100(ish) Word Challenge – Humbug

“I can’t believe you talked us into this…again,” Hobbie scowled.

“Oh, don’t go all ‘Bah, Humbug’, Hobbie. It’s for the kids after all.” Tycho retorted, adjusting his pointed shoes.

“Besides,” Wes chimed in, the bells on his hat offering a cheerful cacophony, “least we’re not wearing dresses this time.”

“You two aren’t. This get-up is worse than our dress uniform, and I can’t even wear my cloak with it.”

Wes chuckled, “We’re out to make the kids smile, not blind them. And besides, at least you didn’t get a sleigh tied to the back of your X-wing.”

“I’m not sure what’s worse, that or this forsaken beard,” Wedge chimed in, tugging at the fake padding around his face. “At least the Ewok costume wasn’t so scruffy.”

“Looks good on you, boss. Very…maturing.” Tycho snickered.

“Then why isn’t Wes wearing it? He’s the one who needs to look mature enough to be his age,” Hobbie added, to which the other pilot responded with a grin and an impressive shake of his headgear.

The display made all of them chuckle, even their leader. It wasn’t often that these four were allowed such serenity, so there was no reason to spoil it. “All right, Rogues. We have a lot of presents to deliver, and I’ll need all my helpers to do it. We launch in five.”

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This one is based on one of the 100 Word Challenges from Julia’s Place that sadly I did not have time to get to while it was active. But this has been brewing in my notes since then, so why not put it here?

I hope you all enjoy.

Free Write Friday – Resolve

There are some things in life that require no explanation but their word. That have no reasoning beyond the moment. More often than not, such things are never meant to last, bowing at last to reality and buckling under the weights of their own deeds until they snap and the wreckage is scattered across multiple lives.

But every now and then, something manages to take root. Born from a dream, tempered by the proper blend of passion and patience. Such a thing would be nothing if trusted to mortal hands along, but when aided by that which cannot be reasoned with; luck, fortune or perhaps even destiny, it becomes something stronger. It becomes determination. It becomes resolution.

When we first met, I saw only the ripples beneath the mask you wore. Subtle signs that something dark was lurking behind the blind smile you wore. And indeed, no sooner did my touch disturb the surface, something was waiting for me, serrated fangs eager to rip and rend.  Had I stopped there like most others would, I dare not imagine what would have consumed you from the inside, the nightmares, the scars, the fractures and cracks that could barely hold you together, it seemed the collapse was fast approaching.

And so I dared to leap in. To stare your demons and monsters in the face and not blink. Why? … that’s a good question isn’t it. Why push my way beyond your mask and try and find the person beneath it, especially when you were so hesitant and even resistant to let anyone do such a thing?

Maybe it was because I saw something inside you; a flicker of hope that there was something left. Just a gleam that there was someone in there to save at all.

Maybe something stirred my own convictions that had been so easily broken by a harlot before. A chance to be useful again, to become the white knight that I could not seem to shake. Now that I had seen and felt what these horrid things could do to a person, could I maybe spare this newfound intrigue the same fate as myself?

Or maybe I just needed a cause to believe in at all. Just a chance to remember what it was like to be human again and not just a specter creeping from breath to breath.

Whatever it was, I took up your banner and stood by you, even if I was not welcome at first, even becoming your opponent at times. I had found a resolution, however unusual and twisted. In that way, I captured your attention.

And finally, the mask collapsed and I saw the person under it; beaten, frightened and crying. Deeper than the bluster and leviathans reached, something stirred once again. It was weak, barely able to beat, let alone stand at first. It was then I realized that you wore a mirror as much as a mask. I had looked into myself and seen the void that surrounded you.

And so a resolution became a promise. That I would not let you face these beasts alone anymore.

It would have taken only a word to dismiss me from my own charge, to let things end as they were and we two to part ways to whatever wilds. Yet you did not say it. Maybe I had finally done something worth the sweat from my back once again, or simply kept you entertained by my own foolishness. Whatever the case, I was content with that, though the promise now seemed to have a partner. A second set of hands that gave it strength to brave the rapids.

