The Widowmaker (pt 2)

(Don’t forget likes=another part of the story 😀)

I had long since lost my way in the never ending tunnels. Every time I thought I had lost them, their footsteps would reach me. My feet ached and my throat was raw. I knew I could not let them get the Widowmaker, but I was not sure how much longer I could run. I was forced to feel along the walls as I ran, leaving my fingers bloodied. My flashlight was hanging on my belt, unused, to help hide my location. 

I pulled up short as the dark tunnel began to slope downwards. I could see a faint light in the distance. Every fiber of my being screamed that I should run away, but the pounding feet behind me urged me forward. The light grew more focused as I ran towards it. The tunnel began to open up, becoming big enough to drive a car through. My mind raced, trying to identify the source of the light as I entered a large cavern. 

I tried to quiet my breathing as I walked around the edge of the cavern. In the center of the cavern was a large lake. The light seemed to be coming from somewhere below the surface. The water was absolutely still and crystal clear. My curiosity got the better of me and I crept forward. I peered into the water, but the source of the light was still hidden. The water seemed to go on forever. 

The click of a gun drew my glaze away from the seemingly bottomless lake. In the mouth of the cavern stood four men. They seemed to be from all different ethnicities. The only thing they had in common was a serpent tattoo that twisted it’s way around their necks. 

“So, you have found the Widowmaker? Give it to us and you can leave this cave,” the man pointed his revolver at my chest.

I clutched the spider, knowing they would never let me leave alive. For a split second I considered throwing the artifact in the lake, but the history buff in me couldn’t do it. I took a step back, trying to figure out what to do. That step back change my life.

The deep rumble was accompanied by the sound of ripples across the lake. I watched in horror as the men’s faces turned to shock. They ran towards me, but I was falling away. I must have stepped on a thin overhang that broke under my weight. I knew that I was going to die. Icy water swallowed me as I sank. I tried to reach the surface but the rocks falling forced me down.

I was running out of air. My head started to swim and my ears popped as I continued to sink. The light in the lake shined brighter. I closed my eyes, but the light came through. The pain intensified as the crushing pressure of the water grew. Just when I thought I was dead, a hand plunged into the water and grabbed me. I thought sure the men had rescued me, but the face I saw was new.

A girl stared down at me. Her clothing looked like something you would find in a textbook about the middle ages. The world around me was no longer that of stones and caves. I was sitting on grass surrounded by trees. In the distance, I could make out what looked like the spires on a castle. I looked at the girl, unable to comprehend what had happened.

“You must go to the castle, tell them Mary sent you,” the girl helped me to my feet and pushed me in the castles direction. 

I had so many questions, but I felt like I could not form words. My mouth just opened and shut without a sound.

Jessica

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The Widowmaker (pt 1)

(I’m going to mix it up. This story ends in a cliffhanger. If it gets enough likes/comments I will add another part)
My hands quivered with anticipation as I reached into the stone hole. My heart thudded so hard in my chest that it felt like my ribs might break. The thick spider webs did nothing to curb my enthusiasm as I plunged my arm in deeper. I had spent years researching and studying. I followed every hint of a lead that reached me. Everything I’d sacrificed had led to this moment.

My outstretched fingers brushed against something cool. I felt like my palms were so sweaty that it would slip away, but my grip was sure. I had lost my job and my marriage in pursuit of the artifact I now clutched in my hand. 

I quickly brushed away the spider webs and opened my hand. Nestled in my palm was a delicate golden spider encrusted with rubies and emeralds. The spider was three inches wide and deceptively heavy. 

 The fabled Widowmaker.

The Widowmaker was the oldest recorded artifact known to man. There were even crude cave drawings that many historians agreed were the spider. Stories of death and disease always accompanied the spider. I stared at it in disbelief. The stories could not be true. There was no way this spider could be responsible for the ancient plagues. The spider was also rumored to be the cause of droughts and the ice ages.

