For the last several weeks, we've been collecting entries in our Short Work Writing Contest, inspired by the Mythical Doorways Anthology (which releases today! Get your copy here). We now have some awesome entries. You can read through them below then vote on your favorites using the link at the bottom of the entries.
Be sure to note the NUMBER of your favorite, as that will be how you identify it.
Remember there are two groups, one for writers who are 16+ in age, and one for writers 15 and under. You can vote ONCE per each age category. Voting starts now and runs through April 3rd!
by A. M. Reynwood
The door creaked open, but Lianne hastened to close it again, pulling firmly on the latch this time to make sure it stayed shut. She then tiptoed across the floor, careful to step over the squeaky board, back to the hearth. Its fire had long since died, the ashes cold and gray as dove down. A dreadful sight in any home, but times were different now. This couldn't be home for much longer.
A quiet whimper sounded from the cradle nearby, its wood shaped and carved by hands far more skilled than her own; a gift that would be left behind. Turned to splinters. Burned. She knelt down and scooped the infant from his nest of blankets, held him close and rocked him back and forth.
"Hush, my little one," she whispered. "It's going to be all right. Your big, strong da will be coming soon to get us, and then we shall be far away from this place. So hush now, so the shadows can't hear. It won't be long." Lianne bent to press her lips against the babe's soft forehead, her dark hair falling in a curtain as though to hide their faces from the darkness that was descending.
Outside, the attack had already begun, its noise growing closer like the creeping flames of a blazing fire, seeking ever more fuel for its insatiable appetite. Screams and wails sounded muffled through the walls, the clattering of homes and businesses being overturned, the roaring of raging flames on dry tinder.
Lianne hunched lower to the floor, clutching the child all the more tightly. "It's going to be all right," she repeated in a murmur as tremulous as her heart. "Your da is coming to get us. He'll be here soon. The shadows won't fall on you, my little one. It'll be all right-"
The door crashed open. Lianne screamed. Boots pounded across the floor, hands grabbed Lianne, pulled her to her feet. She thrashed, but the hands held firm her shoulders. "Lianne!" the man's voice called. "Lianne, it's me. It's me. I'm sorry I'm late, I came as swiftly as I was able."
"Gydean?" Lianne whimpered. Seeing his face, she relaxed and fell into his chest, unable to speak for her tears.
He held her and the babe for the briefest of moments. "I know. I'm sorry. But we must hurry. They're almost here and we need to be gone before they see us." He ushered them through the door, set them before him on his horse and hastened down the crimson tinged streets. Even the sky was kindled with the fire of day's end. A day's end in smoke and death.
"Where are we going?" Lianne asked.
Gydean wrapped an arm securely around her, his other hand on the reins. "Back to Ophnai, where you'll be safe. I will then rejoin my command at the border. This is war, Lianne, and so help me I will end it."
by T.E. Bradford
The door creaked open.
“Is you about, Master Alby?”
Alby didn’t turn to look. He knew who stood in the doorway. “Yes, Crunch. I’m right here.” He pulled his bathrobe tighter around his shoulders.
“Master Vale is sent me. ‘Tell young Alby it’s time,’ he says. ‘Tell him come quick.’ So here I is to fetch ya.”
Alby’s fingers stopped moving. The pen left a trail of ink on the page.
All of the practice, all of the preparations they’d made had led to this moment. Excitement and terror mingled in his veins, turning them cold. The Empty Monster waited for him to come with eyes that dripped darkness.
“When he comes,” Master Vale’s words rang in his ears, “you must be there to meet him, else all is lost.”
Alby slapped his notebook shut, stuffing it into his backpack along with his pen. The yellow case at the bottom already had several pens and pencils, but it couldn’t hurt to have more.
Just in case.
“Let me get dressed…” His words died on his lips as he turned around.
Crunch—his large misshapen head framed in greenish hair that ran straight to his crookedly hunched shoulders—stared not at him, but back into the darkness he’d emerged from, eyes wide. Flashes of light scorched the shadows behind the door like silent fireworks.
“No time,” Alby whispered.
He struggled to pull the backpack on, fear gripping him like a fist. Sweat popped out on his forehead. From somewhere down the hall bed springs squealed. Alby held his breath, waiting to hear his grandmother’s voice call out, but nothing came. She must have turned over in her sleep.
“Dear God, please let her stay asleep until I get back,” he prayed. “Sarah too. Send their guardian angels to watch over them and keep them safe.”
He imagined his little sister’s face as she slept. He was doing this as much for her as for anyone. She’d been through so much already. They both had. More than anything he wanted to protect her. He was all she had left.
A barrage of flashes lit the room.
This was it.
Alby was as ready as he ever would be. He grabbed the flashlight from his nightstand and looked up as Crunch turned back to face him. His big, gray-green eyes were filled with shadows, as if they’d leaked out from behind the doorway.
His words were a rumble Alby felt more than heard.
“They will be if we don’t hurry,” Alby answered. “Come on. Let’s go.”
Crunch needed no urging. Alby followed, his slippers slapping on the wood floor as he rushed behind the hunched giant into his closet. There was a flutter of wind as they passed through the doorway. A sock flapped out, kicked by the air to land beside the bed. The blankets ruffled briefly, then stilled.
The closet door made no sound as it closed behind them.
by Kaycee Browning
The door creaked open and in strolled Lord Cloakhelm III of Natinshire. He wasn’t III nor was his name Cloakhelm, but he preferred III to Jr. and Cloakhelm to Blanket, and I don’t blame him.
“Someone needs to butter those hinges,” He said, casting a disdainful look at my door.
“Butter?” I asked.
“Oil, butter, same principle.” He swept his velvet cloak over his shoulder and seated himself on the other side of my desk.
“Principle?” I asked.
Lord Cloakhelm III huffed. “If one can make perfection a reality, one ought to. One owes it to one’s fellow man.”
I nodded. I didn’t agree with him. I squinted at my notes as though stunned by the profound revelation that “perfection=good”, but really, I was playing bingo with myself to see if his appearance matched my idea of him. I got velvet cloak, slicked hair, clean-shaven, barrel-esque physique, and one-eyebrow-higher-than-the-other correct, but I was wrong about haughty smile (he didn’t smile), oily skin (it looked well-moisturized, well done Lord Cloakhelm III), and handsome (he wasn’t ugly, but his face reminded me of a possum’s- cute, but decidedly unnerving).
“Your mere presence astounds,” I said. “Tell me more about your philosophies.”
“After you,” he replied.
I smiled. “I don’t have any philosophies.”
“Insulting others with obvious falsehoods falls short of perfection. I recognized your name. You’re the little historian causing such a fuss.”
I mimicked a bow. Difficult to do, whilst sitting in a chair, but I managed. “I’m honored you’ve heard of me. Heard, because if you had read of me you would know that I have no philosophies.”
Interestingly, the higher eyebrow went still higher. I grinned and continued. “I attack ancient scrolls, pilfer holy books, pickpocket those of lauded minds and shove it all together into my glorious hoard of impossible idealism. I’m no philosopher, my lord, I am a thief.”
Lord Cloakhelm III stood suddenly. The chair fell backward, and he glared at it, as though the poor thing were to blame for its tragic descent to the floor. He spun back to me. “You intend to use my philosophies, do you not? Imperfect rascal! Utterly!”
I stood, holding my hands up placatingly. I attempted seriousness. “My lord, there is no need to get angry. I would never use your philosophies so callously.”
He scrunched up his possum face and huffed. I couldn’t do it. I burst into laughter. “Fae king above! I would never use your philosophies for anything. The Theories of Perfection? The Duty of Lesser Men? Worthless rascal! Utterly!”
