The tower, the voices, and the red balloon by Tricia Everaert

Prompt: Cut the strings | Word count: 1000 | Genre: Fiction

The room was round. The cool stone wall at her back was curved so the room must be round. She knew if she opened her eyes she would see one large window and an open vista beyond. She knew the deep window seat carved into the thick wall would be worn smooth from time and much use. The room would be softly lit as if from a gentle fire or a dozen candles, but she would never find the actual source of light or warmth. It was always this: emptiness and silence in a high stone tower.

She knew her name was Nicole. She knew when she opened her eyes she would be drawn to the window and when she looked down she would see trees and a garden and a maze. She would hear voices, and they would lure her out of the room, and she would find herself in the garden or under the trees. She never saw a door or stairs or knew how she got out of the room in the tower.

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Deadly by Amanda Acton

Prompt: Cut the Strings | Word Count: 1000 | Genre: YA Fantasy

Haimler cut. Threads of pink descended silently from the scissors blade. They came to a gentle rest atop the polished work surface and Haimler lost himself in their simplicity. Small strings twined together, a basic material for a most intricate task.

Haimler looked up from the offcuts to examine his work. The embroidery was an uncomplicated design of spiraled roses, leaves and branches. Work that should have been left to one of his assistants, but Haimler needed the peace that the familiar task afforded him. His fingers knew the paths to take and it left his mind free to wonder.

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Pixie By Zane Baisley

Prompt: |Cut the Strings | Word count: 1000 | Genre: Fantasy

Pixie’s blond hair spilled onto her shoulders, eyes as green as the jungle in the morning shone from her bright face. Two small dogs yapped at her ankles, okay, Wort couldn’t really be called small. The bulldog, built like a small barrel, grey with a white heart on his chest. Huffing and snorting he wheezed after Pixie. His smaller companion, a black terrier of some sort with white-eye patches and splotch of white on her cropped tail. Lithe and quick, Newt ran circles around Wort.

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Trapped! by Moira le Roux

Prompt: The Mastermind | Word count 1000 words | Genre: Fantasy

Way back in the 1950’s Julian worked for the largest power plant in the country. He was considered quite the cowboy, so when one of the large cables leading out from the plant failed, he was the one called to fix it. Disaster struck and Julian was electrocuted. His body fell to earth but his soul, to his surprise, found itself in the electricity grid.

He shot around for a while before slowing down and trying to figure out where he was. It wasn’t too bad, as he was rather a voyeuristic man, and he could see into any home that had electricity. He soon got bored and then computers came along. He learnt coding and later fell in love with the internet and the trouble he could cause.

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Mushroom Clouds by Amanda Acton

Prompt: Mastermind | Word count: 1000 | Genre: Fantasy

The hive was beautiful. A drop of sunlight, twisting lazy loops. It all but glowed with promise and Harry licked his lips in anticipation. He squinted up at the hive and his brain began to whorl. The hive was a good six meters from the ground, but that was hardly the problem. The real problem, the thing that gave Harry pause, was the Gigantus Fungalus.

Gigantus Fungalus were a rare species of giant mushroom and this hive, this beautiful font of sweet treasure, was nestled deeply within the black fronds of one such mushroom. Harry stroked his stubbled chin. Even within the Neglar Marshes, a veritable paradise for fungi, the Fungalus were rare and Harry’s prime directive was to keep them safe.
Well, his actual job was harvesting honey, but it was his personal belief that one could do so without unnecessarily hurting the environment. The whole thing with the bees was unfortunate, but Harry had heard some interesting stories of keeping bees in boxes, almost like livestock and he was eager to try it out for himself. If all went to plan he would be able to secure the queen from this hive and…

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Shining Wings McClaire by Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait

Prompt: The Club | Word Count: 750 | Genre: Fantasy

The day started out in the typical fashion. Making beds, cleaning up the breakfast dishes so I could get to the outside! Inhaling the fresh Spring air is medicine for the Soul!

