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December 21, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge: The War on Christmas

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: — Eva Therese @ 1:54 pm

Link to Flash Fiction Challenge.

Marcus looked over his shoulder one last time, to check that he hadn’t been followed, before knocking on the battered door.
Almost immediately, he heard a voice ask: “What’s the password?”
“Down with the Red Menace,” said Marcus.
He heard clangs of bolts being shot back, then the door opened just a crack. The light coming from inside meant that the person peering out could see Marcus, while he couldn’t make out anything except an outline and a pair of eyes reflecting the dim red and green searchlights from the blimps high above them.
The outline reached out a hand, grabbed Marcus’ arm and yanked him inside. Probably not a moment too soon. Before the door slammed shut behind him, he thought he heard the sound of sleigh bells.

He found himself in a small room, at least as battered at the door had been. He noticed that there were no windows and as far as he could see, only one door. The room was lit by multiple oil lamps made of clay, which gave off a lot of smoke. Silent figures, sitting or leaning against a wall, looked at him darkly. No one said anything.
The doorkeeper was a blond woman with a fierce look, at least a foot lower than him, but if her grip on his arm had been anything to go by, he shouldn’t underestimate her strength.
She looked him up and down, then walked once around him. Finally she beckoned for him to bend forward. When he did, she grabbed his ears and ran her fingers all over them, checking for surgical scars.
“His ears are ok,” she said, letting go of him. Her voice, when not heard through a door, was soft.
“Don’t you think I’m a bit too tall to be an elf, anyway,” he asked in a joking voice.
From the scalding look the small woman sent him, he knew at once that it had been the wrong joke to make.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
One of the persons along the wall, an elderly man, got up slowly. “Don’t look at him like that, Sara,” he said. “You’ll scare the young man right out of here and it’s not safe right now.”
He looked at Marcus, a twinkle in his eyes, and extended his hand. “I’m Jeremy,” he said.
“Marcus,” said Marcus, feeling relieved. “I heard about you … I mean, I want to join. The war. I want to join the war against Christmas.”
Jeremy nodded. “Good lad. But one thing at a time. Come meet the others.” He gestured towards the small, blond door keeper. “This is my granddaughter Sara.”
Sara reached out a hand and he shook it. He tried to impress her with firm grip, but he doubted if he succeeded.
One by one, the rest of the people at the wall came forward to shake his hand and mutter their names. A few were too weak to stand and he went round and greeted them lastly.

“Now,” said Jeremy, rubbing his hands together with a satisfied look, “let me tell you about our plan for tonight. Perhaps you would care to join.”
“No,” Sara broke in. “You can’t just let people walk in through the door and then start to tell them all about what we do. It’s bad enough that he knows where we hide. Even if he’s not an elf, he could be a spy.”
Jeremy gave her a serious look. “Sara, I’ve told you time and again, when I’m gone and you’re the leader, you get to make the calls. But right now, I’m in charge and I trust this young man.”
Sara didn’t answer, but her lips tightened.
Her grandfather continued: “You have your ways of checking people and I have mine.” He turned back to Marcus. “I am sorry about this. Sara just wants to keep us all safe. It has nothing to do with you personally.”
Marcus ventured a glance at Sara’s disapproving look and wondered if the old man was right about the last part.

A table was placed in the middle of the room and a map of the city laid out on it. It was an old map, edited by hand to show how the city had changed.
A woman, Marcus thought she had introduced herself as Lily, started placing pins in map to show what areas were taken over by the Reds and Marcus followed this with interest. About two thirds of the city was taken over by the enemy. The third that was left consisted mostly of empty buildings and bomb craters. Their hideout was right on the border of the enemy territory.
Jeremy pointed. “We strike tonight and we strike here,” he said and pointed.
Marcus looked at the place he marked and gasped.
Jeremy nodded. “We strike at the very heart of them. I won’t lie to you or anyone else. It is a very risky operation, with a slim chance of success.” He sighed and suddenly seemed weighed down with worries. “But for the last years, we have barely been more than an annoyance to them. Killing an elf here, blowing up a toy making factory there. And far too many of us have become zombies and now roam the streets, moaning and jingling.”
There was a sad mutter of agreement from the rest of the group.
“The price has been too high and the result has been almost invisible,” continued Jeremy. “But maybe we are lucky and our feeble resistance has convinced the Reds that we are no threat. If that is the case, we have a real chance of taking them by surprise. And out target will not be the hordes of zombies or lowly elves.” He stood up straight, seeming younger and stronger than before. “We will take out Santa himself and put an end to Christmas, once and for all.”

