#SwiftFicFriday, #SwiftFicFriday - Responses, Musings

#SwiftFicFriday W141 – Vote!

Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!

Down at the Palace Hotel

We gather once, maybe twice a week at the Palace. Got nothin’ much else to do. Some of us have grandkids local. Harry has a feral pack of them, lives halfway down the holler, two sons, at least two daughters-in-law –I can’t keep track of my own grandkids, let alone those of my mates. Especially Harry’s, who, if I haven’t said it all that clearly, are prolific.

So we gather and swap the same old stories we have always told. Now, when I say the same old stories, they occasionally end up with appendages and transmogrify into a slightly different story.

Last Friday, there were five of us. Harry, who I’ve mentioned, Billy Turner, who has no grandkids but raises wolves – my little joke…terriers, which seem like mini-wolves to me– Dave Scooter, still working in real estate, sells maybe one condo a year but keeps his finger in and has a wealth of stories about newbies that he doesn’t mind sharing. Keeps us informed, I have to say

Then there’s Roscoe.

Never was my favorite. Old Roscoe Howe, he left town pretty much the first second he could get away. Angry kid. Rough family. Old man, a bruiser. Joined the military. Spent a few years in Europe, then, he says, went private. Occasionally mentions it, some of that private soldier stuff.

Moved back a couple years ago.

And last Friday, he started spilling a bloody tale. Some country he didn’t want to name. “We lined ‘em up,” he said. Men! Women! Children! A couple of babies! And then…you know, I can’t sleep for the sounds of the bullets breaking bone, blood geysering like an oilwell kickin’ in. The screams.”

We all went home early.

Me, maybe I’ve had enough of the Palace.

297 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)

Elder Yue rarely left her cold circle of bowls and mirrors and never for very long. As far back as any of the students remembered, she even meditated there rather than sleeping. The water in the bowls and the ice of the mirrors reflected visions removed in time and/or distance from the elder herself. Others could see some of the visions, but none as proficiently as Elder Yue. She was one of the greatest spymasters in the empire.

Li didn’t delude themselves for a moment that the elder wasn’t aware of them concealed in her closet. Something big was happening, and Elder Yue’s chamber seemed the best place to find out what. That she hadn’t thrown Li out this time suggested whatever it was might pertain to them personally.

“The imperial guard have captured a ship of suspicious strangers in eastern Kikirin,” Elder Yue mused aloud.

With a wave of her weathered old hand, the elder caused the mirrors facing Li to reflect the procession of prisoners from various angles. Li had never seen such a strange assortment of individuals and, in their line of work, that was saying something. Few of them were elves, one was big enough to be an oni, and if the others were halflings, Li had no idea what animals they were crossed with.

“They will be processed through Kurojo, but that is unlikely to be the end of it.”

One, in particular, caught Li’s attention. A man seemingly made of metal but, under the grafts, Li was sure this man used to be an elf. A familiar one. Brother Gang!

Elder Yue nodded, “Somehow, Gang has returned to us. I do not know what could transmogrify him in this way, but I imagine his sibling will want to volunteer for the investigative party.”

299 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)


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