Tag Archives: Author Rhiannon Matlock

Creepy Collection of Short Stories

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Blamed the Fish – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 14 May 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Fish
  • Key
  • Purge

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“And then the huge fish leaped out of the water, teeth gleaming like silver razors, and snatched the key from my hand, swallowing it, and taking to to the depths,” the man on the floor finished his tale, a pitiful wail escaping his lips as he cowered, his face pressed to the ground.

Rex lounged on the cushioned bench, and took his time selecting another grape from the solid gold platter beside him. The servant hovered somewhere in the vicinity, out of sight, but just as Rex had swallowed, the servant appeared, swooping in to offer the little vial of the potion that would purge the stomach should Rex be full yet wish to continue eating. Rex waved him away, and the man retreated to the world of invisibility.

“A fish, you say? With teeth?” The man on the floor trembled, and somehow managed to nod his head while keeping his forehead against the stone. “Interesting,” Rex said, and ate another grape. “And how is it your hand is still attached to your arm?”

The man quaked, but did not say anything. Rex considered for a moment, his mind going over the possibilities. He needed that key, more than anything, and it was all he could do to keep his calm. There were spies everywhere, their eyes and ears leading directly to the White King, and it would not do to have him know Rex’s growing desperation.

“Perhaps,” Rex said aloud. “You swallowed the key yourself, and blamed the fish?” Only now did the man lift his face, though his eyes were squeezed shut, his mouth trembling in unspoken pleas. Rex waved at a guard. “Open him up.”

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LISA BARRY:

Dangling the fish over the sleepy dragon’s nose, I pondered my next move. The Dark Kingdom had the key to my survival what with its vampiric ghosts, hairy shapeshifters and whorish fae. I knew I could make my fortune there easily but that double damned Prince. Everyone loved him and here I was wanting him purge him from our beautiful brimstone covered land.  He had thwarted my plans not once, or even twice but three bloody times he had muscled in on my action and taken the credit. When Scarp finally pulled the fish from my hand it was like a light had been flashed over my coveted talent of The Sight and I saw further than ever before. My salvation may not ever come, thank the Demon Goddess, but my pockets would be full of coin and the Prince would be history. I jumped up and set to work.

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ERIKA LANCE:

Marcile fished in his pocket for the key.  

 

The demon moved closer towards him snarling and flexing as if causing fear would make his prey taste better. It most likely did, but if one wanted to survive such encounters one best not think on this too hard. 

 

With key in hand he grabbed the box, closed it, locked it, read the words or better described as symbols around the lid and unlocked and opened the box as the demons jaws were about to clamp perfectly on his head. 

 

Suddenly there was a pop and the demon was gone and in it’s place was a banana. 

 

Marcile looked down at the fruit and wondered if he should bother touching it, but magic was fickle so he left it be, closed and relocked the box and headed after Jerimiah.  

 

It didn’t take long to stumble upon his friend or at least what he assumed was his friend in the form of a peacock now pacing the hallway leading out of the tomb.  

 

The bird had apparently purged any contents in its stomach moments before.  

 

Hmmmm” Marcile said looking behind and wondering if peacocks liked bananas. 

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

I needed to purge some of the contents from this damn purse. I had been fishing around in it for a solid 90 seconds now looking for my housekeys. It was time to make dinner, not time to be lollygagging outside. Ugh.

I knew I’d placed my keys in the purse when I left the house. I sat in a huff, jeans too tight as I crouched onto the bricks of my front stoop. The entire purse turns upside down, light started fading. Digging through the contents and still not finding the keys, I remembered my mom’s advice and started rethinking all the steps that I’d taken as I left the house. I’d popped on my new peeptoes, walked to the hall, flipped the switch to turn off all the inside lights, pulled the keys from the hook, flipped the switch to turn on the porch light, locked the door, popped the keys into the side pocket of the purse, and then walked down the steps. Then I spent the day walking the city with Jimmy. It’d been a blast. Jimmy who I had never thought would be fun, but it really was. He had just walked me back and just now was disappearing around the corner, half a block away. I texted him quickly.

“Hey, can’t find keys. Come back?”

I hoped he didn’t take it as a come on, but I didn’t want to wait for the locksmith alone. The daylight was almost completely gone now, and locksmiths could take a while.