So here we are now, with another year ready to fall into spent sands from the hourglass. What started as curiousness that had grown into drive had become something far more consuming, something I did not think to hear echoing among my halls ever again. It became love, shared and bonded through fire and ice and standing taller than shadow.

With that, the resolution has changed for the coming year and each of its sons after that. I now hold something more dear to me than my own breath, and for that I must be stronger than I have ever been. I must turn my back on the jackals that chatter in the dark and trust that sun will rise again. Speak only a wish, and I would pull down the heavens and rest them upon your palm.  But on top of all of this, I must remember who I am, as that is the person you have come to trust in and to love. That person is yours, till death do we part. That vow is now my resolve.

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My entry for this week’s Free Write Friday from Kellie Elmore. Not gonna lie, I kinda took off with this one and just ran with it. But it’s something that has been in the brainpan as of late, so time will tell how strong this resolve is.

I hope you all enjoy.

Five Sentence Fiction – Ending

There was no heroic sacrifice among the sand and twisted metals of what was, no valiant struggle in battle like they said.

Only the empty shell of a life welcomed him back, warmth and smiles ripped from its bones. In place of her laughter and comfort, silence became his loyal companion as the sun spun steadfast and onward.

It came slowly for him from the depth of every shadow, allowing the poisons to eat away at the senses and soul while only the pendulum had the strength to carry on.

It wasn’t supposed to end like this…

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My entry for this week’s Five Sentence Fiction from Lillie McFerrin. And this one hits a bit close to a subject that is often spoken of, but never easy to confront. It’s a tragedy so many must face.

I hope you all enjoy.

Free Write Friday: Lifeline

The fog was thick where he sat, like it was every morning as of late. Every winter brought this kind of cover along the Yarzarine river, the great waterflow that once served as the border of his homeland. Now it marked the entry to escape for so many who ran for their lives. Even among the old rivets and cables, the bridge did not creak or buckle as hundreds of worn shoes and weary eyes shuffled past them.

“Gonna be a cold one, Hax,” one man said, smoke venting from his teeth, “just like yesterday.”

Nodding, Sgt. Haxeburn tore another bit from his breakfast ration “Sure hope so, Zinger. It’s still gonna be a day or two before the 77th gets here. “

“You think they’ll be enough?”

“Maybe.  I sure hope s…”

The alarm silenced Hax’s optimism. “ALERT! ALERT! Enemy air activity approaching! Two contacts, bearing zero-zero-five at twenty miles! Defense units to stations!”

“Damn! Zinger, lock in here! I’ll head up top!”

“Got it!” With trained precision, his partner slammed his locking clamps into the ground before hunkering down like an arachnid to let the once-concealed launchers on his back spin skyward and glow with readied opposition. All the while, Hax leapt from rafter to beam and higher until he reached the top of the main bridge frame. Once there, he raised his arms high, cannon barrels locking forward and into place. Below, the sounds of the morning had come alive in palpable fear, rushed cries and scurrying whimpers trying to outrun whatever storm approached.

Yet the morning air was still, freezing the sweat to his brow. No howl of incoming thunder, no screams of a predator. Only stillness, save for his pounding heart.

Maybe they were wrong. Maybe it’s a false alarm. Please, dear God…. let it be a false alarm. All those people down there won’t stand a chance…!

“Got ‘em Hax! Two coming in, high and fast! Eat this!” Zinger roared out over the wash of his weaponry as missile after missile flew towards the heavens. The warheads locked onto something and disappeared into the distance.

Suddenly, the bridge under him shuddered and groaned, cables snapping and fearful citizens wailing. Even the fog began to slink away in fear, to let him see handfuls of flailing bodies fall into the icy waters below.

Something graced his cheek with a fleeting touch, to which Hax turned to fire. A curtain of steel and fire reached out into the morning dew to strike something that wasn’t there anymore as he searched for what had caught them.

