Category Archives: fantasy-magic

Friday Flash: Caveat

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When Jeanine cracked open the glowstick, she never expected this.

Sure, the package had been plastered with warnings. What product wasn’t covered in caveats these days? So the warnings and dire predictions of doom became virtually invisible to the masses of consumers exposed to them. Like so many others, Jeanine ceased to see actual words anymore, or they just bypassed her consciousness and filed themselves in the back of her mind along with useless trivia like knowing George Washington had wooden teeth or Ketchup was neither fruit nor vegetable.

The warnings had been there, but she had discounted them.

Now she looked at her glowing hands in dismay. She had used the glowstick at her own peril, and the caveat had been right. Though she had washed her hand once the fluorescent liquid had touch the skin of her palm, it had done no good. With budding horror, she watched the golden incandescence advance to her digits, creep up her arm, and slowly spread throughout her body. Even her clothes glowed in the pale moonlight. What had she been thinking? So what if the substance was non toxic? The momentary necessity to see what she was doing had doomed her utterly.

She had become a beacon to the dark things lurking in the moonless night. She listened to the howling in the distance and shivered.

 

*This was originally written for the six minute story site, but I wanted to devote more time to it. Let’s face it. The last few times I’ve written six minute stories, I’ve deleted them and worked what I had into something more. I cheated. But I’m unrepentant. The site serves as great inspiration, and even though the timer ran out on me, I’ve gotten some great stories from it. If you haven’t already, you should check it out. :)

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Friday Flash: The Most Massively Useful Thing

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What sort of woman was she? She’d known how to swim for as long as she could remember. When she was growing up, her parents had been hard-pressed to get her to spend more time out of the water, but what of that? Plenty of people loved the water, whether it was oceans teeming with fish, a backyard pool, a public beach, or even running through sprinklers. Many people went skinny-dipping too, but not always in such a public place.

Of course, her relative isolation at the time had appealed to her inner tadpole. How could she resist waters so tranquil and clear? However, that was before the schoolbus arrived, teachers and children chattering about spending time at the Castle. Someone took her clothes. When the Castle closed, they would leave, she’d dash to her car and… damn. Her keys were in her missing pants. Still, it was late, the kids should be leaving soon…

That was, of course, before she knew about the fireworks.

As the sun slowly sunk into the horizon, darkness descended, and Kate hid against a log floating some distance from shore. She retreated underwater once the children gathered on her previous hiding spot, the pier. Though there were no boats, the wooden structure jutted out into the water, and schoolchildren sat dangling their legs along its edge. She gazed resentfully at them with their flashlights and sparklers. They oohed and ahhhed at the fireworks lighting up the heavens.

“Nice show, ain’t it?” came a voice from beside her in the water.

Kate gasped, the beginnings of a scream forming as the man swimming beside her clasped his hand over her mouth. “Shhhhhhh,” he said, pressing one webbed finger over his mouth. “Don’ wanna alarm the kiddies, do we?”

She shot a look at the shore. Teachers and children happily chatted, pointing out the display in the night sky. Luckily the fireworks noise had covered their conversation, plus they were a fair distance from shore. Kate began to wonder how lucky she really was.

Though it was difficult to tell in the light shed by the differing hues of fireworks, the man had light green, shining skin, scaled slightly along his hairline and the edges of his fingers and hands. Flowing green hair floated behind him, and his eyes were two pools of darkness she felt she could easily fall into for the rest of her life. His facial features were angelic. She continued to gape as he watched the display.

“Eh, don’t mind me, chicky. Just wanted a bit o’ company, din’t I?” continued the man, unphased. “No fun watching a show by meself, ist?”  The gills along his sideburns opened and closed as he spoke. What kind of sense did that make? Also, what the hell was his accent? Merman-cockney?

Was she hallucinating?

“I… you speak English?” she said, feeling stupid.

“Well, couldn’t resist meeting a sweet lil’ catch like youself, could I?” he continued. “I hafta say, you a beauty, aintcha?”

Despite the water’s cool, Kate felt the heat rise to her face as she realized exactly what “beauty” he meant. She suddenly had the horrible suspicion it wasn’t fish nibbling at her feet and legs earlier. A large fin bumped against her thigh, and she yelped. Though the merman continued watching the atmospheric display, she detected a smirk during one brief moment of illumination.

Oh, what the hell, she thought, resigning herself to madness. If she was hallucinating, what else could she do?

