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Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

 

Photo Credit Clarita from Morguefile.com

 

My heels clicked on the sidewalk as I ducked into an alcove outside the antique shop. Please don’t let Kelly notice, I’ve left. If I had to hear about Rafe or Pierre or Beau or any other French guy, I’d scream.

Paris was supposed to be this epic adventure for me. Touring the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame, not to mention all the museums I’d wanted to visit.  Then Aunt Silvia decided to invite my cousin Kelly along. So instead of visiting historic places I’d dreamt of since I was like ten, I spent every waking moment chasing college guys with accents. Not that I didn’t find the guys hot, but I so wasn’t here for that.

The bell above the door jingled as I entered, the scent of old books and wood overwhelmed me. Shelves filled with china glassware, crystal, jewelry, and trinkets reached to the ceilings. Centuries’ old furniture lined the walls, while garments hung from hangers swaying like ghosts from the past.

“Beautiful,” I whispered, running my hand over a carved cherry jewelry box, with pearl insets. My body thrummed as if I’d come home.

Wooden planks creaked beneath my footsteps and I made my way further into the shop, away from the windows. The light dimmed, casting shadows across the floor at my feet. A cool draft snaked down the neck of my coat and I pulled my collar tighter.

I scanned the shelves, when a snow globe caught my eye. Curious, I picked it up. It was heavier than I imagined, the base made of white oak, a glass sphere on top. Inside was a tiny version of Paris, the Eiffel Tower distorted in the center.

My fingers brushed against a tiny key like knob at the bottom. I wound it up and music tinkled eerily from it.

“Hello, can I help you?” a masculine voice said from behind me.

I fumbled with the souvenir, almost dropping it. “No. I’m just looking.”

My gaze shifted to a pair of mahogany eyes, nearly hidden beneath floppy dark bangs. My breath caught in my throat. As a chiseled face gave way to a perfect smile.

He chuckled. “For a moment, I thought you might be hiding from someone. The way you dashed in here.”

Heat fluttered across my chin and I knew without even looking, my face was a lovely shade of strawberry. “It’s a long story.”

“I’m Antoine, the owner of the shop.”

“Kyra.”

His smile widened. “An American. You must be here on vacation.”

I laughed. “That’s debatable. I’ve done very little sightseeing.”

“And why’s that?”

Without hesitating, I gave him the abridged version of Kelly. It’s like I had no off button.

When I finished, Antoine patted my hand. “Don’t worry, by day’s end, I promise, you’ll see the city of love. Up close and personal.”

Just then the door burst open and Kelly rushed in. “There you are. Shit, I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Pierre invited us to this party tonight. I told him we’d be there. And get this, he’s totally gonna hook you up with one of his friends.”

“Sorry, Kyra has plans.” Antoine stepped between us.

She stared at me. “Don’t ruin this for me. Please. Pierre’s friend is expecting the ‘blonde with big tits’.”

Sometimes I totally hated her. Why did she have to embarrass me in front of Antoine? Besides, I didn’t want to spend the night being fondled by some overeager jerk.

“I’m not going. You’ve dragged me around every day this week. Tonight, is for me.” I crossed my arms at my chest.

“Fine. Then I’m calling Aunt Silvia.” She slid her cell from her pocket, her long chestnut hair falling in her face.

Antoine leaned closer to me, his breath warm on my cheek. “All you have to do is make a wish and I’ll take care of everything.”

My pulse soared, thundering in my ears like battle drums. If only it was that easy.

But it is.  A voice sounded in my head.

“I wish she’d just disappear,” I said.

Swirling fog snaked up through the floorboards. Antiques rattled on the shelves as if an earthquake rumbled the earth’s core. The lights flickered until the room was drenched in darkness.

Kelly screamed and I reached for my cousin, but grasped nothing but air.

“Kelly?” My voice wavered. What happened?

“Shhh…just hold still.” Antoine grabbed hold of my waist, nestling me against him.

Then all went quiet. Moments later the lights came back on. She was gone.

“Oh God. Where is she?” My eyes widened as I spun to face Antoine.

“Don’t worry, she’s safe.” He took the snow globe from me and pointed inside.

Holy crap. There, standing next to the distorted backdrop was a tiny Kelly. She waved frantically.

“How did you do that?” I glanced at Antoine.

He laughed. “Magic. So, what do you say? Want to see Paris?”

I stared that the souvenir once more and smiled, giving it a firm shake. “Absolutely.”

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

 

Photo Credit:  Stage 11 by Clarita

The magician swooped across the stage, his cape billowing behind him.  His dark eyes scanned the crowd.  Locks of raven colored hair swept across his forehead as he focused on me and Natasha.  Why did he seem so familiar to me?

“For my next trick, I need a volunteer from the crowd.”  His melodic voice danced over my skin, causing goose bumps.

Natasha flipped her long, chestnut hair over her shoulder and smiled at me.  “Come on, Claire raise your hand.  He’s so, freaking hot!”

I clenched tight to the edge of the table, my stomach churning.  My blood felt as if it were on fire.  The way he’d watched us all night made me dizzy.  The Great Kalif, magician and illusionist.  He couldn’t be much older than me at seventeen.  If only I could remember where I’d seen him before.

“Claire.”  Natasha jerked on my arm.  “Either you volunteer or I will.”

My gaze narrowed.  “No.  I’m not going up there. You know I hate crowds.”

Her crimson lips turned up into a wicked smile.  “Then don’t be pissed when I snag him.”

My hands fisted at my side.  Why am I so jealous?

“Come on, there must be one brave soul.”  Kalif sauntered to the edge of the stage, his eyes once more on our table.

I squirmed under his scrutiny and ducked my head, right as Natasha jumped to her feet and said, “I’ll do it.”

He grinned, then held out his hand as she pushed her way to the front of the stage.  Once there, he helped her up the stairs and to a black chair. 

