Fiction Friday 07.10.20

Sometimes an Angel shows up and really fucks up your plans. There I was, about to marry the love of my life. We stood on the rocks in the beautiful gardens of the museum. Stone looked up to see something floating down from the sky. He grabbed my hand and squeezed. “Tempest. There’s something flying our way. What is that?”

 I looked up. I half expected to see fireworks set off by one of my drunken uncles. Imagine my surprise when instead there was a flame haired angel descending from the heavens. He floated down with his arms spread wide and his eyes closed. I let out a stream of curses. The angel landed beside the justice of the peace. The officiant backed away slowly and started running as soon as he was clear of the crowd. All of our gathered family and friends gasped in wonder at the beautiful face now radiating love and light at them. I swatted at the Angel. Everyone went dead silent. “Dammit Dad. You promised!”

The Angel folded his wings over his shoulders and a middle aged average looking man stood in his place. The crowd looked in shock at him but their memories soon began to fade, most humans can’t process the supernatural even if it shows up in the middle of a wedding ceremony. My dad took my hand. “Tempest. I told you I would be here. I apologize for being late. I was off squashing monsters.”

I rolled my eyes at him and pulled my hand away from him. “There are always monsters to squash through the mirror. You have never been on time for a single thing in my life. This is my wedding dammit. Do you always have to make such a dramatic entrance?”

Stone watched the heated discussion between my father and I with the same calm demeanor he always wore. He took my hand in his. “Tempest. It’s alright. If your Dad doesn’t mind hunting down the officiant, we can start over. Your Dad can even walk you down the aisle like you had hoped.”

I smiled at the amazingly patient man who was never fazed by anything. “Alright. But if he starts shit because of Mom, I will run him through with his own damn heavenly sword.” Stone kissed my cheek. I turned to my father. “You are lucky your future son in law has more patience for your bullshit than I do. You heard him. Go find the officiant and heed my warning. Stay away from mother.” My father bowed and hurried off to find the fleeing justice of the peace.

Stone began addressing the crowd and I slipped through a side door into the museum. The air was much cooler and it helped me calm down. I walked to the ancient greek temple that had been rebuilt stone by stone inside the large atrium. My mother stood trapped inside its marble columns. She had been freed from her prison hundreds of years ago when an earthquake had caused the temple to fall down. Three years ago some well meaning archaeologist had unearthed the temple. The museum had paid for the dig and decided to create an entire exhibit around the lost temple of Iris. When the last stone column had been raised into place, my mother disappeared from the kitchen table where we had been planning my wedding. It took me nearly six months to find her. Several stories in the local paper talked about the haunted temple. I found her by accident while scoping out places to have our wedding. I turned the corner of the museum and found my mother floating helplessly inside the temple. The humans couldn’t see her, but I had never been human. Now she was still trapped here. The exhibit was only due to run for another three months or so. Until then my mother was forced to watch my wedding from a distance. I could not get the museum directors to agree to a wedding inside the temple. Not gonna lie. There were long nights of crying over that refusal. The garden was the closest I could get. 

My father walked in and stared in disbelief at the temple. “How? Ugh. Stupid humans. Do you know how much work it took to create the earthquake to free her in the first place???” He put his head in his hands for a moment. “Hello Iris. I see that damn curse is still alive and well.”

My mother nodded to him. “Yes. Well. That’s what I get for refusing to deliver divorce papers for Zeus. I still think it was worth it, but this imprisonment bullshit is getting old.”

My father sighed. “Well. I’m sure there’s a way to dismantle this thing again. Maybe some well placed C4?”

I cleared my throat. “Maybe after the reception? I’d like to marry Stone today before he turns back into a gargoyle, ok?”

My father nodded and bowed to my mother. “Lady Iris. I know we’ve had our difficulties. I promise to free you once again. First, let me escort this beautiful child of ours to her beloved.”

Mother smiled. “Thank you. I accept your promise.”

Father escorted me back out to the garden. I married Stone without any further delay. Once the guests departed from the reception, the sun was nearly setting. 

Stone took me in his arms. “I apologize for you having to spend our wedding night alone. Someday I will get to see your beauty under starlight.” He kissed me until all thoughts left my mind. Then he pulled himself up onto the pedestal in the garden. As the sky darkened, he posed himself once again. As the last rays of the sun sank below the horizon, he turned to stone. His gold wedding band glinted in the twinkling lights of the garden. I turned to my father. 

“Well. Let’s see about freeing mother and then maybe we can take this stone skin curse off my husband next, ok?”

My father chuckled. “It’s never a dull moment with you, Tempest.”

The prompts for this story:

  • The Lovers
  • Fireworks
  • Squashed Monsters
  • On the Rocks
  • Through the Mirror
  • The Tempest Stone

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 07.03.20

Shadow played down by the riverside. Ever since she was a little cherub, this had been the place where the world made sense. The water softly babbled its way over the rocks and off on its journey to the Crown Mountains. Cheerful yellow daffodils swayed in the breeze. Frogs sang to each other from across the river banks.

Today was the last day Shadow will be able to visit this little piece of paradise. As the sun sets, Shadow leaves the river bank. She carries two cups, one full of water and one holding only air. The temple is a one hour walk away. Shadow has to make the walk barefoot and without spilling a single drop of water. The night air is cool and ruffles the feathers of her wings as it sighs on by carrying whispers. Shadow hears the wishes and prayers hidden under the air currents. It is hard not to stop and listen to the pleas of those around her, but she carries on. If she does not complete the awakening eye ceremony then she will be unable to help those who whisper in the night. 

The crescent moon rises over head. It gives barely enough light to see by. Shadow slows her steps and it makes the journey take twice as long. At last she sees the gleaming temple on the hill side. Other Seraphim walk into the temple and Shadow is the last to arrive. She walks straight up to the altar at the front. The crowd falls silent. Shadow’s mother stands at the altar in her deep red robes. “Come child, it is time.”

Shadow carefully walks up the five steps to the altar, each one inscribed with an elemental symbol. She hides a gasp that the ever changing mosaic on the floor now depicts an image of her beloved riverside sanctuary. Blue marble tiles swirl to show the play of water over rocks. Tiny bits of jade show off the faces of the frogs that sing from the banks. If Shadow strains hard enough she can almost hear their song. Sparkling citrines create detailed daffodils that dance in the light. Shadow pauses for a moment and then walks forward with one foot on the water of the mosaic and the other on the rocky shore of the mosaic. Her mother smiles. 

