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First person

Hats

Setting: ?
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy tale
Summary: Everybody knows that a magic cap makes you invisible. And some people know how.
Notes: Prompted by Ellen Million
Words: 100

Improper Breakfast

Setting: Real World
Genre: Slice of Life
Summary: Two people have rather different ideas about breakfast
Notes/warnings: none
Words: 100

Zenith

People think I’m crazy, usually even when I try to explain to them why I like getting shot out of a cannon. Sure, the rush of acceleration when the propellant explosion hits you is a huge rush of excitement, too. But the best part is the high point.

See, something shot from a cannon travels in an arc, and between the way up and the way down there is a moment of weightlessness. Everything just seems to stop, and I can take a long second to enjoy the view.

Bloody good aim is important, sure. Can’t miss the net once.

Combining the prompts "Zenith" from Aldersprig and "Zany" from Tara Tyler.

tagged Daaren

Chained

Pain all over. Want dark-den.

Humans. Want to bite them. Fear. Bite, they hurt.

Chains drag on collar, outside, can’t run.

More humans. Too many. Loud. Smell bad fear, anger.

One comes near. Challenges chain-humans. Snarls, no bites.

Human pack angry at chain-humans. They fear now. Turn tails.

Challenger makes calm noises. Quiet. Touch gentle. Makes chains fall. Pulls me away, to place without other humans.

Want to run, but weak. Afraid.

Challenger takes collar.

Less pain.

Quiet. Safety.

I change. No fur, but hands. This is me, too.

My voice is hoarse with disuse. “Thank you.”

So, I'm attempting the April A to Z challenge, with fiction with at most 100 words. "C is for Chained" came from Royce Day. If you have prompts for later in the alphabet, please give them to me.

Aviatrix

Of course I remember that flight.

The change in the headwind when the motor sped up, and the sheer volume of the machinery.

The lurch when the flyer lifted off its rail was more familiar, from the unpowered models I’d piloted.

Over-sensitive controls exaggerated small motions, so the flyer leapt in the air roughly. At least the altitude would mean greater distance.

After the landing, the pride and hope in my mother’s eyes burned. Maybe now we could get a sponsor for a lighter motor, a craft that could carry a grown-up, rather than a twelve yearold girl.

So, I'm attempting the April A to Z challenge, with fiction with at most 100 words. "A is for Aviatrix came from Royce Day. B is written, too, but if you have prompts for later in the alphabet, please give them to me.

tagged Contemporary Fantasy

Just On Paper

I couldn’t listen to Jelena planning to push for prosecution for long; it was too painful. “Please just let it lie.”

She skewered me with a look as if I had been the one who’d killed her brother. “Instincts or not, they are still bound by laws. He was murdered, and no-one’s interested!”

“Jelena, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. Pushing will do no good. You know what’ll happen? They’ll point out he went drinking and stayed out too late. They’ll say he should have been at home that night, or at the very least gone by car, not on foot. They’ll say he must have been pulling tails or picking fights, call him a troublemaker.”

I’d talked myself into a rage, too, and bit my tongue on it, turning away from Jelena’s wide, scared, and still furious eyes.

She said, slowly, “He did not—”

“I know. I know. I’m sorry.” I knew how it hurt, and I didn’t want her to go through the same. “I hate it, too, but that’s how it works. What people who knew him say doesn’t matter to most officers, or attorneys, or judges—or reporters, for that matter. What those that count will say is, a monomorph going out on full moon nights is asking for trouble.” Maybe my words were swaying her, or maybe not. Considering that it was her life… “Just think carefully about what you would be going into before deciding, all right?”

Inspired by the prompt "What about the rights of people who *don't* change in a world were were-_____ people have been the majority for most of recorded history?" by LilFluff

Nightmare

I walk through a forest, the cool breath of leaves familiar and soothing. For a short time a flowering tree’s perfume overpowers the subtler smells of soil and growth. It lingers.

It takes me a while to realise that the air changed afterwards, a trace of rot and fever tainting the air. Looking for a way back I see the colours and shapes have shifted. I could still name the species, but theyy all look like they have grown slightly off.

There is no trace of my passage, no way back. I swallow a lump that sits in my stomach cold as stone, and walk on. The forest is not big.

I notice brighter light just before I squeeze between two bushes that don’t quite touch yet. The clearing beyond smells of fresh green, and only the contrast with my last breath shows me how poisonous the air had gotten.

There is a waterfall veiling a cliff, feeding a small lake. I step to the water’s edge. There is no ripple, even though there should be.

I should not touch this.

