Short Story Friday

New Orleans Tripping

by

Christian Terry

 

A snore awoke George as he rolled over on the cold concrete ground in an New Orleans alley. The sweet after taste of raspberry pie that he had many hours ago lingered in his dried mouth. His head throbbed. The chirping birds and the rising sun signaling the new day didn’t make it any better. “Ugh,” He groaned as he turned on his side. “What did she slip me?” He asked to the man that awoke him perched on the wall in front of him.

Instead of getting an answer the man gave him a shrug and drank out of a wrinkly brown paper bag before falling asleep. George peeled himself off of the ground to his feet then made himself leave the alleyway. Once he left he had found himself in the middle of a busy street corner where a multitude of people marched down the streets and sidewalks. While gathering his bearings a gang of musicians rushed behind him.

Each of them carrying instruments from saxophones to snare drums. This concerned George as he cleared his throat. “Can I help y’all?” He asked. The band immediately began to play “When the Saints Go Marching In” causing a scene in the center of the very busy street. George was aghast at the scene. People never did things like this in Atlanta, only in New Orleans.

He looked at his watch, it was just seven thirty in the morning. Way too early for this, he thought. George took off into the middle of the street dodging several cars as he weaved through the traffic. He made it across the street and continued to run until he could not hear any music behind him. George ducked around the corner of a building to catch his breath. At this moment he saw the flashing lights of a neon sign that read twenty four hour fortune teller. This was familiar, he thought as he brushed through the wooden door.

A very pale woman that sat behind a purple clothed round table jumped to her feet. ” Oh no, no,no, you need to leave right now!” She yelled as George looked on in confusion. In the distance a microwave timer chimed.

“Excuse me ma’am, I think I was in here last night and you put something in my drink. You said it was a magic elixir. After I drank it I awoke on a side street with a bum. I think you owe me an apology.” He said.

The woman’s eyes almost bulged out of her head. “An apology?” She screeched. “You owe me one!”

“How so?”

“Sir you barged in here yelling, ‘Who Dat?’, went into my kitchen and ate almost all of my raspberry pie by hand without cutting it. Asked me for a healing elixir. When I said I didn’t know what you were talking about you took the bottle of vinegar that sat on my counter and drank from it. Then you broke the bottle on my floor and began to dance with the band you had following behind you.” The fortune teller said almost in a single breath.

“Impossible.” George said to himself.

The woman handed him her smartphone where there was video of George clear as day doing what she had depicted in high definition video. Guilt had struck him. It was all coming back to him. George had hired a band to follow him around the French Quarter. It just cost a total of a hundred bucks to have an mini parade at the courthouse. Two hundred for the police escort which he didn’t think he needed. At the time it was the best hundred bucks he could spend. He must’ve been really wasted that he couldn’t recognize his own actions on the video. “Did…did I choose to leave?” He asked.

“No, I showed you my baseball bat and threatened to call the cops, you took off like an Olympic sprinter.” The pale lady said.

A doorbell rang and the marching band appeared, surrounded the two, and began to play. George flashed the store’s matriarch an awkward smile.


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Short Story Friday

The Supernatural Invades the Everyday

by

Victoria Clapton

On a sleepy Southern Sunday morning, the magnolias are in bloom. Goldfinches flock to feeders as a solitary salamander bakes in the warm sun. Two writers scribble notes in spiral notepads, soaking in nature’s serenity. A perfect summer day surrounds them, igniting the creative juices while squirrels dance in trees and Toshi, the wise gray cat, snoozes.

“How about another glass of fruit tea?” Edwina Alice Poe asks, pausing her meticulous scribing of verse.

Marietta Shelley shrugs, never pausing the jotting of her horror-filled prose, “Sure, might I have an extra lemon?”

“Good choice. Get those enzymes working.” Edwina refills both of their tea glasses, while popping in an extra lemon wedge into each one before returning to the work before her.

Such a quiet day with only the music of a light breeze and twittering birds to accompany the sounds of ink pens scratching against paper.

The ladies write and sip tea for hours, basking in their day of harmony and peace, never expecting their day to be invaded.

KABOOM! KABAM! KABOOM!

A loud noise sounds in the distance and a mysterious wailing begins.

Tea glasses topple. Animals screech, skittering in fear. Toshi, the gray cat, stands tall, hissing at the rustling bushes in the distance. All at once, the day metamorphs into chaos.

Edwina curses in poetic prose, while Marietta scans the horizon. Like Toshi, she waits, listening, her hackles raised, to deduce what all the commotion is about.

High-pitched shrieks of laughter, like that of a maniacal chimpanzee sound off all around them. The authors are surrounded, but by what, they do not know.

