Flash Fiction Friday Stories: Bingo

Bingo Card

Bingo by Banasre25001 on DeviantArt.com

We stood, shivering, in the steel cold room. Not that they cared, it was a balmy temp for them. They were lounging around on divans, if my memory serves of tales about Romans and orgies. We can just do as told.

I’ve survived so long. It had to happen one of these days. I was just sixteen when the skies opened and the ships came. I was in the city, to shop. My prom was coming up and I didn’t like any of the dresses in my small town stores. I had to have something special, different. I’m long past grieving for that simple life. Scooped up, with something others have told me were tractor beams but they don’t know. Old SciFi geeks, they call themselves. The tech is too advanced, we’re like dogs, ordered to sit, stand, fetch. We do what we’re told.

Now I’m part of the select, that’s what they call it. The Select, like it’s something special. It’s special all right. A special way to die.

We’ve been pampered all month. Well, it’s thirty sleeps for us. The day night cycle is long, longer than humans can tolerate. I heard stories that when they first started taking humans, they expected us to work on their schedule. People just died from exhaustion. Now they understand, we need to sleep often, at least often on their schedules. So households have many servants, we work in shifts to clean, entertain, cook, take care of their offspring.

Don’t get me started on the offspring. The nanny corp needs constant replenishment.

Anyway, here I am, dressed in the special robe, nanotech flashing a number on my tunic. An amplified voice speaks the alien numbers as a screen flashes them up for the gamers to see. If a number shows on the screen, the human who bears that number disintegrates. The masters moan in their own way but I’ve already lost six friends today. I stand stone-faced but several are weeping. Silently, of course. There will be no unseemly wailing to disrupt the fun. I’m just angry.

At the end of each game there is a winner, and those of us with the right symbols are excused. Back to the approved master, of course, no one is ever freed. I can’t imagine what Earth is like now. Did they take over? Did they just scoop us all up and leave the planet alone? I have no idea.

Now it’s my turn. My group is herded forward to stand on the similarly numbered squares and the game begins. At each called number, a player around me disintegrates. The dust of them makes me cough and my eyes water but I’m not crying. My teeth grind together as my nails dig into my palms.

As far as I can figure, I’ve made it twenty years in this hell hole. I’m thirty-seven and have borne eight children, none of whom I’ve been allowed to see after the birth. I’ve figured I’m so old that I’d be among the select sooner rather than later though the method of choosing us is a mystery.

The booming voice keeps chanting numbers. Some sort of random number generator the rumor has it. More of us disappear. One of the aliens whistles and throws one of their upper appendages into the air. Many of the other aliens moan. I look around; I’m one of the last five. We’re led from the arena and taken to another room. Other humans undress us and lead us to the steam baths. We’re given food and wine. How the aliens found out about that is beyond me. They drink something that others have told me resembles hydrochloric acid. I enjoyed the wine, whatever it is. I’ve earned it. I won’t be chosen for the Select again.

There is a rumor that some humans are gathering together to fight the aliens. What a joke. Like they can work any of the tech. Do they have four hands? Do they even know what the tech does? Wishful thinking by humans about to use whatever tool they can find to make their own end.

Tomorrow I’ll be back in my master’s kitchen mixing up the chemicals they call food. There’s a rumor there was a game like this on Earth, though not deadly. Bingo. What the hell is Bingo?

 

The End

722 Words

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Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 10 – Becca Meets the King

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Ten – Becca Meets the King (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 10 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

Becca Meets the King

He opened the door and they stepped out into the midday sunlight. It was hot. The birds were quiet. When Shamus closed the door, it disappeared into the hillside. Becca looked closely. Barely visible in the green grass, she grinned at Shamus. “I can see it!”

“Good. You’re developing your magical talent. Let’s go to the King.”

She nodded and they walked to the left along the dusty road. When they approached a small hill a voice called out. “Halt! Identify yourself.”

“Shamus O’Malley and a guest. We have news for the King.”

Becca gasped as the hill dissolved in front of her and a wooden gate appeared. Two leprechauns, dressed in uniforms of red and green with brass buttons down the front, appeared in the gate. One guard said, “You I know, Shamus.” He eyed Becca. “You bring a human to the sidhe?”

“I do, Morest. It’s a long tale to be sure. But first I must tell the King.”

The guard gave Shamus a look that meant he was doubtful of that course of action. “I’ll send Dan with you.”

Shamus nodded and led them off to the King’s Hall. Becca marched beside him and Dan trailed along. The guards in the hall called out his arrival. Two more guards joined Dan. By the time Shamus reached King Mac Shadenan in the gardens, there were five guards. They were announced as they entered. The King stood up from pruning his roses. “Shamus!” he called out,–then stopped as he realized Becca and a troop of guards were with his representative.

