Posts Tagged With: short story

A. Renfro’s “The Dead of Winter” Free Today!

Fellow self-pubbed author Anthony Renfro is giving away his short story for free today. Check it out!


A short story about an apocalyptic nightmare in a crisp frozen landscape filled with winter and living corpses.Two men try to find safety in this dead world. Hoping to ride out the night. Hoping to find warmth and shelter. Hoping not to become food for the zombies.


Eric surveyed the road ahead and behind him. The world was filled with death. The highway was littered with silent, rusting cars sitting on rotting tires, waiting on drivers who were never going to drive them again. Ripped apart, torn open and partially eaten corpses littered the ground in various forms of decay. The corpses ranged from children to elderly adults. The zombies had done a number on them when they went into their “feeding frenzy.” The bodies that weren’t on the ground or pulled from their cars were still seated, and most of them still strapped into their seat belts, like they were still driving to whatever destination they had been going to before the world fell into death’s harsh embrace.

Eric breathed in deep and felt the cold air settle into his lungs. Bitter winter winds whipped at his face and tore at his clothes, trying to get inside the protective layers. Flakes of snow fell from the sky, nothing more than flurries.

“It’s something,” Eric replied, looking down at the white and grey cat in its carrier. He then put his eyes back on the man sitting with his back against a car.





(Note: a couple of his other stories are also free, so check those out as well if you’re a zombie fan!)

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

I will be participating in a SF&F short story anthology!

Okay, the title pretty much gave away the punch line on this one, but basically I’ve been asked by fellow blogger Kai Herbertz to write a story for his upcoming short story anthology Arcane Arts. Yay!

The theme of the anthology is, of course, arcane arts. I have absolutely no idea yet what I’m going to write. However, given time and inspiration, I’m sure I’ll come up with something suitably ridiculous. Oh, and the main character will probably die. This isn’t a conscious choice on my part, it just seems to always happen when I write short stories. Weird, right?

Anyway, there’s a Kickstarter going for the anthology right now–check it out here. Feel free to read it through (some of it’s in German!), share the link, contribute if it sounds interesting, etc.

In unrelated news, we’re now on day 7 of NaNowrimo and I am officially three days behind. If anyone is surprised by this, you clearly don’t know me very well. Frankly, I’m surprised I’m not even more behind than that. I’m going off to a cafe this afternoon in a desperate attempt to catch back up, so we’ll see how that goes.

That’s all she wrote!


Unrelated media of the day:

Who doesn’t love groovy acapella?




Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Cover Reveal! A Haunted House Tale (Anthony Renfro)

Fellow self-pubbed author Anthony Renfro has a shiny new cover for his short story A Haunted House Tale. Check out the cover below — and also check out the story itself, because it’s free to download Friday and Saturday (May 29/30). 

Haunted House Tale - High Resolution


This short story is about five students on Halloween night who discover the secrets and terrors of the town’s most infamous haunted house. Will they live to see the morning?
The wall behind him turned into a giant mouth with sharp crooked wooden gnashing teeth covered in dried stained blood. Two plaster arms blew out of the wall with hands on the ends of these arms. These wooden hands with rusty nails for fingernails grabbed him as he tried to run away. The rusty nails implanted themselves into his body squirting blood out of him like someone squeezing a tomato too tight. He was stuck, couldn’t move, as he struggled to get free. The plaster arms picked him up and tossed him into the mouth. He was chewed up, and quickly consumed, lost somewhere inside the fabric of the wall.
Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Special Halloween Treat — New Free Short Story “The Dusk Bugs”!

As the title of this post indicates, I have a special Halloween treat for you — a free short story! This is my latest foray into the world of short fiction writing (the first being, of course, The Coin Collector), and I had a blast writing it. I also suffered several minor panic attacks and a near emotional collapse, but you’ll have to read the story to figure out why.

This short story is, of course …

dusk bugs cover 5

How delightfully campy is that cover? I had so much fun making it — it reminds me of a poster for an old B-movie thriller. Moving on …

The Dusk Bugs Summary

A pleasant evening stroll through the banana kingdom turns terrifying when our intrepid narrator is attacked by the most vicious and relentless of all predators — the dusk bugs.

If you read this story, your skin will crawl and your heart will pound in your chest — guaranteed. And I know this because the story is based off my own experiences walking through the banana kingdom (yes, it’s a real place) at dusk, and encountering the evil bugs that dwell there. Did I mention I hate bugs? Because I do. I hate them. SO. MUCH.


