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Flash Fiction – Heart and Soul April 2, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This story is part of a weekly series, updated every friday. Click Here to read from the beginning.  

Nox loved to watch Loki move.  He was practicing fencing drills in the guard’s gymnasium, unaware that she was standing in the doorway.  He made it look so easy, every motion of the sword was smooth and precise.  She waited to go inside until he was done, to keep from breaking his concentration.

Loki turned around as he heard her approach, a look of pleasant surprise on his face.  “Well hello, stranger!  Where have you been hiding?”

“Some of us have work to do, slacker,” she said with a grin, and tossed him a towel off of the rack. “How are you feeling?”

Loki caught the towel and dried off the sweat from his exertions. “Better. Not quite back to form, but I think that has more to do with the storms your father has been flinging around.  You can tell him that I said it’s working. I doubt any fire elemental besides yours truly is still in the hemisphere.”

Nox laughed. “I’ll let him know.” 

He slung the towel around his neck and walked over to stand in front of her. “I’m sure you didn’t invade this bastion of testosterone just to discuss the weather.  What’s on your mind, beautiful?”

“I need your help with something.”

He scooped up her hand and kissed it.  “Name it and it’s yours.”

She cleared her throat, determined not to get sidetracked.  “I need to learn how to fence.  Sword fight. Whatever, you know what I mean.”   She winced as she realized she was babbling. 

He raised an eyebrow.  “Well, that’s not quite what I had expected.”

“It was Grimm’s idea.  He says the whole mind-body coordination thing will be good for me.  I’m his anchor to the mortal realms, so the stronger I am, the easier it is for him to fight off the Shadowkin curse.”

“Not to mention it will give your mother fits.”

She smiled beatifically. “Why yes, it will have that little side benefit, won’t it?”  Mischief twinkled in her eyes.  “Mother still has hopes of selling me off into marriage for some political alliance.  I have all sorts of plans to ruin my price on the marriage market.”

“Like I said, anything I can do to help.” He moved closer, and started kissing each finger.

Nox blushed. “Down, boy.  Now, about those fencing lessons.  I expect you to behave yourself,” she said, then scowled at his wicked smile.  “I mean it, I want to learn for real. None of that silly giggling and grab-ass the guardsmen do with their dates.”

“You want our date to be different, then?”

Nox spluttered. “What? Date? I’m talking about fencing!”

“And I’m talking about us.”  He slid an arm around her waist and pulled her against him.  “We have been dancing around each other for months.  I like the game as much as anyone, but I had this crazy idea that we might be something more.”  His voice had a husky edge to it. “So, are we?”

Nox was caught somewhere between saying ‘Yes’ and ‘Maybe’ when the Shadowkin struck.  One minute she was looking into his cinnamon colored eyes, and the next he was lying at her feet in a pool of his own blood.  There was a blood covered knife made of ice in her shaking hands.  She whispered, “No” and tried to back away, but she could not move. 

“No?” Loki’s shocked voice cut through the vision.  He was still standing there, holding her, looking bewildered. 

She could hear the Shadowkin laughing as she pulled free from him.  “You need to stay away from me.” 

“Nox, I know ice elementals move a bit slower than fire, but I thought…”

She could still feel the illusory blood on her hands. She backed away, scrubbing her palms on her pants.  “I… I have to go. I’m sorry.”  She turned and ran out of the room.

Loki stood there, completely stunned. “So am I…”

Nox hurried through the back hallways of the mansion to avoid meeting anyone else. The voices of the Shadowkin battered at her mind.  (“You dared to challenge us.” “Did you think that there would be no consequences?”)

Grimm materialized directly in front of her.  “I heard, little one.  I’m here.” 

Nox skidded to a halt, nearly running into the ghost hound.  She was still trying to rub the imagined blood off her hands.

Grimm’s voice rumbled in her head, drowning out the mocking laughter of the Shadowkin.  “Look at me, little one.  Look. At. Me.”   He waited until she focused on him. “Think, where have you seen that image before?”

Nox took a deep breath to try and calm her racing heart. “It was so vivid. Oh, Hel.“  Anger quickly replaced the fear.  “They took my memories of that first night we met Loki. He bled all over the floor of the workshop.”

