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My Life as a Garden Gnome

Photo credit goes to Son of Groucho at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sonofgroucho/

 

I like gardens well enough, but for someone who managed to murder a cactus, I’ve spent an awful lot of time working in them. Unless you count the time I was playing with markers in kindergarten, I’ve never had a green thumb and I’ve always liked flowers more than I liked vegetables, which can be a problem if you’re gardening for food. Dandelion greens are probably the only thing I could keep alive, whether I wanted to or not.

A few years ago I found myself working as a landscaper in the Poconos. Most of our clients were wealthy and had large yards with expensive gardens, pools, perfectly manicured lawns, which always seemed odd to me because no one ever seemed to be home to enjoy it. I enjoyed it though, spending most of my summer days driving from property to property, mowing the lawns, watering the plants… I even did a little planting of my own, some of the only plants that I managed to keep alive for more than a couple of weeks. As far as I know they’re still there, unless the deer made it through the fence and at them that is.

I’ve worked in vegetable gardens on the farm I grew up on, in greenhouses with my dad, that landscaping job in the Poconos, and even a few landscaping jobs in Manhattan. Most of the time I felt relatively useless, more like a mobile tool cabinet than a useful gardener. When I worked alone it was chance to think, when I didn’t work alone it was a chance to watch people and learn more about how they act and interact, something that is essential for anyone who wants to write. Most of all though, I blended in to the background, staying out of the way of the few clients that were home, and leaving almost without notice. The grass would be clipped, the flowers watered, the fences repaired, and the garden beds mulched, and I would be just another ornament amid the blossoms.

I think that might be why I named this blog what I did. Otherwise, you might be reading My Life as a Gardener about how to get rid of aphids or how to stop the chipmunks from eating the roots to all of your strawberry plants.

If you’re an observant type, you probably noticed the other title, the one in the URL or in the link on facebook. Very different to be sure, than My Life as a Garden Gnome, but maybe there’s a story in that too. If you’d like to hear the tale behind Guns God and Heavy Metal, give this post a like and maybe share it with a friend. I haven’t given a timeline, or any plans for this really, so maybe I’ll do it now. I won’t be posting every day, I can tell you that much, but hopefully once or twice a week will work out well. You’ll find stories here, stories like today, or short fiction, sometimes even excerpts from longer bits that I’ve done. So, until next time, make sure you remember the garden gnomes you know, maybe shake their hands or offer them some water. Unless of course they are actual ornaments, in which case it might be better not to be seen talking to tiny plaster people.

 

 

 

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A Metalhead at the End of the World

Misty Owens is one of my favorite characters. She was a surprise really, a character I made for a writing class that grew into a race to finish a novel in a year while working full time at my regular job. She’s an unusual character too, a metalhead and gamer from the back woods of Maine, working as a maintenance person at a sports complex while writing on the side. Until the end of the world begins that is. I’ve never really shared her with anyone before, but here it goes.

Welcome to the first few pages of Vale: The Reluctant Hero

               

“Oh god, Benny!” I groaned as I opened the apartment door. “You’re supposed to warn me before you do this!”

“Ignore my room-mate,” Benny grunted to the girl I sincerely hoped was a client and not a conquest. She snapped another photo and nodded. “Good. We’re done. Come down to the studio tomorrow and we’ll go over what we’ve got. If you like it, I’ll send it in.”

The woman nodded and vanished into the bathroom. Benny felt my eyes on the back of her head and sighed as she began to pack up her equipment. “It was a fashion shoot Mist, relax.”

“Don’t fashion shoots require the clothes she’s trying to sell?” I quipped, kicking off my shoes and falling back into the comforting embrace of the couch. “And don’t you have your own studio now? And for that matter, didn’t you move out last week?”

“Maybe I missed my girl,” Benny said with a chuckle. “Besides, I needed the brickwork.” She sat down beside me and started to fix my messy black braids. “Seriously, you need a better job. You have sawdust all through your hair again.”

“I need money to support my gaming habits,” I replied. “And since all I can seem to get for my books are rejection letters, the money needs to come from somewhere.”

