Posts Tagged ‘Story’

They Always Travel in Packs

Writing | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 12 2018

Here’s one I wasn’t expecting, I got another Thursday Threads Honorable Mention! How cool is that? Check out the prompt and other entries over at Siobhan’s Blog, or go straight to the winner’s post for the judge’s insights and the winning tale! I’m glad I got back into Flash Fiction, even just sticking to my entries that get recognized is giving me new content for this site until I sort out a longer term plan like Niar Saga or Lost Girls’ Society from before. Without further ado, here is a tale from my New Team Neoshieldfront continuity in 249 words;

Lucy squeezed the grip of her dagger, senses scouring the field for what had set her on edge. The air was fresh, the sky blue and the birds were singing. So many damn birds. Most of her tribe liked to brag about how tough you had to be to live in the desert; but it seemed much tougher to her to live in this pastoral setting.

It was the grass. The grass had set her off, again. Lucy sheathed her dagger with an angry sigh. She trained her skills to a razor edge, able to detect every foe even in perfect darkness. Being so completely surrounded by living things was unnerving. What was the point of so much life?

If Lucy could best her mother or her father in combat she could ascend to command of the tribe. She was sick of waiting. She had thought her father would be the easier option, softened by years of plenty. But she’d barely had a moment alone with him.

She dropped her face into her hands despairingly as the stampede of footsteps broke into the grass line. A chorus of voices shouted her name over and over. Then they had surrounded her. They always travel in packs.

“Lucy!” the eldest of this pack declared. “Our moms said you can take us down to the swimming hole!”

The greatest warrior of her generation knew when she set out that she had a lot of half siblings; but this was just too much.

Let It Go Metal

Writing | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 07 2018

I won another Menage Monday over at Cara Michaels’ site! I have to say I was pretty inspired to learn (as one of the prompts) that there’s a male vocal metal cover of “Let It Go”, so definitely go over and check out the prompts and other entries if that catches your interest as it did mine. And without further ado here is another winning Flash Fiction of 246 words fleshing out my Fantasy Fighter story.

The view from the penthouse isn’t so different from my castle. My companion disagrees, and that’s not so different either. I am still looking down on a world I can’t touch, that exists in my shadow but is largely unaware of my existence. I do appreciate the silk suit though. I think I will make more of an effort regarding my appearance going forward.

My companion, on the other hand, was just as resistant to what our host picked for her to wear as we both were to coming in the first place. I had warned him that she was a biter. Hopefully he doesn’t require too many stitches.

By this time our forest should be ablaze with autumn colors, and I know my companion feels impossibly far from her kin. It’s an illusion. A thousand kilometers from our point of origin and I’m no closer to others; so it stands to reason that my companion is no further.

The window in the next room opens. My companion steps out over the ledge, catches a gargoyle on the way down then descends the tower’s exterior until the next rooftop over is within range of her prodigious aerial talents. Those talents being among the reasons our host recruited her, I hope this comes as no surprise to him. Mostly I hope I won’t be called on to retrieve her.

I have decided to fight for our host’s cause. As for my companion, I’d rather let her go.

Thursday Threads Week 337

Writing | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 04 2018

It was a good week for me for Flash Fiction! After the Menage Monday win I also got Honorable Mention over at Thursday Threads. You can check out the host, Siobhan Muir’s site for the prompt, rules and other entries here–or just skip to the judging and the winning tale here!

For here it seems like as long as I’m going to show off my honorable mention badge I might as well post the story that won it too–the 249 word story of a Sentinel I created for Zensara Studios’ Unity Table-Top Role-Playing Game, who does not appear themselves in the story.

The Fell Tormentor twisted its head around, trying to work out the kinks. A massive yawn revealed all four rows of razor teeth in its double jaws. One more village to harvest and it could finally get back to the warmth of the Pit. Finally one of its Grim Captains came shuffling back, with a few extra breaks in his limbs from the look of things.

“What’s taking so long?” The Tormentor growled.

The Captain saluted as best he could with his dangling arm.

“We encountered resistance… We’ve been hammering them, but we can’t get through…”

The Tormentor dropped its face into one of its talons. Leave it to ghouls and zombies to be impeded by mortal soldiers.

“How many are there?”