Shadow reaches the altar. It has transformed into a model of the Crown Mountains. Shadow turns to face the gathered crowd. Her left foot stands on the stony shore and her right is on the cool blue marble. “I have traveled far. Through mirrors that hold memories. I have listened to the cries of the rule breaker and the broken. I have come to serve. No longer will I be Shadow, hiding from the light. I am Temperance, the balance bringer.”

Temperance poured the water from the full cup into the empty. There was a flash of light and the water disappeared mid pour. In its place was a gold medallion. The medallion floated up and came to rest upon Temperance’s brow. She gasped as the cold metal touched her skin. Then she saw. Every whisper in the night carried a face now. A heart crying out for comfort. Temperance took her cups and walked out of the temple. Now her life would truly begin.

The prompts for this story:

  • Temperance
  • Shadow Play
  • Moon Dancer
  • Awakening Eye
  • Rule-Breaker
  • Riverside
  • Mirrors that hold memories…

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 06.19.20

The ogre sat in his dingy cage. His only companion was a broken doll that a little girl had dropped in fright at the sight of him. It had been five years of traveling in this one ring circus. Half of the workers were terrified of him and would only get close enough to throw food through the bars. The other half were mean bastards that delighted in tormenting the circus freaks. 

Any of the caged freaks knew that the whistle of Frank the overseer spelled a bad night for at least one of them. Tonight he stopped in front of Aries’ cage and the ogre bared his broken teeth at him. Frank laughed. “Whatever you ugly freak. It’s time to get those teeth filed again. We can’t have another incident like in Tulsa.”

Aries fought the urge to start growling. His once magnificent tusks and teeth had been broken on that night. The workers didn’t know that he understood them. When they had taken him out of his cage to compete in one of their late night pit fights, they had made a terrible mistake. The moment the chains had been removed from his shackles he had turned on all of them. He had killed the previous overseer, Harry. It had taken four tasers and three tranq darts to make him stop goring Harry’s dead body. While Aries was unconscious, the workers had sawed off his tusks and broken his teeth in revenge. Even the loss of his tusks had not made Aries feel one ounce of regret. The world was a better place without Harry. 

Now Frank led Aries towards the dark main tent again. Aries stretched up to the full height his chains would allow. His muscles were cramped from being trapped in the small cage for so long. Every moment he walked out under the stars, he felt the tingle of magic start to race through his veins. No moon hung in the sky and Aries hid a smile. The workers thought that the dark moon was the safest time to conduct their pit games. Some of the circus freaks were moon called so full moons tended to be hectic times in the freak tent. Little did these morons know that ogres were star called. Every moment the starlight shone on his mottled gray skin was another moment that his power grew. He felt the magic run through his body and bloom from his heart. Soon.

Frank pulled on the chains and swore at Aries. “Come on you big freak. We’ve got a few new gamblers in the tent tonight eager to see you bleed for their entertainment.” Frank held a large cattle prod that in the past had proved to be enough keep Aries in line.

Aries hid a smile and faked a stumble. Frank jerked on the chains and demanded that Aries get moving again. When Aries refused to move forward, Frank hit him with the cattle prod. Aries let loose a soft laugh. The electricity arced through his body and strengthened the magic already coursing through him. Aries grabbed Frank with one hand and broke his neck. Frank’s face was caught in a permanent state of surprise. Aries hoped he carried that stupid face for eternity in the Underworld. He paused for a moment to listen. No sounds disturbed the night other than the murmur of voices from the big tent. 

Aries searched Frank’s body and found the keys. He unlocked his shackles and slipped back towards the freak tent. Aries dropped his shackles just inside the dimly lit space. The other captured creatures stared at him. Some of them had dull eyes, worn down and defeated by years of captivity. A few stirred restlessly in their cages. Aries spoke softly. “Time for freedom at last.” A few more shifted around and away from their cage doors. Aries quickly unlocked all of the cages. Some leapt out immediately and ran off. Others still cowered in the corner. Aries could do nothing for them. 

The last cage was a water tank that held a pink river dolphin. He couldn’t bear to leave her here. Aries slipped into the animal tent and harnessed up the old draft horse that was used to pull the cages around the grounds. He let a touch of his magic seep into the old stallion. The stallion perked up immediately. Within minutes Aries had the stallion attached to the water tank. Aries peeked over the top of the tank. “Ma’am, your chariot awaits. I’m going to get you to the nearest fresh water. I hope that’s enough.”

A buzzing feeling crawled through Aries’s head. Thank you. The iron in this tank is keeping me trapped in this form. 

Aries shook his head to clear the strange sensation and led the stallion off into the night. He could smell fresh water about a mile away. The stars strengthened him as they jogged down an old logging road. Deep ruts scarred the track and jostled the water tank. The pink dolphin surfaced only long enough to breathe and then braced herself on the bottom of the tank. It took nearly an hour to make the mile trek. In the distance Aries could hear shouts coming from the circus. The chaos had so far worked in their favor, no pursuers were hot on their trail…yet. 

They turned a corner and the stars shone on a beautiful lake. Aries guided the stallion to turn and back the tank towards the lake. Once it was as close as he could get it, Aries broke the back of the tank. The ancient seals came apart in his hands and the back of the tank opened like a door. Water poured out and the pink dolphin slid into the lake with a splash. Aries checked to make sure she resurfaced and then turned to attend to the stallion. He pushed the tank while the stallion pulled. Once the tank was tucked under the trees, Aries unharnessed the stallion. “Thank you friend. You are free. Go find yourself somewhere to live your days in freedom.” The stallion snorted twice and then trotted off into the woods. 

“That was kind.”

Aries spun around. A woman stood in the water. Her pink hair floated around her. Aries smiled. “I see you can shift again. Best of luck to you. I’m headed back to my mountain home.” Aries turned to walk away.

“Wait.” Aries turned back and looked at her. “I owe you a debt. I hesitate to ask for another favor, but I must. May I travel with you?”

Aries looked at her in surprise. “Don’t you have to stay in the water?”

The woman laughed. “I need to submerge every third day or drink at least three gallons of water a day for every day. Are there streams at your home?”

Aries smiled. “There’s an entire glacier fed lake by my home. It might be a tad bit chilly for you.”

She laughed again. “I’ll take cold over capture anyday. I need somewhere to recover my strength. Here is too close to the circus. Please.”

