Sunday, April 19, 2015

Heart of Secrets by Ellen Mae Franklin


Tiny Url -

Smashwords -

Up a hole

Her struggling slowed,eventually ceasing altogether. She was a bundle of bones and rags that hepulled along after him. Scraping and bruising her already ravaged body, theycontinued in the dark. Pellimac occasionally whimpered, but for the betterpart, shock kept her silent. Father tried, crooning affectionate clicks andclacks at her joyous return, but it only terrified her more.

Rats fled the pair. Even the darknessseemed to shy away in the face of Father’s fanatical headlong rush. She was hisagain! Hours passed, and the jubilant Speck and the stunned nomad womanstopped. His bony fingers clenched Pellimac’s wrist so tightly that smudges ofblack already rising to the surface of her skin held the promise of blood redrings. Deep in the inky murk, a part still pure and intact screamed at the lossof the sky and open earth. She wept. Her cries excited Father as she dragged inlungfuls of air in between loud sobs.

He said, she said. Iwonder who said what?

So, this was punishment. Nodoubt, the retribution was to satisfy their aching hearts, stupid wet sacks ofmeat. Hadn’t the female told her so? Kitty spat, and the last of Mumbunda’sempathy fell away, a pointed finger sealing her fate. But it meant nothing. InKitty’s world, killing was life, a consequence of the need to feed. There wereno reprisals for carnage or death and after all, hadn’t she been hungry?

Hanging upside down, Kitty dozed. Herconfinement was so boring that her teeth ached from it all. She craved food.She was so hungry that her belly ached, her teeth ached, her blood wept. Butunderneath it all sang a single shiny thought, pure and clean. Maybe despiteher mother's blood, she was a true Speck after all.

There can be no goingback

It was strange that she feltat home here, in the killing shades. The dark, surrounded by memories withlayers of insanity, would have left another screaming, but not Pellimac. Shewas so far removed from anything embodying normality that she succumbed to hersurrounds with quiet capitulation. The woman, emaciated and coated in layers ofgrime, patterned with old blood from the many scrapes and cuts on her worn outbody, rested on her haunches. She watched the single flickering candle flame.Aware that Father and Hi’ayman sat close by, she rocked back and forth,crooning softly.

My son. She repeated this manytimes over in her mind. It helped to slow the internal screaming intothe barest of whispers, giving her the courage to look up at Hi’ayman. Fromunderneath a filthy veil of hair, shading her exhausted features, she smiled.

Done and dusted

Ordinary persons would have drawnstraws to see who it was that went through the crack first, but this lotcouldn’t be called ordinary and the situation they were facing wasn’t ordinaryeither. This bunch was in a tight fix. They were damned if they stayed anddamned if they moved ahead.

Kendrai went first. Pellimac was hisresponsibility, and as Heir Apparent, no one was in a position to argue hisright. It was agreed that Monlith would follow, Stowic and then Shai behind himwith Noloc bringing up the rear.

Through the fissure he climbed, makinghis way cautiously forward. Who knew what manner of man or beast lived in thedark? A dusky glow skulked in the far corner of the room, shapes shifted androcked about, voices drifting lazily from the crook.

One by one, the party of searcherscrawled forward, clustering together in a cramped space behind a wall of sortsto the much larger chamber. They thought themselves secret, hidden away fromthe other occupants as they quietly communicated together. How wrong they were.

To err is to beforgiven
A crowd had gathered aroundthe front of the dormitory. It was one of four in a set of neatly rowedbuildings. In the doorway pressed a number of older students, most openlycrying, others mute with horror.

“Get back! Get back!” roared a loudvoice.

The doorway emptied, and within its frameleant the roly-poly man. Ashen faced, his mind did its best to grasp the bloodymess behind him. “What’s happened here?” he mumbled and stared about at thecrowd outside. In all his years as a healer, he had never seen such carnage.

Other magi arrived, some drawn fromtheir beds by the screams, wrapped in nightgowns and mantles in an attempt tokeep out the night’s chill.

