Brain 2 Books CyCon Post

Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo 2018This post appears as part of the “Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo Fantasy Book Tour”…

Running from April 6th through April 8th 2018 this online book event brings readers and authors together for a weekend of books, and book related events.

Learn more here

B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Tom Fallwell B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Mary R. Woldering B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Ashley Capes
B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Connie Cockrell B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Shakyra Dunn B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Dove Winters

It’s Happening!:

The Brain 2 Books Cycon,, starts April 6th and runs all weekend for #readers, #authors, and just anyone who loves books. If you’ve been to this totally on-line event, you already know how much fun it is. If you haven’t been, you’re in for a treat. Things are going on all over the place and all day and night. So, if you’re in Australia, no worries! There’s something for you, too! I’m part of several things, including SciFi, Fantasy, and Mystery events.

Fantasy Events:

One thing I’m part of is a blog hop about why I write Fantasy.

That’s pretty easy. I’ve loved fantasy my whole life. Not just the epic George R.R. Martin or Tolkein works but anything with fairies, elves, witches, mages, sword and sorcery, or anything else.

I love getting into a good story or book and entering that world. Forgetting all the stuff in my own world, I can be the heroine, fighting dragons or the evil queen. I can root for the hero and empathize with him when things go horribly wrong.

When I finish the book, I come out sort of dazed. Slightly confused about just where I am—I totally live that story and am sad when I have to leave. But those stories stay with me. They become part of who I am and like all good myths, frame my state of mind about the nature of good and evil, heroes and bad guys.

And what’s wrong with that!

Other B2BCyCon Events:

Over on GoodReads, we have a book expo running. #B2BCyCon2018 If you’re looking for the kind of Fantasy (or SciFi, Western, Mystery or other genre) that takes you off into another place and time, check out the expo. All of our authors have their work up for sale. Pick up a little of everything at: You can find all of my works under the 2018 SciFi Showcase (  but by all means, check out all of the other showcases as well. Who knows what wonderful things you will find.

Another event I’m in is the Cover Wars, I’d love it if you would scroll down through the covers and vote for mine. One I’m especially happy with is the Tested cover. (It’s toward the bottom.). My good friend J.A. Marlow designed that one, replacing an earlier cover. I just love the colors and the design elements she came up with.

Then there are all of the other events for the other genres. I have to say, on the website, click the Events tab, then the other tabs, to find something that’s just for you!


Lots about the con is fun. One thing is this video! I love videos don’t you? They make the whole thing come to life.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, for my next engagements.

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on 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.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Tom Fallwell B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Mary R. Woldering B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Ashley Capes B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Connie Cockrell B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Shakyra Dunn B2B Fantasy Blog Tour - Dove Winters

Found: Key, Part IX – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Keys III by Catherine-Elizabeth via

Keys III by Catherine-Elizabeth via


Part IX, by Catherine-Elizabeth

Tuesday dawned clear and warm. She arrived at work an hour early, just to be safe and was well into her work as the other partners came in. That should reassure them, she thought as Felicity nodded at her when she passed by the door. She’d already been there three hours when Jason called.

“Lunch? One o’clock at Revise. The chef has chicken, fresh from some farm upstate.”

“Sure.” She grinned as she held her cell phone to her ear. She felt good. His call last night had put her in a good mood and her nausea had disappeared. “I have something to talk over with you.”

“Uh oh.” He laughed. “Bad news or worse news?”

“It’s not bad. Just something we need to discuss.” She briefly wondered what he’d think about going to her parent’s for Thanksgiving then pushed the thought away. She’d find out at lunch. “See you at one.”

“See ya.” He blew a kiss into the phone and clicked off.

She sighed and dropped her phone in her pocket. Ying wasn’t sure if he was ready to meet the parents but November was still weeks away. It would be fine, she decided, and went back to work.


At lunch, she was shown to a table, the waiter whisking the RESERVED sign away with a flourish. Jason arrived as the water glasses were being filled. “Sorry about that. A call came in just as I was leaving.”