Aries sighed. “Fine. What is your name?”

The woman smiled widely. “Venus.”

Aries took off the rough hewn shirt he wore and placed it on the shore for her. He turned away as she left the water and got dressed. “Ok. I’m ready.”

Venus walked to stand next to him. Her legs were a little unsteady. The shirt came to her knees. Her pink hair was already dry. Aries nodded at her and they started their journey to the west. 

The prompts for this story:

  • The Chariot
  • Broken Doll
  • Circus Freak
  • Ogre
  • Blooms from the heart
  • Aries

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 06.26.20

“These trendy glass gardens are a pain in the ass.” The witch stared around at the multi hued wonderland she stood in. There were flowers in every color and as the sun shone down over head, seven fires broke out. As the sun’s rays were reflected, refracted, and intensified through the many curves of glass, shit caught on fire. If the client wasn’t so generous with her money, Linda would’ve quit years ago. 

Instead, Linda had spent the last three days from 10 am to 2 pm walking around the enormous glass garden. It had taken her months to painstakingly craft each flower from colored sand. The owner had been absolutely delighted, until the first fire started. It had nearly burned down the She Shed artfully tucked in the corner of the garden. The She Shed looked like a miniature fairy tale castle…that had been bombed in the war. One turret was nothing but charcoal now and several of the nearby flowers had wilted. 

Linda cast a quick extinguishing spell. The fires went out and Linda quickly rearranged the four flowers that had caused the fires. The daylilies had been too close to the hydrangeas. She stood back and surveyed the storybook colors around her. After ten minutes there were no more fires. Linda waited another hour before declaring it a success. Her mother had told her she would never use the landscaping classes for anything of value. Well, this garden had made her enough money that she would finally be able to move out of her sister’s attic. One of the perks of having a patchwork education with no direction was it gave Linda the opportunity to take on all kinds of odd jobs. 

Her first project, a congress of stone penguins, looked a little sunburnt but not much worse for wear. Linda’s favorite project had been the Prism room. At 9 am, the dancing rainbows made the entire room look like it was on fire. Linda’s client was eclectic but had helped Linda to hone her talents. 

“You did it!” Linda fought to remain calm as her client came barreling out of the house. Karly was a wonderfully quirky woman who loved giving bone crushing hugs. In moments, Linda was caught up in one of Karly’s hugs. She struggled to breathe. Karly released her and Linda tried to hide her gasps for breath. “I have the most wonderful idea for your next project.”

Linda put on her best customer service smile. “What genius idea have you come up with now?”

Karly bounced like a toddler after seven cupcakes. “Call me crazy, but what if the garden glowed????!!!”

Linda sighed in relief. It was not the worst idea Karly had ever had. They had never again spoken about the turkey shaped butter sculpture that had attacked everyone at Thanksgiving three years ago.

The prompts for this story:

  • The Witch
  • Rooms on Fire
  • A congress of penguins
  • Patchwork perks
  • Trendy glass gardens
  • Storybook colors
  • Glow crazy

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 06.12.20

Heather watched the fire work. It licked the sides of the corrugated steel building, hungrily looking for something to consume. She held on to her spoonful of stars. They were her ticket to freedom. Three stars, three wishes. 

The fire finally caught hold of the wooden pallets stacked carelessly by the dumpster. The flames whooshed and crackled. Heather turned her back on the fire before it could reach the dumpster. She made it two blocks over when she heard the explosion. That idiot Bob must’ve dumped paint thinner in the trash again. He’d been warned a thousand times. Now he would probably be blamed for the fire. Too bad if an innocent man took the fall for her arson. Bob wasn’t that innocent anyways. Heather laughed maniacally and a passing stranger gave her a wide berth. She stared him straight in the eyes and he nearly tripped over a crack in the sidewalk. 

Three blocks later, Heather turned down a side street. She knew the Wheel of Fortune was around here somewhere. The dirty alley had her cringing but she caught the faint outline of a doorway. A spinning disc sat above it. She walked through puddles that she did not want to know the origin of. Finally she stood before the carefully concealed door. The disc spun and spun and spun. It stopped on an image of a griffin and Heather held her breath. The door hissed and opened outwards. 

The smell of stale beer wafted out. Heather grabbed the edge of the door and pulled it open wide. She stepped inside and blinked at the bright lights. It was the brightest lit bar she had ever been in. Every surface gleamed in shades of green and gold. Tropical plants seemed to grow from the very walls. It was lush and overwhelming. Light emanated from nowhere and everywhere all at once. She wished she had her sunglasses. Half of the patrons were wearing oversized stunner shades. Heather wondered if it was because of the light or if they were hiding something behind the dark shades. A group of frat boys sat in a booth laughing. Their matching polos were embroidered with the words, Band of Outsiders. Heather steered away from their corner of the room and headed to the bar.

After sitting down at a sleek green stool, she discovered that the stale beer smell was coming from the bartender. He could barely see over the bar. There were several step stools strategically placed so he could pour from the various taps. Heather watched as he got splashed by a local IPA and the mystery smell was solved. The short man didn’t seem to mind. He used a bar towel to wipe himself dry and then stood in front of Heather. “What’ll it be love?”

Heather smiled. “I’ll take a Cosmo.”

The barkeep laughed. “You got it doll face.” 

A moment later a pink martini was placed in front of her. Heather took a single star from her pocket and dropped it in the glass. The cosmo bubbled twice and Heather downed the entire thing before the third bubble could surface. The alcohol went straight to her head and she held her breath for the count of four. The first words out of her mouth were: “I wish to be a rising star.”

She sneezed and spit sparkles all over the bar. The barkeep just shrugged and wiped them up with the same dirty bar rag. “Got yourself some wishes I see?”

Heather smiled widely. “Yup. Watch out world, here I come.”

The prompts for this story:

  • Wheel of Fortune
  • The Innocent Man
  • Rising Star
  • Band of Outsiders
  • Spoonful of Stars
  • Fireworks
  • Corrugated

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 06.05.20

Thorn stared at his staff. His time had finally come. He wore the fedora that signified his status as a Collector. As the sun set he began his adventure. His first destination was the far away Pyramid Mountains. 

