Since I missed out on the Bloghop in autumn for the first time ever, you’ll get not one, but two #free #stories on my blog today. You’ll find even more if you follow the links below the stories.

As to my writing, I haven’t done any aside from this short story. However, I have turned one of my short stories into a comic. It’ll still take a little while but I’ll be publishing it soon, hopefully before Easter. After all, it’s about the Easter Hare. I’m contemplating publishing it as a bilingual comic with the original short stories added. If this sounds like a good idea to you, please let me know in the comments.

And here’s my story:

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What If

“What if there really were dragons?” Sitting on the ground in front of her French windows, Jane looked into the summer sky that dwarfed the grassy plain beneath where her father’s horses grazed. The sun was sinking rapidly. Another day nearly over. She sighed and tried to focus on something else. “Would they come and eat our horses?”

“Of course.” Her older brother Tom lifted his hands over his head, curling his fingers into claws. “And they’d eat you too!” He raked her back with his claws. They didn’t draw blood but they still hurt.

Jane knew better than to cry, but she couldn’t suppress a moan.

“Oh, little sissy, did that hurt?” Tom kicked her. His shoes were hard and they touched old bruises.

Jane fought her tears valiantly and didn’t make another sound. She watched Tom strode through her big pink and green room. The friendly floral wallpaper, the white feathery light fixture hanging from the ceiling, and the meticulously made bed were such a contrast to his nastiness.

Tom went to her writing desk, grabbed her diary, and grinned. “One day I’m gonna add something that gets you into real trouble with Dad.”

As if she’d ever put anything into that diary that didn’t align with Mom’s and Dad’s rules. And she’d trained herself to write so sloppy that he hadn’t yet figured out how to emulate her writing. So that rendered his threat useless.

For now.

Jane lowered her gaze, blinking away tears. Staring at the fluffy white circular carpet on the parquet floor with a sad expression often convinced him she was sufficiently subdued. Today too.

With her diary in his hands he turned to leave. “Room control is in ten minutes. I’d clean up if I were you.”

The door slammed behind him, and Jane looked around in panic. Was anything wrong? Did he bring in dirt? There wasn’t even a grain on the ground, so that wasn’t it. But there had to be something. She got up and searched the room in greater detail. Her heart raced as she examined every square millimeter of the room. Why couldn’t it be smaller? What had he hidden that didn’t belong?

When she lay on the ground, she saw two red lights in the darkness under the bed and let out a relieved sigh. He’d brought one of his robots. Well, she’d put it into the corridor and leave it there. That way he wouldn’t get her into trouble. Mom and Dad didn’t ever scold him for being untidy.

She shimmied forward and reached for the red eyed thing under her bed.

It hissed. Keep your fingers away from me or I’ll bite them off.

The voice sounded right inside her mind. Jane sat up and bumped her head on the bedframe. “Outch.”

Her gaze shot to the door. Had someone heard? Despite her fear of whatever sat under her bed, she peeked again. “Look,” she whispered, trying to add urgency to her voice. “I don’t care who or what you are. You need to leave right now. My parents will inspect my room in just a few minutes.”

So? They can’t hurt me. The voice sounded sullen and a little defensive.

“But me.” Jane forced the words out. Of course it wouldn’t mean anything to the creature under her bed. After all, they weren’t friends and only friends stood up for their friends, she’d heard. She couldn’t tell. She’d never had friends.

Well, it’s not like I want to be in a human’s dwelling. The scratching of claws on wood seemed to fill the room with a noise so loud that surely her parents would hear. Only inches away from her face, an emerald snout with countless gleaming white teeth grew out of the dark. It was big but not scarily so, and the red eyes seemed to look at her without malice. And Jane was good at detecting malice.

Someone chucked my egg under this, the head jerked toward the bed, so I hatched here. Are you stuck too?

“In a way.” Jane heard voices coming up the stairs and looked around frantically. “You need to hide.”

I need to leave.

“Good idea.” She jumped to her feet and ran to the French doors. They were a little hard to operate in summer, but they’d allow the creature, whatever it was, to flee before her parents reached her room. She pulled with all her strength and the right hand wing slowly eased open.

The creature was roughly the size of a grownup. A scale covered lizard with a tail, a teeth studded snout, four stumpy and clawed legs, and skin dangling from its shoulders. It rushed past her, spread emerald wings, and took off into the last rays of the sunset, just as the door to her room opened.

Had that really been a dragon? A real dragon? Jane’s heart thumped in her chest, as much from the surprise as from the knowledge that there was no way she could explain that to anyone. Least of all to her parents.

“Why is it so dark in here?” Despite her words, Mom didn’t switch on the lights. She seemed to be in a bad mood. A bruise had formed on her forehead. The usual. “And who said you could open the window?”

