Future Curve: Flash Fiction Friday Post

inject_by_furumaru-d16dcv1

Photo: Inject by Furumaru on DeviantArt.com, http://www.deviantart.com/art/Inject-71167069

 

“Do what?” Security officer Dawn Mitchell stared at her Sergeant.

He consulted the wrist pad on the back of his SWAT suit. “Yeah. Crazy. But that’s the word from the government.” He tapped a key and her pad chimed.

She looked at the memo. “Holy space. Everybody? What about us?”

He shrugged. “I expect we’ll get the shots too, sooner or later.”

Dawn’s stomach rolled. She kept her voice soft. “But Sarge, docility shots? How’s that supposed to work?”

He looked around. No one was near. “Beats me.”

They spent the rest of the month, escorting medtechs from house to house and apartment to apartment, giving the mandatory shots. Some people were scared to resist. Dawn appreciated that. She hated having to shoot women and the elderly. Others resisted. She could appreciate their concern and admire their spine but it didn’t do any good. They just stunned them and the resisters were given the shot and marked down in a database tracking trouble-makers.

It wasn’t until six months later that the news began to report an increased number of hospitalizations. No word on what the problem was but it already affected ten percent of the planet’s population and was rising. Dawn was at weapons practice. “My mom had to go to the hospital,” she said quietly to her Sergeant. “I think it’s the thing. Whatever is going around.”

Her Sergeant coughed and made a quick look around. The rest of the team was focused on cleaning their weapons. “My father-in-law, too. They won’t let us see him or tell us what’s wrong.”

“Me too,” she whispered. “You think it’s the shots?”

He shook his head. “Who knows. But we didn’t get the shots. I haven’t heard of any of us getting sick.”

A month later the Sergeant stood in front of his team, all in full SWAT gear. “We’re gathering up all children under the age of five.”

Everyone in the room gasped, turning to their neighbor to whisper.

“At ease! Young children did not get the shot. We’re collecting them for Child Services for protection. The Illness is gaining ground. Parents are unable to care for their young. This is a humanitarian mission. Stun only for those parents not willing to let us take their children.”

Dawn swallowed. Her mother died two weeks ago, her father last week. Her husband, an accountant, was sick but not yet in the hospital. She wasn’t sure she could rip kids away from their parents. She called out. “What if the parents aren’t sick?”

The look on her Sergeant’s face told her he didn’t like the mission any more than she did. “All the kids.”

Back in the locker room, Dawn pulled off her armor. She was soaked with sweat. The day wasn’t too hard after all, since the parents had all had the passivity shot. There was weeping, cries of no, but it was the kids, screaming for their parents that hit her the hardest. She ran her hands through her hair. It seemed that security forces personnel could keep their kids, even if the spouse had the shot. She showered and put on her civvies.

“I’m home.” Dawn put a small bag of groceries and a bottle of wine on the counter and went to the bedroom. “Hey, Scott, how you feeling babe?” The bed was rumpled, blankets and sheets twisted and half on the floor. She ran to the other side of the bed. No husband. “Scott!” She ran to the bathroom and threw open the door.

Something from a nightmare lunged at her, growling and grabbing. A gash was in its head, blood covered the face. She screamed and backed up. Racing for the bedroom door she ran through and slammed it shut just before the horror grabbed her. It banged on the door as she held it closed. It didn’t try the knob. “What the hell!” She tapped her wrist pad. “Security, There’s something in my bedroom!” She gave her address. “We’ll be right over, Officer Mitchell.”

They arrived in full gear and with medtechs in biohazard gear. “Stand back, Mitchell.” The lead officer motioned two security officers and two medtechs into position either side of the door. “One. Two. Three.” He kicked the door in, the two officers stunned the monster and the medtechs wrapped it in secure sheets and put it on the gurney standing by at the front door.

Dawn, calmer now. Looked at the body. “No! No! That can’t be.”

Two officers moved to contain her.

“That’s can’t be!”

The lead officer motioned the medtechs to get the gurney out. He walked over to her. “Officer Mitchell.”

His command voice gained her attention. “You will not speak of this. Your husband was sick and went to the hospital. Understood?”

She blinked, still staring at the front door. “Scott is sick. He went to the hospital.”

He nodded. The two security officers left. “Keep it together, officer. Hear me?”

This time his voice was kinder. “They took my wife away three days ago.”

Dawn nodded, tears forming. “Understood.”

Within six months, the city was all but deserted. Children were in camps. Cities were being consolidated. The governments consolidating as well.

“This is a curve I wasn’t expecting.” Dawn said to her Sergeant as they packed up their gear.

He sighed. “Yeah. I just wonder if this is the future they expected.”

 

 

Thank You!

896 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Happy Halloween: Monday Blog Post

Me and the hubby for Halloween

Me and the hubby for Halloween

Newest News:

Last week I mentioned that we were going to a Halloween party on Saturday. Well, we did and went as a Ghost Buster. Here is a picture. How about you? Did you attend a party? Post a picture in the comments!

mystery-in-the-woods-cover2

I’ve been working on my Mystery in the Woods book, the second of the Jean Hays series. I need to do a timeline check, rewrite the ending, do a continuity check on several words, and so much more. But I like the story. I’m so excited to be getting it out of the door soon.

