excerpt of the day

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I wanted to share with you peoples a glimpse from a story I’m working on called “The Oms.” I don’t often write extreme fantasy type stories, so let me know what you think!

The boy screams and I turn just in time to dodge the boar charging for us. I stoop to pick up a fallen branch and wield it like a sword. “Get out of here!” I yell at the boar, but it just bucks its head and digs its heels into the dirt.

I put the boy down and instruct him to climb the tree behind us. His eyes are wide but he quickly scurries up the trunk and nestles into the canopy. With the boy out of harm’s way, I can focus on the boar now. It steps from side to side, eying me from behind its large tusks. I retreat until my back hits the cool trunk of the tree the child hides in. I can’t climb the tree in time, the boar is only ten feet from me. I rack my mind for another way out of this as the boar squeals and charges me again. This time I let out a cry and strike out with the branch. It collides with the boar as the boar collides with me. I lay winded on the ground as the boar writhes over top of me, its tusks twisted around the branch I use to hold it at bay.

Suddenly the boar lets out a whine and yellows sparks rain down around me. Its body spasms once and then the frightened creature bolts into the flora. I am left holding the branch and toss it to the side, panting for breath. Yellow sparks are still visible suspended in the air above me. I watch as they blink out one by one.

“Are you alright?” A voice asks.

I freeze as the adrenaline dissipates from my body, and the stupidity of what I just did rushes through my mind. I just crossed the boundary line, I could have been killed by a boar. What was I thinking? Sitting up I hesitantly glance to where the voice came from. “I think I’ll be fine,” I say, my voice cracking on the last word as I realize who I’m talking to. The only people out here are…

The boy who spoke turns his attention to the tree where the child remains hidden. With no effort, like a butterfly taken by the wind, he lifts off the ground and floats up to where the child is hiding. “There you are, Findal. I was looking everywhere for you, but it looks like this girl found you before I could.”

Oms. My mouth falls open in shock. I don’t know whether to run or scream or cry or run for the boundary line. I settle for sitting in stunned silence.

The child, Findal, leaps into the boy’s arms and he floats back down as gently as a leaf. “What where you doing with a boar?” The boy scolds, “You can’t even use magic properly yet.” Findal is still too scared to speak and just trembles in response. “I take it you’ve learned your lesson then.”

Once the boy touches ground again, he sets Findal down and without hesitation, Findal runs into the forest, disappearing into the greenery. The boy sets his sights on me and I shrink a little, though his gaze isn’t menacing. He doesn’t wear much, just a pair of earthen slacks. A leather belt is fastened around his waist and from the belt, small pouches are fastened. A dagger is tucked into the belt against his hip. A large round yellow stone hangs from his neck on twine. His hair is wild and brown and waves around his ears, just brushing his bare shoulders. His expression becomes amused as he rolls his eyes. “Yes, he’s fine,” he mutters. He looks to me again. “Sorry, you must think I’m crazy. I’m not talking to myself, I swear.”

“You’re an Om,” I say quietly, voicing my realization.

“That I am. And you’re… not.” He says, a lilt in his voice. He strides over to me and offers his hand. “You’re a Small.”

I glance from his serene face to his outstretched hand and back again.

“I won’t hurt you,” he says, mildly.

After a moment I take his hand and he pulls me up.

He crosses his arms and cocks his head to the side. “I’ve never met a Small before, much less a brave Small.”

“We aren’t brave,” I say. We’re not supposed to be.

“Really? What would you call hopping the boundary line into the Mekokan Forest and saving a child from a wild boar then?”

I shrug my shoulders. “Stupid.”

“Maybe.” he says, “Why did you do it?” he asks, a curious note in his voice.

I stare at the ground, twisting my hands together. “I didn’t think. I just saw that little boy in trouble and I just took off. My parents are going to kill me.” I sigh.

He chuckles and the sound is musical. “Only if they find out.”


excerpt of the day

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Here is a little excerpt from our story “Betrayal Comes First.”

