War, Special Forces, Sniper, Army

Crime evolves. Weakness is exploited. Order must evolve with it.

The 1820s saw the formation of the Peelers in England to deal with the disruptions of the peace in industrial urbanisation. The 1920s and 30s witnessed the birth of the G-men in the wake of the Great Depression.

The 2020s saw the end of traditional venue based retail. Strip malls and then the big mega-malls closed their doors. Commerce moved online, and the likes of Amazon and FedEx became the outlet to goods of an increasingly isolated and sedentary population. The underclass and those seeking quick gain soon cashed in preying on the delivery mechanism. This gave rise in 2028 to a new breed of lawman – The Deliverymen.

The D-men were highly-trained ex-military and paramilitary operatives. They were equipped with state of the art surveillance systems and weaponry. They had one simple mission: that the goods flowed without impediment. By 2034, slow railway junctions were no longer littered with low value goods and the discarded packaging of looted goods, but with the rotting corpses and bleached bones of would be train robbers. The age of the D-men had come.



The Navigator

Arizona, Hiking, Desert, Scenic, Dry, Outdoors, Scenery

“The map says the stream is right over this next hill,” Charlie announced.

“Shouldn’t we hear it by now?” Tammie replied.

“I’m sure we will soon,” Charlie assured her.

They then crested the hill and looked at the rocky stream bed.

“Still not hearing it,” she said scornfully.

“Look, there is still water there though, lets fill the canteens and then follow the channel to the river. I’m certain there will be plenty of water there.”

Tam knelt beside one of the shallow pools and filled her canteen and a plastic bottle. “This is the last time I am going to let you guide us,” she said coldly.

“I found us water, didn’t I?” he replied.

“Humph,” she muttered, and soon they were making their way down the creek bed to whatever lay ahead, leaving the flowing stream which was just over the NEXT hill behind them.


Prize Winner


Evie was called forward in the assembly and the principal announced that she was the winner of the essay contest. Many of her peers looked on jealously as she was handed the certificate and the £30 voucher.

“Evie,” Mrs. Baxter said. “Your essay was unique, and was a breath of fresh air for all of us judges. Many of your competitors seemed to follow the same line of argument, and there was a surprising similarity even in much of their wording. How did you manage to write something so original?”

“Well, I um, I made it a point to not use Wikipedia at all, and in fact, once I started following that rule, I decided to avoid using the internet at all.”

“But, how could you possibly have managed gathering all of that clever information without the web?” the principal asked in astonishment.

“Well, after school one day, I missed the bus. So I had to wait for my mum. She said to meet her by the side exit, so I went down a hall that doesn’t get used much and I found a really weird room that no one seemed to know about. It was all full of books and stuff, so I had a peek. Before I knew it my mum was ringing me, asking why I hadn’t come out yet. I told here I was reading an actual book. Soon the “Library” became my favourite place in the school, and no one ever bothered me there. I used the books to research my essay.”

“How novel,” Mrs. Baxter said. She then turned to the deputy head and whispered, “Did you know we still had a library?” Mr Turner just shrugged.


A Change Of Tack

Map, Robbery, Middle Ages, Table, Chair, Medieval

“Why do we always go to an inn after a mission?” Baylor asked.

“It’s tradition,” Amwyn the Sorceress replied.

“Yes, but, we go on an adventure, we then go to a merchant and sell our take. Next we go to an inn sleep a couple of hours, then wile way in the bar until we overhear some new feat to be attempted. In the meantime we drink away a sizeable portion of our takings,” Baylor observed.

“What else could we do?” Reynor the Bowman asked.

“What if we bought a little storefront and set up an office? Then we could advertise our services,” Baylor suggested.

With that Adventures Are Us was born. The comrades soon found that business was not going to be easy however. In the first week they only had one enquiry about a map, which proved to be an old copy of a milkman’s route. For their troubles they managed to obtain little more than 73 empty bottles and a tub of cottage cheese.

The second week saw them placing a notice at Town Hall which read “No mission too small.” This led to Baylor and Reynor serving as private security at the Cheese-mongers’ Convention, and Tenian the Bard playing three sets at a third rate music festival as the warm-up act for a trio of trolls called The Tone-Deaths.