Jimmy hadn’t emerged from around the corner yet, but as I was dialing the locksmith, I noticed the front porch light must have blown out. I could still see the contents of my purse as I put them back into place, though, and I realized why. The livingroom light was on, and shining out through closed blinds. Blinds I hadn’t closed.

Oh, crap. The front door knob started turning, as I ran down the steps, trying to dial 9-1-1. I realized I’d been halfway through dialing the locksmith already, and it failed. I hung up on the locksmith, running full tilt, as I saw someone emerge from my house. What the hell, it looked like… It started running toward me, and I realized.

It looked like me. Exactly like me. I almost couldn’t look away, but I had to, I had to run faster. I turned to look behind me again, as I ran straight into Jimmy.

“Jimmy?” I was scared. I grabbed onto him, looked into his eyes, and something didn’t seem right. Something about Jimmy was just… wrong. Oh crap, I thought, just as everything went black.

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JM PAQUETTE:

John raised an eyebrow, knife poised over the fish splayed on the ceremonial plate before him. “So, do I just cut it or what?”

“It’s the Great Fish Feast, Human John,” Serena the Supreme Leader whispered. “Please find some measure of decorum.”

John kept his knife held over the plate, deciding that he would wait to see what everyone else did first. This dinner was a big deal after all, the key to sealing the peace treaty with the Estonians, his people’s only way of  avoiding the planet purge these Fish-loving people were so fond of. He had to show them that his people were worthy. That he was worthy. He’d hate it if he screwed it all up before they even got started because he didn’t know the proper way to eat fish. And at the Great Fish Feast, he was sure such manners were required. This was a test.

He stared at the fish, wishing he knew more about the creatures. It was grayish, with one gelatinous eye still staring balefully up at him. Weren’t the cooks supposed to cook it more, or skin it, or at least take the eyes out before serving it? What kind of savages ate like this?

They probably didn’t eat like this he realized. No doubt they purged all of the fish from their own seas, just as they destroyed everything else they decided needed to go.

And then they had to find new planets to inhabit, with strange new creatures to worship for a few moments before they purged again and moved on.

Fortunately for him, they seemed to live a long time. Maybe they would be entertained by the many different types of fish on this planet for the next hundred years and it wouldn’t matter to him anymore.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Wesley pulled the key out from around his neck. It was truly unique as it was shaped like the skeleton of a fish. It had taken him almost a year to find the door that it would unlock and today was going to be the day he’d find out what secrets were held within. He took a deep breath as he turned the key in the lock until a click sounded. As he pushed open the door a rush of air streamed past him, pulling him inside. It was useless to resist and he found himself trapped in the room, the door had slammed behind him. After he regained his equilibrium, Wesley realized he couldn’t remember who he was or why he was here. It was as if all his memories had been purged from his mind.

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BRANDON SCOTT

From the lake, he pulled forth a golden fish. It was large, heavy, and gasped at the lack of water. Fen looked at it and felt a tinge of guilt at his actions, but still placed it down inside the large pail he had brought for such an occasion.

“Hello, you little thing. How’s today going?” he said, trying to calm the thrashing creature. “It’s going to be okay, we only have to go a little way, and then we will have a feast, you and I.”

“Oh, now that’s bull,” said the fish, sounding a little hoarse. And Fen jolted away from the pail, his eyes wide.

“You think I am really going to fall for something like that?” the fish continued, now sitting in the center, it’s mouth flapping in accordance with human speech. “You’re planning to eat me.”

“Well…” Fen said, unsure what to say to a fish. He hung his head in guilt.

“No, no—don’t be that way. Your species eats fish, I understand—but here, I can make it worth your while. Reach into the pail, and I will give you a golden key.”

“A golden key?” Fen asked, incredulous.

“Yes. A key to the secret door, at the center of the pond. Behind it, gold and jewels beyond your wildest dreams.”

The man’s eyes widened, and, in a fit of greed, reached forward into the pail. A moment later, defying all laws of physics, his entire frame flew into the pail and disappeared.

The fish let out a loud burp and then chuckled. “That’s one way to purge a human—if only I could do it more often. They are good eating.”

