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!

Sirena

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

[Reporters are trained to develop a sixth sense, a nose for when a story smells fishy. And something about this one wasn’t right. First of all,] there was, well, the fish. It was exquisite, buttery, delicate, delicious. It was the hottest new sushi dish, but no sushi chef would comment on where it came from. The ones who would say anything at all only said the siren was a new breed of tuna, or a new cut of snapper, or a variety of salmon. The inconsistency of the answers made it clear: the chefs were hiding something. And that meant a hell of a story.

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When the Snow

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

[The wind whispered through the dark, empty trees like a warning in a foreign language.  Winter was coming, and with winter] came the snow.

Grandma never understood what that meant.  She wasn’t all there by that point, and had forgotten about the weather bots we had sent into the sky.  In her mind snow meant snowball fights, building snowmen, making snow angels.  To her it meant cozy winter holidays, watching it drift softly to gather on the ground, mindless, safe, beautiful.

I would try to explain to her that snow was different now.  That the AI weather stations built the snow, that each snowflake was a nanobot, and that each of those nanobots had the directive to create more snowflake nanobots out of materials they found.  That if they were left unchecked to pile outside they would eat through everything and self-replicate until all was consumed.  But grandma would wave me away and laugh, as if it was a silly story.  At least she stayed inside.  There were plenty of stories of people – children especially – who ventured outside without protection and were eaten up by the snow.

All I could do was check my gear, to prepare for the winter and the snow.  Soon the snow would fall.  Soon it would be everyone’s duty to destroy every single snowflake.

I Remember

Was feeling silly this day.

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

[I’ve lived in this town my whole life, and most of the time that’s fine by me. But in late fall when the sky fills with birds migrating south for the winter, traveling thousands of miles, I get homesick for places I’ve never been. Places like] a realm of torture, heat, and suffering. The reds and oranges of the leaves remind me of the colors of that landscape, the crunch and crackle of those leaves so like the crackling of skin burnt by a fire. A fire so much like the ones that consume those leaves. The cool breezes make me pine for those brief respites from a searing heat. The cries of the geese overhead make me think of the sobs and screams of the damned. Should I drink hot apple cider, I can only think of the hot blood running down my throat.

I don’t think anyone would believe me if I told them I was a demon in my past life.

Where Bobby Was

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

[Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world where] Bobby was. Most nights she found him, wandering through a dream city or lounging in a dream house, or walking along terrifyingly tall dream cliffs or through an expanse of dream fields. When they saw each other, he always smiled broadly, beautifully. When he held her, she felt safe, at home.

She had asked Bobby where he was from, where he lived and slept, because she knew he dreamed her as much as she dreamed him. She knew they met every night in their shared dreams, or why else would she dream him so often? But whenever she asked him, his expression changed from bliss to fear, his eyes took on a glassy unfocusing, and he changed the subject, or kissed her deeply and unrelenting.

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The Black

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box. I highly recommend it, as I’ve been having fun with it and will be posting my results.

[At first, we thought the black liquid was oil, that we’d struck it rich and that we’d be able to retire and live in leisure. We actually started writing down all the ways we’d spend the money. Our first choice was] an expensive meal made by the finest chefs at the finest restaurant. Something French, something that included steak and lobster. When I woke the next morning I thought I was still dreaming, because I could smell it, sweet and savory in the air. But when I went to the dining room, all the food was there. An enormous spread of meats and vegetables and gravies and desserts. Continue reading

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part XV

Will backed away, eyes no longer on the dark hair in the bed but on the camera. A sound drifted to him, and it wasn’t

drip drip

but the creak of a floorboard. He had no time to turn. Something hard cracked across the back of his head, and pain exploded in his skull. He fell to the floor. And pictures came to his mind.

Pictures of red lights. In the entranceway, in the living room under construction, in the kitchen, in the upstairs hallway.

And he saw now the black hair on the pillow slither, and the lump rise.

THE END

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part XIV

He had to do something. He had to walk to her. He had to see if he could rouse her.

He had to move.

He stepped forward, heart pounding over the

drip drip

from the bathroom. He took another step, eyes on the limp black hair lying over the pillow. In the corner of his eye he saw an unnatural red light, so like the red light in the hall. So like something he had seen in another corner of the house.

He glanced up. A camera sat on a tripod by the windows, little red light signaling a recording.

Record, a Story in Drabbles – part XIII

Will rounded the corner of the doorway. He could barely see in the fading sunlight that crept through the windows. But he saw a shape in the bed, a mound beneath the blankets. He stepped closer, until he could see dark hair on the pillow. Eva’s hair.

She wasn’t moving.

He couldn’t even tell if she was breathing.

He should have said her name, but the word stuck in his throat, and he didn’t want to call out to her. He had called earlier and she hadn’t answered. She only laid there, a lump like a tumor on the mattress.