“Sire,” Shamus swept his hat off in a bow. “I’ve recovered your gold.”

The King stepped forward. “Well done, Shamus.” He eyed Becca. “You bring a human to the sidhe?”

“It’s a long tale, Sire. But I believe she’s Tuatha De Danann.”

The King stared. “A tale indeed.”

“Before we discuss that, Sire, the gold is hidden in a castle ruin, six hours away by the leprechaun road. I think your first order of business sould be to secure it.”

“Good advice, Shamus.” He looked at Dan. “Get a squad together and fetch the gold.” He turned back to Shamus. “You’ll have to go with them, of course.”

Shamus nodded. “I understand, Sire. I recovered the rainbows as well. Then, after I bathe, I’ll tell you the whole tale.” He glanced at Becca. “This is Becca, Sire. She’s thirteen and has had a long, hard trip.”

“Of course,” Mac Shadenan said. “We’ll get her bathed and fed and rested. She’ll be treated with respect, to be sure.”

Shamus bowed. “Thank you, Sire. I’ll be back as soon as I can. We’ll store the gold here until a new treasury can be built.”

The King raised his hand in blessing and Shamus and all but one guard turned and left. “Miss Becca,” the King addressed her. “The guard will take you to a room where you will be able to clean up, eat and rest.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” She curtsied and the guard led her away.

The next morning Becca was in the garden. The leprechauns had set up a breakfast table where Becca was having tea and scones with butter and honey. She was enjoying the garden. There were birds and butterflies here she’d never seen before. A butterfly landed on the table and was delicately sipping at a drop of spilled honey when Shamus approached.

“Shhh, Shamus,” the girl whispered. “A butterfly is sharing my breakfast.”

Shamus moved quietly and stood behind Becca’s chair. “A beauty, Miss Becca. It’s a Peacock butterfly. The red color and iridescent blue eyespots are how you can tell.”

“It’s beautiful.”

The butterfly, satisfied with its breakfast, fluttered off across the garden. Shamus moved to the table. “The King will meet with us in his chambers. Have you finished breaking your fast?”

She popped the last bit of scone in her mouth and washed it down with the last of her tea. “Yes,” she said just before she hiccupped.

“You didn’t have to hurry, lass.” Shamus laughed. “The King will be there.”

Becca wiped her mouth. “No, I’m done.” She stood up. “What will the King want to know?”

They began the walk back to the hall. “He’ll want to know the tale. By the time I got back last night, it was late and the King was abed. I had word to wait until this morning to meet with him. I’ll tell what I know. The King–his name is Mac Shadenan–is addressed as Your Majesty or Sire, and may ask you questions. Answer them truthfully. He’s King for a reason. Don’t lie to him.”

Becca nodded.

The two traversed the large building. The King’s apartments were in the center, behind the main hall. There, Shamus and Becca entered his office. The Advisors were already there, as was Princess Lyeen. The King stood up from his desk, walking around to greet Shamus.
Shamus bowed and tapped Becca, who bowed as well.

“Rise, Shamus. My counselors tell me the gold is all accounted for and secure. They’ve put the rainbows back in place and they’re recovering. Well done, my man.”

“I’m sorry we were back so late, Sire. We did not want to disturb your rest.”

“No need to apologize.” He looked at the two of them. “Come, we’ll sit and talk about your travels.”

The King led them to a group of armchairs and a small sofa in front of the cold fireplace. Becca noticed a large bouquet of flowers filling the space where a fire would usually burn. She sat on a footstool next to the chair where Shamus sat. The King chose a large, green brocade chair while Princess Lyeen sat beside him in a wooden armed Queen Anne-style chair, the seat and back covered in matching needlepoint flowered upholstery. The advisors, all three of them, sat on the sofa.

“Now,” Shadenan said as they settled in. “Tell me the whole tale.”

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

Monday Blog Post: Keeping Track

Purple, Flowers, Painted Desert, Connie Cockrell

Purple flowers in the Painted Desert by Connie Cockrell

A writer’s life, well, actually any life, is a series of events. We keep track of things. Like, our birthdays, our anniversaries, our major events like the day I passed my driving test or the day I graduated high school or college. A writer’s life, at least to me, sometimes boils down to how many words did I write today or how many days did I take off this month. Any experienced author will tell you that the only way to succeed is to put butt in chair and type. But everyone needs a day off once in awhile. So I confess. I took Saturday off. Well, not totally, I wrote this blog post on Saturday. So, what does that mean? Probably nothing. In my own little world, it means that I didn’t meet 30k on Saturday. I’m OK with that. It means I watered my garden, took my mom to a local town event and I took a nap. Lol. Somehow the universe keeps spinning.