Already, wisps of fog rolled across the room, while strobes pulsed with a rainbow of color.

“What is your name?” Kalif asked in a thick accent.

“Natasha.”

“Natasha, that’s lovely.”  He pressed her down onto the chair, then turned back to the crowd.  “Now, if you’ll focus up here.  You’ll witness the most horrific of illusions.  But I assure you, it is all in your head. Or is it?”

I swallowed hard.  Something wasn’t right.  The idle chatter faded as people in the room faced forward. Eerie music tinkled through the loud speakers and everyone around me sat straighter, eyes focused intently on the stage.

“Yes, that’s it.  Watch the show.”  Kalif’s white teeth beamed against his tanned skin.  He raised a hand and ran it along Natasha’s shoulder.  “Relax.  You won’t feel a thing.”

A content smile formed on her lips.  Then came the glint of a blade.  His arms moved quicker, bringing the knife across her skin several times.  Blood sprayed across the floor.  Tattered fabric from her shirt littered the stage like confetti.  Natasha screamed, but no one moved.

Oh God, this was real.  Frightened, I leapt to my feet.  “Stop!”

Just then something warm spattered my face.  I raised a shaking hand.  My fingers trembled as I stared at the crimson liquid. No.  This wasn’t happening.

I stumbled backward, covering my ears against the shrieks.  Why was everyone so still?

A breeze swirled around me and I jerked back as a black wing blocked my vision.  “Please, let me go.”

“But I can’t.”  Kalif appeared in front of me.  Large ebony colored wings protruded from his back, his suit ripped away.  “I’ve come for you, my dear Claire.”

“I—I don’t understand.”  My heart pounded in my ears.

“I think you do.”  He ran his fingers through my long blonde hair.  “You and I are always at odds.  Dark vs Light.  But I’m tired of the games.  I want to be with you.  Why must you fight this?”

My throat thickened.  “Because I don’t want to die.”

“You don’t have to.  Your friend offered herself up freely in your place.”

My eyes widened.  “No.  You can’t have her.”

“Then give me something else.”

His skin was warm against mine as he traced my cheek.  How had I forgotten about him?  I’d spent centuries hiding from the Dark Prince, yet he’d found me, just like he always did.  Every century he descended upon me.  He’d utter sweet words, tempting me.  And each time I’d run away only to find death and madness. 

“Bring her back to life.”

“It will cost you.”  Kalif stepped back.

“You can have whatever you want.  Just please, save her.”

“Anything, I want?”

“Yes.”

“No tricks this time?”

“I promise.”  No sooner had I said the words when I felt a strange burning beneath my skin.

“Then I chose you.  From this day forward, you are bound to me.”

He waved his hand and I watched the cuts on Natasha close. All traces of blood on the stage disappeared.  She gasped, staring around the room.  Her gaze met mine.

“Claire, what have you done?” she whispered.

“Saved you.”  I gave her a sad smile.

Kalif wrapped his arms around me, cocooning me in the folds of his wings.  Already, I felt the shadows embracing me.  White feathers fell from beneath my sweater as the light slipped away.

“I love you, Claire.  I always have.”  His lips captured mine.

For years, I’d fought against my yearnings.  But to no avail. I wanted to be good. I wanted to share my light. But it’d always been Kalif for me, even when the Council threatened to take my wings.  For too long, I’d let them rule me and decide my fate.  How many times had I been sacrificed in order to punish Kalif?  No more would I allow it. Today, I’d done one last good deed.  I’d saved Natasha.  And now, I was through fighting.

“I love you, too,” I said.  My arms encircled his neck.

“Nothing will keep us apart again.”

Thunder rumbled from above, but I’d made my choice.  I chose love.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN  (or week of Halloween). Today begins a week long Trick or Treat event hosted by several fabbity-FAB YA authors.  Who says you have to get all dressed up to get some treats?  So pop in, say hi, and enjoy the fun prizes and giveaways!

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

A strong hand shook me awake, and I glanced up to see my sister leaning over me.  “Kendall, listen, you’ve got to get out of here, now.”

Her bright blue eyes pierced mine as she tugged me out of bed.

“Shit.  What’s your problem?”  I glanced at my alarm clock.  “It’s two in the morning, Paige.”

My older sister knelt next to me.  “If you don’t leave, they’re going to kill you.”

Blonde hair cascaded into my face as I let her pull me to my feet.  “Who’s going to kill me?”

“Listen, the Federation stopped here earlier.  I heard them talking to Mom about you.”

My throat went dry.  The Federation.  Crap.  They’d been trying to recruit me since I was thirteen.  But my being underage had kept them from touching me, from using me in their games.

But now, at seventeen, I was legal. 

Paige jerked my duffel bag out from underneath my bed and shoved some of my clothes in it.  Then she turned to her dresser and pulled a wad of bills from her purse.

“What did Mom say?”  I met her gaze as she shoved the money into my hand.

“I told them they could have you, if they promised to leave your sisters alone.”  Mom flicked on our bedroom light.  She refused to meet my eye.  “It was either I send one of you, or lose all of you.”

Two grizzled men pushed past my screaming sister and gripped hold of my arm, dragging me toward the door.

“Stop.  Please!”  They covered my mouth with a gag and tied my hands behind my back.

People taken to the Federation, never came back.  At least not alive.  What had mother done? 

Tears burned my eyes as I watched Paige’s grief stricken face disappear from sight.  Then everything went black.

***

I struggled to open my eyes as my arms brushed against the coolstone walls behind me.  But when my lids fluttered opened, I noticed I was in a tunnel. 

Tiny red lights flickered along the ceiling and I knew the cameras watched my every move, broadcasting it for the sick fucks who bet on people like me making it through the Labyrinth.

