Good morning, Internets!
This week’s Free Fiction Thursday story is a fun one I wrote for an anthology called SWORDPLAY. When I got the assignment, I knew nothing about swords — except that Aragorn used one in the Lord of the Rings movies and he looked pretty cool. *g* Then I found a legend about a particular sword, which triggered an idea, and off I went writing about The Warrior Women of Apartment 3-C. Hope you enjoy it!
The Warrior Women of Apartment 3-C
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed
Pre-wedding jitters drive the best of people temporarily insane. My roommate, Wendell, wasn’t the most tightly-wrapped person to begin with. When he showed me the sword he bought for his wedding ceremony, I thanked my lucky stars my room had a solid door and a working lock. Just in case.
“You bought a sword,” I said, somewhat unnecessarily since the thing was right there on my couch in all its tarnished, ornate glory.
“Yeah, off eBay,” he said. “Isn’t it cool?”
Wendell was deep in battle mode. Again. In Wendell’s case, that meant blowing video game bad guys to smithereens from the comfort of his battered recliner. A beer sat on the floor at his feet next to a bag of half-eaten microwave popcorn. Wendell had moved his recliner to the exact middle of the living room, just far enough away from the television that I’d have to high jump over the controller cord if I wanted to cross in front of him to get to the kitchen. Considering I didn’t jump — or skip or hop, for that matter — this pretty much guaranteed I wouldn’t be interrupting his game.
I was never very good at video games. Wendell said that was because I was a girl. As if. I just didn’t care enough to spend hours and hours learning how to destroy things that didn’t really exist anyway.
Wendell, on the other hand, lived for video games. Even so, ever since he and his girlfriend, Clara, had set their official wedding date, he’d been outdoing himself. I guess he needed to stockpile time with his inner game geek before he moved out of my apartment and into Clara’s. From what I’d seen, dear old Clara didn’t look like the type to put up with hours and hours of gaming every night. That was the nice thing about being roommates. I didn’t care how long Wendell zoned out in his computerized never-never land. I had a television in my bedroom, so it wasn’t like he was hogging our only one.
I leaned over the couch and peered at the sword. It was a pretty hefty thing, thick blade with some sort of design etched on the tarnished cutting edges and a deeper design carved into a dirty white hilt. It looked old. Really old.
What was he planning? Wendell, and especially Clara, weren’t the type to dress up in medieval costumes for their wedding. As far as I knew, their wedding attire would be boringly traditional all the way, complete with black tux, lacy white wedding dress, and bridesmaid outfits a drag queen wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.
“Don’t take this the wrong way,” I said. “But how could you afford this?” Wendell wasn’t living with me just because I was such a stellar roommate.
“Got it cheap. It’s just a replica. Cost me more for shipping than it did to buy it.”
Cheap, huh? That sounded like something that would attract Wendell. But why would someone want to unload a sword so bad they’d eat everything except the shipping charges? The sword didn’t exactly look like a replica. Did replicas tarnish? And what was that reddish-brown stuff in the deeper crevices of the hilt? Could that actually be dried blood?
“So,” I said, drawing the word out. “How are you going to… incorporate… this thing into the ceremony?” It was probably wishful thinking to hope that Wendell planned to use the sword on Clara right before she said, “I do,” but a girl can dream.
(read the rest of the story here)