“Zinger, ol buddy, don’t let up now! Come on! COME ON!” he called out in escalating pitch, belting death from his barrels at even the slightest notion of disturbance.

It was then that something tapped him on the shoulder, causing Hax to spin. In one fluid motion, the cannon barrels were cleaved neatly in half and something crushed his sternum into his spine, ripping him from his post and backwards. The cries of the panicked were muted by the tumbling in his brain, but he saw very clearly the blade that had scored him. Clutched by a slender hand that slinked towards him on graceful hips, it approached him, stopping only to pluck the broken remains of one of his guns and slice the muzzle free. Long, feminine claws flicked the prize like a toy before slipping it into a pocket.

“You… you’re…” Hax tried to conjugate, to move, to anything. Which made his opponent chuckle to herself at the sight of her work. Leaning in close, she whispered to his ear “You die with honor. They,” she gestured with her blade, still slick in shining crimson, “they die like vermin.”

There was no grand explosion, no heralding shockwave of destruction from below, the bridge beneath him was simply shredded. Inch by inch of weathered rivet and rod was shaved into confetti around him, and the weightless fall took hold. His killer still stood upon the air as Hax fell, greeted by a twin harpy of equal measure which carried proudly the half-emptied launcher of a brother-in-arms.

And just as quickly as they arrived, the two screamed back into the morning sun, wings trailing dew to frame the embers of their afterburners. Only frigid waters and darkness met him at the bottom.

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My entry for this week’s Free Write Friday from Kellie Elmore. Based on an old bridge I used to cross everyday back as a wee lad.

I hope you all enjoy!

Five Sentence Fiction: Time

It creaks past on a pendulum’s whim.
It always rises, though the sand always falls.
It has been squandered, savored, beaten and busted, but never stopped.
You can rely on it to always leave you behind, to forget you, even to be the end of us all.
But its kiss is something that dare not be wasted.

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My entry for this week’s Five Sentence Fiction from Lillie McFerrin. This week’s prompt was “Time”, something that makes fools of us all. Or was that love?  Is there even a difference?

I hope you all enjoy!

100 Word Challenge – Week 69: Treasure

It stood alone on a throne of ivory, surrounded in a jungle of savages, staunchly guarded by passing eyes who would want to steal it away.  I knew I would need to be swift to claim it, so deftly did I maneuver through the thicket.

A second hand reached out as mine did to claim it. Soft, thin fingers wrapped in midnight and linked to deep blue pools framed under artful braids of chocolate. All of which beamed in subtle rose when she smiled at me.

Suddenly, this little treat became irrelevant, and the rest of the world fell away.

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wpid-photo-12-oct-2012-2240My entry for this week’s 100 Word Challenge from Julia’s Place. The prompt is pictured above, which looks quite tasty I must say.

I hope you all enjoy!

Free Write Friday – Holiday Word Challenge

His lips still rang fresh of the taste of hot chocolate; though long had it been since he’d held it. The newly settled snow framed a picture aglow with the pride of so many Christmas cards, but weak were the smiles to be had.  Cold air biting at his chest was a sharp opponent for the fire at his back, yet neither stood a chance against the internal combat.

The year was drawing to an end now. Soon all the quaintance would be forgot, the calendar would reset, and everything would go on. And all that meant to him was the sands in the hourglass were running out. Soon the reaper would come to collect its due. Winter berries stained in sickly crimson and shapely ice to mark the fallen awaited him.

She stirred from her visions of sugarplums, barely aware of the extra space next to her until oceanic orbs caught view of troubled brow. He did not hear her approach so much as silently pine for it. Cold hands ensnared his thought laden back and her beating heart echoed in his chest like a stone skipping off waves.  With but that touch, the future took its seat behind the curtain. It didn’t matter right now. Everything that had become his world now encircled him.

And she still tasted like the hot chocolate.

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My entry for this week’s Free Write Friday from Kellie Elmore. There were a lot of words to choose from to stir the mind, and I did not use them all. But some of them simply would not fit the image this season wishes to paint for me.

I hope you all enjoy!