Giveaways:

14355594_10153990683271317_3995576374014877399_n

The Halloween Author Group Giveaway closes at midnight. You can find the Rafflecopter link on my website. You do have to sign up to Rafflecopter but after that, you’re free to click away. I have links to it on my facebook and twitter pages, too. This giveaway I offer a free ebook, Recall, or for second prize, a copy of my Halloween Tales ebook. Over a hundred prizes from 30 authors plus a grand prize of $100 Paypal Cash. It’s not hard to enter, there are multiple ways to enter, and it doesn’t cost you anything. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, today is the day!

13-days-of-halloween

I’m also going to be on Facebook for an event called Thirteen Days of Halloween. From the 19th, a number of us authors have been on the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1103648499703425, talking about our books, having contests and games, and much fun. Scroll all the way to the bottom to See All Discussions. I’ll be on the site today at 6pm Eastern time. I’ll have some giveaways myself but don’t wait for me. The group I’m working with have some event prizes as well as the individual prizes the authors are giving out during their hour. So, stop on by. There’s a complete list of the author schedule under About as you scroll down the event page in the Details. Find some new to you authors today!

Shout Out:

Today I want to give a shout out to all the local libraries that work so hard to bring us not only books but programming for adults and children alike. You can borrow ebooks, music, movies, read a magazine, use the internet, and so much more at your local library.  If you haven’t been to your library recently, stop on by. You’ll be glad you did.

Garden News:

tomatoes001

I did not have the gumption to clean up my garden last week. Sigh. We did pick a lot of cherry and plum tomatoes which I turned into 2 quarts of tomato sauce which I turned into spaghetti sauce on Sunday. How about you? Is your garden clean-up done or do you still have some growing season left?

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

Imzy Stickers

Do you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. The site is now out of beta testing and has opened its doors to everyone. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I sent one out last Sunday with all kinds of news. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Newest Book Release:

troubled-streets

Troubled Streets released on October 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads or Chatebooks today! I’m still getting it loaded onto Gumroad and Chatebooks. You can also see all my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Black Dog: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Black Dog

Black Dog

The pounding rain nearly drowned out the sound. Milla stopped, rain splashing up her stockinged legs, listening. A tiny sound coming from the alley. She went in and heard it again, coming from a pile of cardboard boxes. There, huddled, wet and shivering, a puppy. Milla didn’t stop to think. She scooped up the bundle of wet fur, tucked it inside her rain coat and hurried home.

Dry, warm and fed, the black puppy with white markings slept in a box in a blanket nest. A mutt, maybe some black lab, maybe some collie, Milla raised the dog, now named, Mave, and trained her well. The only thing Milla couldn’t do was break Mave of growling at people. Not everyone, it seemed, but it was a detail that Milla didn’t like. There was no way to tell why Mave growled at some people and not others.

Two years later, Milla was walking Mave in the nearby park. She was enjoying the soft spring evening when she was knocked off of the path, the leash flying from her hand. A man, full-faced knit cap over his head, was on top of her, fumbling at her clothes. She screamed and from the left, she saw all seventy-five pounds of Mave leap onto the man, teeth at his throat and growling in a way that made Milla’s blood run cold. The man rolled off her, fighting Mave and now screaming in fear himself.

Heart racing, Milla stood up and grabbed Mave’s leash, pulling the dog from the man. Two uniformed bicycle officers rode up and took the man into custody. Shaking, Milla told the officer what happened and left her contact information. Mave stared at the attacker until the police took him away, shouting, “Keep that dog away from me!”

At home, Milla gave Mave an extra treat. “Good girl.” She gave the dog a hug. “What a good girl you are.”

The next day a police officer visited Milla to ask follow-up questions. “Your attacker said your dog’s eyes were glowing red.”

Milla laughed. She looked at the dog at the officer’s feet, on her back, tail wagging, looking for a belly rub. “I’ve never seen her eyes glow red. I think the guy is just trying to get out of confessing that he attacked me.”

The officer closed his notebook and gave Mave a belly rug. “Most likely. The dog hardly seems capable of attacking anyone.”

“I found her as a very young puppy. She’s protective but I’ve never seen her attack anything.”

The officer stood up. “There are no complaints against your dog on file so I don’t think there will be any more trouble.”

Milla walked the officer to the door. “I appreciate that Officer. Have a good day.”

“You too, Ms. Parker.”

She talked to a dog expert. “She’s protective of you. Dogs can sense things we can’t. It looks like Mave thinks some people are a threat.”

Milla stroked Mave’s big lab head. “I can’t have her growling at random people. Someone is going to call the dog catcher on us.”

The expert nodded. “Keep an eye on who she growls at. You may be able to see a pattern.”

That didn’t seem helpful but on their walks, Milla took notice of who Mave growled at. There didn’t seem to be a pattern. Men, women, children, all ages, all social strata, were all growled at. Milla did teach Mave to growl softer, so only she could hear. But it made her nervous that her beloved pet might attack someone.

One Halloween, she was giving candy out at the apartment door. The usually friendly Mave snarled, her hackles up, at a parent.

“Keep that mutt under control or I’m calling the cops.”

Milla closed the door to just a small opening. “My apologies. I don’t know why she does that.” She closed the door and looked through the peephole. She saw the man cuff the boy with him so that the boy crashed into the wall. Grabbing her phone, she called the police. Throwing on her coat and putting Mave on a leash, she followed the man and boy, now crying.