Thorn’s mother had been the last Collector to return from the Pyramid Mountains. Three other Collectors had ventured that way and never returned. Their fedoras had floated back down the river to the village. No one knew if they were dead or had simply been dazzled by whatever they had found in the sand swept landscape of the mountains. Thorn’s mother had never spoken of her time there. She had brought back the glass jar holding a floating silver hand. The silver hand sat collecting dust on the shelves in the town hall along with the dozens of other curiousities that Collectors had brought back over the centuries. 

Thorn’s village was built close to the Shadow Mountains. His people foraged through the desert that surrounded and drank from the cold streams that bubbled out of the desert at the foot of the Shadow Mountains. They heated stones in the desert during the day in order to warm their small homes at night. Once or twice a year they would gather enough wood to have a large bonfire in the pit at the center of town. Last night had been one of those nights. Thorn had been chosen as the next Collector for the town. It was a great honor. His mother had sobbed while the rest of the town rejoiced. After the celebration died down, they returned to their small home. 

The domed earthen structure had been the only home Thorn had ever known. His small bed was tidy in the loft. The small cooking area was sparkling like always. There were two rocking chairs next to the pile of warm stones that warmed the space. His mother sat in one, so Thorn sat in the other.

“Your father was the last Collector to leave our village, ten years ago. When he didn’t return, the elders decided to stop the journeys. He was a good man. I miss him everyday. Now you are going to leave me too.” She began to cry and Thorn was horrified. His mother had always been so strong. She had cried when his father’s fedora had washed up in the stream bed. Then she had dried her tears, pulled herself together, and found a way to provide for them. Her weavings now decorated half the homes in the village. Thorn put his hand on her shoulder.

“I will come back, Mother.”

She squeezed his hand and stood up. “He said that too. Don’t make empty promises. If you find a better life over in the Pyramid Mountains, I want you to be happy. If you send your Fedora through the streams, tuck a note inside so I will know you are safe. Please.”

Thorn smiled. “I can do that.”

His mother pulled herself up to standing. She walked to the cabinet on the far wall where she stored her weavings. After digging around inside it for a moment, she pulled out a length of golden fabric. “This is for you. I hoped it would be a part of your wedding attire but instead I give it to you for the adventure ahead. I hope it does not become your funeral shroud.” She handed the fabric to him and then went to the small room where her bed was. The door closed and Thorn was left standing alone. 

The desert was cool at night. He was glad of the golden cloak his mother had given him. Thorn started walking. The further he got from the shadow mountains, the louder and brighter the night became. Brilliant stars shone over head and a nearly full moon made the sand sparkle as he walked. Strange warbles and songs came from the desert around him although he could not see the creatures that made them. 

He stopped occasionally to drink from the glass jar of water in his pack. There was only enough for one day’s worth of walking. It was tradition to bring no more than that on a journey. A wind ruffled his hair and stirred the sands in front of him. Thorn kept walking. The distant Pyramid Mountains seemed to both grow closer and further away every time he looked. After a few hours he stopped looking at the mountains and charted his course by the stars instead. 

The stars began to fade and Thorn was surprised. It was too soon for the sun to have begun its ascent. He looked behind him and no sun peeked above the horizon. Then he looked ahead and realized the lights were coming from the Pyramid Mountains. He quickened his pace.

He reached the base of the Pyramid Mountains as the sun began to rise. As the suns rays reached the mountain, Thorn was stunned to discover it was not a mountain at all. It was a village of homes stacked on top of each other. Thorn began walking the paths between the homes and was astounded by the square earthen homes built on top of each other. There were even dark doorways that led to the earth below the homes. As the sun rose higher, people began walking the pathways with him. It took him several minutes to realize they were all wearing golden cloaks just like the one his mother had woven for him. He looked like he belonged in this strange village. 

The voices around him chatted and argued and flowed into a seamless patter so that he could not distinguish one word from another. Thorn stayed silent and kept walking. The signs around him were ornate and unreadable. He didn’t even recognize the loops and swirls as letters. Thorn turned down a pathway with fewer people on it. It ended in a dark doorway with a sign above it. He stepped to the side of the path and let the few poeple around him go through the doorway without him. They passed through and he heard the sounds of laughter echoing inside. Thorn stared at the sign and the loops and swirls receded. Between the swirls he saw the letters of his own language emerge.

‘Drifters Welcome’ it read. Thorn gasped and walked through the doorway. He stood on a landing and stairs descended to the left. The air cooled as he walked down the steps. A bead curtain hung across the doorway and he recognized his mother’s hand in the weaving of it. Thorn stepped through the curtain and found himself inside a small bar. Booths were carved out of the surrounding rock. A bar floated between stalactites and stalagmites along one wall. The bartender looked up from the conversation he was having with a customer and yelled. 

“Son! You made it!” The bartender ran and pulled Thorn into an embrace. “At last. I’ve waited so long. I wasn’t sure if you would make it out.”

Thorn awkwardly hugged his father back. They moved to one of the booths in the wall. The day passed by as they were lost in conversation. Patrons came and went through the bar. Some stopped by their table to congratulate them on their reunion. As night fell the crowd thinned out but Thorn began to recognize faces from his childhood. Other adventurers who had not returned. The curtain rattled again and Thorn did not even turn to look at who had come through. He saw his father smile wide and get up to greet the newest customer. Thorn turned and his mouth fell open.

“Hello, Thorn. Finally we are all together again.”

Thorn’s mother stood arm and arm with his father. “But. Wait. What? How?”

His parents laughed and the three of them hugged. Thorn felt himself guided towards a doorway at the back of the bar. His mother spoke. “Come see your new home. Today is for family. Tomorrow we begin the revolution.”

The prompts for this story:

  • Page of Wands
  • drifter
  • thorn
  • flammable heart
  • collector
  • fedora

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 05.22.20

It happened slowly. So slowly. Terran stood in the hall of portraits. Her red velvet gown rustled quieter than the whisper of a mouse. Then a single strand of her hair fell forward and no one noticed. One night she took a tiny step forward, emboldened by the lack of consequences. That night she was sold and packed into the back of a truck. A heavy blanket wrapped around her. With no one to see her, she shifted two steps closer to freedom. 

She reached her new home and stood in yet another hallway. The portraits on the opposite wall were cold and unfriendly. Terran scanned her surroundings whenever there was no one watching. Years passed by of agonizingly slow changes. She moved her hands forward a fraction at a time. Every time she was sold and moved to a new home she took the opportunity to make a bold move towards freedom. 