High pitched alarms blared in the distance.  The games had begun.  Too bad they didn’t know who the hell they were messing with.  With a smile, I wiped the make-up from my neck.  My tattoo blazed in the darkness.  Flames licked at my fingertips as my magic shot forth.  I rushed forward where a shower of bullets came at me from a lone sniper in the corner.

I rolled to the ground, creating a shield around myself.  The ammunition fell to the floor in front of me. 

“My turn.”  Heat licked at my body as I thrust fiery orbs at the gunman.  He screamed as his flesh burnt on contact.  I wrinkled my nose against the scent of his charcoaled body.

“Shut down the Labyrinth,” a frightened voice came over the intercom.

I laughed.  “Too late.  The Federation is going down.  You really should do better background checks before you recruit people.”

Smoke filled the Labyrinth as I went path by path, taking out the workers who’d aided in killing people for fun.  All so they could place bets and watch our fear on TV.  Tonight, they’d get their fill.

When I came to the end of the maze, I kicked opened the door.  A helicopter loomed overhead, its spotlight focused on me.  “I don’t even think so.”

With a flick of my finger, I sent a fireball right for the gas tank.  I dove to the side as it exploded mid air, in a shower of hot metal and body parts.  I slipped into the shadows and raced towardNickletreePark. 

There, I found Paige waiting for me, a slow smile upon her lips.  “I knew you’d do it.”

I hugged her tight.  “Did you make the bets?”

“Oh yeah.  The monies already in the account.”

“And Mom?”

“Taken care of.  She’ll never betray us again.”  Paige grabbed my hand and jerked me to our getaway car. 

At last, we were free.  Free of our mother who’d sold us for various things over the years.  But most of all free from the Federation.  Never again would I have to hide my powers or be afraid of the dark.  No.  I was the one to be feared.   

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

Joey

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

 

PHOTO CREDIT: IMGo796xe by Ardelfin

 

I shivered against the crisp October air, as Ian tugged me toward the park. There in big, bold letters was a sign that read CLOSED. I came to a halt. Not that I was a chicken-shit or anything, but some rules weren’t meant to be broken.

“Come on, Love. We’re only going to the park,” Ian said. His ever adorable British accent would never get old.

He released my hand, staring down at me with stormy gray eyes. His shaggy auburn hair fell across his eyes and he did a quick flip of his head to get it back in place. Ian traced my cheek; his fingers cool against my skin.

“But the sign says they’re closed.” But it wasn’t the only thing that unnerved me. Gram had one strict rule in our house. No going into the park. Ever.

“Lena.” His lips met mine in a small, enticing kiss. “I promise all I want to do is go to the fountain and toss in some coins.” He smiled.

My pulse quickened. I swallowed the lump in my throat, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. He didn’t know my parents were murdered in the park. Ten years ago, today. I’d been six years old, which seemed almost a lifetime ago. But it was time to face my fears. To go back.

“Fine. But we have to make it quick.” I fingered the pentagram necklace at my throat. It felt like fire against my hand. I stiffened.

Ian’s fingers entwined with mine and he led me toward some loose rungs in the gate. We squeezed through. Dead leaves littered the cement walkway, skittering at our feet as the wind picked up. The scent of autumn heavy in the air.

Chills snaked up my back and across my skin. I shouldn’t be here. But before I could change my mind, Ian looped his arm through mine and ushered me toward the fountain. Three stone figures stood in the middle of the fountain. Cold rock cloaks covered the gothic trio as water whispered around their feet.

Ian reached into his pocket, coins jingling in his hand. “Here, you make a wish first.” He clasped my hand.

Something sharp scraped against my palm. “Ow.”

He closed his hand over my fist and the coins. “Throw them in.”

I hesitated as I watched the strange gleam in his eye.

No. Don’t do it

. A voice called in my mind.

My eyes widened. I knew that voice. It belonged to my mom. I took a step away from the fountain, but Ian clutched me tight forcing me to drop the coins into the water.

Wisps of fog swirled around the statues; the water bubbled and boiled as if it was a cauldron hanging over a hearth.

“What have you done?” I shrieked.

But Ian only stared at the sculptures. The stone cloaks fell away from the statues heads. Then I saw her. My mother. And next to her was my dad.

“Lena, you have to stop this.” Mom’s eyes darted to the third and final statue. “Before the spell is completely broken.”

“Oh, Goddess.” Blood red hair burst with flames, eyes the color of hot coals sizzled with power. A fire demon.

Ian bowed before the demon. “Master, I’ve come to free you.”

“The hell you have.” I tore the dagger from my belt. “I Lena, light witch of the Goddess invoke the spirit of earth to bind the demon.” In one swift motion, I sliced my palm and dripped blood into the fountain’s water.

I turned to Ian, who glared at me. “You can’t stop this. The demon will be free.”

“No. She’ll destroy everything. Even you.” I knew I had to make the sacrifice, even as I stared at the tears in my mother’s eyes. She didn’t want this for me. But she’d already done her duty. Now it was my turn.

Without a second thought, I lunged at Ian with the blade, catching him in the arm. But it was enough. We both tumbled into the fountain.

“No.” Ian tried to stand, but I clung to him.

“Great towers, I invoke thee. Bind us and use us as instruments of your will. Earth, I invoke thee. Water, I invoke thee. Air, I invoke thee. Fire, I invoke thee.”

Power surged through my blood. A great light burst from the sky. The ground trembled beneath our feet. The shriek of the demon was the last thing I heard as me, Ian, and the demon were turned into stone.

It was my turn to guard the demon and her subject. Like my mother and father before me.

 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Kit Forbes

Jenn Fischetto

Joey Nichols

Miranda Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

 

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

 

 

Photo credit: Kakisky from Morguefile.com

Tiny dancers swayed across the dance floor, their multi-colored tutus gave me a headache. Already I felt the ballet moms’ eyes burning into the back of my head. They probably thought I was a perv. I mean, I was the only guy sitting in the dance studio. My balls itched, but I didn’t dare scratch them. Otherwise, they really might think I was playing with myself.