The Captain hung his head. “There’s just one.”

“You said you’ve been hammering ‘them’.”

“We can’t tell if they’re a boy or a girl.”

“Boy or a… How young is this lone defender?” The Tormentor’s eyes flashed dangerously.

“Almost twenty winters! Probably…”

At least the Captain seemed to understand the severity of his failure. Since the masters complained about harvests coming back in too many pieces, the Tormentor had tried to leave the actual work to its minions.

“They can’t possibly cover the entire village! Just surround them!”

“We did, but they built up the village walls with our fallen.”

“How many of us are left?”

“Just the two of us are left.”

The Tormentor grumbled darkly. This would not be a good return to the Pit.

Monster Mash 2018

Writing | Posted by davidludwig
Oct 17 2018

Okay, I’m going to take a shot at this longer period and higher word-count flash-fiction challenge. If anyone else wants to get in on it check out the details at Laura James’ website.

A Halloween/Monster/Horror related story of 500-750 words inspired by Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love Yous” song. Weighing in at 743 words including the title, I present;

No More

The gilded iron doors to the underground club had been knocked off their hinges into the decadent entryway. Red drapery and dim light masked the spilt blood from sight, but did nothing for the choking stench of violence and fear. It was nothing Aphrodite hadn’t seen before. She pushed her regret at not arriving sooner to the back of her mind.

Her cerulean cane in one hand and trusty pistol braced on top of that, she advanced as quickly as prudence permitted. She was immediately engulfed by agonized groans of the dazed and wounded patrons. Hellish shrieking came from deeper still into the bowels of this temple to sin. The veteran agent only had one target here, but she’d been in the business too long to assume that meant only one threat.

Aphrodite dropped to a knee behind the balcony railing and averted her eyes from a sudden intense blaze. On the dance floor below, an Asian woman—just a little too big for her gore drenched school uniform—had also rolled out of the way of the fiery blast. Even as the club returned to its discreet ambient lighting, the woman’s shadow thrashed around like a crazed animal and the woman gave another unearthly shriek. Mifuyu Shizuka, Aphrodite’s target, was apparently still possessed by the demon the crazed medium had stolen from Aphrodite’s best freelancer.

“Kill you! I’ll kill you!!!” Mifuyu howled as she rushed a buxom Grecian business woman across the dance floor.

The Greek smiled coldly. “This should have been between us. I will make you regret harming my patrons.”

The club owner’s leathery wings spread as she materialized a whip of brilliant flame to drive her assailant back out of range. Aphrodite cursed. Things just got a little too interesting. As shadow and flame clashed cataclysmically below, Aphrodite holstered her side arm and set down her cane. Taking her rifle from her back, she braced it on the railing and debated who to aim it at.

The crazed medium ducked and wove in repeated attempts to outflank her opponent with her autonomous shadow. Eruptions of hellish fire kept the fiendish club owner safe as the battle destroyed the dance floor. With a practiced sigh, the agent squeezed the trigger and ended the fight.

Thirty minutes later paramedics were removing the last of the patrons. Aphrodite sat back to back with the owner in the middle of the shattered dance floor. No wings, horns or tail were evident on the owner anymore—not even any tell where they had come from.

“Thank you,” the owner leaned her head back against Aphrodite’s. “for your help.”

“Hhm…” Aphrodite ran her thumb over the silver ball head of her cane.

“My name is Melantha Karahalios, by the way.”

“I know.”

“Oh… Then it was hard for you deciding who to shoot? I really thank you then.”

“She hurt one of my men. Badly.”

Aphrodite tucked her chin in, and Melantha lowered her head too. There was silence. The dark haired succubus glanced over her shoulder at the platinum blonde human.

“I have been a big fan of your career from the beginning.” Melantha offered.

Aphrodite clenched her jaw, “Then you should have known better than to try to end the world.”

Melantha shrugged with a flourish of her manicured red nails. “That was months ago. Besides, I couldn’t very well get out of it. You know how it is; demons and contracts.”

“You’re still on the list.”

The demon’s wings emerged long enough to pull her to her feet with a single powerful flap. Aphrodite glanced back at where Melantha had made sure to leave her left leg to keep the agent from falling backward.

