Features the team from Mission Gone Wrong.
Theo was many things. Eager, clumsy, strong, naive, but he wasn’t tardy. So when he didn’t arrive fifteen minutes after their scheduled meet up time, they left the training room without hesitation to search for their newest member.
They found him locked in a storeroom outside the Department of Defense building, looking equal parts embarrassed and sorry for himself.
In hesitant bits and pieces, Theo told them the story of how a group of delinquents cornered and robbed him before locking him in the storeroom.
“Your super strength isn’t just for fighting monsters. You’re allowed to defend yourself too,” Ezra said, voice sharp with indignation on Theo’s behalf.
“No. I get it,” Thomas said, “It’s different for you, Ezra, but the rest of us… Fighting normal people is hard. It’s like fighting glass. One wrong move and they shatter. It’s good that the newbie held back. He’s not trained to fight with normal people.”
Thomas’ lips stretched into a cold smile. “But we are. Who are these delinquents?”
That evening, four young men were found mysteriously tied in ribbons like a giant present at the doorstep of the police department. Along with boxes of stolen items.
The next day, Theo began his special training sessions with glass.
Short story: fantasy
One day, without warning, his surroundings kept changing. He begin at the dinner table at home, then between one blink and the next, he was in a forest, on a beach, next to a tiger…
It took a frustratingly long time for him to link the sudden location changes to his blinks. He couldn’t keep his eyes open forever, but he could keep them closed. The thought of being blind in an unknown place was terrifying, but at least he could stay in one place long enough to do something. And if he needed to escape, freedom was just one blink away.
With his sight out of commission, he relied on his ears to hear for people. All he needed was one piece of information.
“Where am I?”
The first few dozen times, he wasn’t even in his own country. Rather than try to figure out all the legal requirements he would need to travel back without his passport on him, he blinked until he appeared in his country. Only then did he contact his family.
“How did you go all the way there?” his parents asked after the initial flurry of panicked questions. Just to keep the conversation going until the relative closest to him arrived to pick him up.
“I blinked,” he said.
“I’ll explain later.”
He was powerful. Without him, they would have wiped out long ago, and destroying the enemy nest would have just been a dream of a dream. But such power came at a cost.
In exchange for monstrous power, he himself would turn into one, just like the monsters they had defeated. His original plan was to sneak out after he was no longer needed and quietly end himself before he became a threat. Fortunately for him, they caught him before he could and grilled the secret out of him.
That was two hours ago. Ignoring the nails slowly sharpening into claws and teeth growing into fangs, they brainstormed and argued endlessly since then over all kinds of theories and possible solutions.
“Enough,” he said, “I asked for this. Let me deal with it.”
“Shut up. This was our dream. You don’t get to play hero alone,” their healer snapped with tears in her eyes.
“Sit.” Their leader pushed him back in his chair. “Let us save you for a change.”
“The contract was very clear.”
“Every contract has a loophole. We’ll find it.”
They ignored the baby horns starting to peek through his fringe.
She undulated to his music, something he would appreciate a lot more if he wasn’t so terrified.
He peeked at his watch. They asked him to buy them ten minutes. Only two had passed since he started serenading the monstrous guardian with his music.
His fingers slipped. The wrong note screeched horribly out of tune and shook the guardian out of her haze.
In his fear, the next few notes also missed the mark. The guardian’s gaze sharpened.
He ditched the current piece for a new one that he could play blind back to front in his sleep. His fingers moved easily through the the familiar tune. The guardian slipped back under his thrall.
He took another peek.
Seven minutes to go.
Come back soon everyone.
Entering the fairy palace was easy. Many stumbled in by accident. Getting out was the difficult part.
To leave the palace, a price had to be paid. Either sacrifice the memories formed within the palace, or lose a lifetime of memories in the mortal world.
“Or you can keep everything and stay here instead,” his newfound fairy friend said with a careless cheer that fooled neither of them. After a moment, the fairy’s manic smile softened. “But all the people you cherish are outside.”
“I’m sorry,” he said.
They clasped hands one last time, then he turned to the gatekeeper.
“I would like to leave the palace.”
Genre: fantasy, humour
He was on guard duty. Which meant no one came in and no one went out without his knowledge. He was the guardian. The door keeper. The ultimate-
He did not jump and he did not scream because dignified doorkeepers didn’t do that.
“When did you come in,” he blurted out.