Classical music echoed across the room and I groaned. Why in the hell did I tell Katie Nigel I’d give her a ride home from dance today?

Because she has a nice rack.

“Okay girls, now move your hips like this,” Katie said.

My eyes bulged as they trailed up her long legs to her pelvis. Shit. I shifted in my chair, dropping my coat in my lap to hide the bulge.

Okay, breathe Damien. You’ve seen chicks dance before.

“All right. That’s it ladies. We’ll see you next Tuesday.” Katie smiled, swiping a strand of loose dark hair from her face.

High-pitched little girl voices echoed as they scurried out to their moms to put on their coats and tennis shoes.

Katie came out last and made beeline for me. “Damien, hey, I hate to be a pain, but do you think you could stick around for another fifteen minutes? I so need to practice my routine.”

I’d eat dog crap if she asked. My lips twitched. “Yeah. Take as long as you need.”

She held out her hand to me. “Want to watch?”

She had no idea.

I let her lead me into the mirrored room, my combat boots heavy on the wooden floor. Katie grabbed a chair from the corner and set it up at the center of the room.

“So why aren’t there any guys hanging around here?” I ran a hand through my blonde hair.

“Because we eat them up.” She rolled her eyes. “Trust me, all guys are the same. They hate dancing and gymnastics. You know if it doesn’t have a football or baseball in it…”

I shrugged. “I don’t mind ballet.” Especially if it meant watching Katie.

 

Katie smiled then dimmed the lights. Music with a heavy drumbeat pulsed in the air. She spun around me, her leg gliding over my head as she kicked up and out. My heart thudded as if it might burst through my skin. Her movements were almost ritualistic, the way they kept time with each beat.

She bent backward then twisted to face me once more. Her finger traced my cheek. God, if she didn’t stop, I’d have to make a quick trip to the bathroom.

Her lips turned up at the corners as if she read my thoughts. “See, you’re all the same.”

“What?’

“I know what you’re thinking, Damien. Trust me. I know that look. You would follow me anywhere. Do anything I say. All for the chance to be with me.” Katie stopped moving. “The thing is, you don’t stand a chance. Because in the end, you’ll end up just like the rest of them.”

The rest of who?

Then the lighting changed and I saw the bones lining the walls of the room. The stench of spoiled meat made me gag. I tried to stand, but strong hands held me in my chair. Katie laughed, deep and throaty. Then her jaw unhinged, and rows upon rows of teeth gleamed like butcher knives.

I screamed, but no sound came out as she lunged forward. My flesh tore from my body, as she ripped into me. Warm liquid poured into my eyes. My blood.

“Damien, come on, get up. You’re going to be late for school.”

With a howl, I fell from my bed. Sweat drenched me.

“Mom?”

She stood with her arms crossed. “I’ve been calling your name for the last ten minutes.”

It was just a dream. Relief flooded me.

“Listen, Mrs. Nigel and I are supposed to go to a purse party tonight. Do you think you can give her daughter Katie a ride home from dance class?”

I went still. “No. Absolutely not.”

Mom frowned. “You don’t have to be rude.”

“I’m not. I’ve got plans.”

“Since when?”

Since my effed up dream of being eaten alive by her. “I promised Matt I’d teach him some new guitar chords.”

“Fine. I’ll tell her no.” Mom stormed from my room.

She’d probably be pissed at me for the rest of the day. But I didn’t care. I threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. After I grabbed my book bag, I headed out the door to my blazer.

I pulled onto the main road then sped up in order to avoid getting stuck behind the school bus. As I turned ontoMonroe Avenue, I spotted Katie. She glanced at me, a smile forming on her lips. I jerked my head around and stared straight ahead. No way in hell would I ever look at her tits again. As a matter of fact, I considered talking to Mom tonight about transferring schools.

For a moment, I thought I heard her laugh.

It was just a dream,” I whispered. Wasn’t it?

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Miranda Buchanan

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

 

PHOTO CREDIT delboysafa from Morguefile.com

 

The cage bars were cold against my skin. “Let me out!” I screamed as I slammed into them once more.

The tigers lay in the fake jungle like surroundings, watching me. Traitors. How could they bask away beneath the sun, letting him decide their next meal? So docile, as if they didn’t remember what it was like to slink through the thick grass and hunt for food.

The door at the back of the tiger exhibit opened, and one of the handlers came in carrying slabs of raw meat.

“Please, help me,” I called, shaking the bars.

His startled gaze met mine. “What are you doing in here?”

“The zookeeper kidnapped me. He’s had me locked up in here for days.” My face crumpled, tears streamed along my cheeks.

One of the tigers, Felix, the male, let out a roar. The handler tossed him a hunk of meat.

“What the hell’s going on?” the handler asked. He came close enough for me to see his name tag. Rick.“I—I don’t know. A couple of days ago, I came here with my family. And the head zookeeper asked if we wanted to take part in a special exhibit.” My fingers trembled as I tried to forget the screams. “When he got us in here, he fed my parents to the tigers, and locked me up.”

Rick looked horrified. “Listen, I can sneak you out of here. But you’ll have to give me a minute so I can get you something else to wear.” He gestured to my torn, bloodied clothes.

He slipped from the holding area, his dark hair sticking up in messy tufts. When he returned he carried a khaki colored zoo uniform. He slipped them through the bars, then turned while I changed.

“What’s your name?” Rick asked.

“Tia Queen.”

“Okay, Tia. I’m going to unlock the cage real slow. When I throw the purple ball to the tigers, I want you to move toward the exit.”

