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Grey Magic by JT Lawrence – Review

Title: Grey Magic

Author: J.T. Lawrence

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Book procurement: Received a copy from the author for an honest review. Currently available on Amazon.

Synopsis:

No one appreciates the irony of her situation more than Raven Kane: she’s a burnt-out witch. Raven is a hip, hexing-and-texting sorceress – or at least, she used to be.

Now her ancient timber house is falling down around her, and the bank wants to repossess it. Nothing would make her cantankerous neighbour happier than seeing Raven and her messy menagerie out on the street. To add to her stress, the reckless Wicked Witches are causing mischief and it’s her job to reign them in. Worst of all is that her magic seems to be fading.

Just as everything seems to be too much to handle, there’s a knock on the (splintering) door. A not-unattractive man appears in her life: not to save her, as a fairytale would have you believe, but to arrest her for the murder of one of her clients. It wouldn’t be that bad for Raven, except that she knows she’s guilty.

Review:

First Thoughts

First and foremost, I thought this was a great book. It’s a fresh take on the whole “magic” and “witches” perspective. Grounds it in a natural and almost believable setting of earthly charms. Very apt for a South African novel considering the African cultural perspective on magic.

The entire story kept its center around the idea of “Grey Magic”, this idea that intention has nothing to do with consequence. Where something with the best of intentions can spiral towards a dark consequence.

There were a few inconsistencies or perhaps better to call them irregularities in the story, but they weren’t so major as to derail the story. They did break my sense of suspended disbelief though and it took a while to reign myself back in.

Writing

The writing flows well from beginning to end. It’s clear there was a good deal of research invested into the novel. Not only in execution of  the magic and spells, but the descriptions that captured places and events not rooted in our current age.

The clever use of technology and social media was also well written. If one can communicate with someone from across the world through Twitter, why not tweet spells and magical advice too. Perhaps we need more tech savvy-witches.

Raven, the main character, remains true to herself throughout the novel. Even as the story starts with Raven displaying sarcasm and wit, it’s all just building towards her self-discovery. The rest of the characters were also well captured. From detective Kruger, to Father Stephen Bishop, and the coven of witches with well-meaning agendas. I’d love to break each character down but then… I’d spoil the book for you. Some clever twists there.

I did feel as though their roles were to set Raven up as the main character. Thankfully their individual personalities made up for that.

Final Thoughts

Overall the novel is great. I really enjoyed the interconnected symbols appearing through the course of the novel. Ravens, fire, Fenrir and more. It was a beautiful amalgamation of fate, destiny and karma swirling about.

I was a bit disconcerted by the modern pitchfork wielding mob and the whole mob mentality, especially considering our time frame. Also the types of people who had shown up don’t seem like mob-mentality people, unless that’s just my ignorance speaking.

The criticism of the Christian ethos made me roll my eyes, as though every Christian is an ignorant fundamentalist with no concept of the bible (or God) they read. Picking and choosing context for their purposes. It’s not something I’ll get into now but it did annoy a bit.

Nonetheless it culminated perfectly, aligning all of the obstacles that had plagued Raven in the beginning to a perfect conclusion of karma, and the Grey Magic that spilled through lifetimes.

Rating: An enjoyable 3 out of 5


JT Lawrence

JT Lawrence is an author, playwright and bookdealer based in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. She is the mother of two small boys and lives in a house with a red front door.

She has written various plays for SAFM including ‘The Shelter’, ‘Unspilling the Milk’, ‘Every Breath You Take’, and serials, the most recent being the crime drama ‘Jigsaw’. Her short story collection ‘Sticky Fingers’ was broadcast in the last quarter of 2015, and will be available as a paperback and ebook in 2016.

Her first novel, ‘The Memory of Water’ (2011), is about a writer who would do anything for a story. Her 2015 offering, ‘Why You Were Taken’is a pre-dystopian sci-fi thriller starring a synaesthete, and takes place is a futuristic Jo’burg burdened by infertility and a water crisis. It was optioned by the national broadcaster, SABC, for a radio adaption.

She is currently working on her new novel, ‘Grey Magic’, slated for December 2016, about an eccentric modern-day witch, accused of murder, who must explore her past lives in order to keep her freedom — and find her way back to magic.