“I have a man, abusing a boy,” she told the dispatcher. “I’m following them.”

Despite pleas from the dispatcher, Milla followed, Mave growling deep in her chest. Milla provided her location at every corner. She saw the man pinch the boy, slap him, and once, knock him to the sidewalk. “Clumsy brat.” He hauled the boy up by the arm and dragged him to the corner.

A few feet back, Milla could hear the man verbally abusing the boy, crying uncontrollably. Mave strained at the leash. “Hurry,” Milla whispered into the phone. “I think the man is going to really hurt that child.”

It was too late. Milla watched in horror as the man said, “I’m sick of you,” and slapped the boy on the back. Mave launched at the man as Milla grabbed for the child. She snatched the boy out of the path of a taxi as Mave latched onto the man’s arm. She saw him spin, Mave still biting his arm, flying through the air. Bystanders screamed. The man punched Mave and slammed her into the side of the nearest building. Milla screamed, “No!” Police charged up. Mave dropped her attack as soon as the police arrived.

Holding his arm, the man pointed at Mave. “That dog attacked me! I want that dog put down.”

Milla’s stomach rolled as she cradled the boy, still sobbing. “No! She was defending the boy.”

The police officers questioned each person. Child services took the boy. Milla turned over her phone. She’d taken pictures of the man hitting the child. She never mentioned Mave’s red eyes. It took some time but both Milla and Mave were released. She gave Mave a big hug and an extra treat. “I’ll have to pay more attention, girl, won’t I?”

Mave gave her a lick and wagged her tail.

 

 

Thank You!

993 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Wrapping Up October: Monday Blog Post

Fall Color

Fall Color

Newest News:

Oh my Gosh! It’s the last full week of October. Are you planning on attending any parties this coming weekend? Hubby and I are. I’m going as a Ghost Buster. Fun! I’ll try and post a pic in next Monday’s blog post.

If you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites, you’ll see some changes. If you don’t follow me on those sites, why not? You can find all my links here.

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month

In my efforts to prep for November’s National Novel Writing month I’ve been writing blog posts (not the Monday posts) and newsletters and my flash fiction Friday stories in advance and scheduling them to be sent out on the appropriate days. That means even if I’m deep into Tested, my 4th Brown Rain series book, you don’t miss out on those free Friday stories or my Chicklets in the Kitchen post at all.

troubled-streets-graphic-meme-004

Troubled Streets is out! Hooray! It’s already up on Amazon, both as an ebook and as a paperback. It’s also now up on Kobo and Barnes and Noble. See my links at the end of this newsletter. I’m very excited to have the 1st book about Zoe Ohale out and into reader hands. As always, if you get it, I’d appreciate it if you could take 5 minutes and give me a review.

Giveaways:

spooktacular-author-giveaway

The Halloween Author Group Giveaway is still going until the end of the month. You can find the Rafflecopter link on my website. You do have to sign up to Rafflecopter but after that, you’re free to click away. I have links to it on my facebook and twitter pages, too. This giveaway I offer a free ebook, Recall, or for second prize, a copy of my Halloween Tales ebook. Over a hundred prizes from 30 authors plus a grand prize of $100 Paypal Cash. It’s not hard to enter, there are multiple ways to enter, and it doesn’t cost you anything. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, enter today and every day!

13-days-of-halloween

I’m also going to be on Facebook for an event called Thirteen Days of Halloween. From the 19th, a number of us authors have been on the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1103648499703425. Scroll all the way to the bottom to See All Discussions. I’ll be on the site on the 31st at 6pm Eastern time. Yes, I’ll remind you next Monday. I’ll have some giveaways myself but don’t wait for me. The group I’m working with have some event prizes as well as the individual prizes the authors are giving out during their hour. So stop on by. There’s a complete list of the author schedule under About as you scroll down the event page in the Details. Find some new to you authors today!

 

 

Shout Out:

Author S.C. McCole

Author S.C. McCole

Author S.C. McCole is on tap to talk to us during my author interview on Wednesday. A multi-talented person and world-traveler. If you can’t wait, you can find him on facebook at facebook.com/SCMcCole.

Garden News:

I watered the lemon tree and the bay leaf tree and my jade plant since we haven’t had rain in weeks. I’m tired of the garden at this point. I should take some time this week and clean it all up before the November NaNo madness. The question is, will I have the gumption or not? How about you? Is your garden clean-up done or do you still have some growing season left?

Where Will I Be?:

matfatdogearedpagesbookstore

The wonderful people at Dog-Eared Pages Book store (http://www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com/) were kind enough to put a few of my Mystery at the Fair books on their shelves. If you’re in Phoenix, stop by the shop and say hi to the nice people there.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I sent one out on Sunday with all kinds of news. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Newest Book Release:

troubled-streets

Troubled Streets released on October 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads or Chatebooks today! I’m still getting it loaded onto Gumroad and Chatebooks. You can also see all my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Fair Is Over: Monday Blog Post

ZoeMeme001

Newest News:

Totally missed writing last week’s Monday blog post because I was doing final Fair clean-up. But now, that is over and I had time over the last week to get rid of my fair-brain, and get back to writing.