After a few more minutes of walking, I see the fountain I saw earlier, but in more detail. The base is rectangular in shape and made of marble. In the center emerging from the water into the air is a dule of doves, in various stages of flight. The doves’ beaks and claws glint silver in the moonlight. I guess at night time they shut off the water, because I don’t see any jetting into the air. Luka stops at the fountain and dips his fingers into the cool water, scooping up a few glinting coins. He sits on the fountain’s rim and gestures for me to sit, so I take a seat next to him.

“You realize now all those people’s wishes won’t come true.”

He skilfully twirls the coins between his fingers. “If they are content with wishing on a penny or a quarter to make their dreams come true, they don’t really want to make them happen,” he says nonchalantly.

“You have a harsh view on life.”

He shrugs. “It’s just what I’ve come to find.”

“I kind of agree.”

Luka stops twisting the coins. “Really?”

“Yeah.” I glance up at the night sky. “There are a few things in my life I’d like to change.”

Are they out as friends? Are they on a date? Where do you think they are?

-Turner Collins

Excerpt from my story titled “Traffic”

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Like a greyhound off the starting line, Dory shoots past me before I have time to grab him. He hurtles down the street, and in a matter of seconds, collides with Kale. They go down in a heap, rolling and shouting. Christian is bowled over and lands on his hands and knees, the umbrella landing a few feet away.

“You bastard! You slept with my girlfriend!” Dory yells as he sits on Kale’s chest, pounding into his face.

I run to them, catching sight of people’s shocked expressions in the café window. “Stop!” I plead.

Christian looks agitated as he stands and grabs the back of Dory’s sweater. “It’s not worth it,” he says sharply.

I come to a stop and kneel down beside Kale. His lip is split and the rain mixes with the blood, creating a read waterfall down his chin. “Kale, just get out of here before—“

His eyes flash angrily and he pushes me away, “Get away from me.”

I hear a yelp from Christian and in a second Dory is back on Kale. Kale throws a punch and Dory’s head snaps to the side with the impact. He recovers quickly and grabs Kale by the jacket, hauling him to his feet.

Christian jumps in again between them. His nose his streaming blood. Dory must have got him when he was trying to free himself. “Cut it out,” he shouts this time, pushing Dory back a step. “You’re better than this.” Dory’s face is a mask of rage as he tries to get past Christian a second time. Dory is as loyal as it gets, if you go after someone he cares about, you can guarantee he’ll come after you.

Kale’s face turns into an amused grin as he wipes away blood. “It’s better you hear it from me now, you know, before you guys get really serious.”

“Shut up Kale!” I bark. I can’t believe Kale continues to egg Dory on. Does he want his ass kicked?

Kale smirks in response and turns to go. Dory gets around Christian by elbowing him in the ribs. I run to Christian as he doubles over, the wind knocked out of him. At the same time Dory grabs Kale arm and Kale spins around landing a punch to Dory’s stomach. He grabs his sweater and thrusts Dory to the side. He stumbles forward and into the street. Into the street right into traffic.

Before I can react, before I have time to scream, Dory looks up just in time to strike the windshield of a red SUV. His body flies up and over the vehicle, landing with a sickening crack on the cement. He doesn’t move again.

In a matter of seconds all hell breaks loose. People are screaming and yelling around me, running to where Dory lays motionless. Cars are honking their horns. Christian lifts his head and sees what I’m seeing. I look over Christian to watch Kale’s face pale before he turns and darts away across the street. Tears mingle with the raindrops hitting my cheeks and I choke back a sob.

I wonder if Lena will feel bad about cheating on Dory with his friend. I wonder if she will know he died protecting her reputation, one that she tarnished herself. I wonder if she’ll know he died for nothing.

I sit on the curb with Christian’s arm around me until somewhere in the distance, sirens sound.


