Boatman’s Daughter

Photo by Kamil Rybarski on Pexels.com

Charon’s daughter sat waiting for her father’s boat to return. Until it did, she sat patiently on the pier holding a lantern to show the arriving passengers the way. It wasn’t the career she had hoped for. After all, she had great legs and had always wanted to be a model. But it was the family business, and she had been convinced to stay on at least till she got her break. She had really loved her gap year, two years ago. She had seen loads of places she could have only dreamed of back here on the Styx. The longer she sat the more she regretted giving in to her mother’s pleas to stay. Finally, as the ferry came back into view, she decided to tell her dad she had had enough. When he got to her side, she would let him know that she was heading back to Milan at the end of the week. If this job had taught her anything, it was that life’s too short to waste.


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Photo Challenge #362

Last Ranger

Pixabay

Doug Rivner looked from the window of the Hobbit hole and tried to assess his chances. He could count at least twenty-six orcs from his vantage point and he knew that making a break for it was against the odds. Fair enough, this was a Hobbit’s house and the pantry was well stocked, but he couldn’t hold out indefinitely. Eventually they would breach the door, or he would be forced to confront them. He hated the waiting game.

Only three years before he had become a Ranger, back before the dark magic brought orcs, goblins, and bugbears back from near extinction. This is insane, he thought to himself. I survived the Covid back in 2020-23 and the high water levels global warming had brought in ’27. He quickly counted the remaining bullets in his ammo pouch. Damn, 30 rounds. No way am I going to take them all out.

He double checked the barricade at the round door, and cut a piece of cheese. He then sat with his back to the far wall and munched his snack. He then placed his assault rifle across his lap and settled in. He would doze for a bit, and then come morning, Rivner, the last of the Rangers, would try to break out, or at least “go out” in a blaze of glory.


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Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #114

Ritual

Google Photo Frame

It was not long now before the sunset and Harin knew that he would have to hurry. The first day of spring had come and the Kraken would need to be appeased if the village was to have an unhindered fishing year.

“Hurry up Harin,” Taris shouted from the waiting boat.

“Don’t rush us,” Harin replied. “We still need to say the words.”

Harin’s brother, Tarin, poured the scented oil over the offering and Harin began the incantation.

“So be it,” they said in unison as spell ended and the last drop of oil fell upon the offering.

“Now lets get back to the village before it arrives to take its tribute,” Tarin urged, and the two brothers joined their cousin in the boat and pulled with all their might to distance themselves from the sacrifice rock.

They knew that in the morning all of the offerings would be gone except for a few bones. They didn’t want theirs to be among them.

Thus the spring ritual ended. The village would indeed have a successful fishing season. No great storms would wreck their habour. The boats would again all return from their daily fishing.

As for the Kraken, no one was really sure if it really appeciated the tribute, but safe was safe. Besides, the gulls all seemed to enjoy the leftovers.


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Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #113

Terror Night

woman in black spaghetti strap top wearing eyeglasses
Jakob Owens at Unsplash

“Who are you and where did you get this number?” Nina challenged.

“They call me the Reaper,” the deep-breathing man said malevalently.

“Well you don’t scare me,” Nina said without the slightest hint of alarm.

“And why is that? Surely you know my reputation, and whether you believe it or not, I am right outside your door.”

“So?” Nina queried.

“So – you are my next plaything,” the Reaper snarled.

“I don’t think so,” Nina countered bravely just before the phoneline went dead.

Suddenly the backdoor of her house burst open and a black-clad man in a ski-mask stood before her brandishing a machete.

“So are still confident?” the Reaper sneared.

“Yes, most definitely,” Nina said with out the least hint of distress.

Confused, the Reaper ran his thumb along the blade and said, “We’ll just have to see about that.”

“Yes we will,” Nina said defiantly.

“What?” the assailant said with dismay.

“Yes, we will see,” she retorted. “Didn’t they tell you?”

“Tell me what?” the Reaper asked even more confused.

“Didn’t they tell you that I signed a three film contract?”