Zoe Ohale rewrite came back from my editor. Now that I’m done with the fair I’ll have time to go over the last edits and get it ready to release. I’m still working with my cover designer on alternate titles. I still want my “A” Team to review possible covers and get to select which of the draft covers will be my release cover. If you’d like to be in on the action, respond to this blog and let me know your name and email address. Do it now cause who knows when I’ll finalize those covers and get ready to release. Cover reveal will be to the “A” Team first, then the newsletter subscribers, then here on the blog. Want to be in the know first? Comment on this blog to join the A Team.

front

I am trying something new. A mug offer. Since we’re close to Halloween, I thought I’d do a Halloween themed mug. It has a picture of my daughter’s Chihuahua, Phoebe, in a pumpkin. She really didn’t like being in the pumpkin, hence my caption. You can find the mug at https://www.gearbubble.com/chihuahuapumpkin2016. I’m thinking of putting my book covers on mugs, too, for a memento. What are your thoughts?

Giveaways:

The Red Hot Summer Giveaway is over. My first prize, a copy of Mystery at the Fair, went to Michael Fritz, and the 2nd prize, a $10 Amazon Gift card went to Sammy’s Book Obsession.

spooktacular-author-giveaway

Now, it’s the Halloween Author Group Giveaway. You can find the Rafflecopter link on my website. You do have to sign up to Rafflecopter but after that, you’re free to click away. I have links to it on my facebook and twitter pages, too. This giveaway I offer a free ebook, Recall, or for second prize, a copy of my Halloween Tales ebook. Over a hundred prizes from 30 authors plus a grand prize of $100 Paypal Cash. It’s not hard to enter, there are multiple ways to enter, and it doesn’t cost you anything. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, enter today and every day!

Instafreebie September 18- 20th, 2016

Instafreebie September 18- 20th, 2016

Starting 1 September, I’m involved with a group doing a promotion on Instafreebie. The main promo is going to be today, September 19th. There are a lot of authors involved and we’ll be cross promoting the books so you get the best selection of cozy mysteries we could put together. My link on Instafreebie is https://www.instafreebie.com/free/rXIZT and the book is free! I know! Last week I said .99 but nah, it’s free! Hashtags for the giveaway will be #instafreebie, #mystery, #Cozy20, #freemystery, #20Mysteries. The full link is http://annertan.com/free-mystery-books/ Please share the tweets and posts. Let everyone in on the fun. Check for us on Facebook and Twitter.

Shout Out:

Author Kim Bailey Deal

Author Kim Bailey Deal

On September 21st, my author interview is with Kim Bailey Deal, author of Women’s Fiction, short stories, poetry and creative non-fiction. She’s been published in several blogs and magazines, including Pilcrow & Dagger’s August/September issue, http://pilcrowdagger.com/issues/. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and can be found at www.kimbaileydeal.net. Check out her website!

Garden News:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Paste, Early Girl and Cherries. It’s still all about the tomatoes and zucchini. I foisted off gave two big zukes to my brother-in-law Saturday. I used up a lot of cherry tomatoes making tomato soup. I blogged about that on the Chicklets in the Kitchen blog due out on the 25th. I’m turning chopped zucchini into breakfast hash with chopped left over pork chops. The Swiss Chard and broccoli plants I planted a week ago are doing well. Days are warm and nights are cool. Just what those plants like. How’s your garden doing? Are you enjoying an abundance of something? Do tell.

Where Will I Be?:

The wonderful people at Dog-Eared Pages Book store (http://www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com/) were nice enough to put a few of my Mystery at the Fair books on their shelves. If you’re in Phoenix, stop by the shop and say hi to the nice people there.

FallFest2016

9th annual Fall Festival in Pine, AZ. October 8th and 9th. http://pinestrawberrybusinesscommunityaz.com/fallapple.html. I’ll be there all weekend as part of the local author book signing. My hubby will be there as part of the chili cook-off with his Hot Italian Sausage chili at 11am on Saturday the 8th. There are also crafters and a very excellent antique show scheduled, not to mention music and food!

Want more details about this event? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team! I’m getting ready to share some things on the Zoe Ohale book. I’d love to see you there.

Newest Book Release:

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Melt at your own Risk

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

“No,” Roxanna shouted at her daughter. “Never, ever, give in. No melting.”

Little Pam gave her mother an eye roll.

“No! Oh, it seems fun at the beginning but then, it’s harder and harder to pull away.” Roxanna grasped her daughter’s shoulders with both hands and looked her eye to eye.

At twelve, Pam was in full parental defiance mode. Melting was delicious. All of the edges blurred. Her muscles relaxed and everything became soft and flowy. “I can control it.”

“You can’t.” Roxanna gave her daughter a little shake. “You’ve just started coming into your powers. It’s unfortunate that melting was the first one. You should have had more time to learn the proper techniques and controls. Melting is easy. It feels good. But the danger is that you go too far and won’t be able to or perhaps won’t want to come back. Is that what you want? For me to keep you in a jar on the mantle?”

That got Pam’s attention. Spending her life in a jar sounded horrible. “No. I’ll hold off melting.” The girl scuffed her sneakered toe into the carpet.

Roxanna clapped her daughter on the shoulders with a sigh. “Good. Soon your other powers will develop and we’ll work with those. Be patient.”

Pam nodded and left for her room. She flopped on the bed. Being a witch had seemed so exciting. Her mother was a powerful witch. Pam had been eager to get her own powers. Now it seemed as though everything was a no. ‘No, you can’t melt.’ ‘Be careful, that power needs years of practice.’ ‘Stop, that’s dangerous.’ Pam flung her arms out across the bed.

