Saturday, February 27, 2010

From ARTHUR - Unpublished short story

The royal healer straightened her back and wiped the sweat from her brow. She knew the king was watching her from the balcony and she hated to be under such pressure but it went with the job. Today, it was the prince beneath her hands and today he was not cooperating and without that, there was very little chance he would survive.

The king turned on the intercom and asked, “What do you think, healer?”

“I think he’ll likely be dead by this time tomorrow,” she replied. She felt it would be her fate too but one could never tell when it came to Uther.

“I need him to live, Elizabeth. You do what ever you need to, to make that happen.”

“He doesn’t want to live, sir, and his injuries are bad enough where that makes a difference.”

The king left the viewing deck and a few minutes later, he came right into the sterile room with them. “What are you saying, how can he not want to live. Wake him up and let me speak to him.”

“That’s not a good idea, Uther; with him awake he could fight me harder than he is now.”

“I said wake him.”

The healer shook her head and did as she was commanded. When the knight opened his eyes and looked around, she could see the heartbreak deep in them.

“Jake,” called Uther. He leaned closer into the range of vision of the man on the table. “Jake, I need you to live. I need you to tell me what went wrong out there.”

“No,” said Jake “No,” he whispered again and closed his eyes. “No,” he breathed again and turned away. He would have rolled onto his side, showing them his back if he’d been stronger but he lacked the strength to lift his hand and so had to be satisfied with merely rolling his head away from them.

“What are you saying? I need to know and you are the only one who can tell me.” When he got no other response from Jake, Uther turned to the healer for an answer.

“Perhaps he doesn’t want to be the only one to have survived,” she supplied.

“I don’t care about that. As my son, he doesn’t have the luxury to just die because he wants to. You make him live, do you hear me? Do whatever you have to do but you make him live. That is a command of the highest order.”

“What you ask could destroy him,” she warned one last time.

“You make him live, I can’t have him die now,” said the king and left abruptly.

That left her with no choice so she took Jake’s head in her hands and began a hypnotic mantra, “Jake, hear me. Sleep and heal - sleep and heal. Jake, hear my words - sleep and heal - heal . . . .” She kept repeating the command until his no’s turned into a repetition of her words. Only then did she allow him to drift into the sleep that she ordered.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Disaster on the Road - from KING BY RIGHT - Available at Amazon

Sorsha and her company were five days into their journey when they were attacked.  Harris had no idea who they were, only that they hit very hard and very fast.  The wagon he was driving was overturned when the horses panicked and then died.  Harris was thrown clear of the wagon, but found himself immediately fighting for his life.  Then he had no thought for anything more.  He watched with detached amazement as the sword of his opponent snaked past his defenses and grew suddenly shorter where it touched his armor, pushed there by the dead weight of that same opponent.  He had paid the price for his thrust - paid it in full.

Harris's sword was pulled from his numb hand as the man slipped to the ground.  Confused, Harris reached for the sword sprouting from his middle.  His detached awareness, told him he was falling, but he was powerless to do anything about it.  By the time he finally wrapped his hands around the strangely elusive hilt, he felt his knees strike the ground and then it rose up to strike him in the face.  His final thought before darkness overcame him was that this sword would be even harder to get ahold of now, because now it was so much shorter.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

From THE SPEED OF DREAMS - unpublished

“You can shoot me if I try something.  You can put me in chains.  Do with me whatever you want, but let me go look for him.  Next to Jat’Lyn, I probably know more about him than any one else here.  He was always so proper, so perfect, and fly; he could fly a hurricane through the eye of a needle and knit a sweater with it without the hurricane suspecting it had been tamed.  Everyone knew he was peasant born, but he was still the best of us; I wanted so much to be just like him.  Now, I just want to find him.”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

January Contest Winner - Ambitious Writers - Goodreads

As I've said in an earlier post.  I belong to a group where most of the members are quite young.  Lately, we've started a monthly writing contest and I've declined from active participation in lieu of posting the winner's entry here.  January's contest genre was historical and humor, and the winner was Rose.

Here is her entry:


Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: T, for some swearing and slightly adult themes
Word Count: 1,000 words. DEAR GOD this was HARD to only write 1,000 WORDS!! I NEED MORE ROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! >.< But I did it, so there!
Summary: At first this was just supposed to be a stand alone story, but, like I do so many other things, my mind just branched out ideas and now I may or may not turn this into a full-fledged book. Besides, I've always wanted to write a Western!! Oh right, the summary... *clears throat*

Solomon Grant; the most dangerous outlaw west of Tennessee. He's killed many men and held no remorse, which is partly why the government is sparing no expense in having him caught, but after a shoot out with the sheriff and his men in the town of Sweetwater, which ended with the entire police force dead, Solomon starts acting differently and only his right hand man, Johnny "Ace" Carter, seem to realize this.

We arrive just at the point when Solomon explains his odd behaviour.

I will ask of you not to reveal why in case other don't read this, I want to entice them as much as possible to read this, so please, if you're going to say you liked it, do it without spoiling the ending.
Thank you.

Solomon Grant

Solomon barely gave the sign tacked on sheriff’s station a second look, he wasn’t intent on reading what he was charged with; he already knew. He cued his horse to continue walking and his group followed as they lazily rode into town. Swiftshot turned to see the door wide open and the sheriff passed out with a bottle next to him; he had to stifle his laughter.

Solomon slowed down to a stop, jumped off his horse and walked off. Marshal caught up to tie both Solomon’s horse to the rail and his own. Soon, however, Rocky jumped off his own horse and handed the reign to Marshal, as did Ace. Marshal groaned and proceeded to tie their horses as well, just as Swiftshot slapped his back and handed his own horse’s reign with a raucous laugh.

Solomon stretched his arms forward and stiffened them as he rammed through the swinging doors of the town’s saloon. It was bustling with life and none of the patrons even seemed to notice that an outlaw had come in here with his gang of what some might call ‘outlaws.’ He preferred to think of themselves as ‘lawfully impaired.’

“Go ahead boys;” he said to his men, “you’ve earned it.”

The men smiled as they shoved their way to the barkeep, each shouting their preferred drink at the overworked man.

“You want anything, boss?” Ace, his second-in-command, asked.

Solomon smiled, “Same old.”

Ace nodded and turned around to get their drinks.

Solomon ushered himself to the corner of the building, his favorite spot in any tavern; should someone come in and rustle up trouble, he’d be well out of their vantage point.

Ace was the first to follow Solomon to his seat, followed by Marshal, Rocky, and Swiftshot. Solomon gave a polite smile as his boys drunk wholeheartedly, regaling each other- as well as a few ladies- about their most recent adventure. Their boisterous laughs were the loudest in the bar.

Solomon, though, sat there quietly, not wanting to spoil the fun. Instead, he sat there with his whiskey untouched as he looked over his gun again and again, absorbing every detail he could that he didn’t already know.

He waited.

The problem with his men, it seemed to Solomon, is that they had an endless supply of energy and a seemingly bottomless stomach. Although he hated the thought of interrupting the rejoicing with his announcement, it was almost sunset and it had to be said, if not now then never.

“Boys,” he said in a solemn voice, it shot through their laughter like one of his own bullets.

They put down their drinks and gave him their full attention.

“What is it, boss?” Ace asked. However, Solomon could tell that Ace already knew. He could tell from the youth’s saddening hazel eyes.

“You boys remember that tiff we got into a few days ago?” Solomon asked, the rim of his hat covering his eyes more than usual.

“Yeah,” Swiftshot said, still bubbling with excitement, “Best gun fight I’ve had in years!”

Ace leered at his brother, only then did Swiftshot realize he should quiet down.

“Boys,” he said in a low voice, “the sheriff of the last town...he...” he bit his lip and smacked the tabletop in frustration, the words were hard to get out, “...I think he was my baby brother.”

The men looked at each other in sudden realization.

“Boss,” Marshal said in a quiet voice, “you saying you shot...?”

Solomon pushed down the tears of shame once more and shook his head.

“But that’s not what you wanted to tell us, is it?” Ace said sadly, his own hat beginning to cover his eyes.

“Boys,” Solomon started up again, “I can’t keep doing this, neither should you.”

“Doing what?” Rocky asked.

“Being an outlaw,” he replied, “It’s not right. I’m done. All you should too.”

Swiftshot growled, “What do you mean we should be done? Where the hell are we supposed to go? We don’t know anything else, that’s why we do this!”

“You boys are still young,” Solomon insisted, “You can learn something new.”

“What about you?” Marshal asked, “I mean, its not that you’re old or anything you’s just, it’s your face that’s plastered all over ever sheriff’s station from here to Tennessee.”

“I know,” Solomon said as he finally chugged down his whiskey, “And I’m not forcing any of you stop doing this, but I am saying that it’s not right; robbing, killing, they’re two of the goddamned commandments, the hell are we doin’ this for anyway?!” he slammed his glass down on the table and it cracked.

“Because we can’t do anything else!” Swiftshot spoke up, “Just because we can learn anything doesn’t mean we’ll be let to do anything! That’s why we’re runnin’ from the authorities anyway! Your face might be the one that everyone knows, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t know ours. We do this because we’ve got nothin’ else!” Swiftshot gulped his anger and calmed himself down, “We’ve got nothin’ else but the gallows...”

The others murmured their agreements with Swiftshot’s words. Solomon sighed.

“You know I’m not stopping you boys, I said that, and I mean it. Life is a choice, but sometimes those choices interfere with someone else’s and...well...we get stuck there,” he took off his hat and looked it over in his hands, “But it doesn’t mean we don’t still have a choice.”

He stood up and handed his hat to Ace. The poor youth almost burst into to tears right there, but he held them back as Solomon had to force Ace’s trembling hands to take his hat.

They’re your boys now, Ace.” Solomon whispered.

The saloon was still full of other merrymakers and Solomon hoped that they might lift the group’s moods as he pushed through the bar’s swinging doors. He didn’t dare look back to see his men’s heartbreaking expressions as they shouted his name.

It wouldn’t do anything but hurt.