One More Hand

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

[Harry shuffled the deck of cards and pushed it across the table. “Deal,” he said. “One more hand,” I agreed. It was a way to pass the time. More importantly, it was a way to avoid talking about] the fact that I would soon have to kill Harry. We knew how I would do it – a quick shot to the temple with my Glock. But we hadn’t discussed it any further than that. Like when to do it. We were just gonna table that for later I guess.

Harry took two cards. I took one. I had a good hand, but I didn’t expect to win. Harry was the better of us at cards. It’s why we had left it up to a coin toss, and he had called heads when it was tails. Tough luck. But the guys on the radio had explained it to us blatantly, no wishful thinking: they wouldn’t reach us within four weeks.

We had enough food for one person for two weeks.

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Cara’s Love

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

[It began as a practical joke. But by the end of the day, nobody was laughing. It seemed innocent enough at first, because Jerry and I have a history of playing practical jokes on one another. He was the one to start the whole thing, if I’m not mistaken. He] got hold of the Ouija board. Found or bought or stolen, I don’t know. But he showed me the board and insisted we try it out at the cemetery. He insisted on doing it at midnight too, so we could barely see the damn board at all.

Jerry believed in ghosts. I never did. Or didn’t use to. So that night I moved the little pointer around, and when Jerry asked who the ghost was I spelled out C-A-R-A, the name on a tombstone we had passed on our way into the cemetery, though Jerry didn’t know that. Then I kept spelling out that he was cute, and that Cara liked him, and did he like Cara? And he totally bought the whole thing, even blushed. And when we were leaving and I pointed out the tombstone with Cara on it, he was good and freaked out. I didn’t tell him yet it had been me pranking him. I had thought I would take it a little further first, maybe leave him some ghostly love letters or something. But before I could, it was the next day, and Jerry came to school freaked out.

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She Believed in Me

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

[She believed in me in a way no one else ever has and no one else ever will, and I betrayed her. The worst part is she doesn’t know. She still thinks] her first husband died of natural causes. She still thinks her second husband died at the hands of a robber. She doesn’t know her closest friend poisoned Gerald’s drink, and that the same close friend shot Robert through the heart with his own pistol, snatched from the mantel, the man too shocked to move or duck. She doesn’t know I relished her coming to me in her grief, clutching me, holding me, weeping into my shoulder. If only I could tell her why I did it: because I love her more than they could.

It’s okay. She’ll turn to me again once I’m done with Matthew.

Over the Distance Giveaway

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It’s my first giveaway! I’m looking for beta readers for my sci-fi/horror short story Over the Distance! In return, all readers who give feedback will be entered into a drawing to win a paperback copy of one of my favorite sci-fi-with-a-dash-of-horror books.

To enter, join the Facebook group Sawicki’s Beta Readers, read the posted story Over the Distance, and leave a comment with some feedback. I’m looking for things I can improve on in the story, but all feedback is appreciated! Once you leave feedback, you’ll be entered into the drawing, and one winner will be announced December 9th. Free story and chance to get free book: win-win.

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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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!

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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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