Tag Archives: Author Alanna J. Rubin

The Task – a Round Robin Writing Snippet

On April 4th, 2018 the Ink Slingers Guild (ISG) had some round-robin writing fun! We each wrote a sentence or two and then passed the paper to the next person who added to it and passed it along to the next person and on down the line. Here is one of several mini-stories created this way.  We hope you are as entertained as we!

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“The Task”

They all stood in the circle, their shadows joined in a point between them by the magical fires burning behind them. The task had called them to this place between worlds, and their sour tethers were barely holding on. Morton tried to break free, the tethers were so loose, but something dark held a lifeline fixed to his core and he panicked. The darkness crept up inside him, threatening to take over and he felt his mind begin to fade into the background. A voice, sinister, whispered into his ear, into his mind. “So, again you forgot – and again you came.”

First line by NICOLE DRAGONBECK

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ISG Contributors:

ALANNA J. RUBIN

LISA BARRY

BRANDON SCOTT

ERIKA LANCE

NICOLE DRAGONBECK

 

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Taunt Me – a Round Robin Writing Snippet

On April 4th, 2018 the Ink Slingers Guild (ISG) had some round-robin writing fun! We each wrote a sentence or two and then passed the paper to the next person who added to it and passed it along to the next person and on down the line. Here is one of several mini-stories created this way.  We hope you are as entertained as we!

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“Taunt Me”

The smell coming from the dumpster made her gag slightly as she lifted the lid to the garbage bin. The decaying body one-eyed her and Molly couldn’t suppress her stomach any longer. Molly doubled over and what was left of her meal from hours ago now graced the sidewalk.

“Well great,” she mumbled. “Another one.”

Steeling herself, she peeked in for another look, knowing that somewhere, she would find what came with all the others – a taunting message written in the victim’s blood.

First line by ERIKA LANCE

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ISG Contributors:

ALANNA J. RUBIN

LISA BARRY

BRANDON SCOTT

ERIKA LANCE

NICOLE DRAGONBECK

 

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Tastes Like Chicken – a Round Robin Writing Snippet

On April 4th, 2018 the Ink Slingers Guild (ISG) had some round-robin writing fun! We each wrote a sentence or two and then passed the paper to the next person who added to it and passed it along to the next person and on down the line. Here is one of several mini-stories created this way.  We hope you are as entertained as we!

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“Tastes Like Chicken”

Because he was a god, and because he figured it would taste good, he went about eating a tornado. He found it quite surprising, given that he was a god, that it did not agree with him, catching in his throat and making him feel deathly ill.

“What are you doing?” his brother asked as he created a tidal-wave with a flick of his wrist.

The god coughed, spat out a bit of cow hide and turned to his brother with a scowl.

His brother continued. “No one in our family can eat tornadoes, they give us indigestion.”

First line by BRANDON SCOTT

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ISG Contributors:

ALANNA J. RUBIN

LISA BARRY

BRANDON SCOTT

ERIKA LANCE

NICOLE DRAGONBECK

 

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The Surprising Meal – a Round Robin Writing Snippet

On April 4th, 2018 the Ink Slingers Guild (ISG) had some round-robin writing fun! We each wrote a sentence or two and then passed the paper to the next person who added to it and passed it along to the next person and on down the line. Here is one of several mini-stories created this way.  We hope you are as entertained as we!

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“The Surprising Meal”

I couldn’t stand the thought of eating one more hotdog but the way that kid looked at me, I reached for another. My eyes narrowed at the kid in response, showing him I was up to the challenge. The first bite went well enough, it was the second where problems began. Everything in my stomach rolled and heaved, threatening to come up again, but I forced it down again, determined to see it through. And then I felt it, the warp worm; I should have tasted it over the mustard and now I was done for.

First line by LISA BARRY

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ISG Contributors:

ALANNA J. RUBIN

LISA BARRY

BRANDON SCOTT

ERIKA LANCE

NICOLE DRAGONBECK

 

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Darkness Rises – a Round Robin Writing Snippet

On April 4th, 2018 the Ink Slingers Guild (ISG) had some round-robin writing fun! We each wrote a sentence or two and then passed the paper to the next person who added to it and passed it along to the next person and on down the line. Here is one of several mini-stories created this way.  We hope you are as entertained as we!

