Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Dark Compendium by Ellen Mae Franklin

A Dark Compendium
A Collection of 12 Short Fantasy Stories




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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.
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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.
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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.
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Custodians

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.
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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.
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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.

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