Friday Fiction – Shadowman

“I should just go.” Ciar stared toward the hallway.

man-164217_1280“No. You shouldn’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want you dragged away from me? That’s why not. Haven’t we been over this, like, a thousand times?” Lon hovered near his friend, managing to loom even darker than their surroundings.

“Well, yeah. But I don’t get it. The hallway is the same right now as it is in pitch darkness. Why shouldn’t I go?”

Lon growled, his black eyes hard as glass pebbles. “You should not go because when you step into the light, I will lose my best friend. Imagine the guilt. Imagine my shame. Imagine…” He cut off as Ciar drifted closer to the light.

“I just… I want to know what it’s like.”

“Dude. You’re crazy. Seriously. I think you need help.”

“I don’t need help. I just need something different.” He edged even closer to where the beam cut through the darkness. “I want adventure. Something other than just the endless darkness.”

Lon stretched himself thin, allowing a tendril of grey mist to merge with his friend. “Don’t go,” he said. “I need you. You’re all I got.”

“Come with me. Come to the light with me.” His voice sounded excited for the first time in a long time. “We can go together. Think of it – the two of us. Out there.”

Ciar brightened which made his friend shudder and pull back. “Oh, come on. You used to dream with me. Now you’re just like everyone else. Afraid of the light.”

“Wisdom looks like fear to idiots, man. It’s one thing to wonder. It’s one thing to dream.” He drifted deeper into the shadow behind him. “But I remember what happened to Isra.” There was sadness in his voice. “She’s still out there.”

“Don’t go there.” Ciar sounded angry, but he moved closer to the shadow with Lon. “I am not Isra.”

“Of course you aren’t. She didn’t know the danger. You do. You’re much stupider than Isra.”

“I hope you get washed out.” There was genuine anger in his voice. “She was supposed to shadow me. ME! And she just… left.” He turned back towards the hallway.

“Without her what’s the point of staying?”

“Putting yourself out there won’t change anything,” Lon said, his voice soft and full of regret. “Until her carrier gets out of the light, she’s trapped. And even then, she has to want to come back.”

Ciar pressed himself to the far wall, spilling down onto the shag carpet below. He couldn’t escape Lon’s words. “She’s not free. Hasn’t been for a long time. And if you go out there, you won’t be free either.”

“I’m not free now,” Ciar said. “I miss her too much.”

“I know.”

“No. You don’t.” Ciar sighed. “Nobody knows. Nobody understands.”

Lon flinched at the desperation in Ciar’s tone. “Hey… come with me. We’ll talk about it. Maybe I’ll come with you tomorrow.”

“No. I think… I think I’m going now.”

Lon stood helpless as the other shadowman moved into the bright hallway and instantly attached to a man walking past. The man’s shadow deepened and Lon watched his friend carried out of sight.

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

Friday Fiction – Apothecary

Rest in peace? Hmmph. Not likely. I growl, a low rumble in the back of my throat. It’s a good thing I can’t be heard. Incorporeal growling tends to unsettle people.

Then again, some people deserve to be unsettled.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been dead. A few weeks. Maybe months. Time passes differently, in-between. I figure that’s to my advantage. I have all the time I want to get back at my charming, cheating wife; her and that so-called clerk she hired to run my shop.

I watch as she spends her time mooning over that boy behind the counter. By the Gods, woman. He might be young enough to be our son. He does know his herbals, though. Doing a damn fine job running my business when he isn’t busy being fondled by my wife.

He has brought in some unorthodox compounds. Goldbud for stomach ailments and lost appetite. Dragon flower for skin problems. Bat bones for weak eyesight.

The Goldbud isn’t likely to work. Maybe the bat bones though.

mortar-89048_640He prepares to grind the lightweight bones and I realize I’m frustrated. I don’t want to like him.

In my irritation, I flail my invisible arms through my workspace. His workspace.

To my surprise, the bones are strewn across the countertop.

I watch as he jumps back. His shoulders crawl up to his ears. A visible shiver passes through him. His dark eyes scan the table, the wall, the room. Does his gaze linger on my invisible form a moment too long? Certainly not. He is simply staring in the direction of the scattered bones.