“Well, thank you for clearing the club first. Shall we dance?” Melantha reached down a hand to help Aphrodite up.

Aphrodite looked at the proffered hand a moment before shaking her head.

“I’m tired.”

The human collected her rifle and slung it back over her shoulder, rising to her feet with the help of her cane. Her succubus companion tittered happily with a gesture to the backlit bar up the stairs.

“In that case, can I buy you a drink?”

Aphrodite felt a twinge of longing for her fast living hard drinking youth.

“Maybe… tea.”

She would carry on as she always had another day. For now, she would indulge a well earned respite. The two women ascended the stairs together, sisters for an ephemeral moment.

Monday Mixer: November 5

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 05 2012

Okay, with Menage Monday finished and Motivation Monday on hiatus, I have made my first foray into the Monday Mixer–partially to keep the creative juices fresh by writing something other than my National Novel Writing Month project which has yet to go well.

So without further ado, I bring you;

 

TIDINGS

Saint Nicholas’ skyscraper pierced the earth like a heaven sent spear, to the euphoric adulation of peoples far and near. From atop the imposing monolith, the holiday harbinger watched the world and judged. Few suspected perfunctory good deeds no longer sufficed to get off the Naughty List. The Saint’s mandate had changed.

The masses burned on their own sinful coals the first Christmas after the coming. People feared God again, recognized the inadequacy of maladroit attempts to live as He commanded. Offerings and sacrifice resurged; pilgrims crossed the icy tundra to the estuary where the North Pole had landed.

The greedy dealt in terms they understood, bringing gold and jewels. The poor appealed to the Saint’s jovial nature, offering holly, verbena, and other decorative plants. The desperate turned to sacrifice, foisting their sins on a goat, a piglet, lamb or even house pet.

All the while, Nicholas watched and judged.

 

 

[trying for Over-Achiever with the entry, since I saw no reason not to]

150 words excluding the title

National Novel Writing Month!

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 02 2012

Okay, so National Novel Writing month is officially here AND I’m officially participating this year. Missed my word target for the first day, and am on track to miss again this second day–putting me further in the hole–but I see the weekend through Tuesday as my real opportunities to make up for scheduling conflicts Wednesday through Friday. With any luck that’ll be enough to get me through to the 50,000 words by the end of the month.

So no treats for you this week with me so far behind already–but my plan is by next Friday, maybe earlier, to have an excerpt from the novel to share with anyone who’s interested. Potentially following up with other excerpts as the month goes on. If I could get some discussion regarding what sort of excerpts you’d like to see from my work in progress, that’d be great information for me–right now I’m thinking character introductions for windows into the core cast.

Then, if anyone feels like helping develop the world of Niar, I’m realizing that having me come up with every single town and city in the world is unlikely to be ideal. So I’d like to open up the possibility for anyone who feels like flexing some creativity and then donating the effort to come up with town and city names for the World of Niar, so that when I’m referencing locations it doesn’t sound like the same individual came up with all of them–even if the story never goes to locations I didn’t come up with, having them in the world will still enhance it. Plus in the event that this novel, or Niar Saga from this site really take off it might be kind of cool to have your location on the official world map. Maybe? I’d like that sort of thing.

On the topic of reader interaction though, thank you everyone who has voted in the current poll! With all the spambots assailing the site and looking for a way in (there is NONE, they all have to go through ME) it’s hard to feel like the page-view counter is representing real traffic, but as of this posting I know there are four people who have looked at my site and cared enough to interact with me. That means a lot.

So thank you.

Diabolical Deeds Wrap Up

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Oct 29 2012

Well, that’s the end of ‘Timony’s Diabolical Deeds Challenge, hopefully the tales were enjoyed here and on the other participating sites–but in the event that you missed it get over to ‘Timony’s site and check out the prompts and participants.

‘Timony Souler – Our Challenge host, and the one who will always be significant to my online writing persona because of challenges like 7 Sins and 7 Virtues that got me started on Flash Fiction in the first place. Undaunted by stringent word counts and difficult/obscure word prompts, ‘Timony delivers strong sensory fiction on a consistent basis–when not waylaid by real world demands. My favorite of her contributions to her own challenge this time was Day Two’s “The Promotion” because sometimes it’s just nice to observe a demon who really values their work.

