Haunted House

Haunted House Flash Fiction - READ FREE

Haunted House

“Get out!” Her panic-stricken scream ended abruptly.

Silence remains in the halls of the abandoned building now. Lights are sparse and shadows press in against me. All I can hear is the beating of my heart, hammering against my chest. My heavy breaths are giving away our position. Susan is crying silently a few feet away. We are both too afraid to move.

I don’t know what lives in this building. We thought the ghost stories were just pranks. We came to mock those that were afraid of an empty building.

A scream silences my pounding heart for a moment.

The building is not empty.

Susan starts to sob. I grab her arm, silently begging her to be quiet. A door slams shut nearby, making me jump. I turn back to Susan. She is not there. My hand grasps air. The pounding in my chest moves my whole body. I can’t breathe.

The air shifts and my blood goes cold. I cannot press my back any harder against the wall, but I try. Paint chips fall to the floor, each one an explosion of sound in the silence. In the center of the room, it watches me.

I can see it, but I can’t comprehend it. It is not  a part of this world, but here it is. The air shifts as it moves closer. My heart rate quickens as I realize I’m holding my breath.

The eyeless gaze bares into my soul.

A shrill scream echoes in the distance.

I can feel an atmospheric shift as it’s attention slowly leaves me. Then it’s gone, as quickly as it had appeared. I release my held breath and run. I do not look back as I run harder than I have ever in my life.

Turn left.

A pain stabs my side. My lungs protest the effort.

Down the stairs. Don’t fall. Another left.

The double doors to the street lay before me, at the far end of the hallway.

Every door I pass flies open, the force of which is breaking the hinges. Each one a thunderous crash. I slam into the double doors. I had hoped to push the door open. Gathering what panicked thoughts I can, I pull the door open.

The air shifts and I fall to my knees, tears clouding my vision.

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Working Out Comic

Working Out Comic

There are people out there that will cringe at this post. Working out as an adult can be difficult. You try to balance it somewhere between working and sleep and all that other adult stuff in the middle. And working out is, well, work. Your mind has to be wrapped around the idea of sweating, hurting, and not eating that pint of ice cream you bought yesterday. Yes, exercise will help you feel better and look better. Is 15 minutes of cardio enough to sweat off that pint of ice cream? Probably not. You can’t always get what you want (sing that all day now, you’re welcome).

Working Out Comic

“4…5…6…”

*…5 minutes later…*

“I’m dying!” “I’m hungry…”

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Fleeing Nar Shadda: A Star Wars RPG Narrative

Conflict in the Streets of Nar Shadda

 

The streets were busy as the sky started to dim from the distant rising sun. But the streets were always busy on a moon that boasted a population of 85 billion. More diversity could be found on a single street on Nar Shadda than could have been found in the Senate building at the height of the Republic. A Sakiyan woman kept close to the buildings and slid into a cantina. Soft music filled the room from the mixed race band playing at the far side. The Sakiyan walked up to the counter and the horned Deveronian bartender asked “What’ll it be?”

The Sakiyan placed a 30 credit chip on the counter. “The location of the nearest hanger.”

He pocketed the credit chip with a smile and proceeded to explain where she could find what she was seeking. Money could get you anything on Nar Shadda.

Pleased, the Sakiyan returned to the crowded streets. The air was dense with smog and humidity. A short distance away she noticed a group, one of which was a loudly speaking street merchant. The speaker was a female Twi’lek. Her arms were darting about frantically and both lekku were twitching. She was accompanied by a male Twi’lek, two male humans, and a Gand. All three looked ready for violence. “We had a deal, Xigra!” the Twi’lek woman yelled.

The other merchant, an immense male Trandosian, replied calmly, yet voistrously, “And you didn’t fulfill your end of, Yorkema. The deal is over.”

Yorkema’s hand moved for her side holstered blaster.

“Kill them all!” boomed Xigra as he pointed directly at Yorkema.

From multiple directions, blaster fire erupted in the street. A Gank, a cyborg—more machine than living being—stepped from the background to stand beside the Trandosian merchant. The Gank raised its arm and the hand shifted to the side to reveal a blaster emitter. He fired once at Yorkema. The errant shot missed the Twi’lek’s left lekku by millimeters.

