how I wish to see.

He then raises his nose to the air and says, “Goody Martha’s quiche is about ready to come out of the oven, but…”

“The crust and cheese are slightly burnt,” we both finish the sentence together. I can’t help but stare at him. Good Martha lives on the far edge of the town.

Farmer Tom just smiles and after a moment asks, “Do you want to know? There’s no taking it back once you do.” There is weight in his words, but a clear message appears in my mind. It is time. I only nod at him, my mouth unable to operate. He puts down his pitchfork and beckons me follow across fields, through trees and into the rocks.

My body tingles with anticipation, but my hands wring in anxiety. We stop at the edge of the highest cliff, the sun almost completely sunk below the horizon. I can see the lights in the town below us.

He turns to me, sheds all his clothes, and falls backwards off the cliff. I am transfixed to the spot, terrified, when a massive beast shoots into the air and lands with a thud before me. The eyes prove his humanity, but the scaly hide, the gorgeous wings, powerful tail and the ferocious heat emanating from his body…Farmer Tom — and I — are dragons.

#2 – The Dream

Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world where the three people she cared about were healthy and safe. Her brother, her childhood friend and the love of her life. Being wrapped in his strong, gentle arms, feeling his familiar weight and that comforting scent. Through everything they’d been through together, he was always there when she needed him through thick and thin, risking it all for her without regard for his own safety. He always had her back despite her vicious betrayal, and it was his unrelenting faith in her that reignited her stone-cold heart and freed her Soul from its bonds. Literally. Two of the three were accounted for.

Well, at least she didn’t have to pinch herself. A fierce kick roused her from her reverie and the bite of the cold stone on her bare skin brought reality rushing back.

“Open your eyes,” a grating voice demanded. She obeyed to deter further blows, but it came anyways. The sharp iron taste of blood contacted her tongue. One of her eyes could not open all the way from inflammation, but she already knew who loomed above.

“Where is he?” she demanded back at the loathful woman before her. With a smirk, the large woman gestured. She strained against her bonds, the metal biting into her skin, to behold her brother hanging from the wall and covered with wounds in various stages of healing. Relief flooded through her. He was alive. Alive! And conscious. Although his face was obscured by his unkempt hair and beard, her acute vision caught the glimmer in his eyes and they exchanged imperceptible nods. Giggles threatened to bubble up from her belly at the foolishness of putting brother and sister in the same cell.

“He has been a most…delightful prisoner…” The woman was staring at him hungrily before the same gaze trailed back to the young, captive girl. The desire in the woman’s eyes grew thick with malicious intention and her lips curled into a perverse sneer. “I wonder if stubbornness runs in the family…?”

The girl laughed aloud.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve been bound and tortured, lady. Besides,” she shrugged, grinning and ignoring the pain it caused, “you won’t even get a chance to try.”

The woman’s eyes narrowed. Too late she realized what was about to happen. Before she could sound the alarm, a massive black wolf had overpowered its quarry. Guards came rushing at the commotion only to be faced by a monster wolf with blood dripping from its maws as well as a black panther that lunged from the shadows.

The guards’ screams extinguished, brother and sister fled into the forest so thick even the full moon could not be seen from within. Back in human form, they embraced in an emotional reunion. At long last, it was over. Her quest had ended happily.

Perhaps it was a dream, but if it was she never wanted to wake up.