Lisa McCourt Hollar– Host of the #55WordChallenge, and incredibly vivid writer whose horror stories actually scare me in spite of just being words on a page (or screen), which is an accomplishment because I normally refrain from delving into the genre deeply enough to be affected like that–her words and characters pull me in even when I’m wary of what they’ll reveal. It was her second entry, “Dangerous Games”, that I’m going with as my favorite in this challenge because on top of her usual richness of characterization and setting, there’s a little something sexy there too.

Meg McNulty– A writer I met early in my flash-ficiton experience and regular for ‘Timony Challenges, Meg brings a richness of history and context to her writing that is absolutely compelling. Her second entry, “The Cave”, is especially good this time around because of the balance of fantasy and horror that make it feel like anything could happen.

Jeffrey Hollar– Another longtime contributor to ‘Timony’s Challenges, and another impeccable horror writer–he can almost always capture the dark in life or in people in a way that will turn the stomach or make the skin crawl, but when he feels like it can deliver real fun, whimsy and comedy as well. And, surprise surprise, it was the second entry again that most captivated me. How did everyone else do such a good job with Calu? “A Night Out” really provided a setting and characters I’d love to see more of, even casually with no particular plot line.

Mark Ethridge– A regular on the Flash Fiction scene, this is his first ‘Timony Challenge. His words are poetic and invitingly original, and this time around I think he really gained steam as he worked his way through the challenge. My favorite entry was actually his 4th Entry, “Sthenno”, but a lot of that is favoritism for the strong female lead and Greek mythology, I would argue that his final entry was even stronger.

Stacy Bennet-Hoyt– Another regular from the Flash Fiction circuit, yet newcomer to the ‘Timony scene. Sort of a hidden character since she missed the sign-up deadline but participated anyway, and delivered her usual flash brilliance and power with each entry. Choosing a favorite among such strong entries was hard, but I’m ever so slightly favoring her 2nd Entry, “Calu”, because she gets the sexiness that others captured and also taught me a new word I intend to start making use of.

 

And to my knowledge that’s all the entries. If I missed anyone, let me know and I’ll remedy that.

 

Diabolical Deeds 5: Zagan

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Oct 26 2012

[Previous Deed]

Zagan

Scooping her satiny black cat into her arms, the girl let out a relieved sigh. With Stheno unconscious they were finally together and safe again. Scratching the back of her cat’s head, the girl turned out to grin at the zoic wonders of the cedar forest.

Her reverie was cut short upon noticing the great winged bull winking at them. Her cat tried to wriggle out of her arms—but she held him tight.

“You ought to be ashamed, Blackie! The spiritual zymosis he started you on is what turned you into a cat in the first place!”

 

 

 

And that wraps up ‘Timony’s Diabolical Deeds Challenge. Probably not my best showing in a ‘Timony Challenge, but you can look forward to my summary of the rest of the field on Monday–which altogether should make for some good seasonal reading. Feel free to check out the links to the other participants ahead of time, over at ‘Timony’s Site.

Diabolical Deeds 4: Stheno

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Oct 25 2012

[previous Deed]

Stheno

With Humbaba dispatched, the girl was upset to find her cat had run off during the fracas. She didn’t have to go far, however, to hear a sibilant voice sussurate dire promises pertaining to lunch. A scaly gorgon held the helpless feline pinned with brass claws, and lowered her grinning face of sharp fangs wreathed in writhing red vipers to biting range.

“Unhand my kitty!”

“Of course, I’d be pleased to switch up for something more substantial.”

The gorgon released her saccadic snack and faced the girl, who pushed up her sleeves and went to work.

Diabolical Deeds 3: Humbaba

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Oct 24 2012

[previous Deed]

Humbaba

She had to shade her eyes, raising an arm against the heavenly brilliance of the cedar forest. How strange a thing the sun seemed, after even a brief time in the chthonic depths.

A feline yowl brought surging habromania that turned the girl’s hair and eyes golden. Then she saw the lion-headed behemoth menacing her poor cat!

“To enter the forest of the Herrenvolk is verboten!”

The giant breathed a torrent of flame and, more terrifying to his victim, raised floodwaters with his roar.

“Get away from my kitty!” The girl suffused her palms with death’s dark glow.