December 3, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge: The Last 1000 Words Of An Non-Existent Novel

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: — Eva Therese @ 8:03 pm

[Author’s notes: Challenge courtesy of the always wonderful Chuck Wendig and can be found here. This is last chapter of a story, I am currently doing some brainstorming and outlining on. Basically it’s about the world and the people behind mirrors and how they attack the real world. This is how I think it’s going to end for two of my main characters (both real people], although I’ll try to make it more dramatic when the time comes. And, yeah, they don’t have names yet; I’m really bad at coming up with names.]

He looked at her wearily. He had aged in the last days – oh god, had it really only been days? “I have done everything you asked me,” he said. “I’ve fought for you, risked my life for you. Now we’ve won. There’s nothing more for you to ask of me. So tell me, have I earned your forgiveness or not? Because if not, then I don’t see how I ever could.”

Her blue eyes were as piercing as ever and he felt it as if she saw straight through him. “You’re wrong,” she said. “There’s one more thing you can do and that you’ll have to do, if you me to forgive you.”

He was confused. “Anything,” he muttered.

She turned and pointed at the mirror. “Go back in. Stay there when I close the gate.”

“You can’t ask me to … You’ve seen what the other side is like!”

“I can ask you to do anything I damn well please!” she yelled back.

“You’re not thinking clearly. You don’t mean it.”

“I’ve never meant anything more. The second worst day of my life was when you re-entered it. I don’t have to remind you which day was the worst, do I?”

He looked down, unable to meet her gaze. “Of course not.”

“I want to make sure that I will never meet you again. That no matter where I go, I never have to fear that I will look up and you’ll be there. I want you out of my life, forever. You should be happy I didn’t ask you to kill yourself.”

“It might have been kinder if you had,” he replied.

“Will you do it?” She tried to sound haughty, but there was a pleading note in her voice.

“I said I’d do anything, didn’t I? If this really is, what you want me to do, I’ll do it. I’m just worried that you might regret it later.”

“I won’t.” The anger seemed to have left her. Now she sounded as weary as he felt.

He stepped towards the mirror. Any hesitation might end with him loosing courage. “You just keep your end of the bargain and forgive me.”

“I will.” She made no move, but just watched him as he stepped up to the mirror. He looked out the window to get a last look at the stars. They were cold, distant and they seemed the only thing that hadn’t changed in the last few days.

He turned away from the window and towards the mirror. One more step and he would be through it.

He head a sound from behind, something like a scream that was muffled almost instantly. He spun around and saw her looking at him, She had a hand over her mouth and her eyes over it were big and frightened.

“I saw her,” she whispered.

He noticed that in her other hand she was clutching the small mirror.

“Of course,” he said slowly. “She died on the other side. Of course she would come back as soon as you looked into a mirror.” He smiled grimly. “Don’t worry. She can’t get out.”

“You don’t know that.” Both her hands dropped to hang limply at her side.

“You’re going to smash the mirror, the only gateway there is. Of course she won’t be able to get out.”

“But she’s so clever. She knows how the first mirror was build, she’ll make another or she’ll tell someone else and they’ll make it.”

“I’ll kill her before she gets the chance.”

“And the next time I pass a mirror, what then? Do you intend to kill her over and over and over again?”

“If I must.”

“It won’t work and you know it. I can’t always avoid mirrors and you can’t guard her at all times.”

“Then don’t stay away from mirrors. Always carry one with you, that way she’ll always be trapped.”

She smiled. A sad little smile. “No, I would be trapped. One night of darkness and she would be freed.”

“Then what is it you want me to do? Say it and I’ll do it, you know it.”

She stepped towards him. “Not you.” Another step. “Me.” Good god, she wasn’t walking towards him, she was walking towards the mirror.

He grabbed her hand. “Don’t. Don’t do it. We’ll find another way.”

“It has to be like this and you know it. It’s the only way to be sure.” She shook off his hand, not unkindly and smiled at him. “And this way, I still get what I want. A world without you in it.”

“I’m begging you …”

“Smash the mirror as soon as I’m through, and do it properly. Get rid of the pieces also, somewhere dark.” She took one careful step into the mirror, then another and its surface shimmered and closed behind her, like water closing over a diver.

Behind the mirror she turned to look at him and for a moment it seemed like his reflection was that of a young woman. She raised her hand, really in greeting this time and waved once. He waved back. Then she turned around and strode away from the mirror, towards the door in the end of the mirror room. He saw her open it and automatically turned to look at the door behind him, but that was still closed. When he turned back again, she was gone and the door in the mirror was closed as well. It could have been a completely ordinary reflection, of not for the fact that he was missing in it.

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