To Kidnap a Princess

Picture from Pinterest.

My day was going quite nicely until the human walked in. 

Male, female, it doesn’t matter––I don’t want any of them in my swamp. Though I will admit that females are rarer, so I don’t immediately growl, bare my teeth, or threaten death upon her and her children’s children.

She’s what the humans would consider beautiful, with her honey-brown skin and long, night-black hair. I don’t see how having such soft, unarmored skin is in any way appealing, but then again, I don’t understand humans, not a bit.

She kneels, her dress dragging in the muck. Most females wouldn’t go near a swamp, let alone a dragon. I’m intrigued.

“Sotirios, great one.”

Fire smolders in the back of my throat. She knows my name? I thought I’d been doing the whole hermit thing quite well. But if this human has heard of me, then I’m not doing it well enough. I need to find somewhere even more secluded than a swamp, which will prove to be difficult.

“My name is Casimira, and I desire your assistance.”

I am not sure why she wants me to know her name. I have better things to do than get caught up in the meager lifespan of a human. “I am not interested,” I say. “Now, if you please, this is my swamp, and I would prefer that you leave alive.”

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Bloodrose: Part 4

This picture came from Pinterest.

Here it is, friends––the final chapter of “Bloodrose.” Check out Parts 1 (here), 2 (here), and 3 (here) before continuing.


Raisa

Everything about me is pain. Severe pain. Maybe I’ve been stabbed.

But why on earth would I have been stabbed? That just doesn’t make sense. Dumb Raisa.

Other guess––I’ve been cut open and stitched together again. Not like that’s realistic at all, but that’s just what I imagine that would feel like.

Okay, seriously, what is going on?

I force my heavy eyelids open. The world is a blur, a very white blur. Lots and lots of white. Snow? What is that beeping?

“Oh my word, Raisa, you’re okay. I can’t believe it.”

I know that voice. I know that face––Peter! My neighbor!

“Oh, Raisa!” That’s Mom, running toward me, throwing her arms around me. Pain jolts through my arms, and I moan. What is this weird clothing I’m wearing? Why does it seem like it’s gaping at the back?

“You’re alive!” Mom cries.

Dad swiftly joins her, forming a group hug. Wait. Are those IVs in my arms? Am I in a hospital?

Images flit through my brain––snow, the silken rose, touching the thorn, a forest of red stalks all around me. Goodness gracious. Did that all happen? And why can’t I remember how it ended?

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Bloodrose: Part 3

This picture is from Pinterest.

I would highly recommend reading Parts 1 (here) and 2 (here) of “Bloodrose” before continuing. But I suppose you can make your own choices, and if you choose to start in the middle of a story, I can’t exactly stop you.

I hope you enjoy Part 3!


Peter

Holy crap. Did all that come from her finger?

I was just doing a midnight tractor run, checking on the heifers to make sure they weren’t calving yet. That’s it. I didn’t sign up for giant demon roses coming out of nowhere and trying to kill me.

Raisa’s scream jolts me from my panic. “Raisa!” I shout. “Are you okay?”

No reply, just wails. And all the while, the roses are growing and growing and growing. I can barely even see Raisa anymore through the tangle of thorns. But seriously, where did the roses come from? Could they really have come from her blood?

I hope the heifers aren’t anywhere near. I don’t want them or their unborn calves getting close to these things.

But now what? The sane part of me wants to hop on my tractor and run the heck away. Also to call the cops. But I can’t just leave Raisa here. Why did this have to happen in the middle of nowhere when I don’t have my phone on me?

Muttering all the reasons I shouldn’t do this, I grab my axe from the floor of the tractor’s passenger seat and stare up at the roses. They’re even taller than I would’ve thought. Wow. Um. So, what now? Do I just, like, chop them down?

I swallow, staring up at the giant rose. I’ve never been able to kill an animal. It just freaks me out, watching them squirm and die. Never been able to kill our chickens or anything. Nate always makes fun of me. But my all-powerful brother isn’t here, so I guess I’m gonna have to do this myself.

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Bloodrose: Part 2

I found this image on Pinterest.

If you haven’t read the first part of “Bloodrose,” click here. Otherwise, enjoy the second (but not the last) part!


Raisa

The stairs have never been so squeaky. It’s like they’re out to get me or something. I half-expect Mom to barge out of her bedroom and throw handcuffs on my wrists, tie me to the bed or something.

Okay, maybe that’s a little much. But still.

With one last slippered step, I reach the front door. The keypad glares at me, as if daring me to set off the alarm for the third time. Exhaling, I go over the possible combinations in my head one more time, then punch in the most likely one. No blaring alarm, just a click and a green light. My mouth gapes. I did it. I figured out the combination.

Stifling a squeal, I reach for the bronze doorknob, then yank the door open.

A frigid wind assaults my face, cutting right through my pajamas to my bones. It’s glorious. Snow blankets the ground, drifts from the glittering sky. I clamp my lips shut to keep from screeching and step carefully onto the porch. I’m outside. Oh my word. Is this even real life?

With shaking hands, I close the door. My eyes catch on a keypad, identical to the one inside. Let’s hope it uses the same combination, or I’ll be stuck out here all night. Then Mom and Dad would definitely figure out what I did.

What will they do if they catch me?

Whatever. That doesn’t matter right now.

I spread my arms wide, taking in a lungful of cold, clear air. It’s like before, my lungs weren’t filling, and my heart couldn’t beat quite right, but here, in this crisp, beautiful, icy air, I can finally breathe.

Happy birthday to me.

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Bloodrose: Part 1

Do you know how long I’ve waited to post this?

Well, no, you probably don’t. But let’s just say that I wrote the story a year ago, made major changes, scrapped the major changes, planned to post it in September, received feedback that made me reconsider, made more edits, and now… it’s finally live. I am so ready to be done with “Bloodrose.” I’m not saying I don’t love it; it’s just that it’s been a long journey.

Here is the prompt that inspired such a story:

This picture came from Pinterest.

A special thank you to Maddie Morrow and Rolena Hatfield for their considerable help with the story, and thanks to everyone else for their feedback as well–you know who you are. Also, thanks for waiting so long for me, Laura. I know I delayed this story for a while. But I guess you did the same to me, so we’re sort of even. 😉

I hope you enjoy the first part of “Bloodrose,” friends!


Raisa

Maybe this time, there will be blood.

“Are you hurt? Are you bleeding?” Mom kneels next to me with wide eyes and frantically twitching hands.

I tug at the thick material of my sweatpants and touch my legging-covered knee. Doesn’t feel like there’s anything wet. “Nope.”

I almost wish that the fall had broken the skin. It’d be a first.

“Oh, good.” Mom’s whole body sags. “I’m glad you’re okay, sweetie. Just be more careful.”

I literally just tripped and banged my knee. That’s all. But you’d think I had narrowly avoided getting hit by a train.

It sure would be nice to see a train in real life and not just on a textbook page.

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