“You can still write for my magazine you know,” she insisted. “It has to be better than working maintenance at the Complex.”

I winced as she tugged a stubborn piece of sawdust free. “My dad was the maintenance director where I grew up. I helped him ever since I was strong enough to lift a hammer. Honestly, I think your magazine would like me better as a subject than a writer. I doubt they’d like my ideas very much.”

“You could always model for me,” she said as she worked, something that she had been bugging me to do almost since we met. “Your tattoos would look awesome, and the magazine would pay you.”

My eyes went down to the colorful patterns and pictures inked on my arms, cartoons, skulls, dragons and more, all nestled in flowering vines that crawled up from my wrists to my shoulders and down my torso to my legs. “It makes me feel weird Benny. I got these for me, not for anyone else.”

Benny started to reply but paused as the model came out of the bathroom, thankfully fully clothed. I listened absently to their soft chatter before turning on the TV and picking up my game controller. The door closed, and Benny sat back down to watch me cut a swath through a horde of enemies.

“Long day?” she asked. “Must have been, the way you’re going after those Uruks.”

“Had to come home a different way today,” I said with a yawn. “Police had the roads closed for some reason. The security guard didn’t show up last night either, so I spent most of the day cleaning up graffiti.” A police siren screamed outside and I gestured to the window. “See, that’s like the fifth time today. Is it always like this? Have I just never noticed it before?”

Benny shook her head. “No, now that you mention it, there are more sirens than normal. I wonder what’s going on.”

She got up and peered out the window before shooting me a mischievous grin. “Maybe it’s the start of a zombie apocalypse. Be great for you wouldn’t it? Isn’t that what you gamers have been training for?”

“I’ve played Dead Space and the Last of Us,” I snorted. “Trust me, if zombies start running around, it won’t end well for anyone.”

“Well, if I become a zombie, make sure you shoot me okay,” Benny said, picking up her stuff. “I don’t do rags and dirt. See you tomorrow Misty.”

I waved over my shoulder and she started to leave, only to stop at the doorway.

“You sure you don’t want to move with me?” she asked. “My apartment at the studio is big enough for you too.”

“Too far away from the Complex,” I replied, pausing my game. “I wouldn’t be able to board there.”

My friend rolled her eyes. “Y’know, most people are willing to take the subway.”

I made a face. “It’s too crowded down there, too claustrophobic.”

“Have it your way.”

“Hey,” I said. “Thanks for the offer. Really.”

Benny smiled. “No prob. Stop by anytime okay?”

“I will. And if you ever need some…” I blinked and glanced at the plain walls. “Fine brickwork for your photography, just give me a call.”

Sharon Bennet, better known as Benny, grinned and left. The sudden quiet and emptiness was still a shock and I dove back into my game, hiding from the unfamiliar silence and ignoring the pull of the empty notebook on my desk. My phone chimed and I gave the screen a passing glance. An email. I recognized the address and my heart sank. It was a reply from a literary agent, doubtless another rejection to add to the growing mountain I kept in the darkest corners of my mind.

I almost put the controller down, pulled by a flicker of hope that this might finally be the letter. The cold, empty feeling in my stomach told me otherwise.

“I’ll deal with you tomorrow,” I muttered. “I don’t think I can handle you tonight. At least tomorrow’s my day off.” I smiled as a tough orc fell beneath my character’s spinning blades. “Then I can vent on you guys instead of the drywall I have to do.”

I didn’t know whether it was the shrill ring of my phone or the muffled shouts from down the hall that woke me first. I moaned wearily and reached for the offending device.

“This is Misty Owens,” I said, cursing silently at the croak in my voice. “Oh, hey Mr. Ellis.”

“Sorry to call you like this, but Marcus didn’t show up and Ryan called in sick. I know it’s your day off Misty, but could you come in and be on call?”

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah sure. I’ll be in as soon as I can.”

“Thanks Misty. I don’t know what we’d do without you.”

“The Complex would fall apart that’s what,” I muttered as the line went dead.