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“Darkness Rises”

The sunset cast rays of red upon the hallowed ground. Standing with those rays was a tall, thin figure emanating malice. Jane stood fast, the pendant clutched in her hand repelling the chill and the darkness as she faced the demon from her dreams. A sly smile played across his face as he withdrew the soul gem from his fur-covered stomach. Jane muttered her incantations softly as she held out her pendant with one hand and drew the appropriate symbols with the other, and the demon’s laugh was the last thing she heard.

First line by ALANNA J. RUBIN

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ISG Contributors:

ALANNA J. RUBIN

LISA BARRY

BRANDON SCOTT

ERIKA LANCE

NICOLE DRAGONBECK

 

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Woo the Assassin – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 21 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Disagreement
  • Phallic
  • Board

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

LISA BARRY:

I couldn’t look him in the eye with my body responding in such an unprofessional manner. I was here to take a contract out on someone’s life for God’s sake, not woo the assassin. I glanced around the diner only to have my eyes land on a phallic mask that I knew had something to do with the doctors that treated people with the plague.

I quickly looked away only to hear the last of a disagreement a couple was having behind me, where verbiage about appendage size was loudly announced to the room. The man must have gotten up so quickly that his chair hit the ground. He rushed out the front door, slamming it so hard the board in the bottom half fell out. I giggled. Martin chuckled.

And everything seemed normal again.

“I need my nephew to go on vacation,” I stated. “He’s deserved it with everything he’s done for this family.” Anger boiled under my skin but when I turned back to Martin, his lip curled slightly, and the anger dissolved.

“I’ll do it on one condition,” Martin said and leaned back in his chair.

I raised my brows.

“Let me take you to dinner.”

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

The huge stones were arranged in a series of circles around the largest one, sitting in the center of the formation, casting a vaguely phallic shape against the darkening sky. “So, what do we have to do?” Lily asked, a nervous tremor in her voice. “We have to wait until the first star appears, and then it will lead us through the stones, into another realm,” Maria answered with infinite patience. The place had been boarded up and signs warning of imminent death or fines tried to scare would-be trespassers away. Maria ducked under one such, but Lily remained outside, shifting her weight from one foot to the next. Maria sighed. She couldn’t believe they were still having this disagreement, and when they were so close. “Look, do you want to find out what happened to Billy and the others or not?” she called out, all patience gone from her tone. “Yes, but,” Lily faltered. “Look, we don’t have time for this,” Maria called back as she stood and looked up at the sky. “I’m going to look for them. You can come if you want, or not.” She found the first faint glimmer of a star, and followed it into the dark, disappearing from view. “Maria?” Lily called, more agitated than ever. “Maria?” When Lily ducked under the forbidding sign, she looked up to find a million stars glittering in the sky and no trace of her friend.

h under her chin.

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ERIKA LANCE:

This is not happening she muttered to herself as she opened her book to page 384. She scanned it quickly and only saw a phallic symbol in the middle of the page. She looked closer, it was actually an oil rig and not a …. Never mind she thought.

“Give me your book” she said as she reached for it. His face shifted ever so slightly in disagreement to her request and then he handed it too her.

She looked at the page and sure enough it was about a great sugar plague.

“What the hell….” She said under her breath as she began to flip the pages. There was page after page of history as written by Saturday morning cartoons.

As she looked though several more pages she looked up again to find that her ‘partner’ had pulled out a piece of poster board to begin the project.

“Where did you get this book?” She asked. It, by all appearances seemed as real as hers. “Prof. Dumbledore” he replied smiling as if this answered any further questions she had.

“I give up” she said as she sat back down in defeat.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

Jack and I were out here in front of the college trying to collect signatures to save the endangered southern warbler from encroachment, and there was a small gang of coeds surrounding him waggling fingers. It looked like the disagreement was getting out of hand.

I could see I needed to intervene.

“What’s going on here, Jack?” The man was clutching his clip board close, looking like he was trying to turn beige and sink into the bricks behind him.

“This MAN was trying to coerce us into signing a petition and waved his phallic symbol in front of our faces yelling about what we needed to do,” said one of the ladies.