So CLICK THIS LINK to go download your very own copy of The Dusk Bugs. And once you’re done reading and laughing at my insanity, put on your costume, get out your candy, and have an awesome Halloween!

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Giveaway time! My short story hit 500 downloads!

I’m psyched to announce my silly little short story, The Coin Collector, has officially hit 500 downloads on Smashwords! Woo!

To commemorate this glorious occasion, I’m going to hold a little giveaway. It’s super easy, and the prizes are super cute. Remember how a few months ago I mentioned I’d printed out my short story in booklets to give away at street festivals?

Pretty booklets all in a row

Pretty booklets all in a row

The prizes for this giveaway are the left-over short story booklets! That’s right, folks — for the low, low price of leaving a comment on this post (in which you can say literally anything you want), you will be entered into the running to win a super exclusive print copy of The Coin Collector, signed by yours truly! I’m going to give away at least three booklets, and possibly more if I get a lot of comments (come on, guys, you can do it!), so get commenting!

So, to summarize:

How do I enter this super-awesome giveaway? Leave a comment on this post — anything at all will do! (extra points if it’s a haiku)

What can I win? An exclusive print copy of The Coin Collector, a hilarious short story signed by the author herself!

That’s all for today, folks. Good luck!


Unrelated media of the day:


Categories: Blog-related, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

“Under Pressure” — an Imminent Danger short story

Remember that mega-giveaway I did a few weeks back? One of the winners was Danielle E. Shipley, and the prize she chose was that I’d write a short story about her and an Imminent Danger character of her choice.

The story is below — feel free to read, laugh, and enjoy. It takes place on the tech-savvy planet Chingu, which will be one of the new locations featured in Chasing Nonconformity (release date TBD). Specifically, the location is a spaceship carwash, since I figure spaceships get dirty and need to be cleaned just like any other vehicle. The protagonist, Dani L (aka Danielle), works at the spaceship wash — it’s shaping up to be just another ordinary day for her, until a mysterious black-clad stranger (*cough*VARRIN*cough*) arrives. In the story they refer to him as “Korlethi”, which is one of his aliases, but it’s definitely Varrin. Promise!

Note that this story isn’t “cannon” — i.e., it doesn’t actually take place within the Imminent Danger overarching storyline. It’s just for fun. Author-written fanfiction, if you will. Nevertheless, read and let thyself be amused!


Under Pressure

a short story written for Danielle E. Shipley

by Michelle Proulx


Dani L leaned against the clear plastic counter of the spaceship carwash, one manicured hand propping up her chin, the other hand flipping lazily through a fashion catalogue displayed on the counter’s built-in touchscreen. The fashion catalogue was for Zephron’s Boutique, a high-end fashion store that everyone who was anyone on the tech-savvy planet of Chingu shopped at. Or, at least, those who had money to burn and time to spare—neither of which described Dani L.

The door to the spaceship wash’s small office slid open with a soft ding noise, letting in a warm breeze from the bustling street outside. The breeze tickled Dani L’s face and pushed her curly hair away from her face—it was dyed an eye-catching shade of neon pink, matching the current fashion trend on Chingu of crazy hair colors and even crazier clothing colors. And beautiful Dani L, despite her minimum-wage job that paid her college bills, was very fashionable indeed.

Dani L looked up to greet her customer, but saw no one standing in the doorway. Did that useless door malfunction again? she wondered, rolling her dark eyes and pushing herself up off the counter. But as she started to step around the corner to trigger the shutting mechanism, she spotted a flicker of movement over by the tall displays by the front windows that advertised hull polishes available for interstellar craft.

“Um … hello?” she called uncertainly, clacking around the counter in her lime green high heels and attempting to peer between the displays to see who was hiding behind. “Can I help you with something, sir? Madam? Alien of indeterminate gender?”

A humanoid male stepped out from the displays. He was tall and dark-haired, his leanly muscled body encased in tight-fitting black clothing. Her breath caught in her throat when his stormy gray eyes locked gazes with her. Then his lips twitched up in a lop-sided smirk. “Sorry if I startled you,” he drawled in a deep, velvety voice.

“Muh,” Dani L said.

The gorgeous stranger seemed to be used to this level of eloquence from women he’d just met. “I hope you don’t mind me hiding in here for a few minutes,” he continued.