“And you got blood on your hands.  They just altered the memory a bit.”

She clenched her fists at her sides.  “Can they make me kill him for real?”

“Maybe, if they get a strong enough hold over you. They’ll have to go through me first though.” Grimm said, looking ominous.

“Thanks Grimm, but I’m sure you don’t want to tag along on dates.”

The hound got a funny look on his muzzle.  “Oh. That could be a bit awkward.”

Nox sighed. “Don’t worry, my love life is going to be a non-issue for a while.”

“Aren’t you going to explain this to Loki?”

“And say what?  Sorry, I was possessed by the curse, and I’ll probably slit your throat when you least expect it.” She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, that’ll go over well.”

“You can’t go your whole life avoiding people.”

“I don’t plan on it. This fight isn’t over yet.” Nox hurled a razor sharp thought at the Shadowkin.  “I have your names, you bastards. By the time I’m done with you, there won’t be enough left to go to Hel. You pissed off the wrong woman!” 

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1. Sam - April 2, 2010

Coffee, toast, Nox and Grimm – what a great way to start the day! Oh, but you had me worried for a while there, I nearly spilled my coffee when Nox had her Shadowkin vision.

techtigger - April 2, 2010

hee! I love making my readers yell Noooooooo! 🙂

Glad I can still surprise you guys!

2. lauraeno - April 2, 2010

You have such wonderful twists and turns! Like Sam, I almost dropped my cup when she had the vision. This is such a freaking wonderful story!

techtigger - April 2, 2010

thank you! 🙂 I do have fun finding ways to keep you guys guessing

3. Nishida - April 2, 2010

Steam off the sweat, Loki, you lazy twit!! You call yourself a fire elemental? Nox would never have run away then. She would’ve swooned into a puddle before you said “Flame on.”
Call me if you need more relationship advice. 😉

techtigger - April 2, 2010

bwahaahhaahahaaa! Poor Loki, he’s getting no love at all today!

4. Marisa Birns - April 2, 2010

As always, a great read!

Laughed at the wonderful line: “And say what? Sorry, I was possessed by the curse, and I’ll probably slit your throat when you least expect it.”

Yes, that would limit dating options. 🙂

Nox is a powerhouse and the last paragraph shows how much of one she is!

techtigger - April 2, 2010

I really wanted to write this story with a strong female lead, there aren’t enough of them in the fantasy genre. Nox is definately the brains of the operation – she still needs help from time to time, but she’s a real Self Rescuing Princess *grinz*

Walt - August 21, 2010

Speaking of a strong female lead, have you ever read Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy? It has a strong female lead that is very deep and interesting. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out. I think the first book is Mistborn: The Final Empire.

5. Carrie Clevenger - April 2, 2010

Very cool tale. 🙂

6. Deanna Schrayer - April 3, 2010

What I love most about Nox and Grimm is how fluidly each story stands on its own, even though it’s a series. This is one of my favorites – fantastic dialogue, and that perfect eerie feel to it.
Super work!

7. Anne Tyler Lord - April 4, 2010

Ha, what fun they have – love their relationship!

They never disappoint – always such strong writing and dialogue!

8. Mariana N. Blaser - April 6, 2010

Ohh, you’re keeping Nox and Loki away from each other for too long! I want to see them together! 😛

Another great installment Angie! 😀

9. Walt - August 21, 2010

ANother fine installment. I’m really liking being able to click over to the next installment. Its takes away all the anticipation of waiting a week 🙂

10. Xanto - September 3, 2010

I read a lot of N&G today, gotta save some for tomorrow!

techtigger - September 3, 2010

Hello! Thanks for all the comments, they are much appreciated! I’m glad you are enjoying the series, always fun to hear from new readers 🙂

Feel fee to ping me on twitter @techtigger I’m always happy to gab about writing, and/or the series

11. Peter Newman - December 5, 2011

Back again! Sorry to have been away so long, what with NaNo etc, etc. Anyway, glad to be among friendly faces once more.

*Runs off to read another*

techtigger - December 5, 2011

hey, welcome back! and congrats again on winning nano, very cool 🙂

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