“Do you mean… his pen?” I asked, surprised. I spotted the same T-shirt on all the women. It said “GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS”.

“So typical of the patriarchy to just order us to do things. We don’t need your commands, MAN,” another one of the girls said, and everyone nodded. They obviously meant “man” as an insult.

“Well, here’s mine. Want to look?” Apparently my phallus, I mean pen, was okay, and the ladies signed and left.

“Sorry Jack, tomorrow we’ll go back to standing in front of the Target store.”

www.DesisTwoCents.com

JM PAQUETTE:

Jeremy followed behind her, unable to break her hold on his hand, glancing behind at the girl with a look of woe that would have torn her heart if she hadn’t spent more than half of her life listening to him whine and complain. No, not complain, she corrected herself. She recalled the lengthy diatribe she’d received when she told him that–apparently, to complain meant to write love poetry back in the Middle Ages, a fact that Sara found hilarious, but Jeremy was definitely not writing love poetry in her honor. He’d worn himself out over the centuries writing love ballads about his beloved anchoress, trapped behind her walls of stone, wrongly persecuted for a crime she was of course completely innocent of, a minor disagreement with the Church that ended with her judged to die in solitude for some no doubt phallic-inspired sin that Sara didn’t even recognize or care about.

She was really tired of listening to Jeremy’s lectures, of the way he bemoaned his past, the way he judged her every move. She paused. What was she doing? She could let him go back inside, leave him to the teenage witch, and be done with him.

Maybe this was what she was supposed to do all along. Maybe her trial was over, her long journey to the end reached, her score on the tally board of destiny even. She looked down at their linked hands, then back up at the wistful expression on the old ghost’s face.

She stopped walking in the parking lot. “Jeremy?” she began. “Do you…” She let the words trail off. Was she willing to let him go? She thought of the girl inside, so young, so eager, so…absolutely unequipped to deal with a spirit of Jeremy’s caliber. What was she thinking to cast off her burden to another so clearly unprepared for the job? This was probably why she had been cursed with the ghost in the first place. She was unworthy, unable to follow through to the end. She stared at him, perplexed as always when she wandered down this path. Jeremy knew the reason why, but he would never tell her.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

Some disagreements are sensible, and some are not. However, there is a third category of this that some might not consider or validate as such: and that is the ones that are so odd and out of the realm of normal conversation that they enter perhaps a different phase of human understanding.

This disagreement, held while shopping for a new board, a headboard for a bed specifically, was of that last section.

“I swear to you, on my mother’s grave, that man’s head was so phallic is represented the patriarchy.”

“You mean phallic symbols do?”

“No.” He shook his head. “No. His head, his head of all heads, specifically, represents men’s hold on this world.”

She stared at him for a moment, pondering this: considering this. Wondering as to what might have been going on for this baffling man. Then, with a deep sigh beforehand, she asked the only question that seemed obvious to her to ask. “Are you drunk?”

He did a double take and even looked a tad offended. “Umm, no? I think that man’s head is the avatar of sexism.”

“I want a divorce,” she replied immediately.

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Kalvin

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A Figure Came into Sight – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 7 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Hoodie
  • Green
  • Sight

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

A figure came into sight over the crest of the hill, a green hoodie obscuring their features. Berryl waited, leaning against the tree and taking small sips from the waterskin, waiting for the stranger to come to her. When the person got closer, she raised her hand in greeting, but the figure did not return the gesture, and simply continued down the road at a fast clip. Berryl blinked, her hand still in the air, and then hastily lowered it. She had been on this road for two weeks, and had encountered three people coming from the opposite direction before this fellow. They had been amiable enough travelers, and had stopped to talk and give news of the road conditions ahead. One had even offered her an apple they had pilfered from an orchard several days ahead. Berryl shrugged, picked up her pack, and set off down the road. She crested the hill the stranger had just come over, and surveyed the land on the other side, which looked much like the land she had just traversed, farmland interspersed with woodland. In the distance, a faint smudge suggested a larger forest, or perhaps mountains. Just as she proceeded to take her next step, a knife came from behind, and pressed against the tender flesh under her chin.