“I guess, you need some disciplining.” The belt slipped from Dad’s trousers with a swish that made her legs wobble. Not again. She stepped away from the open glass door as he stepped forward, rolling most of the belt around his hand, leaving the buckle to dangle.

“I just needed some fresh air,” she whispered, knowing fully well that there was no way she’d be able to escape his wrath. Already tears were running over her face.

“Don’t you remember the rules?” Mom pointed to Dad. “You have to ask your father for permission!”

Dad took another step forward, and Jane backed away some more, crying silently the whole time. “Please. I didn’t mean to. I just … I’m sorry, Dad. Please don’t hit me.” Sometimes, if she cried badly enough and begged enough, he stopped before she passed out.

Something dark shot through the open door, low to the ground and as black as night. Dad screamed as the shadow flew over his body with barely a hand-width of space between them.

The belt fell to the ground and the air suddenly smelled of urine and rust.

A bright flame shot into the air, catching the ceiling right where the light was. The feathers caught and a few seconds later, the whole ceiling was beginning to burn.

The shadow circled gracefully around Mom and came at Jane from behind. She closed her eyes, waiting for the end.

Spread your legs, the voice in her head said. Hurry. Or do you want to burn?

Although extremely surprised, Jane did as she was told. As she spread her legs, something warm and smooth and scaled slipped between them, lifting her off the ground. She opened her eyes, just as the dragon turned toward the open window. The fire was eating rapidly into the house’s wood. Tom stood in the door, staring at her and the dragon like he’d seen a ghost. Mom was dragging Dad toward safety. He seemed too stunned to realize his arm was badly mangled. Blood dropped from the hand that hung limp at his side and his trousers were wet, but he was walking.

As the dragon carried her into the mild summer night, Jane was sure her family would get out before the whole house burned down. She had no idea what the future would bring, especially with a dragon as a rescuer—or friend—but she was more than ready to face whatever the world had to offer, It couldn’t be worse that what she’d lived through already.

She did not look back.


Visit the others:
First Real Assignment by Bill Bush
A Whole New World by Barbara Lund
Eye of the Beholder by Chris Makowski
Subject: If You Don’t Hear From Me Again by Gina Fabio
Percival’s Bane: The Demon and The Void by Juneta Key
Rabble Rouser by James Husum


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Since I missed out on the Bloghop in autumn for the first time ever, you’ll get not one, but two #free #stories on my blog today. You’ll find even more if you follow the links below the stories.

Chris Makowski is a family man with more on his plate than he should have. It’s a wonder he can still find time to write. He’s currently revising a story in several volumes that he amicably refers to as “The Bricks”. Truth be told, I can barely wait to read them. Here’s his short story (same universe):

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Eye of the Beholder

“It’s not like there’s ever a dull moment in the PGPD.” I pour Seamus another shot of the good stuff. “Last week started with a bunch of attic B&Es, the guy claims he’s making sure bats aren’t being abused. It ended with a cat ringing doorbells. Honestly, this sounds like a prank waiting for a punchline.”

“Nae, this is beyond the Port Goode Police, Arthur, more than a cat or someone busting into attics.” One swallow, and my informant’s hand shakily begs another. “I tell ye true. Go there. It nae be a prank, and if ye don’ stop it, then…” His head slowly lowers to the table and snores emerge.

I drop two bills on the table and nod at Jake. The bar’s safe enough.

Stolen: one pallet of fertilizer, a display of charcoal briquettes, every piece of chalk out of every school in Port Goode. The whole shebang landed on my desk because my partner is out on medical leave.

Lucky me.

Then again, how do you tell a straight-laced, hard-nosed detective from the great state of Washington there’s a reason we hang horseshoes over our doors?

I spin my keys and drive.

One stop for coffee, and I’m watching a warehouse only held up by old paint and rust. All the windows are broken and the sign has smeared to illegibility.

New gate lock though.

Maybe Seamus is right.

I check my piece. Wrong phase of the moon for silver.

Switch to the iron hollow points.

Near sundown, a rental truck pulls up. A short guy with a red stocking cap pops out and unlocks the gate. Hard to miss the cleaver on his belt. When he pulls in, two more guys – same cap, more sharp objects – jump out and start unloading. Red posterboard. Red cellophane.

When the warehouse door opens, my fingers tingle from all the magic leaking out, none of it good.

I’ve got the right place.

I cross the street, slip in the front door – lock’s broken anyway – call the cavalry …

Radio’s dead. Have to do this alone.


Sure enough, a pallet of poop, a pile of coal, a pile of chalk, and startled redcaps looking at me – six of them, seventeen rounds means almost three each. I sight on the nearest. “As Paladin of the Pact between the Fae and the Folk, I hereby—“

Out of the shadows she flows, tall as me, with gray skin from toe to end of the leathery wings extending from her back and down her arms. A fire of red hair wraps around her, silver mail protecting her everywhere it isn’t. Her animalistic fur-covered face is a snub nose, long ears coming to a point, and a grin filled with sharp and hungry. The air crackles as her hand finds the barbed whip at her waist.