Website: Pulpbooks

Amazon: J.T. Lawrence

Twitter: @pulpbooks

Facebook: facebook.com/JanitaTLawrence

Instagram: pulp_junkie


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NPCs by Drew Hayes – Recommendation

What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters?

In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry. Once the dust settles, these four find themselves faced with an impossible choice: pretend to be adventurers undertaking a task of near-certain death or see their town and loved ones destroyed. Armed only with salvaged equipment, second-hand knowledge, and a secret that could get them killed, it will take all manner of miracles if they hope to pull off their charade.

And even if they succeed, the deadliest part of their journey may well be what awaits them at its end.


Final Fantasy 8 was the Role-Playing Game that instilled my love for story based games and future RPGs. I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t care for NPCs unless they have a quest marker or new items in the shop. So when I read the premise of this book, how could I not add it to my TBR list!?

Drew Hayes is an author from Texas who has written several books and found the gumption to publish a few (so far). He graduated from Texas Tech with a B.A. in English, because evidently he’s not familiar with what the term “employable” means. Drew has been called one of the most profound, prolific, and talented authors of his generation, but a table full of drunks will say almost anything when offered a round of free shots. Drew feels kind of like a D-bag writing about himself in the third person like this. He does appreciate that you’re still reading, though.

Website: www.drewhayesnovels.com

Twitter: @DrewHayesNovels

Email: Novelistdrew(at)gmail(dot)com

Dominae Mortem – Tengu Mythology

In one of my Patreon posts I spoke about exploring the origin of folklore and mythology for my Dominae Mortem novel. The idea is to look at existing spiritual creatures and monsters, and create my own version of how they came to be. Today we look at the Tengu from Japanese mythology:

Tengu are legendary creatures found in Japanese folk religion.  They are also considered a type of god (kami) or yōkai (supernatural being). Although they take their name from a dog-like Chinese demon (Tiangou), the tengu were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey, and they are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics.

Tengu are most frequently depicted in the yamabushi’s (yamahoshi’) distinctive costume, which includes a tokin and yuigesa – a pom-pommed sash.

The arc I am working on for Dominae Mortem this Camp NaNo was not planned. I knew the character but not the setting and not what’s supposed to happen. This rolled into a week long research/writing where Google Maps/Images was my best friend.

Creating a realistic location is so much work. Without a plan, I kept writing myself into a couple of impossible situations. And I did what any normal Dark Fantasy author would do… I hurt the protagonist. No one escapes the wrath of dark fantasy. So nothing at all was working according to plan.

However, one thing I knew for certain was that I had to create a Tengu. I had no idea how or who or when. Thankfully, the setting I spent so much time researching told the story I needed. As I pantsed my way through, I created a character who had a specific role and they in-turn decided to alter their destiny.

Here’s an excerpt of the transformation:

*Touma-san. Takeda-san. Naoharu-san. Do not rejoice. Your sacrifice bears many consequences. Until the Shinigami accepts her fate, the curses will remain.

Naoharu the yamahoshi is suddenly thrown into the air. A large brown bird descends from the heavens. A tobi – the Black Kite. Its claws grip Naoharu’s scalp and the bird thrusts its head into the yamahoshi’s open skull. He screeches in fear and pain. Still he lifts into the air, caught in the birds’ claws. The tobi continues to dig its head into Naoharu, pushing through the rotted brain. We watch aghast as its beak pushes out of Naoharu’s nose, stretching the skin until it seems to break. His face begins to simmer in black tendrils, melting the skin as it takes on the shape of the bird. His features transform until he is an amalgamated bird man. The tobi’s body completely sinks into the screaming yamahoshi. The residing maggots skitter out in droves. They dribble down the yamahoshi’s yuigesa as the man crumples forward in the air. We hear the popping crunch of bone. It is like the crack of thunder. Naoharu’s arches his spine as the back of his robes rip. Large black-brown wings sprout from his back. They continue to grow and grow and grow, until they are as tall as the yamahoshi.