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LISA BARRY:

When I walked in the room the first thing that was not quite right was the grey hoodie thrown over the living room chair. As I continued toward the back of the house, the second thing to make me frown was the green… well it looked like hair. The hoodie wasn’t mine, but it could have been the cleaner’s who had come earlier or even the meal prep chef who hopefully had left the next week worth of meals in my freezer but the hair? Fuzzy blobs of green continued to greet my sight as I made my way into the kitchen. There was a ridiculous amount of on the floor near the sink and more leading to the back door.

Curiosity had me stop and check the freezer. Yep! Yummy meals for the week. I walked to the back door and flung it open looking out into the shadowed yard, the sun almost set. I heard a low growl and turned in time to see pale white skin with weird blotches of green fur and teeth. Very large teeth. A blur lunged at me and as it tore into my throat I could only think of one thing.

I’m not getting to eat those yummy meals.

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ANNE CARGILE:

“Well what do you think?” Mickey asked as he turned and showed off his new hoodie.

“I think you look ridiculous boyo. That green clashes badly with your red hair,” I replied, unimpressed.

“Oh come on, I thought it was quite dapper!” Mickey made a sad face, and started playing with his collar, adjusting the hood. It made him look like a twitchy green and red hunchback.

I harrumped and shook my head. Damn kids. “I don’t know what happened with ya kid, but as a leprechaun you’re a sad sight for sure. What are ya trying to do? Scare the wee ones from ever coming out?” I could tell I was upset by the length of my brogue. I may have lived in the new lands for a few hundred years, but the mother country never really leaves one.

I sighed. St Patrick’s Day was a blessed day, and one of the few days leprechauns could come out in the open without fear. My job was to teach the youngsters, and make sure no one got caught. As a breed we’re a greedy bunch, and any pot of gold one of my charges lost, I’d have to replace.

I looked at Mickey again. “I guess you could pass for a daft college boy,” I said.

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DALIA LANCE:

She flicked more cupcake off of her and although the towel was now covered she was still a sight.

“Explain what happened?” I asked trying to gather up all of the make-up wipes she had cast off. The alley didn’t need cleaning I just needed to do something so I wasn’t staring as she finally dropped the tablecloth to skirt level and pulled on my green hoodie I handed her.

“I wanted to surprise Steve as you know” I nodded as I could tell she was getting worked up now and just let her continue “and it turns out when I asked him what he wanted he said what he had really wanted was for me to meet his ‘book club’ which seemed weird, so instead of the awesome plan I had set-up I went over to his house.” I nodded again realizing she was waiting for encouragement.

“Turns out there isn’t books he meets once a month with a bunch of guys that like to watch girls sit on cakes and smash bakery items on themselves.” I pursed my lips so I wouldn’t laugh. I wanted to ask how she had agreed to such a thing along with about fifty other questions but all I could ask was “So did he have a good birthday?”

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JM PAQUETTE:

“I shouldn’t even be here,” I moaned an hour later, my arm numb and about to fall off, useless weapon landing in the dirt that was soon going to be drenched with my blood. “They weren’t even looking for me.” I glared at him, at his long, lanky body, at arms that had clearly seen some training, at those feet that knew exactly which way to step. “This is all your fault.”

“My fault?” he echoed, bending to pick up the flail and shove it back into my useless fingers. I used my other hand to hold it in place, knowing that all of this was useless. “I wasn’t the one who started shouting at the guards.”

I sniffed, looking away from his accusing green eyes, trying to ignore the sight of a slightly flushed sweaty elf standing less than a foot away from me. He was, after all, the elf that was going to kill me soon. It was just like that old gypsy woman said. “I wasn’t shouting at them. I was trying to find out what they wanted.”

He shrugged. “Don’t you know that guards never actually find what they set out looking for? They just find the next person who gives them any crap and lug them down to the stadium for some good times with Cyrus.” He gave me a once over, similar to the one he’d given me when we’d met at the bar last night, though with a different objective in mind.

“You’re pretty enough,” he commented. “I’m surprised you ended up in here. I figured you’d end up with him.”

I pulled my arms close around my body, barely ignoring the urge to pull up my hoodie and cover myself. But my arms didn’t work anymore, and I was sweating from all the movement.