Redcaps I can handle. A Daughter of the Furies?

“—call for parley.” I quickly hold up my piece and place it on a dusty table. “Arthur Lane, Paladin of the Pact, Detective, Port Goode Police Department.” I swallow, remembering Seamus’ words. “Son of Emma Adelaide Harper and Asher James Lane.”

She hisses but waves the redcaps back. “Melantha, Daughter of Megaera. My father is unimportant.” Her whip sweeps the ground. “Amuse me, Paladin of the Pact.”

I gesture at the piles. “I don’t understand, your Magnificence—“

“Magnificence?” Her head tilts back with a cackle. “I am done with hiding behind glamour. I tire of you humans celebrating sticky romance and love conquers all – I watch your movies, read your books, all of it lies and nothing but!” She gestures to her redcaps. Three are forming heart-shaped boxes of cardboard and cellophane, and three are making candy out of chalk, charcoal, and – bile hits my mouth. “This time, your people will eat ordure, chew tastelessness, and know your shallow truth. Love is a lie. You are hereby judged and found wanting.”

“The Pact states—“

“He was human!” She spits acid. “He spurned me at a look, for all his words! I gave him the truth and he fled screaming!”

Hellfire and Roses – think Arthur, think – you can’t fight her, you can’t …

No, you can’t. But you know who can. “By the Pact, I call for Trial.”

The whip snaps. “You think to best me in combat?”

“Trial Veritas.” I keep my hands still. “You claim judgment on your evidence. I claim it to be in error.” When she comes close, I’m nodding. “Tomorrow. Jake’s. In a private room.”

“Not. You.” Her talon hovers near my nose. “A human. Unprepared, unspelled, nothing but what he is. Breakfast. When you fail, Paladin, you and yours will destroy Cupid’s Day alongside me.”

“Agreed.” I hold out a hand. Her grip nearly splinters my bones.

Outside, I find a pay phone. “Brian? Lane here. You know that guy we have in lockup?”


“It’ll be fine, Remy.”

He’s shaking. “I – I don’t people. People don’t – they don’t…” We gussied him up, but he still exudes nerd, dork, and geek.

I put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s this or a year for breaking and entering.”

Then she is there, covered in a long, brown cloak with two bodyguards wearing red berets.

I rise. “Melantha, your date. Remy Hebert. Remy, Melantha.”

She sniffs the air, but there’s no magic here that wasn’t here in the first place. “Let us finish this, Arthur Lane.”

The cloak falls away. She wears nothing but herself. Bat woman.

Remy’s jaw hits the floor. “You…”

Her lips curl back.

“You – you’re – you’re beautiful … much like Diphylla ecaudata? You must be, I mean…” Stumbling, he pulls her chair out, his eyes glued to her face. “Can I? I mean, you must, but…” Blushing furiously and babbling like a schoolboy, Remy makes an absolute potato of himself, offering her this then that while filling her glass with the fine red wine I chose.

I see myself out.


“No idea, Chief. All the stuff is in the warehouse. No. Cash rental. Chalk it up to a prank.” I hang up the phone and make a final note in the case file.

“Send a thief to catch a thief.”

Then I change the first “thief” to “chiropterologist”.


Visit the others:
First Real Assignment by Bill Bush
A Whole New World by Barbara Lund
What If by Katharina Gerlach
Subject: If You Don’t Hear From Me Again by Gina Fabio
Percival’s Bane: The Demon and The Void by Juneta Key
Rabble Rouser by James Husum


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Surprise, surprise. Today, you’ll get not one, but two #free #stories on my blog. You’ll find even more if you follow the links below. Please do visit the other participants, and please leave comments. There’s nothing more rewarding that hearing from you. It means the world to us.

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The Covenant

Covenant-coverAs the gate closed, shutting the maelstrom on the other side, Rupe counted quickly. Of the hundred that had set out, only three – Pista, Caram, Edda – remained, near death but determined.

In his hand, the kiehr glowed with the lives of those who had been lost. Everything else – tools, weapons, everything but the clothes on their backs was gone.

But they lived.

And wherever they were, it was raining. The forest around them remained dark and forbidding. But nothing was trying to kill them.


“Quickly!” The others roused, their movements stiff and pained. “We must find shelter!”

He wanted to use the orb to find it. But the cost, the energy of those who had passed, would be irreplaceable. At least until they found a home here.

Randomly, he pointed. “This way!”


The manor was large and well-lit, even with the torrential rains falling. The three others had used tiny magics, barely enough to keep themselves dry. Even so, he felt the loss.