Especially today. It was All Hallows Eve and the witches party was tonight. Pam wanted to show off her melting to her friends. Now it would be another year before she could be a full participant.

By the time it was full dark everyone was assembled. The bonfire was blazing, and the dancing had started. Despite the chill in the air, many of the witches danced naked. Pam thought nothing of it. She’d been attending the coven gatherings since she was a baby.

“Pam!”

Pam turned to see her two best friends, Agatha, and Emily, running to greet her.

“Look!” Agatha opened her hand. Dancing on her palm was a tiny flame. “It came to me over the weekend. Mom helped me learn to control it.” The girl raised her index finger and the flame move to its tip. “See! Isn’t this the greatest?” Agatha and Emily grinned and giggled.

Pam’s heart sank and a red wash of jealousy coursed through her. Her face grew hot. “I can melt. That’s my first power.”

“Melt?” Emily’s eyes grew big. “No one in my family can melt.”

“My mom can and now, so can I.”

“Show us,” Agatha demanded.

Pam looked around the clearing. Her mother danced in the circle. Her long red hair swung with abandon, glinting in the firelight. “My mom says it’s dangerous. I may never come back.”

Agatha, always competitive with Pam, snorted. “You can’t do it, can you?”

“I can, too!” Pam checked her mother again. Roxanna danced with her friends. “Well, just a little melting won’t hurt.” She let herself relax. Pam could feel her edges soften. The warmth of the change accelerated the process. Her mother was right, she thought. This does feel good.

Dimly she could hear Agatha and Emily gasp. “You can melt,” Emily exclaimed.

Pam didn’t nod. That would pull her out of the melt. Just a little more so Agatha would know she could really do it. Her body continued to soften. Pam could feel herself flowing. The moon began to pull at her and a low thrumming echoed in her mind. Just a little more. This was so peaceful and the thrumming, first loud, then soft, relaxed her. She could feel it ebbing and flowing within her.

She could barely hear Emily screaming for her to stop. A little more. How far can I go? She could no longer see when Agatha dragged Roxanna to the remains of Pam’s body. Roxanna held her hands over Pam’s soggy clothing and began to chant. Several witches joined her, adding their power to hers.

Agatha and Emily held each other and sobbed.

After an hour, the witches gave up. Roxanna, pale and shaking, lay sobbing on the cold ground. One of the witches covered her with her clothes. Pam was gone, soaked into the ground. The witches went home. Roxanna and a handful of friends built a fence around the spot where Pam had melted. No one would walk on it. Roxanna hoped that the child would reform and come back.

Three witches stayed behind as two friends led Roxanna away. “Think the girl will come back?”

“Nope. She’s part of the earth now. Glad my family doesn’t have melting in our lineage. I’ve heard of this happening. The melters never come back.”

The three stood around the fence. “Melt at your own risk, I guess,” the third witch said.

They all nodded.

 

The End

847 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Three Times Flame

Phoenix by FleetingEmber via www.deviantart.com

Phoenix by FleetingEmber via www.deviantart.com

Speckles glided to a perch on Liken Mountain. The jagged crags gave her a view of the entire valley. The young dragon was pleased with herself. As the first of this year’s hatchlings to master flying, it made up for the embarrassing hatchling name given her. It was her goal to reach maturity before any of the rest and choose her adult name. She also hoped the dark red spots on her otherwise emerald hide would fade away.

A herd of antelope entered the northern valley. They were grazing in a slow motion along the grassy bottom. Speckles craned her neck to view the sky. It was clear; no other dragons flew overhead. The antelope were hers. Her tongue, a delicate pink, flicked out to test the air. The wind brought the scent of the antelope and… something else. What was that?

The young dragon opened her wings and flapped twice to warm the muscles. The antelope could wait. She wanted to investigate this new smell. In a dive from the crag that made it look as though she’d been flying for years, she gained altitude, the better to see both sides of the mountain. She circled to the south, exploring the valley as it widened. A trickle of water cascaded from the nearby ridge. As it flowed south, other streams joined it until it became a small river.

There. What is that? Spread along the north side of the river she spied a herd of… something. Four-legged and two-legged beasts and things, nests? Some of the four-legged beasts were pulling devices that looked like wood but moved. How curious. She circled lower to get a better look, her shadow now visible, racing along the grasslands ahead of her. As she passed over the strange herd, shouts and calls rang out. The four-legged beasts panicked, rearing and screaming. Two-legged creatures fell from the devices or the backs of the others and they ran, too.

This was more fun than the antelopes. Speckles chuckled, a sound like boulders grinding in the spring floods. She came around to fly over again. This time there was less running, and that was disappointing. Some of the two-legs lined up across her flight path. They held something in their front paws. As she passed over them, sticks flew up, one ripping through her left wing. Speckles shrieked—the sound echoing off of the canyon walls behind the herd.

What happened? She flapped to gain altitude but the hole in her wing made it hard to rise. She flew north, away from the herd and back home. It was difficult to gain the height she needed to reach the nest but after a struggle, she made it, collapsing with near exhaustion.

“What happened?” Speckles mother, Fire Queen, a glorious ruby red dragon, nosed her daughter’s wing.