Maybe the mockery too much, but honestly, he’s a garbage human being.
I picked up my bingo sheet and waved it in his face. “I’m just having a bit of fun. A perfect day of leisure.”
He snatched the sheet and stormed from the room, slamming the door shut so hard it inched back open with a creeeeak. I chuckled and scribbled a note to myself.
Butter the door hinges.
by Adam Sevy
The door creaked open…
Ukin held her breath. She glanced back into her room--reserved for the Father’s birthing mothers who had recently delivered--to the form in her bed.
She hoped the Father’s guards would be fooled. The dungeon guard was easy to seduce into her mat. After he was tended to, she had--as planned--taken advantage of his relaxation. Stealing his discarded cudgel, she had knocked him unconscious. Only her adrenaline and desperation steadied her hand.
It was not steady after slicing his throat with his knife. She could not stop her hands from trembling as she had gathered his keys and covered him with her blanket. They still trembled as she held her bundle.
Eyes unblinking, Ukin turned and stared into the semi darkness of the dungeon. Nothing stirred. All she could see in the underground chamber was the sleeping forms of dozens of the Father’s illegitimate children--his growing bastard army.
A soft squeak pierced the silence, causing her to jump. Clutching tightly to her bundled infant, she hushed him quickly.
For my Bitel, she thought desperately, closing the door fast to avoid another creak. She hurried up the stairs out of the dungeon to the barred door, left locked by the seduced guard. With stolen keys, Ukin unlocked it. Her heart broke to lock it behind her, trapping the other women and their children below, but she knew that she would need as much of a head start as she could get.
Even if Bitel could not pass for a pure Senellian, and thus join the Gonzanian Priesthood, the Father will use him to grow his bastard army. Ukin was unsure of all the Father’s plans, but she would not have her child pulled in like she had been.
With Evi’s blessing, Ukin only had to hide from one patrolling guard. Night was still deep when she made it to the stables. Bitel began fussing, but gratefully the lowing of Jord Goats concealed them from the guard.
After feeding Bitel and lulling him asleep, Ukin saddled up one of the massive Goat Steeds. They were not native to her homeland, but she had been taught by her parents how to tend them when Jords traveled through. That was another life. Ukin knew she’d be condemned by her parents should she return.
She had been so naive wanting to see the world outside her small Senellian village. Life was not as she had anticipated. After only a year, she arrived desperate at a brothel. She had still been foolish enough to believe the promises of a wealthy man who offered to take her away from that life.
That was before she really knew the Father.
Scooping up Bitel and mounting the Goat, Ukin rode past the now sleeping guard into the night. Another blessing from Evi. In four days she would arrive at the Valley of the Departed. Even though she knew she’d be an outcast for her choices, it didn’t matter.
Bitel would be safe.
by V. Romas Burton
The door creaked opened as I watched Lyle's shoulders rise and fall one last time before he chose the blood red door on the right, walking through the threshold. The crowd waited, anticipation rising. The door slammed shut, sealing him in, never to be seen again.
"No!" I cried, causing only Schism's eyes to lock on to me.
The crowd stood in awe, then jumped at the chance to trade their hearts for Schism's magical doors. I didn't understand, couldn't understand. Tears streamed down my face as I was pushed and shoved by the lively mass.
Amongst the chaos, a dark presence surrounded itself around me, causing everything to move in slow motion. As if only inches away from my ear, Schism's voice whispered, "Don't worry little Addie, your time will come."
My tears ceased, eyes growing wide in horror as I backed away from the crowd, trying to get away from the hungry look in Schism's eyes. I did the only thing I could do; I ran.
The streets were crowded, filled with people trading their hearts for meaningless items, unaware of the monster in their presence. The sky became darker, the air growing colder, causing my flesh to rise in small bumps. My mind was racing with fear, distracting me from the rounded waist I barreled into.
"Adelaide," Governor Willow puffed through his black pipe, furrowing his thick white eyebrows at me. "You're not supposed to be here."
My tears created rivers down my cheeks, chilling my skin as an icy breeze breathed by. My chest heaved for oxygen, but was sliced by the cruel winter air that had begun its descent upon my home.
"I'm so sorry, Governor Willow," a serious voice above me said. "I was supposed to watch her while Lyle found an appropriate trade."
Confusion replaced my fear as I was being lifted off the ground and dusted off by hands I didn't recognize.
"Ah, Silas," the governor puffed again with a slight smirk, more like a grimace, coming to his lips. Being a veteran Reigner, he had lost most of his emotion with trade of becoming our wealthy governor. A small grimace was the only emotion he could give. "Very good. Well, make sure you get her back to Lyle. She's too young to be here."
"Right away, sir," the voice said again, wrapping an arm tightly around my shoulders.
I furrowed my brow. Lyle was gone. Didn't anyone realize this? Neither Governor Willow nor this stranger had the right to tell me what to do. They stood and watched as I lost the only thing I loved willingly leave me.
As soon as Governor Willow was out of sight, I shoved the stranger's hand off my shoulder and ran again.
"Hey, wait." I heard him call, but I didn't care. I didn't need someone to protect me from things I shouldn't see. It was too late. I had already seen too much.
by Deborah O'Carroll
The door creaked open. A tall, wobbling stack of parchment pattered into the room on little furry paws. At least, that’s what it looks like when your otter secretary comes into your office carrying the mail.
I’m a respectable young man and a magician, and nobody would believe me if I told them my life is tyrannized by an adorable otter.
I braced myself in my chair. “What is it today, Gavin?”
He scampered up the ramp plank onto my desk, where he dropped the sizable stack of parchment with a whump. Gavin’s bright black eyes blinked cheerfully through a storm of sudden dust. He hummed and twitched his whiskers.
“I don’t suppose you’d like to dust in here sometime,” I muttered, sorting through papers.
Gavin scribbled on the blotter with a feather pen as tall as himself: Not in my job description.
Then he stood hovering hopefully over the papers beside me, plumy feather pen waiting in one paw like an eager question mark.
Teaching Gavin to write was the best and worst thing I’d ever done. Best, because I really had needed a secretary. Worst, because he has this addiction to filling out forms. It’s his favorite thing in the worlds.
Magicians get all sorts of requests to do this or that: find a lost child or cat, speak about Enchanted Forest safety, fix the town square’s fountain, entertain at a party, and goodness knows what else. I do my best to keep up, but my schedule is full, and somebody keeps over-committing me.
The forms arrive in heaps, and Gavin is there waiting to fill them out. To save me time. Of course.
“Don’t have time for this party,” I grunted.
But they asked so nicely, Gavin scribbled. Why not?
“Why not,” I sighed, waving a hand in the air to make his scribbles vanish.
Gavin contentedly filled out the form: Would be happy to come. He signed my name.
I stared at an acknowledgment of thanks, for agreeing to enchant the Prime Minister’s office against thieves next week. “This will take ages. I don’t remember signing up for this.” I squinted suspiciously at Gavin’s innocent whiskery face. “You filled this one out without asking me, didn’t you?”
The pen scratched: You’d have done it anyway.
“That’s beside the point! Don’t let it happen again.”
Gavin nodded amiably, passing another request.
“Save the world?” I exclaimed. “I don’t have time to save the world! Look at my calendar!”
Gavin did—pinned to the wall (beside the clear water tank he swims in). Appointments filled every inch. He turned on me with the most hopeful, pleading expression.
I slumped in my chair in defeat. “Fine. Just this once. But don’t let it become a habit.”
Gavin bounced with joy, and happily began filling out the form with inky flourishes.
“And don’t come running to me when the Prime Minister yells at us for being late!”