Dani L forced herself to breathe—made slightly difficult by the way her heart pounded erratically in her chest. “Why are you hiding?” she finally managed to get out.

He winked. “It’s probably better if you don’t know. For your own safety, you understand.”

She felt heat rushing to her cheeks at the idea that he cared about her wellbeing. “Y-yeah. Of course.”

Then Dani L heard a crash outside, followed by angry shouting. Someone with a gravelly voice bellowed, “He’s here somewhere! Spread out! He’s on foot—he can’t be far!”

It was if someone had upended a bucket of ice over Dani L’s head. All the pleasant tingling this mystery man had triggered in her disappeared, to be replaced with righteous anger. Stabbing her finger out at him, Dani L said, “It’s you they’re after, isn’t it? You’re a fugitive from the law! Admit it!”

The dark-haired man just grinned, his grey eyes twinkling merrily in the front office’s harsh, artificial light. “I may be a fugitive,” he allowed, “and I may be on the run from the law, but those overly-excitable gentlemen outside aren’t police.”

“Then who are they?” Dani L demanded.

“I’d rather not say.”


“Because if I tell you, you’ll laugh at me. And that would ruin this ‘will they, won’t they?’ vibe we’ve worked so hard to establish.”

Some part of Dani L was amused by his quick wit. The other part was horrified that she was about to get caught in a shootout and potentially get her head blasted off. “So, just to clarify,” she said, “you’re not a customer, and you don’t, in fact, have a spaceship you want to send through the washer.”

“Remarkably astute of you,” the black-clad man said, and pulled a sleek striker from his belt. He glanced around the small front office, his gaze stopping on the white door behind the counter. “Where does that lead?”

“Into the washer,” Dani L said. When he started striding toward it, she added, “You can’t go in there! It’s restricted! Employees only!”

“There he is!”

Startled, Dani L glanced over to the front window and saw three burly Chingun gangbangers staring right at her. All were carrying strikers.

“Get down!” her mystery man shouted.

He lunged at her, grabbing her around the waist and driving them both to the floor behind the counter.


Dani L screamed and pressed her hands to her ears, trying to drown out the deafening striker-fire. The front window exploded in a shower of plastic shards, which would surely have sliced her to ribbons if she’d still been standing. He saved my life, she realized, gawking at the black-clad man now crouched beside her.

“Are you all right?” he asked, impossibly calm despite the chaos surrounding them.

“I … yes?”

“Good.” He seized her wrist and hauled her toward him. She slid across the tile, her striped monochrome mini-skirt riding up her thighs. “We need to get out of here. Ready to let me through the ‘employees only’ door yet?”

“I think we hit something!” a gruff voice shouted.

“This is Korlethi we’re talking about!” another voice snapped. “No chances. Get in there and make sure he’s dead!”

Dani L bit her lip, torn between wanting to help the man—Korlethi—who’d just saved her life, and wanting to hide under the counter and pray she didn’t get caught in the crossfire. Then she remembered the way he’d just pushed her to the ground, possibly saving her from serious injury in the process. “I’ll get you out of here,” she said. “But you owe me dinner.”

Her mystery man grinned. “Deal.”

“Lay down cover fire,” Dani L ordered. “I’ll open the door.”

Korlethi crouched on the balls of his feet, angled his striker over the top of the counter, and began firing shots into the front of the store. The zwooshing of his striker and the accompanying shouts of panic of his pursuers mixed together in Dani L’s ears as she jumped up and shoved her hand into the basin of ID gel beside the door. It glowed softly in recognition, and the door slid open.

“Let’s move!” she shouted.

They raced through the door and out into a long, wide, high-ceilinged room—big enough to hold most medium-sized starships. Dani L turned to shut the door behind them, but Korlethi grabbed her wrist and dragged her further into the big spaceship wash area. It was dimly lit, but Dani L could see the shapes of the gangbangers spilling out through the office door after them.

“Follow me!” she said, and led Korlethi behind one of the hulking pieces of machinery that lined the room. It was a pressure washer—incredibly dangerous to be around when the spaceship wash was in operation, but harmless at the moment.


Striker shots careened wildly down the length of the huge room. “Get out here and face the music, Korlethi!” one of the Chingun thugs bellowed, his voice echoing. “You owe Mister Novus eighty thousand tetras! We’ll take it out of your hide if you make us!”

Dani L glanced at Korlethi, and saw him roll his eyes. “You can tell Mister Novus that I would have the eighty thousand tetras if his idiot nephew hadn’t decided it was a clever idea to go joyriding in a police skycar during the middle of the heist!” he shouted back.

“You really are a criminal, aren’t you?” Dani L said.

Korlethi grinned. “It keeps life interesting. Now, are you going to show me the way out?”

She winced. “About that …”

“Don’t tell me. No exit.”

Footsteps pounded along the concrete floor as the gang spread out to look for them, although none were nearby for the time being.

“Well, there’s the huge hatch at the end that the ships come in and out of,” she said, “but I can’t trigger those to open unless someone purchases a wash.”

“Can I purchase a wash?”

“Not unless you have time to fill out a three page questionnaire.” He shot her a disbelieving look. Dani L scowled. “What? You’re a first-time customer! It’s store policy!”

“Then how do you propose we get out of here?”

Dani L drummed her fingers against her thigh, thinking furiously. “Well, we obviously can’t get out the way we came. Those thugs are very much in our way. But … oooh, actually, that could work.” It was a crazy idea, but something about being around Korlethi made her want to throw common sense out the window. “How do you feel about getting wet?”

Korlethi eyed her warily. “I’m not entirely opposed to the idea, given the right context.”

“And if the context is you getting out of here with your head attached to your shoulders?”

“Then I say, drench me.”

Dani L lifted her wrist, where her transparent communicator was strapped. It was hooked up to the store’s computer system, allowing her to access the mainframe remotely. She raised the wristband to her mouth and whispered, “Activate self-cleaning cycle.”

“What was that?” Dani L heard one of the gangbangers demand.

“That,” she shouted, lowering her wrist, “is the sound the self-cleaning cycle makes when it’s about to start. In exactly twelve seconds, this entire room will be filled with jets of high-pressure water that will literally strip the flesh from your bones. If I were you, I’d run.”

There was the briefest moment of silence. Then someone shouted, “RUN!”, and she heard footsteps hammer toward the office door.

“We can’t go that way,” Korlethi said.

“Nope,” Dani L agreed, darting out from behind the pressure washer, which—like all the machinery lining up and down the sides of the room—was heating up and whirring to life. As she broke into a run along the center of the huge hall, she shouted over her shoulder, “There’s an equipment locker by the exit hatch that can seal airtight—see that blue panel?”

There was a flurry of movement to her left, and Dani L glanced over to see Korlethi running beside her, not even breathing hard despite the rapid pace she was setting despite her high heels. “You mean the panel about a hundred yards away?” he said.

“That’s the one!”

“And how long will it take for the self-cleaning cycle to start?”

The first pressure washer at the far end of the room started up, and then the second. There were only ten washers in the room, and Dani L and Korlethi were still at least fifty yards away from the equipment locker.

“We’re not going to make it,” Korlethi shouted.

Dani L raced on, her lungs starting to burn and her eyes to water. “We can make it!” she insisted.

“Not at this speed!”

She felt hands close around her waist, and then suddenly she found herself hauled over Korlethi’s shoulder. Dani L felt the breath knocked out of her as he put on a burst of speed and fairly flew across the damp concrete floor, carrying her along with him. She tried to scream, but there was no air left in her lungs to produce even a squeak of terror.

The sixth washer started up, and then the seventh. Balanced on his shoulder and facing backward, Dani L could do nothing but gape at the jets of high-pressure washer as they cascaded down the room, filling the room with roaring water that drowned out all other noises. This is it, she thought, and she could almost feel the water smashing down on her, cracking her ribs and crushing her body. This is the end.

Then the world fell away from under her and everything went dark. She felt something warm and hard wrap around her body, clutching her tightly. For a panicked second, she thought that the water had engulfed her, and that this was what it felt like when thousands of tons of water dragged you down into their icy embrace. Then she realized the thing wrapped around her was warm, not cold. It’s not water—it’s Korlethi! We made it! We’re in the locker. We’re safe!

Dani L and Korlethi huddled in the locker for what felt like forever, clinging to each other in the darkness, waiting out the torrent of water. She could feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest, and remembered that last sprint to the locker. I’ve never seen anyone move that fast. How did he do that?