This tori-no-otoko, Tengu as we name him, shall be the guardian and prosecutor of the Ōyashiro. The voice rumbles – As for you, Touma-san, the darkness within shall lead you to the Shinigami. Find her. She must accept her destiny.

A single breeze blows through us and Naoharu drops from the air. His enormous wings beat once with a gale of wind and he remains hovering above us. His beady eyes flit about. A bird-like screech claws from his beak as he beats his wings again. He ascends into the heavens and flutters off towards the grand shrine.

*

And off goes Naoharu to become the great myth known as the Tengu. You probably have a lot of questions about the who, what, where etc that lead to this. All shall be revealed in the final novel. Until then, it’s back to the writing. Thanks for dropping by.

Monday Book Recommendation: Buffalo Soldier

buffalo-soldier

Having stumbled onto a plot within his homeland of Jamaica, former espionage agent, Desmond Coke, finds himself caught between warring religious and political factions, all vying for control of a mysterious boy named Lij Tafari.

Wanting the boy to have a chance to live a free life, Desmond assumes responsibility for him and they flee. But a dogged enemy agent remains ever on their heels, desperate to obtain the secrets held within Lij for her employer alone.

Assassins, intrigue, and steammen stand between Desmond and Lij as they search for a place to call home in a North America that could have been.


maurice-broaddus

Maurice Broaddus is a fantasy and horror author best known for his short fiction and his Knights of Breton Court novel trilogy. He has published dozens of stories in magazines and book anthologies, including in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Black Static, and Weird Tales.

Friday Fiction: Hunger

FridayFiction

Hunger clawed at his mind. It gnawed through his empty vessels like poison, fingers twisting uncontrollably across the wooden seat where he sprawled. The long fingernails clawed at the wood, deep grooves revealing the lighter inner splinters below the polished mahogany. He cast his eyes across the large empty room towards the window where the crescent moon shone. The light filtered through the fluttering rags that served as curtains, once thick crimson drapes now grey threads that barely kept the moonlight at bay. From beyond the veil, raucous laughter filtered in and out in drips. The village celebrations keeping the populace out at the height of night ensured that the man’s hunger abated not.

“Insolence!” He roared into the chamber, his voice bouncing back from the cold bricks that had become his abode. “Long since they cowered before me and now they jovially perambulate in the darkness. Have they forgotten me? Forgotten that the night belongs to me?!”

The voices seemed to laugh as reply, and with hunger grating at his fraying skin, anger became a welcome veil over his old promises. No longer was he to prey upon the poor sods in the village below but perhaps it was time to re-establish his presence in their midst. Honour and guilt obscured by the growing starvation and building wrath, he staggered to his feet. Lugging his frail body to the master bedroom, a chamber he’d promised never to enter again, his eyes guided him through the darkness to the standing closet spanning the length of the far wall. From within he withdrew his finest clothes and shoes, ambled his way to the disused vanity dresser and extracted his grooming kit. In the dark he ripped off his tatty gown to drape on his garments, slid on the uncomfortable dress shoes, removed a silver blade from the grooming kit and with practiced ease, sheared his facial hair. Without the woman who once shared his home to ensure he was fully presentable, and the mirror unable to yield anything had he looked into it, he ambled out of the room. The gloom of the mansion passed through him unnoticed as he descended the stairs, through the hallway that resounded with clacks from his shoes and into the large kitchen where moonlight streamed through to reveal the dust covered floor. He would have easily swung the large oak door with a simple thought, but weakened and tired, he reached for the knob and grunted to push the door open. The cool night air swept through him, sending his locks ruffling across his face. The noise carried with the wind, the merriment evident in the hushed dissonance of the ongoing festivities. From beyond, he heard the quiet bleat of sheep, no doubt forgotten and unattended. He stalked towards them.