Another Gand, this one wearing an old piloting crest on its clothes, stepped between Xigra and Yorkema, waving both of its three-fingered hands and buzz-clicking furiously. The blaster fire came to an abrupt halt as Xigra’s shooters had realized that all of Yorkema’s crew had disappeared from the street. Yorkema made an effort of holding out her empty hands for all to see.

Teaming Up

The Sakiyan, still hiding in a side alley, took great interest in the piloting crest of the Gand. She knew where to get a ship, but not how to fly it.

The Gank’s hand returned to its position and he approached the Gand. Their neural communicator implants had found the same frequency. They knew that each was looking for profitable work and figured they would stick together, pilot and muscle.

The Sakiyan cautiously approached the pair. She needed off the moon but the less anyone knew about her the better.

“My pilot crossed the wrong person and met their end. I’m looking to hire a new one for my crew,” the Sakiyan lied. “You two work together?”

The Gand made a couple of clicking sounds while looking at the Gank.

“We’re in,” the Gank explained. “Where is your ship?”

The Sakiyan led them to the hanger. As she had feared, the hanger door was locked. She would have to slice into it quickly. She didn’t want them to suspect that she shouldn’t have access and she certainly didn’t want to set off any alarms. She connected her datapad and went about slicing into the system. The door opened smoothly. She had succeeded without alerting anyone. She quickly scanned the open hanger floor and settled on a Krayt gunship.

The trio, under the Sakiyan’s lead, approached the gunship. She again connected the datapad and after a short wait, the ramp lowered. “Head in and get the ship prepped. I’ll check for any tracking devices.”

The Gank and the Gand exchanged skeptical looks but complied. The Gand powered up the craft after coaxing the panel with a clenched fist. The Gank searched the ship for the Sakiyan’s crew. He found the gunship empty, as he had expected. The Gand took off and brought the ship into the moon’s orbit.

On board, they began exchanging cautious amounts of information about each other’s lives.

Getting to Know Each Other

Gand from Core Rule Book - for Fleeing Nar Shadda: A Star Wars RPG Narrative
Picture from Fantasy Flight Games Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook

The Gand was seeking to advance the Gand way of life. She was most interested in genetically improving the race as a whole, since she believed that Gands were superior beings. But with the Gank before her, she was curious as to what cybernetic enhancements could do for the Gand race.

Star Wars Edge of the Empire Lords of Nal Hutta A Sourcebook for Hutt Space
Picture from Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Edge of the Empire Lords of Nal Hutta – A Sourcebook for Hutt Space

The Gank’s central processing unit had been damaged and he knew little about himself. He had no knowledge of what landed him on Nar Shadda. All he knew was that he felt highly motivated to commit and facilitate crime. He had known that the Sakiyan was lying about having a crew and a ship, but he had assumed—correctly—that the lie would lead to illegal activity. Now he was among strangers, including himself at this point, aboard a stolen ship.

Star Wars Edge of the Empire Lords of Nal Hutta A Sourcebook for Hutt Space
Picture from Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Edge of the Empire Lords of Nal Hutta – A Sourcebook for Hutt Space

The Sakiyan shared with the two that she was a technician that specialized in computers. But she kept to herself that she is an employee of the Black Sun, an immensely powerful criminal organization that was currently trying to edge out the Hutt’s long standing claim to the multitude of criminal activities. She had found herself way behind enemy lines in Hutt Space on the Smuggler’s Moon of Nar Shadda. She was collecting information on some of the Hutt clans.

Making Repairs

The Sakiyan offered to look at the processor of the Gank to determine if she could help. She found that it would take a great deal of effort to repair the Gank’s central processor. The Gand located a processor aboard the ship’s inventory. They offered to sedate and install the secondary processor to see if it would help lighten the load of the Gank’s damaged central processor.

With a fair bit of difficulty, the two inserted the new processor in a spare slot of the Gank’s head moments before the anesitic wore off.

The Gank shook off the grogginess as he stood. “You are not my master,” said a robotic voice. His hand slid from its position at the wrist, revealing the hidden blaster. The processor on board the gunship had belonged to a Super Battle Droid. Many of which had been sold to various security forces and criminal organizations following the surrender of the Confederacy for Independent Systems at the end of the Clone Wars. The newly formed Empire had the Grand Army of the Republic in the early days and had no need for a droid army. “You are not my master,” the robotic voice repeated as it aimed the blaster at the Sakiyan.

The Sakiyan swore. The Gand’s hand slid slowly towards its blaster.

