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No Happy Ending by Featured Author: Erika Lance

At our meetings, we often do 5-minute exercises using 3-5 words to create a short-short story. Sometimes, those stories are continuous from exercise to exercise. Here’s one of those from Erika Lance!

• Graham cracker

•Bookmark       

• Limp

Clara was sitting on the large overstuffed chair in her grandfather’s library looking out at the thunderstorm raging outside. She heard a plop as the now limp graham cracker she had been dipping in her tea broke off and was now what her brother would call a “floater”.

She looked down again at the book she was reading. It had actually been a perfectly sunny day until about ten minutes ago when the hero in the book was thrust into a perilous storm. The moment it happened the lightning cracked right outside the window.

She looked down and decided to turn some pages to where there was an old tasseled bookmark. She flipped open to the page “The creature slithered between the shelves as a cold mist rose from the floor.” Looking at the words again she closed her eyes and sighed. The air around her began to cool and when she opened her eyes again there was a dark grey mist around her. “They didn’t mention the color of the mist in the book” she mumbled to herself just as she heard the sound of movement from the shelves behind her chair….

• Post-it             

• Sulphur           

• Stolen

After hearing the noise, she decided to flip further into the story, which at this point she was sure was amazing, but also might end up not being something she could walk away from. She smirked at her joke.

There was a post it that she flipped to the new page that started with “The breeze carried with it the smell of jasmine and he could hear the sound of a bubbling brook nearby” …. This is much better she thought. “Then he felt the stinging burning pain as the red-hot blade was laid against his skin again…”

“What in hell” she exclaimed. Looking around for something the book had yet to describe holding a red-hot blade. She did not see or hear anyone, so she flipped again to the end of the book. She was hoping to find the happy ending but there were pages torn out.  She looked to the last line on the remaining

“The creature held the fate of the hero in his palm that he had stolen….” She sighed and looked up to see a demonic figure standing in front of her smelling of sulfur.

“Looking for these?’ he said holding up pages.

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They’ve Come Back by Featured Author: Nicole DragonBeck

At our meetings, we often do 5-minute exercises using 3-5 words to create a short-short story. Sometimes, those stories are continuous from exercise to exercise. Here’s one of those from Nicole DragonBeck!

• Graham cracker

•Bookmark       

• Limp

Hildy walked into the room, and surveyed the mess. Graham cracker crumbs littered the table, next to a glass of milk with one sip left. The pillows were thrown willy-nilly over the floor, and the rug had been pushed into a heap in the corner. All the books had been pulled off the shelf and stacked in random places. Some of the ribbon bookmarks had been pulled out and pinned to the wall like prizes or party decorations. The curtains were closed, and a smattering of burning candles gave a dim light.

“Peter?” Hildy called out.

“I’m right here,” a gruff voice snapped at her, and her heart rammed into her throat.

“Peter, what’s happened?” she asked. “Why does your place look like…” she waved her hand inarticulacy around.

“What?” Peter said, and blinked.

“Let me open the window, get some light and fresh air-”

“No!” Peter barked. “You’ll let them in.” 

“Let who in?” Hildy wondered, watching the old man limp around the piles of books, leaning on the worn cane he never let out of his hand.

“They’ve come back, and this time, they’ve brought friends.”

Hildy frowned. “Are you having nightmares again?”

Peter stopped beside the couch, wheezing. He looked like he was a hundred years old, but Hildy knew that he was only a dozen years older than she was. A tapping at the window drew both their eyes.

“They’re here,” Peter whispered.

• Post-it             

• Sulphur           

• Stolen

The tapping intensified.  Peter held up his cane as if he meant to attach someone, his eyes narrowed intently.

“What is going on?” Hildy demanded.

“They’re here!” Peter snapped. “Grab something to defend yourself girl, unless you want to die!”

Hildy had no particular desire to die, but there wasn’t anything particularly dangerous or threatening that she could use as a weapon.

“Wait wait wait!” Peter’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Sulfur! Get the sulfur!”

Hildy looked around, but she had no idea what sulfur looked like. “There there, on the shelf!” She dashed to the shelf, and saw that in place of the mistreated books, little vials of colored powder were now lined up in rows. Post-it notes with weird symbols were behind each, but none of them said “sulfur”.

“Which one?” she asked.

“The yellow one!” Peter yelled. “Damn it, girl, we don’t have all day!”

