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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Sand Skeletons

I found this on Pinterest.

Remember my desert-themed prompt contest from last October? This image was one of the prompts I used. Well, it inspired me too! So here is my interpretation of the prompt. I didn’t limit myself to 100 words, though, because I’m allowed to break my own rules. 😉


Bones clattered in Rasul’s sack with each movement his camel took. He gripped the reins more tightly, swaying with the steps of his mount. Though his keffiyeh shielded him from the sun’s rays, sweat dripped from his skin.

“Look ahead!” Baqir pointed with a sun-darkened hand. Not ten camel-lengths in front of them, the tip of a thick white bone gleamed in the harsh sunlight. The rest disappeared into the sand.

“Oh!” Almas peered around Baqir’s broad back. “A new skeleton? Where do you think it came from? Is it a mirage?”

“It seems real.” Rasul let a smile curl his lips. There would be coin in their coffers soon enough. “The wind must have stirred the dunes to reveal this one. Fate smiles upon us today.”

They were lucky that they hadn’t accidentally trod on a skeleton. That could seriously wound a camel depending on if the creature slipped or even impaled itself on the protruding bones. Fortunately, that sort of unfortunate mishap had only happened twice in Rasul’s time of gathering.

Almas bounced, and the camel shifted uneasily at its passenger’s behavior.

Baqir jerked the reins, and the camel settled down. “Watch it, boy,” the stocky man snapped.

“Sorry!” Almas stilled only momentarily before resuming his bouncing. Baqir let out a low growl.

Rasul ignored his companions and gazed at the bone. It was a good find indeed. There had been a time when this area of the desert was rife with tanim skeletons. Everywhere one looked, bones would protrude from the sand, great ribcages and powerful limbs, even thin wing-bones. It was a mass tanim grave, left over from some great battle before Rasul’s time.

But now, moons after Rasul and Baqir had started gathering the bones, the skeletons had become more and more rare. Unfortunately, the demand for bones had not lessened; in fact, it grew greater and greater as their fame grew. For who could resist talismans of luck and protection?

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The Jealousy of a Dragon

I can’t believe it. I’m actually posting a story on the first Friday of the month. *gasp* Let’s hope I can keep up with it. It’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions… Those typically don’t have much luck of being followed through on, but I hope with your accountability, I can do it. Thanks a ton for everything, guys!

Also, guess what? It’s another Venus story! Last month, you guys seemed to really enjoy “Venus,” the story about the college kid whose laundry money was being stolen by a mini dragon. So, I decided to write a sequel (hopefully one of many).

And this time… Drew embarrasses himself in front of a girl. It’s great. But also, poor guy.

You might want to read “Venus” first if you haven’t already, though you should be able to understand this story even without reading the previous one. Anyway, enjoy “The Jealousy of a Dragon”!


This is the best it’s gonna get.

Exhaling, I press the print icon. The printer hums to life, then spits out one sheet, another sheet, so many sheets of edited word vomit. Twenty pages about a planet I’ve never been to. Dozens of hours spent staring at a screen with bloodshot eyes, catching a few meager hours of sleep.

Sometimes I really hate college.

Something brushes against my leg, and I flinch. There’s a ghost. A rat. Something. I look underneath my chair to see a bunny-sized dragon, golden scales gleaming, expression unreadable.

“Venus!” I sputter. “What are you doing here?”

Yeah, I know, I named my mini dragon after my science paper. She looks like the planet, okay?

She flexes her claws, then scratches them against the metal leg of my chair with an awful screeching sound.

“Stop it! Someone’s gonna hear you!”

She looks up at me with wide, innocent eyes.

How did I get a mini dragon, you ask? I have no idea. She showed up under my bed and stole my laundry money. Now I’m stuck with her.

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Venus

This picture does not belong to me. I found it on Pinterest.

I toss the last sock into my laundry basket and turn back to my unmade bed, where four shiny quarters should be sitting. They’re not.

Frowning, I look under the rumpled sheets. Under my pillow. On the floor.

I swear I put quarters there two minutes ago.

“Hey, Matt?” I say. “You got any quarters?”

“I gotta do laundry tomorrow.” My roommate shoves a slice of pizza in his mouth. It’s cold by now, but they don’t allow microwaves in the dorm. “Get your own quarters, Drew.”

That’s the thing. I had quarters. Lots of them. But every time I turn around, they vanish.

At least it’s not my keys, I guess. But if I want to avoid smelling like an armpit, I need some quarters. Now.

“Look, man, I just need four. I’ll pay you back––”

“Like you’ll pay me back for all the other quarters?”

I guess I could ask my Resident Assistant, Nick, but seriously. This is stupid. And it hasn’t just been quarters; it’s been any coin I lay out. I look away and bam, they’re gone. “I swear I had them. They were just on my bed.”

“I dunno, man. I think it’s that Venus paper.” Matt finishes the slice with a loud smacking of his sauce-covered lips. “It’s frying your brain.”

He’s not wrong. For the past two weeks, every thought that has gone through my head––unfortunately for my other professors and my social life––is about the hottest planet in our solar system.

Note to self: college sucks.

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The Strangest Hoard

This image does not belong to me. I found it on Pinterest.

Muddy sweat trickled into Kieron’s eyes as he continued up the endless slope. Swearing, he rubbed at his forehead but only managed to smear more mud onto his face. The front of his body, too, was doused in mud from his recent fall.

Don’t you look heroic. At least Merlyn wouldn’t live to tell the tale of the mud-splattered warrior who’d come to her cave. 

Where was this legendary cave, anyway? Kieron pulled the map from his pocket and scrutinized the parchment. The cave entrance should be just a few paces ahead of him…. Could Faros have been wrong? Was this all a farce, a wild chase meant to get rid of him?

“I bet Merlyn’s gonna eat you––if you even find her at all.” Kieron shoved Alaric’s parting words from his mind. He’s wrong. I’ll slay Merlyn and free the land from this menace.

Then his brother would finally see that he’d become a man.

Kieron forced his weary legs another step. He’d find Merlyn’s cave even if––

The earth crumbled beneath his feet, and he plummeted into darkness. After barely enough time to scream, he collided with the ground. He moaned. Soft vegetation tickled his exposed skin. Where am I?

Surrounding him were four globes, each bearing a single candle, that cast light onto a vast array of plants. Plants growing underground?

This isn’t enough light. His head tripled its throbbing as he sat up and fumbled for a torch and flint. Did anyone live here? If they did, would they know where Merlyn was?

Or…could Merlyn possibly live here? Where was all the gold? The jewels? The skulls?

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