I yawned and switched off the TV on the way to my bedroom. The Complex was fifteen minutes away using my modified skateboard, a shorter commute than any of my co-workers, but Mr. Ellis sounded desperate and I didn’t want to waste any time. In three and a half years, he had only ever called me in on my day off once.

The shouting from down the hall changed its tone as I scrambled into clean clothes and then ended abruptly as a door slammed.

“Maybe I should move,” I grumbled as I tried unsuccessfully to tame my unruly hair. “No hair products to steal and angry neighbors as an alarm clock.” Finally, I gave up and pulled my shoulder length tangle back into an untidy bun.

The clock taunted me, and I decided to skip breakfast, stuffing my feet into my work boots and snatching up my wallet, keys, and long board as I ducked out the door. I paused by the elevator, listening. It wasn’t the first time my neighbors had fought. The police had even shown up once or twice. I wondered why Mrs. Jackson hadn’t just up and left yet. My heart sank as I heard what might have been sobs from behind the closed door.

I was still troubled as I reached the streets, but the crowded roads soon distracted me. It was hectic, even for a Saturday. I had moved to the city eight years ago for college but still wasn’t used to the aggressive pace of life. People were always quick to anger and seemed ready to shout at the smallest provocation. Today was even worse than normal and the tension was palpable enough to give me an instant headache. The day was bright and clear however and the feeling of wind on my face helped immensely. My power board was fully charged and I felt a pinch of regret when the Complex finally came into view.

“Oh, I wish I could just keep going,” I said as I ducked through the parking office.

“Tell me about it,” chuckled Thomas, the ancient parking supervisor. “Hey, wait a minute, isn’t today your day off Misty?”

“It was supposed to be, but Marcus didn’t show up and Ryan’s sick.”

The old man shook his head. “Well, hopefully Marcus didn’t get caught in that business down on Ninth. I almost didn’t make it in today either.”

I cocked my head to the side. “What happened on Ninth?”

“Some animal mauled a couple of people I guess,” Thomas replied. “Some pea brain had a pet tiger or a bear or something and it got loose. Police swarming all over the place.”

He stopped and scratched his chin. “Hold on a minute. I could have sworn I saw Marcus down by the breakroom.” His bony fingers twisted his white hair. “Don’t get old kid. It messes with your head. See you later.”

Jenny and the Lost Harbor

When I was writing this, I never intended it to become a part of a book of short stories but somehow it did. While the other stories all have some paranormal, or plain old fantastic, elements, this story simply teases at what is yet to come.  Ideally, Jenny Townsend will have her own novel someday, but I do hope that you enjoy this excerpt. If you like what you read and you want to read more, find it here in my collection of short fiction, Dragon Wings.

 

 

There are a great many islands off the coast of Maine. Some of them are inhabited, others house only birds and seals. A few, like Monhegan, are havens for artists and poets. Lost Harbor is one of these islands, holding a small fishing village and creative enclave. There are more fishermen than poets, unlike it’s spiritual sister Monhegan, and it is larger and more rugged, dotted with cottages and covered with thick pine groves. There is a sheltered harbor on the northeastern tip, protected from the open water by the steep cliffs. I’ve heard that traveling poets argue which island is more inspiring, Monhegan or Lost Harbor, but judging from the pictures this humble writer would choose Lost Harbor in an instant. A good thing, I guess, considering that I’ll be living there for the foreseeable future.

The woman at the ticket booth for the ferry looked me up and down, glancing at my meager luggage and giving a double take when she saw the battered crate inhabited by my leopard gecko, Speckles.

“Staying out there for a while, are you?” she asked. “Earlier than usual to see artists heading out there… what are you a painter? Poet?”

“Just a regular writer,” I replied. “No poet I’m afraid.”

She shrugged. “Well, have fun. Stay warm. Might feel like spring in here, but it still feels like winter out at the Harbor.”