And of course I’m greeted with another thing needing fixing! A busted water line near the pin oak. My hair whipped my face as I ran to the shut off valve and gripped it with all my might. Finally, it squeaked its way off. Just jolly well splendid! Crap like this always happens when I’m by myself!

Sloshing through the water which has bubbled up, I search to find where the problem is coming from.  As I bend over, I discover a nice caved in hole indicating where the line break happened, then thwack! A big old branch came crashing down, catching me on the back of my head, sending me sprawling to the ground.

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The Dress by Amanda Acton

Prompt: The Club | Word Count: 750 | Genre: YA Fantasy

The dress was torture. Lace dug into flesh. Satin coiled, a slow compression from waist to throat. Below, swaths of pallid pink crested atop roiling waves. Raega was drowning. She tried to remain steady, eyes fixed on the mirrored wall before her, but she was drowning and today she could not hide it.

She stood atop the fitting box. Her hands hung fisted by her sides. She would push her fingers out and force them into a more natural pose, but each time they would slowly curl back and betray her anger. Her eyes weren’t any help either. They stood large and red rimmed within a face tensed from holding back rage. Two tailor’s assistants worked below her. They didn’t care to notice, but Haimler did. Haimler stood a little off to the left. He was a man nearing sixty, but still in the prime of health. A strong presence in this room full of fluff. Raega watched his reflection as he watched her and she waited for her Master of Wardrobe to speak.

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The Quickening by Moira le Roux

Prompt: A white lie     | Word count: 2500    | Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Shay knelt in front of the ancient Cherrywood Chest that belonged to her grandmother. She looked carefully through it, trying not to disturb the items, while taking what she needed.  It was a Druid’s chest and contained all the books, spells and implements she needed to weave her magic that night. She was full of so many feelings: nervousness, excitement, and quite a bit of guilt. She curled her long, red hair behind her ear, and bit her lower lip, worried at the thought that her gran might find out. Her gran was a Druid, now in Africa, but descended from the Grove in the Highlands of Scotland. Her ancestors, and many other families, had left the Highlands many years ago, and came to settle in the small village of Oakdale. The village had grown in recent years as the college became bigger and more popular.

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Live by the List by Rachel Dye

Prompt: The List |  Word count: 1032 | Genre: Fantasy | Mild Violence and Profanity

“Live by the list; die by the list!” Eve dutifully repeated the words as she entered the Assassin’s Hall.  I never wanted to be an assassin, Eve cringed at the young initiate’s words but she continued towards her place at the front. There was little she could do to comfort the unblooded woman.

Her decade of service granted her one of the highest ranking positions in the Corp.  Perhaps with time the young one might learn to accept her fate but the odds were never in their favor.  More than half the new initiates would be buried before the end of the year, dead by one of the factions’ hands during a botched assassination or by their own guilt.

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The Demented by Amrita Tripathi

Prompt: NEW LIFE | Word count: 1006 (excluding header) | Genre: Fantasy
TRIGGER WARNING : VIOLENCE

You wake up surrounded by darkness. How long were you asleep? 15 days, 20 days? It doesn’t matter. You have to get out of here. You must get out. “Must I, though?” you wonder. It doesn’t matter. A ray of sunshine breaks through the grime above. Your path is clear. You should get up now. “I don’t want to,” you say to yourself. You climb out anyway and manage to stand up. A sharp pain shoots up your feet and strikes your chest. You lean on the slab of stone placed next to you. A fierce gale is blowing all around you. It rattles your bones and makes your teeth chatter. It makes the fresh snow clog your nostrils. You lift your arm and cover your nose with a scrap of green cloth – a part of your arm. “Or is it brown cloth?” you say, shutting one eye to get a better look at it. The colour does not matter. GO! You look around and see some shapes moving in the distance towards a hole in the wall. You are on your way.

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