Well, well, well… flattery might get you everything after all! This week JJ has picked a starter sentence in keeping with my blog’s new look! How cool is that!

Her arms shackled to the stone floor and her wings constricted by leather bindings… Jaylen couldn’t help wondering if the exquisite creature he was looking at would try to escape, or continue to lie still on the floor of the makeshift cell. Jaylen thought he may be disappointed if his latest find didn’t at least try to get away, but he was also greatly looking forward to working with her and- if at all possible- trying to tame her.
The glass between them was fully transparent and Jaylen could feel her eyes boring into his. He wondered if she could read his thoughts.
He had worked long and hard to gain his position- and there was no way Jaylen was going to let anyone else work with the… ah- now that was still under discussion. No-one had ever seen anything like her before, some “specialists” said she was an unknown form of the peryton; others were leaning towards an attractive (and also previously undiscovered) form of harpy. Others simply claimed she was an angel. There was a major debate raging right this moment in the lower hall. Jaylen wasn’t so much concerned with what she was as with what she would do for his career. He had started to think of her as “Eve”. He knew it was clichéd, but she was the first of her kind, at least as far as he knew.
He decided he wasn’t going to wait for the committee to give him permission; he quickly punched in the code to the door and slowly pushed it open- watching the she creature all the time.
She didn’t move.
He made sure she could see his hands and he slowly shut the door behind him.
She didn’t move.
He walked towards her slowly, trying not to look threatening… which was hard considering he was wearing chain mail, which was only thinly covered by his fire proof lab coat.
She didn’t take her eyes off him, but she didn’t move.
He crouched on the floor to seem less intimidating and tried to test if she might be able to hear his thoughts.
Jaylen was concentrating so hard on whether or not her eyes showed that she understood anything he was thinking, he didn’t realise she looked different until she was towering over him and the chains that had bound her were lying empty on the floor.
He fell backwards onto the floor, too stunned to even close his mouth let alone scream!
She opened her mouth, which was now suddenly huge and lined top and bottom with razor-sharp teeth!
“Now where the in the hell is Jaylen?” yelled the Head Chronicler.
The small crowd outside the glass partition looked quizzically at the Head Chronicler, at each other, and then up and down the corridor. Jaylen was nowhere to be seen.As far as they could see, the creature was in exactly the same position she had been when the committee had adjourned to the lower hall. Her arms still shackled to the stone floor and her wings still constricted by leather bindings… except that now the Head Chronicler thought he could just make out the corner of a standard issue chain mail vest on the floor underneath her.


Yay, this week JJ has again thrown a bit of a spanner in the works by giving us an ending instead of a starter sentence. Here it is: …but the little creep beat me to it, I’m gathering though that my American blaudience is a little quiet because America has just had a Labour Day weekend… or have I lost my touch completely?

I couldn’t wait to get home!
I knew there was half a tub of the most divine berry sorbet in the freezer, and all through biology class I’d been fantasizing about it.
In this heat, sprawling in front of the fan with the tub if ice cream on my stomach and a big spoon was looking better with every step I took. I was so looking forward to it I could almost taste it.
And then my cool little reverie was shattered when I remembered that my brother Ritchie was coming home early today- it was their half term long weekend.
I started running- furiously wracking my brain to remember whether Ritchie knew the sorbet was there- and if he knew it was there- did he even like berry sorbet?
I’ve been looking forward to it all day…
There’s the house- I can see the lawn, I can see the front door.
No sign of Ritchie, but if he was on his board today then I wouldn’t see it, and if he was on his bike then it could be parked round the back of the house…
Now my heart was beating with nervous tension as well as the strain of running in this syrupy humidity.
I unlocked the front door, my sweaty hands slipping on the door handle and my key scratching the paint next to the key hole.
As I skidded to a halt in the kitchen I could already see the empty ice cream tub in the sink with a sticky spoon in it- I had to be sure- I yanked open the freezer door…
…but the little creep beat me to it.


Well… now I just feel like a sheep! JJ’s instructions for this laaaast week’s Flash Fiction Friday project were to write a screenplay using the classic three-act structure and the “hero’s journey” for plot points- with the following theme: Vampires On A Train. I’ve never done a screenplay. So I researched the whole three act thing. I got examples off the World Wide Web and saved them as PDF files (yes- really). I attempted it. I admitted defeat.
And THEN I saw a comment from JJ on his site that he had actually been joking about the screenplay part!
I felt a little better when I saw I wasn’t the only one who caught out… I decided to work on what I had written and post it anyway as a regular FFF, and JJ- this blaudience is now ripe for your rule- now is the time to take over since so many of us just follow blindly!!