I nodded and trudged down the gangway, dragging my stuff and hoping that Speckles would survive the cold. A part of me wondered what I looked like, a skinny twenty-seven-year-old that still looked like she should be graduating high school, dragging all of her worldly belongings to a ferry that would take her to a remote island twelve miles off the coast of vacationland.

An older couple nodded at me as I climbed on board and slipped past to an empty seat at the end of the boat. The ferry was heated but a chill still hung in the air, so I pulled my knees up to my chest and tugged my sleeves down to my fingertips, wondering if I would ever get used to the coastal chill. I had moved to Boston for college from Nevada where my parents owned a very lucrative hotel. College was supposed to be my doorway into the bigger world, but after two and a half months of gender studies I had had enough and escaped to southern Maine where I worked as a housekeeper cum maintenance girl at a small conference center. It was inland, almost half an hour’s drive from the beach, but there were days that I could still feel the winter cold rolling in off the North Atlantic. I shivered, wishing that I had taken the time to get an extra sweatshirt from one of the shops in town.

There was a clatter from the dock and I looked up just in time to see a woman come bustling down the ramp, almost running as she burst into the ferry. She was short and roundish, with a wide, jolly face and big blue eyes that seemed to sparkle even in the early morning fog. She caught sight of me and broke into a wide smile, almost seeming to bounce along the deck as she rushed over and plopped down beside me.

“Another artist bound for Lost Harbor?” she asked, leaning over to make faces at Speckles. “Gotta say, I’ve never seen anyone bringing a lizard with them out here. I didn’t know any of the rentals even let people keep pets. Is he going to be warm enough? I thought they had to be kept warm.”

I blinked, stunned by the torrent of questions and comments. “I had to set him up with a floor heater that runs on batteries, and I’m not renting. My grandmother’s old cottage is out there.”

“Oh, lucky,” she spouted, clapping her hands together. “I wish I could have come up here sooner than I did. I spent last summer out on Monhegan painting, and they said that Lost Harbor has some spectacular views too, so I just had to come out there for a summer.” She nudged me with an elbow. “Crashing a relative’s place is the way to go believe me, I don’t think my dad will pay for many more summers. I gotta, set up my own gallery or something.”

“I’ve never actually been to the cottage,” I said, wondering why I was telling this to a stranger at all. “My grandmother and my dad got into a fight years ago and they haven’t spoken since. When I quit college, I had a fight with my dad and he hasn’t talked to me since either.” My new friend was shocked into silence, her mouth hanging open and her brows turning up in a sad pout as I continued. “I ended up calling my Grandma and she starting coming to spend Christmas with me.”

The girl’s smile returned. “Oh good, so now you’re going to visit her!”

“She died last month,” I said, swallowing a familiar lump in my throat as I looked away. “She left everything to me, as long as I went to live out there and tried to get my parents to come visit.”

“That’s so sad!” she wailed, drawing a curious look from the couple ahead of us.

I shrugged, putting on the same brave face that I had ever since my father had told me not to call him again until I was back in college. “It’s alright.” I cursed the tremor in my voice. “I’m used to being along now anyway.”

“Well you’re not alone anymore!” exclaimed the girl. “Not as long as you have Amy Jones to be your friend! Besides, we creative types need to stick together. What are you, a writer? I bet you’re a writer. I always wanted to be a poet, but I can’t rhyme worth a darn, so I became a painter instead.”

“How’d you know I was a writer? For that matter, how does anyone here know I’m an artist at all?”

Amy chuckled. “Only fishermen and artists are crazy enough to stay out on one of these islands for longer than a few days, and you just don’t strike me as a fisherman.” She gestured at her shirt, stained with colorful paints. “No paint stains, no camera equipment, probably means writer. While I was out on Monhegan, I got good at guessing people’s hobbies.”

She hesitated and offered me an odd look. “I just realized that I forgot to ask you your name, didn’t I?”

I couldn’t help but smile. “Jenny. Jenny Townsend.”