By now my work in progress, or WIP, Kindred Spirits, is over 30,000 words. It will be done before the end of this week. I still have THREE other works in progress so I don’t have a dearth of things to write about. I’m liking the overall story but I’m having doubts about the strength of the last few chapters. No matter. That’s what editing and rewriting are for. I have been inviting my newsletter peeps to participate in the editing process. If you’re interested, click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

While watering my fruit trees on Saturday I realized my nectarine tree has actual fruit buds on it! I’m so excited. Every year since I planted it there has been an April snow so there have been no fruit buds and thus no fruit. The last two days have had night time temps drop to below freezing but the tree still has fruit buds. Hooray! The peach tree has buds, too. Too many buds. That’s what killed me two years ago. I’ve been systematically pinching off multiple fruit buds on the tree. The hope is that leaving fewer fruit will make the peaches bigger but also cause less damage to the tree. The last time the fruit was so heavy the branches broke under the weight. Trying to be a good tree mom here. I’ll keep you posted.

I have begun the editing Mystery At The Fair. Like a good many authors, I don’t generally like my work. Usually it seems like a lot of dreck and I wonder how anyone could ever read it. However, in this particular case, I like what I’m seeing. I think my female protagonist, Jean, is believable and human. I’m not done yet but I think this will be the next book I put out to beta readers, including my newsletter subscribers. Fair warning, sign up now at the link above.

The Payson Book Festival, www.PaysonBookFestival.org author registrations for the inside tables is full. I only have five outside tables left. I’m so excited. This is going to be an awesome book festival. Any registrations I receive after the tables are full will go on a waiting list. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Nothing on today’s blog inspired a picture so I’ve put up a flower picture from a recent hike. Enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: April – On Line Communities for Readers

Books, Connie Cockrell

Books by Connie Cockrell

Uh oh, you caught me. I’ll have to confess that I don’t know about online reader communities. I should, as an author, have a whole list of reader communities that read my genre’s books but I don’t.

I do use Goodreads. I have an author page there, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7033046.Connie_Cockrell but don’t use it much. I do make sure that I have my books listed there. I opened the Ask the Author function but only one person has sent me a question. My site blog post is woefully old and I had nothing in my Upcoming Events section. I just changed that to reflect the local Book Festival in July.

One other reader site I do use is Wattpad. http://www.wattpad.com/user/conniecockrell And by use, I mean I post there. I have a story, Lost Rainbows, currently being posted as a serial, one chapter per week. Unfortunately, I don’t join any discussions and have little time to read posted work, despite the fact it appears interesting.

You’ll note a pattern here, of course. As an author, I get the most value out of a reader site if I’m an active participant. Posting what I’m doing on my page and disappearing isn’t very helpful if my true goal is to get readers to find me and my work. And I’m missing out on wonderful stories and the chance to meet other people who love to read.

OK, I promise to do better. Really.
The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, travelling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com!  Up next: Jean Schara

Flash Fiction Friday Story: The White Dragon of the Forest

Ice Dragon by Aerin Kayne via www.deviantart.com

Ice Dragon by Aerin Kayne via http://www.deviantart.com

Michael crept through the oak forest, trying not to rustle the leaves littering the ground. He swore under his breath as a branch hit his breast plate with a loud thwang. The dragon was sure to hear that. Michael’s heart thudded in his chest.

He didn’t understand why King Eglebert sent him on this quest. He was the youngest and least experienced knight in the kingdom. But the King had heard of a white dragon in the southern part of the kingdom and had sent Michael to investigate.

The knight stopped to listen to a rumble. The sky was a clear blue dotted with puffy white clouds, so it wasn’t thunder. Dry-mouthed, his head turned to the left at another rumble. Following the sound he came to a hillside, a cave mouth halfway up. Lying in plain view was the white dragon. Eyes closed, a wisp of smoke curled up from a nostril as the sun reflected in silver sparks off of the scaled hide. Michael could see the beast’s sides move in slow rhythm, the dragon slept.

A quick survey revealed no good way to get up to the ledge where the dragon lay, not without a lot of noise. He drifted back into the woods and hid in a thicket where he could think about what to do next while he watched the dragon. At dusk, the dragon woke and stretched. Michael’s mouth went dry. The creature was at least fifteen feet tall; its wing span wider than the dragon was tall. A yawn revealed rows of sharp teeth. How was he going to fight that?

The dragon gave a few practice flaps of its wings then took off, sinking below the ledge then on the next beat, rose into the air. Michael cringed as the creature flew overhead but it didn’t come back. With a sigh of relief he hurried forward. While the dragon was gone, he could climb to the lair and lie in wait.

