Oh dear, how time flies. It’s already time for the #free #stories again. You’ll find mine below and several more if you follow the links at the end.

By the way, I’ve published my short story turned comic in time for Easter. Unfortunately the print version is still somewhat wonky, but the eBook is fine. If you want to check it out, here’s the link to the eBook on Amazon.

And here’s my Bloghop story:

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Automatic Transcript
Part 6

PO SCHULZE: We’ve been at this for five hours already. Don’t you think it’s time to come clean?
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: We know you did it.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: Then how come that the victim’s blood was found in your bathtub?
PO SCHULZE: Yes, that was disgusting. What did you have to cut him up for.
KATHARINA GERLACH: (crying) I didn’t. I’ve no idea how his blood got into my bathroom.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: You can’t pretend his blood wasn’t there.
PK SCHULZE: And his DNA. You can no longer deny you killed him. Give us a confession and get it over with. Your honesty will be taken into account.
KATHARINA GERLACH: (crying) I never killed anyone, and I wouldn’t if I could.
(crying, loud slap on tabletop)
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: We know you brutally murdered a man. A booklover! A father! A husband! What do you think his family is feeling, now that you killed a harmless man?
UNNAMED MALE VOICE: (loud) Harmless? Are you out of your minds?
PO SCHULZE: What the …
KATHARINA GERLACH: (voice still wobbly but with rising anger) Gregorian, get out of me, right now! You have no right to possess me.
GREGORIAN: Yes, I do. But as you command.
(vomiting noises)
GREGORIAN: It’s in your contract on page 746 second to last paragraph where it clearly states that I may possess you if you’re in danger of losing your soul, the one you’ve promised me.
KATHARINA GERLACH: I wasn’t in danger of losing my soul!
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: Who are you? How were you able to be inside of her? Your exit … (gagging sounds) Why isn’t she dead?
GREGORIAN: Now, that’s an interesting question, and one I haven’t managed to answer for quite a while. I’ve tried everything to collect her soul, but without success. But that’s nothing you mere mortals can help with. Leave her alone, so I can keep working on the answer to that puzzle. Aside from writing, she’s done nothing. Nothing at all to deserve this anyway.
KATHARINA GERLACH: Gregorian, what did you do?
GREGORIAN: I saved you. God forbid!
2ND UNNAMED M. V.: (bellowing) Leave my name out of this, Gregorian.
GREGORIAN: Sorry, Sir.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: What the hell is going on here?
KATHARINA GERLACH: I summoned a demon a while back—
GREGORIAN: To fetch dog food, so she didn’t have to leave her precious grandson and her writing. Can you imagine that?
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: What’s that got to do with everything?
GREGORIAN: Fell in love with her writing, I did, of course. Devlishly good! And that cretin didn’t want to read even one of her books. Did you know that he beat up his wife and kids regularly?
PO SCHULZE: (whispering) That did come to light in our investigation, yes.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: I still don’t see a connection. We’ve ruled the family out as suspects.
GREGORIAN: I made him!
PO SCHULZE: Made him what?
GREGORIAN: Read one of her books. And you know what he said?
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: Well, obviously something you didn’t like. Probably that her books aren’t as good as you think.
KATHARINA GERLACH: Gregorian! I’ve told you over and over again that you can’t just force someone to read my books. Not everyone likes Fantasy.
GREGORIAN: I made him read one of the historical novels. And they are truly great. Plus they’re based on True Life.
KATHARINA GERLACH: That’s not the point, Gregorian. Whatever you did to him happened in MY body!
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: So you do admit to killing him, Mrs Gerlach?
GREGORIAN: She does no such thing. I killed that guy. His soul was so black, it already belonged to my Master anyway. So I simply extracted it. Then, I extracted the bones and dumped them somewhere in the wild. And finally, I made minced meat out of the rest and fed it to the hellhounds. She? She was lost in the planning of her next novel.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: In that case, I arrest you for first degree murder.
(metallic chinks, poof sound)
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: Where are you? There’s no place on Earth you can hide. We’ll find you.
KATHARINA GERLACH: He’s been summoned back to hell. That happens quite often.
2ND UNNAMED M. V.: (whispering) I’m protecting him, Cat. He’ll not suffer for falling in love with books. After all, love is what’ll redeeem everyone.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: Schulze, get the call out and add his description.
PK SCHULZE: Is that wise, Sir? Considering he doesn’t have a skin or clothes or hair, only horns?
PO SCHULZE: The de … (pause) I don’t remember, Sir.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: What are you still doing here, Mrs. Gerlach? Haven’t we dismissed you already? We’ve got a murderer to catch.
PO SCHULZE: She’ll need her discharge papers signed.
DETECTIVE BLENDINGER: Yes, of course. Interview ended.
ONE WEEK UPDATE: no follow up reports / no conviction
ONE MONTH UPDATE: no follow up reports / no conviction
ONE YEAR UPDATE: no follow up reports / no conviction


Visit the others:
Working With Stan by Bill Bush
Possession by Barbara Lund
R=Lessons by T. R. Neff
The Perfect Gift by Gina Fabio
The One That Got Away by James Husum
Sneak Peek: Midlife Ghostwalker by Juneta Key


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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.

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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