Her value began to plummet as her owners were increasingly uneasy in her presence. Finally she was relegated to a small storage room and all but abandoned. After years of waiting she knew this was her chance. In the quiet of the night she reached forward until she touched the barrier that kept her trapped. She pushed until her hands broke the surface. The gilt frame was rough on her long unused hands. As her head broke free of the dimension she had been trapped in, she took her first deep breath in nearly a decade. She hung half in and half out of the painting nearly crippled with exhaustion. The feeling of gravity made her dizzy and she felt her hair cascade around her. It took a few minutes for her to catch her breath and then she tumbled out of the frame. 

Terran landed brusingly hard onto the carpeted floor of the storage room. The abandoned chair nearby helped her pull herself to standing. Her legs wobbled like those of a newborn foal. She was breathing so fast she was beginning to feel dizzy. The painting still hung on the wall. Terran sat down and stared at her. It had been her prison for years and she almost felt homesick staring at the gold and green swirls of paint. She caught sight of her skin in the dim light and she gasped. Painterly swirls covered her skin. The curse was stronger than she had thought. Determination surged through her. She pulled herself to standing once more. It took her nearly an hour to walk to the door. 

By morning she had raided the kitchen in the house and eaten her first meal in years, cold pizza from the fridge washed down with a beer. The sun’s rays began to warm up the kitchen she stood in and she knew she had to get moving but exhaustion swamped her. She stood at the door to the backyard when she heard a gasp behind her. “Who are you?”

Terran turned around and found an eerily familiar face staring back at her but much older than her dusty memory envisioned. The young woman standing on the other side of the kitchen started crying. “Mom? Is it really you?”

Terran began to cry as well. “Sophia? How can this be?”

Her daughter ran over and wrapped her arms around her. Sophia began to babble. “I’ve searched for you for so long. I heard rumors of a haunted painting but I didn’t hold much hope. I had to try though. I know how much Granddad enjoyed displaying his prisoners. Trapping you in a painting seemed like something he would do.”

Memories came flooding back to Terran. She realized she stood in her childhood home. A place that held no fond memories. Her father was a cruel man and wielded his magic to harm anyone who stood in his way. Terran looked around in fear. “Sophia. We have to go. What if he comes back? There’s time enough for revenge later but for now we must get safe.”

Sophia smiled widely. “Don’t worry Mom. He’ll never hurt you again. He’s dead.”

Terran looked at her daughter in surprise. “Dead? How?”

Sophia smiled again and hugged her mother tightly. “He never should’ve boasted of taking you from me and then trusted me to bring him his tea. Old fool thought he was invincible. Devil’s Flower proved him wrong.”

This story inspired by Teresa Hnat Studio

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 05.15.20

No one ever suspected the Fool. Henry danced his way through life. His attention span was no longer than a beach chicken in a parking lot, chasing discarded fries and empty hamburger wrappers. Henry ignored the naysayers and the gossip. He spent a month singing for coins in the subway of a big city but discovered he was tone deaf. Next he slung coffee and donuts at a diner like it was his mission to over sugar and over caffeinate the population. That lasted six weeks. Henry bounced from apartment to couch to cheap motel. He could never seem to cross that finish line over into the land of success and stability. 

One day he was on an elliptical at the local gym and was staring at the words spray painted on the wall. It was the mantra of that gym. ‘Good things come to those who sweat.’ It was so ridiculous that Henry got off the elliptical and walked out the front door with his gym bag slung over his shoulder. He was done. Henry walked all day until he was free of the city. As he walked, a small white dog joined his parade of one. The little dog would yap and leap up at Henry’s gym bag. Henry kept walking and ignored the little creature. The lights of the city began to fade behind him and he realized he had never truly seen the stars. He continued North and was astounded by the dazzling lights that hung in the inky sky. When he got tired, he curled up in the pine trees beside the road. The dog slept behind his legs and Henry slept fitfully with only his gym bag as a pillow.

The morning dawned brightly. In the daylight he realized he was sleeping in someone’s backyard. He wasn’t free of civilization yet. Onwards he went. He stopped at a roadside diner inside an abandoned subway car. How it wound up in the woods of the suburbs was unknown. The sign read: Emerald Diner. Even the name made no sense as the subway car was painted bright yellow. The bell over the door chimed as Henry walked in. The waitress in a blue gingham uniform immediately yelled, ‘You can’t have that dog in here!’. Henry looked down, surprised that the small mutt had followed him. He gently nudged the dog out the door and quickly shut it without letting the pup back in. The dog sat down and gave a sad puppy stare through the glass door. 

The waitress led Henry to a booth by the window. He slid into the worn orange pleather seats. The waitress walked to the back of the diner before he could ask for a menu. She spoke quietly to a man sitting half hidden in a booth. Then she went through the swinging door to the kitchen. Henry was looking around at the interior. Each booth was a different faded color and shape as if they had been collected from twenty different diners. The walls were mismatched tile. It was by far the ugliest and most intriguing little diner he had ever sat in. The waitress dropped a platter in front of him loaded with eggs, bacon, and homefries. A carafe of coffee was placed next to the upside down gray coffee cup and saucer. Henry looked at her in surprise. “I didn’t order this.”

She sighed. “It’s a gift from the Wizard, but there’s a catch. You have to speak with him for five minutes after you’ve finished eating.”

Henry looked around. The only other person in the diner was the man in the last booth. “Who is the Wizard?”

The waitress smiled and Henry was unsettled by the whiteness of her teeth. “That’s a bigger question than I am willing to answer. He is sitting in the last booth over there. If you refuse this gift, he will trouble you no more.”

Henry’s mouth began to water at the smell of the bacon. A conversation was a small price to pay for filling his stomach without emptying his wallet. “I accept.” The waitress nodded and walked over to the Wizard. She spoke quietly for a moment and then disappeared through the swinging door to the kitchen. Henry flipped his coffee cup over and grabbed the carafe. He gasped when the handle pinched his hand. There was a small figure eight shape under his thumb where the handle pinched him. He picked it up more carefully and poured a cup of coffee. Then he started eating. The bacon was crispy and the homefries were perfectly seasoned. Henry left a piece of bacon and a scoop of eggs for the dog that had followed him. He wiped his mouth on a napkin and stood up with the plate in his hand. The dog still sat outside the door. Henry stepped outside with the plate and put it far enough from the door that the dog stayed with the plate instead of trying to slip inside. 