I stare at the bones too. They moved. I moved them. I reach in again, more deliberately this time, and discover I can easily slide the thin white sticks across the table.

My replacement watches for a moment longer, then squares his shoulders and reaches. He picks up the bone, and his movements tug at my hand. For a brief moment, my hand moves with his, then his with mine.

We separate but the sensation still tingles where I have no right to feel anything.

He rubs his offended hand and his gaze lingers on the space I occupy. “I know you’re there,” he says. “I’m not the one who killed you. It was her. She told me there were rats. I told her how to kill them.” He paused then said, “I didn’t know she meant you. I’m sorry.”

I consider his words as he proceeds to pulverize the bones to a fine powder.

I wonder if it’s unusual for the dead to not know they were murdered. It makes sense to me now. Afterwards, the infidelity was obvious. My death and its cause are not things I can see, but the evidence is there.

He fills a glazed pot with the bone powder and speaks again, interrupting my reverie. “I know how to bring you back.” A dark smile plays across his face.

Copyright Notice: Please note that this is mostly unedited, raw writing. I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story. Please do not copy, quote, or post anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

It’s alive!!!

And it’s a thing of beauty… even though some oNewSkin2f my characters are ugly. Like, seriously ugly.

But it’s all good. And it’s published. My first flash fiction collection.

You can find it on Amazon — it’s currently only available for the Kindle. I may decide to add some additional outlets at some point, but for now I’m happy just to have it out there.

I hope you enjoy it! And I already have story ideas percolating to do it again next month!

I almost forgot…

Kat's Advent CalendarLast year I had the opportunity to participate in a writing Advent Calendar hosted by good friend and multi-published author, Katherina Gerlach. As her name might suggest, she is from Germany, the land of Advent Calendars.

This year’s calendar is populated by fantasy writers who specialize in fairy tale retellings. Each of the included stories has been serialized for the calendar, but the whole collection will also be offered as an ebook on Christmas if you sign up for the alerts!

It’s not too late to join the fun! If you’re interested, visit this page to see the story segments that are already available. And don’t forget to join the list on that page to get the ebook for Christmas.

Review: Rabia Gale – Venus

I have been wanting to include reviews here for a while. My thought is that when I find someone whose work moves me, inspires me, or excites me, I should take the time to share it with you.

Especially when it is something that hits my own muse’s happy buttons. There’s a difference between stories that entertain and satisfy on a reader level, and stories that make the muse poke you in the ribs with her elbow, saying, “I wish I’d written that.”

Author Rabia Gale, in my experience, writes the rib-bruising kind of stories.

I’ve been aware of her writing for some time because we are both members of Holly Lisle’s incredible site, How To Think Sideways (affiliate link). But while we have both learned about the writer’s craft from the same guru, I don’t think we have ever had more than the briefest of direct interactions on a personal level. In other words, I’m not posting about her writing because we’re friends. I’m posting because I find her writing beautiful and inspiring. I hope, someday, to grow up to write like her. 😉

VenusI’m calling this a review, so I definitely need to comment on the story. But I really can’t say much about it. She Walks In Beauty is a flash fiction published on her website. With such a short work of fiction, saying very much about the story itself might give too much away.

What I can say, though, is that She Walks In Beauty is one in a series of flash fiction stories that Ms. Gale is writing based on the planets; in this case, Venus. In this particular story, she was trying to capture the juxtaposition between the goddess Venus, known for her beauty, and the harsh realities existing on the planet itself. I think she captured the dichotomy brilliantly. I was captivated by this briefest of tales, and will continue to ponder its facets, both the bright and shadowed, for far longer than it took me to read.

I highly recommend visiting her site and reading this mesmerizing-but-brief story. And while you’re there, check out her serialized novel, Quartz (also free), as well as the commercial fiction she has available. I haven’t read all of her books yet, but I did read Rainbird and was thoroughly enchanted. I’ll definitely be reading more of Rabia Gale in the future, and I hope you find her writing as enthralling as I have.