The Gand offered, via the neural comm implant and all of the coercion she could muster, to return the ship to Nar Shadda if the Gank powered down all of its systems and rest for a short while. It worked and the Gank sat down against a bulkhead. Seconds after his eyes were closed, the Sakiyan hit him with another dose of anestitic and removed the Super Battle Droid processor.

So Long, Nar Shadda

“We need to get away from Nar Shadda and out of Hutt Space,” the Sakiyan said to the Gand as she started running calculations for a hyperspace jump. “Here,” she pointed at the screen. “Jump is plotted. Let’s go.”

The Gand chattered a response and activated the hyperdrive, leaving Nar Shadda behind them.

Moments later, the Ubrikkan ship yards lay before the stolen gunship.

At the Ubrikkan ship yards, the trio found a Sullustan mechanic with the know how to reprogram the gunship’s transponder. Unfortunately, it would cost more than the three had amongst them.

“I’ll pay for any repairs that you need.” A Mon Calamari with a confident stride approached. He could tell that the group wouldn’t be with the Empire and he needed a ride.

 

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Romance Writing Prompts: September 2016

Romance Writing Prompts: September 2016

You have the artist to thank for these writing prompts. We had not posted any romance prompts since July, but I was having some serious mental block on anything romantic. But Leslie saved the day! You almost got a second round of fantasy. Below are four brand new writing prompts to set up a romantic story. Or you can be like me, and make them all dark with relative ease. Be sure to share your stories with us!

romance-writing-prompts-september-2016-their-eyes-met-suddenly-they-were-alone-in-the-crowd
Their eyes met. Suddenly, they were alone in the crowd.
romance-writing-prompts-september-2016-i-love-you-he-whispers-under-his-breath-as-the-love-of-his-life-walks-down-the-aisle-to-the-man-he-is-paid-to-assassinate
“I love you,” he whispers under his breath as the love of his life walks down the aisle to the man he is paid to assassinate.
romance-writing-prompts-september-2016-she-opened-her-apartment-door-to-hundreds-of-roses-she-knew-they-were-from-him-he-had-found-her
She opened her apartment door to hundreds of roses. She knew they were from him; he had found her.
romance-writing-prompts-september-2016-the-king-had-made-her-his-queen-despite-knowing-this-would-start-a-world-wide-war
The king had made her his queen, despite knowing this would start a world wide war.

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The Blacksmith Part 3

The Blacksmith Part 3 A FREE Flash Fiction - Read it here

The Blacksmith Part 3

[The following is a handwritten document on loose leaf parchment. We believe these writings also belong to the soldier who owned the journal found at the Crushed Skull Inn.]

We were surrounded by constant movement in the shadows, blurred by unthinkable speed.

I clutched the torch almost as firm as my sword. I tried to locate the source of the movement. I pressed my back against the enormous blacksmith. “Why the hell did we not expect lookouts?” I asked.

“I did,” he said with a laugh. “We have their attention. Now the fun begins.”

As if on cue, one of the blurred figures darted from the shadows. I dropped to one knee, thrust the torch upwards to meet the creature, and swung the sword. A near inaudible shrill pierced my ears.

The creature’s screams were silenced with a blow of the blacksmith’s warhammer. “One down,” he verbally noted as the beast’s head flattened against the rocky surface of the cave entrance.

A blur of movement caught my attention. With superhuman speed, another creature lunged at the blacksmith’s back. It failed to acknowledge my sword; the headless body took two steps  before collapsing into a heap of dust.

That was the moment I realized what these creatures truly were. Vampires. Humanoid in nature, but there was nothing natural about these beasts.

Suddenly, a force slammed into me, pressing me to the cavernous wall. The torch flew from my hand and rolled several feet away. I pressed my arm up to the vampire’s chest, just beneath its chin. I attempted to raise my sword, but the creature’s icy fingers gripped my wrist.

The fire light danced across the creature’s taut face as it struggled to make contact with my flesh. The bloodless skin, pale and translucent, was stretched over it’s skeleton. It’s lips were shredded from razor sharp teeth. It inched closer with each attempted bite, driven purely by thirst for blood. My blood.

A sharp pain shot up my sword arm as the vampire twisted my wrist and I heard my sword clatter uselessly to the ground. I pushed the creature back with my other arm as it let out a hiss.

The vampire prepared to finish it’s prey.

I heard the metallic impact of the hammer as the hiss fell silent.