I wanted to tell him that they wouldn’t let me go passed. But he already had the toy in hand and rolled it across the floor. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed hold of Rick’s waist, jerking him against me. The tigers growled. They knew what I was doing.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Rick tried to break my grip, but I was too strong.

“Just stay with me, I’ll explain when we get out.” A smile tugged my lips when the tigers backed down. I knew Felix wouldn’t have the balls to go against the zookeeper.

When we reached the door, I released Rick. “Who are you?” he took a step back.

I laughed. “There’s a reason the zookeeper had me locked up. And it’s time I paid him a visit.” A loud crunching sound filled the air as my bones broke, and my skin tore. Pain radiated through my limbs. I cried out. Only it came out a roar instead.

The shift was always the worst when under stress. But I had to take care of the zookeeper. He’d imprisoned me and family, forcing us to work in his zoos. But no more. Tonight it ended.

Rick’s mouth fell open, but he stepped out of the way holding the door to the park open for me. I stopped long enough to lick his hand, then went to find the zookeeper.

It didn’t take me long to pick up his scent. The stench of cheap cologne and day old whiskey. He never saw me coming. He stood leaning against the brick building, talking on his cell phone. Making more deals to buy our kind. I gave one low growl, and he went still. Before he could turn around, I leapt on him. My teeth ruptured his skin, warm blood dribbled down my fur. Finally. Paybacks. He should’ve realized keeping wild animals can be dangerous. My claws dug into his flesh as I used him for my personal scratching post and when I was done he was beyond recognition. No more than he deserved.

Once I shifted back, I found Rick waiting near the back gate for me in a truck. “You need a lift somewhere?”

I smiled. “Yeah, anywhere but here.” As I glanced behind me, I saw Felix standing on the other side of the glass, staring it me. I flipped him the bird.

He sold me out to the zookeeper and for that, he could stay in a cage.

Rick turned on the radio, and I rolled down my window letting the wind blow my hair. Never again would I be anyone’s pet. Today was the first day of the rest of my life.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Vanessa Barger

Miranda Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit:  November 1 106 by jdurham Morguefile.com

After the last of the tourists loaded into the covered wagon, I pulled the canopy tight. Sweat beaded on my brow, in the stifling July heat. My heavy dress and bonnet were one of several downsides to working for my parents at the “Oregon Trail Tours.” The hours sucked, the pay wasn’t great, and I had no life outside of helping out. Not that I minded, too, much. I liked the history, but a date every now and then would be nice.

“Everyone on board, Jasmine?” Dad turned in his seat at the front of the wagon.

I counted five heads. “Yeah, we’re all set.”

Dad took hold of the reins, and the horses began to move. The wagon rolled forward, hitting several ruts and jarring the passengers. I groaned.

I cleared my throat, and gave a forced smile. “Hi, my name is Jasmine. Welcome to the Oregon Trail Tours. Today, you’ll get to see what it was like for families to travel west. Along the way, we’ll reenact what might happen on a true wagon train. For instance, how the pioneers passed the time riding in the wagon, and you’ll have a chance to help take care of the horses.”

The blonde guy snorted. “Sounds like we’ll be doing your job for you.”

“Abe, that’s enough,” his mom said.

My face burned. Seriously, there should be an age limit on these tours. Like no morons under the age of twenty. There were two teen guys on this overnight. Of course they wouldn’t appreciate the westward movement.

With my skirt fisted in my hand, I continued. “We’ll take lunch this afternoon by the creek, so you experience what the settlers would’ve eaten. Then we’ll travel to where the teepees are set up on the plains. You’ll be able to unload your bags and get settled in for the overnight.”

“This sounds wonderful,” Abe’s mom said. She gave her husband’s arm a tug, but he was too wrapped up in his Blackberry.

“Sounds lame.” Abe nudged the boy next to him. “What do you say, Alex? Think we’ll get to see some hot prairie girls running around?”

Alex raised his hooded eyes, and grinned. “I don’t know. Depends on if Jasmine here decides to do laps.”

“Boys, enough,” the mom said again.

Would it be too much to ask Dad to hit a giant rut and knock them out?

*****

We stopped a couple of hours later to make lunch, while Dad fed the horses. The scent of beans cooking over a fire and homemade bread made my mouth water.

Can it get any hotter?
 
My gaze drifted to the creek. Since everyone was preoccupied, I decided to sneak off for a minute. Untying my bonnet, my blonde hair toppled in my face. I swiped it back then made my way to the water. On the shore, I cupped my hand, scooping up cool liquid to my face. 
A loud splash sounded from beside me. My heart jumped. I glowered when I realized Abe had tossed a rock.

“Watch what you’re doing,” I said.

“I am.” Abe’s mouth twitched.

“You look warm, maybe I can help you cool off.” Alex leaned down, flinging water down the front of my dress.

“Ooo, wet t-shirt contest, Little House on the Prairie style!” Abe winked. “C’mon Jasmine, we’re from the east coast. Show us what you western girls are made of.”

I’d show him all right. Maybe if I shoved my size 6 ½ cowgirl boot up is butt, that’d wipe the grin from his face.

“Sorry, I can’t fraternize.” With that, I spun on my heel. Mom and Dad so owed me for this. Because there were like a thousand ways I could strangle the boys with a rattlesnake.

Mom quirked an eyebrow at me, when I offered to help get the food served.

“Why are you all wet?”

“Don’t ask.”

*****

When the teepees came into view, I sighed in relief. I just had to get through a quick tour of the main area and dinner. Then I could ditch Abe and Alex. They’d spent the whole trip making snide comments, while their dad talked on the phone. The mom gave me sympathetic smiles, which didn’t help. And the old guy, who must be grandpa, grated on my last nerve with his “version” of history.

“Make sure the lanterns are on in the exhibits,” Dad said, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief. “I’ll send the visitors through in a few minutes.”

He didn’t have to ask me twice. I raced to the largest of the teepees. My fingers brushed against the switch on the lantern. I gasped, much like I did every time I came in here. The Native American figures stared back at me; a woman posed to grind corn. While a warrior in the back, had war paint streaked across his face. There were native artifacts like blankets, furs, dishes, weapons, and clothing scattered about for people to look at.

But it was the young warrior that always caught my attention. His dark eyes seemed to watch me. Okay, so it was weird to have a crush on an inanimate object. But he was hot for a statue. I gave a small wave then hurried from the teepee.

“You can go in and have a look around now,” I said to the tourists. The three adults headed up first, while Abe and Alex sipped water from canteens.

Abe raised his to me as if it to toast me. I rolled my eyes.

A while later the adults came back to sit around the fire. The boys, however, disappeared. Great! My eyes darted around camp. I needed to find them.

Voices carried from the teepee. With a groan, I moved to the opening to find them on the display side of the fence, messing with the tomahawks and the string of scalps hanging from the warrior’s belt.

“Hey, get out of there!” I grabbed the axe from Alex. “These aren’t toys.”

“It’s not like they need them anymore, they’re dead,” Abe said. He waved the scalps above my head. When I jumped to get them, he shoved me out of the way. “If you want to get tips from us, you better keep your mouth shut.”

He tossed the scalps in the dirt and they walked out, laughing. My eyes narrowed as I retrieved the scalps. I wiped them off as best I could, then hopped into the display.

“Sorry,” I said softly to the statue. I secured his treasures back on his belt then turned to go. Something snagged my skirt. I whipped around to find myself caught up on the figure. Reaching down I pulled the fabric from its hand and gasped. It felt warm. My heart leapt into my throat. For a moment, I thought the warrior nodded.

*****

I awoke the next morning to screams, and leapt from my sleeping bag. Sunlight blinded me, as I hobbled from my teepee.

“My boys are gone!” the mom screeched.

“I’ll look around.” Maybe a coyote ate them. I chuckled at the thought as I made my way to the display tent. The lantern was on, but there were no signs of the boys. Then I caught movement from the corner of my eye. The warrior. He smiled at me. There, hanging from his belt were two new scalps.

For you, Jasmine.
 
Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.
 
  

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

 

Cool air blasted me as I pushed into the post office, carrying a package for Mom. Already a small line wound through lobby. A toddler kicked his brother in the leg, while their dad attempted to pull them apart.

“And this, Kasey, is why I don’t want kids,” my sister Mia said, nudging me in the ribs.

I rolled my eyes. “Please, you and Mr. Perfect will have beautiful children. Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet?”

Mia twisted her wedding ring and chuckled. “No. But if that’s what I have to look forward to, I’m not sure I’ll can handle it.”

The line moved forward and I glanced at the posters hanging along the wall. Missing Persons. The first was of a golden haired guy, standing in front of a seventies car. His smile was enticing. I moved closer to read the print. Broxton Leeland, disappeared June 21, 1977 at age seventeen. Okay, so that made him WAY older than me. But he was hot. Next to that was another poster of a sixteen year old girl, named Dawn Sommers. She’d also disappeared on June 21, 1977. My mom’s older sister. I shivered.

“Kind of a coincidence,” I whispered.

The cashier shot me a bewildered look. “Yeah, it’s sad. Broxton moved here to Beggars Way right before summer that year. All the girls in town fawned over him. But it was Mayor Sommers’ daughter he took a liking to. The two of them went to a party on June 21 and were never heard from again. Such a sad story. The whole town searched every inch of town for them. But they were never found.”

I sat my package on the counter, while the clerk rang it up. My eyes flicked back to the poster again. What happened to you?  I handed over a few wrinkled bills for postage then waited for the receipt.

“Here you are. Have a great day,” the cashier said.

“I’ll wait outside,” I told Mia. Shielding my eyes against the sun, I stepped into the sweltering heat. Steamy waves glistened against the blacktop, like a mirage in the desert. Maybe I should’ve opted to stay in the air conditioning.

I plopped down on a wooden bench, staring across the street at park. In the shadows of the maples, I noticed a figure leaned against one of the trees, watching me.

Rays of sunshine burst through the tree tops like heavenly swords, illuminating the boy’s golden hair. A slow smile spread across his lips. I gasped.

Oh. My. God. He looked just like Broxton. Okay, maybe the heat was making hallucinate. I mean, there’s no way it was him. He’d disappeared over thirty years ago. And I’m sorry, but no one looked that good for their age.

“Kasey, did you hear me?” Mia touched my arm.

“What?” I jumped, my pulse practically choking me as it leapt into my throat.

“I said, c’mon lets go home.”

With a deep breath, I glanced back across the street only to find the park empty. Great. Nothing like an overactive imagination. I climbed into Mia’s sedan, and turned on the radio.

***

“We’re home,” I said as we came into the kitchen. Mom sat at the table, a large glass of lemonade sweating onto the oak wood.

she glanced up from her book. “Lacy called a few minutes ago and wants you to contact her.”

I opened the fridge door and pulled out a pop, then hurried to the phone. “Hey Lace, it’s Kasey.”

“Oh, my god. Keith Hardman stopped by today and invited the two of us to his bonfire tonight. You’ve got to go,” Lacy squealed on the other end.

“Are you kidding?” Keith was flipping hot. And an invite from him, meant you were going places.

“No. The party starts at 9:00. Do you think your parents will let you go?”

“Hang on.” I set the phone down. “Hey Mom, Lace wants to know if I can go to a party with her tonight over at the Hardman’s.”

Mom’s brow furrowed as she gazed out the window and into the backyard. “Honey, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Bad things always happen at parties. There’s drinking, and drugs, and sex…”

“C’mon, I’m like the only girl in my class who’s never been to a bonfire.”