Working on a little something here – quite difficult considering it’s a Historical Fantasy and there are certain words and phrases I’ve never used before nor find it necessary to use in this modern era. Nonetheless I hope you enjoyed it. It’s short but… so too is life. *drops mic*

Also, my character’s biggest flaw is hunger and a smidgen of loneliness: https://rachelpoli.com/2016/08/12/time-to-write-show-your-characters-biggest-flaw/

Friday Fiction: War

FridayFiction

Nandipa stepped out of the MTN Taxi rank in Noord and immediately slung her school bag through her arms on to her chest like a baby. The gloomy space was rife with activity as people from all ages and walks of life ambled out of taxis or hurried up to them. A man selling boiled eggs kept rattling the Aromat shaker at the passing pedestrians, while another held a box packed with potato chips and cold drinks dripping water down the glistening cans. Nandipa barely gave these and the other hawkers a second glance, already marching through the hustle and bustle and into the warm afternoon sunlight among the rest of Johannesburg’s jaywalkers. She hated Joburg CBD with a passion. Hated the fear coursing through her whenever someone approached from the opposite direction. The unease when she heard footsteps approach from behind. Ignoring any form of whistle, hey, or anything trying to draw her attention because that was all they needed wasn’t it? Just a simple acknowledgement and it was over. And Ghandi Square was still so far.

*

Petros weaved his way to the far left of the M31 heading to Joburg from Alberton. His passengers murmured below his mbaqanga music, yet he barely heard them when his own thoughts seemed far away. He gave a single glance out towards the empty yellow lane and was about to swerve into it when an image, clear as day, appeared before his eyes. Further ahead closer to City Deep, on one of the roads leading left into Marco Fresh Produce, the JMPD sat in their car watching through the rearview mirror. And just as suddenly it was gone and he was speeding towards the back of a Toyota Tazz. He released his foot from the gas pedal, swerved into the lane anyway and pumped his brakes slowly to bring his taxi to a slower speed.

“Driver you’re going to kill us.” a woman said further behind him. He swept his eyes over the mirror and caught sight of her slack jowls, and dark beady eyes glaring at him.

“I’m sorry.” he said,

“Hey wena we almost died and all we get is a sorry? Heh!?”

“I said I’m sorry what do you want? A cake?”

“It’s that disgusting attitude that makes people hate all you mageza. You have no respect for your passengers.” Petros stomped on the brakes and lurched every one forward. He half turned in his seat, removed his leather cap and stared straight into her eyes. She buckled under the red-rimmed stare, her body slacking though her eyes remained alert as Petros dived into her mind.

She was a hard working woman. Stressed from the job she hated yet couldn’t leave. Stressed by the lack of funds for her child’s school fees. Stress from the father of her children who did little to support them let alone support himself. He saw the fear radiating through every aspect of her life – the fear of helplessness through poverty.

“Hey driver, don’t get upset.” the young man on the passenger side said, breaking Petros’ concentration and vision of the woman’s existence. He shook his head clear, adjusted the cap back on his head and resumed his drive towards Ghandi Square.

*

The buses were late as usual, and as thankful as she was for making it to Ghandi Square without getting mugged or hit on, Nandipa couldn’t help the rising daily irritations of a commuters life. If only she were able to get a car and avoid all of the inconveniences and fears of public transport. Then again, there would be the fear of getting hi-jacked or smash-and-grabs or running out of petrol. She looked out at the various groups across the large compound, each waiting at a bus shelter for their respective destinations. A group of high-school kids in one area, dressed in greens and greys, were blaring music from a phone. A few thin-lipped adults around them, no doubt in disapproval of the lyrics the kids sang  too without care of shame. Along one side of the square were restaurants all bustling with people catching an evening snack or perhaps dinner. She touched her school blazer pocket and considered getting a pie from Pie City. She wasn’t sure how long she would wait for anyway, so she rose and began walking towards the purple and white sign. She walked past one of the bus shelters, the sides covered in pamphlets and signs promising all types of wonders and miracles. Usually she walked past with a smile, wondering how gullible people could be to believe that a mere man could make a potion that brings luck or love or make relationships whole again and other nonsense. Only this time she caught sight of a coloured picture that had a brain and five large words in thick black ink:

KnowItBefore

Know it before it happens. If only. She thought. How useful would it before to know things before they happened, then perhaps should would have less fear of being mugged or missing the bus or anything if she could just know when it would happen before it would happen. She was still exploring the possibilities of foresight when a taxi suddenly swerved towards her, the driver staring right at her below a black leather cap. His red eyes bore through her, the roar of the large vehicle rising along with screams from all around her and from within the taxi. No fear overtook her. Her body remained still and her mind calm. She had every right to be afraid and yet – nothing. Just as the vehicle was about to smash into her, the world stopped.

Deafening silence took over.

The taxi-driver was gripping his wheel tight, the knuckles pronounced on his dark skin. Two men on the passenger seat had squeezed their eyes shut, hands clasped in fear. The other passengers in the vehicle had their own surprised faces, a couple of them even leaning forward to see what the fuss ahead was all about. Looking back at the taxi driver, she noticed that his eyes were not looking at her but past her. She turned around and leapt back in shock at the man behind her. He had a dark face with deep lines spreading from his eyes and on either side of ruby-red lips. Thick grey hair cascaded down into a long beard that fell down to his bare chest. Thin animal skin strips slung from his shoulder down and across to his waist, where a traditional Zulu IsiNene hung down the front and iBeshu down the rear,  -aprons made from calf skin.

“Nandipa my child.” the voice was deep and soothing, the words spoken in isiZulu. She took another step back and struck the taxi. A moment later the door opened and the taxi driver stumbled out, rushed to the man and fell on his knees before him, pulling the cap off his head hastily,

“Induna!” Petros cried. Nandipa shook her head, absolutely sure this was all a dream or a coma induced hallucination from getting knocked down by a taxi. But her eyes caught sight of a pigeon in mid-flight frozen still with a piece of bread suspended out of the creature’s beak. It was no dream.

“Hey! Nandipa! Get down!” the taxi driver hissed at her, breaking her trace, and when she didn’t comply, he rose hastily to his feet and gently tugged her down until they were both on their knees before the man.

“Don’t worry, she doesn’t understand the old ways, but she will.” he lifted his hand and placed it atop the driver’s head. “The time has come Siphokazi Petros Nxumalo. We must begin preparations – for a war is coming. A war that will require all the warriors we can get.” The old man turned to Nandipa, who raised her eyes to his and froze in fear before the rheumy green eyes.

“I know your fears, my child.” He said, placing a hand atop her head. She felt all her past fears swim to the surface, her insecurities and worries and doubts all bubbling through her heart, mind and soul. “But I’m afraid all of these are nothing compared to what is to come. Siphokazi here will be your guide.” The old man’s eyes faded to black and then he too was fading. Siphokazi – Petros – rose to his feet and jumped into his taxi, assuming the same position he was in.

“You might want to get out of the way, everything is about to come back.” Understanding, she moved away from the taxi, and just in time too as the world rushed back to normal and the taxi screeched to a halt, burning rubber and leaving black skid marks across the paved floor. He rushed out the taxi towards her and started shouting obscenities to her, but his face bore a smile . He eventually handed her a card, jumped back into his taxi and sped off. Nandipa was still reeling from it all as she tucked the card into her blazer. She glanced over at the purple Pie City sign and decided she wasn’t hungry after all.


Oh gosh I don’t know if I’m going to edit this story right now? I just finished it so it may have some issues. Let me know what you think of the story, I hope you were not put off by any grammatical errors. This is how most of my unedited works look haha.

Oh prompt courtesy of Rachel Poli. Actually I wrote this and then Rachel’s prompt arrived in my mail and I was like “How does she know what I’m writing!?”

Time To Write: Show Your Character’s Biggest Fear

The Forest

White Forest

Laughter echoes across the whispering Forest,

Nigh adolescent voices,

Swishing bare feet,

He calls to companion; “I’ll find you, honest!”

*

She spills over hedge and root, hides within the dark shrubs,

Heart beat loudly drumming,

Face alight in glee,

Silence as feet rush by; silence as branch her head clubs.

*

Forest lies still as boy halts; wonders quietly what’s amiss,

No leaves murmur,

Grass ceases its rustle,

 Low rumble from behind puts boy in paralysis.

*

She wakes in darkness, the world overturned.

The stench is strong.

Her gut clenches.

Light spills across rock and stone; fire alights bodies burned.

*

 Frigid fear tingles along spine, boy whirls towards sound,

Crimson eyes stare.