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You Can’t Climb That! – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 14 December 2016, these three words were chosen:

  • Picture
  • Giant
  • Bottle

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DESIREE MATLOCK:

Jessica stood in the center of the art museum’s courtyard, pondering the copy of the Thinker that dominated the stairs toward the grand gallery. She could hear Jimmy’s voice ten times too loudly discussing the art coming from the darkened gallery, as she came up a few steps to study the armless Aphrodite recently dredged up from from the bottom of the Caspian sea, and her universality.

“Imagine the giant baby that musta dropped THAT bottle?” Jimmy yelled out toward her, popping out into the light enough to gesture at what he meant. His hand was pointing and arm stabbing in to the gallery to her right. He really wanted her to review the modern art exhibit, but she’d come to review the additions to the garden’s statuary granted on loan from the Vatican’s Bernini collection. What did she care about the modern art exhibit. Or any of the other pictures within? Statuary was her one love.

She looked right at him and answered, “I’m sure. Knock yourself out, Jimmy, but I’m here for Bernini. I’ll meet you up at the front gallery in two hours.”

“What kind of ninny?” But he turned away from her. With that, she assumed that Kyle’s uncle Jimmy was taken care of for the time she was at the museum.

But, before she quite made it beyond the courtyard, she heard from within, a panicked voice yelling, “Sir, Sir! You can’t climb that!” and a loud crash. Apparently, giant handmade glass baby bottles full of fake formula can be lethal.

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LISA BARRY:

The bottle hit just below the mantelshelf with a resounding crash which caused the small collection of parishioners to pause in their discussions and look to the man standing before the fire. He glared at the picture hung high on the wall in silence. The others, after watching for a blink or two, went back to their bottles or company.

Salem stood, if a bit wobbly staring at the very man who had sent him on this journey, this giant detour from his normal life. This hellacious wild goose chase. The painting looked old, much older than he would have ever thought possible having just seen the man a month ago, healthy as can be.

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ALANNA CORMIER

Graelin the giant, walked along his favorite path through the woods. The green of the leaves reflected the yellow of the sun creating a true picture of happiness. In fact, this walk was the only time he felt happy and free. In these woods, he dreamed of escape, longing for an adventure to find him and take him far away. Lost in thought, he was taken by surprise when his foot collided with something. Graelin looked down to see a bottle. He picked it up and it fit in the palm of his hand, but its size belied how heavy it was. He peered into the opening to see if anything was inside and the inky blackness pulled him in.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

The inspector returned with the list Sebastian had requested just as he was finishing his glass of iced lemon water. The inspector came up and thrust the piece of parchment at Sebastian, and gave his glowering companion a sidelong glance of sympathy. Sebastian chose not to comment. He handed the glass back to the sullen inspector, and looked down at the list.

“There’s only one name on here,” he said.

The inspector shrugged. “What did you expect? This is just a little town.”

A little town indeed, Sebastian thought, with a giant problem. “Lead on then.”

“What do you mean?” the man asked, the picture of confusion.

“I’ll need to go to this establishment,” Sebastian explained patiently.

The inspectors stared at him. “I don’t know where it is,” he finally told Sebastian. “You just said you wanted the name.”

Sebastian sighed. “Who can take me here?” he asked, choosing not to argue with the man’s flawed logic.

“Old Jonny might,” the inspector who held the glass piped up in a grumpy voice. “He’s always taking something for this or that.”

“Take me to Old Jonny then,” Sebastian said, gesturing at the door.

The inspector scratched his head. “Don’t rightly know where he’s at. He could be anywhere,” he hurried to explain at Sebastian’s glower. “We could be wandering around until supper time and not find him.”

“Where’s he most likely at?” Sebastian asked.

“The tavern,” the inspectors chorused. “Romancing the bottle.”

Great, Sebastian thought, I have to consult the town drunk.

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DALIA LANCE:

Her screen lit up as another text came in. She was afraid to look at it. She had already received four separate pictures of his member in the hour.  

Did she just mentally call it a “member”? What the hell. Was she is some sort of Harlequin romance novel? 

She shook her head and turned the treadmill up a notch so she was now jogging at a steady pace. She had met Ben at a bar a few nights before when she was out after work with some co-workers. He seemed so nice and funny. She had by the end of the night, agreed to give him her number. It had only taken an hour before they started…. the pictures. 

The first couple were just bathroom selfies. But then as the night wore on they began to get more and more… well naked. Until suddenly she was receiving an up close picture of his penis or cock. She wasn’t sure what to call it. Mara called it an “unsolicited dick pic” when she had told her about the one that had a water bottle next to it apparently trying to show her how giant it was. 