“A strange herd, mother.” Speckles held the wounded wing out. A hole the size of a rabbit gaped in the membrane between her third and fourth digits. “I flew over them twice. The second time sticks flew up and one hit me.”

Fire Queen roared. “Men! You found men. Where?”

“South of Liken Mountain, next to the river. What are they?”

“Killers,” her mother hissed. “They claim everything. They hunt us down. They killed your father.” The dragon roared her wrath and grief. Loose rocks below the nest broke loose and cascaded down the mountain. “Let me fix your wing.”

Fire Queen gently laid her daughter’s wing flat on the floor of the nest and pulled the ripped edges together. With great care, she blew a tiny flame against the edges, sealing them. Speckles cried out with pain, tears rolling from her eyes but she didn’t move. Her mother kissed the young dragon’s eyes. “There. That should hold.”

Speckles sniffed. “Thank you, mother.” She looked down the mountain. “What about the men?”

“We need to destroy them before they destroy us.” Fire Queen wrapped her wing around her daughter. “Have you been trying to breathe fire?”

“I have.” Speckles sighed. “Just a little smoke.”

“Keep trying. We’ll need all of the dragons we can muster to fight the men.”

Fire Queen brought the youth all manner of foods high in sulfur and coached her daughter in breathing techniques. The fourteenth day, Speckles blew a tiny flame. She roared her joy, her mother with her. More boulders tumbled from the mountain. “Good, my daughter. Rest today. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Speckles barely sleep that night. Her wing was healed and now she could breathe fire. If she could do it again in the morning, she would join the adults and attack the man herd. At first light she was awake, standing on the edge of the nest, watching the sun come up. The clouds turned pink, then red. She roared and a blast of flame appeared.

“Well done, daughter. We fly to the attack tonight.”

The dragons found the men miles north of where Speckles had been hit. They flew high to avoid the men’s sight, but the men were revealed by their campfires. Twenty dragons circled the camp. Fire Queen whistled a signal. The dragons dove. Again, Speckles opened her mouth and blasted the ground in front of her. Tents and wagons burst into flame. Horses ran screaming. Men hacked at them with long knives and shot more sticks at them but the dragons were fast. Soon the light of the fires showed all the men dead. Horses ran through the night. Some even managed to escape the dragon’s hungry jaws.

The next day the dragons met on a high, flat topped mountain. Speckles stood in the center of the ring. “You have three times flamed,” Fire Queen told her daughter. “You may choose your adult name.”

Speckles looked around the ring. She was the first of her year to reach maturity. “I choose to be called Night Flame.”

The dragons roared their approval. They had a new member of the group.

 

The End

992 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Bind Wicked

Pool in Glade by Connie Cockrell

Pool in Glade by Connie Cockrell

Travis sat up and dug the sleep from his eyes. Today was his last test before he could be declared a full mage. He stumbled to the basin to splash his face. I’ve been here since I was seven. He was graduating a full year before most did. Some never graduated and remained apprentices for the rest of their lives. He didn’t want that for himself.

After breakfast he stood in front of Master Kanno’s desk. “Good morning.”

“Travis.” He put down his quill and looked at the young man through bushy eyebrows. “Are you ready?”

Travis felt anything but ready but nodded. “I am, Master.”

Kanno snorted. “That’s what they all say, every year. Very well, let’s go to the grove.”

The sacred grove was a mile from the castle where the mages trained their apprentices. “Tell me, Travis,” Kanno said as they walked through the gates, “what is the meaning of wicked?”

“It’s evil, Master, morally bad in principle or practice, iniquitous, even. Some people use wicked to describe the weather or even a spiteful, malevolent gossip. But for us, we mean evil.”

“A fair assessment, lad. How are you approaching today’s exam?”

Travis wanted to wipe his hands on his robe. “I’ve thought about several approaches, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“It is.”

“It depends upon what you summon. Evil comes in many forms. I’ve studied the binding spells for many creatures, demons to imps, dragons to dark elves.”

Kanno nodded. “Good. But what if what appears seems harmless?”

Panic washed through Travis. What if the creature that appeared was a pixie or a unicorn? “We’ve learned that not all is as it appears, Master. In that case, it would be my task to divine the true nature of the creature and take the appropriate measures.”

“What if what appears seems evil, yet is not?”

Travis was ready for that question. “Better to be safe than sorry you taught us. I would secure the creature and then determine its character.”

“Have you wondered why some apprentices never graduate?”

Travis thought about Willem, Master Kanno’s apprentice. He was a smart man, indispensible to Master Kanno. “I’ve made assumptions, but I don’t know.”

“Hmm.” Kanno studied his apprentice. “For some, you may have guessed, it was because they couldn’t master the knowledge and magic. We don’t hold those men and women though if they leave, we put a binding on them so they cannot use what little magic they do have. Some do not want the responsibility. The power is overwhelming and they choose to work with us but not to be responsible for the decisions that come with being a full mage. They decline to take the test you are about to take.

Travis wondered how they could study all those years and refuse. It’d never occurred to him.

“Then there are the very few. Like Willem. He took the test but it blasted him and he failed.”

Travis nodded his stomach clenching. His whole life was at stake.

At the clearing and after cleansing themselves in the holy pool, Travis took his place at the edge of a ring of blasted earth. Behind him Kanno began chanting. There was no knowing what would arrive in the center of the ring but he’d have only a few seconds to control whatever it was.