Gavin nodded and beamed, scribbling away.
I’m definitely in for it.
by Lara Lee
The door creaked open, and the young blond merman peeked into the throne room of the grand underwater palace. Queen Oceanian sat on her large clam-shaped throne with her fishtail curled around her lazily. The mer-queen's unusual black hair floated around her in contrast to her brilliant silver armor and piercing emerald eyes. Her court and advisers were gathered this time for his meeting with the widowed ruler of the sea. Seated next to the imposing sovereign was a more petite prettier version of the monarch. Princess Pearl also wore silver armor and carried herself like the warrior she was. The merman's heart fluttered at seeing the princess. They had never met, but he had often admired her from afar.
"Mother, is this another one of your suiters?" whispered the princess. "I get tired of you parading every pompous nobleman and arrogant warrior in front of me."
"This is most definitely not for you," whispered the queen. "I only seek your advice for a perplexing problem."
The rough merman took a deep breath and swam into the ornate court with more confidence than he felt.
"Come closer, young Karl, and tell me again your request in front of my advisor and daughter," commanded the queen. "I will give you an answer today."
Princess Pearl smirked at him. Instead of armor, he wore a clamshell strapped to his front and back. Instead of a helmet, half a conch shell was tied to his head. His only weapon was an old chipped sword hanging to his side. He knew he looked ridiculous, but he held his head high.
"I seek to fight the Kraken," said Karl. "The monster torments the villages where I live, and I believe I have the skill to destroy it. I have killed deadly sharks and giant squid by myself. By law, I must ask your permission to fight this demon."
"What do you gain by risking your life on such a foolish venture?" asked an elderly merman floating near the queen.
"I will gain the wealth I need to join the military and pursue my dreams."
"You don't need money to join the military," said the advisor.
Karl nodded. "I am a penniless orphan, but I want to become an officer among the elites of the special forces."
Princess Pearl's eyes widened, but her slighted amusement grew into a more pronounced smile. The Queen smirked critically, and the rest of the court murmured among themselves.
"That is quite a goal," said the queen. She turned to her daughter. "Well, should I let him try and risk bringing the wrath of the Kraken upon us if he fails, or should I save his life and send him home where he belongs?"
Princess Pearl studied Karl with beautiful glittering eyes as her smile grew into a large grin.
"Let him fight the Kraken... and I want to go with him."
"What!!!" cried the queen with complete astonishment. "My only child with a wandering vagabond? Never!"
by G.J. Heffelfinger
The door creaked open. I whirled around, heart racing, only to see Willow fly in on her tiny fairy wings.
“That was awfully rude, slamming the door in my face!” She shouted in her tiny voice hands on her hips and finger wagging. She might have been intimidating if she were actually larger than my hand, but being no more than three inches tall her anger was actually more amusing than anything else.
“Hush,” I said, gesturing to the two forms laid out on the tables. One was dark, dressed in black, long black hair splayed out around him, and black wings tucked under him. His skin had a weird greyish tint. About three inches above his chest floated a shadowy black orb. Where the one was dark the other was light, white wings, and robes, brown hair, Angel.
“You found him!” she gasped, her anger forgotten in her excitement. “Who’s the other one?” she asked flying forward and touching the dark orb, which began to move.
“Willow, don’t touch!” I exclaimed. Reaching for the dark orb in hopes that I could put it back before anything happened, but it was too late.
As soon as, I touched the orb a bright white light flashed from it. I stumbled back blinded. After a moment I recovered my sight.
The dark one’s red eyes flew open and without a second's hesitation he leapt diving for the table, but before he reached it both the table and Angel were swallowed by the floor.
“No!!!” Screeched the dark one pounding at the floor which was once again smooth stone. His dark orb molded itself into a hammer and he beat the floor with it until he saw that it was hopeless.
“You’ve killed him,” said the dark one turning to me with tears in his eyes. “Why would you? How could you choose me over him?”
“Oh no!” cried Willow. “It was an accident, I didn’t mean too.”
“Peace, Fae Sister, only a mortal could decide,” the dark one replied.
“What?” I asked stupidly. He pointed to a tablet at the end of the table that read:
Child of day, child of night.
One bring. dark, and one brings light.
For one to live one must die.
Who will choose?
by Genevieve Moultrie
The door creaked open, but only by a hand's breadth. Louvernios put his back into it. Still wouldn't budge.
He looked around in the red glow of sunset. The ruins held few places to hide. Not much of anything, save the small yew growing amidst the rubble. And this door that shouldn't be here.
He'd gazed upon it many times, starting with his explorations of the tribal countryside in his boyhood. Nobody could explain why a broad wooden door, the kind that fronted a chieftain's lodge, would be in the lowest foundations of a destroyed fortress. It must lead underground. But to what? Why was it still here when the rest of the fortress lay in grass-covered ruins?
Louvernios's mind was on another fortress. One still standing. But not for long if he didn't reach it and tell his comrades of the Romans' plan of attack. Or that two of the commander's most trusted aides had turned traitor. If the fortress fell, his people might lose this part of Britain.
Louvernios had hoped to hide from his pursuers behind the strange door. Could what lay inside be worse than the foe? He'd continue once they'd passed.
Then he heard the baying of hounds. They were closer than expected. Louvernios had to open the door. Now!
He pushed with a strength born of desperation. Still, no movement.
In a burst of single-minded force his shoulder slammed into it. It gave way.
Louvernios slipped inside, then shut the door. All was black. Except for a faint glow, apparently at the end of a tunnel sloping downwards.
He followed the light. It brightened. Soon he emerged into---he could hardly believe it. A clearing in a forest. Underground!
The light was brighter here, though he could see no source. The colors seemed richer. The air was warm and scented with flowers he couldn't name.
A woman approached, clad in robes like starlight. "A mortal! How did you enter the fairy realm?"
His heart pounded. "I came through a door." He pointed at the tunnel.
"That's for our use only, when we have good reason to visit your world. But you have no reason at all to be here."
"I was being chased by---"
"No matter. You're trespassing. You must return at once!"
"But my pursuers---"
"They're gone. Time passes more slowly here than in your world."
Four guards appeared, their weapons and armor glittering. This was no time to argue.
Louvernios bowed. "Pardon me, milady."
He turned and headed through the tunnel. And the door.
The light was the gold of noon. He must have skipped to the following day. Now on to the fortress!
Then Louvernios noticed the yew. So much larger than yesterday! But how could that be? Fairy magic?
Then it hit him. How much time had passed?
Louvernios ran towards the fortress. He couldn't be too late. He couldn't!
Finally he reached the stronghold. Or rather, a pile of rubble and charred timbers.
And the grass was growing over it.
by Shannon Izer
The door creaked open and a sliver of light shone through. My four year old daughter waddled through the doorway, wiping sleep from her eyes. She made her way to my bedside and said “Momma, there is a monster in my room”.
I gently stroked her hair and said, “Sweetie, there are no such things as monsters”.
She vigorously shook her head. “Uh, huh. I heard it”.
Letting a sigh escape my mouth, I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed. I put my slippers on my feet and gently took my daughters hand.
“I bet it’s your brother hiding under your bed or in your closet trying to scare you,” I said, trying to calm her fear.
We quietly walked down the dimly lit hallway to her room and turned on her light. I opened the closet door, showing her the inside as she stood behind me.
“Nothing in there,” I said, closing the door. I moved to her bed next.
I knelt down and lifted the blanket so that I could get a good look under her bed. There were a couple of dolls, a shoe, and block, but no brother and no monster. I felt her kneel down next to me to look.
“See,” I said, “No monster”.