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Forage

Army, Team, Uniform, Man, Woman
Pixabay

It shouldn’t have never come to this, but sadly it was so.  The soldiers of the First Brigade were having to forage for food.  Worse still it was in their own land.  A series of tactical setbacks had forced them to fall back beyond their own borders erasing the gains of the previous spring.  How could they in good conscience take the food crops of their own children and grandmothers?   Surely an occupation by the Empire could be no worse than this.


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Weekend Writing Prompt #204 – Forage in 82 words

Celebrity

painting by Edward Hopper

Edna Harper, star of stage and screen sat in a diner enjoying a quiet cup of coffee.

A man sitting at an adjacent seat made a double take, then began to stare at her. Here we go again, Edna thought to herself and tried not to respond to the man’s gaze.

“Excuse me,” the man said abuptly.

“Yes, I am Edna Harper,” she said curtly. “I am just trying to have a quiet drink without any fuss, if that’s okay with you.”

“Okay, Nice to meet you Edna,” the bemused man said. “But if it’s not to much trouble could you pass me the sugar if you’re not using it?”


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Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #113

Sage

CCC #125

“Legend has it that in this very glade, the sages of old came when they were faced with a question beyond their ability to answer. They would sit and wait for all to come become clear to them. It is in fact the origin of our phrase ‘being stumped’.”

“Is that true, Grandpa?”

“Well I’ll be darned if I know. Maybe I should just take a seat for a while.”


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Crimson’s Creative Challenge #125

Arlan the Cleaver


“Are you sure you know the way?” Arlan the “Cleaver” asked.

“I’ve brought us this far, haven’t I?” Merla responded.

“Hmm,” Arlan snorted. He did know she had however, but he still resented being guided by a woman, much less rescued by one.

Arlan had indeed been rescued by Merla, who happened to come across the short, portly man as he was being accosted by seven brigands on the Nordland Road. The moniker “Cleaver” had not been given for any barbaric martial prowess on Arlan’s part, but rather for the fact that Arlan Kylhogg was the most prosperous butcher in the Kingdom.

When Merla intervened in the robbery, she managed to kill one of the miscreants, and wound two others before grabbing the merchant and dragging him into the woods. They managed to evade pursuit owing to her keen senses but were now making there way to the Capital by an arduous route. Worse still in Arlan’s mind was that he had lost not only an entire wagon-full of pork, but his team and money box as well. He was alive, however, that was some consequence. Unless, of course, this red-headed wench got lost and he starved to death in the forest. After all it had been nearly eighteen hours since he had eaten. He was hungry. His feet hurt, and above all she kept speaking to him in that over kind, patronising voice. It was almost as if she felt sorry for him. Him! How dare she! He really didn’t know how much more of this and that insufferable woman he could endure.

“Okay, You are on your own from here,” Merla said kindly.

“What, on my own?” he snapped.

She then pointed through the trees with her chin and smiled benevolently. There beyond the last of the foliage were the walls and towers of the Capital.

“I suppose you want some kind of a reward,” he grunted.

“That you are safe is enough,” she said smiling. “You take care now little man.”

With that she turned and headed back into the forest.


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Guard Dog


Dave wasn’t sure about using his mum’s pet dog to guard the back garden after a series of shed burglaries, but she insisted that he would do fine. Fine? This pampered pooch who whimpered when he got cold. He let his emotions dictate his life. In fact, if he was insulted about his stumpy legs and flat face, the dog would mope off and not come back out until he was offered a treat and an apology. Yeah, Snowflake was going to be just fine as a guard dog.


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FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER

FOWC with Fandango — Emotions

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Celine Ylmz at Unsplash

Eugene found that he now spent more and more time at used bookstores. It wasn’t that he was a particularly avid reader, but that he found a comfort in being surrounded by things that were even older than he was. At eighty-six, he had seen a lot in his life, and the escalating pace of life, and especially technology left him bemused. Books on the other hand, especially old ones were substantial, and had a sense of stability and permanence.

As he browsed the leather bound tomes he decided that tomorrow he would have to mix things up a bit. Yes, tomorrow he would visit that antique shop over on Hardeman Square.


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Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #111