Free Fiction Friday – The Magic of Home

This week’s free fiction story celebrates the first issue of the Uncollected Anthology with my contribution, The Magic of Home.  This story will be available to read for free right here until August 15th.  Enjoy!

Annie MM for website

THE MAGIC OF HOME

Annie Reed

The motorcycle whispered to Twig as they zoomed past the shipyards at the south end of Moretown Bay.

Home.

Tucked safely inside her helmet, the tips of Twig’s long ears quivered in response to the motorcycle’s rumbling voice. She felt its yearning not only in the subtle change in its magic, but in the throaty roar of the engine as they increased speed, racing north on I-5 toward the city that shared its name with the bay.

Twig leaned forward. “Almost there,” she said. “Almost there.”

Her words tore apart on the damp night air rushing past her, but she knew their meaning would still reach the heart of the machine that had been her friend for a decade. Not all magical beings needed ears to hear or words to understand.

As much as she wanted to get them both home, they couldn’t afford to draw the attention of any police—or wizards—who might be patrolling the freeway.

I-5 passed through the center of the city as the freeway wound its way north into Canada, a wide ribbon of asphalt and concrete hemmed in by high-rise office buildings, luxury hotels, and apartment buildings too rich for Twig’s blood. This part of the freeway had always been heavily patrolled. Twig doubted that had changed in the years she’d been gone, so she throttled back on the engine to bring their speed closer to the surrounding traffic.

The motorcycle fought her, so Twig whispered soothing words to it until it accepted her decision. She hoped it was the right one.

Under other circumstances, just seeing the city itself might have taken her breath away. Tonight the sky was clear. No fog had rolled in off the water to obscure the view, and the tall buildings in the city center gleamed like jewels against the starry sky. She could make out the spires of the Justice Center, gleaming white and silver like a monument to law and order for all, human and magic folk alike. Spotlights had turned the modern glass and steel Trexler Towers blue and green, the colors for a local sports team.

Twig wasn’t surprised that the city was still celebrating the team’s world championship, even though that particular sport wasn’t truly played on a global scale. Everyone, magic folk and humans alike, needed something outside themselves to believe in.

Hurry, the motorcycle whispered. Gillfoil approaches.

Twig tensed. As sensitive as her ears were to the currents of magic in the world around her, the motorcycle’s senses far exceeded hers. If the motorcycle felt the presence of the gang’s enforcer, that meant he was near.

“Where?” she asked.

Behind. Less than a mile.

“Can we make it?”

The motorcycle hesitated. Twig could imagine her friend calculating speed and distance, and the effect of mass and magic on both.

No.

(end of sample)

~~~

The Magic of Home is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

If you enjoyed this story, be sure to check out the other stories in the Uncollected Anthology series!

Advertisements

Free Fiction Thursday (one day late) – Peaches

Oi, I’m late, I’m late, for a very important…

Let’s not go there, shall we? I see enough bunnies in the field next to my house — and sometimes in the back yard —  as it is. I don’t need to see one in a waistcoat peering at his pocket watch.

This week, Free Fiction Thursday has morphed into Free Fiction Friday. Yesterday I was crunching a deadline, so the fine folks who help me provide a free story every week were kind enough to give me a one-day reprieve. Yay! I met my deadline, subbed my newly-created story to my editor, and now it’s off to the next project on my list, but not before I leave you with a free story to read.

So for this unconventional free fiction day, how about something a little different? I occasionally write under the pen name Kris Sparks. Most of the Kris Sparks stories tend to be on the edgy side either in character or content, and most — not all, but most — feature LGBT characters in significant roles, but every now and then Kris writes a story with a more mainstream, literary feel. This week’s story is one of those quasi-literary ones. I hope you enjoy “Peaches.”

 

Peaches

Kris Sparks

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Kris Sparks

They met at lunchtime in a busy noontime Saturday line at Subway.  Henry ordered roast beef on sourdough, Marianne turkey and provolone on whole wheat, no oil or mayonnaise.

For years afterward he remembered the smells of that day — the rich yeast of bread fresh from the warmer, the campfire aroma of the smoky provolone, the sharp vinegar tang of pickles and hot peppers.  The motorcycle rider in dusty leathers in the line behind Henry reeked of sweat, cigarettes, and stale beer.  But most of all, he remembered the feminine smell of her perfume.  Subtle, but there.  It made him notice her.

He stood in line behind her looking at the back of her neck.  Did she wear her perfume there?  Perhaps a dab behind each ear.  His mother had done that.  He remembered when he was little watching his mother at her dressing table as she took the stopper out of a cut crystal bottle and dabbed the wet end of the stopper behind each ear.  The crystal was clear glass, but the end of the stopper was rough and opaque.

For the longest time he’d thought the perfume had eaten away the glass, and that’s why the stopper was rough.  Funny the things you remember.

He’d never known the name of the perfume his mother used.  She was gone long before he was old enough to think to ask.

Ahead of them in line a young woman held a toddler in her arms.  Boy?  Girl?  He couldn’t tell.  The child was dressed in one of those unisex outfits, neither pink nor blue but shades of green and red and yellow, like a street light.  The child smiled at him, the kind of sweet, innocent smile only young children can give.  He smiled back.  The child laughed and pointed a chubby finger at him.  He chuckled and waved the tips of his fingers at her.

The woman with intriguing perfume turned around and looked at him.  “She likes you,” she said.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Jessie

Good morning!  Happy Thursday, Internets!

I don’t know about you, but I spent way too much time this last weekend watching AMC’s The Walking Dead third-season preview marathon.  I can’t wait for the up-coming season.  Maybe I should dive into the novel to get the background on The Governor, who will be showing up in season three.  Anybody here read The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor?  How did you like it?

In the meantime, since I’ve been in a zombie apocalypse survivor mood, this week’s Free Fiction Thursday story is one of five zombie survivor stories in my collection THE PATIENT Z FILES, which is on sale for 50% off the cover price at Smashwords through the month of July.  I hope you enjoy “Jessie.”

JESSIE

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2011 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover illustration Copyright Andreas Gradin | Dreamstime.com

Cover layout by Thunder Valley Press

Tommy met Jessie on the beach.

He’d been wandering along the shore line, walking on the wet sand because it was easier, and playing keep away with the waves so his shoes wouldn’t get wet.  The day was cold and cloudy.  He was looking for driftwood to make a fire, but he wasn’t looking all that hard.  This part of the beach was sheltered from the big part of the ocean by a sand bar, and for some reason there was a lot of driftwood here.  Everything from dry twigs and bark to huge old tree trunks covered with big black splotches that looked like they’d come from a burned out forest about a million years ago.  Tommy wanted to climb on top of the biggest ones and see what he could see, but Leon always told him to stay off the logs, it wasn’t safe, just like Leon had told him to walk along the water because the sick wouldn’t go in the water and it was one way to get away from them.

That hadn’t turned out to be true, but Tommy still walked along the water’s edge like Leon told him to even though Leon wasn’t there anymore.

Tommy had just picked up a piece of wood about the size of his forearm when he saw her sitting on top of a huge log near the water’s edge, watching him.

“You’re not supposed to be up there,” he said.

She stuck her tongue out at him.  “Says who?”

(read the rest of the story here)