Excerpt from my story titled “Chrome”

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Red Sumpter leans against the hood of his car, his thumbs hooked through his belt loops. He eyes the group of teenagers loosely circled around the car of his opponent a few meters away. The girls are gathered around the boy he’d challenged, Skip Hutchins. They whisper and giggle as they look from Skip to Red. He pretends not to notice their gawking glances, but he does, and they make him uncomfortable. He shakes off his nerves and reaches a hand up, smoothing his ink black hair back, and plucking the cigarette from behind his ear; he always kept one there. He catches it between his lips and swiftly pulls a lighter from his back pocket, lighting the cigarette and taking a long drag. As he blows the smoke out, he kicks his heels through the dirt.

He’d known that getting kicked out of school three months into the semester due to fighting didn’t bring joy to his mother’s life, but those kids were asking for it. He never went looking for trouble, but it seemed wherever he turned, trouble followed him as closely as his own shadow. When he had started at the new school he had tried his best to stick to the straight and narrow, but when Skip, the star baseball player, had taken a liking to making his life miserable, he wasn’t pleased. Naturally he challenged him to a game of chicken.

It’s not that Red was an adrenaline junkie or had something to prove, but then again, maybe he did. Even now, the thought of how happy he would be when he beat Skip and took his ego down a couple of pegs made his heart beat a little faster. A grin tugs at the corner of this lips and he pulls the cigarette from his mouth. “Hey. Are we gunna do this or what?”

The group of girls parts and Skip strides forward. He wears jeans and his baseball jacket. His eyes are green and as dismal as the expression he wears. He looks bored with the whole thing and clearly he’s used to coming out on top. “We’re doing this, Red,” he says the boy’s name like it’s a bad taste in his mouth. Crossing his arms, he walks over to Red. “Are you sure that jalopy is up to it?” He says, eyes rolling over Red’s ‘37 Buick Century. The teal grey paint was rusted around the doors and there was a large dent in the bumper from when his mother dinged a milk truck, but it was a reliable car.

Red flicks his cigarette into the dust and crushes it with the heel of his boot. “My car can handle anything you can throw at it, can you say the same?” His eyes fall on Skip’s gleaming Chevy Bel Air. The robin’s egg blue and bright white paint don’t have a single spot of dirt and the chrome shines in the sunlight. “Doesn’t look like that baby could handle getting dirty.”

Skip snorts and sets his jaw arrogantly. “All talk, eh? Having second thoughts?”

“Not a chance.”

“Good. Let’s do this then. You start from there,” Skip says, pointing to the beginning of the dirt road about 500 feet away, “I’ll start from here. First person to jerk the wheel loses. Got it?”

“Got it.” Red says, pulling the door open and sinking into the seat. He watches Skip walk casually back to his car where his girlfriend kisses him on the cheek and unties the scarf around her throat. She smiles as she places it in his hand and then follows the other girls to the side. They walk over to a large tree near the side of the road.

Red revs his engine and hits the gas. His car shoots down the road, dust billowing out behind his wheels. As he drives to his starting point, he thinks back to his mother’s words when he was expelled. “You’re breaking my heart. When will you get yourself together?” she’d frowned, shaking her head. He could feel the disappoint rolling off of her like a heat wave, suffocating and heavy. What his mother thought of him seemed to matter less and less these days. It was almost expected that he would screw up. Red shakes his head to clear his depressing train of thought and makes a tight U-turn at the beginning of the dirt road. Skip in his Bel Air is visible in the distance and Red can make out the smirk on his face even from here.

In less than a minute he won’t be smirking, Red thinks. Skip’s girlfriend strolls out to the middle of the road, her pink poodle skirt billowing in the breeze. She raises her arms up into the air. Pausing, she looks from Skip to me and then swiftly she brings her arms down. That’s the signal. Red steps on the gas and his wheels spin in the dirt, chucking up a red dust cloud in his wake. Skip’s Bel Air flies forward, hurtling on a collision course with Red.

