Friday, March 22, 2013

Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady

The race is on.

I hang back to take it all in and stay where the heat only touches the tip of my nose. The others, they jet forward.

Red and orange line the top and bottom of the cavern. Stalactites and stalagmites are like jaws ready to snap each of us into bits, and they will, one way or another.

There’s a girl beside me, taller, hair almost as red as our surroundings. From what I can see of her profile she has a purple splotch on one side of her face. One of her eyes slides to stare at me but I look away, back to the cavern, to the runners sprinting through the jagged ground not even thinking about the end of the course just pushing through.

“Idiots,” she murmurs at the same time I’m thinking it.

I’m about to send her a smile in solidarity but I hesitate. She’s in this for the same reason I am: to win, to save a life.

The first one falls, a shriek follows and arms disappear into the chasm. Someone else makes a wrong move too. A kid whose body is air-lifted, legs dangling wildly but he doesn’t scream. The saw-toothed rocks look wetter now, but there’s still a mix of red, orange, and now yellow as the sun peeks through the end of the course, teasing us with the promise of closure and a winner. The end is a small yellow dot miles away.

I’m glad at least the bodies are swallowed by the course, that we don’t have to see the fallen as we race, but there are still traces. And when, if, you reach the end there are those waiting on the other side where it’s bright and warm in a good way from the air and heat of the sun, not the growing humidity inside this dank place.

Outside will be the families of the participants waiting to see if their child wins. All but a couple will be let down and I don’t intend to see any more pain on my mother's face. But, most importantly, on the other side of all this will be the Enchanters. The Enchanters are nomads who drift from place to place, landing in a new town once a year and granting the chance to save a life. One life. They test the youths’ endurance, sheer will, but you have to be willing to play the game.

I think of Mom coughing up her own blood into a napkin outside. I remember her splattering our walls at home with it when she has a fit.

I try to get out of my mind and focus on the missteps being made. I watch the footing of one girl as the ground folds in, folding her with it. A bulky boy tries to jump crevices but there are too many. Another boy is quick, spry but not fast enough to avoid a falling stalactite that impales him. That’s when I notice what they’re doing wrong. I take a step forward and feel the heat push into me like a wall. I also feel the girl’s eyes behind me.

On the course the others are thinning out. I don’t hesitate, if she’s going to follow me so be it. I jump onto one jagged rock and hold on. I’m at a tilt but twist myself to the nearest one ahead of me and squat before hurling myself forward. I’m a few ridges in when I hear a huff behind me. It’s her. I keep moving, attempting not to go too fast so I don’t slip, but getting ahead nonetheless.

The girl copies my movements, she probably has an idea of what my plan is. She’s gaining, about to make another leap when a scream from farther ahead causes her to stumble. She’s an arm length away, one stalagmite between us. She looks at me, her eyes and mouth open wide. I jump to the pillar between us and hold out my hand in offering. She gulps before reaching out and just when her fingers snatch mine she releases the rock and I release her onto the ground.

I don't look back anymore as I hear the floor swallow her and her jumbled moans. I move forward. I ignore the yelps and cries in front of me and take my time once I know I'm the only one left in the race.

Story by Jenn Baker
Photo by Amy Parker

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Legasea is 99 cents on Kindle this week

Here is the link for Legasea.

And here is the list of all participating Curiosity Quills authors.