Then I heard it. There was a light mewing sound that seemed to come from nowhere. I sat up and strained to listen for it again. I made my way to the window and peered out. It was louder this time. I opened the curtains and saw a small, black kitten with blue eyes sitting on the window sill. I gently opened the window and the kitten slid in to the room. It couldn’t have been more than three months old.
My daughter squealed in delight. “Look momma, a kitten!”
She ran to it, but I scooped it up before she had a chance to touch it. We found her monster.
“We don’t know who it belongs to, or if it’s sick,” I reminded her. “We’ll keep make him a box in your bathroom for tonight, but then have to take him to the vet tomorrow.”
She nodded her head. “Okay momma”.
We created a makeshift bed for the kitten in the bathtub. I turned to leave the bathroom and looked at the kitten and had to do a double-take. The eyes that I had been sure were blue, were now emerald green. I shook my head and turned on the nightlight so that it was not in complete darkness, thinking that I must have been wrong. As I turned the larger light off, I heard a deep mewl come from its chest. I turned and looked at the kitten and it peered back at me its eyes boring in to me. The eyes changed color again, this time I was sure of it. The emerald green eyes were now jet black. This was not a normal kitten.
by Katherine M.
Fur and Fury
The door creaked open. Tali froze, half a cookie hanging out of her mouth. When no one came in, she relaxed and resumed chewing with sharp little teeth. Of all the snacks that humans had invented, chocolate chip cookies were one of the best. She licked the crumbs off the hardcover book she'd used as a perch; Elisa always griped when Tali made a mess in her room. Humans were so strange. They kept all this wonderful food in their lairs and insisted that it only be eaten at certain times and in certain places. She flew over to the small fountain that Elisa had set up for her and mashed a button with a claw. Water flowed out into a shallow dish. Tali lapped it up eagerly, lashing her tail back and forth. She flew back over to the bed, where she'd made a nest out of the soft pillows and a blanket. She curled up among them, wrapping her tail and wings around herself. Elisa always took forever to get home. She would nap until then.
Just as she started to drift off, a loud, obnoxious, yowl jerked her awake. She sat up, wings flaring, puffing her chest out. The annoying, fuzzy thing that Elisa called a cat had wandered through the open door. It jumped on the bed and sauntered over like it owned the room. Tali shrieked in outrage as it pawed at her blanket nest.
The cat jumped backwards and hissed at her, all its fur standing on end. Tali snarled and swiped at its nose. The cat retaliated, yowling furiously. Sharp teeth bit into Tali's right flank, almost piercing her scales. She shrieked.
They bit, scratched, and wrestled with each other. Tali rolled away and jumped onto the bookcase. When the cat lunged at her, Tali launched herself into the air and flew in a large circle. The cat watched her, hissing. When Tali approached, it jumped at her. Tali twisted out of the way, and the cat plopped onto the bed. It ran out of the room when Tali dove at it. She trilled triumphantly and nudged the door until it closed, then hovered at the doorknob and pressed it with one claw. It locked. She'd like to see the silly feline do that.
Tali drank more water from her fountain, and then returned to her nest, rearranging it to her satisfaction. Stupid cat. It belonged to Elisa's sister, but seemed to think it had the run of the house. Elisa even played with it on occasion, which annoyed Tali to no end. Who wanted a cat when a dragon was around?
by Jennifer E. King
The door creaked open with the soft complaint it always made when moving slowly. Gillia froze, her muzzle still pressed against the frosty window. Her eyes shifted from the snow-glowing night, with its stars shining above and below the tree-fringed lake, to the reflection of her bedroom behind her, hoping to see Kares come to check on her. Only darkness leaked through the crack in the door, dancing with the flickering light from her fireplace. In the tremble of shadows, she could not be sure how far the door had opened. That made all the difference. Was it large enough for one of her kits, perhaps, to sneak in? If not, it meant death was coming to try again.
She breathed deeply, slowly, testing the air both with her nose and her tongue. There was a scent, but it was cold, like stone-entombed steel - musty and dusty as ancient dreams. Her long, white hackles began to rise.
She listened, hopefully, for scuttling. Those that scurried were nasty things, quick and unpredictable, and some could jump quite far, but they gave her the best chance.
Was that a whisper?
A log in the fire suddenly shifted and fell, loudly, sending a spray of sparks into the air with a hiss. More from instinct than reason, Gillia launched herself from the window seat, straight up, as beneath her something flew with the speed of an arrow and crashed into the window. She dropped on it.
If she lived, she thought, she would claim that she aimed her claws to pin its neck and tail, but that was untrue. She fell as gravity directed, more startled than the assassin to find a thick rope of scales, longer than her own body, beneath her pads. It thrashed to twist out from under her weight. Only then did she think to extend her claws. Unfortunately, she had caught it below the wings.
It was a drachen this time! That meant both ends, which were still both free, were dangerous. It slashed at her with the venomous spike on its tail even as it turned its head to breath fire, spit poison, or…none of the options were good. Worse, she could not retract her embedded claws to get away. Again she jumped, this time swinging to slam the drachen against the window. Only by luck did the tail-spike miss its mark, scratching through the fur on her flank with burning pain. An acrid stench assaulted her from fluid now dripping down the window, etching the thick glass from the point where its head had struck to a sizzling pool eating through the wood of the frame. Acid.
Again and again Gillia battered the drachen until it lay still. Only then did she dare to bite its neck, severing its head.
Behind Gillia her bedroom door crashed fully open. Relief flooded her as she saw Tolius, her mate, rushing into the room. Then he lunged, teeth bared, toward her throat.
by Laura L. Zimmerman
The door creaked open…
Marvin stumbled in and dropped his briefcase. His heart sped at the sight of his co-workers. He narrowed his eyes, glancing around his apartment.
Half-eaten pizza and party decorations cluttered the dining table and a TV tray in the corner held the beverage bar. Music pulsed softly from his dated stereo, a board game spread out on the coffee table. Used paper cups and plates littered the living room floor. Laughter tumbled from a group of people who occupied his bedroom. Diane, the receptionist, held a cake with four-dozen candles glowing brightly on top.
“Um, it’s not my birthday,” he said.
“We know,” Ted from accounting shouted. “It’s your Death Day!”
“My what?” Marvin’s jaw couldn’t get any closer to the floor.
“New technology from the engineering department.” Stanley held up a glass in salute, a strange smile in place. “Hasn’t even been announced to the public yet. You’re the first one in the company to try it out. Pretty cool, huh buddy?”
“It’s actually quite simple,” said John from IT. “This small piece of plastic,” he flashed a palm-sized black lump that resembled a phone, “can predict the exact day and time of a person’s death with just the click of a button. Revolutionary, really. Think of how much people can accomplish when they know exactly how long they have to live?” He chuckled. “And there won’t be anymore surprise deaths from those in important political positions. The president can literally pass the torch to the vice-president without sending the country into a panic.”
All the information rushed into Marvin’s brain like a flood, swirling and drowning his every thought. “But...but—”
“We’d hoped this would be more of a celebration for you.” Diane’s smile slipped a notch. “No one knew you’d be working so late today, so you sort of missed most of the fun. Sorry about that.”
Ted nodded. “Yeah, we should’ve planned better. We’ll work on that for the next one.”
Marvin finally caught his breath. “Y-you’re here because I’m going to die?”
“Yep.” John glanced at the black object. “Ooo, we can start the countdown.” He held up his hand to get everyone’s attention. “Ten, nine…”
Every living being in the apartment joined in.
Marvin stuttered. “Wait—”
“No. I don’t understand—” His gaze darted around. Adrenaline like a freight train pulsed in his veins.
