This month the Splickety Pub Group is releasing their Fantasy/Sci-fi themed magazine called Havok. Their specific theme this time is classic Fantasy and Sci-fi. For those who know, this is my wheelhouse! Of course I had to jump on this issue. But do I write about a star captain who’s hyper-drive has malfunctioned on the edge of known space? Or do I tell of a lone knight, facing down an army of snarling goblins?
To find out what I wrote, you’ll need to pick up this month’s issue of Havok! Inside you’ll find my story titled The Hunter’s Prayer!
This month is also a contest issue, which gives the winner a $100 amazon gift card! I’m incredibly honored to have been chosen as a finalist! I’ve learned so much about writing in the past three months by submitting my writings to someone and having them edit and give feedback! On top of the official back and forth, I’ve become social media friends with several of the editors and other writers through the conference I’m attending next month.
For this post today, I’m going to post a story I wrote that didn’t make my cut for this issue. It’s a fantasy tale, and could eventually end up as a piece of a larger story.
I’d love some feedback! If you read through this, please leave a line or two in the comments with your likes/dislikes. As much as I’ve loved hearing the positive feedback from editing, I’m learning to develop thick skin and not take dislikes personally.
Without further ado, here is The Slaver’s Nightmare:
“I can’t believe it’s still raining!” Ulric whined as he tossed another bag of supplies onto the horse. “You’d think the gods would give a workin’ man a dry day o’ travel e’ry now and then.” Ulric grabbed the last bag and threw it over his shoulder. Looking to the woman who stood by his horse, her hands chained to the saddle, he gave her a mocking bow.
“Is my blabberin’ botherin’ you, Mi Lady? Or would you prefer your last days lived out in silence?” He drew out that last part to make to make his jibe cut deeper. The broad-shouldered man yanked on the chain, causing the small framed woman to fall to the mud. Laughing, Ulric spat at the fallen figure. “Get up, witch; time to move.”
The girl stood to her feet, her cold blue eyes held an empty look of defeat. She took her place behind her captor as they started down the road.
“You know, My Lady,” Ulric went on. “When we reach the ‘high and mighty Emperor’s’ Palace, he’s gonna pay a King’s ransom for you. He’ll probably display you in his court for a few weeks. Who knows what else he does with his slaves,” he chuckled as he went on. “He hates you witches. Blames your kind for all his problems. Good thing I bought that collar. With it around yer’ neck, you’re nothing but a pretty maid.” Ulric took out a bottle from his overcoat and took a heavy drink.
He looked back at the woman, her spirit conquered. Her once-regal dress was torn and muddy. She looked much different than the morning he had found her. He had been lucky to collar this one. He had found her asleep, lying in the center of a burned out village. The only thing pointing her out as anything but a survivor, was that she was the only thing in the village not coated in ash. Her ivory skin and regal blue dress were a stark contrast of beauty among the destroyed village. He laughed to himself and thought that must be why witches don’t drink: nightmares can easily become reality.
“So,” he said between his drinks from the bottle. “You want some?” He offered her the bottle. “Something must have driven you to ale that night. What drunken nightmares can burn down an entire village?”
He put his hand on her shoulder. “C’mon, take some. Or are you scared you might have another bad dream?” He tugged on her shoulder to look at her face, and drunkenly slipped in the mud. Falling to the ground, he pulled his prisoner with him. When the ground caught up with them, the light rain began to increase intensity.
Ulric stumbled to his feet, his hand to his throbbing head. When he found his balance he looked for the slave girl. She had regained her feet, and stood directly in front of him. The shoulder of her dress had torn completely off.
“You want to know about my nightmares?” she whispered to him. She glared up at him, her stance defiant. “You kidnap innocent girls, some who have magnificent gifts, and sell them to the highest bidder! They’re tortured and raped and tossed aside when no longer wanted!” She stood tall now, gaining a regal air to her stance. The rain picked up and she shouted to be heard over the wind. “You ask me about nightmares? How can a man who does such things sleep and not drown in his own nightmares?”
“Hey now, witch” Ulric said as he advanced toward her, loosening the knife in his belt. “Be a good girl and don’t open that flapping mouth anymore, or I’ll make sure you won’t ….” His words trailed off as he saw the silver chunk of metal in the mud between them. He looked back to his prisoner. He stared back, a hard fury in her eyes. The collar was gone from her throat.
“You ask me about my nightmares,” she said coldly. “Let’s see how long you can last against your own.” The wind was now deafening, drowning out all noise, except for the dying screams of Ulric’s un-natural pain.
by Josh R Smith