February 2024: Storytime Bloghop
Chris Makowski – fellow author

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


6 thoughts on “February 2024: Storytime Bloghop
Chris Makowski – fellow author”

  1. Bill says:

    Well done indeed!

  2. Barbara says:

    I love, love, love this! And also can’t wait for The Brick!

    1. Cat says:

      Brick! Brick! Brick! Brick!

  3. James, F.E. says:

    A fine tale indeed. Looking forward to the ‘bricks’ getting published.

    1. Cat says:

      I agree. Every flash story or short story I’ve read in this world have been so very satisfying.

  4. Cat says:

    I love this story and really can’t wait to read The Brick!

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