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Short Story: Either Way

Genre: fantasy, family

 

The drug had a plethora of side effects. Chronic fatigue, a constant low grade fever, an increased tendency for nosebleeds, reduced reaction time, and the list went on. It was uncomfortable and dangerous with no guarantee of success, but it was the best odds they’d had since the parasite latched on to her brother.

“This drug will kill you,” the parasite said as the feverish boy shifted restlessly on the bed.

“So will you, and between the you and the drug, we’ll take our chances with the drug,” she said with more bravado than she actually had.

“He won’t just be fighting the drug. I’ll fight him the whole way. Will you really risk your bother’s life to get rid of little old me?”

Her fingers tightened around his clammy hands. “He’s stronger than you think. The drug’s just giving him the boost he needs to kick you out for good.”

The rest of their group hovered around the bed, shooting down everything the parasite said to try and save itself while supporting her brother in any way they could. She sat vigil by her brother’s side, hands clasped tightly around her brother’s as if she could give her strength to her little brother if she tried hard enough.

Finally, finally, the parasite succumbed to the drug. While they could only watch before, now they rushed in to save her brother. Half a year later and more than two years after the parasite infected their youngest member, the nightmare was finally over. Her brother recovered his strength, and for the first time in a long time, the two siblings walked side by side along their favourite river.

“So, what did we learn from this?” she asked.

“If a weird parasite tries to take over my big sis again, I should block it.”

“No!”

“Yes.”

“The right answer is to ‘run away’.”

You try running away when you only have one second to react. I should get a reward for fastest reaction of the year. It was this close to you.” Her brother pinched his thumb and forefinger together in emphasis. “Anyway, everything turned out alright so there’s no need to get so worked up.”

She looked at the cane her younger brother still needed, at the tremors that shook the once-steady hands, and the pouch they both wore containing medication to deal with the many lingering side effects of the drug. Her brother shrugged.

“I’ll get better. And if you really love me, you’ll get those rambutans for me because I’m not allowed to climb trees while I recuperate from saving your life.”

She released a huff that was equal parts amused and relieved. That her brother was interested in food again was another good sign on his long road to complete recovery.

“Yes, boss. Fresh rambutans coming right up.”

~End~

 

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Short Story: Sibling Squabble

Genre: general

 

The woman launched a table at the man. The man ducked under the table so it flew over him to smash into the wall.

“Hey, calm down. Don’t fight,” a passerby cut in.

The two of them looked at the passerby.

“We’re not fighting,” the man said.

“The whole street will know if we’re fighting. This. This is just… a harmless sibling squabble,” the woman said.

Some people eyed the carnage around them and took a cautious step back. The regulars continued with their coffee. Someone from the outside walked in, stopped, and walked right out.

“You sure?” the same passerby asked.

“100%. Don’t worry about us. We’ll fix things up after we’re done. Right boss lady?”

The cafe owner just waved the passerby over to the counter. “They do this all the time. The regulars come here to watch the show. Just stay out of the way and you’ll be fine. What’s your order?”

Still with an eye on the siblings, the passerby said, “Mocha.”

“Anything else?”

“That’s it.”

“Any allergies?”

“No.”

“Have a complimentary cookie and please wait over there in the safe zone while your coffee is made. Have a lovely day.”

A tray of plates shattered. Half the shop merely watched as they enjoyed the meal.

What an usual place.

~End~

 

Short Story: The Bottle of Mysterious Workings

Genre: family

 

They funnelled the whole vat of liquid into the tiny bottle. An undeniably magical bottle because that was a lot of stuff going in there with no problems. Plus it still weighed practically nothing afterwards.

“Magic,” she argued.

“Technology,” her brother shot back.

As one, they turned to their uncle. “Which is it?”

“Doesn’t matter.” He pocketed the bottle. “As long as it works.”

She shared a look with her brother.

“Magic.”

“Technology.”

Their uncle sighed.

~End~

Short Story: Return Storm

Genre: fantasy
Follows after Dormant Thunderstorm.

 

Today, she was interested in one thing and one thing only.

Getting her powers back.

When she was younger, she had the power to create thunderstorms. Unfortunately, it was too much for her to handle, and it was locked away for everyone’s safety.

Now she was moving out alone for college, and a little thunderstorm was a great way to deter anyone from trying anything funny with her.

They tried throwing her into danger, tasers, other supers, creepy crawlies. Nothing would pull her power out of dormancy.

“Arghh!”

“Calm down.” A hand landed on her head and ruffled her hair.

She snapped.

A tiny bolt of lightning zapped her brother’s hand.

“Ow! Hey. You got it!”

More electricity sizzled in the air.

“Don’t touch my hair again.”

“Ok. Ok. Just calm down.”

The air lightened. So did the tension that had gathered in her over the day. She smiled.

“I like this.”

“Of course you would,” her brother grumbled.

~End~

Short Story: A Shimmer in the Distance

Genre: General

 

“Are we there yet?” his sister trudged reluctantly behind him.

“Any time now.” He scanned the horizon. If he remembered right, it was on the left.

“Are you sure it even exists?”

He shook his head. “Oh ye of little faith.”

“I don’t even know what ‘it’ is,” she complained.

“‘It’ is magic and sparkles and dreams. I just need to find a shimmer.”

“That’s just the heat in the air. It’s normal for deserts.”

“I’m 100% sure I saw it. Just follow me.”

