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eyesore (from issue 19 at 101fiction)

I’m excited to announce that I’m included in the newly released Issue 19 at 101Fiction. Check out Eyesore, my 100 word story about coming nose to nose with a faerie, and while you’re there, enjoy the full collection of stories.

Here’s a short excerpt from my piece –

My mama left me three things – a temper, hotter than a supernova, a Tedaskerian saw-blade that can mince bone, and a small, rowan-wood pendant, shaped like a peach pit.

therapy

I can see the twitch beginning in the thick of your brow, as your eyes tighten and narrow. Your lips part, purse, then close. You decide to stay silent, and drum your fingers on the beer-stained coasters dividing the space between us.

You’ve modeled a therapist’s face of support and understanding for so many others, that you default to it automatically with me, despite how unnatural it is between us.

I speak first, and smile around my words. “It’s true. I kill people for money.” I adjust the gun beneath the table, as awareness bleeds the color from your cheeks.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: divide, model, speak)

taking the long way

Whoever said the real treat was the journey and not the destination, had likely never spent a week wading through Hayborthien crap.

Jaes had plugged her nose with strips of cloth on day one, but she could still smell the sickly-sweet stench. The yellow sludge was everywhere. It sloshed into her boots and coated her thighs with every step.

At nightfall they climbed into the bleached trees and prayed a sleepy turn wouldn’t dump them into the muck below.

Daav had chosen this lovely, surreptitious route, and Jaes might have murdered him if it didn’t mean more to carry.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: destination, plug, surreptitious)

inflight entertainment

“Mention Saturnia one more time and I swear I’ll jettison your ass.” Xata hovered her index finger over a button on the console, and waggled it threateningly.

“Touchy, touchy.” Pell held up his hands. “You know, you’ve threatened me with that at least twenty times.”

“Doesn’t speak well about your performance.”

“Or your leadership.”

Xata grunted and jabbed the button, calling up the fuel display. “We have to stop at Timus to refuel.”

“Ugh, that place smells terrible.”

“Well half their population is dead, so…”

“Our cargo. You open it?”

“Open the mysterious sarcophagus with the biohazard symbol? Hell yes.”

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: grunt, jettison, Saturn)

combust

The men toppled like fallen trees, limbs twisting grotesquely, as Bristol’s magic ran wild across the battlefield. Her own scream heralded the sounds of the dying into the sky.

Aledorain felt his eardrums pop, as he grabbed onto Bristol’s ankle. He tried to haul himself towards her, like a dying man to shore, grunting as thorns scaled her skin and pricked his palms. His shield shuddered, as more power exploded from her. A fledgling though she was, for a moment Aledorain felt his death.

“Bristol, stop! Transfer it to me!”

It was too late. She was already gone.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: fledgling, prick, transfer)

more than flesh

He leans into my pelvis, and I imagine I’m lying beneath a mountain. I think about the weight of stone, and the intimate tangle of root and dirt. I think about the heat from sunlight melting down the cragged peak, and the bone-deep chill of snow, when the light is gone.

He shifts again, rolling back to his side. “Sorry love, not in commission,” he says absently, misreading the look in my eyes, as he returns to his phone.

I think of yesterday, of heat and ice and weight, of wildness. I close my eyes, and leave the room behind.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: commission, pelvis, yesterday)

boda

Boda relishes chaos above everything. If the old gods still picked heralds, Pandemonia would have snatched her up in a heartbeat. A brazen kiss in a Kraestonien market was all it took to make me dance after her shadow, forgetting family and oaths in an instant.

Two years later, here we are. She grins with that fox-sly mouth and adoration swells in my breast, spills across my cheeks, like the blood through my fingers.

Boda adjusts the dagger tip on the priest’s fluttering throat and rummages in the stolen tithe bag.

We’re dancing with death again, and she’s excited.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: brazen, relish, tithe)

a tithe in flesh

Someone is groaning pitifully. I try pursing my lips to shush them, but I can’t feel my mouth. Well, shit. I am sauced, again.

I force open an eyelid, and the moan cuts off, as the sun drives a fiery spike down into my brain. Hissing, I shut my eye.

I remember collapsing on the way to the temple. I remember laughter. I remember rough hands lifting and pushing me onto the tumbrel. I remember prayers and…screaming. I…remember…

I try to wiggle my toes, but feel nothing. I cannot feel my hands.

The gods have taken their tithe.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: collapse, sauce, tumbrel)

Third

Blood clots at the corners of her eyes, the viscous, purple-black liquid sizzling slightly as it’s touched by the air. I stare at her. Heat and ice ripples across my back, and I reach out and stroke a finger across the feathers below her throat.

Osmaern will be frenzied when he finds her gone. I remember the sound of his trilling moan, how it hums across my skin. Do I tell him what I saw? Do I risk it? Her death means I’m no longer Third, no longer banned from the sky.

I watch as light fades from her eyes.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: clot, feather, third)

frozen

Her skin glistens in the radiant, unbound light, rime-coated flesh indistinguishable from the snow. Brown hair fans around her, and curls over the buttoned collar of a thrifted, sickly green coat. It reminds me of the threadbare sofa at gram’s house, pointedly sheathed in plastic.

Byron stomps up beside me, cursing as his foot slides in the icy snow. “Another one,” he says, his rage clear as he stares into the gutter. She looks like his daughter.

“We’ll catch him,” I say. The certainty is a rock in my gut. I’ve been careful, but nothing good lasts forever.

(Written for The PredictionChallenge words: gutter, rime, thrift)