No one doubted he passed the Test of Strength. The same went for the Test of Courage, which he didn’t even flinch at.
But when it came to his performance on the third test of knighthood, there was some confusion.
“With all due respect, sir,” he said to his superior, “I passed the Test of Compassion. I helped everyone.”
“You also terrified them with your scowl.” The older knight leaned forward. “It wouldn’t hurt to smile once in a while. Why don’t you try it right now?”
“Sir… I am smiling.”
After a long silence, the knight conceded the point.
Author’s Note: After working on a story with a protagonist who never smiles, I wanted to write a lighter take where the character looks so serious no one realizes when he’s smiling.
The ame-onna stole her baby.
She sobbed over the empty crib for nights, until even her husband left her alone. And as the nights passed, she began to feel different. Powerful. Capable to undo the crime against her.
She snuck out of her room. No well-wishers lurked in the hall. Good. She retrieved a large laundry sack from the laundry room, and then hurried out into the night.
Alert, she searched the dark streets.
There. From one of the houses, a baby cried. She clutched the sack to her chest and crept to the house to reclaim what was hers.
Author’s Note: This is based on the ame-onna, a yokai from Japanese folklore that steals newborn children. Mothers whose babies are stolen by an ame-onna sometimes transform into one themselves.
My sister and I stood outside and stared at the ship in the sky.
“What do you think they want?” Most people were worried. Not her. She bounced up and down like aliens were the best thing ever. “Will they be friendly?” She grabbed my arm and dragged me inside. “Let’s go check the news!”
The newscaster was also excited. “At last, our attempts to contact the ship have succeeded. Our top translators are working on establishing communications, but for now, we at least have a name for our visitors.”
I stared at the alien word on the screen.
Author’s Note: One of my abandoned projects features an alien invasion from a non-human perspective where the invaders turn out to be human.
John and Sarah climbed the stairs, while Mike remained below to monitor activity levels in the building.
Would they really encounter ghosts? On the second floor, Sarah set up their equipment and frowned. She was the newest member of the team, and part of her was dubious about the existence of spirits.
“All right.” John clapped his hands together. “We—”
His radio crackled. “Guys? There’s something in there with you.”
Sarah looked around. The room was empty.
“Excellent,” John said. “We’ll attempt to make contact.”
“No, it’s not a gho—”
The radio died and the lights went out.
Author’s Note: Ghost hunters at a local spot were reportedly told by their team member on the ground floor, “There’s something in there with you. It’s not a spirit.” This is one of the accounts of the building being haunted by a demon, as well as ghosts.
The tenth time we passed a trick-or-treater with the same monster costume, Fred stopped. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Why did so many people have the same idea?”
“What’s wrong?” May frowned. “It looks cool. Who cares if it’s original?”
He rolled his eyes. “You dress up as a princess every year. Of course you don’t care.”
“This from the guy in an egg costume?”
“It’s good for us,” I said. “It makes us stand out. We’ll get all the best candy!”
We ignored the screams and the sirens. But when we got home, we couldn’t ignore the monsters.
Author’s Note: If monsters wanted to attack, the best time (for them) would be on Halloween.
I rolled over in bed. Yellow eyes glimmered from the shadows. I couldn’t sleep while it was there. Not out of fear—it stole my ability to sleep.
Just like every other night, I got up. My legs wobbled and I staggered into the wall. My focus was scattered, hazy. The first few nights, I’d tried to drive. Not tonight.
I stumbled downstairs, outside, and across to my neighbor’s house.
“Of course you can spend the night here,” she said, when I explained.
I collapsed onto her couch and stared up at the ceiling.
Into a pair of yellow eyes.
Author’s Note: While brainstorming ideas for unique monsters, I tried to imagine a creature that fed on a person’s ability to sleep.
“Magic.” That was what the media labeled the new energy source. Gregory supposed that made him a sorcerer, since he was the first to use it. No one else had the nerve.
It was the future. It would replace electricity—and change the world.
He entered the workshop and touched the glowing stone that contained the “magic.” It filled him. Power. Warmth. Energy. He embraced it and fell into its depths. The workshop and the crowd outside vanished.
It called to him and embraced him. It was all there was.
It was all he needed.
It was all that mattered.
Author’s Note: I was thinking about magic, and I imagined that it could be so addictive, the people who tried to use it would never be able to think about anything else.
Rivers. If he had a choice, he wouldn’t go anywhere near them.
But he did not have a choice, because he was dead.
Hermes came back for him. “Will you please stop delaying?”
“Nope. I know how this goes.” He held up his coin. “I have to get in a boat. No way.”
The god rolled his eyes. “I can’t believe the great hero is afraid of a boat… Look, you’re set to go to Elysium, so why don’t you just get this part over with?”
Elysium. This was just one more battle to overcome first.
He could do it.
Author’s Note: I challenged myself to write a drabble with a happy ending in which the happy ending was not necessarily a twist. I also was thinking a lot about Greek mythology and the Underworld, so I decided to incorporate that.
She couldn’t sleep.
Whenever Sarah closed her eyes, her skin crawled with terror, as if something watched her. Something evil.
And then there were the noises. A tapping at the door, like something wanted to get in.
That fear, at least, she could calm. She got up and opened the door.
A hairy leg poked into her room, followed by seven more. She screamed. The spider reared back and lunged.
Sarah slammed the door against the spider and forced it back into the hall.
Claws grabbed her from behind, and inhuman laughter rang out. “Thank you. It almost stopped me.”
Author’s Note: I love stories that have a reversal—where a character that appears evil is actually good and vice versa. If a giant spider was trying to save my life, it would take a lot of work to get that point through my panic and terror.
It was such a hoax. When the old woman claimed to commune with spirits, Tom laughed out loud.
Her gaze snapped to him. “You have upset the spirits, young man. Apologize.”
“You think I’m afraid of some phony spirits?”
“Apologize, and I will be able to talk them down.”
What an act. He laughed and walked out.
By the time he got home, he was exhausted. He had to lie down, get some sleep. Strange—he’d never felt so bad in his life. He stumbled up the front steps. Just a little further.
He didn’t make it to the door.
Author’s Note: I wanted to see if I could write a story in which a character was cursed in only 100 words.