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Category Archives: Writing Challenge

Friday Fiction: Portal

100WordChallenge

He rushed out the house to find the sky grey, like cow tongues in a butcher shop. A swirling pattern had replaced the stars and moon and sky. He gasped for breath. Gasped in shock. He gasped because words were failing to form. The grass stood like dark spikes stretching into the nothing.

“Aaarroooonnn!”

The groan caused the house to shake and Aaron fell to the soft ground on his knees; the earth bore the same pattern as the sky. The portal was real.

“Aaaarrooooon!!”

He was only twelve. He should have listened to mother.

But that wasn’t mother anymore.

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Flash Fiction: 2055

urban_combat_by_neilblade

Image courtesy of Neil Blade – Deviantart.com

He slammed on the brakes.

“Move! Move! Move!”

“Alpha squad cover us!”

“Delta squad move on my mark!”‘

“Charlie, Bravo? Respond and verify location, we’re coming in hot!”

The chatter of the commands flew through the crackle of the two-way radio on his dashboard, barely audible through the tat-tat-tat of gunfire.

“Abie! Abie! Come in Abie!”

He heard his name but it didn’t register, not at that moment. It would register months later when he recalled this particular day to the authorities, however at that moment his mind was elsewhere.  The black haired girl couldn’t have been older than ten. Her left shoulder pulled her body forward from the weight of the gleaming metallic arm; it looked far too big and heavy on her young body. Even through the dusty, cracked windshield of the jeep, he knew she wasn’t human; the long black hair twirled into tentacles that attached to the gargantuan left arm.

“Abie Prinsloo of Sector Swartkoppies, Southern Republic of the United Commonwealth of Africa, your presence has been requested.”

He sat in his vehicle, unsure as to what he should do. This was clearly not the enemy. He knew his enemy was human and this young creature before him (he assumed it to be young) was not anything he was expecting. She spoke again.

“Abie Prinsloo of Sector Swartkoppies, Southern Republic of the United Commonwealth of Africa, your presence has been requested.”

His shock wearing off, he managed to open his door and step out into the harsh sunlight, aware that he heard no gunshots nor any sounds of war where he was.

“Who are you?”

“There is no time to explain. My vessel slumbers soon.” The little girl turned around and he, could see the gaping wound in the girl’s head as she began to walk away. Feeling the skin on his arm tingle with tiny pinpricks, he followed the dying girl into one of the buildings. From here he could see what had attached itself to the hole in the girl’s head. He shivered.


I know it’s like Sunday but obligatory Flash Fiction short courtesy of Rachel Poli’s prompt.

Start the story with the following sentence: “He slammed on the brakes…”

Time to Write: Sentence Starter 8

Friday Fiction: Everyday Troubles

 

Given Sibeko thought he knew what a bad day entailed. Missing a taxi at Bree Taxi rank making him late for work. Not a bad day, these things happen. Getting piled into the next taxi so that they sat six instead of four at the back, was expected though in most cases an exception. Getting stopped by traffic officers for overloading the taxi an obvious conclusion. Forgetting his laptop bag in the taxi he had been piled into, and remembering just as it swerved across the intersection and around the building… well he was beginning to feel as though Lady Luck was facing away from him. His chest felt heavy. The dawning realization spreading through his veins filled him with dread, spreading into his mind where he foresaw the implications of losing a company laptop, and all the data he didn’t end up backing up following the previous night’s loadshedding – rage and despair engulfed him. The urge to scream at the top of his lungs was barely stifled, by the way he would look with the crowds around him.

*****

Jan-Fredrick van Vuuren looked down from the balcony of the apartment where he had taken residency for the day. Given Sibeko had arrived as expected, his laptop forgotten as he was supposed to and now the frustrated young man was staring up at the sky in controlled anger.

“Has his laptop been left in the taxi as per instruction?” a voice spoke behind him

“Yes sir.” Jan-Fredrick replied. The other man walked towards the window and they stood shoulder to shoulder. He turned to the other man,

“Would this really be the man who caused the 30 April 2022 event in Carlton Center?”

“If he had taken his laptop to work… yes.”

They stared on at Given, each contemplating their role in the advancement of the human race.


Prompt:

You’ll have a few really good days and then there may be a string of days where nothing seems to go right.