With a brave glance to each other and a pat on Toshi’s head, the women make their way off their porch to see the ruination heading straight towards them.

The mysterious creaking of old carriage wheels sloshing through water merges with the shrill calls of the unknown. Wailing, wailing, the phantom comes closer and closer.

Edwina and Marietta watch with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity. It is a fine summer day, or at least it was. Now, all is askew. The women know that no water pools in the lane, and the time of wooden carriages passed long ago. The strange sounds they hear now have no place in the current everyday.

Marietta bends down to sooth Toshi, and with a resound sigh, she waves towards the bushes and the old, unused lane. “Welcome, all you ghosties. It is a nice place to stay, but please try to keep the noise down. This is a perfect sort of day.”

The caterwauling subsides, and fresh fruit tea is served. As the ladies resume their writing on their sunny back porch, the cat settles to slumber once more.

Peace returns on this sleepy Sunday morning as Edwina observes, “It seems the supernatural have come to stay.”

 

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Short Story Friday

A Lunch Date Gone Wrong

By:

Victoria Clapton

2019

 

The bright orange glow from tonight’s full moon glowed over the mostly empty benches on Jackson Square. It was a cool, autumn evening in the French Quarter. Most of the tourists and artisans headed home over an hour ago and were now missing the magical ambience that situated on the old cobblestones.

“Are you ready, Sybella Rose?” I shivered as Demien’s hand came to rest in the small of my back, reassuring me that this idea of a date, a date with a vampire, wasn’t crazy.

I held up a heavy picnic basket my friend Aloysius had filled and smiled. “Sure.”

Like me, Demien loved to go down to the river at night, to watch the waters of the Mississippi roll by in rippling shimmers, so I didn’t even ask him where we were heading for our lunch date at 2:00 a.m. Over the levee, towards the moonwalk, we had a spot.

He made no sound as he moved, guiding through shadows. Only his long dark hair, ruffled lightly in the breeze. The sweet, citrusy scent of bergamot assaulted my senses with every step he took, and I fought the irrational urge to reach out for him, to pull him into a kiss that he may not even want.

Recently, I’ve made a career at throwing myself at the almost five hundred year old vampire walking gracefully beside me. I physically could not stop myself. I needed to touch him, to consume him, to be consumed by him.

As he showed no signs of insatiable attraction, I can only assume he is not afflicted by the malady, a curse known as The Binding, as I was. This, too, his ability to ignore the urges pressed upon us, drove me even more insane.

Someone listened to Trombone Shorty in one of the cars that pass by on Decatur Street. This town, my beloved New Orleans, embraced its culture like no other place.

“Where are your thoughts?”

I hadn’t realized that Demien had paused at the crosswalk, waiting for the signal to cross over Decatur, and now scrutinized my temporary silence.

“I was just thinking about New Orleans and its artists. Such a special place.”

The walk light flickered, and we crossed the street. I did not even bother with why a vampire cares about crosswalk procedures at two in the morning. Demien was filled with so many conundrums, keeping up with them was impossible.

“That’s why we locals fight so hard to keep outsiders from ruining it.”

I panicked for a moment, right in the middle of the road, when it occurred to me I no longer held the heavy picnic basket. Demien urged me along, shaking the picnic basket he must have grabbed from me at some point as he guided me towards our lunch destination.

Nerves assaulted me. No matter how long this went on, I continued to find myself baffled at the way Demien’s presence both calmed me and shot my nerves to frazzled. I could never predict what he would do next. His actions caught me off guard.

So, I stood there on a grassy patch near the moonwalk and the river, watching him spread out a checkered picnic blanket for me to sit upon while we dined…well, while I dined.

His movements held my attention as he carefully unloaded the basket–a bowl of fruit salad, a po’ boy dressed, a few bottles of Abita Amber. The snacks kept coming, more food than I could eat.

My mouth draped open as Demien opened each item of food, arranging it beautifully before me, and then held his hand out to help me sit in the Victorian skirt I had chosen to wear tonight.

This man, this vampire, was ruthless. Terrifying. I had seen him kill. I’d felt his violent rage against me, and I could not reconcile the horror with his heart.

“How was your day?” He motioned for me to begin eating as he stretched out his impossibly long legs and leaned back on his hands.

“You’re beautiful.” I murmured, then cursed. I hated this curse. I took a breath, then I answered his original question like a normal person. “JoJo taught me how to draw a few veves today, but I had to promise not to catch anything else in the shoppe on fire.”

“Again?” There was a smile in his tone. I could not control the magick inside of me, everyone knew it. Asking me to not let my emotions take over, to not magickly ignite the voodoo shoppe or anything else into roaring flames was almost a joke.