Week three found Amwyn doing simple illusions and making balloon animals at the Lord Mayor’s daughter’s seventh birthday party.

The adventurers all returned to the office on the following Monday with only one thing in mind, though no one dared speak it.

Finally, Reynor said, “Let’s go to the inn,” and they all agreed.


A Bit Of A Laugh

House, Country House, Exterior, Facade

It all sounded like a bit of a laugh. Word around the pub was that the weird guy over at Number 23 was out of town, and that there was some quality electronics to be had by anyone enterprising enough to help themselves to them.

Pete was a little reluctant at first, but Davie and Trev said it would be a doddle, and that no one would ever know it was them. Pete at last gave in and the trio planned to give the place the once over that evening.

Wearing dark hoodies, and Covid masks they made their way to the back door and had a check. Sure enough there was an easily located key under a dog dish on the porch. So far so good.

Things soon took a turn for the worse. No sooner than Trev turned the key and stepped through the kitchen door that got a face full of some sort of cobweb. Hundreds of little spiders darted all over him and he screamed as he received scores of bites before he began to swell all over, and fell lifeless to the floor.

The remaining two burglars looked at each other and began to retreat towards the treeline of the back garden when a low growl of at least three large canines could be heard. Pete caught glimpse of bared fangs among the trees and bolted back into the kitchen, followed by Davie who slammed the door shut as four huge Rottweilers pounced against it.

“What do we do now?” Pete gasped.

“Hell if I know. No wait. I will get some food from the fridge and we will throw it out the window in the back and then run out the front door.”

Davie opened the fridge and took out what looked like chicken and opened the window just enough to toss it out. One of the hounds approached it and then gobbled it up, but the other three were nowhere to be seen. He then knocked loudly on the glass until the others came into view before throwing some lunch meat and a hastily opened can of corned beef out the window. He then ran to the front door and made an exit, only to be mauled by two other Rottweilers.

Pete barely had time to get the door shut. He sat on the couch in the living room and tried to work out what to do next. He knew he couldn’t outrun the dogs. He decided to check the basement to see if there was anything he might use to escape with, or at least a weapon.

He made his way through the house and marvelled at the high tech kit that seemed to be everywhere. He attempted to boot up one computer display just to be jolted with a burst of electricity that knocked him backwards. It was then that he noticed their were weird posters of demonic creatures on several walls.

Escape again became the only thing on Pete’s mind. When he got the the door to the basement there was a bronze plaque that said “Abandon all hope those who tread here.” That was enough. Pete admitted defeat and rang the police to turn himself in.

When the officers arrived, the dogs or spiders were nowhere to be seen nor were the bodies of his mates. Pete frantically tried to tell the events of the evening to the officers, but the police were dismissive of his claims asking what he had been taking.

“There must be a bad batch out there,” one of the cops said.

“But I don’t do drugs,” Pete objected.

“That’s what they all say,” the other cop replied.

Pete of course was telling the truth, and his friends were never seen again. He did, however, learn the valuable lesson that you should never try to rob a Dungeon Master.



Games, Dice, Play, Gamble, Success

Kal the Invincible was truly remarkable. Standing nearly seven feet in height, his massive muscular frame gave the impression of unyielding power. His armour was the finest money could buy, and was crafted by a guild of Dwarves noted for the efficacy of their rune magic with which the steel was embossed. His shield was the fabled Escutcheon of Hibard, and his sword the flaming angelic blade from the very Gates of Eden.

“You miss, stumble and twist your ankle taking three damage,” Leon said from behind the screen.

“That’s impossible!” Simon “Kal” Weatherspoon protested. “I’m Level 23, and had a plus six bonus.”

“Hey, that was a Nat One, and the dice don’t lie,” Leon retorted with glee.

“I knew I should have used the green set,” Simon muttered under his breath. That would be the last time he would use ones Aunt Mildred gave him for his birthday.


Right of Way

CCC 157

“I don’t know,” the contractor said looking at the damage. “That’s three times in the last two months. Are you sure you want me to fix it again?”