He thinks I’m pretty, my mind yammered at me. Of course, now I’m going to die.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

“Joe, are you sure you feel okay? You’re looking really green.” Joe pulled his hoodie tightly around him and nodded, afraid that speaking would break his concentration on keeping the contents of his stomach inside his body. He hated boats, but wanted to impress Rebecca by showing her the sights.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

Coming Soon!

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Are We a Coterie? – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 7 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Flail
  • Rushed
  • Coterie (an intimate and often exclusive group of persons with a unifying common interest or person (sense of negativity as the group excludes others))

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

ANNE CARGILE:

“So are we a coterie or not?” Sandy asked.

Debbie glanced at her friend, her arm mid swing with the flail. “I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it. What does that even mean? Can you look it up?”

“Sure,” Sandy said as she pulled out her iPhone, her fingers flying over the mini keyboard.

The flail finished its swing and the scream echoed across the cavern. Sandy’s eyes darted to the sacrifice, then back to the glowing screen in front of her.

“Damnit , the cell service really sucks down here,” she whined. “We should pay for wi-fi.”

Debbie nodded in agreement as she eyed her victim critically. She hated to be rushed in these things. “So what does it say?”

“Oh. Sorry got distracted checking my snaps. Um, like, we’re an exclusive group or club with common interests it says.”

“Yeah, I guess we are then,” Debbie said as she laid another stripe down the man’s back. She grinned as the cavern filled with another round of echoes.

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LISA BARRY:

Christina’s arms flailed as she started to fall, the light moss on the ground deceptively slippery. Reno rushed to grab her but he too hit the moss and fell with her. Her turned as they went down, landing heavily on his back, Christina’s only damage ended up being her pride as she lay on top of him haphazardly. She scrambled from his grasp despite the strong pull to stay there. Reno stood and brushed himself off.

“Thank you,” Christina whispered, the sky was getting darker and despite her urges, she had to stop even thinking about Reno in any way especially that way. Mardella, the head of her coterie was betrothed to the man, since she was child they say. It broke Christina’s heart. A quick glance at Reno’s blushing face and she thought it might break his as well.

They rushed toward the distant fire burning in the clearing ahead.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“You can’t excommunicate me, I founded this Coven!” Tera screamed at the robed figures condemning her from their high perches behind the half-moon table. Tall figures were suddenly on either side of her, grabbing her arms and rushing her out of the old cathedral, as she flailed and screeched. The sounds of her displeasure echoed long after she had been removed, and only when they had died down did the members at the table remove their hoods, casting uneasy glances at each other. Redd watched them with a carefully neutral expression. No one was certain about what they had done. As Tera had pointed out, she had formed the group, but under her tyrannical guidance, the Coven had become more of a coterie, and when Witches and Wizards who disagreed with her methods and beliefs started disappearing, and then turning up dead, it was determined that her influence was most likely at fault, and it had to end. “She won’t stop,” Treven, a nervous looking Wizard at the far end of the table said. “This will just make her angrier.” “Our laws won’t allow for anything more,” Nell answered briskly, pushing her glasses up her nose. “We have people watching her. She won’t cause any further trouble.”

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DALIA LANCE:

“Send me the address” I said trying not to giggle too hard. I could tell she was distressed and I didn’t want her flailing around spraying the cupcake all over the alley. That could be dangerous. I laughed at that thought as I rushed out the door ordering the Uber on the way.

She wasn’t far it turned out. In less then ten minutes I was able to get to the building and find the alley “Chrissie?” I tentatively asked, hoping she would reply.

She walked out and she was in fact covered head to toe in cupcake matter. “Ummm… What?” I didn’t get my question out before she was sobbing “It was terrible!”

I wasn’t sure what ‘it’ was, but again before I could form the right question to ask she blurted out “It was a coterie of cupcake smashers.” She was pulling frosting full of glittery sprinkles from her hair. I handed her the bag I brought with make-up wipes and towel and asked “Cupcake what?”

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JM PAQUETTE:

He stared at the weapon in my hand, eyes squinting. “Did you honestly just pick up a flail?”

I shrugged, trying to look as though I used weapons like this all the time. “Yeah. So what?” I asked. When he didn’t reply, I added, “You said to get a weapon. I pick this one.”