“Look, Mr. Vampy-Pants, this is your fault.” I was teasing, but his dead body lost whatever semblance of pretend mortality he acted out as it froze into complete stillness and his gaze settled onto the water.

He had slipped back into the dark place where he resided, and I had to do something before my stupid comment ruined our lunch date.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way, you know. Believe it or not, even though you are a huge pain in my ass…I enjoy your company.”

“You’re not eating.”

“Jerk!” I whispered under my breath but picked up the po’ boy and took a huge bite.

He scoffed but relaxes somewhat, and I focused on my food to keep from crawling into his lap and begging him to take me right there in public.

The moment between us was peaceful, enjoyable even, until a whirring sound and a warning yell pulled me from my happy place.

“Watch out!”

Demien scooped me up in a blur, and the eruption of thuds and thwacks in the place where we’d just been sitting took me by surprise.

“What the bloody hell?” I declared, though I’m less concerned with what interrupted our moment than the loss of Demien’s arms when he released me.

I took in the tenseness in Demien’s shoulders, the way he ever-so-slightly crouched, and looked beyond him to see that some punk had been out on the Moonwalk in the middle of the night in roller skates and had lost control, careening through the grass straight on top of our picnic.

Demien’s anger froze the kid into place. Having let his guard down with me, he’d slipped straight into predator mode at the first hint of me being in danger.

I stepped around my solid hunk of vampire and offered a hand to the kid who’d plummeted upon our lunch. “Here, let me help you up. Are you hurt?”

He stuttered and stammered, “N…no. I’m fine. I’m so-sorry.”

“Okay,” I said calmly. “You should go.”

Like any rational person, I thought that if anyone should get bitten here, it damned well better be me, but I kept my thoughts to myself and aided the kid to his feet.

“Sorry, again. I didn’t mean to…” The kid’s preservation instinct kicked in and he took off into the night.

I took a deep breath and began picking up the remnants of our lunch date gone wrong, and then pulled on the bond between us. “Demien, come to me.”

I didn’t know if he’d succumb to my request. He was just as likely to disappear into the night. I packed everything away except the blanket, which I flipped over.

“Demien, come and sit.”

He didn’t look at me. Deep down, I knew he couldn’t. He was fighting the demon inside of him, the predator that had wanted to kill, that still wanted to kill. But he once more found a place on the blanket.

Relief rushed through me…then insanity. Without any hesitation, I maneuvered my body until I was sitting between his two legs with my back up against his chest. My bare neck waiting, beckoning just below his mouth.

“Sybella,” he growled in warning.

His fangs brushed against my skin.

“What? Didn’t we come here for lunch?”

 

 

 

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Short Story Friday

Chasing The Enemy

by

Anne Marie Andrus

 

June 17, 1970
On the Eve of Graduation…

Thunderclouds raced east, leaving the Augusta air sparkling and ready for the biggest weekend of the year. Clear horizons sparked the campus bustle back to life as the noise of saws and hammers bounced off stately columns and rang past ancient oaks.

In a cluttered dormitory room a mile away, Stori shoved moving boxes around enough to find the corner of a mirror to check the hemline of her brightly flowered dress. “Stellar.”

“Too short.” A voice squawked from the corner.

Stori yanked the fabric lower. “It’s fine.”

“Nope, nope. Too short.”

“Jett, zip your beak.” Stori waved him off. “Tomorrow will be all high heels and graduation gowns, but tonight is the senior class party.”

“Bad weather.”

“Shush, the storms are over.” She rummaged through a pile of paperwork on the nightstand. “I hope.”

“Need coffee.” Jett flapped his bright blue wings. “Storytime!”

“I have to deliver this stuff to the office before they close. Are you going to be quiet?”

“No, hell, no.”

Stori’s shoulders slumped. “Then get in the cage.” She opened a miniature bamboo door. “Now, bird.”

“Parakeet, please.”

Stori held papers in her teeth and hauled Jett’s bulky cage to the car.

“I’m in jail.”

“You deserve it.” She wrestled the antique into the passenger seat and climbed in next to it. Ten minutes of majestic curves on gravels roads brought them to a rolling stop under the shade of a massive tree. “I wish you wouldn’t yell bonjour at every person you see.”

“Perfect manners.” Jett preened himself in the side view mirror. “Junky car.”

“It was a gift from my uncle.”

“Stuffy in here.”

“Quit complaining.” Stori gathered up her documents and jumped out. “I’ll be right back.”

“Storytime!”

“You little demon.” Stori pointed at Jett’s beak. “Who taught you to say that? Never mind.” She crossed her arms. “I’ll take it up with Uncle Steven tomorrow night. Why couldn’t he teach you to sing like all the other birds?”