Time to Write: Everyday Troubles

Friday Fiction: Yellow

Image found on Pintrest

Image found on Pintrest

I woke up that morning and fought the thrumming onslaught against my heart. Again. Little guilt soldiers marching along the dark, bloody recess palpitating every few seconds to keep my body alive. To keep the pain alive.

I pushed off the thin blanket draped over my half dressed body, heat radiating off the wooden floors and soft blue walls of my cozy bedroom. Home. It was only the third night back in this enclosed space and already the feeling of home was dissipating – as though the walls themselves were sucking back the sentiment they once felt for me. Their innocent blue eyed boy. Little Pan the lost boy.

Oh how lost I was at that moment.

I gravitate towards the cylindrical JBL bluetooth speaker standing upright on my dresser; sleep and remorse wrestle for dominance with each unhurried step I take. I flick on the device and the soft pacifying voice of Chris Martin permeates the silent house.

Yellow.

It was all yellow.

I take the speaker with me, pushing through my bedroom door and immediately, unconsciously, step over the leg strewn haphazardly in the passageway. The smell is cloying. Suffocating. Soothing. The rest of the body is angled behind the door and acts as a doorstop. I tread across the warm carpet, my foot squelching slightly but I barely notice. Only Chris Martin and I exist.

And guilt.

It’s all yellow.

The bathroom is dark when I enter, the window barricaded by a large bulking figure drooping lifelessly from the bar. A quick fumbling across the wall reveals the bump of the light switch but I hesitate before I click it on. Not because of the man on the window, but rather in fear of the mirror right beside him that reflects my silhouette.

The music continues.

The guilt continues.

I flick the switch and nothing happens. Only then I realize I have been holding my breath and I let it go with a long drawn out sigh. Relief. I do not want to see what I have become since the incident. The invasion of privacy to the sacred enclosure that is my bedroom. The violation.

Since the bottled rage quivered first through the lower region where my heart resides, then up, up, up into the front half of my brain, then through my entire nervous system like blood through the veins. Down to my hand clutching the pocket knife on the desk. To the fingers squeezing the black plastic handle.

To the rage throwing the chair back.

The stalking to the trembling figure.

The first plunge.

The first maternal scream.

The first spurt of thick crimson fluid splashing across my face. Against my bared teeth. The sound of footsteps as paternal anguish lunged from across the hallway. The struggle in the hallway where my skull connected with the wall, rattling my teeth. The surge of strength from the pain, fear and anger. The grunt as a knee connected with the soft gut, the ease by which the steel tipped edge plunged into the thick neck. The weight of the slumped body against my shoulder, the ease by which I was able to carry it to the bathroom and hang it through the burglar bars. Later I will put up something to hide it from the outside world. For now…

Elation.

Fear.

Relief.

Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.

Yellow.

It was all yellow.


Writing prompt courtesy of Rachel Poli: http://rachelpoli.com/2016/02/26/time-to-write-sentence-starter-7/

I fear anger and what we could do in that state of mind. What is your biggest emotional fear?

Monday Madness: The Beast Unleashed

But I love it!

But I love it!

We’re in the last week of February, and deadlines have piled up faster than the zombies from World War Z (which is relatively fast) and now I’m traversing the dark underground tunnels of Submission Land with my trusty laptop and a large flask filled with strong fatigue reducing coffee. My own “Walking Dead”.

Gamecca

As per the usual criteria, every month I do some writing for our local digital magazine, Gamecca Magazine which I have now been writing for four years now, heading into the fifth. That is quite amazing actually and in that time I have written almost 200 articles made up of Reviews, Previews, Technology in Africa articles and now recently, Independent Game Developer Interviews. For this month, I have three previews to write and the standard Indie Dev Interview to write up.

I really enjoy writing for Gamecca and delving into the fascinating world of games and getting excited over upcoming titles. What a privilege to write about games for such an established Magazine. I look forward to another five or more years alongside Walt and Katia, the amazing editors.

Jozi-Flash

At the end of NaNoWriMo last year, a couple of us Jo’burg writers decided to continue writing together even after NaNo and this has led to the establishment of our little Jozi Wrimo group. One of the writers is looking to start her own Publishing company and in the mean time, she is helping our group to publish an anthology of short stories by the end of February. That’s seven days away.

Talk about pressure.