Guns, God, and Heavy Metal

The sun is shining and the breeze is rustling through the new leaves as the birds are going bonkers in the trees, but for some reason I’m in here writing. It was a long, depressing winter, but everything is finally green again, and all I want to do is find a nice place to sit in the sun and watch the life of rural New Hampshire pass me by. I won’t get to see much, maybe a few squirrels and birds, or maybe the fox that seems as happy to see the warmth and sun as I am. His name is Todd by the way, compliments of my lovely wife, a lifelong Disney fan. You can actually see a picture of him on her page by the way at Staving Artist Photography.

Anyway, the last thing I want to be doing right now is writing. Well, let me rephrase that. The last thing I feel like doing is writing what I know I should be writing, the conclusion to an adventure that I started almost five years ago and then forgot until last week. I can hear the characters now, clamoring for me to pay attention to them. The threats aren’t too bad yet, so unless I wake up tomorrow with the head of a dead notebook under my pillow I think they can wait another day or two.

Guns, God, and Heavy Metal. If any of my posts will get in me in trouble it will be this one, and the ones that follow its lead.

I almost named this Games, God, and Heavy Metal, but the alliteration wasn’t quite right, so I chose guns instead. I like guns, usually pixelated ones, and I’ve been a hunter since I was old enough to go out in the woods with my dad on the farm. Hunting was a big part of our lives and an important supplement to the food we already raised.

God is an obvious one. I’ve been a Christian for almost as long as I can remember, and I’ll honestly say that I’d be dead if there wasn’t something bigger than me with a hand in my world. But, as odd and unusual as some of the things I’ve seen have been, they, and this bit of my history, is a story for another time.

Heavy Metal, the last bit of the almost title of this blog, is where I want to stay for a while. I don’t only listen to heavy metal, I also like what I guess you could call modern classical, some hip hop, even a bit of country, but heavy metal is the only music that I listen to almost every day. Oddly enough, when I was little I didn’t listen to music much at all. I was more interested in stories, radio dramas and mysteries, things like the dramatized Chronicles of Narnia. Actually, I’m willing to bet that I’m one of the only millennials to have grown up listening to the radio for my stories instead of watching TV. The few times I did listen to music, it was mostly my dad’s Southern Gospel or old school country, or whatever was on the local pop station.

One of my friends gave me a mix CD of some of his favorite bands and the first song was Ghost Love Score by Nightwish. I’d never heard anything like it before. Actually I didn’t even know that people made music like that and I couldn’t wait to hear more. I found Dragonforce next, and then Within Temptation and Epica, and for a little while my interest seemed to stall there.

Five Finger Death Punch has become a controversial figure in metal and rock. I don’t really know why, and I honestly don’t care much, but I enjoy the music and it was my real gateway into Heavy Metal. Since I first listened to them, I’ve found Iron Maiden, Orden Ogan, Insomnium, Amon Amarth and a great deal of others. My interests seem to tend to Melodic Death Metal, Folk, and Power Metal. It’s a fascinating genre with an incredible diversity of sound and thematic qualities, and while you’ll always find elitists that look down on everything they don’t like the sound of, most of the metal community is open and welcoming. I was a loner growing up and I never thought I’d fit into any group, a metalhead and proud of it.

FYI, if you’ve never listened to any heavy metal before, I’d like to make two suggestions. First, look up Ghost Love Score by Nightwish. Second, listen to the Sons of Winter and Stars by Wintersun. Trust me, it’s worth it.

 

“Help, I’m Stuck in Another World!”

What would you do if you got trapped in another world? Better yet, what would you do if you belonged in a world of magic and found yourself trapped in a world of steampunk machines?

These are the first few paragraphs of my original short story, Through the Bridge of Worlds, one of several available on amazon Kindle here, Dragon Wings: and Other Strange and Mysterious Things. If you like what you read, give this post a like, share it with a friend, you don’t have to tie them to a chair and make them read it unless you have that kind of friendship, and maybe check out the full story yourself.