Hildy realized he had forgotten her name, but the urgency in his voice banished the sadness. She pulled the jar with the yellow powder and put it in his eagerly outstretched hand. The liverspots were new, as was the faint tremble when he pulled out the stopper. The room filled with a pungent smell, and the tapping at the window stopped at once. A grin of pure glee spread over Peter’s face, then the window exploded inward in a shower of glass shards, ripping the curtain off the wall. The sunlight was blocked by a monstrous shape, claws digging into the frame.

Hildy mouth dropped open, her scream frozen in her throat. Peter threw the yellow powder in the air, thrust his cane after it and muttered something. Lightning sparked and then dispersed in a giant crash. The darkness in the window was obliterated, and an eerie silence enveloped the apartment.

“What was that, and why is it here?” Hildy whispered, her eyes wide.

“They came for what was stolen,” Peter said quietly, and then sank down onto the sofa.

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Wishes by Featured Author: JM Paquette

At our meetings, we often do 5-minute exercises using 3-5 words to create a short-short story. Sometimes, those stories are continuous from exercise to exercise. Here’s one of those from JM PAQUETTE!

• Graham cracker

•Bookmark       

• Limp

            I looked down at my hands, then back up at the djinni. “Are you sure?” I asked it. 

The creature nodded sagely, gesturing to my hands, “You must choose your reward for freeing me,” it repeated. 

            “What about my three wishes?” I asked. 

            “Wishes?” it repeated, clearly confused. 

            “Yeah,” I pointed at the newly shined lamp sitting on the counter in front of me. “That’s the deal with a djinni. I  rub the lamp; I get the wishes. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with either of these.”
            I looked down at my hands: my right held what appeared to be an ancient bookmark, the material glorious against my skin, and lovely with scroll work, but still just a scrap of fabric. 

My left land held a stack of three perfectly shaped graham crackers, the bottom now feeling a bit  limp as it absorbed the sweat from my palm.

            “I offer you wondrous treasures,” the djinni explained. “So great that you cannot have both. You must decide which you will have.”

            “Crackers and a place to mark my page?” I asked. “I don’t know what kind of world you’re from, but I can get crackers from my cabinet right now, three different varieties, and I have bookmarks stashed in every book I own.”

            “They are not merely food and markers,” it snapped, looking annoyed. “Clearly, the old tales have faded during my time away.” A ghostly hand gestured to the bookmark. “That marks the page of any book you wish to read in the world.”

            “Like any book?”

            The djinni nodded. “Is there a book in the world or the history of the world you’d like to read? Think of it, and that so-called scrap of material will bring it to you for as long as you wish.” I held it more carefully in my hand after that. 

            “And these?” I looked at the crackers. 

“The finest food to be found in the world,” the djinni declared. “Think of it, and it shall be yours.”

• Post-it             

• Sulphur           

• Stolen

            I took a sip of my tea, the liquid tasty and satisfying, but there was a moment where I wondered if it would be better if I had chosen the crackers and had the best food in the world. Then again, considering the loopholes I had discovered, it probably wouldn’t apply to drinks anyway–just food. And then I’d have great food and disappointing-in-comparison drinks.

            No, I had made the right choice with the book mark. 

            I stared at the book on the table before me, the slight smell of sulphur wafting from the pages. I wondered where it had been stored to smell like this. I didn’t think the Pearl poet would have been making deals with demons, but I could never be sure. I frowned before touching it. I was fairly sure that the Lost Tales of the Pearl poet hadn’t been hidden away in some museum archive, but I did not want a repeat of the last fiasco when I’d been happily reading the First Shakespeare Folio to be interrupted by a news story about a theft at the British Museum. Luckily, no one thought to search the house of a simple barista in Chicago for the stolen manuscript, but if they had, I didn’t know how I would explain how the book got here. 

            I looked at the post-it note stuck the wall above the table, reached out, and put a check mark next to the Pearl poet. Eventually, I’d work my way through all of the pre-Christian Dark Ages and move on to the Middle Ages. 

            All that French, though, I thought. Good thing the bookmark lets me understand the book, no matter the language it was written in. I was having fun with the Old English names in Pearl, no doubt butchering the pronunciation enough to make Tolkien roll over in his grave. One of these names would conjure a demon if I wasn’t careful.

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Meet us at MegaCon in Tampa!

Come see us at MegaCon this weekend!

For every book you buy, we’ll give you the eBook for FREE!

We’re easy to find!

Looking forward to meeting you!

The Ink Slingers

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