Tuesday, October 31st, close to 10pm
“What in the hell…?” whispered the guard as he switched on the big cargo carriage’s lights. With just the light coming in from the open sliding door behind him, he couldn’t see everything, but what he could see made his blood run cold, he didn’t even register when the big padlock fell from his fingers to the floor.

Friday, October 27th, nearly 10pm
“Nuh- it’s cool- come on. They won’t be opening this carriage before we get to Cape Town, we’ll be safe till then.” Nicky wasn’t too sure, but Lance was extra confident that this was the cheapest and fastest way to travel from Jo’burg to Cape Town. She took his hand and he pulled her up onto the ledge between the cars. He was already up the ladder and onto the roof before Nicky could argue anymore. By the time she stuck her head over the roof; he had undone the screws out of a ventilation cover with his pocket knife and slid it aside. Nicky looked around nervously but she still couldn’t see or hear anyone. Lance stuck his head in the hole and shone his torch around. “All clear” he said, “I’ll go in first and help you down, pull the cover back as you come down.” Nicky waited on her haunches as Lance disappeared inside, and when he softly called out “OK!” from the blackness, she dropped her bag down, then sat on the edge of the vent and gingerly pulled the cover as far as she could without squishing herself. She cautiously lowered herself, trusting Lance to catch her, but she was so tense that she nearly screamed when she felt his hands on her ankles!

Saturday, October 28th, around 10am
Nicky was pleasantly surprised when she woke up the next morning; she’d slept a lot better than she ever thought she would without home comforts like blankets and pillows. Thank goodness for summer she thought to herself. Lance was still snoring. She wondered how far they’d come. Surrounded by suitcases and boxes- mostly strapped to the baggage car’s floor- there was no indication of where they were on their journey. She’d again doubted their choice when she felt the train pull clumsily away from the station a couple of hours after they’d snuck on board. There were no windows in the baggage car so the only view out would have to be through the vent in the roof. Visions of getting herself decapitated as the train entered a tunnel just when she stuck her head out made Nicky decide she’d wait for Lance to wake up before attempting something like that. Judging by his snuffling and twitching it would be sooner rather than later. She rifled through the plastic bag in her backpack to decide on breakfast, taking out a couple of granola bars, some sliced biltong and a bottle of water. They figured they had plenty of food for a four day trip- but Nicky was not taking any chances. Lance kept trying to reassure her with tales of his “regular” jaunts to Durban and back, but Nicky doubted he’d stowed away on a train as often as he said he had. She wondered if her sister had found her note yet… she’d find a web café and send Tina an e-mail when she and Lance got to the Cape. Lance sat up next to her, startling her out of her reverie, and mumbled something about being hungry. She passed him the biltong and the water. He gave her a dirty look because they’d already argued over the food situation the night before, but Nicky ignored him and got up to see if any of the boxes and suitcases had labels on or maybe something interesting inside… most of them were locked, and the ones that weren’t just contained her fellow travelers clothing and shampoos and toothbrushes. This was going to be a long trip…

Sunday, October 29th, just after 3am
Nicky couldn’t remember sitting up, awake, but her eyes were wide open, and she had no idea what had woken her. She was battling to shake off the sticky feel of her half remembered dreams. She reached over to shake Lance awake and over balanced as she grabbed empty air. Trying not to panic, she grabbed her torch and shone it where Lance had been sitting playing with his PSP as she fell asleep the night before. The game was still there, and his back pack, but no Lance. She couldn’t have fallen asleep very long ago if Lance had not yet finished playing. Maybe he’d gone to take a leak… which was the one thing she hadn’t thought of when Lance suggested they travel for free in the baggage cars! It was all good and well for him though, more typical Lance thoughtlessness! She swung the torch around, being careful lest she attract attention and rehearsing in her mind what she’d say when she found him. The torch lit up the same boxes, crates and bags she’d seen the day before. The train was still moving. She called out softly but there was no answer from Lance. Nicky decided to risk leaving the torch on and began to move down the makeshift aisle between the crates. About halfway down the length of the carriage she thought she heard a sound, but she couldn’t work out where it was coming from. Things down this end of the car seemed to look a little different, but she hadn’t been down here at night before. Then she realised that it wasn’t just the darkness- a couple of the boxes were actually open. “Bloody Lance!” she muttered “…he keeps crapping me out when I scratch around and here he’s doing it too…”
OH… BUT HE DIDN’T OPEN MY BOX, BABY said a voice in her head.
She spun around, swinging the torch wildly. There was a man standing behind her. Just past the stranger she could see Lance hanging limply from the arms of a strange woman.

