Shadow Shapers – Story

December 24, 2013

The corridor was dark but had the warmth of home. Ashley knew she was dreaming but it didn’t feel like regular dream. She never remembered feeling warmth before in a dream. She’d never dreamt in colour either.

The corridor lighted to a dark blue and the smell of cooking bacon wafted towards her. Walking quicker, she expected the corridor to lengthen and for her to have to start running. Most of her dreams were spent running or screaming.

The doctors said she was repressing memory and her dreams were her minds way of dealing with those memories. It didn’t matter to her; she didn’t want to remember what happened to her brother.

The corridor ended in a large room with a long table. There were candles and a fireplace bathing the room in an orange glow and keeping it warm. Around the table were two other girls.

Ashley recognized Drew from her full arm tattoo. It was the only thing that looked the same. Her hospital clothes were replaced by a blood-red corset and long black skirt. Her face wasn’t deathly grey but healthy golden tan. Most surprisingly she wasn’t deathly thin. This must be what Drew could look like if she wasn’t puking every meal.

The other girl wasn’t familiar. She had short blond hair and large green eyes. She looked and dressed like Tinkerbelle.

Smiling and sitting down with the other girls, Ashley said, “Hi, I’m Ash. What’s your name?”

The new girl radiated happiness, she actually glowed, as she replied, “I’m Tara. Nice to meet you. Isn’t this a wonderful dream?” All three of them nodded together.

Tara was wearing a pair of earrings that looked black but when they were hit by candlelight, turned a beautiful purple. Ashley didn’t notice details like that in her dreams.

Each of the girls looked down at the table and saw food. There was a different plate in front of each of them. Ashley had a breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes, just like she used to order after church with her family. Her brother used to tease her that she must have a hollow leg.

The other two had completely different meals. Drew had a huge burger with fries and Tara had some form of curried chicken. They ate in silence, each girl savoring the intense flavour.

When they were done, the plates disappeared and a small box appeared in front of each of them. Each box was wrapped in a brightly coloured bow. Inside, was a necklace, each girl received a golden necklace with a gold sun pendant. In the centre of each sun was a heart shaped gem. Ashley’s was an emerald of dark forest green, Drew’s was a pink diamond, and Tara’s was a purple amethyst.

Without know why, Ashley put on the necklace and the other two followed her lead. The same calming warmth radiated from the gem, washing over her.

Someone shook Ashley awake and she returned to the clinical white light of her hospital room. Nurse Fishburn was waking her for her morning pills.

“That must have been quite the dream,” he said his baritone voice barely above a whisper. “You haven’t slept like that since you went off the sedatives.”

She could only nod as the cold of the hospital flooded over her. There was an ache of longing in her chest, for the dream.

Taking her pills and showing her mouth to the Nurse, she wished she could return. When he left she went to her dresser and pulled out a pair of exercise pants and a loose sweater. As she striped, she forced herself to look into the mirror and find the parts of her body that she liked. It was one of Dr Leslie’s assignments. She hated it, it felt odd appraising yourself.

As her eyes travelled down from her face they caught the glint of green around her neck. It was the sun necklace from her dream. Where did it come from? Could she have brought it back with her?

The Dying World – Story

December 11, 2013

It is the last city on a dying world. Far away from anything you or I have ever known. It is ringed by mountains so smooth and high that they are impossible to scale. The city’s name is Ending.

Ten thousand years ago, the sentient races of that world started dying. All their magic, science, and medicine couldn’t figure out why. All wars ended, all hostilities ceased, and all hatred disappeared.

The great gods that had looked over the world for over five hundred billion years were also affected by this blight. In a last attempt to save those that the gods loved so dearly they gave up their power to the god of the earth. Terhan, used all the powers available to create Ending, the only safe place on a dying world. It weakened him to the point of almost being mortal. He has ruled, uncontested, as king for ten thousand years.

The great king who was a god, hasn’t been seen in a millennia, it is rumoured that he is sick or dead. These rumours are spoken in whispers, in fear that the king’s death harkens the death of the city. He has never taken a wife and never had an heir.

In an attempt to save the world, or what’s left of its people, the Academy has been researching ways to leave the planet. They have lost too much knowledge and none of their attempts have been successful. The light of the sun grows darker and redder every year. Soon there will be nothing but darkness.

Until then there is Ending, a city whose name had seemed ironic when it was built. It had been a place of beauty, shinning pillars of stone. Lush rooftop gardens, and the Ivory tower of light that soared above the city as a beacon to all sentient creatures that there was still hope.

The stone now crumbles, the garden’s rot, and the tower collapsed long ago. Nothing but a battered stump remains. Worst of all, people have started dying without reason. The healer priests of Terhan deny that it’s the ancient plague but no one believes them. Unlike other time and places, there is no panic. No violence. There is only despair.

The castle guards, who were once the pillars of honour, have been kidnapping people. Some from the streets, others from their beds, but all of them have one thing in common. They are all marked at birth, with magical sigils on their bodies. It gives them powers that no other mortal has. They are the only ones the scream and rage against the dying of that city. They are the Marked and they have almost all been taken to castle, never to return.

The Marked are that worlds last hope for survival. Only they can, find a cure for the plague, save the dying world, and lead their people to prosperity.

Wishes and Gumballs

October 2, 2013

This story was written for a writing competition. Write a short story, of 750 words or fewer, based on this prompt: A girl puts a quarter in a gumball machine and a human tooth comes out.

“It’s a sunny day out there, not a cloud in the sky. If you’re stuck indoors like us this one’s for you…” The radio DJs voice faded into “Working Man” by Rush. Sandra certainly understood the feeling. Having to get up at four in the morning and take three busses to get to work was horrible. Is this why she had mounds of student debt and a useless degree? To be a barista?

“Did he just say sunny?” she asked aloud. It wasn’t supposed to be sunny at four in the morning. “Shitshitshitshitshit!” She yelled as she jumped out of bed. It was certainly sunny outside and the clock read six fifteen. She was over an hour late and still had an hour’s bus ride ahead of her.

“Screw it I’m calling a taxi.” She picked up her cellphone. It was dead and she didn’t have a home line.

Grabbing a uniform from the top of her laundry pile, this was her eighth day in a row. She put the uniform on quickly and ran out the door. She closed the door still holding her cell and dropped it. When she picked it up it had a large crack. She had just bought it a month ago.

The elevator must have been broken again. She waited ten minutes and gave up, running down the eighteen stories to the ground floor. The outside smelt of mold and melting snow. She saw a taxi and tried to flag it down. It came closer to her and then sped up, creating a five foot high wave of slush as it passed by. She managed to avoid most of the ice but was drenched from head to toe.

When she finally flagged down a taxi she thought her luck was changing. The ride to work was unremarkable but that didn’t stop the driver from remarking. On everything he saw and thought. At one point she considered jumping out on the freeway.

Scrambling to get money out of her wallet she didn’t see someone open the door. She turned to leave and was struck in the face by a hard shelled briefcase.

“What are you doing in there?” asked the three piece suit attached to the briefcase.

“Getting out of a taxi…” she wanted to add some insulting names at the end but the taste of blood in her mouth surprised her into silence. He helped her out of the taxi and jumped in closing the door. Chivalry was dead, she thought, spitting out blood into a puddle. She passed her tongue over her teeth and found one missing.

The tooth was in the puddle that quickly drained into the sewers. She didn’t dare open her mouth to swear until she had something to stem the blood from her lost tooth.

Walking into her work she saw there was a long line of customers and only her boss to serve them. She hurried to the napkin stand and wadded one up into her tooth gap. She then hurried to help.

Turning away from a customer babbling about something, he looked at her and said, “I’m not sure what you think you’re doing but get the hell out of my store. You’re fired. This is the fourth time this week you’re late. Get out.”

Leaving, but not feeling like going back home, she walked around until the bleeding finally stopped. She’d have to go to the dentist but without healthcare or a job she’d never be able to afford it.

Outside a toy store in the posh shopping district she saw a gumball machine. She felt confident that a gumball was a bad idea considering her tooth, but really wanted the comfort of her childhood favourite candy.

“Are you planning on using that or just staring at it?” She was ready to attack the speaker but when she turned around she was amazed by how handsome he was and paused.

“Leave me alone, please. I’ve had a bad day.”

Seeing her face, which was bruising a beautiful black and purple colour, he winced and said, “As you wish.” He winked and walked away.

“What I wish was that I had my tooth back.” she replied  snarkily.

Putting her quarter into the machine, she turned the dial. What came out was not a gumball, but a tooth and it looked just like hers. She held it for a few seconds and then it jumped into her mouth, right back into place.

The Shepherds of Time

August 12, 2013

“We are the shepherds of time,” she yelled to a crowd of adoring fans. “We shape the world into its truest form.” She paused, a smug look on her flawless face.

Lifting her perfectly manicured hand for silence she continued, “Each of you came here tonight for a different reason. Some because it’s the cool thing to do, some in hopes of sleeping with one of the band,” the crowd roared, “some were dragged here by others, and maybe one or two of you actually like our crap music.” The crowd quieted with awkward laughter.

No one was quite certain what was going on and they seemed uncomfortable. The band however looked just as good as they always did. So beautiful they were surreal and disturbing. It was part of their allure.

“Among the twenty thousand people her tonight there are…” Alice-Eve pulled out her smartphone. Out from where no one would be able to tell. Her outfit couldn’t possibly hide any pockets. “Ah yes, five thousand rapists, three hundred future murderers, four serial killers, two war criminals, and one world dictator.”

The crowd seemed to have decided this was some sort of stunt and some cheered while others waited for the music.

“Tonight we will cull the herd and clean the world.” As she picked up her guitar the still clueless crowd yelled and screamed in anticipation.

In an over exaggerated movement she strummed an F sharp cord and the stadium exploded. Not with the crowds’ enthusiasm but the half dozen explosives hidden in the support beams.