Calculated Risk by Maria Delaney

Prompt: Calculated Risk | Word count: 1800 | Genre: 

Harley skimmed the unfamiliar faces under the majestic canopy of Muir Woods. Studying the other seven, she assured herself no one came up remotely recognizable.  She preferred to stay incognito.  All seven strangers were women who gathered tonight for the same reason.  Deep in the mighty redwood forest, Harley attended the first of twelve rituals that would change her life forever.  The other women were socializing with one another. Harley stood back in silence. They were nothing more than the competition in her mind. The goal; to be the one chosen out of all eight. Continue reading

A Dragon’s promise by Vic Ribeiro

Prompt: Coming Undone | Word count: 1199/1200 | Genre: Dark fantasy
Warning: Violence, don’t read if you are squeamish. The location is linked 


The two laughing children jogged along Winnats Pass. They looked forward to getting home at Castleton. The sun was close to setting and they picked up the pace. Suddenly the earth shuddered and they heard thunder to their right, it came from the side of the hill. The girl stumbled and her brother grabbed her arm to save her from falling. Gaping cracks from the hill streaked towards the two, and they sprinted for all their worth. They narrowly missed the ever expanding rifts.

The earth heaved and convulsed, like someone shaking a heavy blanket. Large reptilian claws broke through the crack in the hill. A dark snout protruded from the growing fissure. In an explosion of dirt and dust the dragon emerged. The the sun shone dimly through the dust. When the breeze swept the initial dust aside, the huge creature was clearly visible, its scales shimmered in the failing sunlight, like dark granite. It reared on its hind legs and spread its wings to shake off the remaining dirt that covered it. The dragon looked about, then an ear splitting roar erupted from its throat. It noticed the village of Castleton to the east, its large amber eyes brightened, it was feeling peckish.

***
Dancing flames reflected in the giant reptilian eyes. It was content as it looked at the ruin before it, the smell of scorched flesh and burning debris strong in the air. The village of Castleton was no more. Its tongue flicked out, it registered a different smell. Fear.

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Return by Amanda Acton

Prompt: Going Home | Word Count: 500 | Genre: Dark Fantasy

Dust lay thick on the furniture. Spots of sun leaked through the worn curtains. Somewhere, a rodent skittered away on clawed feet. Kayla stood in the middle of the living room and sighed. She wasn’t sure why she had come. She had given so many years to this place, to the waiting. It hadn’t given back and yet she couldn’t help but feel guilty for having abandoned it.

Kayla stepped around the couch and into the kitchen. Her breath caught in her throat as her hand grabbed toward the nearest wall. She swayed on the spot, fighting against what her eyes saw, but her brain refused to believe. Standing beside the antique stove was her sister. Her twin sister. Gone was the unsure teenager that Kayla remembered. In her place stood a confident woman with beaded dreadlocks gathered atop her head and a hand resting easy on a solid fighting staff. The strangeness was still there. That haunting way she tilted her head as if listening to something a million miles away. The way her eyes looked glossed over and yet swam with swirling clouds. And the voice, as if speaking from another place.

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