First off I would like to apologize to everyone for being a day late. Life has been insane. In fact, I wrote nearly all of these stories in the same day. That day being today.
It’s been a long day guys.
But now I have stories for you! Woo! Content!
Okay let’s go here they are.
Day 20: Fragile
“I want to help!”
The Chosen One sighed, looking up from his preparations for the coming battle. “You can help, I told you, you’re going to be the lookout and stay back out of the battle.”
His sidekick huffed, cheeks turning red. “Lookout is literally just code for ‘I don’t want you with me’.”
The Chosen One didn’t answer. That wasn’t true. Lookout was code for ‘I don’t want you to get killed so I’m keeping you out of the way’.
The sidekick wasn’t incompetent or anything. He was quite skilled for a normal person, with a good head on his shoulders and a somewhat annoying cheerfulness that kept the Chosen One from slipping too deep into the darkness that tugged at him. He was a good friend too, the best the Chosen One had ever had.
But he was only human. The Chosen One, he could take a hit. He could take a lot of hits. His powers were insane, even he admitted it. But the sidekick didn’t have any powers. He was just a normal kid. One blast from the villain’s powers and he’d be gone.
“Please,” the sidekick begged, “You can’t fight the villain alone. That’s what I’m here for, you know that.”
But I also can’t fight him if I have to worry about you. “Yeah, I know. But really, I do need you as a lookout. I’d like to not have someone sneak up behind me while I’m saving the world, y’know?” He put his hand on the sidekick’s shoulder. “I can’t do it without you, buddy.”
The sidekick grinned lopsidedly, punching the Chosen One lightly in the side. He glowed briefly as he absorbed the hit. “You’re darn right you can’t.”
. . .
The Chosen One lobbed a pulsing sphere of energy at the villain, the ensuing explosion as it missed adding another layer to his headache. They’d been at this for what felt like hours. The villain had struck earlier than the Chosen One had anticipated, before he could completely finish his preparations. At least the sidekick and all the civilians were somewhere safe.
Blow after meaningless blow, witty quip followed by sarcastic comeback, the battle went on. Although he’d been blasted and thrown against buildings and crushed multiple times, that headache was just about the only pain he felt. They’d be at this a lot longer by the look of things, unless the villain decided he’d had enough.
The Chosen One was about to say something clever and throw another blast of power. If somebody had been watching, it would have been epic. But before he could do anything something small, loud, and metal dropped down on his shoulders, knocking him to the ground. Then another. And another, and three more, and then a whole clump. Little cat-sized spider-shaped robots, with sharp little legs. They swarmed him, overwhelmed him, pinned him to the ground.
He couldn’t breathe. Not even his crazy strength could push them off, there were just too many.
The villain picked himself up from the crater the Chosen One had smashed him into, dusted himself off. He walked towards the Chosen One, monologuing ridiculously. Ordinarily the Chosen One would interrupt him with a snappy comment but right now he couldn’t. For one thing he couldn’t even inhale enough to talk. And for another, through the mass of spidery legs and evil shiny little eyes he saw his sidekick, wide-eyed and running headlong towards the villain.
“NO!” the sidekick screamed. He didn’t even have a weapon, what was he thinking!? “Leave him ALONE!”
The villain turned, surprised. A flash of lime green. The sidekick crumpled to the ground.
An explosion of gold blasted some of the robots off the Chosen One’s back, but they slammed right back into him.
“No –” he gasped.
“Aw, that was your sidekick, wasn’t it?” The villain said, his sympathy obviously synthetic. “What was he trying to do, do you think? Save you? Poor, foolish little human.”
The Chosen One didn’t hear any more of the villain’s words. No no no no no. Black splotches floated on the edges of his vision. No no he can’t be gone, he can’t be gone.
The villain was suddenly cut off with a very undignified squawk. A gurgly whooshing sound followed. The spider-bots made an awful buzzing noise and fell lifeless. The Chosen One gasped for air and pushed to his feet.
The sidekick was stretched out on the ground, a portal gun in his hand, still glowing from use. A swirling purple wormhole was just slurping closed, assumedly with the villain inside it. His hand shook and he dropped the weapon.
The Chosen One stumbled over to his sidekick, already healing. He scooped up his friend.
“You idiot,” he said, trying to sound like he wasn’t worried but failing pretty badly. “You dumb little — what’d you do that for?!”
“You’re . . . welcome,” the sidekick grinned, coughing a little. “Ta-da, I helped.”
Day 21: Mark
Ignore the noise.
Ignore the wind.
Day 22: Dainty
There is a spot on her glove. How it got there she can’t imagine. It’s a reddish-brown spot. Mud? Can’t be, she hasn’t been outside. Some sort of sauce? No, she’s changed gloves since the last meal.
It is the only blemish on her person. Her dress is unwrinkled, every ruffle perfectly pleated, pure creamy white, studded with tiny perfect pearls. Her hair is swept back into a flawless knot, not a single hair out of place. Creams and powders, blended immaculately over her face, hiding whatever imperfections might or might not marr her visage.
Only her gloves are stained.
Carefully she takes them off, laying them gently on her vanity. Her bare hands are impossibly thin, translucent. They look like they couldn’t even hold a pen. She quickly, deftly, covers them again with another pair of snowy gloves.
She remembers where the stain came from with a sigh. Blood is quite difficult to remove from white silk.
Day 23: Honey
Mum left the honey jar out after making powerballs. It shone in the light coming in through the kitchen window. Colton stared at it.