After three hours Michael rested at the top, arms and legs shaking with the effort. He took a sip of water and dug out a piece of jerky to eat. The smell coming from the cave was dank and rotten, like the midden behind the castle. It wasn’t a place he wanted to go into without a torch but the half moon was just coming up over the horizon. Shortly it should provide enough light to move a little way into the cave.

He stood after a final sip of water to wash down the jerky. The top of the cave mouth was about a foot above his head. The dragon must crawl inside, he thought. If I’m quiet, I can attack the creature as soon as its head is inside the cave, before it can bring its claws to bear. He took a step inside, his nose wrinkling against the reek. The moon wasn’t any help yet, Michael couldn’t see a thing. He moved to the left and felt for the cave wall, shuffling his feet so he wouldn’t trip. The side of the cave was ten steps from the edge of the cave mouth. He could just make out the opening, slightly less black than the surrounding space. He settled against the rock, sword drawn and leaned against the wall where he could grab it fast. Michael waited for the dragon’s return.

The sound of wind woke him. The moon shone through the opening, lighting the area just inside the cave. A shadow passed by the opening, then, with a rustle like shaken leather, the moonlight was blotted out. Michael picked up his sword and prepared to strike the reptile’s head.

Over the sound of his heart racing, he could hear the creature sniff, then sniff again. Drat, he thought. It can smell me. He gripped his sword tighter. Michael had hoped to take the dragon unaware, now that wasn’t going to happen.

“Man, I can smell you.”

Michael froze. Surprise washed over him, then confusion. Dragons could speak?

“I know you are in my cave, Man. Come out.”

“So you can eat me, Lizard?”

The dragon’s laugh sounded like boulders falling. “I will not eat you, Man. Come out.”

“How do I know you’ll keep your word?” Michael panted softly with fear.

“How do I know you won’t kill me as soon as you’re outside?” The shadow moved and the moonlight returned. “Come out. I’ve moved away.”

Michael took a step forward, then two, into the moonlight just inside the cave. “Do you have a name, Dragon?”

“My name is Tiamat, Man. What is yours?”

Michael dared to step to the cave mouth. He could tell from the sound the dragon had moved back. “I’m Michael, Knight to King Eglebert.” He stepped outside, sword raised.

“Greetings, Michael, Knight to King Eglebert. Why do you lurk inside my home?”

“My King sent me to investigate rumors of a dragon.”

The dragon bowed. “I’m searching for a place to have my babies.”

Michael cringed. Multiple dragons in the land? “My king would rather you nested in some other kingdom.”

Tiamat laughed again. “Did your king send you to kill me?”

“Not specifically.”

“Then take my word, fair knight, back to your king. I will not attack people or cattle nor lay waste to your towns or farms if I am not attacked and allowed to raise my brood in peace.”

Michael nodded. The king may like to have such an ally if the neighboring kingdom decided once again to attack. “I will relay your message, Tiamat.” He sheathed his sword. “Good night.”

“Good night, Michael the Knight.”

Michael climbed down the way he came. At the palace, the King thought over the dragon’s offer and agreed with Michael that the dragon could be a good ally. He gave permission for the dragon to remain where she was. Two generations of kings later, she and her brood helped fight off the invading armies of their neighboring country.

 

The End

996 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 9 – Becca Tries Magic

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Nine – Becca Tries Magic (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 9 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

Becca Tries Magic

In a blink Shamus found himself back in the castle ruin. Becca looked around. There wasn’t much she could see though; night had fallen here. Shamus drew his sword, which gave off a soft green glow. Becca stared.

“We need to get the gold to my king. But I cannot carry it alone. I wonder…” He pointed the sword at the cart and lifted the sword. The cart shook, but didn’t rise. He sighed. “Well, it was an idea.”

“Where are we?” Becca asked.

“A castle ruin, not far from the leprechaun road.” Shamus raised the sword higher to allow Becca to look around. “The problem is I need to tell the King I have recovered the gold but I can’t move it myself.” He scratched at his beard. “How much do you understand of what your uncle said?”

“He called me a goddess, I understand that. But the Tuatha De Danann, I don’t know about.” She sat down on a nearby block of stone. “I don’t understand Uncle David and the conquering of your land. It doesn’t make sense to me. Why would he want to do that?”

Over the hours Shamus had come to like the girl and trusted her. She hadn’t made an unfriendly move the whole time. He sat on a nearby block. “Legend has it that many generations ago, Eire, Ireland as you call it, was founded by people who came on clouds and had great magical power. They used that power to keep the land safe against invaders. We leprechauns worked with them and life was good until the Milesians came and drove the Tuatha De Danann underground. We thought they perished. But some must have gone into hiding and then to your land. Intermarriage must have occurred with humans. Somehow the lineages came together and your uncle found out. You are the result of many inter-marriages, each one bringing the Tuatha De Danann bloodline closer back to the original.”

