Sunday Photo Fiction – 2056: Revival of the Demolition Derby

123 09 September 27th 2015

Copyright – Al Forbes

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“Listen, sweetheart, these cars are priceless.” He leers are me as he enunciates the last word, his face pinching like he wants to spit in my face. “They’re the last of their kind left. To scrap these cars is like burning famous artwork.”

The second man takes a friendly tone with me. “I understand you have to do your job, and a demolition derby isn’t to everyone’s taste, but this is history we’re talking about. We’re trying to preserve history!”

I cast a final eye over the dented rusting boxes these men claim to be vehicles.

“There’s a reason banger racing died out. Regardless of the purpose, these cars don’t meet the legal emissions spec. If they’re used, you’ll be liable for a hefty fine. You’ll have to find newer cars to destroy.”

Taking Back The Crown – Part Eleven

Collected my first year results from my university tutor today. After convincing me that getting a 2.1 instead of a 1st was not the end of the world, he asked me what I had planned for the summer. I ended up telling him about NaNoWriMo, and now I’m really looking forward to it.

 “Your highness, I can’t tell you how relieved we are to see you again.”

 Linden Hayber was red-haired, well-dressed and handsome. His dark eyes surveyed Sonya. She met them, and they looked at each other in silence for a few seconds.

 “Is there any news of my mother or grandmother?” she asked.

 “Unfortunately not. I only have bad news. The information we have gathered suggests that both Trin and Naria have been trapped in some kind of netherworld, the entrance of which lies in the Back Desert. We have been told there is very little chance of them escaping.”

 “I have faith in them. They will find a way.” Sonya replied, stubbornly.

 “We have no way of knowing.” Linden stroked his chin. “Where have you been?”

 “Somewhere safe. Trin told me not to leave until she came back for me…” Sonya found herself reluctant to talk about the Natetic training ground.

 “She probably did not envisage these events. She couldn’t have known. You are in the right place now.”

 “How many people are here? What is your plan?” Sonya asked. Starved of information about Litia for the past four years, she was now eager for details.

 “We’ve been trying to gather troops for a long time now,” He gave a short sigh. “About two years, and we have thirty recruits.”

 “Only thirty?” she replied, sharply.

“Things will undoubtedly change now. We had assumed you had been taken by our enemies, along with Trin and Naria. With you here, things are different. People will fight if you are leading them.”

Taking Back The Crown – Part Nine

Sonya knew she had been in the captain’s London home before. She pictured the street the house was situated on and transported herself there. She was immediately hit with noise and bodies. She found herself being pushed aside by crowds of pedestrians in dark woollen suits. Several did double-takes at her Natetic dress. Sonya knew she should find somewhere to change, but she stared in wonderment at the mass of people and the string of automobiles being driven through the roads. Finally, she walked to an alleyway and changed into an outfit similar to that worn by the ladies she saw walking down the streets.

 She lowered the brim of the hat across her face and walked back around to the tall brick house. Just as she was about to reach the path, two men opened the door and walked down to the street, immersed in their own conversation. Sonya decided to follow them. It might be that the captain had decided to sell the house, and someone else now lived there. Sonya had been missing for twenty years in Litian/Earth time, a lot could have happened since then. She shadowed the men until they reached a small tea room. Once there, she sat at a table near them so that she could listen.

 “I’m sorry, but I won’t do it. I have my family now. I was only a boy when we evacuated. Litia’s gone to the Rutilus. We’ve moved on with our lives.” The man who said this looked to be in his thirties. Sonya’s heart jumped at the mention of her home. The second man was much older, maybe in his fifties. Sonya looked closer. She was sure it was the Captain!

 “I still have scouts who go in and out of the capital. There’s hardly any Rutilus left, they’ve gone back to the Desert because their power isn’t as strong outside it. There’s just a group of dark magicians and a few Rutilus who are faithful to them. If we had a group of strong magicians like yourself-“

 “If we had the Royal Family it would be different. Without them, even if we reclaimed Litia, we’d be forever vulnerable.”

 The Captain shook his head and said, “Litia’s where we belong.” He stood up. “If you change your mind, Linden Hayber is trying to gather recruits in the Sprite World. He’s set up camp in the Royal Family’s second home.”

Taking Back The Crown: Part Six

Sonya landed on her back, in the main room of the training ground, panting. Seta must have already been inside the room. Within seconds he was standing over her, looking at her injury. He yelled to someone outside the room to get the medic.

“Seta?” Sonya’s voice was weak.

“Yes? What happened to you?” Seta was trying to sit her up so he could look at the laceration on her back.

“I don’t think my mother’s coming back.”

“Do you have any other family? A home to go back to?” He was now attempting to stem the blood pouring from her wound. Sonya shook her head.

“It’s not safe.”

When the medic had used his magic to treat Sonya’s wound, she was taken upstairs to a small room with a slightly thicker futon than the one she’d been sleeping on.

“Whose room is this?” Sonya asked.

“It’s yours now.” Seta explained. “You can stay in this training ground and learn our ways. I’ve seen you meditating and doing your exercises, you’re capable of graduating from this school.” He paused. “I… I thought the elders would resist. They don’t like strangers. But… they trust me. And they have a feeling about you, they said.”

Sonya sat, silent, for a few moments before responding. “Thank you. For everything. But why?”

Seta frowned. “You’re just a child. You shouldn’t be on your own.” He told her to get some rest, and then left.