One young lad, noisily emptying hisstomach onto his shoes, stopped and wiped a shaking hand across his mouth. Hespat and blearily looked up at his Master.

“You don’t want to go in there, sir.”And he began to throw up all over again.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

In the Cold Light by Ellen Mae Franklin


Tiny Url -

Smashwords -

How canit be, that I never learn?

Being cold, so very bloody cold wasn’t that bad. Going hungry was muchworse and since Quaverit wasn’t very good at begging, he went hungry a lot.What did he know of doing it right? All the other beggars laughed when he tookhis place on the corner. They laughed, so hard, that quite often, it drew acrowd. An ugly meanly-mouth bunch of other beggars, seasoned from their yearsof privation. He couldn’t help looking like a plucked chook, than the elegantStork he was supposed to be.

It was a punishment. The plucking of everyfeather on his body, head and tail feathers gone, and the pain! Well, let’sjust say, he had only recently stopped crying.

He could forgive the painful act itself,even if the Hyena Men had relished their duties a little too eagerly, but thehumiliation he suffered each time he left the safety of his cubbyhole, wouldnever he forgotten. The once proud chamberlain was reduced to sitting on theside of a smelly gutter, holding out his hands for the odd copper to pass hisway. Glumly listening to his moaning stomach, as it screamed for a bite to eat.

Guest who?

She couldn’t have called it a pleasant ride by any means, Taros feltevery stone and every hole along the way to Lott’s house, well it was more thanjust a house, as they approach the Toads spectacle it looked more like avillage. Built from the blood and sweat of others, she felt sickened by theramblings.

Wanabec fretted all the way, quoting dearieme’s, and oh my goodness every third tree, if she had been in her right mindthe Turtle Man would have copped a tongue lashing, but the spirit of Tarmet wasstill upon her so she sat quietly as the world slipped by.

Every now and then, shecaught a glimpse of her escort, sometimes along the road and at other times, asshe glanced up to catch the sun, black silhouettes with their many arms swungfrom tree to tree. It was quite disconcerting having so many Spider Men around:their eyes a swirling kaleidoscope of colours. What would Tarmet have done ifhe had found himself in this situation?

New friends. What a Blessing
Milly wiped her hands, frowned at the rough skin from having them elbowdeep in water for most of the morning. Dinner this afternoon was going to be abusy affair, already she felt run off her feet, they ached and it wasn’t evennoon. Looking out the window, wooden shutters held back to let the sun’s warmthfill the room, the serving girl watched Knat swing the ax. Since his arrivalsome months ago, the young man had filled out his clothes, the shirt he worerippled as the corded muscles across his back worked with each fall of theblade.

Their first meeting had frightened her.Dripping wet and shaking like a beaten dog, Knat had surprised them all withhis appearance. Yet, here he was on this cold day chopping wood for Mr. Macky.He was the apple of the innkeeper’s eye.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Dark Compendium by Ellen Mae Franklin

A Dark Compendium
A Collection of 12 Short Fantasy Stories

TinyURL -

A King’s Son
“As I hearthem tell it,” and the lanky lad winked at his prisoner, “this one’s staredinto the eyes of a dragon for too long. Either that or the bastards just plainloopy.” The guard, if you could have called him that, was no more than a boy ofseventeen summers with a wispy fuzz sat above his upper lip, and he couldn’thelp but stroke the downy hairs. It looked like a thin, squiggly caterpillar.
The man in thecage grinned and laughed out loud, grabbed at the bars and tried to shake themloose, but iron didn’t work like that. It stayed fast; Old Firestick only usedgood steel. The hair of the one they called crazy stood up in wild stiff strands;some were as thick as two fingers. Dozens of different colours created acurious hodgepodge. Beads, pieces of wood and ribbon had found their way intothis hair nest, adding to the already hysterical state of the prisoner.

Bloody Hell

He turned acorner and glanced over his shoulder. It was a habit he had developed of late- seekinga way out, for the way in had been all too easy. Brick felt that familiar achein his hip as it began to throb, lancing white pain into his toes and the sweatthat had only just disappeared in a false sense of feeling safe, was back. Itdripped down his spine and stung salty tears into his eyes. But he was home,back with the living.

He didn’t needto see them to know that the Scamps were out there, hiding in the shadows andlifting their flat faces into the wind as they tried to sniff him out. Void ofnose and hair, three holes to draw in a human scent and sharp needle teeth torip him back to Hell. They would follow him no matter what.

Love Hearts
It was just a song.

To her it wasa delicious sound, full of fun and mischief. It was life - so mysteriouslyelusive, joy and best of all love. Denied to her as it was all her kind. Surely,no one would notice such a little tune. Isnale spun a circle, her bare feet ticklingthe grass beneath and as she turned her head this way and that, making sure shewas alone, the Harbinger let off a single note. It floated gently out front. Itcrystalized and held still for a brief moment, perfect in its form, transparentexcept for the glistening colours of an unseen rainbow. Clapping her hands,Isnale marveled at the light it made. Apart from the stars overhead, the noteshone like a beacon.

“They’ll cutyou for that one note, you know that, don’t you Isnale?” Her brother’s voiceshattered the form and the light extinguished leaving them both, once more inthe dark.


Long ago,after the two continents had split from Pangea some 60,000 years before Manfound his way to the shores of Australia. From Africa and Asia in boats ofcrafted wood, across the narrow strait where the sea was at it’s lowest theybraved a new world. To the northern side of Wallacia, on a steady course ofisland hopping, the Aborigines found a home.

Dog and Manrose, the surf landing gently on the sandy shore. From the trees, rocks and thedarkest of holes the Custodians watched. Some viewed the procession, gaping inwonder at the Aborigines black skin and white flashing teeth. Amusement pulledat large almond eyes as yapping dogs splashed about in the choppy surf. Theytoo smiled at the excited voices of these happy people.

But beyond thatthere were other dark creatures that that loathed the light, they watched on inrepugnance, jealous of the man and the way in which he moved in their world.Tall and thin with skin coloured of old ash these creatures watched only thechildren with interest. Perhaps these laughing, bright souls could give themwhat they craved.

When is it too late to say sorry?
‘We were happy once? Weren’t we?’

Diablo asked herself this question every day. Butnothing ever changed. It always came back the same… a burning anger, so brightthat it matched his strutting brilliance and that of course, only made herangrier. God, the almighty, sanctified divinity and his constant holier thanthou lectures. Her husband was a pompous fool, whose faults were even greaterthan the obedience he demanded from everyone around him. Including her and thisperfect creature would not be outdone by anyone.

She smiled despite this, cruel and calculating for shehad to admit there was great satisfaction in upsetting him. A single fingerraised and from the shadows came a man, not nearly as perfect as she, but darklyhandsome none-the-less

“Baal, General ofmy armies, my devoted and faithful servant. I have a small task for you. Notthe most pleasant, I admit, but then you never shirk your duties, do you my pet.”She ran a well-manicured fingernail down the side of his face. Her voice purredin satisfaction at the man before her, admiring the leanness and hunger thatemanated from him.

War of the Words

Prose was apretty thing with dark hair and brown eyes whose smile lit the world aroundher. This day found her hard at work. Sheets of paper lay scattered on the deskand floor, screwed up balls of the unwanted stuff littered the room and thequills that she so loved to write with - her most treasured of possessions -were spread out before her in loving array. Feathers and inkpots, scrolls, andthe ability to create infinite worlds belonged to this dedicated writer, Prosewas proud of every word.

“I havefinished! I have finally made my mark.” Prose leapt out of her chair. “It isdone at last, my very first story. It’s a pearler and once it’s published Iknow it will go straight to number one.” She hammered on the wall with her fistand the scraping of a chair on the other-side followed, then a came a knock onher door.