Travis cleared his mind and made himself fully receptive to the creature’s arrival. His fingers tingled with the power he drew from the sacred pool and the holy grove. The air buzzed with anticipation and power. A loud crack and the smell of ozone filled the circle. In front of him stood a young woman, long blonde hair spilling over her shoulders to mid-thigh, hiding her nakedness.

A girl? Was this a shape-shifter and she’d turn to a dragon or a were-wolf? He pulled power from the grove around him and cast a binding net over the girl. It splintered into shards of crystal as she dashed straight for him. He didn’t know what to do. Was it a nymph? Should he bind with fire? He danced to his right, half a step away from the girl’s grasp, her hair flying like a banner behind her. Sparks flew from her fingertips.

Was she a harpy? He tossed a net of hair, conjured from the blessings of the goddess. The girl shouted a word of power, he couldn’t tell which one, and the net burst into flame. Travis panicked. What if he couldn’t bind her? She’d escape into the world and cause all manner of harm.

He shouted his personal word of power. None knew it, not even Master Kanno. The girl slowed, as though she was caught in quicksand, her movements graceful but her eyes flashed red and her face formed a mask of hatred and evil. A snarl revealed pointed teeth.

Travis spun to his left and cast a chain of iron. The girl’s scream ripped along his nerve ends until he thought it would pierce his brain. He held the chain, snapping it around her until she stood immobile in the char of the circle. Panting with the effort, relief flooded through him that he hadn’t let this creature loose upon the kingdom. Travis’ every muscle trembled.

A hand clapped him on the back. “Well done, Travis.” Kanno took the chain from the young man and flicked it. It unraveled and with a wave of his hand and a word, made the girl disappear.

Master Kanno held out a water bladder and Travis drank half of it.

“What did you learn?”

“That I wasn’t as ready as I thought.”

Kanno smiled. “Good. You’ve passed your test. There is much, still, to study. But that will be a life-long pursuit. The ceremony will be in a month, with the others who pass. Congratulations.”

Travis thought about how close he’d come to losing. Something to keep always in mind, he thought as he shook the mage’s hand.

 

 

 

The End

992 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Flash Fiction Friday Post: Dark Carnival

State Fair

State Fair 2011 by Randy Cockrell

Gabi Rickson rubbed her eye as she flipped the switch in the trailer turning off the carnival music. If she never heard carnival music again it would be fine by her. If she never stepped foot in another carnival trailer, that would be fine, too. Next town, Gabi promised herself as she turned out the flashing neon lights; she’d get a waitressing job in a diner or something and get away from this creepy carnival.

After a month with the carnival, she was trusted to shut up the game trailer for the night. She stepped out of the back door and locked it. Gabi shared a camper with the carnie owner’s daughter, Brianne. The bed over the cab was hers, along with the tiny storage cubby. Not that she had much—a couple of changes of clothes, her e-reader, and the electronic notebook that served as her computer when a free WiFi hotspot presented itself.

At the camper, she went inside. It shifted with her weight on the step. The light was on over the stove, meaning that Brianne was out. Gabi felt relieved. Brianne and the rest of the carnies had some sort of weird vibe. Kind of like the vibe she got from her mother’s boyfriend and the reason she’d left home. The carnie vibe, though, was something else. They seemed okay during the day, friendly enough. After dark was another thing. Gabi eyed the door. She wanted nothing better than to lock the damn thing but it wasn’t her camper and Brianne needed to get in.

She changed into the tee-shirt she slept in and splashed her face in the tiny bathroom sink. Thank goodness the camper had a toilet and shower. It would have sucked to use the port-a-pots and outside wash stations some of the carnies had to use. After she climbed up into her bed, she read a chapter on her e-reader and turned out the lights. The game trailer had to open at ten, just seven hours away.

Gabi woke, heart pounding, the camper rocking violently. She scrambled down the ladder and bolted out of the camper door, barefoot and trembling. With the dirt and small stones cutting into her feet, she saw three men rocking the camper.

Brianne grabbed her hand. “Come on! Run!”

Blinking with confusion, Gabi followed, her hand still in Brianne’s. “What’s going on? Where are we going?”

“Hurry!” The owner’s daughter dragged her past the carnie’s campers and led the nineteen-year-old at a run up the ramp of the carnival’s only tractor trailer, through a person-sized door. She dropped Gabi’s hand and slammed the door shut.

Gabi stood gasping as Brianne stood, back against the door. “What is going on?”

“It’s time.”

“Time for what?” Gabi shook her head. This wasn’t making any sense.

Brianne stood up. “Time for you to serve your purpose.” She took Gabi’s hands in hers. “Time for you to pay us back.”

Gabi tried to pull her hands from Brianna’s. “Pay you back? I do my work.”

Brianna’s grip tightened. “Of course. But we need more than that, sweet girl.”

Gabi yanked her hands, but the carnie’s grip couldn’t be broken. She didn’t like the way Brianna stared. “Let go of me!” she cried out. Panic flooded through her.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart.” Brianna smiled and licked her lips. “This won’t hurt. Not too much, anyway.”

“Let go!” Gabi shouted as her elbows were grabbed by two men, one on each side. Brianna let go of her wrists as the two men lifted Gabi from her feet. She recognized them from around the carnival but hadn’t really met them. “Let me go!” she screamed again as they carried her to the front of the trailer.