I edited it slightly, adding the dates so it would make a little more sense…
I’m not taking part in Flash Fiction Friday #50 because I’m working on another writing competition over here on Clarity Of Night.


This week’s order was simply to write a story about Sacrifice. And to put our backs into it! To be honest, I got a little spooked when I saw JJ’s newest instruction, but I decided to go for it anyway. And I must thank my darling Damien for the little inspirational seed he planted when I told him what this week’s theme was. And be warned… it’s a long one!

It took Cassie a while to register just what she was looking at- her vision was blurred and she wasn’t sure why… it was a dome of some kind- a stone ceiling- and it looked as if someone had yellow and orange disco lights flashing around her.
Did I faint she wondered
No, not lights- fire… now she was afraid- it was fire, flickering on the roof of a cave, she could hear it too.
She felt heavy, like something was weighing her down, she wasn’t actually tied down; she just couldn’t move anything except her eyelids! And she could smell something dreadful, like rotten meat- and smoke- and burning hair- but all mixed together!
What the hell is going on was Cassie’s first clear thought.
After a minute or so she could move her eyes, and she tried to look around her as far as she could see… she couldn’t see much except thousands of little black and silver spots from straining her eyes. She was flat on her back, a damp sheen covered what she could see of her shoulder and she realised she must be naked, or at least semi-naked, she didn’t feel cold though. Being naked didn’t worry her- she’d spent hours in the gym so she could like the way she looked and she’d always been a bit of an exhibitionist.
She figured she’d been awake for about half an hour, and her skin was coming back to life little by little, and now she could feel how hot it was, uncomfortably so- and now she knew she was naked- she could feel little beads of sweat trickling down her face and her breasts- and she could feel a hot wind moving over her skin. She longed to wipe her face but she still could do little more than move her fingers…
As her body woke up little by little, her mind was a lot faster to catch up to reality. It was then that she started remembering things. Cassie assumed she was remembering the previous evening- or had it been longer? Someone must have slipped a mickey in her champagne or something! She couldn’t remember anything after Neil had toasted her as his sweetheart, and now she was here- wherever the hell “here” was!
When she could move her head she tried to look around her some more. She couldn’t see much more than she’d already picked up on; stone walls, an uneven stone floor, flickering shadows from massive and obviously ancient stalagmites… looking down at herself, she saw she had been all but covered in an exquisite and very intricate filigree pattern done in black, purple and silver- from her toes to her fingertips. The thought of someone having had the time and patience to paint her from her body this way made her shiver in spite of the heat! She couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the artwork though.
“It is beautiful isn’t it…” came a voice from somewhere behind her.
Cassie froze; the voice was in the cave with her as well as in her head!
“Don’t be afraid- I chose to use my voice rather than frighten you too much with thoughts that aren’t your own,” came the voice again “the painting did indeed take me several hours, but I didn’t harm you in any way. Its some of my best work you know.”
Cassie strained her neck, but she couldn’t see who was speaking.
“You took an exceptionally long time to wake up, if I couldn’t hear your heart beating, I would have thought you’d succumbed to the sleeping drug completely.” said the voice.
Cassie gave up trying to see behind her and asked “Who are you? Where are you?”
“All in good time Cassie, all in good time.” was the reply.
Cassie was about to ask how he knew her name when she remembered the question was moot. A soft chuckle was the reply to her unspoken question.
“Who are you?” asked Cassie.
“Oh, forgive me my dearest Cassie; I often forget that not everyone is a telepath. Please don’t be afraid, I’m going to come and stand next to you now…”
Oh crap… what is there to be afraid of besides all this… thought Cassie, forgetting again that he could hear her anyway.
“Please Cassie, you needn’t fear me- I won’t hurt you.” he said again.
Cassie could still only move her head, and she sensed movement to her right even before she heard scuffing footsteps on the stone floor. As he came into her field of vision she was again paralysed- this time with fear- she couldn’t even scream! Her heart rate shot up and her breathing was shallow and fast. She had only ever seen images like this in children’s story books- this couldn’t be real! Slowly coming up next to her was a colossal, red and gold dragon. His wings were folded over his back but there was still next to no room in the cave for him.
“Take it easy Cassie- I don’t want you passing out on me again; I’m not going to hurt you. I love you, I think you’re exquisite. Don’t I look a little familiar, don’t you recognise me Cassie?”
Cassie frowned- as crazy as this situation was she couldn’t help being a little incredulous at this creatures question! How on earth could he think he’d be familiar to her!?
“My beloved Cassie, it’s me, Neil…”
Now Cassie was simply speechless. She must be hallucinating… maybe she’d been in an accident or something and now she was in a drug induced coma… how else could this be so real- it was the twenty first century for crying out loud! Dragons were for stories and movies!
Cassie finally found her voice and blurted out “Where am I?! What do you want with me?!”
“Oh Cassie- my charming, sweet, precious Cassie. It really is me- you stole my heart my darling! But it was the only way I could get you here- you had to love me or the sleeping powder I gave you wouldn’t work. You are my offering to my master- you are my sacrifice- this was my agreement with my master. For me to live forever and be wealthy, and happy, and healthy I have to give my master the one thing I truly love. Sweet Cassie, my baby, I am only doing my master’s bidding. It’s my curse- my enslavement- the bane of my immortal life- to fall in love and then bring the woman I adore here, to my master.”
“Who… who is you master…” stuttered Cassie.
“Oh- he’ll be here shortly- in fact we don’t have much time. This is my last opportunity to say goodbye to the one I love…”
“My master’s here now, Cass, I can’t do anymore… I love you…” the dragon was almost whispering, and Cassie could hear a furious rushing sound in her head as well as in the cave around her- it was getting hotter too, and as hard as she tried she still couldn’t move more than her head!
Then it was dark- she couldn’t see anything- she knew her eyes were open because they were burning- watering- but she couldn’t see anything, she couldn’t even breathe in the stifling heat. Then she could see eyes- huge yellow and green eyes- and teeth- and she realised she was moving- being carried- trying to imagine what held her made her skin crawl!
The last thing Cassie saw was a gaping maw- and a tongue! She started screaming…