“T-this can’t be right. I feel fine—” He stepped forward, pleaded with those around him.
Excitement danced in the air. “Four, three…”
“Stop! I’m not ready!” His screams were lost.
Emotion buzzed from his friends. “Two…”
“No! I need more time! I haven’t had enough—”
by Wyn E. Owens
The door creaked open, and Ella nearly dropped the odd, old key in shock. She hadn’t truly expected it to work, but the entrance to the old garden was the only door on the estate that had that strange scrollwork on the handle.
Ella peered past the weathered door and into the garden beyond. It was surrounded by tall, ancient brick walls. Uncle Matthew said it had been locked since his grandmother’s death, and the only key had been lost. The enigmatic walled garden had been bugging Ella since she and Nike had come here six years ago. She had spent years imagining could be inside; anything from a dragon’s den or a faerie kingdom to enchanted treasure or magic stones. Then Ella had found the strange-looking iron key when she had accidentally crashed her bike into the old boxes in the garage, and decided to see if it would unlock the garden door.
Now that the door was open, she had to admit she was slightly disappointed. The unknown, unseen mysteries that lay beyond the garden door turned out to be… a garden. And a rather messy one, at that. Ivy climbed everywhere and wisteria ran rampant, while the beds themselves were a mass of wild green. An old willow hung its trailing fronds towards the ground in the garden’s center, and next to it stood a weathered stone sundial, still faithfully recounting the time after all the years it had stood unseen. Here and there were bright spots where plants managed to put out flowers, but overall it was too crowded to see much blooming.
All in all, it was rather, well, not boring, but… underwhelming and uninteresting. Especially since there were no faeries or treasure in sight.
Well, it seems nice anyway, or it could be with some work. Ella thought. I guess I now know how I’m going to spend summer vacation. And with that, she tucked the key into the pocket of her jeans and stepped into the garden.
Her first clue that something was off was that the inside of the garden seemed a lot darker than it had from outside the wall. The second was that she was pretty sure that there wasn’t a giant black cat with long, sharp claws in the garden before.
I take it back, she thought. It seems the garden is a lot more interesting than I expected.
by Denver Evans
The Tears of a Queen
The door creaked open, and a blast of radiant heat enveloped her. Despite the warmth she shivered as she slipped into the massive, torchlit cavern.
"You have grown stoic, Queen," the dragon rumbled. "Your tears no longer flow with loneliness or taunting. Shall we turn to pain?"
Queen Moira had no doubt a beast who would snatch a queen from her husband and young son would take such measures.
“I’m not a fiend, however,” the dragon said, contemplatively. He swiveled his head and regarded her with a great, burning eye. “I’ve enchanted you a present.”
The dragon rolled a hand-sized sphere of polished marble toward her. “Though enchanted, it will not harm you, Queen. But know that I will if you resist. The time for tears has come again. Touch the stone.”
Slowly, Moira held out her hand and did as the dragon ordered. The cold marble began to glow with a pulsing light and a scene appeared on its surface.
Could it be—?
“Harold! Oh, can you hear me? I’m here! I’m alive—” her carefully controlled tears now coursed down her face at the sight of her stern-faced husband, much older than when she’d last seen him, dining in the Great Hall of their castle.
“Queen! The tears!” the dragon roared, stamping his front feet impatiently.
Mechanically, Moira collected several of her tears in a small vial.
“What about my son—” she shifted her hand on the sphere. The dragon’s huge claw jerked the orb from her grasp. The image, along with the light immediately vanished.
“Prepare a flagon!” the dragon ordered with a fervor she hadn’t heard before.
Pouring his favorite mead into the waiting vessel, Moira emptied the small vial of tears into the drink and extended it silently.
“After all this time: tears of joy! There is hope the change will be permanent!” he babbled, seeming to forget she was even present.
She watched in silence as he emptied the contents of the flagon into his smoking jaws and lumbered into the torchlit passageway, forgetting to order her to leave.
At first she thought it a trick of the torches’ flickering. But, slowly and surely the dragon grew smaller, and in a moment an ordinary man was striding down the passage.
A cold chill clutched Moira. Her tears must cause him to shift. She shuddered. What would her fate be when he discovered the tears hadn’t been purely joyful but were mixed with great sadness? That the change wasn’t permanent as he hoped?
The dragon had dropped the marble orb in his greed for the drink. Cautiously, she picked it up with both hands. It glowed back to life beneath her touch, showing a serious young man seated in the Great Hall. He pushed back his plate and glanced toward the king.
“There’s talk you’re arranging a marriage for me, Father.” His voice came through only vaguely, but Moira’s heart broke at how deep it had become in her absence.
by Claire M. B.
The door creaked open. Someone was behind, and no one was there? And I did not know. I was confused, so I runned out of this house and moved when two weeks was over, and then I went into a fancy hotel, and someone was behind the door. But it was just the manager, so I wasn't scared. And then the same thing happened like last time. It wasn't the manager. It was no one again. So I was scared. It was night time, and all my parents were sleeping. And then I heard footsteps and creaking. I went back to bed and hide under my covers. Under my blanket, I was scared. Someone was in our bedroom with a black eye. They were evil. They had a knife in their hand. I hided and I woke up my parents and my parents called the police. I was scared, and the police was looking around. They found footprints. The police did not know who it was. And I was scared so we had to move again. In the next house, nothing was scary. It was just haunted, but we did not know, and it was abandon, and we did not know it was abandoned. They put the furniture around the house, and then my parents got murdered the next night. So I got a baby sitter, and we keep on moving on. The End
by Coryn L. B.
The door creaked open, but when the new kids who moved into the house looked into the room there was no one there. Someone felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around, but no one was there. They thought they where being followed, and so they were right but wrong at the same time. They each heard what sounded like a fire breathing dragon, or a unicorn using his/her magic. The people shook. They took sticks with them, but they knew it wouldn't help. They found the basement, and they went down the stairs to check what it was. There was nothing there, but then they heard something. It sounded like fairies talking. Then they each felt someone pulling on their shirts. They each turned around. Nothing.
"Who is there?" a kid said.
"No one. No one. We are here to be here. We like to talk to dragons in the underworld. We like to talk to unicorns in the upper land," voices sang.
The kids thought the song was nice.
"Nice singing!" a kid said.
Then they each saw stairs going way down under ground.
"Should we go down?" a kid asked.
"Of course!" a kid said.
They walked down the stairs hoping to find something epic, and they did find something epic! They saw dragons breathing fire. They saw dragons swimming. Most of all they saw dragon talking to small fairies.
"How cute and awesome!" a kid whispered.
"What about the unicorns that they talked about?" a kid whispered back.
"I don't know," another said.
"What are you doing down here humans?" said a fairy that saw them.
"We moved into the house around here, and we came down here to find this," said a kid that looked in shock.
"Well I guess you should go now before a dragon sees you and thinks that you are food," said a fairy.
"Okay, bye!" said the kids walking up the stairs.
"That's enough excitement for one day," said a kid.
"Okay. I understand that," said another.
The kids ran off back to their normal house, and all whispered "Let's go back there tomorrow,"
They giggled as they headed back home.
by R. Jaynes
Quest for a Cure
The door creaked open. Thirteen year old Ashlynn shivered in the frigid night wind as she looked up to see who opened the door to the old hut witch she stood in front of. A crooked old woman stood in the doorway. Her gnarled face smiled when she saw Ashlynn.
“Come in love.” she said.
Ashlynn warily studied the old woman but complied.
“Call me Eleanor.” said the old woman.
Ashlynn didn’t like her. Rumor said she was a witch, destined to burn at the stake.