Eventually the roar died away, and the locker door slid open. Dani L and Korlethi tumbled out onto the wet floor, sprawling on the hard concrete as the midday sunlight streamed in through the now-open hatch at the end of the room.

“We … survived,” she gasped. Her hair and her clothes were quickly getting soaked from lying on the floor, but she didn’t care—she was still having trouble grasping the fact that the water hadn’t killed them both, as it rightly should have.

“Of course we did.”

Dani L looked up, and saw Korlethi crouching beside her, grinning. He offered her his hand, and she took it with a groan. As he pulled her upright, she added, “How did we survive?”

“I’m fast.”

“I noticed.”

He glanced through the open hatch to the bustling street beyond, and then back to her. “I need to get out of here before those idiots figure out there’s another exit and come looking for me.”

Dani L realized that meant he was leaving. After everything that had just happened—even though barely five minutes had elapsed from start to finish—she couldn’t fathom him just walking away and potentially never seeing him again. As he turned to leave, she darted forward, grabbing the sleeve of his black jacket. “Wait,” she protested. “You owe me dinner.”

He winced. “I did say that, didn’t I?”

“I take it that means no dinner.”

“I need to get off-planet.” He waved his hand in the vaguely upward direction. “I have a job lined up for IFTAP that I’m already days behind on. Mister Novus’s idiot henchmen intercepted me on my way back to my ship.”

“Can’t you put off the job for a few more days?” Dani L asked.

“A few days either way doesn’t make a huge difference for me, but seeing as I’m supposed to be rescuing some pathetic terrestrial who got mixed up with the Ssrisk … well, I probably shouldn’t push it any further, don’t you think?”

Dani L sighed and scowled down at her lime green shoes. “I guess not,” she muttered.

Then she felt a hand on her chin, lifting her head. She looked up to see Korlethi’s gray eyes twinkling at her. “I’ll have to pass on dinner,” he said. “But I think I could spare a second for dessert.”

Then he kissed her. It was a toe-curling, spine-tingling, heart-spasm-inducing kiss that had Dani L’s insides melting and her head swimming. She clung to him as they molded their mouths together, breathing each other in, reveling in the sensations. His hands dug into her waist, pulling so hard against him that she worried she’d lose herself entirely in his embrace—and then felt foolish for worrying about such a thing, as it was the most wonderful thing she could possibly imagine happening.

He pulled away, leaving her breathless and gasping for more. Her eyes had shut the instant his lips touched her own. When Dani L opened her eyes again, he was gone.

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Reached 200 downloads on my silly short story!

200 downloads on The Coin Collector! Booya! I believe this means that people have officially downloaded my short story more than my debut novel. Ah well. The short story is short, not to mention free, so I suppose it makes sense. Still, happy day! Round numbers are awesome.

Speaking of short stories, a lovely lady in my writing critique group just published a short story called Chameleon – check it out here. I’ve only read the preview thus far, but it looked pretty darn good, so check it out if you’re looking for a quick read of the sci-fi/action/spy thriller variety!

In other news … yeah, I have no other news. Well, actually, I have officially started re-writes for Chasing Nonconformity. Two paragraphs down, several hundred to go! I stuck my notebook back in my bathroom and took out all the books so that I have no choice but to write during my morning … let’s call it a “sojourn”.

I also have a question for all you WordPress-literate types. My page views and “likes” have been down in recent months, mostly due to me being very lugubrious in my posting frequency, but I still get a few new people following my blog every day. So, no raise in views/likes … but new followers every day. Very suspicious. Any thoughts on this bizarre phenomenon? A mass conspiracy by the internet to mess with me? An unintended and inexplicable result of the recent American government shutdown? Could the United Platypus Alliance be involved?


Unrelated media of the day:


Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Vlogs on hold while I find my video camera …

I’m really annoyed by this. I brought my FlipCam to the Argyle Arts Festival, where I had a booth back in August to sell Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, and I got a decent bit of footage from said event. I don’t remember if I mentioned the Argyle festival on my blog, but basically it was a medium success. I only sold 3 books, but I did trade one book for another local author’s book, and then I traded another book for some handmade soap and body butter. So not much in terms of sales, but lots in terms of swag!

Anyhoo, I’ve since misplaced my video camera, hence the appalling lack of vlogs. There are few things in life I enjoy more than babbling into a camera (Note: that was a blatant lie), and now I can’t even do that! Horror, thy name is my inability to replace objects from whence they came!

