A Serrated Blade – Stacy

Horatio gripped the wooden handle of the knife in his hand, sweat beading on his forehead. With one deft movement, he thrust the blade toward Agador. The sharp point shot through the small man’s hair, just missing the top of his scalp by a fraction of a millimeter, and plunged into the wooden board behind him.

The crowd cheered.

With eyes shut, Horatio released a small sigh of relief and quickly threw the remainder of the small knives at Agador’s bound body. One, two, three, four… Each blade met the flimsy board with a satisfying THWACK!, and formed a neat frame around the captive who remained motionless and silent, careful not to breathe too heavily so as not to throw off the rhythm.

Horatio only opened his eyes when the announcer’s weighty voice boomed through the megaphone. “La-dies and gen-tlemen! The great — the amazing — the fantastic Horatio! — the most daring knife thrower in all the world!” The audience blurred, all the faces blending with the lights into one mass of color and static. To the side of the stage, Agador was untied, and with a flourish, he bounded forward, arms raised triumphantly to the air as indication that he had escaped unscathed. The audience erupted into applause and whoops of laughter. Horatio gave one modest bow and retreated from the stage.

Back in the comfort of his small room, he poured a glass of bourbon, settled into his armchair, and smoothed his inky mustache. The din outside had begun to fade into the black as spectators stumbled home, eyes wide and sparkling with the magic of the night, fists clutching leftover bags of popcorn and fairy floss. As the crowds faded and the cicadas hummed in the trees, Horatio pulled out a small, metal frame from the desk drawer. With his eyes closed, he ran his fingers over the cool filigree that surrounded her face.

Helena.

He didn’t want to look at her lips curled into that sweet smile, because he could feel her eyes burn through him. It had been two months since she left, the wheels of the wagon car rolling in rhythm as he sharpened each knife over and over until the night and the road fell quiet. He didn’t blame her for leaving. After all, he was cursed. Continue reading

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Broad-Shouldered Beasts– Alexis

It was her that’s making my life miserable. It was also her that’s making my life worth living. It’s funny how someone you love so much can Also be the person you currently can’t stand. I check my watch for the umpteenth time, watching that minute hand run on overdrive. -we are going to be LATE. How will I explain that to my boss? I need to make a good impression. This is my only shot

I feel like I’m guarding the door, pacing back and forth. The only thing I’m missing is a spear, or a musket, or whatever they use to guard doors these days. “Please hurry, Liza.” I hear clanking in the bathroom. A door slams. Then enters the most amazing woman I have ever seen. 5 years together and her appearance still takes my breath away.

Her face is etched with a scowl. She is still dressed in an old band tee that swallows her. “I’m not going, Tim. I’m done. I don’t feel like being in a crowd of strangers, discussing the weather and how I’m liking Manhattan do far. I can’t tolerate the fake today.”

I’m tense. “I’ve been waiting by this door for 20 minutes on you. Couldn’t you have told me you weren’t going sooner?”

“Listen, I didn’t want to be here in the first place. I’m not going.” Continue reading

Run, Rabbit, Run – Julianne

Harold chanced a glimpse behind him. Bad move. His eyes filled with terror, surely taking in the sight of me – sweat dripping from my brow, feet pounding the pavement with the force of an Olympic sprinter, and a deadly stare that must be reminiscent of the way a cheetah locks on to a gazelle. He bolted. Funny how quickly even the feeblest of creatures will move when they know it is Death chasing after them.

It wasn’t his fault, his life having to end this way. Harold Smith was just a means to an end. A means to avoiding my end. He might not have realized it, but Harold’s life was precious to me. Death chases everyone. You’ve just got to be quicker than Death. Harold was fast, but not faster than me. I’d had a lot more practice outrunning Death.

The watch face that was fused to my wrist and central nervous system illuminated as I ran. Fifteen minutes. I was cutting it close this time. Tick tick tick – I could hear it counting down in my head.

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Let’s Talk About Your Hair – Stacy

It was no time to be a maiden.

All over the land, infant girls were being stolen from their soft, glistening cradles and swept away in the moonlight. In the girls’ innocence and beauty lied power, and their wicked kidnappers used the babes as a means of siphoning that power for their own evil purposes. As the girls grew, they knew no other life. They were often too weak and drained of energy to try to explore, but as a precaution against escape, the maidens spent languid days locked in isolate towers.

Indeed, it was no time to be a beautiful maiden, but Eldora was no maiden. Beautiful? Certainly. Her hair shined like ravens’ wings, and her eyes glowed as if possessed by emeralds. However, Eldora was a sorceress. She, personally, found all the baby stealing archaic and unnecessary, and further, she had never had much patience for children. What would one do with a baby to tend all day, no matter how lethargic it may be? She much preferred the company of Adragaron, devoted companion and wizard, in their quiet home nestled just beyond the Great Forest. The crumbling tower had seemed a far stretch when they stumbled upon it, but with time, it proved excellent as a base for summoning and flight. Completely isolated from the town, they could conduct their magic peacefully and undisturbed. In fact, they had not seen a human pass by in over a century.