Becca shook her head. “But why would Uncle want me to invade your land?”

“I suspect he wants the power and majesty that the Tuatha De Danann commanded.” Shamus sighed. The legends were still strong and the leprechauns still grieved the loss of their partners. “He was greedy.”

Becca nodded. “We already have so much. But it doesn’t matter. I’m here now and know about his plot. He cannot hurt you or your people.”

Shamus doubted that but didn’t answer her. “I have a suggestion. Would you be willing to try magic? If you are Tuatha De Danann, you might be able to move the gold.”

Her eyes grew round.  “I guess so.”

“Stand up,” he told her. “Hold your hands out in front of you.” Becca did as she was told. “Now think about the gold rising and going where you direct it. Get a good picture of it in your mind.”

He watched her close her eyes. Soon a soft green glow emanated from her hands. A few of the coins began to rise. She opened her eyes. “Oh,” she whispered. Her hands began to shake. The glow flashed in a final effort, then stopped. The coins dropped back into the pots with a clink. “I’m sorry, Shamus.” She dropped down on the rock and wiped her forehead. “I could see it but I couldn’t make it happen.”

“That’s alright. I’ll hide the gold. My magic is strong enough for that.” He waved his sword over the pots of gold. They shimmered, then vanished.

“Oh,” Becca cried out. “That’s amazing!”

“We need to get to the King. Can you walk? It’s going to take us about six hours.”

She shook her head. “I’m so tired. I would have said yes earlier but trying the magic has made me sleepy.”

“Ah, I should have known. Yes, we’ll camp here. I’ll make a small fire. I have some travel food in my bag we can share. I’m tired myself. We’ll get a good night’s rest and leave at dawn.” They fell asleep to the sound of crickets singing in the night.

The next morning they broke camp. Shamus examined the site from every angle. The gold could not be seen. Becca skipped along beside him in the morning light. Song birds sang from every bush. The land was lush and green and the sun shone down on them. Shamus felt good. He needed the rest. Even the poor meal of travel rations helped restore his good mood.

It didn’t take long for them to reach the leprechaun road. Becca was surprised when he opened it. She couldn’t tell it was there at all. “How do you know where they are?”

“It’s the magic. When you look closely, you can see the green glow of it. There’s a rune there on the hillside. He held his sword next to it so it glowed brighter.

“I see it,” she exclaimed. “That’s so cool!”

Shamus laughed. “I assume that’s a good thing.”

She nodded. “How long will it take to get where we’re going?”

“About six hours. The road goes were we need it to, but there are fixed end points so we always know where we’ll come out or go in.”

Becca peeked into the tunnel. “It’s green.”
“We can see,” Shamus explained, “but there’s nothing really to see. It’s boring but fast. If we had to walk in the real world, it would take us days to get to the sidhe.”

They entered the tunnel, Shamus in the lead.

“You’ve mentioned Shee before,” Becca said. “What is a Shee?”

“It’s our village, the castle, where we live. We spell it S-I-D-H-E.”

Becca giggled. “I would pronounce that ‘side’ not ‘shee’.”

Shamus shrugged as he walked beside her. “That’s Gaelic for you. It’s a very old language. That must be the reason.”

They walked for three hours, then sat down on the floor of the tunnel to have a drink of water and another bite of travel food. “I didn’t ask this morning,” Becca said. “What is this? It’s kind of hard to chew.” She gnawed off a corner of the bar Shamus handed her.

“It’s a mixture of dried fruit, fat, and meat. It’s a little salty but that helps preserve it.” He chewed on his piece. “It travels well.”

Becca nodded, concentrating on chewing. She ate half of her bar and tucked the rest in a pocket. Shamus handed her the water bag and she drank, wiping her mouth with her sleeve. “I haven’t seen any markers on the wall. How will you know when to leave the road?”

“It’s magic. I know where I want to get off and the road opens the door.”

“Hmm.” Becca scratched her head. “I’d love a shower. My hair is all itchy.”

“We’ll get a good welcome when we return. Come, let’s get moving.”

She continued to ask questions about Eire as they walked. Shamus was hard-pressed to explain why the leprechauns lived the way they did and had the customs they had. It had never occurred to him to ask why about anything in his life. The girl was providing an interesting lesson for him.

Nearly three hours later Shamus spotted the door ahead on the right side of the tunnel. “We’re here,” he told Becca. She perked up.

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

Monday Blog Post: Beatiful Spring

Cactus, Flowers, Randy Cockrell

Cactus Flowers by Randy Cockrell

Spring has certainly sprung for Central Arizona. Lilacs and irises around town are in full bloom and the desert is full of flowers. A picture is above of some we saw last week at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest.