Red can make out faint cheers and hoots from the girl’s near the tree, but he knows they’re not for him. Skip is coming up on him fast, and Red accelerates more, closing the distance between them quickly. Gritting his teeth, Red punches his car to the limit, and its engine groans in protest. “I’m not losing this game,” Red whispers to himself.

Skip is only a few hundred feet away now, and closing fast. Red works to keep his eyes focussed on Skip, the bouncing of the wheels over the rocks making it hard to concentrate. Fifty feet now. Twenty feet. Red’s hands stay gripped firmly to the wheel, anchoring the Century on a straight course. Ten feet. Sweat beads on the back of Red’s neck.  “C’mon chicken. You know you’re a chicken.” Five feet.

At the last instance, Skip swerves sharply to his left, narrowly missing the front of Red’s car. Red shouts in excitement, punching the dashboard with his fist. Slowing the car he cranes his neck to his right just in time to see Skip’s car collide with the tree. The girls are running out of the way, some are screaming. There’s a loud crunch of metal and then smoke begins to twist through the air.

Red’s eyes widen and he quickly throws the Century into park. He bolts from the vehicle, leaving the driver’s door open. Sprinting across the field he avoids a few girls running haphazardly away from the wreck. He comes to a stop beside Skip’s girlfriend who’s trying desperately to pry the driver’s door open.

“Skip!” She cries.

Without a word Red grabs hold of the door handle and places one foot against the car for leverage. He pulls as hard as he can and the door pops open. Skip sits unmoving, a cut on his forehead is oozing blood. After a second he comes to and swivels his head to look at Red and his girlfriend. His expression becomes enraged.

“Look at my car!” He exclaims as his girlfriend helps him out. “This is your fault.”

“I don’t think so,” Red says defiantly.

Skip steps forward, shoving an accusing finger at Red’s chest. His girlfriend stands back, unsure of what to do. “You’re paying for the damages.”

Red scoffs at this, running a hand through his hair. “Look, I get you’re embarrassed about losing, but you jerked the wheel. It’s not my fault you’re a lousy—“

Skip’s fist collides with Red’s jaw and his head snaps to the side, cutting him off. Red’s face clouds over as he wipes blood from his lip. He looks to Skip, whose face is red not just from his blood, but from his anger.

“Skip, stop it,” his girlfriend pleads grabbing his arm and trying to restrain him, but he just shrugs her off.

“Stay out of it, Vivien.” His voice is savage.

“Don’t talk to her like that Skip. If you’ve got something to prove, go for it. Take another swing, I dare you.” Red shifts and stands a little straighter.

Skip’s lips draw back over his teeth. “You’re just a greaser. But I guess grease runs in the family.”

Red jumps forward and grabs the front of Skip’s shirt. Insulting him was one thing, but insulting his father and sister was something else entirely. He pull’s Skip close and flips him over his shoulder. Skip lets out a grunt as he hits the ground, but quickly sweeps out his leg, tripping Red. In a second he sits on top of Red’s chest. Red strikes out with his palm, connecting with Skip’s nose and fresh blood rains down on him. He heaves and flips over so he now sits on Skip’s chest. He begins beating into Skip’s face. The girls that decided to stay to see what happens yell their disapproval and shout Skip’s name repeatedly.

The fight continues, with Red winning, as siren’s sound close by. The girl’s quickly disperse as a cop car pulls up alongside Skip’s wreck of a car.

Red continues to hit Skip until a cop pulls him off and gives him a good hit in the ribs with a night stick. Red doubles over on the ground near Skip as Skip struggles to sit up.

“Break it up, now,” the officer barks as his partner rounds the car and kneels down beside Skip.

Red spits some more blood onto the ground where in mingles with the already red dirt, and smiles crookedly. Skip won’t be shooting his mouth off about him anytime soon, his ego’s been trampled. First the game, now this, he won’t be able to show his face in school for at least a week. The thought makes Red’s smile grow wider.


get to know me

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Today, let’s take a gander at Luka’s father, Ivan from “Betrayal Comes First.” Let us know in the comments what kind of relationship they have and how you think it developed.