This is why it came as such a surprise when Prince Herbert appeared at the foot of the tower one shining spring morning.

“Hark!” he cried, peering up at the tower, the sun in his eyes. Eldora kept a distance from the window but stared out at him curiously.

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July Prompt Post

As you might’ve seen around the site, the last week of each month is reserved for all three of the Scribblers to post individual stories based on a common prompt. You can expect to read Stacy’s story on Wednesday, Julie’s on Thursday, and Alexis’s on Friday. The Scribblers have selected the following prompt for July’s short story roundup:

Base a story off of a single line or verse from any song.

Be sure to check back all this week as the Scribblers respond to the prompt. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

~ The Scribblers

Grandma’s Gloves–Alexis

I was walking down the narrow path overgrown with weeds, wrestling with a basket of food. This long, meandering trip is the only solace I get from the usual storm of stress. It’s difficult taking care of your family when they can no longer care for themselves; it’s difficult watching family age and die off when there is so little to begin with.

I see the willow tree in the distance, the same tree I used to sit beneath as a child wondering why it was constantly weeping though it had no reason to. It didn’t live in the unforgiving world that man does. But, there it sits, weeping and whimpering and longing just like man. Doesn’t it know that it’s etched into an immortal plant safe from us? I wish that I could stop there today, curled into its knotted shoulder so we could cry together… But, what adult has time for that? What adult has time to feel?

There was a slight turn in the road toward a rather large river. If you followed the river, it emptied into a large lake with water calm as silk, calm enough to learn to skip smooth stones that blanketed the banks. There wasn’t much time to skip stones, to gaze pensively into the liquid mirror. I sadly climbed the bowed bridge and ran my hand along the splintered banister.

Almost there, I thought as I decended the other side. She’s so far out of my way… But, this is what you do for family.

The path snakes right, then left, and right again through a valley of sunflowers and into the dense woods that form an arch around any wanderer, protecting them and their secrets. No matter how hot and bright the sun rages, nothing can penetrate these woods.

And it hits me, as it always does at this point in my trek, how fragile and sickly she’s gotten the past few months. She’s not herself, just a shell, an encasement, that’s housing a virus that won’t leave. Death happens to us all. It’s quick and merciful. I don’t understand how she can go on fighting. Why would she want to? No pain, no struggling, and she could reclaim herself from the void clutching her from inside. If I were her… I’m not sure I would…

And me “helping” her by stringing her along, tethering her to a painful world. For what reason?

The bark of a wolf jolted me out of my thoughts.

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Blood & Ink – Julianne

“I want to be an author,” Ariana declared.

The village square went silent. She was met with bewildered stares, most adults fearing what kind of child would willingly choose such a profession. Some of the adults whispered behind open palms to one another, but in such silence Ariana could hear them swearing she must be mad.

The Presentation was a yearly event, one in which all of-age children would profess their desired occupation. Community members of that occupation would then volunteer to take on the child as an apprentice, training them better for their desired trade. Ariana was only 13, but she’d known she wanted to be an author from the moment she was old enough to talk. Growing up in the orphanage, the other children had needed a distraction from the harsh realities of their world. Ariana had a vast arsenal of stories locked away in her mind, and she longed to put them to paper. The den mother of the orphanage had taught her to read and write, both of which she excelled at, but Ariana had been warned never to use to use the ink to write her stories.

“I will take the girl,” a low, gravelly voice called from the back of the audience. The village of Canal had only one author, so Ariana had anticipated Jackaby Bardolf being her only option for an apprenticeship. Nothing, however, had prepared her for actually meeting him. She had read his works, of course, wanting to familiarize herself with his style of prose, and found herself rather disappointed. She had hoped her only choice of Master for the Presentation would at least be one she’d enjoy, but his stories were dark, dismal, and often uncomfortable for Ariana to read.

As the man approached the stage, Ariana sharply inhaled and set her mind to accepting him as Master, no matter what her prejudices against his writing style were. He was a professional author, and if she truly wanted to be one as well, she would have to learn from him. The sea of villagers parted as he passed, none wanting to get too close to the man, some out of reverence and some out of fear.

Jackaby Bardolf looked as menacing as his stories. A towering man dressed in a suit the color of rainclouds, he stood beside Ariana on the stage. The announcement came from the plump Mister Hargreve, Master of Proceedings for the Presentation. “Ariana Wylde, I present you to your Master for the profession of Author, Mister Jackaby Bardolf.”
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