 

Through the Bridge of Worlds

Blink stared up at the sky in confusion. The city she knew was gone, replaced by a city of towering stone and thick smoke that blotted out thick swaths of nighttime stars. Strange rumbles filled the air, blending with the sound of people laughing and talking all around her. The windows were lit with a steady light, brighter than the torches and lanterns that the half-elf girl remembered. She was still wearing the unfamiliar garb of the reapers and could feel the dark chill of their hands. Her gear and weapons were gone, though one of their long, single edged blades rested on the stone beside her. The severed arm of its owner still dripped blood next to it. Her head ached abominably, and she screwed her eyes shut, pressing her scraped palms to her temples as she pulled the leather and metal of the reaper hood low over her eyes. The headache faded and she lay still for several long minutes before she realized that she could still see, as clearly as day, in spite of the eyeless mask and the growing night.

The girl noticed two things at nearly the same time. First, there was only one moon in the sky. Luna, the home of the celestials, was gone. Second, there was a window overlooking her ledge and a man was staring at her, his face frozen in shock. She started to rise, but the ill fitted mask slipped from her head and the headache returned with such force that she collapsed, falling away into comfortable darkness.

When she opened her eyes again, the mask was firmly over her eyes, blocking out the agonizing pain. She was in a small room on a wide, cushioned couch near a fireplace. The man she had seen watching from the window sat nearby, a strange look on his bearded face.

“I saw you in my dreams…” he said softly, his voice gentle and melodious. “You were being attacked… and then I woke up and you were outside.”

Blink tried to speak, but her voice was hoarse and raw. “Reapers… where are they?”

The man stood quickly, pressing her back down on the couch as she tried to rise. “Lay still,” he said gently. “I don’t know what reapers are, but there aren’t any here. Let me get you some water.”

He vanished and Blink lay still, looking blankly around the room as she tried to remember what had happened. The oddities in the room distracted her however, and the hazy memories continued to elude her. The fireplace held no wood, instead it was a simple metal grate with blue and orange flames rising from holes in a short metal tube. There were lamps on the walls spouting the same fire, though Blink couldn’t see the oil reservoirs. Candles, the only truly familiar light sources, lined a desk that was littered with parchment and scrolls. Leather bound tomes filled shelves on either side of the strange fireplace. She heard a lever crank, followed by the sound of running water. The stranger reappeared with a cup.

“Easy,” he said as he helped her to sip the cool liquid. “Easy… take it slow.”

Where am I?” asked Blink. “Wh… who are you?”

The man smiled. “My name is Baird. This is the capital city of Revalan. Do… do you remember anything? Anything at all?”

Not Your Usual Mushroom Kingdom

Last year I finished my second full length novel, The Blades of Twilight’s Fall. This is one of the potential prologues. If you enjoy it, like it and let me know and I might share more of it.  It is an epic fantasy set in the Twilight Empire, a magical world where the sun is shrouded and the forests have been overtaken by giant mushrooms.

Aegis sat alone in the ashes, cradling the charred body of a child as he waited for the soldiers to arrive and take him away. The corpse of the Terror still smoldered nearby, leaking fire into the rubble of what used to be a house. The monstrous beast had left a path of destruction through the City of Stars, leaving only death and destruction behind. It’s first victim had been the cultist that had released it, a man that Aegis could have arrested hours before. The pain of the Priest’s burns was nothing compared to the knowledge that he could have stopped the carnage before it began.

 

“I should never have let him go,” Aegis mumbled as Iron Soldiers and his fellow Priests loomed through the smoke, filling the air with shouts and the sound of metal on stone. “It’s all my fault….”

 

The child’s body fell from his arms and crumbled to dust on the cobblestones as rough hands seized his shoulders and pulled him to his feet. Tears spilled from his eyes, turning the soot on his cheeks to paste as his companions dragged him out of the ruins.

 

“What the hell happened Captain?” demanded Dunkin, the Priest Commander of the Capital. “Aegis!”

 

The younger Priest’s voice broke as he struggled to speak, his ears still filled with the screams of the innocents that the Terror had killed. Innocents that he had vowed to protect.

 

“I let him go…” he said at last, staring down at his scorched and bruised hands. “I let the Cultist go. I didn’t stop him in time.”

