Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!
264 words, by David A Ludwig, @DavidALudwig
Oaklie’s bunny nose twitched as she took in the ancient forest. Golden light filtering from the vaulted canopy gave an awesome air to the silent wood. It could easily be beautiful, but Oaklie’s eerily cloaked companion darkened the mood.
“Why is this forest so close to town?” Oaklie inquired.
“There are quite a few romantic picnic spots throughout the woods.” Vedania answered flatly without breaking stride or looking back.
Oaklie ah-ed her understanding, straightening up and orienting her ears as if to detect said picnic spots. Hopping up alongside the cloaked cupid, the bunny cadet continued.
“And the cloak? Why’re you wearing that cloak? Did you get it from Emathyst? It looks like something from her world.”
Vedania took a long breath through her nose. Oaklie admired the way the leaves didn’t crunch under her friend’s feet while waiting for an answer.
“I, did acquire the cloak in Emathyst’s town. I don’t want anyone to know I’m back. We need to focus on returning the humans to their world. If my mom knew we were here, she’d ask questions and slow us down.”
Oaklie’s ears drooped.
“I guess that’s why we’re going through the wood instead of the main road too?”
“This is just a quick resupply. There’s no reason to be social about it.”
Oaklie identified three possible escape routes and steeled herself to say something stupid.
“You gotta admit, it’s kinda strange we’re helping Jinx look for her mom and you won’t even say hi to yours while we’re in town.”
Vedania froze, and Oaklie felt the cupid cross over her grave.
A Vermont Fall, 296 words, by Joseph P. Garland, @JPGarlandAuthor
“I got through it. He didn’t,” she said when she called me with the news. I didn’t know who it was at first but I recognized her soft tone with her hint of Boston. They moved to their weekend place in Vermont full time months before. We’d not spoken since. We were just acquaintances, sharing a floor in a brownstone. Occasional dinners in their apartment.
“He used to say he wished he knew you better. He said you seemed…that you seemed like someone who would be a good friend. To both of us.”
I said how sorry I was, how I wished I got to know him better too.
“And now it’s too late,” she interrupted.
“Yeah, too late.”
There was a pause. I thought we’d lost the connection.
“I’m still here.”
“Look. I know it’s asking a lot. Can you come up? Can you…be my friend. I need—”
I thought she had family near the city. They both did. She must have asked them.
“I don’t have a car and I have work.”
“Okay. I understand. I’m sorry to have bothered you. Thanks for taking my call.”
I would have liked to have been their friend. I didn’t have a car, yes, but I hadn’t been in my office for months. And since Michael left I hadn’t really had a friend. So I arranged a rental car and loaded it up. Three hours later, I pulled into their…into her driveway. There was no answer so I walked around to the back.
She stood in a dark cloak amid the colors of a Vermont fall. She must have heard my car, and she turned. She came to me and reached out. I held her tightly, and she thanked me for coming.
300 words, by Siobhan Muir, @SiobhanMuir
Kendra strolled through the forest near her home with Marbles a week after Samhain, sadness pulling at her heart. She’d done the spell Doriana had sent and followed the directions to a T, but nothing had changed. She still lived alone, she still went to work, and Phinn still remained in the Fae realm.
The clouds still hung heavy over the Rocky Mountains, painted a rosy color by the setting sun. It was only four thirty in the evening and it was already getting dark, but the last of the light reflected the way she felt. Faded, reaching her end, lonely. Which was ridiculous because she’d lived alone for at least a decade and liked her space. And Marbles still prowled between the darkened trunks around her. She wasn’t really alone.
Still, Kendra missed Phinn’s snark and soft laughter and even his arrogance. She also missed their intimacies – dancing in the Winter Queen’s Court and making love under the stars. Her heart ached and her eyes burned with the grief of leaving him behind. The scents of a coming storm in the wind made her turn for home with Marbles skulking through the shadows behind her.
Too bad the tracker demon couldn’t find Phinn again. Kendra blinked. Wait, Marbles could totally find Phinn if I asked her to.
The wind kicked up swirls of leaves ahead of the storm as she reached her porch and turned to ask her scaly companion to find her love.
She spun and found Phinn seated on the bench on her front porch. “Oh, my glory! Phinn!” She hurried up to kneel in front of him. “How did you get here? Are you all right? Did they hurt you?”
“I – I don’t know. Am I really in the human world?”
She smirked. “Oh yeah.”
297 words, by Stacy Overby, @dontpanic2011
She glanced over her shoulder, praying her father’s guards hadn’t seen her leave the palace. A few more steps and the trees surrounding the Fire Garden would hide her. Jaylen rounded the bend in the path, her chest tight, constricting her breath. A small clearing lay just ahead. She could rest there.
Tears streaked her youthful face. Jaylen found the clearing covered in scarlet and gold leaves. She collapsed among them.
“Why must this be my fate?”
Now that she’d let her guard down, memories of her dreams invaded. Her father, the Emperor, dead. Bodies strewn about the palace like broken toys. Murder in a man’s eyes as he approached her. Dark warmth of a fire, even as it consumed Fiernala. A sense of rightness flowed through each scene that Jaylen did not understand.
The dreams shifted after the first scenes. Barren fields. Skeletons of trees, nothing but white bone fingers stretched to the burning sky. Piles of feathers, fur, and bones scattered in the dirt. Jaylen knew this awaited Ocalan should she turn from what shadowed her future. Everyone, including her father, believed these were mere nightmares of a thirteen-year-old.
“Lady Jaylen, the Emperor requests your presence; Lord Maroshek’s pledging ceremony is about to begin.”
She roused at the guard’s call, brushing herself off. Her father would be furious if she presented so disheveled. Once Jaylen addressed her appearance, she emerged from the trees and followed the guard to where her father waited. Thankfully, the guard said little about where she’d been. The Emperor didn’t seem to notice, having glanced down at her long enough to acknowledge her presence.
Lord Maroshek arrived at that moment, his appearance forcing her heart into her throat. He looked younger than in her dreams, but Jaylen knew it was him.