Hours later, the air remained frustratingly shimmer-free, and he admitted defeat.

Behind them, to the right, the air shimmered.

~End~

Drabble: Persistent Pest

Genre: fantasy

 

He waved his arms, shook his body, twisted, jumped, dashed, but no matter how he tried, the human still clung to him. Worse, the human kept stabbing him too, and some of those stabs actually hurt.

“What do you want?” he roared.

“Bring my sister back to life,” the human said.

“There is no return from death.”

“Not for you.”

He bucked and kicked, but the human’s grip was annoyingly stubborn.

“Why should I bring the dead back?”

“Because I will keep attacking you until you do.”

“You will tire eventually, human.”

“So will you.”

Persistent pest.

“Then we will see who tires first.”

~End~

 

This story is inspired by the game Shadow of the Colossus, where the player is basically an annoying little insect climbing all over these giants and stabbing them to death. From the player’s point of view, the giants are a pain to fight, but I’m pretty sure the giants feel the same way about the player, so we all annoy each other together. Oh well.

Drabble: Just a Coincidence

Genre: humour, family

 

A ball floated down the river past her.

That looked familiar…

A dog floated down the river.

That looked super familiar too.

A young man floated down the river.

That one was definitely familiar.

She clambered to her feet and asked the man in the river, “What are you doing here?”

Her brother swam over to the river bank.

“What? I can’t swim here?”

“It’s freezing.”

“Who says I can’t swim on a cold day?” He climbed up the bank and looked beyond her to her boyfriend. “More importantly, who’s that guy with you?”

Ah.

“If you wanted to meet him so badly, you could have just asked.”

Her brother glared at her boyfriend. “Who says I’m here because of him? This is just a coincidence.”

A breeze blew by. A shudder shook her brother’s wet body. Without a word, her boyfriend took off his coat and held it out. Her brother continued to glare as conflicting thoughts fought in his mind. Eventually, his body’s need for warmth won, and he accepted the coat.

Another gust slipped between them. This time, both men shivered. She sighed and knelt on the picnic blanket.

“Help me pack up. We’re going somewhere warmer.”

~End~

Drabble: What’s that?

My response to the prompt construct.

Genre: general, family, humour

 

~What’s that?~

The two siblings stared into the glass case, little hands pressed against the invisible barrier.

“What’s that?” the younger brother asked.

The older sister studied the large dark dome and the funny groves and projections on it.

“It’s a helmet for giants,” she declared.

“Wow.”

Behind them, their parents stifled a laugh.

“A helmet?” the father whispered.

“Could work. If someone hollows it out first,” the mother replied.

The two children turned their attention to something else, and the parents followed them to another display.

“What’s that?” the younger brother asked, pointing to a structure covered with feather and beads.

“Clothes for the giant.”

The parents disguised their laughter as a cough.

“Didn’t know you were such a fan of giants,” the father whispered to the mother, who was one of the artists participating in the art exhibition and the creator of both the giant’s ‘helmet’ and ‘clothes’.

The mother slapped him playfully on his arm. “I blame your recent giant bedtime stories.”

The father grinned and raised his camera. “Kids, look here. Say cheese.”

Well trained, the children spun around and gave them great toothy smiles. The father snapped the happy picture to be used in a few years to tease the kids mercilessly.

Sometimes, having kids was great.

~End~

 

When I first saw the prompt, my first thought was, I have zero inspiration for this.

Having zero inspiration didn’t mean that I shouldn’t bother, so I brainstormed a few ideas. I considered exploring the creation of the Wilhem Dolls in Perfect Junk, or the city wall in Defenders of the Wall, or some sort of superhero power relating to creating things.

But I wanted to create something new, and this happened. *shrug*

Drabble: Celebration for Two

Written in response to the prompt ‘pretend‘.

Genre: family, angst, heatwarming

 

~Celebration for Two~

She spread the embroidered cloth she made from the scraps she collected over the months. He poured the juice he made from the berries he foraged from the forest.

It wasn’t the wine (the blood they shared in their veins) and lace (the threads of fate that bound their lives together) they usually celebrated the special day with, but it was good enough for them to pretend they were still a part of the community they were exiled from.

They raised their drinks.

“Happy birthday, sister.”

“Happy birthday, brother.”

~End~

 

Read more about the siblings in Together in Exile and Home is Here.

Drabble: An Offer Taken

My response to the August prompt ‘open’. Takes place after Talking to a Door.

Genre: general, slice of life

 

~An Offer Taken~

“Need anything?” she asked her brother’s door on her way downstairs.

“Actually, can you give me a hand?” her brother replied from the other side.

“Ok.” At least she asked… Wait. He actually wanted her help this time.

Her hands hovered before the door. Her brother hadn’t accepted her offers to help before. What now?

“Come in. The door isn’t locked,” her brother said.

She grabbed the handle and pushed. The door swung open.

Inside his bedroom, her brother sat cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by puzzle pieces of all shapes and sizes.

“Hold these for me.” He pointed his chin at the two larger chunks he had assembled halfway in his hands.

She sat down and took the pieces. “Like this?”

“Yes.” Her brother rose and walked over to his cupboard. He grabbed a small tube off the top shelf and returned to his spot.

“Thanks.”

“No worries.”

She didn’t talk to a wall this time.

A smile curled her lips.

She was glad she kept asking.

~End~

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