The Wizard looked up at Henry when he slid into the opposite side of the booth. Henry assessed the Wizard. He wore a rumpled pinstriped three piece suit that was straight out of an old gangster movie. His hair was brown speckled with gray. He wore a pair of 80’s oversized glasses. The Wizard cleared his throat. “You done checking me out? Your five minutes starts now.” Henry just nodded. There was something mesmerizing about the wizard’s voice. “I don’t even need the full five minutes but here goes. Are you done fooling around?”

Henry looked at him. “Fooling around?”

The Wizard sighed. “Yeah. You’ve bounced from job to job and slept your way through every friends couch. You’re out of options. Are you done foolin’?”

Henry felt a finger of fear stroke his spine. How did this old man know this about him? He hadn’t said a word to the waitress about himself. He was miles from the city and everyone he knew. “How do you know that?”

The Wizard laughed and Henry stared at his too white teeth. “You think I got a name like the Wizard because I’m a fool like you?” He didn’t wait for Henry to respond. “I have a task for you. I’m gonna warn you, it’s dangerous. I’ve asked a hundred people over the years. Only two people took me up on it. Only one of them survived. Neither of them finished the task.”

Henry tried to scramble out of his seat but he found that his legs had gone numb somehow. The Wizard laughed and put an hourglass on the table. “You are going anywhere til this sand runs out. That was the bargain.”

“Survived? How did they die? What task?”

The Wizard smiled and now Henry had a whole hand full of fear fingers stroking his spine. He shivered. The Wizard nodded. “That fear is a good thing. That fear might help you survive. If you choose to take my challenge.”

Henry shook his head. “I want to leave. Let me go. Please.”

The Wizard shook his head sadly. “She’s always telling me I should start with the reward to hook more champions. That my sales pitch is upside down.” The Wizard shrugged. “Oh well. Do you want to know what you’ll get if you complete this task?”

Henry sighed. “Not particularly, but I get the feeling you are going to tell me anyways.”

The Wizard smiled. “Smart boy. You’ll get a wish. Anything your heart desires.”

Henry stopped fidgeting and went still. “A wish. You expect me to believe you can grant wishes from this shitty little diner in the middle of nowhere?”

The Wizard laughed. “No. I don’t grant wishes. But you’ll earn one if you complete the task. Are you in?”

Henry looked at the hourglass on the table. There wasn’t much sand left in the top. He could be free soon. But he was also done. Done with floating through life with no direction. Maybe a well phrased wish could finally give him what he needed to find success. He stared at the grains of sand as they fell in a steady stream. Soon there were only a few left in the top. The Wizard spoke. “When the last grain of sand falls I need your answer. Not before.”

Henry couldn’t believe the answer that waited on his lips. He was going to do this crazy thing and probably get killed. The last grain of sand hit the bottom of the hourglass and he spoke. “I will do it.”

The Wizard smiled and unrolled the silverware sitting next to him. He grabbed the steak knife and handed it to Henry. “You’ll need this. Go through the doors to the kitchen and kill what’s on the other side.”

Henry stared at him in shock. “Wait. Kill? What???”

  The Wizard laughed. “Too late to back out now. You should’ve asked more questions. Now go.”

Henry grabbed the knife and felt himself walk towards the kitchen doors. He couldn’t stop himself. The doors swung open easily at his touch. There was no kitchen on the other side. Henry stepped through the doors and when they closed behind him, they took the light with them. He stood in a hallway full of mirrors. Candles flickered on the walls above him. Images flickered in the mirrors that were not merely reflection. Henry stepped up to the nearest mirror and watched a scene of himself learning to ride a bike when he was child. Another mirror showed him kissing his first love. As he walked through the hall with the steak knife clenched in his hand, he watched his whole life play out inside the mirrors. Moments only he remembered. The walk down the hallway seemed to take a lifetime but it may have only been a few moments. He reached the end and there was an enormous blue door. Henry took several deep breaths and pulled it open. He stepped through the door and found himself back in his childhood bedroom. The door to his closet creaked open and out stepped himself. It looked like a better version of himself. His hair was glossier. His teeth were whiter. He was dressed in a tailored suit and he wore a very nice watch. But his eyes reflected no light. The fetch’s eyes absorbed the light from the room. It sent chills up Henry’s neck to look into those flat eyes. The fetch smiled widely showing off his too white, too sharp teeth. “Have you come to kill your monster, Fool?”

His voice was deeper than Henry’s and the fetch lunged at him. The fetch held the same diner steak knife in his hand. The fetch laughed when he cut Henry’s arm and a duplicate cut appeared on the fetch’s arm. “Only one of us will walk out of here alive. I’m going to earn that wish you bargained for. I’ll use it to make a masterpiece out of the mess of your life. Give up Henry. You can’t defeat me.”

Something broke inside Henry. His failures cascaded around him and for the first time in his life he had a crystal clear purpose. Survive. They tangled and wrestled. Henry cut the fetch and was relieved to find no duplicate cut appeared on himself. They flung his childhood toys and treasures at each other. A metal toy car hit Henry in the side of the face and he was momentarily stunned. They fell onto the floor and rolled around. They knocked into the dresser and it wobbled. He remembered that as a child he had once nearly knocked the damn thing over by opening too many drawers. Henry stood and pulled the top drawer out. The fetch lunged at him and he leapt back. He grabbed the back of the dresser and shoved. It fell on top of the fetch and pinned him to the ground. The fetch struggled to lift the awkward dresser off. Henry sat on the back of the dresser. “It’s over. I’m leaving now.”

The fetch began to choke and laugh. “It’s not so easy. If you leave without killing me you will haunt the hall of mirrors for the rest of your days with me dogging your every step. You have to kill me to free yourself. Henry looked at the knife in his hands and then at the too handsome face on the floor in front of him. It startled him how quickly he made the decision. He used the knife to slit the fetch’s throat. Light shone in the fetch’s eyes for a moment and then the fetch breathed his last. Henry opened the door to the hallway. He left a jewel toned blood trail behind him as he made his way back to the diner. The swinging doors opened easily at his touch. After the dim hallway the diner seemed overbright. The Wizard stood and stared hard into Henry’s eyes. “It’s you. It’s really you. I can’t believe it.”

Henry dropped the knife on the back table. “The other one who survived. It was the fetch that returned. Wasn’t it.”

The Wizard looked towards the kitchen door. “Yes. She’s long since found a way to hide her true nature. But you are the only true survivor in this game. It’s the eyes that give it a way. You can’t fake a soul. But contacts hide a lot. Your wish is my command.” 