“I won’t bite you,” Eleanor cackled as she closed the door to the wind outside. “Now what brings you here this time of night?”
Ashlynn looked down. “My sister has the plague,” she whispered. “There is no cure.” A tear slipped down her face.
“ Child,” said Eleanor. “What will you do to save her?”
“Anything,” was the reply. Ashlynn looked up and gasped. In Eleanor’s place was a young woman. In fear, Ashlynn stumbled backwards towards the door… and fell through it.
Eleanor watched her and smiled. “Every door a portal,” she said. Then she was gone.
Ashlynn was in a castle made of stone. A crimson carpet led up to a golden throne. On it sat a young prince with golden hair, unlike Aslynn’s long brown hair.
“Where did you come from?” he demanded. Ashlynn blinked stupidly at him. “Well?” he went.
“I hail from Maidenville,” Ashlynn said at last.
“Sounds pleasant,” the prince joked.
Ashlynn’s mind raced. Did Eleanor send her here to find a cure? “I need a cure for the plague,” she blurted out. “My sister is ill.”
The prince smiled. “The cure grows in the forest. My pet will show it to you.”
He led Ashlynn outside and whistled three times.
A great bear descended from the sky. It had the wings of a dragon.
“This is Beast,” said the prince proudly. “Climb onto his back.”
Ashlynn fearfully did so.
Suddenly, Beast flew rapidly into the air with Ashlynn. The ground below sped past as Ashlynn held on for dear life.
Then, Beast began to fall.
Ashlynn screamed as they fell towards the treetops below, certain that she would be speared or smashed on the ground.
Then, Beast spread out his wings and they gently glided over trees and landed in a small clearing.
Beast was sniffing a beautiful flower.
Ashlynn went to it and pulled it out by the roots.
“To bad your sister won’t ever taste it,” a voice said.
Ashlynn spun around and saw a mirror image of herself carrying a sword.
Ashlynn shrieked and fled. She looked back as she ran and saw Beast face her mirror image as she ran. As she ran, she came across an old hut that looked familiar.
She ran to the door… and through it.
She was outside Eleanor’s hut, flower in hand. She shook her head in wonder and ran home.
by Nathalie Schmidt
The door creaked open and Alyssa went inside. And in the room she found gadgets. Spoon-makers, bowl-decorators, cupcake-makers. Then she found a piece of paper. The paper wrote:
Find these pieces
then you’ll find
a hidden treasure
that’s brass and fine.
And there was a picture of a door on the paper, too.
She found a key to another door. And in that room she found skeletons! And she found another slip of paper. And it said:
Find all these pieces and you will find a hidden treasure.
This piece of paper had a picture of a key.
She found another key, and went into yet another room!
That room had old dragon bones.
And she found ANOTHER slip of paper. This one had a picture of a dragon wing on it. She looked around and found a dragon wing in a bowl. It was small, like a baby one. It was a magical key. So she used it to go into the fourth room.
In that room she found another slip of paper. It had a picture of a unicorn horn. So she found a unicorn horn. And she used it to open the fifth room.
She found the last slip of paper, and it had a picture of a baby on it. She went back through all the rooms, she put the pieces she had found together, and after she put the pieces together, she found the treasure. And she was very happy when she found it. The treasure was... a BABY!
by Anusha Solai
The door creaked open, and thudding footsteps filled the clock tower. Huddling in the corner, the boys plastered themselves to the wall and waited for impending doom for there was no escape.
They had found the ruins in the woods when they were out hunting, in between them stood an un-ruined clock tower. They had kicked the door down and looted the place. But, just as they were about to leave, there came an eerie noise from the back. There was a door. Very rustic looking and elegant it was, with jewels tracing the outside, which they pried off as quick as possible, and stony designs etched into it.
This was no ordinary door, as you can tell, and one of the foolish boys wanted to open the door. Eyes glowing, he reached for the door knob, as if someone was willing it to happen to him. Fastening his hand on the knob, he opened it and heard a click.
A loud sound had thrown the boys backwards. Here they were sprawled up against the wall. The door opened wider and light filled the room, from their eyes they could see the silhouette of a monster. A witch. Thudding footsteps continued as the silhouette got bigger.
“Who opened the door???” She asked in a deadly calm voice, tangled hair hanging in front of her ebony eyes. The boys didn’t dare move. She asked again, calmer, as a staff appeared in her hands.
Slowly, the selfish boys pointed at the boy who had opened it.
“He did it.” one of them squeaked out.
“Hear that brothers?!” The witch shrieked, looking inside, ”tonight we feast!” A roaring cheer erupted from inside the doorway scaring the boys. She beckoned at the boy who had opened the door. He stayed still. She whipped out her staff and he appeared next to her magically.
“Don’t do that again, okay?” The witch smiled cruelly, “actually, maybe you ought to, then we won’t be so skinny!” She cackled, laughing at her own joke. Grabbing the boy by his collar, she waved goodbye.
“Who are you? What is this place? What’s behind the door?” The boy in her hands interrupted.
“Were from the Monster Prison,” she smirked, ”and you almost let us escape.” A roar of laughter ensued from inside.
“You don’t want to escape?”
“No. Were just hungry.”
“Quite a terrible excuse isn’t it?”
“Shut your mouth! I will personally see to it that I eat you first!” She waved goodbye to the other boys who were staring with shock at the criminal in front of them.
“Ta Ta!” The witch said throwing the boy inside, she put one foot in the doorway but stopped abruptly and turned around, “Oh my, I’m so rude. Would any of you like to join me and the boy??” They all shook their heads vivaciously. She nodded with understanding, and closed the door behind her. Then there was silence, and the everything was calm again.
“Well, that was weird.”
by Leiana Schmidt
The Diamond Door
The door creaked open and Madeline hid under her covers.
Oh no! she thought. The three-headed monster is coming to get me, just like Addison said!
She peeked over the covers and saw twenty bony, claw-like, fingers! She hid back under the covers, and then, all of a sudden she felt the twenty bony, claw-like fingers! She opened her eyes and saw.... her parents!?
“You’re not a three-headed monster,” said Madeline.
“Well of course,” said her mother. “Wherever would you get that idea?”
“Um,” said Madeline. “Addison told me about a three-headed monster who takes away children at night while they’re sleeping.”
“Addison, huh?” said her dad. “Well I’m just about to go over there and give her the fright of her life!”
“Oh, Daddy, please don’t,” said Madeline.
“Okay, I won’t,” said her dad.
“Good,” said her mom. “Madeline, sweetie?”
“I guess she was very tired,” said her mom.
“We’d better leave her alone now,” said her dad.
So they left the room.
Madeline opened one eye. “Oh good, they’re gone,” she said.
There was a vent that led to her brother, Tony’s, room. Madeline knew that if she just kept going straight she would get there without getting lost. So she crept through the vent and got there.
She said, “Tony! Tony!”
“Madeline? Is that you?” Came Tony’s sleepy voice.
“Well of course it’s me!” said Madeline. “Who would you think it was? Your pet hamster who doesn’t exist?”
“Well, it being you does make more sense,” came the reply.
“Is he here?” asked Madeline excitedly. “I mean, the guy who’s going to take us to that special place we don’t know anything about.”
“Yeah, he’s here,” said Tony. “And he’s an eagle!”
“An eagle?” said Madeline. And in her head, she kept thinking, an eagle! An EAGLE!
SCREECH! screamed the eagle.
“We’d better follow him now,” said Tony.
So they followed him through the forest and over the hills and through the fields of cows. The eagle led them to a diamond door in the side of the mountain by their house.
The eagle screeched and then said, “You must open the door together to enter the realm of magics!”
“How do we know we can trust you?” they asked.
“You just have to,” screeched the eagle.
They opened the door and saw elves and giants and dragons and ogres!
“You must see the queen first!” screeched the eagle in a high-pitched voice.
They went to the queen. And the queen said, “It is very nice to meet you. You may stay here for the rest of the night, but you must go as soon as you get tired.”
So they spent the night playing games with all the mythical creatures. And finally, it was time to leave. The dragons took them to their beds and they slept until morning.
“Let’s go back tomorrow night,” Madeline said to her brother at breakfast.
by Anaya H
The door creaked open and a flash of light greeted Alli as she peered around the door and saw a sun-filled library. She saw the library was full of old, dusty books. The air smelled citrusy. Alli pulled down an ancient leather volume entitled: The Book of Kings. “Huh, this looks interesting,” Alli murmured.
“That is a fine book!” said a voice.
“What?” gasped Alli, pivoting and saw an old lady in a flowing white dress sitting at a battered circulation desk “Who… who are you?” Alli asked fearfully.
“I am the guardian of knowledge. My name is Juliette.” the woman said.
“My... my name is Alli. What do you mean by ‘knowledge’?” Alli asked with raised eyebrows.
“I mean the knowledge of generations, written down for others to read.” Juliette responded.
“Oh. What’s in this?” Alli held up The Book of Kings.
“That contains the knowledge of ancient kings, triumphs and mistakes.” replied Juliette. “Can you tell me how you found the library?”
“I was exploring the barn, then I saw the doorknob, opened the door, and here I am.” Alli responded.
“Hmm. Thank you for that explanation. The library is found only by lovers of wisdom; usually children. Would you like to know more of my job?”
“Sure!” exclaimed Alli.
“My job is to protect these books from those who hate wisdom. I found the library when I was a child and I have stayed here. I need an apprentice to take over my job when I am too old to do so. Are you interested?” Juliette looked questioningly at Alli.
“Me? I can’t! My family …” Alli trailed off, looking at Juliette, who suddenly seemed older. Alli looked at the floor to hide her red face. Then she ran out of the library with The Book of Kings under her arm. Juliette cried after her: “Beware! The door may disappear! It was opened for a reason, yet it may vanish!”
That night in her bed, Alli read The Book of Kings. It was the best book she had ever read. The book told tales of wise kings, foolish princes, empires that rose and fell-the book was wisdom in its essence. Alli made a choice that night.
She ran back the next day, afraid the china doorknob wouldn’t be there. She ran, heart pounding wildly into the barn, climbed up to the hayloft and looked around desperately. Thank goodness! By the pitchfork she saw the beautiful china doorknob and ran into the library. “Juliette! I changed my mind!” she shouted. Juliette materialized next to Alli.
“Really? You have?’’ she cried. Alli nodded looking happy, yet sad.
“Can you make everyone’s memories of me disappear, like I never existed?’’
“I can.” Juliette shut her eyes, and a strong wind whipped though the library. “It is done.” Juliette said. Alli was wearing a dress like Juliette’s dress. Juliette squeezed Alli’s shoulder. “Are you prepared?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Alli in a solemn tone. They stood ready to share wisdom together.
by Elizabeth King
The door creaked open.
“I hear you, Bowich!”
Blossom never turned her head. She sat at the table, with perfect posture. Her fork clicked against her plate, uninterrupted, while she ate her breakfast, daintily. Her amber braid stayed still as, suddenly, a blueberry came flying over her shoulder and hit me in the forehead.
I stumbled backward and fell against the door, slamming it shut. Blossom giggled.
My sister was two years older than me, by all accounts smarter, and better at everything, including shape-shifting, which she was now tasked to teach me. That made her, officially, my tormentor.
“Throw some more. I’m hungry,” I said, wiping the juice off my forehead and licking my fingers.
“Don’t tempt me or I’ll throw the whole basket.” She brought me a napkin. “Now try again.”
“I’m serious. I’m hungry.”
I stared at the table, full of baskets of fruits, steaming tea and muffins. My mouth drooled. The food drew me toward it, until Blossom’s hand caught the collar of my shirt, yanking me back.
“Not until you get through that door without me hearing.”
“It’s impossible!” I cried. “You have ears like a bat. No one could get past you.”
Blossom smiled at the compliment, as though she didn’t get a dozen a day from all her admirers.
“Come on, Bowich. You can do it.”
“I can’t! I give up. I’ve tried everything there is.”
“No you haven’t.”
“I have. I turned into a worm, a gnat, a flea, but the door is too tight. I became a fly to try the keyhole but you left the key in it. There’s no way.”
“There’s always a way, brother. Think. Find a new angle.”
I crossed my arms and scowled at her until she dragged me to the door and shoved me out. The door slammed shut in my face and, this time, I heard the key turn in the lock.
“Hey!” I complained, pounding at the door.
“You can do it,” she assured me. “But you better hurry or I’ll eat all the berries.”
“No!” It came out as a howl. Without meaning to I’d turned myself into a wolf. I heard her laugh.
“If I die of hunger, I’ll come back as a ghost and haunt you!”
I closed my eyes and concentrated, hard. Was it even possible? Shifting shape was one thing, but could I give it up altogether? Could I become…smoke? Light? Air? Why not?
My body didn’t dissolve like I expected. It just separated, becoming bits so small it could pass through the door. I floated, unseen, to the table, hovering over the basket of berries. As I reached for the biggest, most beautiful one, I suddenly became solid again…and fell right in the basket, crushing it.
Blossom jumped back.
“You did it!” she cried, grinning at me with joy. “I knew you could! The berries are all yours.”
I smiled. “Please pass me a muffin for my jam.”
Authors get inspiration from many different sources. We asked our Fellowship of Fantasy authors for their most interesting inspiration stories.
So next time you wonder, "Where do authors get their ideas?" you'll know that the answer can be FROM ANYWHERE!
Snarky friends can be great inspiration. I asked a writing question in an author group and H. L. Burke gave me a mostly serious answer, until she ended it with, "unless the character's name is Allisatravondarestra." I laughed and joked that I would totally use the name, with no intention of actually doing so. Some time later in a moment of procrastination, I discovered that Scrivener has a name generator. It gave me Dezydery Polanski. Allisatravondarestra and Dezydery. Allie and Dez. And that's when Toil and Trouble started to form in my mind.
--Jessica L. Elliott
Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans. Lewis Wetzel, made famous by western novelist Zane Grey. What do these American frontiersmen have in common with a race of immortal warriors in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy? Well-maybe it was the tall, dark, and stoic bit. Otherwise, who can say? Inspiration is weird.
In my fantasy/comedy series, lawyers are as dangerous as wizards. I was inspired by stories of wizards binding demons to their service with written contracts. This made me think of modern law and legal contracts. If a person signs a contract then he is bound to carry it out or suffer penalties. It struck me that this was similar to the stories of wizards, so I made my lawyers a potent threat that could compel men to do things they didn't want to, like making William Bradshaw become King of the Goblins.
The short story I'm currently working on, "Monsieur Puss," is a retelling of Puss in Boots. I've always wondered why his master was so lazy in the original tale, letting Puss do all the work, so I decided to put a spin on it by making Pip (the miller's son) a daydreamer who loves to tell stories. The inspiration for this came from my childhood, during which I spent a lot more time dwelling in the worlds of my imagination than doing chores or schoolwork.
One element of my story is inspired by spending several years as a staff member on a child and adolescent psychiatric unit and, specifically, hearing hallucinations and stereotypes of those people. In my story there is a place where a mirror reveals to others what the hallucinating person sees, providing a deeper level of understanding to the supporter.
I was reading the dedication from C. S. Lewis to his goddaughter and decided I should write a novel for my niece and nephew. My exact thought was “no one else will ever see it.” Still makes me laugh considering I’m getting close to publishing book 2 in the trilogy the idea inspired.
--E. J. Willis
The majesties of nature, animals, plants, and scenery, juxtaposed with human imagination and love of creating worlds.
The inspiration for Songcatcher in Leandra's Enchanted Flute came from an actual Carolina wren who cheerily sang from a bush outside my window every day the spring I first underwent chemotherapy. I asked myself, "What if the wren could talk? What would he say?" He answered, "I need a cancer warrior's help." The story began with this sassy, loveable bird.
--Katy Huth Jones
Three years ago, I sat at my desk supervising a study hall. I watched the interaction of two boys who hated to read. In the class period before, two students stood out to me. Neither of them were the top of their class, but they bloomed while in my room. Students had to convince me the one student never spoke in any other class, while I couldn’t get her to be quiet in mine. These students all had one thing in common—they were typical rural American kids. From that, the Mythical Creatures of Myrtle Beach trilogy came about. Look for book one in September of 2018.
--Kandi J Wyatt
Much of Kiernan Kane’s existence was inspired by Gordon Lightfoot’s song, “The Minstrel of the Dawn.” I have always loved that ballad and been intrigued by the story it tells about a traveling minstrel whose eyes and face are filled with the ghosts of all the tales he carries.
--Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
The Fellowship of Fantasy and Deep Magic E-Zine have joined together to offer you an awesome paperback giveaway!
About Mythical Doorways:
Welcome to Mythical Doorways, the third anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy. We present to you our tales of gateways to marvelous places. These doorways open into adventure, wonder, and even danger.
Within, you will accompany heroes on their way to fairy worlds. Brave the dangers of the past through a portal in time. Eavesdrop at the door of a forbidden workshop. Follow a girl on a search for a better life in her choice between three tempting magical doors. Help a sorcerer close a gateway before an unspeakable horror escapes, and slip through a portal on a quest for delicious chocolate!
There are many perilous journeys ahead of you, but no graphic content. All the stories here fall below a PG-13 rating.
The Fellowship of Fantasy is an online group of writers dedicated to presenting the best in clean fantasy stories of any stripe. Some tackle epic quests to save the world, while others prefer more urban settings. Whether you enjoy contemporary tales, romantic re-tellings, or something else entirely, you're sure to find stories that speak to you.
Thank you for joining us on our trip through these doorways, and may you find adventure and entertainment on the other side!
Click here for your ebook (free to download starting March 27th): https://www.books2read.com/u/bxq70e
About Deep Magic E-Zine
The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. Deep Magic is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to creating a safe place for minds to wander in the worlds and universe of SFF. We want all who visit to feel welcome and confident that they will encounter professionally written fiction of the highest quality that is safe for all to read.
Click here for more information: https://deepmagic.co/
Discover new clean fantasy books for free!
This giveaway will remain available until March 31st, 2018, books may come and go over time.
Don't miss out on a book that interests you!
CLICK HERE for more information.
This month Fellowship of Fantasy is partnering with Deep Magic E-Zine for a very special giveaway. Using the Rafflecopter below you can enter to win the Spring edition of their quarterly publication featuring wonderful, clean fantasy fiction. Click HERE to find out more.
About Deep Magic E-Zine
The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. Deep Magic is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to creating a safe place for minds to wander in the worlds and universe of SFF. We want all who visit to feel welcome and confident that they will encounter professionally written fiction of the highest quality that is safe for all to read.
March 29th at 8pm EST, the authors of Mythical Doorways will be gathering to introduce our anthology to the world!
About the Event:
Fellowship of Fantasy is celebrating their third short story anthology release, Mythical Doorways!
Whether they open onto new worlds or just new opportunities, doorways allow us to step through and uncover great adventures, discoveries, and risks.
Where will these Mythical Doorways take you?
Grab your favorite drink and snack on March 29th at 8 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST) and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with multiple authors, games, and giveaways!
As a note: The giveaways held on this event page are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Any questions or comments regarding the party will be directed to the host (Laura A. Grace), not Facebook.
Click to RSVP on Facebook
“The door creaked open ...”
And then what? Well, that's up to you!
In honor of the launch of the Mythical Doorways Anthology the Fellowship of Fantasy is hosting a story snack writing contest. Starting March 5th readers can submit their 500 word or less bite sized fiction.
To enter use the form at the bottom of this post or click here.
Deadlines and Voting Period
Winners and Prizes
Post by Author Jenelle L. Schmidt
Well hello there, I would like to thank you for stopping by today. I am pleased to be here.
Oh! I'm sorry. Allow me to introduce myself.
I am Convenient Fantasy Orphan.
You've probably heard of me... especially if you like to read fantasy. You've read some of my stories. You've rooted for me, heard about my painful back-story, perhaps you've even shed tears for me. As you know, I am an important part of many fantasy stories. I'm often the protagonist, the unlikely hero, the one who rises up and overcomes the shadow and tragedy of my past.
At some point in my past... my author thought it was important that I lose my family. I didn't like it, but what could I do? This loss of family made me vulnerable in some way that was necessary to the story, and it also freed up my author from needing to answer any questions about where my parents were and why they let me go off on such dangerous adventures. I hadn't got any parents, and thus was left to fend for myself and get into all sorts of trouble whenever I wanted.
See, if I'd had parents, they would have loved me too much to let me do anything so dangerous as run off with Old Ben to save the galaxy from the evil Empire (even my aunt and uncle in that case were too strict... so my author killed them off, too!) I wouldn't have gone haring off on a wild adventure with Gandalf to liberate the Dwarven homeland from Smaug if I'd had those pesky family ties keeping me stable and sensibly AT HOME! (I was a responsible adult for a while while I raised my nephew, but, being a fantasy orphan myself, I knew how important it was to give him some space, so the moment he came of age, I exited, stage right, and gave Frodo the room he needed to find his own adventure without any parental oversight). I probably wouldn't have gotten into so much trouble at Hogwarts if I'd come from a good wizarding family, either. You can find me easily. I run rampant through nearly every Disney retelling of various fairy tales. In many stories, the loss of my parents often determines my station in life, gives me the courage to rise up in the face of overwhelming odds, or at the very least it prompts me to seek vengeance for their loss.
In any case, as I was saying, my not having a family is most convenient for the author.... I mean, it allows for so many interesting twists and turns in my story.
I'm free of obligations that come with having a family.
I get away with things I wouldn't necessarily get away with if I had parents.
I can always have an existential crisis if I suddenly discover that one of my parents is, in fact, still alive!!! I don't even know how I'll react to that!
It also allows me to have a heritage or family tree that I am completely ignorant of... and then the sky is the limit! I can go from a poor pick-pocket dreaming of seeing the interior of the palace to heir to the throne in the course of my story!
So, that's who I am. Thanks for letting me tell you a bit about myself. I think I hear Jenelle returning and... I... should get going. Keep an eye out for me in all your favorite stories, and when you meet me there, please have pity for those of us whose parents our authors have so blithely killed with nary a worry nor care.
About the Author:
Jenelle is a rare and elusive creature known as an "author." She enjoys wandering through the woods and opening doors in search of hidden passageways. She can sometimes be found in darkened corners of libraries or coffee shops sipping hot chocolate and carrying on animated conversations with those strange and invisible beings known as "characters."
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A blog about all things fantasy from the elements we all love to how to write it. Posts are from our very own Fellowship of Fantasy authors.