Righty-o dahlinks… here is it, IN 400 WORDS ONLY– no more and no less, including the following: dirt, hurt, curt, flirt and an orange.

Dirt and dust.
Dust and sand.
Day in and day out… in her food, in her clothes, in her hair, in her shoes, in her eyes.
Roxy was so tired of dust and sand and dirt and grit.
It might not be so frustrating if she actually found something worth making a fuss about! She was convinced she was the laughing stock of the paleontology fraternity. She couldn’t believe she’d duped herself into falling for Sid when she’d sworn off relationships entirely- mainly BECAUSE she’d burnt her fingers so often! She was still kicking herself and it was nearly seven years later. To think she could have spent the last two years making a name for herself on the Machu Picchu dig with the esteemed Professor Lawrence!
Now she was out here in Death Valley, with little company apart from a man she’d come to loathe, and a bunch of rowdy students doing graduate work, almost all of whom secretly harbored childish dreams of creating their own bloody Jurassic Park!
And watching these ridiculous twenty year old girls flirt with Sidney just infuriated her even more.
She maintained a curt, businesslike attitude with all the students who came through her dig on their rotations- and she’d already earned herself a reputation as a cold and unapproachable bitch. So she kept to herself and pretended not to care- but it hurt nonetheless…
Sid seemed oblivious to her anger and frustration. He carried on regardless. They’d never consummated their relationship- not in the classic sense of the word- and she blamed him for never seeing her true interest in him, even though she’d never done anything except hint. He of course had no idea she’d switched from archaeology to paleontology just to be with him, and as much as he’d thought she was appealing originally, he now avoided her because of her irritability.
And as she dug up yet another completely humdrum Oviraptor toe bone to add to her vast collection of Oviraptor toe and rib bones; and watched him peel an orange and feed segments of it to his newest devotee, she fantasized about knocking him over the head with one the plentiful picks or shovels, and burying him under his own tent… possibly to be found desiccated and mummified by another archeologist in 100 years time!
At least that way she could perhaps provide another researcher with some excitement!