Ying noticed him spin the watch on his wrist. She smiled at him, her usual warm glow returning, just like every time she saw him. “No worries. I just sat down.” She looked around. “Pretty fancy for lunch.”

“The chef is a high school buddy of mine. He was just hired here, a real coup for him since he’s only twenty-seven.”

“Good for him.” Ying sipped her water as the waiter placed menus on the table. “What’s the specialty here?”

The waiter nodded. “The chicken, madam. Organic, local, fresh chicken, roasted or grilled.”

She grinned across the table. “Sounds wonderful. I’d like it grilled and placed atop a salad, no onions please.”

He nodded. “And the gentleman?”

Jason handed the waiter the menu. “Roasted, and I’m starving so I’ll take the scalloped potatoes and the side salad. No onions for me either, I’m meeting a client later.”

“Very good, sir, madam.” He tucked the menus under his arm and left.

“So,” Jason took her hand across the table. “What’s the discussion.”

“Mother was quite cross at me Sunday night, I mentioned that yesterday. She wants us to come for Thanksgiving.” Ying held her breath. This was where guys usually started backing away.

“Fantastic! I’d love to.”

Ying blinked at the speed of his happy response. “Don’t you have family to visit?”

“They’ll understand.” He twisted the watch around again. “I’m looking forward to meeting the people responsible for the lovely young woman sitting across from me.”

Another wave of well-being flowed through her. “You will get everywhere flattering my parents like that. I warn you. Mother can be…demanding. But if she likes you, you’re in and never escaping. Trust me.”

Jason laughed. “I’ll take my chances.”


After meeting her client Ying was at her desk, making notes and organizing her thoughts on the best products for her. She absent-mindedly stroked the key she now wore as a necklace. The move made her nauseous, as usual. For a moment she wished it would give her the warm glow she got whenever she saw Jason. It sucked feeling sick so often. She stopped tapping her keyboard. Warm glow. She looked up at the far wall of her office. Every time she saw Jason. Every time he played with his watch. His antique watch.

She called Eleanor, skipping the pleasantries. “Your group have a watch artifact?”

After a short pause, Eleanor said, “Let me look.”

Ying could hear Eleanor pull down the ancient book and flip through the pages. “No. At least not that I can find at the moment. Why?”

Feeling more and more angry, Ying blurted, “Because I think Jason is using an artifact on me.”

“Are you sure?”

“Not totally.” Ying took a breath. Maybe she was just reading too much into it. “He said it’s a watch that’s been in his family. Every time he plays with it, I get a warm, loving glow.”

“Every time? Or just every time you notice it?”

Damn her for being so logical. “I don’t know.” Ying drummed her fingertips on the desk, furious that it could be that she was being manipulated into liking him. “I know it’s every time I notice. How can I be sure?”

“You could have him bring the watch in. Tell him you’d like to get it appraised.”

“If he knows it’s magic, he’s not going to show it to you. And even if I can get him to your shop, how would you know if it’s an actual artifact?”

“We have tests. But it’s up to you.” Her voice was eager. “We haven’t identified a new artifact in decades. It would be a feather in my cap to bring a new one in.”

Ying understood Eleanor’s enthusiasm. “I suppose it would. Is there some way to counteract the magic?”

“You don’t like being manipulated.”

“No. I don’t.”

“Usually not. I’ll do some research. Love artifacts are fairly common. I’ll let you know.”

“Fair enough. I’ll see if I can get him into the shop. We’ll work it out from there.”

“Excellent. Take care, Ying.”

“I will.” Ying clicked off. She had to think about how to get Jason to the shop.


Thank You!

End Part IX: 938 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:


Author Interview: Chevoque!



I’m so happy to introduce author Chevoque! She writes contemporary, historical, and paranormal stories, among other things. If you’re looking for stories with an international flair, Chevoque may just be what you’ve been searching for. Here’s a little bit about Chevoque.

I was born as Rochelle de Beer on 15 May 1992 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, and as an only child, the world seemed like a lonely place, until I set my mind free and got lost in the worlds I created myself. My writing started at a young age and with numerous stories still waiting to be released from my mind, only time now seems to hold me back. I also have a degree in BSc. Environmental and Biological Sciences, because I’m a tree-hugging animal lover, who hopes to never use my degree to cause cruelty.

Cover Just Like You

Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Writing used to be just a hobby, but now as a full-time author, I have to say photography and photoshop are past-times I can’t get enough of.  Which is likely a good thing, as I have created most of my covers myself and I enjoy doing digital art as well, so all those things combined sure keeps me sane.


If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Sir David Attenborough.

I will shamelessly admit that I envy all the things he has done and all the things he has achieved.  I primarily decided to do a degree in BSc. Botany and Zoology, because of all the amazing TV shows I had watched of him growing up.  So an afternoon with tea and a long conversation with him would be a bucket list tick down I hope to actually one day achieve.


Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I’m a sucker for caffeine! Be it in the form of coffee, I love Nescafé’s Alta Rica and Rosabaya blends the most and when it comes to tea, I love Rooibos and Lager’s is my absolute favourite.  Apart from that, I love a Steelworks when it is hot, so basically in South Africa, that means every day.


What are you working on right now?

The Marked Series, it is a two book series about two different people, who have birthmarks on their faces, and how they deal with being different in a society where looks are everything.


How would you describe your writing style?

Easy with a lot of South African flare…or so I hope.  I use South African slang, as there really is no better way to describe some situations than with a few proudly South African trimmings, but I do keep in mind that most of my readers are international.  Thus, I always keep it descriptive enough so all can enjoy the sarcasm or jokes, because I love adding humour in everything I do, while never forgetting to add a cause/theme to my books.


Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Don’t think you can’t and never aspire.  Only be.

If you take the time; wrote your heart out, sold your soul and nearly lost yourself in your own mind, you’ve proved yourself worthy to be known as an author.


Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

They come to me in whatever I do, I can literally be out to buy some groceries and then I’ll need to rush home to get the idea down, before it slips from my mind.  Or I can even be working on something and then I’ll hear a song (I love music) and then everything will be put on hold, so I can get this new idea down.  Thus I own four notebooks filled with ideas for books and it grows every week!


Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Amazon Author Page:






Thank you so much, Chevoque! I appreciate you taking time from a busy schedule to tell us about yourself and your books.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please go to Chevoque’s website, facebook or twitter page or sign up for her newsletter. You’ll be glad you did.

Gar’dyne’s Revelation: Flash Fiction Story, Christmas

Young Mage by hokunin at

Young Mage by hokunin at

Prince Gar’dyne pulled off his battle helmet and wiped the sweat. From just after sunrise until now, just before sunset, he’d wielded his battle sword in a bloody swath across the hell hounds and gremlins of the evil wizard, Anrak. They were victorious; he and his battle-scarred battalion, but he had no joy. The wizard had escaped and his battalion was cut to a third of its previous power.

His lieutenant, Yawo, his first cousin from his mother’s side, rode up beside him. “The wizard vanished into a cloud, sire, taking a guard with him. The evilest of the lot, as far as our scouts can tell.”

Gar’dyne pulled his canteen from his hip and drained the last of the well-watered wine. Every muscle in his body screamed but he only had a few cuts, so he hid his exhaustion. “The conjuror has caused great havoc, cousin. Have the seers a destination for the craven?”

“No, Lord. Their cauldrons provide only smoke and confusion.”

Gar’dyne grunted. That was usual in his experience. He’d have the whole lot of seers beheaded and start over. The wizard had power, the seer’s not as much. But his mother favored them so he held his tongue. “Find the damned wizard. Someone must be able to track the stench of his magical passing.”

After his tour of the wounded and prayers over the dead, Gar’dyne retired to his command tent where his servants had prepared a bath and a simple supper. He was scooping the soldier’s portion of grits and bacon with a square of corn bread when his staff entered the tent.

“Sire,” Yawo dipped his head. “We have a seer with news.”

Gar’dyne scraped the last of the gruel from the wooden bowl with the cornbread and chewed while he thought. “A seer actually saw something?”

Yawo dipped his head. The rest of the staff shifted uneasily. Gar’dyne had made his feelings about seers well known. The prince leaned back in his camp chair. Time to put the staff at ease. If the seer knew something, well and good. Best to keep the staff open minded. “Bring the seer.”

Yawo snapped his fingers and the tent flap opened. A young woman entered. Dressed as a peasant, an un-dyed woolen gown reached to her ankles with an apron of un-dyed linen, she caught his attention with a curtain of glossy blond hair that fell to her waist. Her eyes were downcast.

Gar’dyne had to catch his breath. “Speak, maiden seer, what have you for your prince.”

He watched her swallow. She’s nervous! “Tell, maiden,” he said in a softer tone. “Tell your prince your vision.”

She glanced up through thick lashes. “A babe, highness. The evil one has tracked a babe, destined to save the world.”

Gar’dyne blinked. He was so tired and now a riddle. His wrath against the seers was renewed. “That’s it? A baby?” He scrubbed a hand across his bearded face. “What’s that to my king?’

The girl slipped to her knees and he saw that she quivered as she dropped her head to the carpets strewn across the floor of his tent. He did his best to control his anger at the stupid wench. “Rise, girl. Explain.”

Tears glistened in her eyes making him feel even more a callous clod.

“Sire. Rescue the babe and win freedom from the wizard and his minions for the rest of time.”

And in front of the entire staff. Damn Yawo for not dealing with this slip of a girl in private. “Where is this babe?”

“A day’s march, Sire. The wizard is already there. The family resists.”

Gar’dyne wanted more than anything to sleep. “Yawo, Generals, form up. We march on this mud-hole of a town.”

The staff hustled out. Yawo took the girl by the elbow.

“Hold, cousin.”

The girl turned back to him.

“If you are wrong, I’ll have you flayed in the town square.”

She paled but nodded. Gar’dyne signaled for them to leave.

At dawn they arrived at the mud-walled village the girl had seen. The wizard’s soldiers surrounded the town. Gar’dyne wondered how the peasants had held off the wizard when his own troops had been mowed down the day before. He deployed his troops and had the wench brought up beside him.

“Girl, how do we win?”

“The babe will win, Sire. You will press the attack.”

He glared at her and she shrank into the saddle of the pony she rode. He felt both an ogre and a fool. “Yawo, deploy the men. Attack at each gate. Beat the evil scum back whatever the cost.”

Yawo nodded and spurred his horse. The girl hung her head.

“Have you always had visions?”

“Yes, Sire.” Eyes on the ground she patted the pony she rode and it ceased it’s stamping.

He sighed. From his hilltop vantage he could watch his troops. A horn blew and his troops attacked. He ground his teeth at the first contact. The gremlins and hell hounds savaged what was left of his battalion. Then, sun beams broke through the sullen clouds. Puffs of smoke arose whenever the beams hit the wizard’s army. Gar’dyne blinked. His soldiers were winning!

He and his guard raced down the hillside. Sword swinging, he cleared a path through the town to the stable where the girl directed him. He dismounted his foam-flecked horse and strode inside.

There, a baby lay in a horse manger. Mages surrounded the babe and the parents. They knelt. “Sire. We’ve been waiting.”

Gar’dyne approached the manger. The baby, wrapped in homespun wool, smiled up at him. The girl beside him dropped to her knees. Exhaustion and worry melted from him. Gar’dyne knelt on one knee, his sword point to the ground in front of him and bowed his head. His father would want to know his seer’s predictions had come true. The savior was born.



The End

983 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:

Flash Fiction Friday Story: Melt at your own Risk

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via

“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 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:

Flash Fiction Friday Story: Day of Ashes

Burned out Building by Chisatowatanabe via

Burned out Building by Chisatowatanabe via

Annika peeked through the curtain. She opened it a quarter inch, no one could know she was still in the house. Food was running low so a supply run had to be made before she starved to death. Water was a problem, too, but going outside was hazardous.

Nothing moved in the street, but that didn’t mean it was safe. A week ago a pack of dogs gone feral had roamed the neighborhood, barking and snarling at each other. More terrifying was the baying they’d made when they cornered a half-starved squirrel. Annika had run to the bathroom and shut the door, then huddled in the corner, hands over her ears. She didn’t know squirrels screamed. Even now the memory made her stomach churn.

Moving from room to room Annika peeked out of all the windows. It seemed safe enough but still she hesitated, pacing from one window to the next. It would only take one mistake to kill her. Three months ago she’d watched as her neighbor, Ben Morse, had left his house. Until then she hadn’t known that anyone in the neighborhood was still alive. He’d had a shotgun with him but it hadn’t helped. He’d run out of shells and died, right there in the street, four houses down. Now, even the bones were gone. The dogs had seen to that.

The backpack was on the kitchen table and her biggest kitchen knife. Who knew a year ago that she’d want a gun? She’d always thought guns were a scourge on society. Now, the thought of a nice Army machine gun sounded like a good idea. Annika checked the street again. Maybe there were other people in the neighborhood, hiding, like her. It would be nice to have someone to talk to. The leaves were starting to fall. That meant winter was coming, and her food and water nearly gone.

Before the power went out she’d watched scenes of people leaving the cities on television. There were camps, somewhere, but she hadn’t wanted to evacuate. Annika chewed her lower lip. Big mistake. She should have gone then. Now she was alone and winter was coming. She dropped the curtain and strode to the kitchen. She put on the pack and picked up the knife. At the door to the garage she stopped, hand on the door knob. The garage door would have to be opened by hand, the car pulled out, and then she’d have to get out of the car to close the door so nothing would get into the house. Her mouth was dry. It was tempting to stop and get a sip of water, but she opened the door and went into the garage.

The door made a racket as she pulled the rope that opened it. She checked the street again then hurried to the car. It sputtered but on the third try, started. Annika backed out of the garage then leapt from the car, pulled the garage door down and got back in the car. She locked the doors and backed into the street. The grocery store was two miles away. With luck there would still be food, maybe even bottled water.

Annika studied the windows of the houses she passed. It would be good to find other people. She would be able to sleep at night. The car sounded loud. Would it draw the creatures? She didn’t know. At the grocery store she found the plate glass windows smashed, abandoned cars littering the parking lot, some burned out. She pulled up onto the sidewalk as close to the store as she could get, nudging a shopping cart out of the way with her front bumper.

Please have food, please have food. She grabbed her pack and got out of the car, knife in hand. Annika hurried to the dry goods aisle, hoping for bags of rice, beans or pasta. She found all of them but scattered across the floor. They crunched underfoot as she searched the shelves for anything left whole. A couple of boxes of rice dinners hid on the bottom shelf, out of sight. She put them in her pack. Maybe canned goods?

That aisle had only exotic stuff, anchovies and capers and the like. Beggars can’t be choosers, she thought and put them in her pack. She hurried up and down the rest of the aisles picking up random things left behind in whatever fury had happened here. Broken cases of water were in the drinks aisle. Annika grabbed an overturned cart and loaded it with the individual bottles. She opened one and drank it down. She’d been rationing her water and was thirsty all the time now. The water tasted wonderful.

A noise startled her. She pushed the cart at a run to the front of the store. She clicked the unlock button on the car key and leapt through the broken store window. After opening the back door, she began tossing her spoils into the car. Wait, was that another sound? She worked faster. She didn’t want to be caught here in the open. After grabbing the last bottle of water, she slammed the car door shut and ran to the driver’s side.

No! The creatures were coming around the corner of the store. She jumped into the car and tried to start it. The engine cranked and cranked but wouldn’t start. Annika locked the doors. The creatures surrounded the car, banging on the windows inches from her face. She tried the engine again. It still wouldn’t start. Tears flowed down her face as she sobbed with fright.

It took a month for her to die of thirst, still surrounded by the zombies.


The End

952 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:

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: