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Flash Fiction – Somnolence May 10, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction, writing.
Tags: , ,

This week I am doing a chat on cliffhangers in serials at #thepennydreadful on Twitter – so my usual #fridayflash has been moved to Monday, as an example of how to write them.  Here we have not 1, not 2, but 3! Three cliffhangers! ahahahhh! 😉  And, three different kinds of them, which I will talk about more on Tuesday, May 11th at 4pm EST at #thepennydreadful 🙂

When we last left our intrepid heroes, an enemy agent disguised as one of their own guards had knocked them out with sleeping powder…

Nox woke up lying face down with her head pounding, and her mouth so dry it felt like sandpaper. She groaned and tried to sit up, but she was so weak she could barely lift her head.  All around her was a cage of made of raw, elemental fire, and the hard floor was hot to the touch.  There was no sign of Grimm, the courier, or the guard they had confronted at the Inn.  She lay still, trying not to be sick and waiting for the world to stop spinning.

The pudgy, balding man Nox had last seen with the Morning Lord regarded her with mild curiosity through the bars of her cage. “The effects of the somnolence dust will wear off soon,” he said. “I have been very much looking forward to speaking with you, there are so few technomancers of my caliber in this dimension.” He waved at a table, where a large pile of supplies lay next to her small, canvas satchel.  “The pocket portal inside of this bag is quite impressive.  We will have many, detailed discussions about your work over the coming weeks.”

Nox swallowed a few times to control her rebellious stomach, and croaked out a reply.  “If you don’t get me some water, I won’t be discussing anything.”

“I am monitoring your vitals, you will not expire just yet.  Let us start with this ring, shall we?  You tell me what it does, and I will turn down the temperature a little.”

“It’s just a ring.”

“I find it hard to believe that you would pack baubles for a long journey.”

Nox rolled her eyes.  “I’m a woman, with a handbag that can hold an entire room full of stuff. Of course I packed jewelry.”

The man gave her a thin-lipped smile, and pointed to the pile of weaponry.

“I like to accessorize for any occasion,” she said, then gasped as the flames moved closer to her.  The heat was unbearable, and she couldn’t seem to get any air into her lungs.

He waved his hand over a stone sitting next to her supplies, and the fires receded.  “Now then, let’s start again, shall we? What does this ring do?”

Loki woke up sopping wet, with the taste of salt in his mouth and a burning sensation in the cuts he had gotten in the battle.  He looked up into a pair of worried, sea-green eyes.  “I know you’re from House Oceanis, CC, but salt water stings,” he grumbled.

Chandra let out a sigh of relief.  “Thank goodness that worked!  Nothing else I tried would wake you up.”  She put down the bucket and handed him a blanket to dry off with.  “Nox and Grimm are gone. I’m sorry, I couldn’t see much of what happened.  I ducked back into the room when that guard hit you with the sleeping dust.  By the time I looked back out, you were lying on the floor and there was a portal hole closing next to you.”

Loki sat bolt upright, and immediately regretted it as his stomach tried to relieve itself of dinner.   He closed his eyes until the floor stopped rolling underneath him. He stubbornly stayed upright, nausea putting a sheen of sweat on his face.  “I have to get moving,” he said, through gritted teeth. “Nox figured out that the coins used to open those portals have a limited range. She may still be in the area.“

“How do you expect to find her? Even if that portal does have a short range, you’re talking about combing through miles of wilderness.”

He gave her a weak version of his usual devil-may-care smile. “The same way I’ve been keeping an eye on her this whole past week.”  He rolled up his sleeve, and slid an intricately woven arm band down to his wrist.  There was an acid-green stone set into the fibers, and one of the strands was woven from jet-black hair. “A gift from her mother. Serenna really is a top-notch sorceress.” He pressed his thumb to the stone, and a tiny pinpoint of green light appeared in front of him.  It wavered a little before settling on a spot to his left.  He pushed himself to his feet, the sick feeling slowly fading.  “She’s somewhere out in the wastelands, if I move now, I can get there before dawn.“

Chandra shook her head.  “Stop for a minute Red, think about this.  For all we know her guardian already went after her.  And unlike you, he can’t be killed.”

“Grimm isn’t perfect, and he certainly isn’t all powerful.  Even he needs help on occasion.”

“So do you, hot head.”

Loki squeezed her hand. “I appreciate the offer, but I need you to get word to her parents.  Tell them what happened here, and get reinforcements sent to the waypost.”

She thought about arguing, but she had known him for too long to bother.  Instead she just said, “Be careful.”

He winked. “Always am. “  Ten minutes later he was on his horse and heading out of the compound, riding hell-for-leather into the wilderness.

Grimm tested the shimmering curtain of energy that surrounded him.  The ghostly hound’s claws scraped across its surface with a noise like tortured metal, making the guards on the other side of the barrier flinch.  His cold, mocking laughter echoed in their heads, making them flinch again.  “Do you really think this will hold me for long?” he growled.

A powerfully built fire elemental entered the room. His hair hung down his back like a tawny mane, and his eyes burned like twin suns.  “How the mighty have fallen,“ he said.

Grimm gave him a disgusted look.  “Hello, Balor. Still an arrogant prat, I see.”

A cruel smile twisted the Morning Lord’s lips as he looked at the big hound.  “Prepare yourself for an eternity of silence, cur.  At midnight, the last words you ever speak will be, Yes, Master.”

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1. Marisa Birns - May 10, 2010

Yes, there are 3 very good cliffhangers here!

Boy oh boy, how will this get sorted out…

Guess it’s up to Loki!

2. Gracie - May 10, 2010

Cliffhangers, indeed! Wow, good stuff. Can’t wait to see what happens!

3. lauraeno - May 12, 2010

Wow! An incredibly twisted tangle of cliffhangers, Angie! I love this story!

techtigger - May 12, 2010

yes, and now I get to try and write my way out of this tangle! *lol* Should be fun 😉

4. Mariana N. Blaser - May 12, 2010

Ohhh, you’re mean. That’s all I have to say. 😛

techtigger - May 12, 2010

True *grinz* but it was done in the name of learning! honest! 😉

5. ganymeder - May 17, 2010

I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Shame on you! 🙂

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