Sonya buried her head in her pillow. Just a child! If he knew who she was, he wouldn’t say that! She was a Litian heir. She possessed magical power that other magicians could only dream of. No injury could kill her. She felt like a fraud, pretending to be defenceless when in reality she was just a coward who didn’t know where else to go. Ashamed, she cried until she finally fell asleep.

Taking Back The Crown: Part Four

“I saw him chasing you last night through my window. I was surprised when I saw you defend yourself.” Seta began. They were kneeling in front of a wooden table, in the same room she’d woken up in. The futon had been packed away. The walls were very bare and, although Sonya had a cushion, the wooden floor was hard on her knees. Seta poured her some tea, but she didn’t drink it.

 “Females here don’t have magic.” Sonya remembered this from her lessons. It was a strange idea to her, since she came from a family where only the first born female inherits power. However, there were an equal number of male and female magicians across Litia. Her family was unique in its inheritance pattern.

 “No. Where are you from? Litia? The Sprite World?” he asked.

  “Where is this place?” she asked, avoiding his question. If he knew about Litia, then he would probably know about her family, the so-called Litian Royalty.

 “I believe outside worlds call this Natetern.” Sonya had known this from doing her exercises. These people must have really taken pity on her. Natetics were not usually so welcoming of strangers. At least, that’s what she’d been taught. “This area is a training ground for Natetic magicians. Who was the man I killed?”

 “He was someone I knew. I don’t know why he attacked me. I was waiting for my mother.” she answered, truthfully.

 “When did you last see your mother?” Seta gently probed.

 “She brought me here. It’s not safe where I’m from. She told me not to go back without her.” Sonya quickly explained. Surely this information wasn’t dangerous to give him? Seta narrowed his eyes. He looked almost like an elderly man when his eyes wrinkled up, though his stature and normal face suggested he couldn’t be more than twenty five.

“I see. Our elders, the men who run this place, say you may stay here for as long as you need to.”

Friday Fictioneers – The plight of Miss K. Zebra

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Copyright – EL Appleby

For anyone who wondered what the “k” in “misskzebra” stood for. Don’t judge me too harshly, I did come up with the name when I was 12, and have been using it since. If you want to take part in Friday Fictioneers, look here.

 

 “Name please?” asked the receptionist, who looked at me over her glasses with eyebrows raised so far, they looked to be in danger of flying off her face.

 “Konfuzed Zebra.” I replied, nervously dragging a hoof across the floor.

 “Confused… Zebra…” The receptionist said it slowly as she wrote on her notepad. I could see she was spelling it incorrectly.

 “You’re spelling it wrong.” I said. She huffed as she crossed it out. “It’s spelled K-O-N-F-U-Z-E-D Zebra.”

 “Dr. King will be ready in five minutes.”

After I’d awkwardly shuffled to the waiting area, she muttered, “It’ll take more than a psychiatrist to sort you out…”

What Would Have Been: Ending

 Later that day, Keats stood outside the door of Sonya’s office, like a naughty child waiting to see the headmistress. She knew Sonya would never admit that Keats had done a good thing. Even though her undercover mission had been a success, it had been completely unapproved and Sonya did not like anything being done without her permission. It remained to be seen whether Sonya would forgive her.

 Keats had worn the same clothes for the past 48 hours. Judas’s scent still lingered on them. They smelled of sweet torture. She braced herself and knocked on the door before entering.

 Sonya’s shrewd eyes never left Keats as she walked towards the chair opposite Sonya’s desk.

 “I see you rebuilt the castle with ease.” Keats began, and then she winced, thinking that was perhaps not the best place to start.

 “Yes. It took Fei and I almost the whole time you were gone to get things back to the way they were.” said Sonya, her brown eyes narrowing.

 “Weren’t you looking for me?” Keats asked.

 “Where were we supposed to look for you? We had no idea where you had gone or what you would do.”

 “…You didn’t really think I’d turned bad, did you?” Keats had hoped Sonya would know her better than that.

 “I didn’t know if that was true, or if it was just what I wanted to believe.” Sonya sighed. “I thought you were too smart to turn away from us, but then I thought you were too smart to think that you could trick Darkness.”

 “But I did trick Darkness.” Keats smiled.

 “You can wipe that smirk off your face. If things had gone wrong, they would have gone disastrously wrong. You placed everyone in danger. I hope you realize that, despite the fact things turned out well, it doesn’t make what you did okay by any stretch of the imagination. Destroying the castle, taking on this undercover role without permission, running off and thinking you could handle this without any help… The list goes on.” Sonya’s nostrils were flared and she pressed her lips tightly together for a moment. There was a pause. “How did you trick Darkness?”

 “You have to admit that you’re a little impressed.” Keats said.

 “I’m not admitting anything.” Sonya said, irritably.

 “I had to bury all my true intentions and feelings under a fake persona. All the thoughts she saw were me pretending to be that fictional person. I couldn’t for a second think about what I was actually going to do until the last second. I was vaguely conscious of myself, but Darkness couldn’t pick that up when she was reading my mind.”

 “Were you not worried about forgetting yourself?” Sonya asked. Keats shook her head. “Before you banished that man using the Nox Key, you seemed to hesitate. You weren’t seriously thinking of running off with him were you?”

“Of course not.” Keats snorted. She stood up and walked out of Sonya’s office.

If she stayed another second, she would not be able to hide the fact she was lying.