“Not long ago,” said Shadow, who was outside fighting with the rest of the team just a few seconds ago.
“I’ll take the parents. You take the child,” Shadow said as she tapped the unconscious pair on one shoulder and lifted them into the air.
“What happened? Why are we leaving?” He scrambled to pick up the small boy.
“The monster called reinforcements. The rest of the team are relocating, and so are we. Let’s go.”
“Right behind you.”
It wouldn’t be appropriate to hum in front of Shadow, so he settled with thinking a suitably epic song in his head to suit his new role as the terrific transporter and still amazing guardian.
He almost took a wrong turn straight away but corrected himself before anyone noticed.
Excellent recovery. He deserved a reward when he got back.
Real title: The Dubious Doorkeeper :p
When they first started, the sun had only just risen in the sky. Now it as setting, and soon it would be the moon that would light her path.
Her knees buckled. She caught herself before she rolled down the mountain.
“You finally stopped.”
She looked around, but there was no one there.
“Why are you here?” the voice asked.
“I’m looking for the sleeper.” The local legend said that the sleeper of the mountain was stronger than a whole army. Was it true? Who knew? But they were desperate enough to try anyway.
“We need his help.”
There was a pause, then, “Look up.”
She looked up. A man waved at her from where he floated in the air. If she had more energy, she would have jumped from shock.
“Congratulations. I am the sleeper of the mountain.”
The sleeper actually existed. For the first time in a long time, a flame of hope came to life. She fumbled for the offering they had prepared for the sleeper.
But he reached down to her first and pulled her gently off the ground.
“Where to?” he asked.
“Down. There were other people with me. Then after that, the battleground.”
With a mighty crack, the world split into three.
The dreamwalkers, who moments ago were locked in a furious battle, immediately left the dream for a safer reality, leaving only two people behind.
“What’s happening?” asked the dreamer, whose only relationship with the previous battle was that a bunch of strangers decided to fight in his dreamscape.
“Your dream is collapsing,” the last dreamwalker said, “If we’re still here when it disappears, we won’t wake up.”
“What do I do? I’m not like you. I can’t go anywhere.”
The world kept crumbling like sand in an hourglass.
“Close your eyes. Don’t open them until I tell you to.”
“What are you going to do?” the dreamer asked as he closed his eyes.
“I’m going to bring you to my dream. One, two.” The dreamwalker exhaled. “Three.”
“Don’t open your eyes yet. I need to rearrange my island.”
“Your dream is an island?”
“With white sands surrounded by brilliant blue water. Can you hear the waves?”
The dream listened. “Yes.”
“Good. Open your eyes.”
The dreamer opened his eyes to a gorgeous but empty island.
“Thank you, but this dream is yours. We never left.”
The dreamwalker smiled.
“You can’t walk between dreams like us, but this is your dream. You have complete control. Remember that next time you get invaded. Later.”
The dreamwalker turned around, but didn’t disappear. Confusion flashed before settling into amusement. The dreamwalker faced the dreamer.
“This is my dream. I have complete control. If I don’t want you to go, you can’t go. Right?” The dreamer smirked.
“True. But complete control comes with practice. Sweet dreams.”
The dreamwalker hopped backwards into the water and vanished without a trace.
Like a dream.
There was a peculiar girl in the village, who talked about horses that never tired and little boxes that could answer any question, but looked confused at their moons and bread trees.
They found her last year in the forest, asleep and half buried under the snow that almost took her fingers.
“I shouldn’t be here,” she said when she woke up.
So they tried to help her return home, but they recognized none of the places she mentioned. The only familiar word they heard was “London”, but that was an animal, not a place.
Eventually, they turned their focus to making a home for her in the village. She accepted their kindness, but there was always something about her that was a little… different.
One day, she fell ill. They took turns watching over her as she slept the days away. Then, between one blink and another, she vanished.
The indoor thunderstorm came from one source: a little girl no older than twelve. The superpower, despite how destructive it looked, wasn’t actually dangerous, if she could actually control it.
In the past, they would have locked her away for everyone’s safety. Now there were laws against that, so they had to get creative. Considering her age, they decided to lock away her powers and keep it dormant until she was ready.
For years, it was the perfect solution. Then she finished high school, and her parents requested for her powers to be returned so she had some form of self-defence when she moved out for college.
Except, the power wouldn’t wake up.
~Continue the story in Return Storm~