So that’s essentially why there haven’t been any vlogs for a while. Ah well.

On the writing front, still working away at Chasing Nonconformity. I’ve got the timeline worked out properly now, so at least my characters will be in the right places at the right times. Now to just get everything slotted into place.

I’ve also been toying around with a new short story concept, which would be called “The Dusk Bugs”. It would be based off my recent walking trip through the “Banana Kingdom”, a long stretch of pavement in a swampy area that someone has spray painted a bunch of bananas on. I made the mistake of walking through the Banana Kingdom at dusk, and there were … well, not to ruin the ending, but there were a fair amount of bugs. Terror ensued. I think it will make for an underwhelmingly thrilling tale. Stay tuned!


Unrelated link of the day:

The Harry Potter-themed series of gifs is titled: “No … no no no, I wasn’t ready for feels today!”

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Free Short Story — “The Coin Collector”

I’m psyched to announce that after many hours of messing around with formatting and design and whatnot, my short story The Coin Collector is now available for FREE download from Smashwords! Click here to download it now!

Here’s the cover image again for your viewing delight:

the coin collector cover 1

And here’s an excerpt to get you irreparably hooked:

Pounding his fist against the dented metal door, Mr. Quimbly shouted, “Anyone in?”

“Just a moment, if you please,” a voice rumbled from inside.

After a few seconds, the door squeaked open of its own accord. A huge, gleaming claw attached to a scaly green appendage nearly the size of Mr. Quimbly’s entire body reached out toward him. Mr. Quimbly yelped, stumbling back and nearly dropping his file.

“Forgive my rudeness,” said the same deep voice, and the claw retracted back through the doorway. “I didn’t mean to startle you, little manling. Do come inside. I’ll put the kettle on.”

“I—I’d rather not, if it’s all the same to you,” said Mr. Quimbly, preparing to run.

“It isn’t, actually.”

The claw shot back out, hooked around Mr. Quimbly’s waist, and yanked him inside.

Mr. Quimbly landed on the floor of the dimly-lit warehouse with a thud and a groan. As he shakily retrieved his fallen spectacles and pushed himself to his knees, he noticed a glint of gold near his left hand. Picking it up, he realized it was a Spanish doubloon. How curious, he thought.

Then he looked up, and found himself staring at the scaly snout of a massive green dragon. The resplendent beast towered over Mr. Quimbly’s head, its horns brushing the ceiling. Its jagged viridian scales contrasted magnificently with the small mountain of gleaming gold coins on which it was nestled.

“Good heavens,” said Mr. Quimbly, dropping the doubloon. “You’re a dragon.”

Thanks to everyone who gave me valuable advice and insights on self-publishing and formatting and content and whatnot! If you feel like sharing my exciting self-publishing news with your respective friends/family/bloggers, I would obviously be incredibly appreciative. I would even bribe you with a free copy of the ebook, but … well, it’s already free. Cheers!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Guest Post: Reclaiming Right with a Handsome Face on the Side (Beth Madden)

Today we have guest poster Beth Madden from The Doll Thermometer here with us. We both had a lot of fun with this post — she told me to give her a bunch of random nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs, and then she crafted a scene out of the words I supplied. See the result below:


Reclaiming Right with a Handsome Face on the Side

And now, a randomly generated scene for Michelle …

Nouns: poodle, pizza, starship, hot chocolate, bridge, scimitar, magic

Adjectives: fluffy, crazy, awesome, gargantuan, translucent

Verbs: cavort, sprawl, collapse

Adverb: languidly


‘What I wouldn’t give for a bite of pizza.’ Rin’s wistful sigh joined the hum of the swirling wind at the cliff’s edge. Her sinewy body sprawled beneath a gargantuan shrub, she eyed the bridge spanning the strait below.

‘And maybe a hot chocolate chaser,’ Miki joined in Rin’s longing for simple fare. Or any fare, for that matter. The chill in the mist biting on her sun-accustomed skin, Miki was squashed in the shell of a collapsed tree, sheathed scimitar hugged close to her chest.

‘Soon, we can afford both,’ Rin promised. Despite the frequent traffic below – the steel suspension bridge was the only crossing between the mainland and the agricultural island adjacent, and was often thick with fluffy sheep, ten abreast – Rin had been assured her quarry would catch anyone’s eye. And Rin wasn’t just anyone. She was hired power. And she was hungry. Nothing could hone her eyes to a finer edge.