It’s the principle of the thing,” the councillor replied.

“If you say so. I’ll have my guys start in the morning.”

“Very much appreciated,” the official said. “Try a heavier gauge this time.”

“Okay, but I still don’t think it’s going to make much difference to that Sasquatch.”



Herculean Task

Flea Market, Shoreditch, London, Uk

It was a labour worthy of Hercules. Flynn had hardly slept the night before owing to his awareness of the task that was before. Now the time had come and he would have to pull together every ounce of courage as he was about to enter into the unknown. This was not just the stretching of his comfort zone, but a true unheaval of the established order.

“All you need to do is go in and get it.” The words reverberated through his very being.

He took a deep breath and proceeded into the precincts of the charity shop and approached the counter.

“Do you – do you have a red scarf with dragonflies?” he asked. “My Gran said she thought she saw one here.”

“If we do it will be along the back wall,” the middle-aged volunteer said.

Flynn took another breath before setting out past the mismatched dishes, shapeless cardigans, and the ever present mustiness of the air.

There it was the scarf of his quest. He snatched it from the rack and hurriedly returned to the till.

“That will be two pounds,” the volunteer said kindly.

Flynn whipped out his phone to pay.

“Sorry we only take cash,” the volunteer said.

Cash? Flynn though, beginning to panic. Who uses cash?

Unwilling to be defeated he said that he would be right back and made his way to the ATM.

Flustered but not defeated, he returned and made the purchase.

In so doing Flynn had overcome the most extreme test yet to be encountered by a Gen Z. Little did he know that his greatest labour was yet to come when he would have to do battle with Gran’s rotary phone.



FOWC with Fandango — Extreme

The Dune Wars Lesser Tales

After a long delay, one of the Dune Wars Lesser Tales will soon be coming out as an ebook on Amazon. While parts of this work have previously found their way to this platform, the complete story will tie together loose ends and hopefully make for some enjoyable reading.

Though thought to have been extinct for hundreds of years, reports of a dragon have been circulating in a remote and secretive kingdom. Heroes from the great kingdoms of the age have tried and failed to battle the beast. Now an unlikely champion has emerged. He is the Dragon Hunter.


Mystic Encounter

Campfire, Ash, Wood Ash, Grilling, Firewood, Hot

The pair entered through glade into a clearing that was obscured by fog. At the centre there was a fire, the source of the the light that had led them that way. Seated at the fireside was a crone, tending the flames and occasionally tossing pinches of some herb into a boiling pot.

“Welcome Jan. Oh, and Oskar too,” she said with a gravelly voice.

The brothers stared at each other and then back to the mystic figure before them.

“Are you surprised that I know your names? Why, I have known who you were since you were lads. Your identity is no secret to me. In fact, I have been waiting for you. You certainly have taken your time to arrive,” she said with a low cackle.

“How . . .. Who?” Oskar stammered.

“That’s no interesting tale,” the crone responded. “Let us just say I knew your mother, and her mother as well.”

“And have we met you before? I am sorry, but I don’t recognise you,” Jan said.

“You have indeed, but you were but babes.”

“And you say you have been waiting for us?” Oskar asked.

“Why yes, for days now.” You really were rather foolish with that chest, if you you don’t mind me saying. It is a greedy guts, that one. But good to see you didn’t waste too much time on trying to get your coins back.”

“How . . .?” Jan began.

“It’s all in the pot, Lad. It’s all in the pot,” she said throwing another pinch into the bubbles. “Now, you are running late my dears, so you can’t dally. You need to go north to Ringstead, and look beneath the bridge. You will know what to do then,” she said emotionlessly.

“North?” Jan repeated with a puzzled tone. “We have just come from the north.”

“North,” the crone said again, and threw a handful of red powder into her pot. Suddenly their was a bust of steam, and then the clearing was bathed in sunlight and all that remained of the crone and her fire was a cold ring of ash.”

“North?” Oskar asked.

“North,” Jan said with a resigned tone.


Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Use fire, mystic, and identity in prose or poetry