Auburn

Well I haven’t spoken about this project in forever and yes it is still going. Tyron and I worked together on a “novelette” called Auburn in which a character is given a dose of poison. Unsure as to when it will kill them, they embark on a dangerous journey to use the last of their life for a purpose. We separated this into a Light and Dark version that run concurrent to each other ,exploring the character’s motivations and choices. We have had someone edit it for us and now we have another person proof-reading the new edits. We are hoping to knock this out soon too.

Goodreads / Friday Fiction

Lastly I am continuing in my Good Reads reading challenge with the weekly Wednesday Book Review. There are so many books out there that I want to read, that I keep discovering, that I don’t think I will ever be satisfied with the amount of books I will have read say in the next twenty years. My latest discovery was The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

22929563

Apart from the amazing book cover design, the synopsis sounds really intriguing so I’ve put it on my TBR list… I just need to go buy it haha.

Lastly of course, I will be carrying on with my own Friday Fiction short stories with prompts normally from Rachel Poli, and hopefully I will introduce Flashmob Fiction and Cracked Flash Fiction to my weekend writing. I have been really slacking on my weekends as they are the only days I get to NOT do anything and it ends up becoming the busiest of times. Nonetheless, I will keep trying and want to thank all those who remind me weekly of the writing challenges in the first place (yes I’m talking about you Carin Marais!)

Beast Mode Activate

So this Blog Post is the first sprint through the dark writing tunnels, away from the pursuing deadline zombies hoping to drag me into the dark recesses of procrastination. Really looking forward to ending February on a high note!

Friday Fiction: Quirks

Everyone has their own quirks; common or bizarre. Our characters in our story are no different.

Write a quick short story about something odd your character does, but something that makes them them.

Time to Write: Quirks


 

“Well. It’s about time you showed up!” I smile. I feel my lips involuntarily curl up into a knowing smile. An evil smile. I keep my hands behind my back.

“What is the meaning of this you fiend!?”

“Weellll…” I shrug my shoulders excessively. I have no idea why I do it, it’s just so natural whenever my evil plots come to fruition.

“That shrug really annoys me.”

“Meh. That’s part of being a villain. I have a unique quirk, and you despise it with your entire justice-saturated being.”

His eyes glance towards the woman tied to the chair, her eyes have rolled back in their sockets

“She’s not dead.”

“Let her go!”

“You’re starting to sound more and more like the Dark Knight himself…” I moved away from the woman, teasing him to come get her, waiting to activate my trap the moment he does… or doesn’t

“Why don’t you come get her then?” My shoulders jerked up and down again as I attempted to suppress my laugh.

“Your little quirk gives you away, why don’t you bring her to me?”

“Now that’s not how the game works. You know how this goes. I call you out, we do the dance, you rescue the hostage yada yada, I try again the next time.”

“So why do we keep dancing, if we know how it ends?”

“Because – ” I stepped up to him. He cautiously moved back. “The dance is why we put our feet forward in the first place!” I pull out the remote control from behind my back, my shoulders once reverberate as a knowing expression etches across my rivals face.

“Perhaps it’s time we did our final dance.”

Friday Fiction #3: In Transit – Gender / Bender

Prompt

Gender Reversal

Take the main character of one of your novels or shorts and rewrite it switching the gender.

 


Original:

She saw the boy walk back towards the chairs at the nearby gate, looking far more despondent this time compared to the first few times. At first, she was sure it was merely curiousity leading him to the flight boards but then she noticed signs anxiety in his clenching fists, assuming he’d missed his flight. Now she was certain she knew what the kid’s story was, especially when seeing how his eyes scanned the crowds as though looking for someone, and that someone was his parents. Of course it all made sense now and unfortunately for him, he was quite a number of gates away from his parents.

She’d noticed him first when he’d jumped off the passenger vehicle, only to misstep his landing and go sprawling across the tiled floor. The quick jump to his feet and shoving of his earphones back into his ears had everyone smirking in pity and amusement, much to the boy’s dismay. Once the family settled down at their gate, lounging atop the black leather seats nearest to the power plugs, the boy rose and animatedly gestured at his parents, taking his backpack with him before hurtling off down the walkway. More out of amusement than anything malicious at that point, she’d followed the boy from a distance, watching him skip onto the passenger conveyor belt, turning around once he was on to let himself get pulled, while he attempted to walk backwards on the lift. By the fourth one, boredom had taken over significantly so he swiftly spun back the right way and stepped off the end of it. His head swept up towards the hanging boards, blue with white text for the flight gates and green with white print for other services; he followed the green.

At that moment she knew he was heading for the lavatories, so she hung back along with her cleaning trolley, placed the little yellow sign with the cartoon man slipping, on to the floor, and slid the mop casually across the floor. When the boy stepped out, his head was down, staring at a device in his hand as he nonchalantly made his way towards the opposite side of the airport. Curious, she picked up her board and followed, wondering as she dragged her trolley if he was lost or now travelling alone. It would explain why he’d taken his backpack and the single glance towards the hanging boards and another trip along the moving floors had her assume he was now alone. She felt a smile touch her lips at the prospect.


Gender Flipped

He saw the boy walk back towards the chairs at the nearby gate, looking far more despondent this time compared to the first few times. At first, he was sure it was merely curiousity leading the boy to the flight boards but then he noticed the signs, anxiety showing in his clenching fists, assuming he’d missed his flight. Now the man was certain he knew what the kid’s story was, especially when seeing how his eyes scanned the crowds as though looking for someone, and that someone was his parents. Of course it all made sense now and unfortunately for him, he was quite a number of gates away from his parents. The man had noticed the boy first when he’d jumped off the passenger vehicle, only for the boy to misstep his landing and go sprawling across the tiled floor. The quick jump to his feet and shoving of his earphones back into his ears had everyone smirking in pity and amusement, much to the boy’s dismay.

Once they’d settled down at their gate, lounging atop the black leather seats nearest to the power plugs, the boy rose and animatedly gestured at his parents, taking his backpack with him before hurtling off down the walkway. More out of amusement than anything malicious at that point, the man followed the boy from a distance. He watched the boy skip onto the passenger conveyor belt, turning around once he was on to let himself get pulled, while he attempted to walk backwards on the lift, much to his amusement. By the fourth one, boredom had taken over significantly so he swiftly spun back the right way and stepped off the end of it. His head swept up towards the hanging boards, blue with white text for the flight gates and green with white print for other services; he followed the green.

At that moment, the man knew the boy was heading for the lavatories so he hung back along with his cleaning trolley, placed the little yellow sign with the cartoon man slipping, on to the floor, and slid the mop casually across the floor. When the boy stepped out, his head was down, staring at a device in his hand as he nonchalantly made his way towards the opposite side of the airport. Curious, the man picked up his board and followed, wondering as he dragged his trolley if the boy was lost or now travelling alone. It would explain why he’d taken his backpack and the single glance towards the hanging boards and another trip along the moving floors had the man assume the boy was now alone. The man felt a smile touch his lips at the prospect.


Does the gender switch make the scene more sinister because it’s a man? Thoughts?

 

Triple Friday Fiction #2: October

October.

He shoved his hands into the pockets of his blood red hoodie, the moonlight dragging his shadow beside him, though the black silhouette barely followed its master’s footsteps. His sneakers barely made a sound on the glistening tarmac, where the smell of rain hung heavily in the air.

October.

His name rustled with the leaves, skittered with the street granules, murmured in the wind. He pulled his hands out long enough to pull his hoodie further over his head, long enough to reveal the gnarled, crimson fingers of his pale left hand etched with what looked like the number 8.

October… run.

He shoved his hands back into his pockets, feeling the air around him thicken as though the oxygen in the atmosphere was solidifying, making it hard to breath. His legs pulled forward slowly, his gait slacking considerably while his shadow edged on swiftly across the puddles master-less.

OCTOBER!

He turned suddenly, emerald eyes ablaze as they stared into the darkness, twisted hands clenching and un-clenching at his sides, the tattooed emblem of the number eight on his hand throbbing emerald in the darkness. His shadow flitted back to him, facing the opposite direction.

“This ain’t good maaaan, this ain’t good!” The shadow spoke. A sound like two saw blades grating against each other.

“Why aint you running Octy? Why. Aint. You. Running!”

October opened his hands as far as they could, letting off a slow breath. His eyes dimmed. The tattoo softened and dimmed until it was nothing more than an ink mark. The darkness revealed nothing.

“Listen, Octy, we been on this damn road for too long and where you be heading aint nowhere I wanna be. But I’m bound to you like a fetus to its mother with this umbilical cord we call your soul.”

October sighed irritably.

“So how bout we git. Just git! I won’t question your manliness, won’t question your pride. Aint nothing wrong with running Octy, and I’m ready. Sneaky like Ezio. Assassins Creed escape maaaaan!”

“Shut up!” October hissed, a soft boyish voice that carried in the wind. His name echoed back in the quiet flapping of wins. He shook his hands, the fingers crackling in the silent night, straightening, darkening in colour as they reformed fully and completely. His body shimmered, grew taller, his nose expanding wider and fuller, lips thicker as the hoodie sizzled and bubbled on his body until he was in a business suit and completely bald; a completely new person.

“Ah damn son you be looking like Samuel L Jackson fused with a Samoan wrestler, I dig it! So we gonna run now?” the shadow flitted to the other side.

“Absolutely.”

“Thatssss ma boy! Better move cos them freaks be close. Can you hear em in the wind?” October could. The beating wings were drawing closer.

“We’ll travel through the shadows ayt?” The shadow continued, “But not too far, I can’t handle your aura no more since that tattoo incident. You got some baaaad vibes in your system.”

“Do your thing then!” October hissed, which came out as a deep growl. The darkness around October’s feet pulsed and stretched, expanding wider until it was a gaping hole below the large burly fellow October had become. October felt his feet sink into the ground, slowly at first then picking up speed as he heard his name rustle louder and faster in the darkness, carrying across the night sky with the flutter of bats passing overhead. His eyes fell on the largest bat, eyes staring into him as he descended the last of the hole that his shadow had created. The bleak white eyes stared deeply into him, familiar in a rancid, cool, calculated kind of way. He shivered at the sight of the bat.

Nihil; his mentor.


Prompt 2: Introductions

Introduce a brand new character as though you’re beginning a new novel. We don’t need to know any plot or premise of the story, just introduce the main character.

Time to Write: Introductions

Triple Friday Fiction #1: Greyscale

I don’t know what happened to my weekends but these last two Fridays flew by before I could even lift my head. Both Fridays were exceptionally well spent so no regrets, but to make up for it, here is a triple whammy Friday Fiction, and the first post prompts are:

Prompt 1 – From Nicky

If purple is the colour of royalty, what is the colour of beggars, and what happens when a virus renders everyone colourblind.

Prompt 2 – From Rachel

Sentence starter. The prompt must begin with the following sentence:

I awoke to the sound of…


I awoke to the sound of metal scraping across brick; intermittent grating echoing across the fog of sleep. In the next moment I was up on the bed, throwing the blankets off and on my feet as the world swam in murky shades of grey and colour. In the distance I could hear the toll of the bell; a warning sign of an imminent danger. My teeth rattled at the continuous scraping that was surely coming from outside my cottage, and from the sounds of it, it was circling me. It was also then that I noticed the mismatch of colour; half the wooden door carried its aged dark brown of battered wood and the other half sagged in a dull grey. I spun around the room, watching as though through a child’s moving picture box, the world flitting from a drabby colourlessness to rich vivid colour.

“Edward!”

My name reverberated across the walls of my cottage, a familiar voice that filled my chest with dread; Thomas.

“Come now great magician, come see what your magic has wreaked upon the lands!”

The voice booms far louder than any normal man should be able to, and I shudder at the possibility that he has managed to tap into his hidden magical potential. But the continuous grating of what must be his sword against the brick walls, reveals that he is still his same brute self. An animal . I hear him move towards the door and then there is silence.

I wait.

“EDWARD!” My name is followed by banging that rattles the frame and sends dust flying.

“What is the meaning of this Thomas!” I cry at the door, though I hear the quiver in my voice. I am quite aware that I am not guilty of any magic but the man instills an irrational fear within me.

“Open up oh great and powerful magi of the third order. The king demands your audience!” His sarcasm drips from his lips like venom. I move towards the door and attempt to open it menacingly, but the large man as wide and tall as the door itself seems less likely to be intimidated by my scrawny self. His large bulk swims between colourlessness and full on ugly, scarred, muscled mass that has clearly spent too much time in the sun. His bearded face scowls at me. He steps aside and gestures at the stretching grey/green grass the extends from my cottage towards the village.  To the side is the abandoned castle, with it’s broken tower and everything looks normal. I’m not sure what he means and the grey filament over my eye is beginning to both annoy and worry me

castle_on_hill_by_gwilymg-d8ljv01

“What am I looking for, you giant brute.”