“Bloody farmer. There’s no need to be so rushed,” he told me. “You can take a moment, think things over. We have all afternoon to do this.”

I ignored the insult and looked around at the empty amphitheatre, at the rows and rows of seats that would be filled in a few hours, patrons eager to see the newest death match in Cyrus’s games. We’d gotten a lot of advertising for this one. I’d heard the slaves chattering about it when I first woke up in the cell beneath the stadium this morning, the coterie unwilling to share any more with an outsider like me. “I think we should probably figure out what we’re going to do sooner than that.” I gestured at him with the flail. “This will look good, no? Give them something to ooh and aah about? That’s what Cyrus wants anyway.”

I moved the handle from my right to my left hand, weighing it, deciding if I would be able to do anything at all with it when the time came. It definitely had potential to inflict damage. He shook his head, choosing an axe from the weapon stand and taking slow steps toward me. “Tell me you’ve had some training,” he muttered.

I held the flail up, hoping I had the right side pointed at him, the end swaying gently as I breathed. “I’ve had some training?” I replied.

“We’re both going to die,” he said, taking a deep breath.

“We’re in the games,” I told him. “That’s the general idea.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Jax looked around the coterie of warlocks who were now gathered in a circle. In its center lay two candles nearly burned down to nothing, the scalding wax having spread across the pentagram that was etched into the floor. Rising from the center was a shadow that seemed to flail as if in pain, its arms and legs contorting into abnormal and frightening positions. Some members of the group rushed away frightened by what they had summoned. Others stared on, entranced by the macabre dance, but their eyes widened in horror as the translucent figure became solid.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

coming soon

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I Wouldn’t Eat That – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 7 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Saturate
  • Cupcake
  • Alley

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

JM PAQUETTE:

“I wouldn’t eat that if I were you,” Lily said, pointing meaningfully at the cupcake in Ella’s hand. Ella looked at her friend across a luscious layer of chocolate frosting.

“Why do you say that?” She considered the wonderful treat in her hand, seeing the lush browns of all those different chocolates overlapping, imaging the taste thick on her tongue, saturating her senses and overwhelming her restraint. “It looks heavenly. I bet it tastes even better.”

Lily grabbed her hand and pushed it away from her mouth. Ella held on to the cupcake, unwilling to part with it quite yet. The paper wrapping was smooth against her fingers, but she wasn’t going to drop it on the ground. She could wait. Waiting just made it taste better in the end. Eventually, Lily would forget about it.

“You are hopeless!” her friend chided, not forgetting soon enough. “Seriously, if some old lady in a back alley gave you a shiny red apple, I swear you would eat it!”

Ella shrugged. “And what of it?”

“Don’t you listen to anything?” Lily nagged. “You know what happened to Cinderella!”

“That was Snow White,” Ella corrected, “and from what I recall, she married a prince.” She looked back at the cupcake. “I’ll take those odds.”

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LISA BARRY:

The alley seemed particularly dark today, but Sheila took the shortcut anyway. It was the one place between downtown and her shared apartment where she could inhale the cupcake saturated with peanut butter cups and not be either deluged with requests for a bite or deal with comments about her weight. Yes, she was a little plump but not ridiculously so. And she only went to the bakery once a week when they had her favorite.

Sheila stopped midway and reached into the bag. Before she took out the sweet treat, a man turned the corner heading in her direction. A long dark cloak flowed behind him as his long stride had him closer than she was comfortable. One glance at his face and she stopped. It wasn’t the cold hard stare of a predator, at least not to her. He was beauty personified and suddenly she was much more interested in him than in her cupcake.

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ANNE CARGILE:

Hera stared at the mess splattered across the alley and shook her head as her partner carefully avoided stepping in a pile of chocolate goo.

“What the hell happened here Sanders?” she asked, her voice strange. The sugar content in the air was making it hard to breathe.

“A pissed off Baker? How the hell should I know?” he replied, pulling out a handkerchief and carefully wiping the side of his black oxford.