She put her book down. “No. It’s not a good idea.”

I gritted my teeth, and stomped back to the phone. “Sorry, Mom’s in dictator mode.”

“I can help with that.” Lacy giggled. “Climb out your window around 9:00 and I’ll swing by and get you.”

My heart raced. I’d be dead if my parents found out. But I was sick of missing out on everything. Ever since my aunt disappeared in the 70’s they were paranoid. “Sounds good.”

***

At exactly 9:00 I said goodnight to my parents, then hurried to my room to change. I waited five minutes then crawled out my window. The sun sat low on the horizon; traces of pink and purple painted the sky. My hands trembled as I ducked beneath the living room window and hurried across the yard. Lacy waited for me, and gave a cheer when I plopped into the seat next to her.

“Oh, my god. You actually did it. And here I thought the good girl would bail.” She put the car in drive and headed out of town.

“Yeah, well, let’s just hope we don’t get caught.”

We followed a dirt road into the woods and parked. People were already passing around cans of beer and cigarettes, which I declined.

A bonfire blazed in the center of the clearing. Flames licked and devoured the dry wood. Keith snagged Lacy almost as soon as we got there, leaving me to stand on the outskirts, tapping my foot to the loud rock music.

A figure stepped from the woods, and I inhaled deeply. There, across from me, stood the boy from earlier. His gaze met mine and he smiled. Broxton. It had to be him. He waved for me to join him. At first, I hesitated. Okay girl, live a little.

Sucking in a ragged breath, I moved to his side.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi.” His voice sounded deep and inviting. Up close, I noticed his eyes were the color of ivy. The scent of honey clung to the air. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

My eyes widened. “Who are you?”

“You already know.” He held out his hand, and I swallowed hard.

Impossible. It couldn’t be Broxton. A part of me wanted to back away. But the other part wanted the excitement. I took his hand, and warmth spiraled up my fingers.

“Broxton,” I whispered.

He smiled, leading me into the woods. Shadows reached out from the trees, darkness growing closer. Sticks and pine cones crunched beneath my feet as he pulled me to a stop near some briars. There, entangled in the weeds was the car I’d seen in the poster.

My chest tightened, fear blanketing me for the first time. As if sensing my discomfort, Broxton pulled me closer. His fingers traced my face.

“I always come back when I want something, Kasey. And right now, that something is you.”

His lips met mine, and my blood blazed like molten lava. Something snagged my ankle and I pulled back. I watched in horror as vines ensnared us, wrapping us together like a cocooned larva.

“We’ll be together forever, Kasey.”

I tried to scream, but the brambles, and weeds, and vines closed around us. Covering us like dirt tossed on a grave. Broxten held tight, his cheek brushing mine.

“I won’t be alone anymore…” he whispered.

His flesh disappeared, and I found myself entangled with a skeleton.

***

Mia hung the poster of her sister up in the post office. Kasey Sommers missing, June 21, 2010. Last seen with a blonde young man.

“Such a shame,” the cashier said. “The girls around here should know better than to sneak out. He always gets them.”

 

Don’t forget to stop by my fellow YAFFer’s sites to check out their stories too! Make sure to leave a comment…

Miranda Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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YAFF Muse is back!!! Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Raygun by wintersixfour

I adjusted my Princess Leia, Battle of Endor costume, and applied a layer of Cherry Kiss lip gloss, before sliding from my rusted pick-up. The summer heat practically fried my skin as I hurried toward Dr. Z’s Sci-Fi Museum.

Yeah, I was the victim of “get a summer job because I’m broke epidemic” otherwise known as, my parents think I need to learn responsibility and they’re not going to keep paying for my gas and insurance problem.

So every morning, I got up before dawn, showered and donned some sci-fi heroine costume, while my friends lay tucked away in bed. They went swimming; I gave talks about the swamp monster. They took bike trips and partied, while I played tour guide.

Totally unfair. Although, there was one perk and he stood six-foot two, with shaggy blonde hair and blue eyes to die for. Muscles, abs, bronze skin. In one word, yummy, that’s what Caleb Zenson was.

I took the museum keys from my purse and unlocked the main entrance. Cool air wrapped around me like a cape. Flipping on the lights, I hurried past the space ship display, complete with working doors and smoke.

Once in the office, I slid my things into a locker then gathered pamphlets to refill the display case. As I turned around, I ran into a solid form. I squealed, dropping the brochures.

“Kayla, hey, I’m sorry,” Caleb said, leaning down to help me pick up the mess. I bent at the same time, whacking my head on his chest. My earring snagged his shirt. I attempted to stand, but realized I was stuck.

My face burned. “Um, I’m caught on your shirt,” I said.

Caleb chuckled. “Here, hold still and let me help you.” His hands brushed my hair from my face and I inhaled the scent of his spicy cologne. My legs wobbled beneath me as I tried to stay balanced. His touch made me imagine lots of rated “R” things.

“Ah, it’s Han and Leia,” Dr. Z said from behind us. “I see you’re both getting into the roles.” He laughed, his cane tapping against the marble tiles.

“We’re kind of attached,” I said.

“I see that. It’s about time Caleb got the courage to ask you out! Cheerio, I say.”

Wait, what?

Caleb went still, and cleared his throat. I wished I could crane my head to see if he was mortified. Or if he was happy. But no, my head was stuck to his Han Solo shirt. Although, there were worse places to be. Like anywhere. Damn, I was the luckiest girl in the universe.

I imagined the school papers I’d write about how I spent my summer vacation. Wrapped in the arms, er…shirt of the king of hotness himself. Inhaling his masculine scent, his heart beating against my face, his…

“There you go, we’re officially unstuck.” Caleb glanced down at me.

“Thanks. Sorry about that.” I backed away then hurried to pick up the brochures.

