31 Fantasy Characters, #20: Reggie Koch

31_fantasy_badgeReggie Koch stopped pedaling and coasted down the small incline in the road that led down to the docks. He sat up in the bike’s saddle and lit a cigarette with both hands, one holding the lighter, the other keeping the wind from blowing it out. He was always doing crazy crap like that, riding with no hands, driving cars with busted brakes. He laughed at his own recklessness. But hey, who gives? Everybody’s gotta die someday, right?

When he got down to the docks, it was empty. Not surprising. Few people braved the east coast anymore since 9/11, let alone Bayonne, Jersey. Plus it was the weekend, so even more likely that no one would be here. He got off the bike and leaned it against some crates. He tried not to make any noise. He knew there could be some cops around, the good ones anyway, the ones who tried to keep some order. Pitiful idiots, really. Why bother? This place was a dump. Anyone dumb enough to live here deserved anything that came to them.

He was doing it again. He kept trying not to look at the city. The city. It freaked him out every time, and every time he came back here he swore he wasn’t going to look again. But Reggie was looking, out of the corner of his eye. That small crazy part of him wanted to get a glimpse again. With a sigh of frustration at himself, he turned fully to look.

Nothing had changed. The ruined skyline, the complete darkness of the city, it was so weird. Like a ghost town — no, ghost city? Was that even a word? He remembered what it all used to look like when he was a kid, the Twin Towers, the Statue of Liberty, and all the other buildings he didn’t know the names of, all gone. Flattened by some nutso jihadis flying airplanes into the city with a nuke in their carry-on. Millions dead.

“For Allah,” they said.

Yeah, right. What the hell happened to the world?

Thoroughly creeped out once again, Reggie shook his head and rubbed his face with his hands, as if that would wipe away the image. He pulled out his phone and checked the time – 2:37 am. He caught a glimpse of the date just before shutting it off – October 20, 2016.

“Huh,” Reggie said out loud. “Totally forgot it’s my birthday tomorrow.” He put his phone back in his pocket. “I don’t feel twenty-two, I feel fifty-two.”

“It’s the radiation, idiot,” said a voice behind him.

Reggie rolled his eyes. Here’s Johnny.

(The word prompt today was “Weekend.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]

31 Fantasy Characters, #19: Molum

31_fantasy_badgeMolum stared at the parchment posted on the front door of the village general store. It couldn’t be true. The Baron was a cruel man, no doubt, but this? She read it again carefully.


  • All persons of Yanna descent are hereby banned from all commerce of any kind within the boundaries of the Entin Barony.
  • Any persons of Yanna descent found engaging in commerce will be detained indefinitely in the Garril work camps.
  • Any persons of Yanna descent found inciting opposition to The Baron will be executed.
  • Any Karlai found breaking this law will be immediately jailed on charges of suspicion of insurrection.
  • Any Karlai found aiding persons of Yanna descent to obtain food, clothing, or shelters outside of the Yanna-designated land will be executed on charges of treason.

Molum’s violet eyes blinked and a tear slid down her ruddy cheek. She quickly wiped it away, drew in a deep breath, and opened the door to the store. The conversation inside between two patrons and Spaar, the owner, stopped immediately.

“I’m sorry, Molum, you have to leave,” Spaar said.

Molum couldn’t tell what Spaar felt when he said it. His face was expressionless.

“I… I just came for some bread, and fruit—”

“You heard the man,” said one of the patrons, a cruel looking Karlai. “Get out of here, Yanna filth!”

“That’s enough out of you!” Spaar yelled at the man. “My store will obey the law — I don’t have to like it — but I won’t tolerate that behavior in my store. Say something like that again and you’re banned too!”

That brought a small smile to Molum’s mouth. But the cruel-looking man saw it.

“You think this is funny?” the man said as he came closer. “I’ll wring your neck you little—”

“Go Molum!” Spaar implored as he held back the man. “Please!”

But Molum was already turning, running. She stumbled on a rock and dropped her basket, left it behind, and kept running. She could hear fighting, pottery smashing, from the store behind her.

Fighting because of her. Because she was Yanna.

(The word prompt today was “Notice.” This scene takes place 100 years before the events in my book, By the Light of the Moons)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]

31 Fantasy Characters, #18: Shol’shagal

31_fantasy_badgeShol’shagal woke at Sunsrise, bloomed, then slowly turned her head away from the Suns to see her neighbor Gog’latur beside her.

“I think today’s our day, friend” Shol’shagal said.

Gog’latur coughed some pollen in retort. “You’ve been saying that for days, Shol’shagal. Not one catch yet.”

Shol’shagal reached a thick vine over to console her friend, but the plant batted her away with her own vines.

“Leave me alone,” Gog’latur said.

Shol’shagal let her be, and faced the Suns again. The rays brought strength and a clear purpose. She stretched her roots down into the water table for a drink and was refreshed. The few clouds in the sky was a welcome change from the previous dry and withering week’s cloudy days with no rain.