I was ripped back to reality by the sound of stones shifting in the distance. I froze and listened, silently praying that I would not hear it again. Panic flashed through me as I heard it again, closer this time. I had been warned against searching for the Widowmaker. Threatening letters and emails were sent before I even announced my plans on recovering it. I had foolishly pushed the threats aside, trying to convince myself that they were just from a rival archaeologist.

I heard the unmistakable click of a gun safety being switched off. Without hesitation, I shoved the spider in my pocket and ran. My steps echoed off the cave walls, but secrecy was no longer an option. Every story that involved the spider mentioned a guild. The guild was shrouded in mystery, but I knew that was who had sent the threats. I did not know what they wanted the spider for, I just knew I could not let them get it.

Jessica 

P.s. Let me know if you want to hear more! 

Eulogy For a Lost Father 

In other news today, after a drawn out battle, The Scarlett Fever has finally defeated the Phantom Knight. The Phantom Knight has spent years terrorizing the city. After a long crime spree, we are finally free to walk the streets in peace thanks again to the Scarlett Fever.

The young woman clicked of the news broadcast, unable to listen to another word. She finished buttoning up her black dress and adjusted her veil. She could not take the lies and double talk any longer. She had a eulogy to deliver. Her mother was waiting in the kitchen. Together, they began the long drive to the funeral home. 

♢ ♢ ♢ ♢

“I never had the typical childhood. There was no Saturday morning cartoons or tee ball games. My family did not play catch in the yard or go to the beach for vacation. I always knew I was loved, but my life was far from normal. 

My earliest memory is from my third birthday. Instead of going to the zoo or having friends over, my dad brought the zoo to our house. I spent hours roaming around the yard, enjoying my personal zoo. When the police and animal control showed up to take the animals, I was devastated. My mother held me as I watched them take my dad away. 

That was the day I found out the truth. My dad was the Phantom Knight. He spent his time prowling the streets for easy targets or robbing shops. He always brought me and my mom home the most amazing souvenirs. Despite being labeled a criminal, he was an amazing father. 

Today, the papers are celebrating the death of the Phantom Knight. While those who knew him best are here, mourning the loss of a beloved father and friend. When we resourced the news that he had passed, we were stunned. The world has lost a truly amazing man.”

The young woman left the podium, pausing on her way down to kiss her father one last time on the forehead. She sat next to her weeping mother, her face a calm mask. The mask hid her true emotions. Emotions that were brewing and growing like a tidal wave. Her anger threatened to explode out of her. She was going to make them pay. The papers who were dragging his name through the mud and the so called hero who had killed him. They were going to regret this day.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little flash fiction segment. 

Jessica 

Building the World of Styxaz 

Last week, I posted a beginner’s guide to world building. I decide to practice what I preach. I have had this story idea rolling around my brain for a while, so I went with that. I started building the world of Styxaz!


The red planet. That’s what the humans call it. To the inhabitants that live there, it is simply known as home. The planet is covered in red dirt. Most of the day is spent seeking shelter from the sweltering heat and the flesh stripping wind. It is a harsh planet, the only thing more harsh than the climate where the inhabitants. 

Most of the inhabitants live in the main settlement of Styxaz. It is a sprawling city filled with life, despite the harsh desert climate. The city is full of towering buildings, none taller than the shielding towers. The shielding towers protect the city from being discovered by the human’s and their constant prying.

The city was founded before humans had even started walking the Earth. The inhabitants elected a ruler who was charged with protecting the city. The Ruler came from the Zealots sect. She started leading the inhabitants down the path towards conquering Earth. It is a matriarchal system and the Zealots did not want to give up their status as Ruler. They clung to the role harder then they clung to the belief that the Chosen One was coming.
The inhabitants of the city were an odd race. Their skin was a mottled mix of blues and greens. They looked humanoid other than their elongated limbs. Each arm ended in six long fingers. They were completely hairless with large black eyes.
The inhabitants of Styxaz divide themselves into two separate sects. The larger sect goes by the name of Zealots. They are a radical group that believes a Chosen One will be born. The Chosen One will lead them into battle against the humans.they believe that humans are primitive savages who do not deserve such a lush planet.
The other sect goes by the name Squatters. They believe in peace. They do not wish to conquer, merely to expand and form relationships with other planets. The Squatters set themselves apart from the Zealots but their black headbands or handashi.
The inhabitants spend most of their time preparing for the upcoming invasion. When they are not preparing, they are cultivating the desert ground. They have no monetary system. If they grow anything in excess it is donated to the Ruler who distributes it among those in need. They lived in perfect harmony. The only thing they disagreed on was how to deal with the humans.

