Another prompt, another round of great responses! Check them out below and vote for your favorite:
Story 1 by Cara Michaels
This was the first town we’d come across with enough road to sport an intersection, never mind anything resembling traffic.
Buildings pressed in on either side of the cobbled street, with second stories expanding above, almost close enough for the occupants on either side to lean out and swap a cup of sugar.
The shout barely carried over the bustling morning crowds. Pedestrians and horses danced about each other.
Kai and Tae clearly saw something they didn’t like, closing ranks in front of me.
“Hey.” I poked Kai in his unprotected ribs, but his gloved hand only closed over mine in response. “What are you two doing?”
He reeled me in until my front pressed along his back.
“Kai, what the hell?”
“Quiet, Noona,” Tae hissed. “And don’t move.”
“What is going on?”
“We’re hiding you, duh.” Tae’s tail curled around my hip, further keeping me close.
“You realize I’m the one with proper armor and weapons, right?”
“You’re also the one these bastards are looking for,” Kai said softly. “So cooperate, please.”
I squeaked when Kai spun around, crowding me against the closest building. The pair of them towered over me, Tae with his back to us, ignoring or ignorant of the way Kai’s gaze warmed.
Kai’s hand glided along my cheek, slipping under my hair. He anchored me there, my breathing stuttering as his lips traced the line of my jaw. Distantly, I heard heavy footsteps, the distinctive clank of heavier armor. A mix of chuckles and rude cheers egged Kai on as they passed, his shaky exhale warming my cheek.
Tae’s tail thumped Kai’s side, knocking him away from me. “Let’s get the hell out of here. Now, please.”
“Somewhere private sounds good.” Kai smirked.
“You two are so gross.”
Story 2 by Stacy Overby
Maroshek glanced around, his heart thumping so loud in his chest he struggled to hear anything over it. He’d found the crossroads the innkeeper described with ease.
“Take the path to the left, he said,” Maroshek muttered to himself, searching the tall grass. “But don’t tell me anything about whatever it was stalking me in this infernal grass.”
But even atop his mare, and she was a tall horse, he couldn’t spot anything. Maroshek kept one hand on the pommel of his sword as he urged his mount down the left-hand road.
The odd rustling came again. Maroshek yanked his sword out of its scabbard as he reined in his horse. Just as before, the rustling stopped. Maroshek dismounted, scanning the grass, hoping to glimpse something. Yet again, though, he found no evidence of any living thing besides him, his horse, and a never-ending plain of grass taller than his horse.
With a growl and the faint scent of salty sea air in his head, Maroshek remounted and spurred the mare into a gallop.
“If I can’t spot this thing, maybe I can outrun it to the Cartiene Sea. The grass will have to give way at the coast.”
The rustling kept pace with him, just behind him and off to both sides of the narrow dirt road. It never drew close enough to see anything, nor did it ever drop back further from them.
Maroshek burst out of the tall grass onto the coast of the sea. Sand dunes rolled for almost a kilometer before sloping into the sea. Once he was at least a hundred meters past the edge of the grass, he wheeled around to catch whatever stalked him so relentlessly. But nothing was there.
Let your voice be heard!