“Look, I sort of got stuck out here,” she replied, unable to think of anything else to say. “I need to cover up, so I can get out of the water and go home.”

“Cover up?” Now it was the merman’s turn to gape. “Why the bloody ‘ell ‘ou wanna doa thing like that for?” He dipped beneath the water, then came back up. “I mean, lookatcha!”

Kate bit her lip in frustration. Maybe she could just run past the kiddies. I mean, could streaking through a crowd of middle-schoolers really be worse than this?

Before she could form a reply, the merman disappeared beneath the water again. She stayed as still as she dared, hoping he wasn’t ogling her from below. After awhile, she began to wonder if he was coming back. Had she scared him off? She contemplated that streaking scenario again. Would these fireworks never end?

The merman suddenly emerged beside her holding, with an air of triumph, a soaking paisley beach towel. “There! That do?” he asked, handing her the sopping material, a knight bestowing his most treasured possession upon his lady.

“To dry off with?” asked a bewildered Kate.

The merman emitted a childish giggle. It was quite endearing, almost innocent. “Naw, sweets. I mean, you seem to wanna cover up them beautiful boobies and buttox and all dat. I still don’ unnerstand, but whatev’ you need, love.” The giant fin brushed against her thigh again.

“Uh, thanks…?” said Kate. “Why do you have a towel? Er…”

“‘Name’s Carl, sweets,” replied the merman. “I nicked it, dint I? People leave all things along the shore, don’t they? If you ever in the neighbor’ood…” He winked, slid gracefully beneath the water, and disappeared.

Kate waited for another thigh bump, which never came, and firmly refused to admit she was the tiniest bit disappointed. Maybe Carl wasn’t such a bad guy after all. He did bring her a towel, though she began to have different suspicions about her clothes’ disappearance. Still, it wasn’t every day she met a merperson. She smiled, wrapped the heavy towel around her body, and made her way to shore.

 

*This story was inspired by a photo prompt at the six minute story site. I decided this needed more time and editing. Since May 25th is Towel Day, I combined the photo prompt with my personal challenge to include something about towels and flashing, all in honor of Douglas Adams and #FridayFlash. I hope you enjoy the result!

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Filed under fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #24 – “First Flight”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“First Flight”

 

Butterflies

in my stomach

as I walk the ramp,

board the plane,

the great iron bird whose weight defies gravity.

Taking my seat, I strap myself in,

pulling the cloth tighter and tighter

as though that thin strip

could keep me in the sky

if all else failed.

The pressure rises,

ears pop, blood races

as I struggle to not look out the window,

I vainly seek distraction

in the pages of a pulp fiction novel

as the world drops from beneath my feet.

 

Breathing rapidly,

I fix my gaze upon the pages,

my mind reaching out to the characters

who reach back to me.

I start

as a paper-thin hand

grasps my thumb.

A face pushes

against the book’s surface

as another hand lifts itself from the page,

pressing one inky finger against paper lips.

Taking the hint,

I glance at my fellow passengers

immersed in their own worlds,

oblivious to mine,

and I snap the book shut.

 

Fear of flying

is no longer my biggest problem.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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Filed under fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, poems, Writing Corner

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Day #10 – “Beware of Catching Magic Fish”

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The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.

Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.

 

#

“Beware of Catching Magic Fish”

 

The setting sun that twilight

cast a glow of red and orange

upon the clouds and lake, unlike

the muskellunge –

 

the ugly pike – yet shining silver,

dying sunlight caught within his scales –

whose appearance augers

the death of whales

 

and men, marriages and kings.

For this single muskie was special.

The magic metal,

flashing ring,

 

within his mouth

lined with needlesharp teeth

promised wealth,

but bequeathed

 

to whoever dared

to catch the flickering fish

only ill. Be wary, fisherman, and scared,

for what you wish

 

may bring you nothing good.

The price may be too high to pay,

for the muskie would

rather live to wish another day

 

than end up on your hook or in your net.

This particular fish, was once husband

to a powerful witch. Yet

when he strayed and disbanded

 

their union, she made sure

he carried the symbol of

his betrayal to lure

two legged predators who love

 

the shining metal ring more than the life

of a single, cursed fish. Those who caught

her one-time spouse were caught

themselves, the vengeance of a scorned wife

 

who yet would not suffer anyone

to harm him but herself. He must always be,

doomed to the sea, caught and freed, bringing none

of good to those who seek him, only agony.