(Art by Ian McQue)

Paying Dues

I have been applying like crazy to get a writing job and get my name out there. My goal is to write a new short story once a week so that the people I am referring to my blog can get a better feel for my writing styles. The writing prompt for this short story was about dying only to find out you are a prisoner who is being released. The title of the story is called Paying Dues.

Paying Dues

         She gasped softly as the pain began to fade. The area around her wound seemed to go cold and numb. Her heart pounded loudly in her ears as she slid down the wall into a crumpled heap. Every thought seemed like she was struggling to grasp it through a fog, just to have it slip away. The plain gray wall across from her slowly went out of focus. She could tell she was fading away, the pain barely registered as her eyes closed for the last time.

She was shocked when her eyes opened. She was walking down a brightly lit tunnel. The light was so blinding that she tried to shield her eyes from it. She was not sure how she was even standing after collapsing, let alone walking. She did not even know where she was, the tunnel was totally new. 

“Is this what dying is? Walking into the light,” her thoughts echoed clearly in her head. 

She looked down and finally noticed that the gaping wound on her side was gone. Her heart gave an awkward flutter at her new clothes. She could remember everything clearly, the alleyway, the mugging, the stabbing.

“I don’t want to die yet,” she thought miserably still marching forward into the light.

She stumbled suddenly as the blinding light winked out of existence. Her hands flew out wildly to brace herself against the walls she could no longer see. She froze as a deep voice echoed through the tunnel.

“Good afternoon, Prisoner 2743. You have served your sentence, you are free to go.”

The earth seemed to rock violently under her feet as the voice faded away. Nothing made sense anymore. The only memory she had was the mugging. She could not even remember her name, much less why she had been imprisoned. She looked up as a small door opened up at the end of the tunnel. She walked toward the door as quickly as her shaking legs could handle.

The door led into a dingy alleyway that was almost identical to the one she had been mugged in. Her head was spinning and her breath came in panicked gasps. On the ground near a puddle was a black bag. She glanced around, before hesitantly bending to unzip it. Somehow, she knew that whatever was in the bag was meant for her. The door silently closed and faded away as she opened the bag. The clicking of the zipper seemed to be magnified in her ears. She winced softly as the noise grew louder. Finally, the bag fell open.

The contents of the bag included a lain blue dress, black shoes, and a plastic card. She flipped over the card and quickly read it. According to the card her name was Ella. It had her address on it, but she had no idea how to get there. She changed out of her dirty orange scrubs and put on the plain dress. She tried to smooth her hair as much as she could, but her fingers were no match for her matted curls.

Ella crouched behind the closest dumpster as the sound of footsteps grew closer. The last time she was in an alley had not ended well.

“What’s happening to me,” she wondered as the footsteps came closer. “I remember the alley and the mugging. When did I become a prisoner and why can’t I remember anything?”

She peeked around the green dumpster when she no longer heard anything. A shrill scream escaped as the source of the footsteps became apparent. Standing at the end of the alley, was a seven foot tall blue thing. It looked vaguely like a human, but it’s one eye and purple hair made it clear instantly that whatever that thing was, it was not human. Ella turned to run in the opposite direction, but it was a dead end. Her panic was so intense that she did not realize the thing was talking at first.

“-job is to help prisoners make the transition,” it’s voice was an odd warble that she had to strain to understand.

Ella stared incredulously at the blue creature. The longer she stared, the more she noticed the little oddities. It’s long arms ended with four fingers each tipped with long nails. Where a humans knees would have been, the legs bent in the opposite direction. She approached on trembling legs, unsure how to handle the situation.

“Wh-what are you,” Ella finally managed to mutter out.

