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"This is what you wanted, isn't it?"

The voice came to Alex in the same high, melodic sound as before, but he felt severity in the undertone, like a teacher staring him down.

Wasn't it what he wanted? He and Nari--a tiny, white creature with crystal-like wings--had stumbled into each other one night in the woods when Alex thought he was the most alone. The Shade, ever seeping further into the land, threatened to catch him that night, and Nari, the very embodiment of light, had come to his rescue. She held the Shade back long enough for him to escape.

Since then, they had studied and fought the Shade together many times, here and there poking holes in its presence, saving others like himself from the powerful envelopment that could turn even the best creature into a beast and create a savage monster from any human.

At last, the embodiment of the Shade, the Lord of Vengeance, confronted Nari in the woods. Alex left her alone for this encounter, claiming that his human will would be too weak to counter the Shade's influence. Yes, this is what he had wanted, so why did he feel a chill now at the harshness of Nari's words?

He pictured her in his mind, her tender, flickering form facing down darkness itself, and grabbed the crystal he used to teleport to her. Hold on, he thought, hoping she could still hear him. I'm coming.
The thick, raw aroma of beer and sawdust threatened to overwhelm Fletcher as he entered the bar. He hated this place and the people in it, but he had business there. If there was one thing Fletcher couldn’t pass up, it was money.

He turned his good eye to the piano in the corner. The thing played itself, but it was much more than a player piano—no, in fact, it could write its own songs. The creator of the spectacular instrument leaned against it now, a deep crimson skirt not quite hiding tow long, pale legs and a rich leather bodice definitely not hiding anything else. Fletcher blushed and cleared his throat. “Right, then,” he said aloud, steeling himself.

She spotted him as he approached, and he felt the scrutiny of her gaze. The look in her eye wasn’t rude or even skeptical, just curious, and Fletcher found himself going over his reflection before he left—brown hair mostly straight except for the one place in the back, his favorite tweed suit, the tiny glasses that could be adjusted to better suit the surroundings (one of his own rather clever inventions, he thought)—and hoped that he met her approval.

“Can I help you, sir?” she said, her voice polite but with an undercurrent of confidence that caused Fletcher to waver for a moment.

“Uh, yes, yes, I think you can,” he replied. “I work for Bilger’s Inventions, perhaps you’ve heard of it?” He paused for a response, but she merely raised an eyebrow. “Right, well, Bilger’s Inventions hires the most innovative creators to make the world’s best products and then sells them for profit.”

“And what does that have to do with me?”

“Well—uh, Miss Avery, we’ve seen several of your inventions in the area and, I must say, everyone is quite impressed. Mr. Bilger sent me here personally to find you and offer you a position in the company.” Fletcher beamed at her, proud to be the one to ask her to join, sure she’d be pleased, and truly, deeply thrilled with the bonus he would receive if she signed on.

She burst into laughter, so loudly that several people nearby turned to look at her. It took her a second to catch her breath—a moment that felt like a millennia to Fletcher.

“I know why he sent you…?”


“Fletcher. Yes, he sent you because you are exactly my type. Clever, cute, inventor boys…he knows me too well, your Mr. Bilger.” Her face lit up at his confusion, and she leaned in close, so close Fletcher found himself blushing and didn’t try to stop it. “You see, Fletcher, Uncle Addicus has been trying to get me to join his company for the past two years. Every few months he sends someone to me. First it was another woman; thought he could create some kind of female camaraderie. Then it was Steven, the musician, thought there’d be a spark there. Then George, but he was oafish and all wrong.” She paused and considered him for a moment, her head tilted to one side. Fletcher noticed the same curious look in her eye and felt sized up again, but this time he could also a light that told him he did, in fact, meet her approval.

“But you—you’re a different thing altogether, aren’t you? Come, let’s get some drinks. You’re not the drinking type, I can see, but just this once, hm?”

It was a day later when Fletcher woke up, strapped to some kind of table with the whirring sound of gears and a gentle huff puff of steam from somewhere nearby threatening to split his head open.

“Oh, wonderful! Fletcher, you’re awake! Just in time, you won’t want to miss this!” From somewhere to his left, Patricia Avery’s voice floated over him, his mind still swimming as he tried to make sense of his surroundings. “You see, I’ve recently taken quite an interest in human anatomy, the mechanics of life, and the potential for enhancement. Ah yes, Fletcher, you are just the man!”

The gears grew louder, the steam more insistent, and Fletcher felt his pulse in his forehead. “When I’m finished with you, you will be part man, part piano! And if it doesn’t work, then you’ll be dead. But I wouldn’t worry, I’m terribly talented, you know!”

Her laughter filled the room, and Fletcher’s world went black.
I always loved the lake. Many afternoons I found myself walking at its edge, perhaps skipping a rock or watching a small fish darting around just under the surface. Even when I moved away from my parents’ home and into my own, I’d make the drive whenever I had the chance.

Sunset, especially, lit the water as if it were on fire, orange sunlight piercing the tips of the tiny waves created by autumn breezes. On one such afternoon, I stopped by. I skipped my parents’ completely, going straight to the gate door and down the wooden path to the lake.

I needed the lake that day. I felt my marriage teetering on the edge of collapse, my boss cut my hours earlier that day, and my doctor said my mental health had declined significantly. In short, the carefully controlled environment I had created for myself threatened to crumble around me. I walked halfway around it before sitting down on a water-front bench my parents had put in just for me. I slipped my sandals off and swirled the water with my toes, watching small fish chase my feet as if they were worms to catch.

The tension released some from my shoulders, and a small smile pricked the corners of my mouth. I realized that the lake, for me, embodied all the good things my soul needed most: depth, life, color, and best of all, tranquility.

