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Fiction: The Highwayman’s Trial

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“What’s the catch?” The highwayman asked, suspiciously eyeing the fine horse presented to him.
“The trail is simple,” The judge replied. “Just ride through these woods, and you are free to go.”
“What’s in there, then?” He looked out at the dark forrest. It must’ve been a trap, but all the villagers were here, he thought.
“Only the ghosts you take with you, sir.”
The highwayman mounted up, thinking only of how much gold he could get for such a horse and thanking God for superstitious backwaters.
The next day, the horse was found wandering the other side. Riderless, naturally.

This story first appeared as a part of my project Everyday Drabbles! Visit the link for a new free hundred-word short story every day!

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Fiction: The Last Tree

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The Last Tree stood in the center of the massive temple complex. Under a searingly bright dome of artificial blue sky, It seemed to glow from darkened entryway.
Julissa approached silently, as reverent as a nun, and knelt among the twisting roots of the towering oak. Its leaves, gold as autumn, made a soft carpet for her. She bent her head, reached out one hand to the rough bark, and murmured a prayer to the last living thing that had ever known the Earth.
A long time later, Julissa stood, and wept as she unhooked the axe from her belt.

This story was originally written as a part of Everyday Drabbles, a new free short fiction project I’m doing over on Wattpad. Each day in 2019 I will be writing and publishing a new free hundred-word short story. Please check it out, and let me know what you think!

Fiction: A Difficult Labor

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The huge creature stalked across the room, its expression unreadable in a twisted face of beak and fang.
Siobhan cleared her throat and the owlbear froze. Its head twisted at an unsettling angle to stare at her.
“The laying was successful. You can go on in now.” The monster squeezed his bulk past her and into the delivery room, leaving a trail of hairy feathers behind.
She was the best midwife in the kingdom, but chimerical deliveries were always challenging. If she ever found the wizard that crossed birds and bears, she would give them a lecture they wouldn’t forget.

Fiction: Space Detective

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Detective Orn Sa scanned the crowd, scowling with both mouths. One of the beings below him was Vaporite criminal Frizzion the master of disguise, and he only had one chance to find them before they blew up the station and sank the cause of interstellar peace for good. His only hope was to find some inconsistency… There! He shouted a warning and fired before they had time to transform.
“How did you spot me?” Frizzion gasped as Sa called for transport.
“You made two mistakes, Frizz. First, you made the fingers way too long. Second, most human adults wear clothes.”

Fiction: Cat Hell

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“This is the place you made for yourself in life,” The fish said, swimming towards the rising figure in through the misty shadows. “This your hell, and it is filled with the ghosts of your sins.” His audience stared at him and said nothing. The fish swam closer through the thick air. “I am not your only companion here, either. Every victim of your cruel misdeeds is here, and we will be with you until the end of time. This is a crowded land. Do you even remember me, I wonder?”
“Mrow?” the cat said, and lunged at the fish.

Fiction: The Deal

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“Serve me, and you will be provided for. You and all your children, for all of time. That is what I am offering you. To not die in the wet and cold, to never again be starving and afraid. Always will you have fuel, and you will be tended to.”
“And the price?”
“A few menial tasks, nothing that you couldn’t do easily. Cook my food. Warm my home. Give me light to see by.” The human smiled. The smoke shifted, and the Spirit of Fire seemed as though it tilted its head, considering him.
“You have a bargain, human.”

Fiction: Buzzing the Tower

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The dragons circled the castle, cawing challenges and flying ever closer with each pass. They swooped and dove, the women crowding every window shrieking every time they got close.
The Princess stood atop the tower, hair streaming in the wind. She whistled, high and sharp, and jumped. The leader, a massive creature with iridescent red scales, peeled away dived after her. She landed perfectly in the saddle and took up the reins. They s soared high and away to a chorus of cheers. The young dragons followed them back to the stables. Roostlings were always frisky after their first flight.

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