Once Upon a Changeling by V.J. Chambers
Cappuccino Heaven by Michelle Wright
The Space Whiskey Death Chronicles by William Vtika
18 things by Jamie Ayres
The Charge by Sharon Bayliss
Ever by Jessa Russo
Blow up the Roses by Randy Attwood
Theocracide by James Wymore
Fade by Ayden Morgan
The Green Man and Other Short Stories by Rand Lee
The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicutt
Sanity Vacuum by Thea Gregory
Legasea by Krystalyn Drown
The Devil You Know (Nick Englebrecht Trilogy Book 1) by K.H. Koehler
Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish by Andrew Buckley
Nefertiti's Heart by AW Exley
Paradise Earth: Day Zero by Anthony Mathenia
Death by Chocolate by Johanna Pitcairn
Bone Wires by Michael Shean
Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean
The Green Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson
The Prince of Earth by Mike Robinson
Danger in Cat World by Nina Post
One Ghost per Serving by Nina Post
The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse by Nina Post
The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse by Nina Post
Wilde's Fire (Darkness Falls Series Book 1) by Krystal Wade
Wilde's Army (Darkness Falls Series Book 2) by Krystal Wade
World's Burn Through (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 1) by Vicki Keire
Shadowed Ground (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 2) by Vicki Keire
Wet Dream by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
The God Particle by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
The Department of Magic by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Christmas in the Morgue by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Family Cursemas (The Megamillionaire Murders, Vol 1) by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Dinosaur Jazz (Jurassic Club) by Michael Panush
El Mosaico, Vol. 1: Scarred Souls by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 1: American Nightmares by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 2: Cold Wars by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 3: Red Reunion by Michael Panush

Friday, March 15, 2013


It’s uncomfortably warm. But then again, it has to be. You can’t birth any species that’s part human somewhere cold. I pull at my shirt collar to let some air on my skin as I step further into the cave. Bits of pyrite embedded in the walls glint under the beam of my flashlight making the entire space glow gold. I let the light settle on the rows of eggs hanging from the ceiling. The creatures inside of them move in reaction to the light and they begin to swing on their stalks. Back and forth. Back and forth. The movements inside of the eggs are quick and violent. I watch as the eggs stretch and strain to accommodate them. Their outer membranes are pink and red with blood vessels and human tissue, but there are strands of deep green vine-like structures woven throughout.

Alien DNA.

My stomach turns and I hold my nose with my free hand to keep from smelling the sickly sweet yet vinegary smell the eggs give off.  I’ve never been able to stand it. The cave echoes with the sounds of them moving, a rustling, watery sound. I open my mouth and start to sing, a song I learned in elementary school, the one that seems to calm the things the most.

“Ring around the rosie…”

My hands start to tremble.

“Pocket full of posies…”

 I take my hand from my nose and hold my breath as I feel around in my pocket for my knife.

“Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

 I edge closer to the eggs. Wait for the thin, silver disk attached to the base of my skull to vibrate painfully against my spine and incapacitate me, force me safely out of range. Did Jack manage to interrupt the discs’ frequency and keep it from transmitting my proximity to THEM? I take another step forward. Wait again. When nothing happens, I lift the knife to the egg, run it along the side. The thing inside it jerks a little as if it’s startled. I pull the knife up and back, prepare to plunge it into the egg. I’m not sure if it’ll penetrate the thick membrane, but I have to try. In another day they will hatch and a new species will enter the world. One that has no business existing.

 When the aliens first landed two years ago, I was sure that they would wipe us out completely. Instead they herded us into camps and studied us until they’d worked out how to combine our DNA with their own. Then they took several of us to these caves to help them keep watch over the eggs, to sing to them so that they never felt alone, implanting the discs on our spines to keep us from harming them. But now I’m not bound by that pain anymore. I can slice them open and stab what’s inside.

I lunge forward and stab the egg. It sticks almost immediately as if the egg has teeth and is biting down on it now. I try to wrench it out. It takes me four desperate tries before I manage it. There’s a loud sucking sound and then a rush of bloody fluid. The creature inside comes rushing out too, hitting the cave floor hard. I look down at its jelly covered body, curved in on itself, still in the shape of the egg. Suddenly it begins to uncurl and I can see it better—the wet, black hair and round face. It turns its head and its eyes flutter open. It stares up at me. I wasn’t prepared for this. It looks one hundred percent human…except for the bony ridge along the top of its skull. A girl. It’s a girl. She looks at me, her eyes wide and much too aware and then she opens her mouth, her lips coming apart slowly as the jelly surrounding them separates.

“Ring around the rosie…”

She’s singing in a voice that’s loud and clear and high and somehow almost an exact copy of my own. Her lips curl up into a smile around each word and I can feel myself crouching down without meaning to. My head fills with a buzzing, ringing sound and my spine begins to vibrate as the disc starts to send off its alarm, warning me to back off before it starts to transmit the pain. Jack failed.

“Pocket full of posies…”

My grip tightens on the knife.