A flag waved forlornly on a post before the door. Thirty-seven stars on a blue field, then red and white alternating stripes.

A last hope. “We will bargain fairly, but dearly. And we will not suffer again, no matter the cost.”

Grimly, the little party marched to the front door. His fingers touched the kiehr.

I am sorry, he whispered as he took just enough magic to glamour them into finery.

Even so, he felt memories die.


When the door opened, a large man in stiff clothes with a face to match looked down on them. “The governor is…”

“We were called.” Rupe let his hood fall back enough to reveal his face, eyes glaring into the servant’s head. Believe me!

The man staggered. “Yes. Right this way.”

They stepped in, their spell keeping the rain and wet outdoors.

He gasped. “You – you’re not…”

“We were called,” Rupe repeated, the others pulling back their hoods, the glamour covering their shabby appearances.

His face gone white, the servant opened a double sliding door, surprising the other two men in there – one in a fine suit, the other in military garb with a sword on his hip.

Ambush? Terrified, Rupe strode in, looking from man to man. Neither had the sharp features of the Alfar. The sword remained undrawn.

“We were called. We came.” His eyes set on the soldier. “Name your bargain.”

“You?” A glass filled with amber liquid swished off the table and emptied into the man’s mouth. “I called you?”

Pista stepped forwards and put her fingers over the glass: it filled with a pale-yellow liquid. Rupe prayed none noticed the liquid came from her sleeve.

“Magic?” The soldier snatched up the glass. “Williams, close the doors.”

The servant, wide-eyed, had to be told twice before the doors shut.

And latched.

The – General? Colonel? – took a sip. “I’ve never tasted the like.”

“Bogyberry brandy,” Rupe announced. “Is your bargain for this?”

“No!” The other man circled slowly, taking in all four. In turn, each removed their cloak, allowing the full impact of the glamour to fill the room: two women of incredible beauty, two men of incalculable power.

Not four desperate people with next to nothing to their name.

“A moment.” Without an answer, the two stepped back towards the fireplace, anxiety and greed on their faces.

The papers! Edda’s voice sounded in his skull. A moment of looking at the table – papers, legal papers, and a map!

A chance.

“Power.” The two returned, avarice dripping from every pore. “We want power, power over our enemies, and power above all men!”

Might as well ask for the stars above.

Rupe turned his gaze on the soldier. “Four of us, four terms each.” Then he planted his finger onto the map, at the crux of an L-shaped land. “There. You will make there ours. You will set it aside as its own place, ruled by itself. And you will make this gift a secret from all others.”

The soldier sucked on his cheeks, but the other one nodded. “Easily done.”

Rupe waited, saying nothing.

The soldier spoke first. “I want power – political power.”

Rupe nodded.

“And power over the souls of a nation!”

Another nod.

“And I want–“

“You had your turn,” frowning, the suited man rapped the table. “I wish for my enemies to suffer. And I wish for Reconstruction to go on as planned.”

Rupe mumbled under his breath, then nodded. “Four and Four, as agreed. As best as we can provide, you will have what you ask when your part of the bargain is done.”

From nothing, a parchment with faint writing appeared. “Sign your names there. We shall make our marks.”

Too quickly, both scribbled names at the bottom. Solemnly, the four added theirs.

The parchment vanished. “The Covenant is sealed.”

As one, all four recloaked and turned toward the doors.

They passed out into the night, and it was as though they had never been.


“On this day, the fifteenth of March of 1870, Legislative Act 102 is hereby passed.” There was no applause. It was just another act of the Louisiana legislature, creating a new parish clawed from the parishes of Calcasieu and Vermilion. Few if any gave it more than a cursory read, forged as it was by the Governor himself, ostensibly as a favor to his friend, a paroled Colonel of the Confederacy.

Even fewer noted the asterisk in the act itself. And none paused to consider the few extra pages inserted due to that single symbol.


In the swamp on their land, their house built itself. Strange trees spread deep roots, their branches growing foreign fruit. Fresh water springs appeared.

His people would live.

Reverently, Rupe put the kiehr at the highest point, the better for it to pull from this land so nothing inside would be lost.

And on a wall, he hung the agreement, a thin pane of clear sap protecting it yet allowing any to read. And it was with an unsavory smile he read through the whole.

“Four and four,” he muttered to himself. “These people cannot count. And they never read the fine print.”


Visit the others:
Autonomous Militarized by Gina Fabio
Pipes by Barbara Lund
From Bad To Worse by Bill Bush
Under Surface Of The Stars: A Story Poem by Juneta Key
Un-Nefer’s Triumph by Kate Flint
Super Jill by Vanessa Wells
Timeless by T. R. Neff
Desire by Katharina Gerlach


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