The phone went off again and she finally picked it up with an exasperated sigh. As she clicked on the messages there were now two of them in the one pic. What the hell? 

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RHIANNON MATLOCK

Her phone chimed. She’d gotten a text message. Not that it was easy to get to as she was crammed in on all sides by people. The trains of Boston really sucked sometimes. Knowing that she was running late and today the the big presentation, she did the dishonorable thing and elbowed and pushed against the people entombing her. She got several glares, a muttered “fuck you” and someone actually dropped a bottle somewhere but it never hit the bottom in the sardine can. Whoever this was, it better be really important, she thought hostily, lifting the screen as close as she could, she hit the message before she had a chance to realized what it was. A giant penis lit up her screen, and she just about wanted to scream. Seriously, how in the world did she keep getting these dick pics?! She’d get rid of her number if it wasn’t so important to her. She sighed. what happened to meeting nice men? There was a sound behind her and she realized where she was. As she closed it there was a deep, male voice at her ear. “It’s not bad, but mine’s better.”

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BRANDON SCOTT

On the mantle was a picture, small, sepia toned and worn around the edges. Bob picked up the picture and studied the image, confused and a little bit of a chuckle pursed on his lips. But he did not want to upset his host—no, that would be bad.

But the image was of a giant bottle, with tiny men around it, scaffolding up the side and a crude prehistoric looking machine next to it.

Bob jumped when, as he was lost in thought, the host appeared next to him.

“Ah, I see you found my picture, what do you think of it?”

“It’s…nice,” Bob said, immediately aware that he had chosen perhaps the worst sentence for appraisal ever committed to the English language. “Nice image quality.”

“Thank you, I keep it there to remind me.”

“Remind you?” Bob said, turning to look at his old friend. Well, sort of friend. Neighbor. Of ten blocks. Only met one time while walking. Why did he comes to this party again?

“Yes, remind me of how I used to be.”

“What? A giant?” Bob said.

“No, no, that’s actual size. You can see my brother right there.”

He pointed a gnarled finger at one of the blips. Bob squinted, but it was still just an ant-like figure.

“Oh, okay. Why did you do that?”

“Well, you see, once I lost my wife, I needed to do it.”

Bob’s face screwed up in confusion. “Make a bottle?”

“Yes, I had a bit of a drinking problem.”

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Maybe Three Ways – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 14 December 2016, these three words were chosen:

  • Chocolate
  • Exploding
  • Water

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

LISA BARRY:

Monica swooned over the smell of chocolate when she walked into his house, which was on the water in a fancy neighborhood. When the door closed she turned to Skylar.

“Your house smells amazing.”

He laughed, “I made cookies earlier this afternoon with the hope of feeding them to you this evening.”

Monica blushed. Skyar laughed again. “It’s ok, I don’t have to feed them to you but you have to taste them. It’s my grandma’s recipe.”

Monica followed him to the kitchen where a plate decorated for the holiday was covered with plastic wrap. He lifted it and held the plate to her. She took a cookie and breathed in, the smile glued on to her face.

A man that bakes. She thought to herself. Could go two ways. She bit in and the flavor exploded in her mouth, chocolate and caramel and a little bit of vanilla. Mmm. Skylar just smiled but his eyes were glowing with a hint of red. Maybe three ways.

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ALANNA CORMIER

Jonah excitedly found his spot among the sea of spectators. He looked out across the water and he knew he was in the perfect spot to witness the event. He opened his box of chocolate candies and started to pop them in his mouth one by one, pacing himself so as not to finish them too quickly. He wanted them to last, so he wouldn’t have to leave to buy more. He couldn’t miss this. Jonah stared up in the sky waiting, the holographic displays off to either side of the crowd displaying the countdown. “Three…two…one”, the crowd chanted with the timer and they all stood in awe, as they watched the moon exploding right in front of their eyes.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“It’s too perfect,” he announced.

The inspectors looked at Sebastian as if he had lost his mind.