Miki was grateful Rin had asked her along, but had questioned the decision, knowing her abilities wouldn’t be required on this mission.

‘I won’t steal from you,’ she’d said, keen for the offered coins but reluctant to sink lower than she’d already managed. It was a stringent society they’d been forced to join, here.

‘It’s not stealing. You never know when you’ll need a sword master in your pocket.

‘There,’ Rin now breathed. Miki edged from her shelter. Keeping low, she wriggled forward on her belly to have a look, following the point of Rin’s fingers.

‘It’s only an old woman!’ she exclaimed, tasting dirt as Rin shoved her face into the ground.

‘Keep it down.’

Spitting, Miki peered over the cliff again. The woman approached the mainland, and Miki saw her furs were thick, adorned with jewels that glittered like far-distant stars in the translucent sunlight. But her finery was not as conspicuous as the pale purple poodle, fluffier than any sheep Miki had yet seen, trotting at her heels.

‘Lilac fluffball in tow,’ Rin muttered, satisfied she’d found her target.

‘Who is it?’ Miki asked as the poodle cavorted about the woman’s feet. Miki had no use for such creatures, but it certainly was endearing. Nothing like the stately, snobby lapdogs that stalked about town gardens with their equally snobby owners.

‘I don’t know. The deputy mayor’s mother? An old gang lord’s mistress?’

‘You didn’t ask?’

Miki suddenly tasted worse than dirt. She scraped her tongue across the roof of her mouth in distaste. However she abhorred the upper-class that demeaned them, picking off a potential innocent at a distance was hardly fair.

‘This goes against every code I follow,’ Miki grumbled. ‘The warrior’s code, my moral code… what have we become? We have to get off this moon.’

Rin said nothing. Hot magic gathered in her fist; Miki felt as though she lay alongside a pleasant campfire. Though she appreciated the warmth, she fought the urge to pinch her friend and break her focus.

‘Rin…’ she murmured disparagingly. But her stomach ached too badly to protest more.

What was that about not wanting to sink any lower? Miki thought dismally as she began to sweat, the air temperature jumping alarmingly. Rin cocked her weapon, fingers deadly double-barrels and blazing.

‘Almost there,’ she breathed, the epitome of concentration. Miki closed her eyes against guilt, hiding in the hum of the wind and the build up of power in Rin’s well-aimed fingertips.

Hmmmm. Hmmmm.

The hum was suddenly a lot louder. And where had the pale sunlight gone? Miki blinked open her eyes. The entire cliff was cast in shadow, and the air thrummed. Below, the poodle gave a yip and tore from its lead, racing back towards the island. Rin’s target turned about, puffing as she tried to catch her frightened pet.

‘Damn that crazy dog,’ Rin swore, and fired twice in quick succession. The blasts rattled Miki’s eardrums, but a far more pressing concern had just landed at their backs.

‘Rin,’ she whispered, making her furious friend look. Rin stopped cursing straightaway.

A massive starship had taken over the cliff’s edge.

They’d not seen any starships since – well, since the one that had marooned them.

Before the pair could truly accept the awesome sight, a door was sailing open, and a gangway streamed to the stones like a silver glacier. Moments later, a shadowed figure appeared at its head. It strode languidly towards them, its smile revealed to be charming as his features appeared with light and proximity.

Fear dissipating, Miki grinned, sheathing her rapidly-drawn scimitar.

Even had she dinner waiting, she would keep it hanging on for such a handsome face.

‘Do you girls need a lift?’

‘That’d be great,’ Rin recovered before Miki, his words more glorious than any they could have hoped to hear.

‘Where are you headed?’

‘Anywhere, so long as it’s away from here.

‘Still want to lecture me on morality?’ Rin whispered as they brushed over the young man’s questions. No, they didn’t need to fetch anything. They could leave immediately. No one would miss them, and they had nothing to miss.

‘I’ll get right on that,’ Miki murmured back. If their lost sense of right and wrong had given them the chance to escape this thankless moon and reclaim their souls – not to mention this gorgeous being to look at and an upcoming meal in the galley, if they were lucky – Miki considered that a win.


Unrelated media of the day:

In honour of my one year blogging anniversary, I present to you the ultimate milestone-achievement song:

Any else tear up when they hear this song? God. Every time.

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