Short Story: Ill Omens

IllOmen_Parchment

He stared at the sky and watched them soar. Watched them circle. Watched them prepare. They moved through the air so gracefully. They were angelic. He could hardly believe they served such a dark purpose.

He lifted the visor on his plate helm. “They’re so beautiful.”

The soldier next to him followed his gaze up to the sky. “They’re just vultures, kid.”

Drums began to beat. It was time to march.

He couldn’t take his eyes off of them. “I wasn’t talking about the birds.”

The man looked down at him, then back up to the sky and shook his head.

His unit began to move, and a shove from behind broke the spell which the scene above held over him. He slammed the visor down on his helmet and began to walk.

It was his first battle. He had lied about his age to be in it. He shrugged and found the plate armor to be far clunkier and heavier than he expected. It restricted his movement and limited his vision. The spear was too long, and unwieldy in his hands. It felt unnatural.

His father had chosen the life of a farmer over the life of a hero, and he was determined to be different. He was going to be a hero. The time had come to prove himself. There was no way his children were going look down on him with disdain.

Across the field he caught his first glimpse of the barbarian horde. His pulse quickened. They whooped and shrieked and smashed their weapons against their shields. His heart hammered in his chest. They sounded inhuman. He thought they might be. His body went cold.

Horns trumpeted, signaling that it was time to charge. Maybe his father was right. Maybe this was a mistake. He looked around for a way out, but found none.

The sea of soldiers surrounding him surged forward. Their momentum carried him across the field against his will. He struggled just to remain on his feet within the mass of bodies.

His unit crashed into the enemy and together they became a tangle of knotted sinew and steel. Each side thrusted and hacked at the other. Shields were pressed together. Faces were contorted into violent grimaces.

The Valkyries swooped down from the sky to begin their work.

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Short Story: Half Vegan Meal

HalfVeganMeal

 

Broccoli dodged left, then right. Boy, he looked steamed. His hands were balled into fists at the ready, but he was no match for Joe’s speed. With a quick jab, Joe skewered Broccoli’s green buds with his fork, placed him in his mouth and chewed. Cauliflower shrieked. He looked pallid.

Joe cut into Porterhouse who began to bleed all over the plate. Cauliflower panicked and tried to run but the plate was slick with hot pools of Porterhouse’s blood. He slipped, and fell face down. “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” It was everywhere. It was all over him. He never saw Joe’s fork reaching for him.

Asparagus parried the killing blow. “On Guard!” He struck a fencing pose. Joe stood, kicked his chair out from beneath him and did the same. Challenge accepted.

Porterhouse was bleeding heavily. “Guys, I feel so cold” He wasn’t going to make it. He was boned.

Nobody paid attention to Porterhouse though, there was a battle raging. Joe stabbed and slashed. Asparagus parried, then feinted. Joe hesitated and Asparagus disarmed him with a flourish. “Do you yield?”

Joe sighed. “I yield, Asparagus.” He knew he was no match for Asparagus’s superior swordplay. Read more of this post

Short Story: Day Job

DayJob

I had been a pirate. A king. An admiral. A bard. A mercenary. Even a powerful wizard. And that was just so far today. At the moment I was a dashing Knight rescuing a princess from the clutches of a slobbering rock troll which sought to suck the meat from our bones. I ducked under a fallen tree. Leapt over another. Rounded a rock outcrop. She was right behind me.

The creature moved fast for its size. “You’ve gotta keep up!” Then she fell. They always fall.

I looked back to see the bottom of her high heels disappear into the hulking creature’s mouth as it swallowed her in a single hefty gulp. So much for the rescue. So much for sucking the meat from her bones. After releasing a belch, it looked up and we locked eyes. The monster patted its belly, flashed me a pointy, yellow-toothed grin and waved. I shook my head, threw a hand in the air, and sighed as the satisfied troll turned and marched back into the swamp.

Would it have killed him to be even a little more menacing? He displayed no showmanship whatsoever! And considering the frequency which princesses are kidnapped, I’d think that wearing more practical footwear might increase their life expectancy.

I dropped myself onto a nearby mossy stump. The tepid, scuzzy water around me returned to snowy forest floor. The lurking, oozing, man-eating slimes were once again nut-gathering squirrels. My great broadsword became nothing more than a flimsy tree branch. I threw it on the ground.

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