The prompts for this story:

  • The Fool 
  • good things come to those who sweat 
  • blood trail 
  • you can’t fake soul
  • finish line 
  • jewel-toned

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 05.08.20

When the fog lifted and the stars came out, the three sisters gathered. They laughed as they poured out of their cars beneath the light of the Scorpio Moon. It was nearly as bright as the sun, but the light muted the field they walked through. The grass was cold on their bare feet but soon they would be warm. In the grove of trees on the far side of the field was where the flame tree lived. No one knew how it had come into existence. Whether it was by the forked strike of an angry storm god or forged in a secret mountain by silent monks, the flame tree was hope to those who visited it. 

The sisters walked until the moon was fully overhead and they finally reached the grove. A few feet more and they reached the flame tree. Now that they were under the trees their silence was broken. They spoke of their children and husbands. Their secret dreams and hidden thoughts. The grove absorbed their words and held them safe. They cried over hurts, shames, and failures. They laughed over mishaps and messes. The twisted flame tree still burned in the center of the grove. It was partially metal and partially an ancient wood that did not burn. The gas from beneath the earth kept the flame going, but true believers knew that there was more to it than that. The flames were known to waver without attention and sacrifice. Something lived inside the flame tree. Some mystical presence who was generous with their benevolence.

The three sisters took out their offerings from their bags. One held a steaming container of midnight ramen. Another pulled out a jug of bright green jitterbug juice. The youngest sister pulled out their three cups and three bowls. Once their cups and bowls were filled, they poured the rest of the midnight ramen and jitterbug juice into the curiously built altar. It was shaped like a wedge and it funneled the offerings straight into the fire. The flame tree flared up as the midnight ramen and jitterbug juice hit its branches. Once orange, the flames burned purple instead. The sisters howled with delight. Purple was for luck. The sisters ate and laughed until the moon had nearly set. Their presence was a love note to sisterhood and belonging. The flame tree basked in their happiness and used its small magics to bless them. By dawn they were back in their cars driving off to their homes and their responsibilities, but their tomorrows would be rosy. Babies would sleep just a little better. Foods would taste a little better. The flame tree blessed them with gratitude for all the small gifts in their lives and it made their days all the sweeter.

The prompts for this story:

  • The Empress 
  • Three Cups 
  • jitterbug 
  • midnight ramen 
  • the flame tree 
  • love note

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Fiction Friday 05.01.20

Pegasus and Coyote ran across the open field. The moon was hanging low in the sky. Soon the Sun would come up and they would be in real trouble. The goddess had warned every single one of them. Every avatar and mythical creature. She could only protect them as long as the Sun slept. She was powerless once the Sun’s rays touched the dying earth. 

The sky began to lighten and the Maiden in the Moon felt her power weaken. She fretted over her children still out on this side of the world. Every day break felt a little like dying as her power faded and the Sun’s gaze fell upon the earth. It was a neverending dance as the Sun chased the Maiden across the sky. She stood in her castle built of Moon dust and let out a sigh. No matter how her prison was wrapped in velvet and stocked with exotic nectarines, it was still a prison. She turned her focus to her children on the other side of the earth. They needed the limited help she could give them. 

Pegasus felt the sun’s rays begin to hit her wings and she whinnied in fear. An extra burst of speed helped her gain the safety of the mountain’s shadow. Coyote yipped and tried to keep up. The Sun’s rays touched his tail and he knew he was lost. In a last desperate move he shifted into human form. Pegasus paced from the shadows but dared not be caught herself. Coyote stood to full man height. It was always disorienting to stand on two legs instead of four. He felt his face, scratchy with a several day old beard. He looked down. His clothes were shabby but mostly clean. A gasp escaped his mouth when he realized he still posessed his tail. After loosening his belt and readjusting his worn flannel overshirt, his tail was mostly contained. Coyote bowed to Pegasus and waved her off. She whinnied once and then headed deeper into the sanctuary hidden in the mountains. 

Coyote looked around. He couldn’t stay here. Even just one day in the Sun would sap his strength to the point where it would take him months to transform back to his natural form. He had maybe an hour or two to find shelter before the Sun was fully overhead. In their headlong flight from the rising sun, he had barely registered that there was human habitation nearby. Now in the daylight, even with his weak human nose, he could smell their stink. He turned and walked North. After an hour he was out of the fields and could see a human made road winding through the hills. It stunk of smoke belching machines and perverted magic. Science they called it. They took the alchemy of old and used it for profit instead of enlightenment. A shudder ran through Coyote. It would take him a week of bathing in the moon pools to wash the stink off. He longed for the moonlit paths of myth that he usually walked down, only occasionally pausing to cause mischief for the mortals. Coyote shook his head. This was an opportunity for mischief like no other. Usually he worked his magic at night in the dreams of mortals but now he’d have a chance to see the chaos his magic would bring in the light of day. His tail began to wag and he stopped to calm himself down. It wouldn’t do to reveal himself too soon. Another half hour of walking and he had been passed by at least ten of those stinking machines the humans loved to drive. He’d sneezed every time they had roared by. A structure loomed in the distance. Sweat began to trickle down Coyote’s back as the sun rose higher and the heat began coming off the road in waves. Another ten minutes of walking found Coyote standing outside the All Saints Bar & Grill. The scents wafting from inside the rough building made his stomach growl. 

A bell rung over his head as he walked in. The humans inside only glanced at him with mild curiousity before returning to their meals. An old woman came up to him in an apron. “Breakfast?”

Coyote nodded. The waitress grabbed some shiny papers and started walking away. She made it a few steps before she realized he wasn’t following her. She turned around and put her hand on her hip. “Come on. Follow me.”

Coyote did as he was told. She led him to the far corner of the room, away from most of the other patrons. She motioned for him to sit in the worn red booth. “I’m gonna ask you this once and don’t you lie to me.” Coyote looked at her with his golden eyes. “Do you have any money to pay? The owner said I can’t be letting drifters grab a bite to eat for free. You look like you’ve had a rough night.”

Coyote smiled without showing his teeth. “I have something of value to trade for food, but I don’t have paper money.”

The waitress sighed. “What do you have?”

Coyote reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out a tiny chunk of the shiny rock humans seemed to like so much. He placed it on the table and the waitress gasped. “Gold? You want to buy lunch with gold???” 