Golden body glints.

Grinning human head, sculpted metal body, feet of each on ground.

*

Hitched breath. Clamped fists. Terror consumes being, soul and all.

She sees serrated blade gleam.

He watches serrated teeth beam.

Screams reflect across tall white trees and a cavernous mountain wall.


A little tribute to my Patreon short story The Golden Man. Dark fantasy things.

Fantasy Horror writing – The Golden Man

Fantasy101

I wrote a story for Patreon. It sends shivers up my spine. I saw this story unfold before my eyes and with my imaginative mind you can imagine how this scene played out:

It was at that point that he wished Master Toburin had guided him through the fundamentals of turning invisible. As a fledgling Aziza, he was yet to gain the stamina needed to use forest magic, and his wings were nothing more than protruding bone on his bare back; but invisibility was an aptitude they could all accomplish young. Fighting the tumbling lithelillies in his belly, he slowly peered around the trunk.

A metal man stood between the trees staring off into the distance. Only, he couldn’t have been a man as his golden body flickered in the sun, much like the blades Pyre had seen the Aziza warriors use in their training. It was peculiar how the man was as still as a rock. A human looking head, dark as the Roobon trees back home, was seemingly stitched upon a golden neck. It sent a tingle up Pyre’s spine and he looked back to see if someone was behind him. Satisfied there was nothing, he turned around and came face to face with two lifeless eyes, wide and unseeing, yet boring into him with darkened pupils as red as the forest leaves.

His breath left him immediately.

And then the story proceeds towards a *shivers* interesting climax. Now this is all moving towards my short story The Last Robot on Earth and I’m playing around with a couple of genres. LRE TV presents… is a short story about a game of Man vs Machine, but you soon realize that the main character is not a man. Which I could explore into a deeper revelation of what it means to be human, and it would still remain a fun adventure reminiscent of Gamer or Hunger Games and like books/movies.

This particular story takes place in a Fantasy setting, hence the use of words such as lithelilles, which we would say butterflies, or Bloodshrub, which is a shrub with blood red leaves, and Roobon trees that are regular deciduous trees. You get more of a feel of it in the fuller short story but I think this excerpt is still pretty self explanatory.

What I’m also trying to tie in to this short story, is something I’ve always wanted to write but haven’t had the right idea to process; Dark Fantasy. In fact the draft name for this story was LRE Fantasy Horror (because I’m useless at titles) and I drew up a couple of starting points to guide the process. Honestly, I am quite happy with this final piece which I have unimaginatively titled The Golden Man.

If you would like to support my writing endeavour as a patron on Patreon, please click the link below. Rewards include a short story of your making, including the making of, sources, first drafts, revisions etc.

Patreon/NthatoMorakabi

In my research, I found this fascinating open question interview with Clive Barker, who is the man behind The Books of Blood, Candyman, Hellraiser and plenty other – interesting – horrors. Funny enough he mentions that his book signings never had kids but I remember reading the Books of Blood volume 1 back in Grade 7 or 8. I was reading Stephen King at this time too. Yeah. I know. Don’t judge me.

Friday Fiction: The Pied Piper

FridayFiction

 

The song was melodious, a perfect synergy of highs and lows intertwined with the Piper’s tapping feet to make music for the townsfolk. The women hung out from top storey windows and looked down at the dazzling young man. A brown hat tipped at its apex pointed to the sky, followed by the silver flute poking from between thin lips. Black locks fringing out the bottom of the cap lay on the shoulders of his green tunic, bouncing with each jig the piper made. Some of the children followed behind the man, a few brave enough to hang on to the brown sash tied around the man’s waist. The children attempted to mimic the man’s actions, kicking out in sync with the brown slacks and black tipped shoes of the piper; a joyous moment on an otherwise dreary sunlit day.

The trees stood at attention along the edge of the pathway leading towards the forest. The music flowed towards the forest and the straggling children had either wandered off or been called home, but a few let themselves be led into the forest, unaware that the tune the piper played had slivered. The man’s movements had become erratic, reflecting the melody that chopped through the silent leaves and quiet grass. Three children floated behind him in languid strides, half-lidded and drooling, and yet their bodies jerked to the melliflious discord. Ahead of them, the piper twitched further into the darkening forest. His long black locks straggled downward past shoulder and hip and back and leg and ankle and twist and twirl and curl! Toes to claws, knees to beasts. Chest a hurl – whomper of chomper. Yet none could elude the deluge of the pipers song when it ensnared; dinner was served.