 

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,

and if she be a witch, well… you’ve been warned.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Friday Flash: Pucked Up

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Puck looked at the watch and pondered the nature of time.

 

It was almost as fickle as he was.

 

What marriage – or a good binding-spell brought on by too much drink and a serious lack of judgement – had bound together, time would tear asunder. At least it would if Puck had anything to do with it. Robin Goodfellow was not a fairy that would remain tied by one woman for long, no matter how fun that bondage might be.

 

Belching loudly, he sat up, snapped his fingers and produced two ice-cold cans of his favorite fizzy intoxicant. Crumpling and tossing the empties, he re-loaded his beercap, then stood, scratched his hairy belly and brooded over his newly acquired wife.

 

Buttercup lay frozen on the flowery bed, a beatific smile lightened features that would otherwise have appeared harsh in the early morning light. No, who was he kidding? She looked angelic, no matter how much spandex she was wearing. Still, if he was tied to her by the terms of her nefarious binding-spell until “the end of time,” the obvious solution was to stop time, right?

 

Puck contemplated the charmed silver band that graced his finger. Buttercup had been many things, but a fool was not one of them. In fact, he might even go so far as to say she was as shrewd and knavish as himself, a perfect match. So his solution seemed almost too easy. Was it another trap?

 

However, Robin Goodfellow was not known for his caution. Snagging the watch from the fairy king had been risky, but he knew his boss would be too busy ‘making up’ with Titania to notice its absence. He removed the magically-binding wedding ring, then turned to face his lovely bride. He’d make the bitch pay, but there was no reason her punishment couldn’t also be fun for them both. He pressed a button on the watch’s side.

 

Time once more in motion, his blushing bride opened her eyes, her smile slowly widening as she took in his appearance.

 

“Hello, darling,” she said. “Want to play?”

 

#

*Today’s #FridayFlash is an expansion of a flash I wrote at the six minute story site. The kernel of the story is still there.

 

**Also, though it’s meant to be able to stand alone, it’s a sequel to an earlier flash I wrote, Puck’s Surprise.

 

***image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Filed under Fairy Tales, fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, mythology

Friday Flash: Inspiration

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She wrote her story idea on her hand when nothing else was handy – no paper, no cell phone to type in notes or record herself a message. The ink stained her palm, and she worried that the words would wash away before she could capture them more permanently. She rested her hand against the wall, and the blue ink reproached her.

Her muse hid behind a beam and giggled. He played hide and seek.

What sort of pervert was he anyway?  The idea, most likely promoted by male writers, that muses were only female was absurd. Maybe they had started out as sisters, but over time their male heirs started taking on the family business. Her muse was definitely male. And a real bugger too.

She’d developed a few tricks of her own over the years. Her cell was loaded with notebook applications for jotting down ideas, and a voice recorder for when writing was too cumbersome. Even then, he sometimes got the better of her. Once, sitting between her husband and son watching a video, inspiration struck. While her husband worked on his laptop, something he frequently did while the family watched television, she managed to squeeze the phone out of her pocket (it was wedged between her and her sleeping son). She carefully tapped the screen twice to start the app, then whispered her idea into the mike of her phone. “Do you mind? I’m trying to type,” her husband said.

Yet, when she sat in front of her keyboard, straining for ideas, then the muse was nowhere to be found. She’d go outside, go for a walk, do anything where it was inconvenient to write down any inspiration, and lo! He snuck up behind her, whispered in her ear, and disappeared before she could turn around.

He also played peekaboo. The bastard.

She didn’t think anyone knew where writers got their ideas, especially the writers. Inspiration snuck up on them when they weren’t looking, yet disappeared when they longed for its cool touch.

Yep, definitely a man.

*

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com
**In case anyone misinterprets this, I am NOT being sexist here. Just a humorous look at someone complaining about sexism while being sexist herself. Muses can be irritating no matter what their gender, but I still hope mine stays around!

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(REMOVED) Friday Flash: Mirror

This post has been removed so the story may be published somewhere else. Thank you for your time, and have a great day!

 

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Friday Flash: All Happy Families

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All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

 

What a load of rubbish.

 

Georgia was willing to bet that most ‘happy’ families were not happy, merely appeared so to outside observers. At least, this was true for her own family. Sure, she was gifted with looks, wealth, and plenteous magical abilities, but all that meant was you had more to worry about losing. Were her friends really interested in her or simply what she could do for them? It was like the lottery. Once you won, you had more friends than you could count, but were they really?

