For Riches

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[Until that day, fear had been an idea, a concept. Now it was real: a feeling I would carry inside me for the rest of my life. The day began innocently enough, with] a clear sky and a good wind for flying. I spread my wings and lifted myself into the wide blue open. As I scanned the ground below me, I found a royal caravan, right in the middle of a field. I marveled at my luck when I razed the group and found a princess among it. For all the gold and jewels a dragon could amass, a young princess was the greatest treasure of all.

Perhaps the fact that she gave no protest to being carried off in my jaws should have hinted at what was to come. But I had thought she was in shock or unconscious. Whatever it was I thought, she made no sound or movement over the miles to my den, and when I dragged her deep into the cave and released her among my treasures, she showed no fear. She stood, brushed off her dress, smoothed her hair, and spoke in my own tongue.

“So easily tricked. I thank you for the riches.”

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Out of the Dark

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before] the dark seeped all the way into him. He could feel it in his lungs now, filling them so that every breath was a rasp. That was the sign that he had been in the dark for too long. But this time to find what he was looking for he had needed to go further, past the last post, only the tail of the rope strung along the posts to tell him how to get back. He had reached the end of that rope and let it go, stumbling into the dark several steps before he found the inkwort prickly against his fingertips. By that point he only had time to grab a few handfuls, and then he turned and hurried back, hand over hand along the rope.

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Beta Readers Needed for Bring Back the Bones!

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Bring Back the Bones is a fantasy story about a young prince reluctantly embarking on a ritual quest to fetch a dragon’s bones. Venturing into the cave, he finds the unexpected. Can he fulfill his task now that he’s learned the truth?

You can read the rest by joining my beta readers group! Just go to Sawicki’s Beta Readers on Facebook. It is 100% free – I’m just looking for general feedback in return for stories. There will also be giveaways and other fun stuff as things ramp up. Literally the only reason I’m not just posting these on my website is cause that would mean they were published and therefore unpublishable :p

Beta Readers Wanted!

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I have a huge backlog of books and stories that I can’t publish yet, and I’ve set up a beta readers group with free stuff to read. All I ask in return is some words on whether they suck or not.

Join Sawicki’s Beta Readers on Facebook for free books and stories before anyone else gets to see them. There’ll be horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and the occasional twisted romance. It’s just started, but I hope to have giveaways and other fun stuff eventually as well. I just need to share what I’m working on!

When the Moon

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[“How did you know?” I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought she] wouldn’t notice the signs. But she was different from the other wolves. Her eyes missed nothing, her mind was sharp. I had no clue how she would handle this truth.

She sat back on her haunches and wrapped her thick tail around her paws. “You’re only around when the moon is out and full, and as soon as the sun comes up you’re gone. Every time you come to us, you’re scrubbed and washed clean. Cleaner than any wolf has a right to be. Even underneath that smell though, I can smell your humanity. It’s the lingering scent of one who eats plants and drinks cow’s milk.”

“But how could you know—”

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The Apothecary, excerpt IV

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette:

He stands, and turns his back to me and the fire. He walks over to the spinning wheel, and begins unraveling the threads. “There’s nothing to say about my father,” he says.

I stand too. “But I’ve been wondering––”

“You need to go home. It’s getting dark.” The words are harsh, but he speaks them softly. They hurt more than way. With his back to me, with the mask out of sight, I want to run to him, tell him I don’t want to go home. Not tonight. Not ever.

But if I do that, he’ll turn to me, with that mask.

I put down the cup, and put my cloak around my shoulders. The spinning wheel starts circling, squeaking slightly. I catch a glimpse of mask slithering where a cheek ought to be, and again I shiver, though not from cold. He says nothing as I slip out the door.

The Apothecary, excerpt III

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette:

He gave me calming tea that tasted of flowers. He apologized for having no cake or biscuits to serve along with it, as he wasn’t used to having visitors. That was fine though; as much as I liked him, it would have been hard to eat with that mask watching me, crawling like maggots.

In my childhood innocence, and with my da not around to shush me, I asked him what was under it.

“Nothing interesting,” he said. He voice always seemed to come from far away. “I think you’d much rather see something like this.”

He swept a powder into the candle on the table between us and the flame danced gold and silver.

I laughed and he gave me some of the powder so that I could throw it into the fireplace, and the whole room danced gold and silver, including his mask. But that didn’t distract me entirely from questioning him. I ran to his side and said “Where’d you learn all this?”

 

The Apothecary, excerpt II

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette:

That first time I met him, he towered above me, encased in a black cloak. At first glance I thought he had no face, until I saw the mask wavering in the shadows.

I was terrified. I hid behind my da as the frightening figure knelt before me and opened a little paper packet. He blew on it – though how he did so with the mask there I couldn’t tell – and fairies and unicorns danced in all the colors of the rainbow in the air between us.

The mask would continue to induce repulsion in me every time I saw it quiver, but I found other emotions were placed beside this repulsion – expectation, wonderment, joy. He gave me sugary candies better than any candy I had ever tasted, and something he called chocolate, which was better than anything at all I had ever tasted. He set off miniature fireworks in the rafters of his workspace. He sprinkled a powder over his sheep in their pen that turned them blue and pink. It was something new every time I got the opportunity to visit.

The Apothecary, excerpt I

An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette.  It might seem familiar, ’cause I based it off a drabble I’ve previously posted.

“Alisandra?”

I’m jerked out of my daydream by the sound of his voice. I’ve been staring.

“Are you all right?” the apothecary asks. The firelight plays over his mask in blacks and oranges. It’s always so dim here in his home, the windows shuttered tight against the sun, leaving only the hearth fire and the candlelight to illuminate the jars of liquids and powders and plants.

But I always study his mask.

“Yes!” I say, too forcefully. “I’m fine.”

“Then, here is the poultice for midwife Bera.” He holds the tiny paper packet out to me. Though his hands are gloved, I still shiver when my fingers brush his.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asks. His mask roils and wavers as if insects crawl under it. “Your face is flushed. I can fix you something, whatever’s the matter.”

I clutch the packet to my chest as if that can slow my heart. “It’s nothing. I just… ran all the way here. Well, goodbye. Ms. Bera’s waiting.”

I dart out the door before he can say anything else. I run down the path all the way to the road before I stop to collect myself.

Stupid, I tell myself. Stupid. Stupid. How can you love a man that won’t show you his face?

The Apothecary

This is the last one from the list!  And this one was hard to come up with, probably only because it was the last.  As for other things, I’m working on rewriting some short stories that are part of a series, so I still might not be posting quite so much.

Drabble

He held the tiny paper package out to her, and his leather mask slithered and roiled, as if something crawled beneath it. “This is the poultice for Midwife Bera.”

Though his hands were gloved Alisandra still felt her heart flutter when his fingers touched hers.

“Are you ill?” he asked. “Your face is flushed. I can prepare you something.”

“No!” Her cheeks grew hotter as she smiled at his kindness, always his kindness. “I’m fine.”

She sighed when the door closed behind her. How stupid to fall in love with someone who would never show you their face.