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Happily Never After

In response to Sonia G MedeirosSeptember Flash Fiction Challenge: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time.

That’s what they say. Once upon a time. That and Happily Ever After.

Clearly, they don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

It’s not Once Upon a Time, it’s every bloody month, regular as clockwork. It’s not Happily Ever After, it’s wailing and lamenting and finger pointing. It’s not a FairyTale, it’s an example of arrogance gone wrong, and everyone blaming the wrong person for it.

But perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is Thalarexsztyamnosarcx, but you can call me Rex. I’m a dragon and, if I do say so myself, a damned nice one. I keep to myself mostly. I live in my cave. I sleep alot. I go out occasionally to hunt for deer or the random bear. I leave my neighbors alone. I’m not into that whole ‘virgin sacrifice’ thing some of my cousins seem to go for. Frankly, I’m a damned good neighbor.

But that doesn’t stop them. Once a month, more or less, some damned fool has to go and ‘prove’ himself. He armors up that metal shell you humans love so much, has a dozen guys hoist him onto the back of some poor horse, and up the winding trail to my cave he rides. The pennants streaming and snapping from his lance must look all manner of romantic from the nice, safe view atop the castle ramparts, but neither pennants nor lance nor armor do him a spit of good once he gets here.

My cave twists and turns before it comes to my sleeping hollow, so he can’t get up a good charge on that horse of his. He has to dismount and creep in, if you can call someone clanging about like he’s got an entire tinker’s wagon full of pots strapped to his hips ‘creeping.’ And then there is that armor he’s so proud of. “Guaranteed to turn the sharpest sword, the stoutest cudgel,” I imagine the salesman told him. As if that was going to help. Hello? I’m a DRAGON, for crying out loud. I don’t use swords and I don’t use cudgels. I don’t use arrows, and I don’t use maces. I don’t use hammers and I don’t use pikes.

I use fire.

And do you know what metal armor doesn’t really do squat to protect you against? That’s right, fire.

The flames, they get inside the joints, through the slots in his visor. They get inside and light his padded arming doublet ablaze. They heat up the gleaming metal of the armor until it is red hot, and he couldn’t remove it even if he were still coherent enough. And, of course, he has to breathe so there’s nothing to stop the smoke.

In the end, he winds up like the rest of them: a smelly, glowing ball of charred flesh encased in a rough oval of melted metal slag. It’s such a waste.

I can’t even eat the damned thing without having to peel it first.



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Still-Life with Snowflake (FF)

This is in response to Haley Whitehall’s September Flash Fiction Challenge: Superpowers.

I walked around her again, slowly, admiring. The way the pale, mid-winter light caught her cheekbones. Or the tiny snowflake that was less than a second from landing on her hair where it would melt and join hundreds of it’s kin in her golden locks. Or the way her pose, launching forward with her fist pulled back to strike, accentuated the lines of lean muscles in her calves, her tight abdomen. That was quite visible in the skin-tight spandex supersuit she wore. Red, with a golden falcon on the chest.

With a suit like that, you would think that her name would be Phoenix, or maybe Firebird. But no, it was Yellow Falcon. Some heroes really need better PR teams. In truth, a better PR team was the least of the things she needed right now. Needed? Needs? Would need? The language is somewhat lacking in this regard.

Most people only knew her as Yellow Falcon. I knew her as Josie Wheatherly. She lived up the street from me when we were teenagers. We went to the same high school together, although I don’t think she would recognized me if we met on the street. After all, it was a few weeks after graduation that I first discovered I had the Power.

Obviously, she had powers also. Thus the costume, the heroic pose. But her power was Light. Not the same as mine. She used hers to fight crime. I used mine to…

Well, at first I used it to overcome my laziness, or at least to make others think I had. Slept in late? No problem. I’d just stop the world while I had breakfast and calmly strolled to work. No one ever noticed.

Then later, I began to realize that I could use it to study whatever I wanted. I got PhDs in three sciences in the space of as many years. After a while I began to notice that time quite literally didn’t stop for me during these interludes. I was getting older. Not too noticeable yet, but it was happening.

I would see her sometimes on TV, Josie. She was always out there, fighting crime, keeping the world safe. In the space of two years, she accounted for the capture and arrest of over twenty-five members of the Golina family. I learned to play the piano between ticks of the second hand in order to impress some girl I had just met.

This situation now is because of that Golina thing. They must have hired someone to kill Josie. The robbery at the jewelry store was a diversion, obviously.

I was walking home, passing the frozen people and cars around me when I saw it. The fight. There she was, launching herself at a masked man holding a bag full of diamond bracelets. And there it was, less than a millimeter from the back of her head: the bullet.

I have long since taken care of the sniper, but there is nothing I can do about the bullet. It’s too close, too large, travelling too fast. Trust me, I have read up on ballistics in the weeks since. All I can do is keep her here, frozen in this moment, until I finally die.


I wrote a longer version of this story, because I just felt that 500 words didnt’ do it justice. You can find that longer version here.


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Posted in response to my own TBC September Writing Challenge: Changes. It’s a little long at around 700 words, but that’s ok. I won’t grade myself down for it.

The alarm went off, and Gus groaned. Just five more minutes he wished, but it was not to be. The Schedule had to be maintained, even today. With a sigh, he unhooked the netting and let if float off. Holding onto the bars surrounding his bunk for exactly this reason, he oriented himself and pushed off, drifting across the room to the closet. Using the straps there, he held himself steady while he dressed.