He loved honey.
He was only allowed it once in a while, just a spoonful if he asked very very nicely. Sometimes Mum would put it on toast for him. But he loved it by itself.
Colton was too short to reach the cupboard where Mum kept the honey. But now it was within his reach. He stared at it a bit longer, licking his lips. He looked over his shoulder. The coast was clear.
He stood on his tiptoes, just grasping the honey jar with the tips of his fingers. It was sticky. He rummaged in the silverware drawer for a spoon.
Mum came into the kitchen ten minutes later. Colton was lying on the floor, spoon in his mouth, nearly half the honey jar gone. Mum could only laugh at his bilious expression.
Day 24: Afternoon
A cool breeze ruffles your hair. You put your book down for a moment, closing your eyes and taking a deep breath as warm sunlight melts over your face. The pleasing white noise of dead leaves and wind plays about your ears with the breeze.
On your lap, your cat stretches, purr turning into a contented mrrrowww. You give her fluffy belly a scratch. She bats at your hand and bites you good-naturedly.
You take another deep breath. Your hoodie is soft, your hair is warmed from the sun, your ears are chilly, there’s a cat cuddled against your stomach, you’ve nothing you need to get done until evening, and you’re pleasantly tired.
You pick up your book again and slip back into the story.
Day 25: Giant
“Oh great and mighty dragon. No, no . . . Great and Magnificent Rhys. Devourer of Worlds, Smiter of . . . . agh, no, that’s not gonna work. You got one chance, and you’ll likely get eaten no matter how fancy you talk.”
I stood outside the massive cave, bouncing back and forth from my heels to my toes. It was a dark void in there. Maybe the dragon wasn’t even to home. It was possible.
From deep in the cave came a grumbling rumble ending in a sudden gust of hot air. I winced. Yup, he was in there.
I dragged in a huge breath, hesitated for a moment, stepped inside. I kept my eyes on the treacherous floor ahead of me. Abysmal cracks grinned in the darkness. Impaling stalagmites jutted up through the stone like broken teeth.
After an intensely tense minute or so, the thick darkness was disrupted by a dim, diffuse glow. I looked up.
Tons of it.
Tons of that too.
Gradually I realized what else was in the mammoth cavern, over top the heaps of gold and everything. It was so . . . so enormous, so absolutely titanic, that I’d not even registered its presence.
There he was. Rhys. The dragon. He was looking at me. His eye was bigger than me.
“Hello there,” the huge creature purred. His voice was so low and loud it rattled my ribcage.
Here it was. My one chance to not sound like an idiot and impress the great dragon.
I’d never seen a dragon smile before. I never wanted to see it again.
“What are you doing here, little one?”
Ordinarily I’d take offense to that but he had much more right to call me that than any human.
“I’m, uh, b-bringing you a gift, sir.” Hands shaking, a pulled the big shiny rock from my backpack and held it out. “From King Clayton, sir.”
The dragon blinked. “Interesting. From the king you say?” His gigantic head snaked closer to me. I suppressed the urge to run for my life.
“Very well. You may place it on that pile, carefully.”
I slowly lowered the shiny thing onto a small mountain of gold, nesting it in between coins and chains and silverware.
“Thank you, little one. You may leave.”
I did an awkward little bow and backed away until the golden gleam vanished. Then I broke out running and didn’t stop until I was back within the relative safety of the city walls.
Day 26: Trapped
Aislinn looked up.
The ceiling came crashing down on top of her.
She screamed, diving under a desk. She just barely made it. An avalanche of splintered beams and steel crushed down on her, mixed with crushed drywall and plaster dust. The noise was horrific. The flimsy metal office desk crunched under the weight of all the debris.
Aislinn laid on the floor, her eyes squeezed shut and her arms over her head, curled up as tight as she possibly could. It seemed like a very long time before the thunder stopped.
When it did, she slowly opened her eyes. The air was filled with dust. The desk she’d hid under was smashed on top of her, leaving almost no room to move around.
Oh no. Oh no oh no. Aislinn’s heartrate immediately spiked. No. No. Bad. Nope. She began breathing faster, then coughing as she inhaled dust.
Was anyone close enough to help her? Not that she knew of . . . this abandoned office building was down almost at the Strand and the river, nobody came down here, not even automatons. Did anyone know she was here? Of course not, because she was an idiot and didn’t even tell anyone she was going out on a mission.
Aislinn tried shoving away some building pieces with her feet. The stuff moved, but as it did more fell in its place.
“No no no no no.” Aislinn tried pushing against the desk. Nope. She tried digging out through the other side. Nope.
The thought hit her like a train. I’m trapped in here.
Needless to say she panicked. Aislinn had never been good with small spaces, and recent developments have only deepened her aversion. Now she’s here. And it’s not good.
She stayed stuck there for who knows how long. Even doing her best to stay calm — the consequences of getting too panicked are even worse than the current predicament — Aislinn was freaking out.
Eventually she curled up again, breathing hard and trying not to cry. In the relative quiet she heard a crunch. She lifted her head. Another crunch. Then a scraping sound.
“Aislinn?” someone called, their voice muffled.
“MICK!” Aislinn screamed.
Five minutes later Mick reached in through the hole he’d cleared and pulled out a shaking Aislinn.
“Sweet Aethasia, I’m never letting you out of my sight again,” he said with a relieved laugh.
“That’s fine with me.”
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