“As I said, my name is Phlagset. I am a guardian here and my job is to help prisoners make the transition.”

The creature’s gigantic eye blinked slowly.

“If you will follow me, I will take you to your house. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask. Once I leave you, no one else will know the answer and I will likely never see you again,” Phlagset started walking away without waiting for an answer.

Ella raced to keep up with him, her human legs having to work overtime to match his long strides. Her mind was racing, she didn’t think she would be able to organize her thoughts enough to form coherent questions.

“Where are we?” 

“This dimension is called Requast. I believe that your home planet, in an effort to to stop overpopulation, has begun sending their prisoners here.”

“But, I was stabbed, I was dying. Nothing has ever been more real than the pain of dying.”

“If you were to travel across dimensions and maintain your memories, you would loose your mind. We planted the memories in your mind. You were never stabbed.”

“I don’t remember anything,” Ella felt her eyes fill with tears.

“That is normal. Everything will return to you as you adjust to life in Requast. Be prepared though, sometimes remembering is worse then not knowing. We are not told why you were imprisoned, we just provide you with the means to live after you are done serving your time. Many humans cannot adjust to life here. I suggest that you find others.”

His matter of fact tone shook her. There was something unnerving about hearing that she was not going to be able to survive in such an emotionless voice. The tears in her eyes threatened to spill over at her desolate prospects. 

“Surely someone on earth misses me. I know I was not alone there, I know I had someone,” she thought bitterly.

“We know nothing of about your life before you came here,” Phlagset answered.

“You could hear me,” Ella choked.

“The guardians hear everything that goes on here. As I said, remembering is not always the easiest path. It is better to forget and move on.”

Phlagset stopped abruptly and pointed at a door in front of them. She froze in confusion. 

“This is where you will live. Inside you will find a welcome packet that will help you with the transition. I believe there are a few humans living in this complex. You will probably start getting some memories soon. Be prepared.”

Ella watched as Phlagset walked away. When he turned a corner, she finally forced herself to move. The door was locked, but she quickly noticed what appeared to be a card reader. She pushed the plastic identification card in and was rewarded with a soft click as the door opened. Walking through the door took her into a dimly lit hallway. Both sides of the hall were lined with doors. The third door on left had a small nameplate that simply said ‘Ella’. Her room contained a bed and a wash bin. Folded neatly at the foot of her bed was a second simple dress with the welcome packet laid out next to it. 

She sat down and started flipping through the packet absently. She vaguely registered the map and the section suggesting places where she could work. She could not even wrap her mind around the concept of different dimensions. She jumped up as her door creaked open softly. Her fear was quickly replaced with relief as a human male stepped inside. 

“I’m the unofficial welcome party in this complex,” he said shyly. “There is two other humans living here currently, but I don’t think Sherry will be here much longer. My name is Jaxon. I have been here for six months. If you start to have a hard time remembering, you are welcome to come talk.”

“Thank you. What did you get sent here for,” She blurted out before realizing that it might be considered intrusive.

“I made some choices and my family got hurt,” Jaxon answered sharply and left before she could ask him anything else.

Ella flinched as the door closed, instantly regretting her question. She could not erase the pain she had seen flash across Jaxon’s face. She rose to follow him and apologize, but fell to the ground as her head started pounding. Fresh tears rolled down her face as foggy memories started to flash in her mind. She clutched her splitting head and thrashed on the floor. The pain of remembering threatened to consume her. It dulled the physical pain from her head. As the memories rushed back, she understood the pain on Jaxon’s face.

Hot thick tears rushed down her cheeks as images of her husband and child flashed in front of her. She would never see them again, she was sure they were totally fine with that. She remembered everything and Phlagset was right, it was horrible. The pain subsided, only to be replaced by body wracking sobs. She had to get back to her family and make it up to them. 

She may have served her time, but she knew she had yet to pay her dues. Ella silently swore that she would find a way back and she would fix what she had broken. If she could be sent to this dimension, she could be sent back. She pulled herself onto her lumpy bed and started to formulate a plan.