Flash Fiction Friday 019 – Fire and Fur

Earth has gone to hell, a world of fire and fur. Ten years ago, the gnomes completed a ritual to Glittergold. Such things were not unusual. What was unusual was the power of this ritual.

Over the next several months, communities were surprised by sudden explosions. Chaos reigned and the great powers were on the brink of war. Noone could find the wizard or sorcerer responsible. Druids were targeted by mobs after a rabbit would be seen hopping away from one of the attacks.

The truth wasn’t discovered until one of the royal Rangers responded to the king’s request for rabbit stew. To kill a rabbit was to cause an explosion and the rabbit’s rebirth.

The next several years were a nightmare. Any rabbit death resulted in explosive rebirth. Normal births did no slow, however. The farming communities were being overrun with no protection. War broke out with the gnomes when their ritual was discovered.

The kobalds were all too happy to join in the fight against their hated enemies, but few of them brought the dragon aid we had hoped for while too many of them continued to try and eat the rabbits.

At last, eight years into the devastation, a breakthrough occurred. The rabbits were made sterile. In a final attempt for peace, the dwindling gnomish population succeeded in stopping the spread of the cursed creatures.

Now we do what we can to prevent further death. Conservation have been built for rabbit relocation. The brave and the bold track down and move the creatures or to trigger their explosions before they reach populations.

It is with one of these groups that I sit, bow at the ready. My watch has less then two hours remaining, but I am anxious and alert. Claxus, our leader, stares idly into the fire as the light flickers and dances over the burned left side of his face. If I do well, he will sponsor me into the ranks of the Bunny Ears. I look forward to the honor and prestige.

There is movement in the dark and my arrow flies from the bow. A sharp twang is followed by a dull thud. There is a bright flash, a roar of thunder, and heat washes over us all. Claxus nods over at me. I know I am ready for the trials. I will be a Bunny Ear.

Flash Fiction Friday 018 – Cave Diving

The ship sailed low over the ground, its oraculum glowing faintly against the barren earth.

“You sure this is the right way? Thought the next farm was….nevermind. There it is,” Liam said as he adjusted course and allowed the vessel to drift towards the the gaping maw in the landscape. Once they were alongside it, Liam dropped anchor and turned towards Henri.

“Now remember lad, this place is still being seeded. Air’s gonna be a little thin. You start getting light headed, you come back.” Henri started to climb from the ship and down the ladder when Liam’s hand caught his shoulder. “One more thing. The oraculum can make some strange things when its getting started. You hear a skitter, you come back. We’re terraformers, not soldiers.”

“Yeah, yeah.. I got it pops,” Henri replied. Old timers always thinking just cause he was new, he was dumb.

As Henri descended the robe ladder and past the safety of wood and rune and into a world of stone and dark, he felt his breath catch. The change from the ship’s air to planet still got to him, even after all the training. Slowly, he started to climb down the maw and into telhe earth. Veins of green glow told him that the oraculum was settling in nicely to the area as they dove deep into the planet. According to his lessons, this area would be ready for a colony in six months and well on its way to self sufficient life.

Henri found a ledge about fifty meters down and settled himself on it for a little break. The walls of the cave were damp with dew, another good sign. On one end of the ledge, the glowing vein seemed to disappear around a bend. Rising to his feet, Henri followed the vein into a tunnel. He had to crutch as his fingers traced the element deeper into the bowels of the planet and he lost track of how long he had been following it.

Suddenly, he seemed to step into a vast cave. Oraculum veins and ore glittered silently above him like rainbow constellations. All about him, dark entrances and exits yawned their darkened mouths. He stood in the middle of the room transfixed, spinning ever so slowly as he took it all in when his ears caught the sound of skittering along one of the walls.

He stopped dead in his tracks. His heart pounded as he strained against the darkness. The skittering drew closer. It was accompanied by a low level keening that seemed to throb through the stone floors.

Henri ran towards on open mouth in the wall, following the faint green glow. The sounds of his heavy breaths and heavier pounding of feet drowned out the any sounds of pursuit. Several desperate minutes past before he slowed down. There didn’t seem to be a chase, but the vein he had followed also ended a few meters in front of him. Darkness loomed before him as he realized he chose the wrong tunnel. Frantically, he started to back track.

