Free Fiction Thursday – Omens and Oracles and Eros, Oh My

Happy Thursday, everyone!

You should know by now that I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory. A couple of years back when they introduced Amy Farrah Fowler as Sheldon’s girlfriend, I was skeptical. Sheldon Cooper with a girl? Sheldon was, as the characters themselves sometimes put it, a man of science, only unlike the other characters, he had absolutely no interest in girls.

Well, as it turns out, I think Amy was a great addition to the cast, as was Bernadette. The show is, at heart, a romantic comedy. Romantic comedies come complete with romantic entanglements of one version or another for their characters.  While Sheldon is still a man of science, now he has an equally odd woman of science to spend his time with, complete with relationship agreement.

All this talk about relationships leads me to this week’s free story, which finds Cupid, the God of Love, hiring our intrepid detectives Diz and Dee to find his missing daughter. I hope you enjoy “Omens and Oracles and Eros, Oh My.”

omens cover

Omens and Oracles and Eros, Oh My

Annie Reed

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

It’s not every day a Greek god walks through a girl’s front door.

My partner and I run a detective agency out of an old storefront half a mile from the ferry landing on the mainland side of Moretown Bay.  The neighborhood is rundown urban with a touch of whimsical eclectic.  The shop next door sells everything Asian, from manga to anime to imported CD soundtracks side by side with things like shrimp chips and lichee jellies.  The masseuse across the street has her front door decorated with purple glitter and glow in the dark stars.  Every time one of her customers opens that door, enough aromatherapy candle smoke escapes to engulf the neighborhood in a cloud of calm.  Or passion.  I’m pretty sure on those days she provides more than a simple massage.  I don’t intend to find out.  She seems like a nice enough woman, but I’m not that starved for affection.  Not yet.

I didn’t recognize the guy who walked in my office like he owned the place, not right away, anyway.  Who’d have thought you’d find a god wandering around a neighborhood like this?  The sidewalk in front of our office looks like concrete accordion pleats, and I’m pretty sure a family of four is living in the panel van permanently parked at the back of the municipal lot at the end of the block.

Plus, the guy wasn’t dressed in a diaper and carting a bow and arrows. Even a detective needs at least a couple clues.

“You find lost people?” he asked, his tone more than a little upper crust.

“We do.”  I resisted the urge to look at the plate glass window at the front of the office.  The name on that window was D & D Investigations, and underneath:  Missing Persons Are Our Specialty.

I’m Dee, one half of D & D.  Diz, short for Dizzy G, is the other half.  Diz is an elf.  I’m not.  I get along with most people.  He glowers.  He’s also built like The Rock, and that makes him more than a little intimidating.  Which is why I’m the one who meets with potential clients.  If I let Diz do the meet and greet, we’d both be begging the police department for our old jobs back.

“I need you to find someone,” the guy said.

I smiled my most competent, professional detective smile.  “Have a seat.”

(read the rest of the story here)

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Free Fiction Thursday – A Most Romantic Dragon

Good morning, everyone! How’s Thursday treating you so far?

Before we get to this week’s story, I’d like to take a minute to congratulate Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the prestigious Willamette Writers organization. I can’t think of two people who deserve an award like this more than Kris and Dean. Like the countless numbers of writers they’ve taught and assisted throughout the years, I owe my writing career to them. Don’t get me wrong — I was a writer before I met them. But thanks to all the invaluable things they’ve taught me and continue to teach me, not to mention their friendship, I’m not only a better writer, I’m a professional writer. Thank you, guys! And a great big ol’ WooHoo!!! from this neck of the woods!

So you might be asking yourself, what exactly do I get from Kris and Dean and their wonderful workshops (which I can’t recommend highly enough)? Well, this week’s story, for one thing. I wrote “A Most Romantic Dragon”  in response to an assignment at this year’s anthology workshop. I hope you enjoy the further adventures of Mordived, the unserious dragon, as he finds unexpected love.

A Most Romantic Dragon

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover art Copyright 10-12-10 © julien Tromeur

When love came to Mordived the dragon, it came as all things did—in a most unconventional way.

He hadn’t expected to fall in love, you see.  Quite content to live in the land ruled by his elder brother Gilgamule, Mordived spent his days soaring over his brother’s land while he perfected his patented “my wing’s broken” tuck-and-roll, first with his right wing and then his left, all the while keeping an eye out for errant knights determined to slay his more conventional brother.  When Mordived got hungry, as he often did while practicing the aerial portion of his slapstick routine, he chased wild pigs through the woods or goats up the craggy side of a mountain.  Mordived left the peasants’ sheep and cattle alone.  Not only did he think it rude to roast meat that didn’t belong to him, the wooly coats of the sheep scratched his throat going down and cattle gave him indigestion.

On one such afternoon flight, Mordived caught sight of something quite unexpected—a dragon who wasn’t his brother.

Mordived was so surprised he nearly failed to untuck his tucked right wing, which would have led to a nasty encounter with a rather tall and pointy pine tree.  While Mordived didn’t mind taking the occasional pratfall—it was, after all, his desire to make virgins laugh rather than eat them that made Mordived the black sheep, so to speak, of his family—a pratfall took timing and preparation, and Mordived was decidedly unprepared.

He was equally unprepared to discover that the unexpected dragon was a girl.

Mordived’s entire experience with dragons of the female persuasion was limited to the family he’d left behind when he moved in with his brother.  Mordived’s mother had never quite known what to make of her unconventional son.  While she laughed—politely, of course; little puffs of smoke barely escaped her nostrils—at his early attempts at humor, she also frightened him.  Perhaps it was her prized collection of knights’ helmets, complete with the skulls of the unfortunate knights still inside, that made Mordived so nervous.  It didn’t help that whenever he got into trouble, she would stare pointedly at those helmets and tap the prodigious claws of one foot, as if to say, “Don’t try my patience too much, strange child of mine.”

His younger sisters had been of no use at all in teaching Mordived how to act around girls.  They simply called him “Strange Child” and tried to breathe fire at him.  Mostly they just set fire to the tree roots that dangled from the ceiling of their cave, for which Mordived took the blame.  Such was the lot in life for an unconventional dragon with five bratty little sisters.

But this new dragon wasn’t like any of his sisters.  She was long of tail and delicate of wing, with a fine ridge of emerald green spines along her back and the largest golden eyes Mordived had ever seen.  One look, and he was smitten.

(read the rest of the story here)