 

In a way, it was worse, because she had no basis upon which to judge. At least lottery winners could reasonably suspect that strangers suddenly turned chums might be posers. But the lottery of life had been in her favor since birth. Her father was a powerful wizard, her mother a wealthy socialite and self-funded superhero. None of that hidden identity nonsense from them, they didn’t believe in it. But oh, how Georgia wished they did.

 

She fiddled with the chemistry set her best friend, Montana, had given her for her sixteenth birthday. Another unfortunately-famous child, her parents were equally well-known, though in a different way. She felt, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that at least Montana could be trusted. Well, with one glaring exception.

 

“So… when do you think your dad is getting out of super-prison?” asked Georgia, mixing another potion in the transparent, glass beaker.

 

“I don’t know,” Montana fumed. “It’s bad enough that he hasn’t been there for most of my birthdays, but you think he’d at least want to be there for my sweet sixteen!”

 

“Well, it’s not for another month,” said Georgia, consulting her father’s secret potion book, the one she’d snagged from the crystal cave below their mansion. He may have been a master of the mystical arts, but he was crap at keeping secrets – from her, at least. A few magical phrases and she’d easily enchanted her way into his “secret” workshop. She dropped a bit of purple dust into the beaker, a miniature rainbow briefly poofed above the glass container, and a tiny dove the size of a pencil-eraser flew out of its liquid contents before the colored prism dissolved back into the glass. “And he’s been on good behavior, right? Maybe the parol committee will cut him some slack.”

 

“Hmmm,” said Montana, observing the tiny display thoughtfully. “I think it needs more cinnamon.” She leaned back and grabbed a bottle from the spice rack they had borrowed from the kitchen. “But maybe you’re right. There haven’t been any incidents, other than that toad thing – which hardly counts.”  She added the cinnamon to the potion, but nothing happened.

 

“And that was just a small incident, right?” said Georgia cheerfully. “I mean, he didn’t really hurt the guy.” She shook the beaker and frowned at its contents.

 

“Well, he threatened to dissect him, but nothing ever came of it.” Montana took the spell book from her friend, tracing the spine with her finger as her eyes skimmed the book’s contents.

 

“So he changed him back?” asked Georgia, putting down the glass container.

 

“Nope,” mused Montana, glancing up from the page before her. “He said the guy was more agreeable that way. Besides, there’s worse things that can happen then getting turned into a toad.”

 

“Hey!” said Georgia brightly, “I’ve got an idea. We haven’t included nearly enough Ingredient X in this. Just a sec, I think my mom left some in her lab.” Quickly, the girl exited the room, leaving Montana to brood over her father’s fate. Only two weeks left until her sweet sixteen. Why did the bastard have to knock over that billionaire’s cruiseship? So what if it would have funded his research. She wanted him with her. She was his daughter. She deserved to have her father around, even if he was a brilliant, insane, amoral scientist.

 

“Got it!”  Georgia plopped back down on the plush carpet and added Ingredient X to the beaker. When purple foam began to overflow the glass container, she joined hands with her best friend, and they began chanting.

 

Soon, the foam dissolved into a small rainbow-colored unicorn with brightly sparkling wings, but the girls continued chanting. Montana smiled. She’d never been much of a girly-girl, but if that was what her friend wanted on to give her for her birthday…  “Congratulations,” she said. “It’s a… horned pegasus?”

 

Georgia grinned broadly. “You mean, it’s an escape plan.” She thought directions to the tiny creature. The glittering horn drew a large oval on the container’s side, which burned away like acid, then delicately stepped outside and laid down in front of Montana. “He can help your father get out for your birthday,” she said. “Do you think I’d let my one and only friend be sad on her special day?”

 

Montana gasped in feigned astonishment, even forgiving her friend for calling her birthday her “special day” – what was she, five? She hugged her tightly. “And he’d have to go back afterwards?”

 

“Well, of course,” answered Georgia. “We can’t have him running around unsupervised. It’d be far too dangerous.” She didn’t have the heart to tell her friend that the tiny little monster would dissolve shortly after it helped her father escape. For a girl with dastardly parents, Montana was far too kind-hearted.

 

“Of course,” said Montana, contemplating how to hide her father without her friend catching on. She would never send her father back to prison. However, with her burgeoning superpowers, she felt confident she could control him. Implanting the escape plan in Georgia’s mind had been easy enough, and – after all – he was far older than her friend.

 

Montana grinned, contemplating all the while how she could use her developing mind control powers to help make the world a better place. Hell, at the rate her abilities were progressing, she might even be able to use them to make everyone happy.

 

All it would take was a little concentration.

 

 

 

 

***I’ve decided to write several flash stories that are inspired by famous first lines. This one is inspired by the first line in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
*Image courtesy of Horia Varlan via Flickr using a Creative Commons license.

 

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Filed under fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, Super Villians/Mad Scientists, SuperHeroes

Friday Flash: Fame

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This week’s #FridayFlash is a stand-alone I wrote for SixMinuteStory.com. I had a bit of technical difficulty, so it’s really more of a 12-minute story inspired by 2 prompts from the site. ‘Fame’ is copyrighted through Creative Commons (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0), and I made some minor formatting corrections. The story itself is posted as my #FridayFlash in addition to my regularly scheduled installment of Pinholes. Enjoy!

Fame

Rudolph ran as fast as his four legs would carry him. He had run out of fairy dust over a remote forest, and unfortunately it was deer season.

The celebrity found it hard to blend in with his shiny nose. In fact, it was damn near impossible. His snoz glowed like a blinking beacon, one the hunting party was only too glad to follow. He heard a voice, not far off, call, “I see him over here, boys!”

Damnation, but they were close!

Rudolph searched the area. Could he pull the ol’ mud over the nose trick again? No, who was he fooling? He might as well admit his time was up. He kept running though, out of habit rather than hope. What else could he do?

Then, just ahead, salvation! A homely cottage in the near distance, invitingly close, with a fence and – thank Santa! – a bright red sign that said, “No Hunters Allowed.” Above the door he could make out the words, “Happy Home Animal Shelter.”

A lovely woman with scarlet hair beckoned him inside the fence. “Quick, dear, before they find you! You’ll be safe here!”

The calls close behind him, Rudolph ran inside the gate. He wanted to thank the woman for her hospitality, but he didn’t know what to say. She turned to him, smiling broadly. “You don’t need to thank me, dear,” she said. “You must be hungry after running so hard…”

Why could he no longer hear the hunters? He glanced at the cottage. Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, he noticed more details. The candy-colored shutters, the aromatic smell of gingerbread…

He turned a questioning eye upon the woman, whose smile turned feral.

The gate shut behind him.

Dammit.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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Friday Flash: Cloud 9- Terminus

The muses run Cloud 9, the divine repository of inspirations, under the benevolent dictatorship of Hermes – messenger of the gods. The Olympians, devoted nepotists, almost exclusively hire their many and varied family members. The divine and semi-divine collaborate, stock, check-out, and deliver the inspirations of Cloud 9 to the world.

Hades found Helena arguing with her half-brother, Alien Love Child, and her supervisor, Hermes. She waved her fountain pen in front of them, like a conductor of words. “Armageddon!” she exclaimed. “Don’t you see the risks?”

The iridescent alien’s skin paled to a pale green; he covered his eyes with several tentacles.

Hermes smirked. He popped some Jordan almonds into his mouth before responding. “But you said yourself that dangerous ideas can change the world in wonderful ways. We just need to be aware of the risks.”

“ARE you?” countered Helena.

“Of course,” said Hermes. “Nothing gets past me.”

Helena’s gaze raked the room. Her half-alien brother, AL, withdrew behind a large winged-back chair. Morpheus gaped at both Hermes and Helena. From behind bookshelves in the room’s far corner, a dark-haired figure grinned.

That is, until he spotted Hades in the doorway.

“Where is that misanthropic son of mine?”

All figures turned to watch the dark, imposing god that stood in the doorway. He turned flaming eyes to the far corner of the room, extended one thin finger, and bent it toward him. “Nicholas,” he said, his tone low and dangerously smooth. “Daddy has some issues to discuss with you.”

The pale boy made his way forward, a convict on his last walk to the gallows, a trail of tissues in his wake. “Yes, Father?”

“Don’t give me that,” said Hades, looming over the boy. “I know what you’ve been up to.”

“So do I,” chimed in Hermes, wearing a 14-carat smile.

“Well, I don’t!” said Helena.

“Watch it, sweetheart,” said Hermes, with a warning glance toward Hades. “The lord of the dead isn’t as indulgent of subordinates as I am.”

Now Helena’s mouth hung open, matching that of Morpheus; the god of sleep stood frozen between Hermes and Hades as though struck by lightning.