I’m still working on my first draft of the 3rd Brown Rain series book, Kindred Spirits. The book was supposed to be a novelette, about 17,000 words. It’s now well over 20,000 words and I’m probably only about 2/3 of the way through. That’s good for my Brown Rain series fans. A lot more story for you when it is finally released.

I woke up Sunday morning to a garden that looked like it exploded. There were multiple holes in the beds and dirt all over the place. I suspect a squirrel as the culprit as one hole had a number of pine nuts buried in there but they had all sprouted so the squirrel didn’t get his saved breakfast. I had to pull out all of the sprouts; I don’t want juniper trees growing in my garden beds. Then I had to put the dirt back in the holes and tidy everything up. The parsley suffered slightly and the squares where I had seeded lettuce and Swiss chard were totally destroyed. Anyway, I watered everything, including the fruit trees; we haven’t had any rain in weeks. I’ll have to replant the rest.

I’m still reading Larry Beinhart’s book, How to Write a Mystery. Actually, I’m nearly finished. There is a lot of great writing tips in there, for mysteries or for any other genres. I’m looking forward to beginning my edits and rewrites on Mystery AtThe Fair.

The Payson Book Festival, www.PaysonBookFestival.org author registration is just about full. I only have a handful of outside tables left. Any registrations I receive after the tables are full will go on a waiting list. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Want to get in on the special events on my newsletter? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. There are offers there that I do not give to my blog readers.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday Story: Stowaway Annie

Connie the Kid - School Photo

Connie the Kid – School Photo

Crewman Sharif Vega put his duffle on the carry cart with care. Then he piled a case of Centauri Blood wine, a crate of fresh binga fruit and a box of cleaning detergent around it. He rolled it through the crowded spaceport and onto the monorail that carried passengers and crew to their desired gates. He got off at Gate D32 and rolled the cart to the desk.

“Hey, Lyn,” he greeted his shipmate at the desk as he maneuvered the cart around the desk. “I have some last minute buys for the ship.”

Lyn checked her electronic pad and nodded briefly as she scanned the items on the cart. “Great. I love binga fruit. I’ve checked you in, Sharif, go on in.”

Sharif wiped his hands on his ship suit and gripped the cart handle. He had been sure Lyn would ask about the duffle. He sped down the access way and into the ship’s entryway. The fruit and wine went to the galley, the detergent in the cleaning locker and he hurried along the corridor to crew quarters.

He lifted the duffel and carried it into his cabin. Sharif put it on the bed and unzipped it halfway. “Are you comfortable enough?” He peeked into the bag.

“I’m fine,” a small female voice came from inside the duffel.

“Stay here. I’ve got work to do but I’ll be back in awhile.” He pulled the zipper nearly closed and left the cabin.

It wasn’t long before the ship lifted off and jumped into hyper space. When they came out the Captain said over breakfast, “There’s a forty kilo discrepancy in the mass of the ship. Sharif, after you take over the freight console from Hawk, check the records of the freight we on-boarded on Centauri. Either the canisters were mislabeled or one of the readers made an error.”

Sharif nodded, eyes downcast. He couldn’t look the Captain in the eye. “Yes, sir.”

“I know it’s a small error,” the Captain told the crew around the table. “But I don’t want it becoming a big error. Find out the problem.”

The whole crew nodded. Sharif choked down his coffee and hurried from the galley. An hour later, he excused himself from the bridge and knocked on the Captain’s cabin door.

“Enter.”

The Captain was in his sleeping robe at the small desk. Sharif could see the manifest on the Captain’s pad. “Sir, I need to talk to you.”

Captain Teigen looked up. “You found the discrepancy?”

Sharif shuffled his feet. “In a way, Sir. Yes.”

An eyebrow rose. “Spit it out, Sharif.”

“Well, Sir,” Sharif began to twist his hands together. “You know how on Centauri the vids were full of reports of a search for a criminal’s grand-daughter?”

The Captain sat up. “I remember.” His tone of voice went level.

“The girl found me. Asked for help.” He stuck his hands in his pockets, thought better of it and pulled them out again. “I didn’t know who she was, at first. Just another beggar kid, you know. They’re all over the place.”

Captain Teigen’s eyebrows drew together.

Sharif licked his lips, then pulled himself up, squaring his shoulders. He blurted out. “I smuggled her onto the ship.”

“You did what?” The Captain’s voice went hard. His eyes bored into Sharif.

“They were going to kill her, Captain. You know that. All for some minor infraction her grand-father made. They kill the three generations, over some law that would just get a fine on Earth.” He twisted his hands again.

“Bring the girl here.”

Sharif nodded and dashed out of the door. When he got back, the girl in tow, the Captain was dressed.