“It’s too perfect,” he repeated, but if he hoped to banish their nonplussed looks, his hope was sadly misplaced. “It’s a setup. There was no dragon. Someone, yes, I believe I know how this was done.” He walked along the trail of smeared blood. “Someone dipped a sheet in dragon’s blood, and dragged it along here. Then, of course, being familiar with dragon anatomy, knew that in a pained frenzy, they would begin to salivated, and that the saliva is acidic enough to melt stone. They took a dropper, and spattered some acid about here.”

“That’s all very well and good,” the second inspector broke in, “But where’s someone going to get dragon blood?”

“And wouldn’t the acid melt the dropper?” the other added in with a smirk that infuriated Sebastian and made his face heat.

But now was no time for pettiness. Too much was at stake. “Not if they got it from an apothecary,” Sebastian said, plans and courses of action exploding from all corners of his mind. He had to take a moment to quiet his thoughts, ordering them so they would be useful and productive. He pointed at the short inspector with the chocolate brown eyes and the sandy hair. He liked this one better. “You. I need a list of all the licences apothecaries in a five league radius.”

“What should I do?” the other asked when Sebastian stood there, lost in thought.

“I need a glass of water,” Sebastian told the obnoxious inspector, pleased to have something to put him in his place. “I’m quite thirsty.”

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ERIKA LANCE:

What was that? She thought to herself as she tried to flatten herself against the bottom of this stupid boat. 

It had sounded like something was exploding and then landing in the water. She held her breath, then again the noise. Because her heart was still thudding hard in her chest the only thing she could discern is that the noise was getting closer. 

She wanted to look. She began to raise her head ever so slightly then a scraping noise caused her to pause and lower her head again. She wasn’t safe. Anything she might have gained by looking at her surroundings would be completely destroyed if she was seen. 

Did these things even have eyes? 

From under the tarp she had managed to pull over herself when she first got in the boat she saw a light explode above her and then a weight come crashing down and hit her leg. She moved the tarp slightly to see what was there but in the dim light it looked like an arm covered in chocolate syrup. 

Wait…. Is that Mike’s tattoo? 

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

This situation was definitely going further and further south. The date had started out, well, if not good, at least… okay. He’d seemed like an interesting person at least.

Then they’d started into their meal and everything this man touched ended up on his face. All while a nonstop stream of discussions of his travels poured from his obviously self-absorbed face. During the entrez-nous apertif, she’d tried signalling politely that he had a bit of chocolate on his chin, but no go. He wouldn’t stop talking about spelunking in Egypt long enough to let her tell him outright, so she gave up and finished hers, nodding once in a while as he spoke. Then, during the appetizer itself, she’d attempted to point at her own nose in a circle to point out that he’d gotten butter on the very very exact tip of his nose. But no, he was prattling on now about Costa Rican monocongos and their love for stealing rum.

She’d dipped a napkin in water and handed it to him during the main course, as a fancy wine sauce got all over a cuff, but he simply set it aside, and continued discussing the pealing laughter of geishas in Japan, and how their peach shaped hair reminded him of his dear mama.

But by desert, as ice cream arrived to the right side of his moustache, she’d had enough. She couldn’t help it.

She stood up, shaking, and exploded. “You’re covered in food, you pompous slob!” she yelled as she ran out.

“Well, now, why didn’t she say something earlier?” he said huffily, finally picking up his own napkin.

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RHIANNON MATLOCK

“Man, that is too hot!” Charlie exclaimed.

“Yeah, it is,” Peter asked, looking towards the stage. “Do you mean Destiny? Or Cindy? Oh, yeah, definitely Cindy for you bro.”

Red the hue of a tomato exploded over Charlie’s face and he spluttered “That’s not…that’s not what I meant”.

“Why? She’s tall, almost as tall as you, and I bet-”

“Don’t finish that thought,” Charlie said, holding up a hand. “I was talking about that steam pipe over there.”

“Sure you were.”

“No, seriously. If that pipe blows this whole place with be covered in boiling water.”

“Chocolate.”

Charlie blinked. He clearly hadn’t heard right. Peter laughed and clapped a hand on Charlie’s shoulder.

“I’m serious. This place pumps chocolate not water. It is the Chocolate Club, Charlie.”

At Charlie’s further embarrassment, Peter shook his head.

“Charlie, you really need to get your head out of those engines and into real life.”

Charlie frowned. If only he really knew.

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BRANDON SCOTT

Jimmy stood and looked at the tree, biting hard into a large bar of chocolate. It left a smear on his face which no one bothered to tell him about. His friends, Tony and Eric both kept their distance, standing so far from the tree they were almost standing in the water of one of the forest’s numerous ponds.