“Parakeet, pretty please.” Jett leaned back and screeched. “Ha, ha!”

Stori walked backward and held up two fingers in the shape of a V.

“No peace. Ha, ha!”

She spun, drew a cleansing breath and smoothed her skirt before stepping into the oldest building on campus.

The receptionist peered over her glasses and broke into a wide grin. “Miss Stori, is your ear-piercing bird in the parking lot?”

“Unfortunately,” She rubbed her forehead. “That’s Jett, howling like he’s escaped from an asylum.”

“With the door shut, I almost can’t hear him and I do believe congratulations are in order. I always knew you’d graduate…but at the top of your class?”

“Sister Gilda, four years ago, you didn’t think I’d last a week.”

“Well, you were just so young even for a legacy student, but I didn’t mean…”

“No, no.” Stori waved both hands in front of her face. “You were right. I was so young, wasn’t I?”

“We all were, once upon a time.” Gilda sighed and pointed to the papers. “Are those for me?”

“My name change.” Stori tried to flatten the documents and gave up. “All legal and finalized.”

“And you’re positive about giving up your father’s name?”

“I am. His side of the family is in ashes…he started the fire.” Stori swiped a tear with the back of her hand. “But my mother and grandfather will be at the ceremony. They’re both Aldens and they’ll be thrilled, so I want to make sure it’s correct—”

“Don’t you worry, dear. Tomorrow night, the Medical College of Georgia’s president will announce you as Doctor Stori B Alden.”

“And then I walk across the stage?”

“That’s how it works, dear. Give me a moment to put this in order.”

Stori pressed her trembling hands into her skirt and wandered to the soaring wall of pictures. She read the name of each honored alumni, from the most recent years on lowest row, all the way to the top. She tipped her head back to read the plaque below the highest centered photograph and waved at a familiar face in the ornate silver frame.

“Wish I’d had the chance to meet him.”

Stori jumped and grabbed her chest. “I’m sorry, my nerves.”

“I’ll say.” Gilda shook her head and pointed to the picture. “I just meant, a very distinguished gentleman.”

“He’s my legacy connection here. The B in my name is in his honor.”

“Wait.” Gilda craned her neck to look in Stori’s face. “You’re related to him…the legendary battlefield surgeon?”

Stori nodded. “Raimond Baniterre.”

“Honestly, I don’t say this often. Or ever.” Gilda flopped on a bench in front of the pictures. “You’ve knocked me off my feet.”

Stori settled down next to her. “I’ve never said it out loud.”

“The secret is safe with me.” Gilda tapped her chin. “The residency you accepted? That’s the busiest Emergency Room in the country.”

“It’s New Orleans, so…probably destiny. This time next week, I’ll be in St. Louis Cathedral, lighting candles for the all the souls we’ve lost.”

“That’s your dream job…Emergency Medicine?”

“I’ll tell you another secret. My true passion has become defeating Alzheimer’s Disease. I won’t be a bystander while an invisible monster steals life and dignity from my patients.”

“Chasing the cruelest enemy.” Gilda smiled and stared at Dr. Banitierre’s picture. “You’ll make him and all of us proud.”

Minutes passed in heavy silence until Jett’s distant voice broke the trance.

“I hear bonjour and coffee.” Gilda covered her mouth to hide a laugh. “What else is he saying?”

“Storytime.” Stori tossed her hands up. “What am I going to do with that fool during graduation?”

“Drop him off in my office. He’ll be safe and far enough away that nobody will hear him—much.”

“Thank you, for everything.”

“Give the poor bird credit though, he’s got a stroke of genius.” Gilda squeezed her hand. “It’s Stori time.”

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The Weaver–Cover Reveal!

THE WEAVER

by

Heather Kindt

 

Most writers choose the endings to their stories . . . most writers are not Weavers.
Laney Holden is a freshman at Madison College whose life goes from normal to paranormal in a matter of seconds. When the antagonist in the book she’s writing shoves her down the stairs at the subway station, she learns she is a Weaver. Weavers bridge the narrow gap between fantasy and reality, bringing their words to life.
Laney soon meets William whom she also suspects is a character from her book—one she’s had a mad crush on since her pen hit the paper. But he’s in danger as her antagonist reveals a whole different ending planned for Laney’s book that involves killing William. Laney must use her writing to save the people closest to her by weaving the most difficult words she will ever write.
THE WEAVER is the first installment of The Weaver trilogy. It is an NA paranormal romance set in a small town on the north shore of Boston. It will leave you wanting more.

 

 

Coming Fall 2019!