I looked up to find the blacksmith. The torch light showed the man’s body dusted with remains, but I couldn’t see his face. His knuckles became white on the hammer’s grip. “Were you bit?” he growled.

He proceeded to check despite my assurances that I had not been bitten.

Following a thorough search, we made camp in the cavern. The blacksmith expects more will return by dawn.

[An inspection of the cave turned up eight separate piles of dust and no further signs of the soldier or the blacksmith. In the margins of the document, there is a crudely drawn map that suggests the pair may be travelling east to Worminster.]

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Caught in a Spider Web Comic

Caught in a Spider Web

I love bugs, insects, spiders, and other critters. They have their place in this world along side the rest of us. Spiders, especially garden spiders, are really good to have around the house. They eat mosquitoes, moths, gnats, and all those other flying bugs that bother you on the front porch and land in your drink. Unless they create webs in walking paths, they are left alone to live in peace. Now it is spider web season (late summer, early autumn) and it’s becoming a bit much. The webs are EVERYWHERE! I try to walk around the webs or use sticks to pull them down while whispering “sorry, I know you worked really hard. It really is beautiful!” Sometimes I am not paying attention and walk right into them. The horror.

Caught in a Spider Web Comic

Spider: “Come on come on”

Bug: *Buzzzzzzz*

Spider: “I ain’t got all day!”

Bug: *Buzzzzzzzzz*

Me: “Get it off!!!” ; Bug: *Buzzzz* ; Spider: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

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World Map: Vallonde

World Map: Vallonde

I have started experimenting with map making. After poking around Pinterest for a while, I came across a post from fantasticmaps.com. It was exactly what I needed. The ideas for Vallonde were ready to take shape.

So I made my very first map! I started with the coastlines then added in mountain ranges, rivers, and forests. After the natural landscape was set, I placed a handful of cities and towns throughout the map. I used a name generator from The Hypertext d20 SRD site to fill in the names of the cities and towns. Sorry, working on naming my own world and needed assistance to get these named. The descriptions, however, are completely made up and even offer a few adventure hooks. You are, of course, welcome to use this as it is for your game’s setting or change whatever you need to fit a current campaign.

World Map of Vallonde, a fictional world for roleplaying.
And, yes, it is colored by crayons.

Cities of Vallonde

  1. The Great City of Sabryeg. The Northern capital.
  2. The Sentinel City of Webrook. Statues of bygone heroes loom over the wide, carved streets of this mountain based metropolis.
  3. The Astral Port of Hellonde. Boats, as far as the eyes can see.
  4. The Elemental City of Fastedalr. Houses a reputable magic school.
  5. The Ethereal Port of Paburh. A picturesque city by the sea.
  6. The Divine City of Unsfalls. Most of the city is found in the branches, high above the ground.
  7. Labrook, the City of Bridges. Situated between two mighty rivers.
  8. The Garden City of Naramunz. Farming, elevated to an art form.
  9. Barakib, the City of Song. The sea breeze sings through the elaborate architecture.
  10. The Great Ports of Weeford. The Southern capital.

Towns of Vallonde

  • A: Neathy. Quiet fishing town, with paranoid residents.
  • B: Bastow. Home of the largest lighthouse.
  • C: Iggardlundr. A monastic order resides in the peaks of the mountain range.
  • D: Tiregal. Largest horse ranch in the land.
  • E: Cawold. Frequent sightings of strange things in the river.
  • F: Radun. Simple farm lands.
  • G: Heriklif. A growing fish market.
  • H: Bacot. Residents are afraid to leave their homes after sunset.
  • I: Ukkhizdil. Filled with soldiers’ barracks, to protect Naramunz.
  • J: Teegrove. Herb growers. Source of the area’s medicines.
  • K: Olfalls. Rumors often reference a mighty wizard.
  • L: Castow. Claims of sea beasts sinking ships.
  • M: Nalukkhel. Rumors of legendary treasures in the nearby forest.
  • N: Wanderer’s Stop. A small town where travelers meet before exploring the Southern Reaches.
  • O: Scamor. Frequent mermaid sightings.
  • P: Tumunzar. Pirate haven.
  • Q: Mithloriand. Reclusive folk look suspiciously upon newcomers.
  • R: Worminster. Legends of dark magic always accompany this town.

Future Maps?