I stared into the water vacantly, these thoughts becoming firm in my mind. Yes, the lake always called to me, always made me feel home. More than my house, my parents, my husband—the water felt like home.

Standing, I took a few steps into the water, then deeper, watched it creeping past my knees, then my waist. Then it rose around my chest and I couldn’t touch the bottom anymore. I dove under the water, then, determined to get to the heart of the lake. There, I knew, I would find peace.

Deeper and deeper I went until my lungs burned and my vision clouded, but still I pressed on. I needed this; I needed to know what lay at the center.

A bright light appeared in front of me, so bright I almost recoiled, but it just encouraged me to push harder. By the time I reached it, I felt as if my mind and body had become separate entities, and when I grabbed the light, I felt as though I enveloped it with my soul rather than touched it with my hand.

One day last week, my parents hung a sign on my bench: “In Loving Memory of Our Precious Daughter, Melanie.” I don’t know if they heard me say thank you.
Lake Melanie
Just getting my feet wet for Flash-Fic-Month. :-)
Five stories high doesn’t sound like very much until you’re standing on a plank extended out over a swimming pool so small and so flimsy even toddlers give it a wary eyeball.

“I don’t like this, I don’t like this, I don’t like this,” Cecilia repeated to herself as she took that last step to the end of the board. “No, no, no, crap, crap, this is bad. What am I doing?”

Down below, a couple hundred people sat in the stands around the center platform. Their heads leaned back, gazing at the tiny ballerina balancing precariously above. Cecilia only looked for one person in the crowd.

There! A glimmer of glitter, silver and white, the unmistakable sequins of her friend and guardian angel, Lina. Cecilia couldn’t see her face, but she imagined her as she always was, book of spells on her lap, reading the familiar words.

It was Lina who made Cecilia fly. Lina who made the tiny ballerina a star, so much so that she had become the face on the Glimpton’s Magical Circus Tour poster. “Come see the amazing flying ballerina! No one knows how she does it!”

Cecilia knew and Lina knew, and to both girls, that was enough. Up on her plank, Cecilia took a deep breath and prepared to jump.

Below her, Lina stared up at the tiny ballerina, too, the spellbook closed in her lap. She knew—should’ve known—that her little trick to help the shy new girl with her act would come back to bite her. Kindness doesn’t get your face on a poster.

Lina shook her head to herself. It always ended up like this. She would try to help, someone would steal the show, and then she would be forced to stop helping. No one learns by having their hand held, she scolded herself again. She has to learn to do it on her own or not at all.

Cecilia hesitated on the jump. She didn’t feel the usual lightness that surrounded her when she dove—usually, by now, she felt like a feather. She would jump, dive toward the pool, and then skim the water and come up into a loop. Everyone would cheer.

“No, no, that’s silly. Lina’s never let me down.”

With one deep breath, she left the platform. The familiar hush of anticipation fell over the crowd, every eye focused on her, enraptured by the tiny ballerina who could fly. Lina, too, watched Cecilia, her face registering something between disinterest and impatience, as if she couldn’t quite get the energy to roll her eyes.

For a moment, Cecilia plunged straight down. The free fall felt familiar and as freeing as it had ever been. She loved these terrifying moments: the flutter in her chest, the rush in her head. Everything wonderful happened in the split second between platform and pool.

Near the end of the dive, she started to pull up like she always did. Nearby, Lina leaned forward, disinterest replaced with shock: Could she actually—?


The entire crowd heard the thud of her skull, the almost musical crack of her spine, and the scream that died with her.
Cecilia Flies
For Flash-Fic-Month Day 10. I did the challenge even though I'm a week late just for fun, and it was: 527.5 words long and include the circus as an integral part of the story. 
“There,” Philip said, and stuck the tip of the pick axe in the dirt.

“Are you done? Took long enough.”

“Oh, pipe down, Mack, I did what I needed to do.”

“All you had to do was kill him, dude, I think this is a little excessive.”

The younger man turned his head as Philip kicked body parts into three separate holes, then picked up the hoe and helped fill them without looking.

“Well, I can’t sleep at night if I know somebody I killed could come back.”

Mack stopped the hoe and looked up at Philip in shock. “You mean, you do this because you’re afraid of…of zombies?”

“It’s not likely, but the fact is, it could happen. Not gonna take my chances. When you’ve killed as many people as I have, kid, you have to find some way to deal with the ghosts in your head.”

“All right, whatever, but I really hate your coping skills.”
Deal With It
Catching up on the week I missed! This is for Flash-Fic-Month Day 9, using the prompt: "I hate your coping mechanisms." 


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The Internet Calls Me Amber
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
I'm a 29-year-old part-time web content writer and blogger and the mom of two awesome kids, a 9-year-old math whiz daughter and a 5-year-old silly cuddlebug son.
My submissions are a little less than timely, but here you have it anyway!

It's never too late to jump on the Flash Fiction Month bandwagon; if you want to get on board, go check out Flash-Fic-Month and get crackin'.

Week 1
Permanent Relocation
Becoming a Man

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Pailei Featured By Owner 11 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for the fave on "made of trees!" :)
ninjababy Featured By Owner 7 hours ago  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! :-D
IrrevocableFate Featured By Owner 5 days ago   Writer
Thank you kindly for the favorite. ♥
ninjababy Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
You are quite welcome. :-)
Pailei Featured By Owner May 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for the faves on "curse the callous dawn" and "battle cry!" :)
ninjababy Featured By Owner May 20, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're quite welcome! :D
EmmaSloane Featured By Owner May 18, 2015
Thank you for the favorites! :heart:
ninjababy Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! :-)
brassteeth Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2015
ninjababy Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure.
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