A rustle came from the shrubs ahead of them. The shrubs didn’t speak her language, but Shol’shagal had learned enough of theirs to know that something was coming.

Something animal.

Indeed, it was animal. A furry, scrappy-looking, four-legger that made a disturbing barking noise when it emerged from the shrub line.

Gog’latur didn’t ask, as usual, so Shol’shagal simply let Gog’latur take it. The animal yelped when the vine swiftly wrapped a leg, and within seconds, the creature was in the mighty plant’s maw. It struggled within, but Gog’latur’s acid soon silenced the creature.

Then a small band of animals came forth, walking on hind legs, wearing animal skins on their bodies, and even things made from grasses.

Grasses. Her plant-kin.

“Lunch!” Shol’shagal screamed.

And the hind-leggers screamed as well, as neighbors Shol’shagal and Gog’latur feasted on fresh meat.

(The word prompt today was “Neighbor.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]

31 Fantasy Characters, #17: Gravin

31_fantasy_badgeGravin wondered at the wisdom of keeping the most dangerous object the world would ever see right in plain view of anyone passing by. Then again, it was probably the safest place of all for several reasons. First and foremost, the library was a place of study of books. No one would suspect that a weapon would be found and studied here. Second, the weapon was stored in a book, so one had to know that fact to even know where to start looking. Third, this book was kept on a shelf of the Spiral, the enormous staircase whose steps led to the ancient texts in the lowest level. Who would ever think that hundreds of people would pass by it day after day, and any one of them could grab it? Finally, one had to understand how to use the window inside the book, and the number who did was small.

Yes, it actually was a genius idea to have it stored right where it was.

As Gravin passed by a few students going about their business, he casually walked by the book in question and started looking at the spines of surrounding books, his finger skimming over the titles as if he were looking for a work he didn’t already know the location of. More people passed behind him on the stairs, some up, some down. Gravin grabbed a small book here, a thick one there, the book he was really here for, then a few more.

Casual, unassuming, just as he did every day.

Finding his way to an empty study room down near the end of the Spiral, he closed the door behind him, and set the books on the table. He immediately pulled the book which housed the weapon, titled simply “Earth.”

What a strange world this Earth was; it would have been a fascinating study in and of itself, but that was not why Gravin was here. Shrugging, he turned to the forty-seventh page, and saw the window. Placing his right hand on the picture, he slowly increased the pressure until his hand reached through to the other world. Reaching blindly inside, his hand felt around for the weapon.

He assumed that in the other world his hand was inside some kind of box, but his own world had never constructed a box made of metal. The world of Earth was very advanced, of course, for the weapon he was reaching for was beyond anything his own world’s swords and shields could defend against.

Ah, there it was. He grabbed hold and gently pulled it out of the window in the book. The window shimmered once his hand and the object emerged.

He set the weapon down and began to resume his drawing of it on the forty-ninth page.

When he was finished, he would show it to the king. This “automatic pistol” would strike fear into their enemies, and make their kingdom great again.

(The word prompt today was “Study.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]

31 Fantasy Characters, #16: Thet

31_fantasy_badge“This really isn’t the best way to go, you know,” Thet said.

“I don’t care what you think, you little devil!” Lucinn said. “I want to go this way.”

Thet clucked his tiny tongue. “I wish you could see me as an asset, Lucinn. It will go so much better for you.”

Lucinn stopped and turned his head as best as he could to see the little creature adhered to his back. It was so disgusting. Slimy bright red skin with long thin arms wrapped around his collar bone, and legs wrapped around his torso. Its walnut sized pitch black eyes blinked at him while its tall pointed ears twitched about. “Look—”

“I am looking,” Thet interrupted.

“JUST—” he started to scream, but the creature squeezed Lucinn in fear and took the wind out of Lucinn’s lungs. It had happened a dozen times already this morning, so he knew to simply relax and then Thet would let up. And it did.

“Please,” Lucinn started again. “Just let me speak, and just listen.”

“Go ahead,” Thet said.

Lucinn took a breath. “You will never be an asset to me. You are a parasite—”

Thet shook his little head, his long pointy nose tickling the back of Lucinn’s head. “That’s not an accurate term to use for me—”

“Please,” Lucinn begged. “Stop talking.”

Thet emitted a tiny huff.

“Whatever you think you are, you need to remember one thing: you are not in charge. You go where I go.”

“Of course I do,” Thet laughed.

“So stop telling me where to go.”

“But I know where you’re going, and there is a better way. A safer way. This path we’re on takes us through a pride of Muirocks and they’ll eat you for lunch. Me, they’ll spit me out, I’ll be fine. I’m just looking out for you, Lucinn.”

Lucinn paused, then asked. “There’s really danger ahead?”

“Yes, you should turn left right here and we’ll follow the brook down to the valley.”
Lucinn sighed, then turned left and started walking. After three steps he tripped on a hidden vine and fell onto his stomach.

“Wee hee!” Thet squealed. “You sure fell for that!”

“Ugh, you devil!”

(The word prompt today was “Little.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]