“Yo, this the thing dude?” Jimmy said, finishing off the bar, and pulling out a bag of caramel candy.

“Yes,” Tony said.

Eric decided the best course of action was to move into the water. His hands halfway up to cover his face.

“And you say it goes boom?”

“Yeah,” Tony said. “Same type as the other.”

“The killing one?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Whoever heard of an exploding tree?”

Eric ducked down, ready to turn and throw himself in the water—hoping to all the gods ever that action movies had given him at least a bit of the correct technique.

“Military thing,” Eric said, his voice stuttering. “Don’t mess with it.”

Jimmy had now gone onto a pack of energy drinks—whole set—which he’d been carrying under his arm for the past hour of walking. Can’t say he wasn’t committed.

“I don’t believe in no exploding tree. I think that a load of nonsense.”

Tony looked at his friend and decided to follow along as Jimmy reached out for the bark with his free hand.

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A Wounded Dragon – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 14 December 2016, these three words were chosen:

  • Waxy
  • Tease
  • Pain

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Sebastian crouched on the floor, and ran a finger through the waxy-looking residue.

“Blood,” he announced. The inspectors shared doubtful expressions.

“It’s not like any blood I’ve seen,” the short one on the left muttered to his companion.

“That’s because it’s highly unlikely you’ve ever seen a wounded dragon,” Sebastian said with a pointed glare.

He stood suddenly, his keen blue eyes sweeping the giant hall, looking for more clues. Lines and scents teased him, telling him part of the story, but not all of it. He could almost see the dragon, shuddering in pain, cloaked in a musk of seldom-known fear, dragging its tattered wing along as it made for the door, hissing and snapping, acidic drool hitting the floor and searing the burnt spots in the trail parallel to the blood, using its teeth to keep its attacker at bay.

Its attacker, Sebastian mused to himself. Therein was the mystery.

Though he had swept the room upon arriving, and again upon seeing the blood, he could find no trace of the attacker. For a third time, he began to look, clearing his mind of all that he had seen before, and in the fresh haze of concentration in this new look, he saw what he had missed.

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LISA BARRY:

Lora pulled the brush through her hair, the pain making her wince. Whoever thought teasing was a good idea had never met her unruly curls. The 80s party had been boring and scary and her one friend had given her a waxy smile before ditching her for a handy guy. She pulled again and her head stung. Only halfway to go. The doorbell rang just as tears welled from another pull. She dropped the brush and jumped to the distraction, pulling her hair away from her face as she went to the door. It swung open and Sharon stood before her, face white.

“Thank God! Lora help me!”

Sharon ran to her car, parked in the shadows and opened her trunk. Lora’s breath caught when she saw the handy man’s bloody features.

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ALANNA CORMIER

Jared stared into the mirror which was covered with a waxy film. Neither the mirror nor the rest of this house had been cleaned in years. He wandered around trying to find the source of the buzzing, its pitch painful to his ears. “Where is it?” he muttered. Jared found himself at the base of the rickety staircase, the wood floor boards bowed and worn from age. The buzzing grew louder as he moved upstairs and then grew quiet as he got to the landing. It was as if the noise were teasing him, but somehow he knew that going back down was not an option. Slowly he crept along the hallway, poking his head into each room, hoping to discover its origins. Now, there was only one room left.

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ERIKA LANCE:

“Do you accept Paypal?” She asked. 

Marc shook his head. Was she serious? 

“I’m sorry” he said trying to sound confused “did you just ask if I excepted Paypal?” 

“Yes” she said rubbing her lips together. The effect was unsettling due to the waxing texture of the red lipstick she was wearing. 

He needed to just walk away. This was painful. Had this not been a referral from Tobin he would have already bolted when he had told this new client his fee and she asked if he was teasing. 

“Let me get this straight” he paused taking a breath “you want to pay for your husbands unfortunate accident with Paypal?” He search her face waiting for the joke to become evident. 

Instead she pulled out her phone, swiped her finger across unlocking the screen and pulled up the app.  “What’s your account?” She asked showing him the screen. 

He was going to have to do a freebie instead. 

