A sampling of short story excerpts:
The Crew – 5000 words of comedic fantasy.
. . .The Baron slammed his fist on the table and thundered at his bodyguards, “Justin! Go get the city guard and have them escort this band of degenerates out of my town.” The man wasted no time, and took off running out the back door. “Now listen here! You rabble better leave now. I can see that my interest in your services was a mistake. I will seek some other band of adventurers to take care of my people’s troubles.”
Petric stood up slowly, letting the Baron’s anger burn. He moved in; his face a hair’s breath away from the Baron and spoke in a barely-contained whisper. “Fine. If you want someone else—then get someone else,” he said, “but we’re not leaving without payment. We rode four days in the rain to get to your miserable little berg, we’re going to get paid for our trouble.”
It took only a split second for the Baron’s remaining guard to do something very stupid. He drew his sword and put himself between Petric and the Baron. The sword barely cleared the scabbard when the instruments of death began to fly towards the guard. His light chain mail rang out in song as two daggers plunged deeply into his chest; one thrown from the hand of Ne’Li and one launched a second after by Lairie. The magical dart of flame from Marques struck the guard’s head as he fell against the far wall in a heap.
“Good throw, lad!” Thinor chuckled deeply and patted Ne’Li on the back, as if he had just won a darts championship. “Aye, and you too lass, you’re getting much faster, Lairie.” She beamed at the compliment.
The Baron fell backward against the wall, staggered by the brutal violence he had just witnessed. The Baron was not a war seasoned man at all; his only schooling in the art of battle was several decades ago in the Royal Army—during peace time. He realized immediately that he was in grave danger.
“Please just leave. I’ll let the guards escort you to the city limits and we’ll forget the whole thing!” The Baron pleaded with the Ranger.
“Oh no! The nasty old city guard, how ever will we escape their clutches?” Lairie snickered at the quivering Baron.
A streak of blinding white light popped from Marques’ direction and exploded against the Baron’s body. The magical flames tore into the Baron, and seared him to the bone. The death scream lasted only a second. Magical flames licked against the tavern wall and ignited the beer soaked wood like so much kindling.
“Well, I stand corrected,” Marques sounded disappointed. Marques rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Apparently, the ring has no protective effect against fire. Maybe the aura was indicative of protection from poison. Well, I’ll figure it out eventually.” . . .
Decisions, decisions – 4000 words of speculative fiction.
. . . There was a forceful knocking at the door to the room. Robbie panicked when he saw Charles, the night security guard, looking at him through the wire-laced glass. Robbie flashed a pretend smile at the guard then flew to the keyboard, shutting every open window, erasing the spacecraft from the sixty-inch wall display. The room’s door opened slowly.
“Man,” Charles shivered. “It’s freezing in here! What are you trying to do, make popsicles?”
Robbie smiled nervously at the dark haired guard. He hadn’t noticed the room temperature before, but now he could feel the icy air clinging to the sweat in his hair. “No. I just got a little hot earlier and I felt like cooling off.”
“Hot huh?” Charles walked over to stand directly behind Robbie’s chair. “You been downloading those nudie pictures again, eh?” He nudged Robbie’s shoulder.
“Ha, ha, no. You know me…” Robbie shrugged off the comment with a sheepish smile. Charles could see that he wasn’t going to get any fun out of Robbie tonight. The guard never understood computers all that well, so the jumbles of windows didn’t mean much to him. Charles decided it was time to give Robbie a break and get back to work.
“Well, you stay off those sleazy web sites, you hear? We wouldn’t want you coming up with some nasty virus, would we?” Charles walked out to the hallway. “Stay out of trouble, Dr. Jeffreys.”
“I will,” Robbie said, not quite convinced that trouble wasn’t following him tonight. He turned back to the blank screens. Why on earth did he just do that, he wondered.
“I just got one of the most important pictures in human history and the first chance I get to show it to someone…” Robbie thought of the possibilities. He was no psychologist but he had to guess that he hid the image out of fear or embarrassment. If it was a sixty-inch image of a Penthouse Pet spread out on the screen, he would have been less embarrassed.
Robbie keyed open a window and brought the image back up on his workstation. It was as mesmerizing as it was frightening. It was like looking at world’s largest car accident in passing, he couldn’t tear his eyes away. What would happen if you told your boss you discovered extra-solar life overnight, by accident? . . .
Noah’s End – 3500 words of horror.
. . . “You shot me!” Joey’s rage echoed across the long empty cells.
“I’m going to do worse…just wait,” Noah said.
“We’ll see. Try and catch me, you bastard.” Joey let the blood drip onto his fingers and painted an arrow on the wall behind him.
“Where are you going?” Noah asked. The silence surrounded him. Joey knew how to muffle his footsteps in here. The brothers practiced moving in silence a hundred times over the years. It had been necessary more than a few times.
First blood was drawn on both sides. The initial battle was over, Noah knew Joey would run and try to take care of his shoulder before coming back. He would head for the south guard tower: 360 degree views, only two ways in—both easily blocked—and it was stocked with a third of their medical supplies.
Noah climbed the stairs carefully but his suspicion was correct, Joey was already gone. The arrow in blood pointed down the hall to the outside; the south tower. Noah would be damned if he took that bait. He sprinted up two levels to the old warden’s office, grabbed the sniper rifle stashed there in the corner and headed up to the roof.
He was climbing the outer stairs when he heard the screech of rusted metal come from across the courtyard. What are you doing Joey, Noah thought. He crouched low against the side wall of the roof and looked over the edge.
Noah’s veins filled with cold terror. The south gate was open.
“Oh, no. No. No! Joey you fucking idiot. What have you done?”
The heavy steel door was swung wide open on rusted hinges. The fifteen foot door was the second largest piece of metal in this decaying stone prison. The front gate was the only one larger and Noah has personally welded that shut four years ago.
Another screeching groan of rusted metal floated towards Noah. Panic set in his eyes. Joey was opening the twin door that led to the outside world through the south gate tunnel.
“No!” Noah screamed and fired three shots into the darkness of the tunnel; a desperate last chance of stopping Joey before he could breach their long held defenses. He heard the sharp pings of metal bouncing off metal and hoped he hit something. Anything. . . .