“Do you not see?”

“I wouldn’t be asking if I did.”

“The world! It has lost its colour.”

“The world has lost…” The grey murkiness intermingles with the vivid colour and I feel the tug of my internal system bucking against what has to be a virus of sorts; an enchantment against sickness that had been cast on me at birth. I touch a hand against the pendant on my chest and cast a healing enchantment, watching the world shimmer back to colour.

“It’s a virus. It must be.” The world immediately dulls out and disappears into bleakness completely and Thomas stares at me with a worried look.

“Is this not one of your spells gone awry?” He asks. The slight tremble in his voice makes me more anxious.

“Not at all Thomas. Not at all.”

“Well then we’re in serious trouble. The whole village has lost colour in its vision. Ma was the first to tell me. Old Lincoln in beggar grey says he’s glad we will all be equal now, that the King will no longer flourish his robes of purple and gold rings in our faces. It is this talk that has brought me here.” With his anger gone, the brute is almost a child and I feel pity for him, only for the reality of it all to sink in completely. The golden sunsets and sunrises. The purple flourish of robes. The swirl of emerald dresses. The silver sheen of dew on grass. The azure sky. All nothing but dreary monotony.

“Thomas,” I begin to say, but the words fail to form, as I imagine a colourless world.


 

Friday Fiction: Azure

Happy Friday fellow writers, readers, bloggers and general populace. Thanks for dropping by! Today’s prompt is a combination of sources, one from Rachel Poli as usual; prompt is Stranger. The second comes from a fellow Jozi writer Nicky who gave a prompt based on the colour Azure.

Time to Write: Stranger

Hope you enjoy!


The day started out like any other, the sky seeping through to a rich azure that invited people to stare at it. So they did, losing themselves in its depths.

Liamsworth Leathers had never been one to watch the skies, never been one to question the natural course of life; not when he was the son of a mere leather worker. His course of life lay in the tangle of skins hanging in the back of the small shop his father owned, drying among the animal fats they used in the leather-making process.

So it came as a surprise to him when he found his eyes being drawn to the world above him, the cloudless calm hanging over the countryside like still water. He drew his attention back to the strap of browned animal skin but his mind kept drawing him back to the sky. Eventually he could resist no longer, his entire attention riveted to the emptiness above with not even a single thought interrupting what had to be the most senseless wasting of time if there ever was one.

He came to suddenly. A flicker across the sky was dragging its way across in a trail of white. His eyes followed, the pull of the trail stronger than the pull of the sky. He rose unsteadily on legs that didn’t seem his own and for the better part of his mindless preoccupation, they hadn’t been. In finding the nerve endings belonging to their original master, his legs shuffled away from the thickened hide and dribbling fat, inching towards the trail descending above him; the new master of his traitorous limbs.

The woman stood in the water dressed in a white flowing dress dragging through the rippling waters around her. Her arms extended to the sky as though drawing in the sun itself, only it wasn’t the sun’s rays being pulled together but streaks of grey puffs gathering to cover the sky.

“Liamsworth Leathers.” The voice startled the boy. It broke whatever spell had been cast over him for he fell in a heap on the water’s edge. Eyes wide. Attempting to scramble up to his feet only to find his legs and arms had gone numb. His vocal cord silence so only a low murmur escaped his lips as he attempted to cry out. His eyes riveted on the stranger before him. As though sensing his distress she lowered her arms and turned steely blue eyes towards him. In that moment her shape shimmered in and out of focus. Where there was a women, a lanky pale blue creature hunkered over the waters, feelers with large blue orbs whirling in the sockets, tentacles spouting from the overgrown mass of lumps covered in a translucent veil stretching into the water, pattering over the water, creating the ripples – and then the woman was back.

“Who… what…” the words were barely audible. Whimpers really but the woman (creature) replied.

“Worry not Liamsworth Leathers, we are merely passing by and required your planet as a way-station.”

Shock at that moment coursed through the boy’s body, sweeping over his mind like a warm blanket. Dark as the blanket. He passed out.

529 words

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