It’s the small things they never tell you about. When he applied for the Safety Management position here at the utterly unimaginatively named L5-3 Nuclear Reactor Array, the in-company recruiter had talked on and on about the benefits of some time spent away from the pollution and insane weather on Earth, and how big a bonus he would accrue for a six month stint in space. The smarmy, smiling man had never mentioned how annoying it was to get dressed in Zero-G, or to use the charmingly named ‘facilities.’ No, all he talked about was the good stuff, none of the bad.

Still, it wasn’t all bad. For the last 160 days, he had been blessedly, gloriously alone. With the population on Earth swiftly approaching the eleven billion mark and the seas so much higher than they had been even 20 years ago, personal space and privacy were mere legends the older folks told the younger ones, along with stories about how gas used to only be $6 a gallon, and how there used to be things called ‘trees,’ once upon a time.

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September Update

Hello, and welcome to the end of summer.  I hope you all had a great season. For those in school or teachers, I salute you!

General news:

-I finished the first draft of Blood Fury and am looking for people to help me by reading it and critiquing it. If you’re interested, please contact me here, on Facebook or twitter, or via email. Thanks in advance!

-After a brain storming session, Jennifer and I have renamed the IWA. It will now be known as The Writer’s Bloc. Coming soon: it’s own website.

-New ‘Feature’ on the blog, Brunch! For all your SPAM-ilicious needs.

September’s DWE is up, with one entry so far: The New Kid At School.

Sonia’s mom hurt herself last weekend. Go on over there and wish her and her mom well!


This month’s TBC Writing Challenge reflects the end of summer with Changes. Write a story, 500 words more-or-less, about some significant Change. This can be a change in a character’s life, a change in the world they live in, or just a very large amount of coins in the pocket.

My own entry will follow.

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Dreamchasers, Season 4 Episode 11

This is a reply to Haley Whitehall‘s August Flash Fiction Challenge about Dreams.

Thank you. Thank you. You’re all awesome. Folks, we all know that “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” This is not news to anyone, of course. But what does he dream about? No one has ever really answered that question… until now!

Today on Dreamchasers, we are going to find out exactly what it is that dead Cthulhu dreams about in that house of his. And by the way, stay tuned after our show when Houses of the Famous tackles that very same R’lyeh property! But now, let’s turn to our Dreamchasers Experts, and see: What Does Cthulhu Dream?

Are we done? Yeah? Ok great. Collin, take this microphone. I’ll be in my dressing room until the last bit. Oh, Susie, make sure craft services sends me a bottle of Sam Adams this time ok? Not that Budweiser crap they tried to foist off on me last week.

God. 77 episodes of this crap. It pays the bills, sure, but I dunno. Being the host for a Discovery Channel show? I had dreams, you know. I was going to be on Broadway by now. I should be on Broadway by now. I’m good, dammit. Better than this show deserves anyways. Did you see the episode in season 2 when I had to pretend to be excited about Ben Stein’s dreams? Ben freakin’ Stein, for god’s sake. “Bueller… Bueller…” And the worst part is, he DREAMS in that voice too! But I sold it. Yes I did. Should have won an Emmy for that: Best dramatic performance of utter bullshit. No, I should have been on Broadway.

I would have been great.

When I was six, I saw a performance… oh, thanks Susie. Yeah, this is perfect. Thanks. No, that’s ok, I have my own bottle opener. Anyways. When I was six I saw a performance of Phantom at the Ahmanson. Crawford’s last show. The first time. You know, before he came back out of retirement and did another bazillion shows. The emotion in his voice, even when he was singing was so intense, I just knew I had to do that. To be up there, under the lights. Smell of the greasepaint, roar of the crowd and all that, right? The very next school day, I went to my teacher and said I wanted to be an actor.

I dunno how it all went wrong. I went to an arts school, majored in drama. I got great reviews. My senior year, we did Streetcar. I played Stanley. We sold out and even added a last-minute Midnight show closing day, and THAT sold out too. And now look at me. Ten years later and I’m hosting a freaking Discovery Channel show about dreams. What about mine, huh? Let’s do a show about MY dreams. I’ll bet that’ll sell a lot of whatever it is we’re advertizing this week.

What? Time? Oh, ok. Thanks Susie. I’ll be right there. I just need a second.

I have something in my eye.


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August is here

Or, as I like to call it, Christmas in Summer. Yay me for picking the only month of the year without any OTHER holidays in it for my birthday.


Moving on.

Since the monthly writing challenge is basically a bust, I’m dropping requests for submissions. I’ll keep doing them for my own benefit, but that’s it.


This month’s self challenge is: Write a story involving mud as a main element.


The results to follow.


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TBC July Writing Challenge – Poor Hero

A few weeks back, I posted about a German band playing English Folk music in a Rock style, and I mentioned that my favorite song off the album was called Poor Hero. This got me to thinking about the concept of Poor Hero. Is this a hero you pity for some reason, or merely one who lacks the monetary stability that he would, perhaps, prefer? Or both? Or some other interpretation?

You tell me. It’s your story.

The July There By Candlelight writing challenge is to write a 500 word or less story that somehow incorporates whatever the phrase ‘poor hero’ means to you. My own entry will be below (yes, below. I’m posting them out of order so they show up correctly on the main page here).

In other news, we had no submissions for the June writing challenge, which is sad. I thought it was an interesting concept.

My novel Blood Fury is almost finished with the first draft. Then I will give it to some people for critical review, do a beautification pass, and it should be out hopefully by or before August. Cross fingers!

Jennifer and I are beginning to work on the Independent Writers Association. More details to follow, stay tuned.

And lastly, if you happen to live in the Greater Los Angeles area and find yourself near the Culver Hotel at any point, the Culver Jubilee at the bar is delicious.

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