A soft groan came from further down, past the dumpster. Tip toeing carefully past the dripping metal canister saturated with frosting, Hera found a girl lying prone across a platter of tarts and cupcakes.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Telly went up on the roof, carrying all her spell ingredients in the ancient cauldron that her great-great-grandmother had brought over from the old world. The second full moon of the month was bright, wrapped in a sliver halo that drowned out the closest stars. Telly took the old tome off the the top of the pile and flipped to the page of the spell. After emptying the cauldron, she lit a small fire, and proceeded with the steps. Noises drifted up from the alleys on either side of the apartment building, but she was lost in concentration, hurrying to get everything ready before the moon reached its peak. The potion was soon simmering gently, infusing the air with the smell of cupcakes as it seeped and was saturated with blue moonlight. Clouds began to drift in sometime before midnight, and Telly watched them with growing concern. Rain wouldn’t hurt the potion, but the moonlight was critical. Lightning flashed in the dark clouds that were slowly eating the stars, faint grumbles of thunder heralding something worse, and when the first fingers of darkness grabbed the edge of the golden moon, Telly saw with horror that the potion was changing before her eyes.

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DALIA LANCE:

“What do you mean you are hiding in the alley?” I wasn’t sure if I should be more concerned about the location or the fact that it was humorous that she was not in her apartment, safe and sound as she should be doing the event she had planned for months.

“Yes! I am hiding in the frickin alley around the corner from Steve’s apartment!” Chrissie said this all in a very loud whisper. So loud in fact that it was almost screaming.

“So you need me to come get you?” I wondered why this would be the option she chose. Then I asked the obvious “Can’t you just grab a cab or an Uber?” we live in the technology age, getting out of any situation was a matter of a few clicks in a app.

There was a sort of whine from her and then “I don’t think an Uber would pick me up” she sighed heavily. “Every part of me is saturated in cupcake and I am wrapped in a table cloth from Steve’s apartment. Please just come get me.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

The alley was dark, not even the moon was out to cast the slightest sliver of light, but that didn’t deter Mike from his path. He headed straight down, while shoving a cupcake, saturated with chocolate ganache, into his mouth then loudly licked his fingers. As he was approaching the end, he was startled by a noise coming from behind one of the metal trash cans. He stopped short, his sugar rush turning into adrenaline as a cloaked figure stepped out from behind. Mike was too nervous to realize, it would have been impossible for a human that large to have been concealed by it.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

Coming Soon!

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They Can’t Get Out – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 31 January 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Shirk
  • Iron
  •  Friend

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

BRANDON SCOTT:

“You cannot just shirk your duties like that,” Kalvin said. “Do you know what could have happened?”

“Yes, I am aware,” Howard said, rolling his eyes. “But, like, I just got myself some coffee, it’s not a big deal.”

Kalvin wrinkled his nose a little bit and frowned. “Is that…coffee, huh?”

“Irish coffee,” he amended and waved out his hands. “It’s fine. Nothing happened.”

Howard, as if the restraints were not still in place, looked down at the pit. The twin beings, both small and tentacled, floated in the sealed area they’d been in for the last one hundred years.

“Look,” Kalvin said, “just because we are friends, I am not going to report this. But you need to be more careful. We have records of these guys taking out entire solar systems. The screams of that star exploding are still coming.”

“But they can’t get out, can they?” Howard said.

“No…”

“Exactly. See? They just float there in the void forever. And there is nothing to do when I watch them—and I do watch them at least. Not something online. At least let me have some booze while I do so.”

Kalvin rolled his eyes. “No. Do it again, and I will report you.”

“Fine,” Howard said and waved out his hand in defeat. “I won’t.”

Neither noticed the iron ring on his hand, loose, sailing into the pit.

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LISA BARRY:

“What kind of friend does that?” I asked Hugh. He shrugged before scooping up another pile of dirt with the shovel and tossing it into the hole.

I looked at the body he was burying and shook my head.

“I would never, ever, ever do that. What a moron.”

“It was upsetting,” he commented as another pile of dirt went flying.

“Did you try to iron out everything with your girl?” I asked. As more dirt was tossed into the pile, I suddenly realized that meeting Hugh’s wife would likely not be a smart move on my part.

“I did, of course. No one else ever really means anything to her, she just likes a different flavor every now and again.”