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

Lyn grabbed my arm, “It’s starting! It’s starting!” even though I was sitting right next to her on the couch. I knew better than to respond, as the advertisment’s jingle started up, and Lynnette squealed as she watched herself mop a floor in black and white. How strange to see her beside me here on the sofa, and also there, in the television. My kid sister, on TV. My friends would be so jealous.

Close up shot of the mop head, close up of her face, smile painfully large, hair teased up because of course we all do our housework with a freshly coiffured updo.

TV Lyn spoke up, as real Lyn’s squeal broke into hypersonic.

“No more waxy buildup means my whole house shines!”

I tried not to snicker as Lyn faded off the screen and the real Lyn turned, rapt, to look at me.

I looked back, getting increasingly uncomfortable. “What?” I finally said.

“What did you think?” Lyn’s squeal started up again. It was hard not to smile at her zeal.

“You did good!” I said, truthfully. What did I know about advertisements? Her face fell, I think I must have said the wrong thing. But, then the telephone rang loudly from the hall and she skampered off to squeal into the phone with her real friends. Big sisters don’t count.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

RHIANNON MATLOCK

Pain permeated every bit of his waxy skin. It should’ve taken the hit and melted the blow, but instead it vibrated throughout him, shaking him to his core. He needed to discard the agony as quickly as possible however. He had a show in the next few minutes and no giant rat bag was going to keep him from it. With long breaths that eased the release of his torment, he slowly put himself back together. After applying some more layers of skin where he’d been mauled, he slipped on his cape, donned a bowler hat and prepared for his grand entrance. it was really too bad that he’d never make the stage.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“It usually sexism,” he said, walking next to his companion.

“How is it ‘usually’ sexism?”

“It just is. Think about it. Why else would they build the pipes that way?”

“Umm, because it makes it easier to understand them?”

“Nope, nope, sexism, I called it.”

“Umm, alright,” she said. ‘So, how does that have anything to do with the story?”

“Well, you know, I was having the argument with the guy about it, before it happened.”

“And what is what happened?”

His face morphed to an expression holding nothing but pain. “You don’t want to know.”

His companion sputtered. “What? No! You fucking tease! You cannot spend the last hour telling me about how this man offended you by telling you to use one of two pipes, and then not get to the point.”

“Yes, I can,” he said. “I can indeed.”

His companion sputtered again, this time with a bit of spittle to the noise. “Okay, you’re…you’re crazy. You waxy-faced fuck.”

“I told you that was a medical condition!” he spat back, and turned to walk away. But his companion nabbed his arm and pulled him back, giving him the death glare of the century.

“Okay, but seriously, what happened?”

“Fine…it was…”

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Wearing Only an Apron – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 19 October 2016, these three words were chosen:

  • Futile
  • Candle
  • Buffalo

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DALIA LANCE:

She wasn’t exactly sure why he believed this was romantic.

Looking around the room she realized that any notion she had that Chris was her knight in shining armor was futile.

Yes there was a candle, a large round candle with five wicks that was giving off so much heat sitting at the table was almost unbearable and it was way to bright.

This dinner spread across the table consisted of buffalo wings, chips, a veggie tray and a bowl of popcorn. The cloth napkins were an interesting touch along with the plastic champagne glasses which he poured beer into.

She wondered how rude it would be to get up and leave? I mean after all this was only their third date and they had only kissed twice. Well… once taking into account the second one was with her nose. He didn’t have very good aim.

She had made the decision to go and as she stood up he walked back into the room from the kitchen carrying a box of brownies wearing only an apron.

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LISA BARRY:

I carried the candle up the stairs holding a hand gently around the flame to keep the cold draft away. The stairs creaked beneath my steps despite my efforts to remain light on my feet. I passed the old painted image of my great-great-great Grandfather on the family farm surrounded by grazing buffalo. I had never been there but had heard it was nice. Something slammed on the roof above and I wondered if the tree that leaned precariously above had finally lost its hovering limb. The winds picked up outside and I had the feeling my trip to the attic was futile. As I reached the entry, the flame blew out. I stood in the darkness and pressed a hand on the door. The thin paint flaked into my palm as I leaned against it, catching a breath before seeing if he was still there.