 “I didn’t mind,” he said. My gaze flashed to his face. Oh my God. His perfect smile was beaming like a spotlight on Broadway. “Actually, I’ve wanted to ask you out all summer.”

And one, two, breathe. Come on girl. Talk. To. Him.

“Seriously?”

He fidgeted with his plastic laser blaster, strapped at his side. “Yeah.”

I opened my mouth to say more, when Dr. Z burst into the room. “Hurry along; we’ve got a big crowd today. And you both have tours.” He wore a space commander suit, complete with fake jet pack. “Make sure you keep an eye on things. I’ve got a strange feeling.”

Caleb and I exchanged looks, because Dr. Z always had a strange feeling. He believed it was only a matter of time before aliens attacked us. So not only did he horde Sci-Fi memorabilia and gadgets, but he insisted everything was real. The guy was a fruit loop, but hey, he paid me well. And his grandson more than made up for the weird comments.

“Don’t worry Grandpa, Kayla and I will handle things.” He ushered the aged man toward the theatre room, while I finished setting up.

By noon, the museum was packed. I shuffled backward, microphone in hand toward the large glass display case of weapons.

“And if you’ll turn your eyes to our display, you’ll see the raygun that was used in the movie Aliens Amongst Us 3,” I said.

A boy raised his hand in the back. “Do these things actually work?”

I smiled, catching Caleb’s eye with another group ahead of us. He winked and nodded his head yes. Chewing my bottom lip, I turned back to the boy.

“It sure does.”

For several more hours, I led different groups through the museum. I showed them costumes from Sci-Fi sets, weapons, fake space ships, information about alien landings and abductions. I answered questions about how things worked, if I was available after my shift (which I said no, pervy old man anyway), and how Dr. Z obtained the items.

Taking a swig of my ice water, I adjusted my Leia costume and got ready to take my last tour through the museum.

“Hello, and welcome to Dr. Z’s Sci-Fi Museum. I’m Kayla. I’ll be your pilot and guide today. If you have any questions, please feel free to stop me and I’ll do my best to answer it.”

A guy who looked close to my age, grinned. I dreaded what might come out of his mouth as we headed toward the space dome, complete with dark night sky and blinking stars. The familiar scent of “space ship” fuel burning and smoke filtered in the air.

“Kayla.” Dr. Z rushed me, his eyes wide with terror. “They’re here. Get these people on a ship, and grab a weapon.” He raised his cane, and struck the case with weapons in it. Glass sprayed everywhere, and the tourists screamed.

“Dr. Z,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder. Caleb came running toward us.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“They’re here old boy. Get your group on the ship and grab a gun,” Dr. Z said again.

I opened my mouth to protest, when I heard the loud rumble of something outside. Taking a deep breath, I accepted the raygun Dr. Z handed me and hurried to the entrance. A huge shadow, splayed over the ground, like someone parked a giant semi in front of the sun.

“Oh. My. God.” Dr. Z wasn’t crazy. Overhead, a large spaceship hovered. In the distance, plumes of smoke painted the horizon. We were being invaded.

Caleb grabbed my shoulders, jerking me back as a beam of light pulsed to the ground. Tall, gray colored beings walked straight at us. They raised small gun-like weapons.

“C’mon, get on the ship.” Caleb dragged me behind him toward our ship display, right as a red laser beam burst through the doors.

I glanced at the raygun in my hand, and tapped a switch on the side. Then, feeling all Leia like, I aimed the gun at the aliens and pulled the trigger. The weapon pulsed in my hand, and I watched in surprise as lasers flew from the end of it. One of the aliens fell to the ground. Holy crap!

If I wasn’t scared out of my mind, it would’ve been B.A. The floor beneath our feet vibrated, people screamed as they hurried onto the ship. I eyed our craft. This better work.

When we got aboard, the door behind us lifted and closed. Everyone was belted into seats around a large interior, holding helmets, suits, more weapons, and pull down beds. It was something straight off a set of Star Wars. Caleb clutched me tight, tugging me toward the cockpit.

“Do you know how to fly this thing?” I asked, taking a seat between Caleb and his grandpa. Or maybe I should’ve asked if it could fly. Dear Lord, where was the real Han Solo when you needed him. Hell, I’d take his Wookie at this point!

Dr. Z shot me a smile. “Of course. I knew this day was coming. Caleb and I are pilots.”

“Full throttle,” Caleb said, putting on a headset. “We’ll have to blast the wall or we’re not going to get out of here.”

Dr. Z pulled a handle down; his thumb hovered over a red button. “Hang on everybody.”

With one click, fiery red beams shot from our ship taking out the wall and roof. Caleb tugged the steering column back and we lifted from the ground, then shot forward like a cannon ball.

As we flew, I glanced down to see entire towns burning and the large craft responsible for it. Aliens were real. Tears blurred my vision. Our families were gone. And who knew how long we’d survive.

Caleb wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “Everything will be okay, Kayla. You’ll see.”

We cleared into the upper atmosphere, then darted into space. Stars surrounded us, speeding past like a light show.

“He’s right, you know.” Dr. Z pushed an autopilot button. “We’re going to be fine. Just have to make it to the Alpha Red Six space station for supplies. We can survive out here for years.” He got to his feet. “Now, I need to inform our passengers that all is well. Keep us on course Caleb boy.”

When Dr. Z left, Caleb pushed some buttons then turned to me. “I’m glad you came with us.” His fingers traced my cheek and he moved closer, his lips brushing mine. “I always knew you’d be the one.”

My heart thudded in my ears. “The one?”

“My very own Leia. You kicked some alien butt back there.”

“Well, I didn’t don the costume for no reason.” I laughed in spite of everything. Maybe being stuck on spaceship wouldn’t be so bad after all. 

 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Miranda Buchanan

Rachel Marie Pratt

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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