“Captain, this is Annie, ten years old. Annie, this is Captain Teigen.”

The blue-eyed, blond girl stared up at the Captain. She stuck out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Sir.”

The Captain’s eyebrow twitched but he shook her hand. “Nice to meet you, Annie. You present me with a problem.”

“Yes, Sir. I’m sorry.”

A glare was shot at Sharif. “You have put me and the ship in a very difficult situation, Crewman Vega. We could be banned from Centauri, a very lucrative freight run for us. I could lose my ship for kidnapping a child from another planet. We could all be sent to prison.”

“But, Sir. I had to help. It’s not right that they were going to kill her for something she didn’t do. They don’t care about her, why should they care that she came with us. I didn’t kidnap her, Sir, she came willingly, to escape a death sentence. There must be a regulation for that?”

Teigen’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t go space lawyer on me, Vega. You’re in enough trouble. Get the girl a cabin and fed. Then you’re on report. You do your job during your duty hours, eat, and go to your cabin. That’s it. No rec time. Only the minimum gym time.” He turned Annie. “You may go to the galley to eat, work out in the gym, participate in any appropriate recreational activities. You are not allowed in any working spaces, the bridge, engine rooms, any other location that a passenger has no business being in. Understood?”

“Yes, Sir. I understand.”

“Good. Take care of it Sharif. Get out.”

The Captain and the Exec spent the next four hours going over System Law. They finally found a clause that would allow Annie to escape Centuri without bankrupting the ship. They turned her over to Child Protection on Minataur. Sharif hugged her at the access way, the assigned mentor watching. “Good luck, Annie.”

“Thank you, Sharif. I’m sorry about the trouble I got you in.”

“No worries, girl. Good luck on your new planet.”

“I knew you were the right spacer to approach.” She shook his hand. “Call me when you come back.”

“I’ll do that.”

He watched as the mentor took her hand and left for her new life.

 

 

The End

990 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 8 – Shamus and Becca Make Their Escape

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Lost Rainbows by Connie Cockrell

Chapter Eight – Shamus and Becca Make Their Escape (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

Shamus and Becca Make Their Escape

Becca interrupted. “Uncle David, why do you have Shamus’s gold and rainbows? Did you really steal them?”

“Keep quiet, Becca. This has nothing to do with you, at least not yet.”

“What do you mean by that?” Shamus took a step toward Bannon.

“In a few more years Becca will come into her powers. With my scientific acumen and her magic, I’ll take over your land and rule it as a wizard.”

Becca’s eyes grew quizzical. “What power, Uncle David?”

He laughed. Shamus didn’t like the sound of it at all. It was evil and boded no good.

“You, my dear, should have been my child. But your mother fell in love with my brother. It didn’t really matter; he carried the same genes as mine. Either way, the bloodlines came together. You, my lovely child, are Tuatha De Danann. A Goddess of Old Eire. With your help, we will rule that land.”

Shamus was shocked. The old gods come to life? How could that be? “I think the leprechauns will have something to say about that.”

David snorted. “What will you do? Kill your returned god? I think not.” He pulled a device out of his pocket. “Becca, stand aside from him.” He pointed the device at Shamus.

“No, Uncle David!” She sprang toward him. It was too late.

He depressed the trigger and two wires shot out of it straight at Shamus.

Shamus had drawn his sword and parried the tiny darts. They threw sparks off of the blade. “What wizardry is this?” Shamus cried out.

“Modern science, little fellow.” David tossed the device aside and drew a pistol. “That would have merely stunned you, little man. This,” he shook the gun at Shamus, “will kill you.”

“No!” Becca cried out and flung herself at her uncle.

He knocked her aside and pulled the trigger. Shamus twisted away before the bullet passed where he had been. The bullet ricocheted off of a pot of gold and punched a hole in a nearby machine. It began to spark and smoke. Before David could shoot again, Shamus had leapt on him. He was small but leprechauns are quite strong. Becca scrambled out of the way as her uncle and Shamus struggled.

It seemed at first that David’s height was the advantage. He held Shamus off so that his punches could not reach him. Shamus changed tactics. He grabbed the wizard’s arm and using his body weight as a focal point, threw David to the floor. The men fought hard but Shamus was the champion wrestler in his kingdom. David didn’t have a chance. Before long, Shamus had David tied, wrists to ankles.

Becca was huddled in the corner, crying.

Shamus hurried over. “Are you hurt?” He crouched down and looked her over. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

She shook her head. “No, I’m fine. I’m just scared. What will happen to Uncle David?”

“You can untie him after I leave.” He helped her stand up. His mind was a-whirl about the girl. Was she really Tuatha De Danann? Should he even touch her? What would he tell the King?