I didn’t comment on the fact that feasting off other people really shouldn’t be considered cheating. I mean, I’ll drink from men, women, kids, even animals in a pinch. I don’t think of it as anything even close to shirking my spouse. Hugh was suddenly very scary, and I was thinking I should probably move. Like really far away.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Jaden took a step back, and the figure smiled. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Redial,” the man said and bowed low. “And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?” Jaden stared at him, pressing his lips together. “Oh, come now, how are we to be friends if I don’t know your name?” Redial said, his smile growing. “If you’re worried about the wizard, I can promise I haven’t done anything to him.” Jaden frowned. If that was true, then where was Shevin? Redial rolled his eyes. “Are you so enamored with him that you truly cannot believe he would shirk his duty? You don’t know him very well.” “I know enough,” Jaden said, stepping back again. “I wouldn’t go anywhere if I were you,” Redial continued the redness in his eyes sparkling in a hypnotizing way. “You have no idea what’s out there.” “What do you want with me?” Jaden asked. “I’m not going to hurt you,” Redial said. “If it makes you feel better, I want what Shevin wanted. To take you and,” he smiled slyly, “what you carry, to safety beyond the borders of the Woodland and the reach of the Iron King.” “And if I don’t want to go with you?” Jaden asked, drawing the knife a little further from its scabbard. “You’ll find you won’t have much of a choice,” Redial replied.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

Pelonius walked into the arena, clutching his iron close. He hadn’t been able to refuse his friend’s request, after all, once, on a battlefield long forgotten by all but those who lived, Argus the Greek had saved his life. One could not shirk a blood debt.

The damned fool had stolen a cart, and now here he was right next to the thief. Shoulder to shoulder with him, leather clasps from his armor were even digging into Pelonius’ arm.

The announcement boomed out from the horns across the countryside, as their host pulled the last stragglers in from the plaza outside. Every penny he could make before releasing the “dragon” they’d all been hearing about being brought in from the far east, chained on the backs of forty camels. It was just Argus’ luck he’d been the prisoner chosen to fight it.

The gate began rising across the arena, and the two men shuffled for better position, already sweating into their eyes, ready for the worst.

The crowd roared in laughter as the “dragon” appeared. A beast not eight feet in length, fat and rolly looking was being poked by a trainer, trying to force it out of his cage. The arena manager was climbing down off his dias to help.

Argus laughed, “Ten soldi says we’ll be roasting that thing on a spit in two hours.”

I laughed, “Make it one, my friend, and I’ll gladly pay to lose. Watch out, I hear their spit is poisonous, and that’s from a better source than this idiot’s magical creatures dealer.”

www.DesisTwoCents.com

JM PAQUETTE:

Ralph tried to see the knife blade held against his throat, but only succeeded in pulling an odd face. “I really think we need to discuss the definition of the word ‘friends,’ Marley,” he commented, the feel of the iron cold against his skin.

“Are we friends?” Marley asked, the blade pressing just a fraction closer.

“I don’t know what you mean, man,” Ralph tried, wondering just how much Marley knew. “Of course we are.”

“Let’s talk about friendship for a moment,” Marley suggested, and Ralph started to nod but stopped himself from doing Marley’s work for him just in time.

“Sure thing, mate.”

“Friends don’t shirk their duty and pretend to be watching the walls so others can sleep in peace. Friends don’t leave their comrades open to enemy attack at any moment.”

Oh crap, Ralph thought. He knows about that.

The blade crept a smidgeon closer, if that was possible, scraping off the top layer of Ralph’s skin. “And friends certainly don’t abandon their posts to engage in illicit activities with the commander’s wife,” Marley growled.

Ralph thought once more of Rebecca, of her fair hair and her wide eyes, of her smooth skin and her sweet voice, then stared at his commander and waited for the final blow.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

“What are you doing?” Shayla asked Maxin in a frustrated tone. “There’s no way you’re going to be able break these shackles, they’re like iron.”

Maxin sighed, “They are iron,” I corrected. Shayla gave me an annoyed look and resigned herself to being stuck in the damp dungeon. Only one torch remained burning, but it wouldn’t last much longer. Maxin thought back to how they had gotten into this predicament. Apparently, shirking even the tiniest of responsibilities could have some serious repercussions. He had hoped that his friends would soon realize that he and Shayla were missing.

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