“Direct supervisor; remember?” said Hermes, with a wink.

“Nicholas,” said the dark lord, “I think you have some explaining to do.”

“Armageddon?” squeaked Morpheus, finally finding his tongue. “What in Hades-”

“Yes?” answered the dark lord. “Oh, I should have known you’d come running here to…” He made a dismissive gesture toward the room’s other occupants.

“I’m so sorry, Hermes,” said Morpheus, clutching his friend’s arm. “I had no idea.”

“But HE did,” said Helena, watching the messenger god. “You knew all along; didn’t you, Hermes?” She pulled a candy square from the recesses of her pink, ruffled sweater and popped it in her mouth.

Hermes’ self-satisfaction was evident.

Hades grinned also, but the pale, thin figure in his shadow glowered at the messenger god. “How did you know?” he asked.

Helena, Alien Love Child, and the others leaned in.

Hermes reclined behind his mahogany desk, hands behind his head. “Easy, my dear comrades. INK.”

They exchanged puzzled expressions.

“Squid ink, people… from Alien Love Child!” He shot the alien figure an apologetic look. “Sorry, buddy, but when you compose inspirations using your own ink… it’s kind of a giveaway.”

Again, puzzled expressions.

“Squid ink has a bit of an odor, doesn’t wash off well.”

Now Alien Love Child’s skin bloomed crimson.

“But I had Morpheus deliver the inspiration to you,” said Nicholas, glaring at the god through red-rimmed eyes.

“Well, the parchment he showed me… nice dress by the way, buddy.”

He nudged the god, and Morpheus blushed.

“The ink was splotched in places,” said Hermes. “I know you have issues, Nic, but if you’re planning something dastardly, make sure you don’t leak all over the evidence.”

Now it was Nicholas’ turn to blush. He shot Helena a sheepish look.

All eyes turned to the bestial beauty. “What?” she asked.

“Tears,” said Nicholas. “I… I…” He shrugged and handed her a crumpled notebook.

She read:

The beast never lived that was as beautiful as Helena,

When I first saw her face, that’s when I fell in love-ena.”

She looked up. “I had no idea…”

“But if you loved her, why would you try to destroy everyone? I mean…,” Morpheus looked around. “She’s part of everyone; right?”

AL put a protective tentacle around Helena’s shoulder, which made unattractive, squelching noises as suckers hit pink taffeta.

“I don’t know WHY,” confessed Hermes. “But it’s obvious. He’s always moping along, giving her dopey looks behind her back…”

“He has allergies,” said Hades, meeting everyone’s startled expressions. “What! You think he cries constantly for no reason?” He looked at his son. “OK, yes, that too, but he’s allergic to fur.”

“Our love was doomed,” pleaded Nicholas, sniffling into a tissue. “If I couldn’t have you…”

“You decided to DESTROY me? Along with everyone else?”

Nicholas shrunk behind his father, who said, “My son has a taste for melodrama. His mother is muse of tragedy, after all.”

“And speaking of tragic,” said Hermes. “Fell in love-ena? Ye gods, what were you thinking?”

Nicholas lunged for the messenger god, but his father caught his jacket. “Whoa there, son!” Nicholas panted with anger and exertion. “Don’t worry, boy. You have a taste for tragedy? When I tell your mother, you’ll be starring in your very own.”

Hades turned and – pulling the struggling boy behind him – disappeared through the doorway. Little puffs of steam fell from the hankies left in their wake.

“You won’t punish my brother; will you?” Helena asked Hermes.

“Don’t worry about it, kid,” said Hermes. “It’s not his fault; he just gave it to Nic to file.”

“I TOLD YOU filing was important,” said Helena, smacking the alien, then giving him an affectionate nuzzle. Slime trailed from her furry cheeks to his own gelatinous ones.

Morpheus began, “Buddy, I…” Upon seeing Hermes, he broke out in a matching grin. “Duuuuuude! You got me!”

“True,” said Hermes, draping an arm over his friend’s shoulder. “And you know what else I got for you? The perfect woman. I told you… nothing gets past me.” He winked.

THE END

I hope you enjoyed my Friday Flash. This is the final installment of my ‘Cloud 9′ series. My intent was for each flash to stand on its own, yet fit into the larger whole. To this end, I added short introductions (that appeared before each). I realize this final story might not stand on its own, but I hope it still ‘worked’ within the larger story. Feedback is both welcomed and appreciated.

**image courtesy of UW Digital Collections via The Commons at Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

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