The diner fell silent and all eyes turned to look at the corner Coyote was sitting in. Coyote looked at the waitress with wide eyes. “It’s all I have. I’ve been hunting in the river for awhile and I found this little beauty a few days ago. I hoped to turn it into paper money in town but I walked past this place and I must confess I haven’t had a good meal in a long while.” He smiled wide and the waitress shivered without knowing why. 

“I’ll have to get the manager. I’ll be right back.” She disappeared behind the swing door behind the long bar. A few minutes later she returned with a heavyset man in a chef’s uniform. The waitress was frowning and the chef was smiling. 

“Good morning sir.” The chef’s voice was thick and he smelled of grilled meats and something sweet. “Would you be interested in a trade of information for a meal on the house?”

Coyote cocked his head to the side. “On the house? I don’t know what that means.”

The chef laughed. “It means free. No cost.”

Coyote smiled and the chef shivered for a moment. “What sort of information would I be trading?”

The Chef slid into the opposite side of the booth and leaned across. “Tell me where you found that little nugget and you can eat your fill today.” The Chef leaned back and folded his arms. A half smile brought out the dimples in his round face.

Coyote paused for a moment and then nodded. “You have a deal. I tell you where I found this and you’ll feed me for the whole day?”

The Chef shifted in his seat. Then nodded. “It’s a deal.”

Coyote smiled. “I will tell you a little more of where I found it with each course I receive. I wouldn’t want to be cheated you know. Do you know the large river near her. It’s cut into the hillside and there is a large waterfall with a sign that says ‘Fool’s Leap’?”

The Chef nodded. “Yes. I’ve been to Fool’s Leap. Is that where you found the nugget?”

Coyote shook his head. “No. But it was in that river. Now. May I have the Hungry Man Platter with extra of all the meat?”

The Chef nodded and bustled off to the kitchen. The waitress brought over a pot of coffee and a handful of creamers. Coyote sat and sipped his black coffee. His breakfast was out soon after. It smelled delicious. Coyote had almost forgotten how good human food could be. All the mythical creatures had been avoiding human settlements for centuries other than the occasional foray for supplies. Coyote at slowly and savored every bite. The waitress cleared the table and dropped off a newspaper. “Here. Someone left this. Wouldn’t want you to get bored while waiting for lunch.” 

Coyote took the paper and began reading. Humans had come so far from chiseling their thoughts into stone and painting cave walls. He read about all the breakings news in this part of the world. Humans were trying to save their dying planet. He watched over the newspaper as people got up and paid for their food. The restaurant emptied out and then an hour later it began filling up again with different people. It never reached full. The waitress took away his shiny paper and gave him a different one. “Here’s the lunch menu. You should put your order in soon before the rest of the rush gets here. Chef will be by to take your payment.”

Coyote nodded. He looked over the shiny paper menu. It all sounded delicious. The Chef snuck out of the kitchen and over to his table. “So what’s the next part of the directions?”

Coyote smiled and the Chef shivered. “Travel one mile upstream from Fool’s Leap. There the river splits into two smaller rivers.”

The Chef smiled. “So you found it at the Devil’s Fork?”

Coyote shook his head. “It was further upriver one of the two streams. I will tell you which one and where after the sun goes down. Now I would like the 20 oz porterhouse steak with bacon and an order of the loaded mashed potatoes. I’d also like an ale if you have that.”

The Chef nodded. “I’ll send the waitress to get your drink order. How do you want your steak cooked?”

Coyote smiled. “As little as possible but warm.”

The Chef nodded and headed to the kitchen. The waitress came out of the kitchen a few minutes later and headed towards Coyote’s table. “Chef says you want a beer? What kind?”

Coyote shrugged. “Something cold and refreshing. Surprise me.”

The waitress nodded and returned with a locally brewed ale. Coyote took a sip from the bottle and a sigh escaped his lips. He had forgotten how good a nice ale felt after a hot day. A part of Coyote missed the days when the magical and mundane mixed together regularly. There had been so much more mischief to spread around. Now he spent most of his days up in the mountain sanctuary bothering his brethren. They weren’t nearly as quick to excite as the shorter lived humans were. He was tempted to stir up some trouble in the bar but the glare of the midday sun coming through the windows was enough to keep him in line. The waitress brought his steak out a few minutes later. There was a large knife on the side of the plate. Coyote wanted to growl at the annoying niceties humans kept themselves to. He longed to just tear the steak between his very sharp teeth. Instead he used the silverware with a sigh. The waitress dropped off a second and then a third beer. Coyote began to feel a little wobbly. He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the waitress. She was in a hushed conversation with the Chef. Moments later she brought him another beer. This time Coyote slipped it slowly while pretending to get wobblier with each sip. The Sun was slipping towards the horizon. Within an hour or less he’d be able to make his escape. But not without one bit of mischief.

Coyote stood and wobbled towards the bar. He took the bottle the waitress handed him and he sat on the stool. With his other hand he took out the little gold nugget. The waitress watched the nugget shine in the light with fascination. “Should I give you the last piece of the directions? I’m not sure I trust your Chef. I must be going soon. I don’t want to break our deal, but maybe if I told you the last bit it would be alright? I’ll even skip the last meal of the day to even the bargain.”

The waitress smiled wide. “I think that would be fair. I have to leave soon too. So what’s the last part of the directions?”

“At the fork in the river, travel up the eastern triver. After two miles you will come to the base of a mountain where a small waterfall pours into a pool. I found it there.” Coyote could feel the power of the Sun beginning to wane. The sky outside was darkening by the minute. He dared not wait any longer. “I’ll be off. Happy hunting.”

The waitress smiled and nodded. Coyote walked out the door and headed down the road away from the mountain. No sense in getting careless now. He heard the Chef come out roaring in frustration. Once Coyote was a mile away he found a ditch he could shift back to his true form in. He raced a wild trail back to the mountain. This bit of mischief would sustain him for many long boring nights ahead. Whether the Chef ever got the information out of the waitress mattered not. There was no gold in that hidden waterfall. But there was a water horse that would be happy to give out a ride or two. Too bad it was the kind of ride no one survived. Coyote laughed as the Moon rose overhead and he headed for home. 

The prompts for this story:

  • The Empress 
  • mercy 
  • pickles 
  • letters 
  • royal velvet plums 
  • genie’s bottle

Join the Grady Guild to get your story fix! These stories will be delivered to your inbox the same day they are written!

Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady