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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

What It Learned

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

[Looking back, it could have gone either way. It didn’t work out, which makes it look like fate, or a stupid decision, or both. But at the time, I did have a few things in my favor. I had] a general idea of where the treasure was buried. I had the skeleton, already dug up and lugged to Rochelle’s house. And I had Rochelle. She had gotten pretty good at her necromancy, bringing pigeons and rats back to life with little effort. She even got a cat up and running, and the thing had been steamrolled by a car. So I knew she would have no trouble with the ancient pirate. Or if she did, it just wouldn’t work, and that was fine too. We just wanted to have a good go at locating the treasure.

But after Rochelle had chanted the spells and the flesh had grown back over the pirate’s bones, and the muscles had flexed, and it had stood, we discovered that a human brought back from death was different from a pigeon or rat or even a cat. A cat wouldn’t learn from that realm beyond death, or be able to apply its lessons. But the pirate had learned. It looked me in the eye with its reborn eyes that had seen far more than I had, and it held me under its own spell.

I would be in thrall to that undead pirate for forty-seven years.

Beta Readers Wanted!

bookswithvectorresize

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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