Up above, Liam leaned back and waited. After an hour, he noticed a small bundle under an empty bench that contained Henri’s guideline. He swore softly at both Henri failing to take it and his forgetting to check. They weren’t expected back for several hours, so Liam waited, hoping the rookie would find his way back. When his recall time came, Liam sighed and tossed the guideline into the maw. Raising anchor, he set sail for base. This was dangerous work and the empire had plenty of bodies.

Flash Fiction Friday 014 – Retribution

The sun set slowly over the city, staining the western sky with reds and oranges. L.A. sprawled out in a haze under the failing light. The harsh yellow of street lamps replaced the softer hues of the sun. Despite the transition between natural and artificial, traffic continued to buzz.

If there was one constant about life in a big city, it was that traffic did not care about sunsets or storms or natural disasters. People had places to be in L.A. and they would be damned if anything was going to stop them. It always made Azazial laugh.

Life in L.A. was like watching an ant hill. Everything crawled. Everything moved. Millions of tiny creatures hustled and bustled on pre-constructed routes.

But nothing fascinated Azazial more than watching them at sunset. Watching as they raged against the coming night. It was beautiful. Even Lucifer did not challenge God’s order the way that these people did every day.

He floated down from his heavenly hover, landing lightly on the streets below. The leather soles of his shoes whisked gently on the concrete as he moved. His deep, brown eyes scanned the shadows, searching.

After several moments, he found what he was looking for. Some tatted up man in a shirt two sizes too large was prowling the edges of the yellow light. These so called predators were always the most fun. They always had such a strong sense of entitlement.

Azazial moved to cross paths with the thug, barely giving him a glance as he moved towards the mouth of an alley. Like he expected, the thug couldn’t pass up the chance of attacking one dressed as finely as Azazial. Azazial didn’t even struggle as the thug grabbed him by the shoulder and forced him into the alley.

With his back pushed against the alley wall, Azazial watched calmly as a gun was leveled at his face. “Your money or your life!” The thug’s voice echoed off the nearby buildings.

Azazial laughed softly at the threat. “And just how are you going to kill me? With that Hi-Point? You’d be better off with a hammer.”

“Shut up and give me your wallet.” The thug placed his thumb on the gun’s hammer, cocking it back, but it started to shake lightly at the confrontation.

“Very well.” Azazial shrugged. He pulled his wallet from his pocket and held it out in front of him. The mugger grabbed it and ran off towards the far end of the alley, leaving Azazial standing in the shadows.

* * *

Mad Max ran for several streets before he finally slowed to a walk. Lighting a joint, he inhaled deeply before making his way back towards his crappy little apartment.

He kept an eye out for any cop cars as he moved. Sure he had quickly moved a few blocks away, but pigs always liked to try and mess with him. Self righteous bastards always thought they were better than the people down here.

Mad Max was pulled from his thoughts by the sounds of footsteps behind him. He ignored them at first. After all, it was a light sound, not the heavy thud of boots or Doc Martins. Two turns into his trip home, however, and the sound was still behind him.
He spun around quickly, hand going to his waist. “What do you want f..” Mad Max’s words trailed off when he saw no one behind him. “Cheap ass weed for me hearing things.”

He came to the run down building his apartment was in a few minutes later. As he was about to put his keys in the door, he saw something rushing towards him from the corner of his eye. Mad Max dropped his keys as he turned, but there was nothing but shadows lining the walls of the building.

With shaky hands, he picked up his keys and stepped inside the bare apartment. He needed a drink to calm himself. Opening the fridge, Mad Max screamed as a thousand black bugs exploded from the inside the appliance.

He scrambled back away from the encroaching horde, hitting his head on the coffee table. The insects crawled up his legs and over his chest. They reached his neck… and disappeared.

“Christ!” Max was panting on the floor. “I’m never buying weed from Crazy Lou again.”

“It’s not the weed you need to worry about,” a voice laughed softly from the corner of the apartment.

Max jumped up and pulled out his gun. “Yo, you’re that joker I robbed earlier. How did you get in here?”

The man stood in the shadows of the room refusing to move or speak. Max nodded to himself as he tried to keep his hands from shaking. “Fine. I got something for you anyway.” He pulled the trigger several times but heard nothing but the click of a misfire.

The man laughed again as he glided towards Max. “I told you that you would be better off with a hammer.” The man paused a moment as he pulled something from his coat and raised it above his head. Max blinked as he saw the hammer hover above the horns on the man’s head. “Here. Let me show you.”

Thwack! Thwack! Thwamph!

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