I definitely plan to keep working on maps. I am working hard to shape my own world that will feature a deep, rich history and amazing characters. We’ve provided a slight glimpse into that world with the introduction of Brix and Gregor. I’m really excited to bring this world to life and share it with you all. I truly hope you enjoy.

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Horror Writing Prompts: September 2016

Horror Writing Prompts: September 2016

Few things pull you into a story like the anticipation of terrifying events to come. This week’s writing prompts will focus on horror. Please share your spine-tingling stories with us. Leslie might not read your horror stories, but I certainly will. Happy writing!

horror-writing-prompts-september-2016-the-police-found-a-dog-chewing-on-the-remains
The police found a dog chewing on the remains.
horror-writing-prompts-september-2016-how-fortunate-he-thought-as-he-slid-the-window-open-and-entered-the-home
“How fortunate,” he thought as he slid the window open and entered the home.
horror-writing-prompts-september-2016-the-religions-were-wrong-the-true-gods-are-angry
The religions were wrong; the true gods are angry.
horror-writing-prompts-september-2016-dressed-in-baggy-colorful-clothing-the-man-finishes-applying-his-makeup-the-audience-will-never-forget-this-circus
Dressed in baggy, colorful clothing, the man finishes applying his makeup. The audience will never forget this circus.

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The Magician

Foreword

This week’s flash fiction is dedicated to my sister, Krystal Clark. When we posted the fantasy writing prompts last month, she told me that she would like to see a comedic take on the magician that had an unexpected body. My humor is a bit on the dark side, I’m afraid. Happy birthday, Krystal!

The Magician Flash Fiction FREE

The Magician

The room erupted with thunderous applause. Removing his comically large top hat, the short, frail man bowed several times before the crowd. Sweat beaded upon his brow. He repeated the bows and waved the hat as the elated crowd continued. He could not enjoy the moment. The magician made a mistake. He does not know what to do with the body.

The magician awkwardly moved towards the back of the stage to the scarlet curtains. He sprinted the last few steps and nervously shuffled the drapes until he found the opening. His assistant had already moved the equipment backstage.

“Oh, my goodness!” her shrill voice made him jump. Her bubbly smile widened. “You killed out there!”

“Would you keep your voice down?” he growled as he clutched her by the shoulders.

The jubilation faded from her face. “No,” she stated harshly. She shook her head. “We’re not doing this again.”

The magician turned and ran for the stairs that led under the stage.

A large and elaborately decorated trunk stood in the center of the room. It was an exact copy of the one he used during his act. That one was still on stage. The magician threw open the lid and glared in. He immediately slammed the trunk shut again and looked around the empty room. He took a deep breath and slowly opened the lid again. The hinges groaned and he could feel it in his teeth.

The door behind him closed with a thump. He leapt several inches into the air, like a cat. He even let out a short hiss to accompany the action. The trunk’s lid thumped shut.

“Would you calm down,” his assistant breathed through clenched teeth. “It’s not like you haven’t done this before.”

“But–,” he stammers.

“But nothing.” Her high pitched voice had disappeared. “You’re just a talented distraction. We have a good setup here. You get them behind stage. Then while the crowd watches you, I fulfill the contract.”

They stared at each other in silence.

Clearly unable to handle the silence, the assistant blurted out, “What? What is it?”

“Um,” the magician pointed to the closed trunk. “It’s the wrong person.”

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Grown-Up Goggles Comic

Grown-Up Goggles

Children are about a gullible as you can get, but as we age we develop a filter. This filter keeps us from being scammed, duped, tricked, conned, etc. I like to call them Grown-Up Goggles. They help adults see the world differently (tell the kids that, it’ll blow their minds). I have noticed that these vision enhancers are automatically equipped when I see the “latest and greatest” technology, especially phones.

Grown-Up Goggles Comic - Technology

Top image: (Left, Top) “Better Sound” (Left, Bottom) “The Newest Version” (Middle, Bottom) “$989.99” (Right, Top) “High Quality Photos” (Right, Bottom) “Bigger screen Clearer Picture”

Bottom image: (Left, Top) “The speakers aren’t as good as claimed” (Left, Bottom) “It’s a trap!” “This will be the OLD version by next week!” (Middle, Bottom) “$1Month.bills” (Right, Top) “It’s cheaper to get a camera” (Right, Bottom) “You already have a computer and television.” {The only 4 buttons you will use.} indicating the “phone”, “text messages”, “Internet browser”, and “camera” buttons.

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