She sniffled and wiped her nose with the back of her sleeve. It was such a childish thing to do that he stopped worrying about her being a goddess and treated her as the child she was. “Come. Help me get the cart through the mirror.”

He led her to the cart. David called out to her. “Becca, help me. Don’t let this leprechaun fool you. He’s only after the gold.”

She stared at him. “It’s his gold, Uncle David. He wants to go back to his own land.” She turned away from him.

“What will we do about the mirror, Shamus? He’ll just go through again and make more mischief in your land.”

Shamus sighed. “Too true, Becca.” He scratched at his beard. “I’d tell you to destroy it but he’d just build another.”

“I could come with you,” she suggested.

Shamus blinked. Take a human child back to Eire? Then he remembered she’s Tuatha de Danann. With her in the Kingdom, they’d have a goddess on their side. “You would leave everything you know and come to a strange land?”

David began to yell. “Don’t do it, Becca. It’s a trick!”

She looked at him for a moment then turned back to Shamus. “Yes, I’ll come with you.”

He nodded. “Will the housekeeper come down here to release your uncle?”

Becca nodded. “I think so. Someone must clean down here.”

“Good. Hold onto the handle.”

David screamed again. “Don’t go, Becca! I’ve raised you as my own child. You owe me! I need you to conquer Eire!”

Becca ignored him. Shamus pushed the cart forward. They disappeared through the mirror, David’s screams cut off as soon as they passed through.

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

 

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

 

 

Monday Blog Post: April Camp NaNo is Here!

Apple Blossoms, Connie Cockrell

Apple Blossoms by Connie Cockrell

I apologize for getting this up later than usual. That’s what I get for kind of taking the weekend off. Not totally off, ’cause, you know, it’s April CampNaNo. This morning I must have had 200 emails to go through.

Hope you had a great weekend. We went to Easter brunch with a few friends on Sunday. I ate way too much. I always promise myself not to do that but the special buffet had a lot of things that I could actually eat. Oh well. It’s salad for lunch for me today.

So, Camp NaNo. I pledged myself to do 50,000 words this month. That should get me my first draft of the 3rd Brown Rain series book, now called Kindred Spirits. I did a contest over on my newsletter asking for title suggestions. Winner is Adora. I also really liked DreamersCove’s entry so I’m giving them both a free ebook of choice. They can wait for Kindred Spirits to come out later this year or pick one of my other books. Want to get in on the special events on my newsletter? Click here to sign up for my newsletter.

The yard and garden continue to be worked. The mint pulling out of my deepest square foot garden bed continues. The stuff is relentless. Not a lot of gardening this past week.

Doing something a bit different here. I occasionally post a review of other’s books on my Goodreads page. On the review page there’s a small area on the bottom right side that offers me a chance to copy what’s in the block and post it on my blog. Well, see below. What do you think? Too clunky? Have you ever been to Goodreads?

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/972330.Getting_Into_Character&#8221; style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors” border=”0″ src=”https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1396229175m/972330.jpg&#8221; /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/972330.Getting_Into_Character”>Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/101287.Brandilyn_Collins”>Brandilyn Collins</a><br/>

My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1245581565″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />

I saw this book mentioned on a blog over a year ago, sorry blogger, I don’t remember which one, and added it to my Christmas wish list. Last December, hubby got it for me. <br><br>Getting Into Character, Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors seems, from the title, like a short read. Just seven secrets? Sure, I can read that in a day. Uh, not so much. The deceptively simple title covers an in-depth look at how Stanislavsky’s techniques for method actors can be used by writers to create deeper, more meaningful, more powerful characters in their stories. <br><br>I took my time, starting in December 2014 and finished the book in March 2015. I mulled over each chapter, making an effort to really use each technique in my writing of the day. This is powerful stuff and I plan on keeping my paperback issue close to my writing desk so I can refer to it over and over again. I will certainly be re-reading these chapters for a long time to come. <br><br>If you’re interested in becoming a better writer, you’ll want to pick up this book.<br>

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<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/18859598-connie-cockrell”>View all my reviews</a>

Speaking of writing books. Since I finished Getting Into Character, I started Larry Beinhart’s book, How to Write a Mystery. Since I’m starting the revision of last November’s Mystery of the Fair, this is a timely book for me to read.

I’ve been tinkering with ConniesRandomThoughts.com. It’s not ready for primetime by any means. It is also a wordpress site but I cannot seem to get my password to work for the different userid I set up for it. Right now I’m accessing it for design updates through my webhost. But in a month or so I’ll want to drop CRT.wordpress.com and go strictly to the website. I guess I’ll worry that particular bridge when I get to it.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Authors, there’s still time to sign up for a table but there are only a couple left. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!