The inside was lit by purple rope lights mounted along the corners where wall met roof. The sides were lined with the carnie people, dressed in black robes, hands tucked into wide sleeves. Gabi tried to kick the legs of the men who held her, but her bare feet were weak weapons. They ignored her. At the front of the trailer was a platform that ran the width of the trailer and a table, draped in white, on it. The white material glowed purple in the light from the ropes. They lifted her higher and before she could react, two other men grabbed her feet and bound them in three turns of rope before she was placed on the white cloth. Her hands were raised over her head and tied to the corners of the table. She thrashed, her long blonde hair spilling across the table and over her face. Tears flowed with fear and frustration.

Brianne, now dressed in a black robe with silver embroidery at wrist hems and down the middle front of the robe, gently pulled Gabi’s hair back from her face and with a black cloth, wiped her eyes. “Shh, sweet girl. There’s no need to fear. You’ve been judged worthy.”

“Worthy?” Gabi tugged at her feet, they were secured, as were her hands. “What are you doing?”

“We need to feed. You’ve been chosen.”

Gabi shook her head so hard the hair flew again. “You can’t. You can’t!”

The people in the room began to chant. Brianne lifted Gabi’s head and placed a padded brace under her neck and smoothed all of Gabi’s hair to her left shoulder. “So beautiful, dear girl. You’ll feed us for quite some time.”

Gabi screamed as Brianne leaned over her neck and bit. Fear and pain flooded through her then warmth and a feeling of bliss.

The missing girl posters appeared a week later, but the carnival had moved on. A year later the body of a woman, apparent age 72 was found in the parking lot of an abandoned drive-in theater.

Gabi’s mother searched for her daughter the rest of her life.

 

The End

977 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Monday Blog Post: Prepping for Vacation

Mohawk Harvest Co-Op Storefront, Gloversville NY.

Mohawk Harvest Co-Op Storefront, Gloversville NY.

We’re getting ready to drive across the country to my old hometown of Northville, NY. We’re stopping along the way to visit with some friends. We should be in Northville by the 8th. I’m looking forward to this. It’s our first vacation in two years. Also, we haven’t been back to Northville since we moved to Arizona five years ago. We’re way overdue for a visit.

While we’re in upstate NY, I have scheduled a book signing in Gloversville, NY at the Mohawk Valley Cooperative on Main Street. That’s a picture of the store front at the top of this post. I’ll be there Saturday, October 10th from 9am to Noon. I hope to see you there. Bring one of my books or buy it there and I’ll be happy to sign it.

Author Friend Boost! Margaret McGaffey Fisk. Her newest book is, Gifts, The Steamship Chronicles Book Three.  Here’s a description.

Sam has never been happier than aboard this merchant ship in the middle of the ocean. Most of the crew accepts her despite knowing about Sam’s Natural abilities. They tease and scold as if she were one of their own, even letting her listen to their tales. She’d do anything to stay, but the captain has made it clear: Come the next port, her voyage is at an end.

Sam’s presence has cost Nat so much, but he’d do anything to have her stay. Still, Nat knows the captain made the only possible choice in these circumstances. The sailors view Sam as a good luck charm now, but as soon as something goes wrong, they could turn on her. Transforming Sam into a boy and giving her Nat’s share of the profits means she’ll have a decent chance on shore as long as she stays in control. Nat likes neither image of her future so struggles to come up with a better plan.

You can find more about Margaret at: http://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/

Writing progress: I’ve made some progress on my Zoe Ohale outline for NaNo. It’s still a long way from finished. I did get another chapter written on Mystery in the Woods. It’s moving, albeit slowly.

Marketing: As an indie author, I’m responsible for marketing my own work. It can be a challenge but I keep my eyes and ears open for new opportunities to tell people I’m out here and have some stories they might like to read.

One great opportunity is that my author friend D’Elen McClain (wickedstorytelling.com) has started a new website to connect readers to authors. It’s called Indie Books Direct at http://indiebooksdirect.com/. The site, free to readers, has a tab that lists all of the authors on the site. The reader just clicks on the author’s name and a link takes them directly to the author’s website or sale page. If you want to find authors in a particular genre, click on one of the several genre pages to find authors that have stories in that genre. It makes things so easy for readers! The site is still under construction but we’d love to have you come browse. Let us know how you like the site. Official grand opening is November 1st!

On Saturday I found a promotion that will start right after Halloween is over. It’s called Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway. On 1 November, the party starts. I’ll give everyone the details for signing up to win free books and prizes. Mark your calendar because you won’t want to miss out on this. The below picture is my promo ad for the event. What do you think?

Christmas Giveaway Poster

Christmas Giveaway Poster

I have finished writing the Friday Flash stories for October. There are five new stories all scheduled and waiting to post. The theme I wrote to is Halloween. I just had to do it. LOL! I still must get my October Chicklets in the Kitchen post written and scheduled. Last Thursday I attended the Strawberry Author’s group meeting and gave them an overview of CreateSpace and how it works. They liked it so much they’ve asked me to come back the end of October and talk about editing. Hoo, big fun!

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com.  I’ve put a notice up on my WordPress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I stopped posting to the WordPress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I published my September newsletter on Saturday. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, too. Don’t delay. The October newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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