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ALANNA CORMIER

Sam sighed as he stirred the contents of the silver pot. It just didn’t look right, but he refused to believe all of his efforts were futile. He looked down at the recipe that had been passed down from generation to generation, scouring its instructions to determine if anything was missed. One wick from a fully burned down candle…check, blood of a goat…check, eyeball of a buffalo…check – everything…he’d done everything. Well, then it must be right, he thought to himself, so he took a spoonful and drank it waiting for it to take effect.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Handur sat on the rug and tried to stop being nervous but everything he did was as futile as the last, and the butterflies in his stomach continued to writhe. His head jerked up when someone entered the tent, and immediately sat up straighter. The butterflies turned into stampeding buffalo, and his heart thundered in his chest, loud enough – he was certain – to be heard.

The old woman carried a fat candle with a blue flame, the light from which made her look like a creature from another world. Without a word, she sat down opposite Handur and smiled at him.

“You look worried,” she commented in a voice like warm sandpaper.

Handur swallowed, and vacillated between admitting his terror and attempting to appear composed. The woman searched his face for a moment longer, and her smile widened.

“This won’t work if you attempt to mislead me, you know,” she reminded him. Handur nodded, and clenched his jaw.

“Now, you have brought what I asked for?” she said.

He nodded again, and stretched out his hand. In his palm was the tooth of the monster, the tooth he had pulled from the broken body under the rubble of what used to be his home.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

“Darlene, hurry it up.” Gemma was urging me to hurry back, sounding tinny over the mobile phone I had crunched between my ear and my shoulder.

“Honestly, Gemma, I think it’s futile.” I didn’t think there was a decent candle store in Buffalo. I needed to either head in to the city, or out into the hippie commune areas out in the boonies even further upstate.
“Never say that. Chrissie needs us, and we’re not letting her down.”
“I’m not giving up, but if there is nothing out here, maybe we can find one tonight?” I knew the answer. We honestly needed to find a beeswax candle between morning and afternoon court sessions of the state supreme court. There simply wasn’t a long enough break to find all the spell’s necessaries and a good wilderness park and get back in time for the next session. Lunch breaks were not built around the needs of a coven.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

JM PAQUETTE:

“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo,” I turned to face the class, resisting the urge to wipe the silky chalk residue from my fingers, knowing it was futile, that I’d be wiping my hands against my black clothing without thinking about it. “Now,” I said, placing the chalk back on the metal holder, “what does this mean?”

Twenty-five blank faces stared back at me.  Finally, Roger raised his hand slowly. “Um, miss? Is this a trick?”

I shook my head. “No, but English is terribly tricky. This is actually a legitimate sentence.”

“But how?!” Briana moaned from the back row.

I took a deep breath, waiting to see if anyone could see it before I handed them the candle to light the path through the words.

“Wait…” Andrew whispered. “Is it…? No. Wait.”

I waited while he worked it out in his head. I walked back over to where the first capital Buffalo began the sentence. “This isn’t capitalized because it’s the first word,” I told them, “though it would be. It’s also working as an adjective here.”

“So Buffalo buffalo means animals from Buffalo?” Andrew asked, and I nodded.

“So that’s the subject,” Roger decided. “But where is the rest?”

“Well, that’s not the whole subject,” I explained. “The Buffalo buffalo are actually buffaloed by other Buffalo buffalo.”

“What, like bullies?”

“Exactly. And what do bullied people often do?”

“They bully other people—they buffalo other Buffalo buffalo!” Briana shouted.

Some days I love my job.

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BRANDON SCOTT

He took out the candle in the shape of a buffalo from within the cupboard. With a flick of his wrist, he pressed a flame to the wick, and waited. Nothing happened. Not even a twinge of heat transferring. “What the hell…?” he said, and took a close look at the matches.

“It’s futile, I’m sorry to say. That candle won’t light.”

The man spun around, to see his companion coming back in from the frozen wasteland, his parka whipping in the breeze. Bill Van, the hunter from around the area, proceeded to close the tents flap as the wind protested.

“Why is that,” he said, looking at the man in the parka and Bill.

“Because,” Bill said, “This area is cursed. No fire, no heat.”

“And you’re telling me this now!?” the man said, his eyes widening with the implications. “How are we supposed to…how are we going to not turn into popsicles?”

Looking around, Bill reached into one of the other cupboards and tossed a huge blanket like coat, with fir rimming every inner surface. “This will, hopefully do you. I hope you aren’t planning on sleeping. Too cold for that at night.”

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