“Ashes, ashes…”

Move. Now, you idiot! I bring the knife up to slash her quickly pinking cheek. Her smile widens and she opens her mouth. I see her teeth, jagged and sharp and in three rows. She has no tongue. I have time to wonder how she’s singing so clearly in spite of this before she lunges. My body falls back onto the cave floor as those teeth sink into my neck. I want to scream, to move, but the disc is working in earnest now, making the pain of her attack all the more intense. My arms and legs won’t work. I can’t fight her off.  Above me the eggs swing faster and the cave goes from gold to black.

From far away I hear her finish the song, her voice no longer clear, but wet and gurgling, full of my blood.

“We all fall down.”

Story by: Amy Christine Parker
Photo taken by: Amy Christine Parker

Friday, March 8, 2013

March Giveaway!!

It's been a while since we've had a giveaway and we thought it was high time that we get back to it! This will be the first of several very cool giveaways that we have planned for the rest of this year, so keep checking back in to see what we've got going on and if you feel inspired by the pictures that we're posting, definitely submit your own flash fiction. We're excited to discover who's got mad flash fiction skills out there!

Okay, so here's what we've got for you this month:

A signed copy of Jennifer L. Armentrout's sexy and popular book, OBSIDIAN!!! This book will heat you up way before the weather's able to.

A signed copy of Meg Cabot's deliciously dark sequel to ABANDON.....UNDERWORLD!!! If you haven't started this terrific new series, now's the time to dive right in.

All you have to do is sign up via the Rafflecopter below. Tweet about this contest and at the end of the month we will pick a winner for each book (if there's one book you want more than the other, please leave us a comment down below). Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

**Please note shipments of titles in this giveaway are to the US, but for Underworld we may be able to ship to Canada.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 1, 2013


by: Krystalyn

She rests just under the Earth's surface, waiting for her meal. She's patient. She'll wait ninety seven years, sleeping through it all until someone is brave enough to crawl into her mouth.

The people find the cavern hidden deep in the forest, an exciting mystery to uncover. They venture in, usually in groups of two or three, looking for a place to do things they aren't allowed to do at home. Occasionally, every century or so, a lone explorer or a curious child will wander in. She isn't picky. They all taste the same – crunchy and sweet.

On this day in particular, a sunny, scorching afternoon, a boy and a girl squeeze between the stalagmites, not realizing how closely the formations resemble teeth. They find themselves a dark corner to snuggle in. He nuzzles her ear. She giggles. They whisper things the creature hears, but doesn’t understand.

Love. Promises.

What are those things?


She knows what that is. Forever is how long she has held tight to her place in the Earth.

Every so often, the ground will shudder, trying to spit her out, because the Earth knows that she doesn’t belong there. She doesn’t care. She lost her home long ago, so she digs in her claws and holds tight for as long as she needs to. She's not going anywhere.

The couple continues to whisper. They don't see that the cavern is growing darker. They don't realize she is closing her mouth. They don't understand how she longs to consume them. They only know they want to consume each other.

Their words grow more passionate. Their movements more frantic.


There is that word again.

She stops and listens. She uses what they say to pick out the meaning.

The boy and girl need each other, but it's more than that. They are willing to … to … to sacrifice. They are willing to give up everything to make each other happy.

She wonders, does she have anything to love?

She has the rodents that scamper about in her belly. She has the birds that nest in her crevices. She provides them protection, but only because they are too small to eat. Symbiosis. Not love.

She also has the Earth. She wants to stay there. It's comfortable. Warm. But again, she doesn't love it.

Where could she find love? Would anyone love her back?

The couple fascinates her. She wants them to fulfill their promises to each other. She wants them to have their forever. She wants them to be happy.

And there it is. The feeling hits like an earthquake. She is willing to sacrifice for this couple's happiness. She is willing to love them.

Will they love her back? It doesn’t matter.

She will give them their stolen moment, then allow them to leave. She will wait for another day, wait for another unsuspecting victim to walk into her mouth. And if she decides to love them as well? Then, she will wait some more. She will wait forever.

Author's note: This started as a longer piece with a human POV and a bloody ending. I like this one better.

Photo by: Amy