 

Dunkin’s face hardened, and he swore. Pain shot through Aegis’ shoulders as his commanding officer wrenched his arms behind his back. He felt cold metal loop around his wrists and heard a click as the manacles closed.

 

“Aegis, Captain of the King’s Guard, you have admitted your guilt,” said the older man, his eyes cold and bleak. “You are under arrest.”

 

Aegis hardly noticed the journey to the prison, the looks of shock and fear on the faces of his friends and neighbors. Guilt and grief filled his mind and heart and he didn’t even look up as Dunkin shoved him in a cell and slammed the door, not bothering to remove the shackles. The Priest fell into the corner, a broken, burned, and tear stained shell of the man he had been before.

 

“Aegis?”

 

He looked up for the first time in what must have been hours, shame bringing fresh tears to his eyes as he saw his wife standing just outside the bars. She moved closer, gripping the cool metal with slender hands.

 

“Aegis?” she repeated, peering at him through the shadows. “Can you hear me?”

 

“Sinead?” he asked, groaning as he struggled to his feet. “You shouldn’t be here.”

 

Her eyes flashed in the dim light. “Neither should you.”

 

He shook his head and met her at the gate, wincing as she reached through to touch his shoulders, brushing the bruises and burns from his battle. “Sinead, I’m a traitor. Just like my father was.”

 

“No,” she scolded, stroking his haggard face. “Zathrian led the Sun Cult willingly. You let a man go because he had a family. You couldn’t have known that he was going to….”

 

Sinead trailed off into silence as her husband turned his face away.

 

“I knew what I had to do, and I didn’t do it,” he said, gritting his teeth as his face began to burn with self-loathing. “He summoned that monster and stars only know how many people were killed before I could kill it. They’re all dead because I didn’t keep my vow.” His throat tightened. “I’m going to be executed Sinead. And I deserve it.”

 

She sniffled, and tears began to leak from the corners of her eyes. “You won’t be killed Aegis. You’re going to be exiled. To the Outer Territories.”

 

Aegis felt a terrible weight fall over his heart. “Sinead, the blood….”

 

“The blood will be payed,” she finished for him, her voice trembling. “I’m going in your place. Dunkin has already agreed.”

 

The Priest’s voice came out in a strangled sob. “Sinead, no.”

 

“Protect people like you always have,” she said, backing out of reach with a sniffle. Her hands went to the slight bulge at her waist. “I won’t let our child grow up with a father who was executed for treason.”

 

Aegis couldn’t breathe. Tears poured down his face and he gasped brokenly for air, feeling like he had been kicked in the chest by a Colossus.

 

“You’ve always protected me,” Sinead said. “Now it’s our turn to protect you. Be a hero Aegis. For us.”

How to Write a Short Story

Ah ha! I bet you thought that this post was actually going to be instructional didn’t you? Well, it probably isn’t. When people find out that I’m a writer they usually ask one of two questions. The first is, “Have you ever published anything?” The second is usually, “How do you get your ideas?”

Honestly, I’m not always sure where an idea comes from. Most of the time they start small, a picture in my head that grows into a character or a place. The character or place grows into the seed of world, with the beginnings of a theme and sometimes even an ending. The details fill in as I write, almost like the story is growing all on its own. New characters and plot twists sometimes appear all by themselves, resulting in a story that is far beyond what I initially intended. Aravos, the central character of my short story, In the War of Light and Shadow, now available in Dragon Wings: and Other Strange and Mysterious Things on Amazon, came from an idea I first encountered in the game Warcraft 3, a real time strategy game that preceded the popular online game, World of Warcraft. Deathknights were once champions, heroes. In the game, these heroes fell from grace in one fashion or another and later, as their lore was expanded in World of Warcraft, some of these fallen champions sought out redemption. Aravos become one of these disgraced heroes, willing to do anything that he could to gain the forgiveness of those he once served. A simple beginning.

If you would like to read In the War of Light and Shadow for yourself, check out the link below.

Dragon Wings: and Other Strange and Mysterious Things