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The Parliament House

Beau and the Clockwork Girl

 
Title: Beau and the Clockwork Girl
Author: Kami Bryant
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy Romance
 

 

Blurb:
In this steampunk, fantasy, romance, Beau’s lost love has been enchanted to forget her memories and to suppress her emotions. Beau meets a dragonfly fairy, Juniper to assist him in the quest to save his love and break her enchantment. Beau has to teach his princess to feel, for she replaced her heart with clockwork and now she has become evil and cruel. Beau has loved his princess Em, since they were children but Em has forgotten what it is to feel because, if you decide to give up your emotions so that you are not in pain, you will also lose your ability to love.
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Kami lives in the Pacific Northwest with her son and her two cats. She has been writing stories since she was six, when she wrote a story about a white cat who wanted to be a black cat for Halloween.
Beau and the Clockwork Girl is her first published novel and she intends to write more gender bending, genre mixing, fairy tale re-imaginings.
She thanks everyone for their support as she continues her journey as a self-published author.
 
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Emberlyn’s thighs gripped her sturdy mount as the black horse galloped through the forest. Her painfully tight plaited dark brown hair pinned in an intricate knot held back at the nape of her neck with a brass comb. She laughed as she and the large horse flew down the path, the wind hitting her in the face. It was the smell of freedom. Out here no one could tell her how a proper princess should act. There were no rules out here and she loved it.
“Faster Onyx,” she urged. Princess Emberlyn wore black leather pants much like the ones her mother wore. She also wore a black leather corset that was a twin to her mother’s and a bright, blood-red blouse. Her heavy black leather boots, adorned with buckles, gripped the sides of her horse as she urged him to a faster pace. She risked a quick glance behind her shoulder and saw the pale horse named Buttermint and the mare’s rider quickly gaining on them. Onyx tossed his black  mane and seemed to chuckle a horsey nicker as he continued racing down the forest path.
The mare Buttermint and her rider quickly overtook the racing Onyx and pulled abreast of Emberlyn. The princess squealed as the rider reached over with his long arm and pulled her out of her saddle with his left, while holding Buttermint’s reins tightly in his right hand. He plopped the princess in the saddle in front of him, pushing her firmly against the pommel. Emberlyn squirmed in Buttermint’s saddle and slid her bottom farther down and settled against the boy’s strong, broad chest. The youth reached over and grabbed Onyx’s reins. The black stallion shook his mane and whinnied his chuckle. Buttermint answered with a softer neigh.
“Whoa,” said Beau as he slowed down the two horses. Emberlyn was trapped in his muscled arms and his broad chest which was her favorite place to be. She felt safe and loved. She loved the feel of the vibrations of his deep voice rumbling against her back and her nipples hardened with her excitement. Emberlyn squirmed away from Beau’s right arm that trapped her against his body as he struggled with Onyx with his left. Emberlyn gripped the pommel of Buttermint’s saddle and lifted her body up, sliding her right leg underneath her bottom and then slid her right leg across the back of the horse until both of her legs were leaning against Buttermint’s left flank. Gripping the pommel tightly with her right hand, Emberlyn shouted “Watch out!” Beau dropped Onyx’s reins and leaned back into a laying position, his head resting on Buttermint’s rump. Emberlyn lifted her body up with her right hand, balancing on her tail bone and kicked her left leg up and over Beau’s reclining form, and then sat up in the saddle facing Beau. The boy with the dirty blond hair sat up and tightly grasped Emberlyn’s waist keeping his balance on the horse with his strong thighs.
“What are you doing?” he chuckled in his deep voice.
Emberlyn’s brown eyes gazed into the boy’s bright blue ones and she leaned into his strong torso, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling herself closer against his chest, her warm lips meeting his in a deep passionate kiss as her breasts pushed up against her corset. She pulled back and smiled shyly as Beau smiled back at her.
“That was extremely dangerous,” Beau admonished. “What would I tell the queen if you fell?”
“You would never let me fall,” replied Emberlyn.
Beau shook his messy, long, loose dirty blond hair. “Of course, I wouldn’t, but what if…”
“I was taught that move by the best horse rider in all of Mirovia. Maybe the best rider in all the land,” interjected Princess Emberlyn. “Want to see what else I can do while on top of this horse?
“No. Enough of your trick riding,” scolded Beau. “How can you even do all that while wearing a corset?” he asked running his hands down the tight binding and boning of the princess’s garment.
“You would be amazed about the amount of things I can do while wearing a corset,” she replied with a grin.
“What can you do out of your corset?” purred Beau.
Em arched her brow and slapped Beau’s arm playfully.

 

Fall In Love With A Book!

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