“Colombians attacked one of our ground runners last night, knocked his teeth out. I need you to go down and talk to him, get information.”

“Which runner? Which crew?” I hate having to pull this out of my father. He is the king of vague.

“Does that matter? I want these guys put to rest. I’m tired of having to run interference. We need everything to move smoothly if we want to expand, they are encroaching on our territory, Luka.”

“What about Aleksei?” I say. I understand my father’s “disappointment” with my brother, but if everything he’s saying is true, we need Alek. My brother loves this life, it’s his dream to follow in our father’s footstep, not mine.

“No.” My father states adamantly, stabbing his cigar into his nearly full ashtray.

“Sir, with all due respect, we need Alek. I need my strength in numbers. These Colombians keep getting the jump on us. Aleksei is knowledgeable in the underground world. He knows our dealers, our streets.” I argue. I take a deep breath, squaring my shoulders. “He is also your son.”

“That son of mine is a disgrace, do you hear me? His cheating, disgusting, fraternizing ways cost him not only his fingers, but my respect. I will not have him on the streets, we have an image to uphold. “Don’t think I don’t know about his altercation over at the Garroway’s whore house last night.” He cocks an eyebrow at me. Clearly knowing I was there as well.

I shake my head. I know this argument can’t be won. I go to stand, gripping the edge of my chair. “Okay, dad.” I stand, turning to leave, when my father calls out one more time.

-Turner Collins

get to know me

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For this installment, let’s get to know Stef’s step-brother Lazlo from “Betrayal Comes First.” He’s a charmer, I assure you.

We almost make it to my room without incident. Almost.

“Did I hear someone talking about me?”

“Go away Lazlo.”

Lazlo glides out of his room and sidles up beside me, close enough to make me uncomfortable. Closer than a step brother should get. He plays with a lock of my hair. I swat his hand away and glare up at him.

Cyn steps between Lazlo and I, creating a barrier. “Don’t you have something better to do? Like, I don’t know, burn ants with a magnifying glass? That sounds like something you would do.” Lazlo snorts in reply.

Unfortunately, Lazlo is the baggage our family inherited when my father made the mistake of marrying Maria just over a year ago. She had him when she was sixteen, and he’s been spoiled since day one. He’s an egocentric, grade-A jerk, who has no moral boundaries. His slick black hair and dark eyes give him all the allure of a great white.

He side-steps Cyn, reaching around her, placing his hands on my waist. I quickly maneuver myself out of his grasp. “Just leave me alone.”

He raises his hands in mock surrender. “Why so uptight? Can’t a brother show his sister some love?” His voice is razors coated in syrup, sweet, with danger lurking beneath.

“Not that kind of love, brother.”

See? Didn’t I say he was just the greatest?


get to know me

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Let’s get to know another one of our “Betrayal Comes First” characters, Stef’s best friend Cyn.

I work to calm my ragged breathing. “Cyn, I worry about your safety. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”

She squeezes my shoulder. “I know. But don’t worry, I’m a big girl. Plus Victor really is a great guy. He treats me like no one else ever has. I feel . . . loved, when I’m with him. Please trust me when I say that.”

I am about to protest again, but when I catch Cyn’s eyes, I see something I haven’t seen before. Fragility, and fear. Fear that I won’t accept her choice. I cannot accept Mednikovs, but if Cyn really has found something in this guy, should I really tear it down? She hasn’t had the easiest life. As her best friend, I know I need to put my prejudice aside. At least when I’m with her.

“Okay,” is the only calm response I can muster.

She elbows me in the side. “You know me. I’ve always liked living dangerously.”

I refrain from clubbing her in the head with a handbag as Darlene saunters in. “How are you ladies doing back here?”

I quickly hide the handbag behind my back. “We’re doing fine, thanks.”

What can you glean from Stef and Cyn’s conversation? Are they always on the same page? Or are they at odds?