~ The Pied Piper

Friday Fiction: A Hare-raising experience!

FridayFiction

“It’s a rabbit.”

“It’s a hare. Look at those ears. They are definitely longer than a rabbit’s.”

“It’s entire body is longer than a rabbit’s. That’s a terrible comparison” A thick Cupressaceae tree hid the boys from the gray creature picking the top most leaves above them; the creature’s tail swung up and down casually.

“We could eat for a year if we caught it.” The boy turned his head towards the other, raising a hand that rippled with heat. “You run in the sun and distract it with your fiery hair and I’ll come around the other way.”

Self-conscious, the other brushed the locks across his forehead but nodded,

“We need a new strategy other than ‘Ruber be a distraction’. I’ve got abilities too you know.”

“And what are you going to do as a Blessed? Blind it with holy light?”

Ruber rolled his eyes and placed his hand on the other boy’s shoulder,

“Sometimes you can be a real asinus, Lukas.”

“I know.”

As casually as he could muster, Ruber slid his hand down the shoulder and against Lukas’ bare arm. Their skin touched. Only for a second, but a second was all Ruber needed. He started preparing a spell in his head.

“Ready?” He asked. Lukas grinned and Ruber couldn’t help the grin growing on his face too. Only a true friend could manage that in him. Their heads nodded together once, twice and then they ran out from either end of the tree. Ruber sprinted into the sun, flicking the long locks out of his eyes as they tumbled forward. In the sun it gleamed like a fiery torch and his pale skin only accentuated it. The creature noticed immediately and swung it’s body around towards him,

“Look at it’s head! I told you it’s a hare!” he shouted over at Lukas. He could sense the other somewhere nearby but not exactly. That is, until a scream echoed above them and Lukas came flying out of a tree with a sword in both hands. Poised. Deadly. It was something he never left without. And as adept as both boy’s knew he was at using it, only Lukas wasn’t aware how useless it would be at that point. The hare simply bounced back, turning around completely so it’s tail was facing the falling boy. They all at that moment realized what was about to happen. Lukas tried to curl his body into a ball in mid-air, the hare pushed it’s weight forward and lifted it’s hind legs. Ruber held out both hands, eyes closed. Chanting. In the next moment, as the hare’s legs shot back towards Lukas, an amber flash of an invisible shield blinded Lukas and sent the hare tumbling into a tree. The falling boy managed to get his feet down and roll as soon as he landed, staggering to a stop while his eyes remained squeezed shut. The hare had leaves falling around it, and rather than attack, it shook its head and bounded off into the forest.

“Well that was close.” Ruber breathed, walking up to Lukas who had sat down on the grass.

“Good thing you’ve got fast reflexes or you would be chanting a healing spell instead.” The sun lit up Lukas’ blonde hair, making it almost white.

“Why didn’t you fry the thing like you were going to?”

Lukas shrugged,

“Impulse? Fun?”

“To get covered in the blood of your foes.”

“That’s a Dissectum Societas creed. You know I don’t follow that.” his face darkened. It was Ruber’s turn to shrug. He knew that wasn’t true. In the same way he knew Lukas was going to get kicked in the chest and break three ribs, both his arms, fracture his skull and come close to dying of internal bleeding. He knew that Lukas was as much of the Dissectum Societas as his father the Mage Grandis was. And would always be. Especially now as a dark cloud approached from the North of the clear, bright sky. It approached with the scent of Jasmine.


Now, as much as this little short is all airy-fairy light hearted and fun, as I intended it to be, the actual story is far darker and these kinds of scenes just help lighten the mood. Or I’m going to be a depressed writer for the next couple of months.

Nope it’s just going to be depressing.

Let me know what you think of the story! Anything that stood out for you?

Nthato Morakabi

Author | Blogger | Artist | Geek

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