I take a step back without thinking. My reflection rises from the water, smiling wickedly, its hands behind its back. It opens its mouth and I turn to run, behind me a trilling birdcall breaking from my reflection’s throat, loud enough to hurt my ears.

Something trips me. I try to get my feet under me, but there’s something around my ankle - a black hand. I kick at my shadow’s head as it gains dimension, but my foot passes right through it, kick at the fingers curled around my leg, but my boot passes through my shadow, only scraping my own skin.

My shadow, black but half-transparent, featureless, crawls over me and pins me down.

My reflection walks up to me, one foot in front of the other, and smiles. “Well done, sister.”
I buck and scream, but they ignore me.

My reflection brings her hands to her front. She’s holding two iron spikes and a hammer. I freeze in panic. To her my shdow has no substance, either; she bends down through it and drives one spike through my heart, into the ground. My heart stops, I can’t breathe, I can’t move; the world turns silent. All that’s left are my thoughts. Why am I not dead yet?

After stroking my face, saying gentle words, my reflection drives the other spike through my skull, in between the eyes, out of the back of my head, into the ground.

Time shatters. No thoughts, no breath, no control. Only pain and fear that will not end.

tagged Gods

War Practises Diplomacy

Death herself met me at her gate. She did not say anything, just crossed her arms and glared. I would have liked to cut the old crone to pieces right then and there, but kept my cool. She makes her own rules in her realm.

“Look, I still don’t think that fighting Law was a bad idea, OK?” Her brainchildren, particularly peace treaties, had ruined a lot of my work.

Death’s eyebrows went up and she tilted her head a little. At least she did not start tapping her foot.

“But, in hindsight, I’m afraid, in a way… killing her turned out, eventually, to be a mistake.” When all humans stopped pretending to humour those pesky international laws, conflicts had become much more interesting. But after things went on for a while like that, there weren’t enough humans left to wage a good war anymore.

Finally Death opened her mouth. “So you’re here to ask me to break the law, on behalf of Law, to bring her back to the world.” I swear to anything you want she was amused.

“Is that a problem?”

“She might refuse, on principle.”

Yes, now that she mentioned it, Law might be stupid like that. I covered my eyes, wondering how long it would take to build up a new civilisation capable of building weapons of mass destruction. Particularly with Law missing. She had been more important than I’d realised, the surge of mutinies had shown.

“But,” Death said, “I might throw her out regardless. Let’s have some tea and discuss terms.”

She was enjoying this too much to be bluffing. And that, folks, is why it’s important being able to mind your manners: sometimes you have to.

Inspired by the prompt "I fought the law and it was a bad idea" by Becky Allen

tagged Science fiction Identity

Identity Theft

When I woke up in what laid claim to the lofty label of “clinic”, I took it slow. The nerves of the used-new body needed a little time and practise to work together well with my old brain. When the pins-and-needles feeling crested, I started wiggling my fingers and toes. Working up from there, I met no problems. At some point my doctor-technician arrived, but she didn’t rush me. I paid her enough.

The new body was a pretty standard model, outwardly human, black hair and almond eyes. Shorter than my old one, I was reminded when sitting up on the edge of the bed left my feet dangling high in the air, but I’d get used to it. I liked the point symmetry of the ID that came with it, the main components swashes over the left temple and right jaw. I rubbed over those lines, even though the skin there did not feel different, which prompted the doc to ask a question.

“Want to test yourself if the re-keying worked?” the doc said.

I shook my head. “I trust you.” Close enough, anyway. And if she wanted to fool me, she could have rigged the test equipment.

“Thanks. We had no problems with the other brain, either. Everything as you requested.” Keyed to my old ID, transplanted to my old body, motor functions disabled.

“Very good.” I would arrange an accident. With just a little more record-cooking, I would be dead.

A completely different man with no family and friends, whose social anxiety had got so bad he had even stopped seeing his shrink, would start over. Background like that is why you pick a mark. The nice ID was just a bonus.

The title was a prompt by Becca Stareyes

You stayed with me

You stayed with me.

At first I feared you might be playing, and planning to leave me for the fun of it, but I was wrong. You stayed with me.

I went home to a world you never saw, and you stayed with me.

I slipped back into a place that was waiting for me, where we had to find and make one for you, and you stayed with me.

I remembered the gods you had served, and I was afraid they would call you back, but you stayed with me.

Deep inside, that fear and doubt smouldered, only winking out and cooling as our first grandchild grew up. I hope I hid them well enough. I never wanted to hurt you.

You watched me age, at twice your pace, and you stayed with me.

You were always there for me.

I cannot thank you enough.

I'm sorry I can't stay.

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