1. That prompt is awesome! I couldn’t resist trying my hand at it and so without any further ado, I give you my short story:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    I blow out a pent up breath and look him over, trying to figure out a way to get around telling him my true reason when he is staring at me, clearly awaiting a response.

    If only my kind could lie!

    Then I could tell him any reason. I am a new kitchen maid. I know his master’s daughter. I have wares to sell. Anything but the truth.

    That I plan on poisoning his master’s prized prisoner in order to save the man’s life.

    Everything in me screams to turn back now. To slip off into the darkening colors of twilight and regroup. Or even better yet, never turn back. If the guard discovers who I am. What I am, he will imprison me just as surely as he imprisoned Chadwell.


    He’s the reason that I cannot turn back. I have fought too hard. Sought my long lost companion for too many years. I cannot turn back now.

    He’s been taken for his magic, magic that we share, but we are some of the last of our kind, having been hunted to extinction for that very magic. The master of this manor must have learned of Chadwell’s magic and imprisoned him in order to exploit it.

    He had been missing for so many years. I had half thought that he was dead.

    And now I must make everyone else believe that.

    The vial of poison in my apron’s pocket, burns into my side.

    To a human it is deadly, but my kind, it only puts them into a deep, deep slumber. One like death. When the master realizes that his prized prisoner died, he would have to bury him. And then I can finally free my Chadwell. My last friend.

    But first I have to get past this guard.

  2. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    If only I could somehow get his attention.

    Despair rises inside me as my feet keep walking, my eyes straight ahead, my jaw locked. The sorcerer’s enchantment holds me as tightly here as it did in his chambers. I cannot even turn my face toward the soldier or give him a desperate glance.

    He bows courteously as I pass. “My queen.”

    No! Inside I’m screaming, my mind scrabbling like small vermin trapped in a cage.

    Dangling in my voluminous gold skirts, the bomb thuds against my knees.

    Sweat beads on my neck. If I stop breathing and I faint, perhaps the sorcerer’s hold will break.

    I can no more stop breathing than stop walking.

    One step more.

    One more.

    Into the shaft of sunlight shining from the vast dome of the throne room.

    Toward the dais in the center, where my husband sits, deep in discourse with a courtier—his lanky form posed casually on the throne as if he’s reclined at table, his golden curls like a lazy halo around his head.

    My king. My love. I have not set eyes on him in days.

    I will never get to take back the words I said in that fight. Never kiss his fragrant lips again. Never lose myself in his arms.

    How did he vex me? I cannot remember why. All I see is his golden face. All I feel is the deadened thud of my heart. All I hear is the tick of the bomb against my knees.

    Oh, powers below, let him not look at me.

    A sob bubbles in my throat, but the spell holds it inside, another explosion waiting in my chest.

    Then he turns.

    Surprise crosses his face—and a shadow of a smile.


    Oh, powers, please, not hope.

    Not for me.

  3. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I kept my thoughts tight, lest he should catch one accidentally and guess my purpose. He glanced down at me, seeing only the collar and white shift that marked me as tribute, and then allowed the servant holding my chain to pass with a nod.
    The enormous iron door swung open and the servant prodded me with his dagger, forcing me onwards. I made a small pretence at resistance, but had already caught a glimpse of what lay beyond. I focused on the bones strewn across the rough ground of the gorge and the death that awaited, keeping my true thoughts hidden beneath my feigned fear.
    There she was. The captive dragon. She loomed over us, even recumbent. Her head lifted from her folded forepaws as she contemplated our approach, lethargic. My stomach twisted with pity. No. Hide it. I pushed the emotion down. Her scales shimmered in a kaleidoscope of iridescence. Only the tip of the dagger on my spine distracted me from the rush of awe. I stepped forward to the metal ring fixed to the ground, where the guard attached my chain before scurrying away.
    Alone at last, I dropped my guard. The dragon pierced me with dull, opalescent eyes, then pushed herself up onto her haunches with a groan that sent scree chattering down the walls of the gorge. When she opened her wings, massive leathery sheets veined with gossamer, the stale air stirred the stench of rotten meat and dung. I gagged, but still my heart broke for the beast.
    I opened my mind to her, sending my thoughts like darts, eyes locked with hers.
    /Great dragon. I am princess Raccinda. I am here to free you./

  4. TJ Marquis says:

    The guard would never let me enter if I knew what he was planning.

    Too bad I’m incapable of lying. This called for a delicate approach.

    “What’s yer business, miss?” He growled.

    “I… need to see to the dress,” I said. Not a lie, but a little too close. Needles pricked the inside of my veins.

    “The wedding dress? You a seamstress?” He asked.

    If he’d said the instead of a… I almost sighed my relief.

    “Yes sir.”

    “Well I can’t be holdin’ that up. Not today. Go on then, double quick.”

    He gestured me through the marble archway brusquely.

    I was a seamstress. My tools hung low in a bag across my back. I wasn’t here to mend anything though. Alter it, sure, but not in a way Kiron’s citizens would like.

    I followed the sounds of preparation through polished halls, over rugs worth more money than I’d ever earn. No one stopped me. I was a servant about my business, not worth breath or spit. They believed I belonged.

    The bride was not in her dressing room. I thanked God, though I still wasn’t convinced that what I planned to was entirely right. All the same, it had to be done. I steeled myself like a soldier to do my duty.

    I closed the door softly, bolted it. Get caught, die – but I had no choice.

    The dress stood alone on its form. Did its fabric shrink from my touch?

    I went to work, pulling out copper fiber thread, stitching it into key points of the dress. I entangled the copper with the remote trigger in my glove, and sweating, stepped away.

    This was my blessing – I’d chosen the ninth of ten – if I kept my lips from falsehood, I could reveal truth to others, through my craft.

    Soon, everyone would see what the king’s new wife really was.

  5. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    Of course, he would have to be able to see me to stop me. If he could see me as I truly am, I doubt he would even try.

    The iron gate beyond this guard will be no more challenging to one like me than the guard himself was.

    It is the narrow, stone hallway beyond that gives me pause.

    Rough walls, dark corners, tight as a tomb.

    I was not sent like the others to the tomb to wait. They did not have their light bound as I must bind mine. Shining all they wanted in that darkness, their wait was not like this task of mine.

    I must not shine here. I cannot loose the least little flicker of light.

    Through that crushing throat of stone, I must be swallowed into the darkness. I cannot delay any longer. Lord, be with me as You always are!

    I am there now, in the darkness. This is what it is like. I had no idea.

    How do men live like this? How can they survive in a world filled with this?

    A guttering torch! There is my goal ahead! Praise be to the Almighty.

    He is there between two more guards. Asleep. Asleep in this darkness? I will never understand them. Oh, to be in the Light again! Just a little while longer here. I must wake him.

    “Arise quickly!”

    He does not wake. What can I do? I cannot shine to wake him or the guards will see it too. Very well, I did not want to, but I must strike him.

    “Arise quickly!”

    I will unlock these chains on his hands.

    “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals.”

    “Put on your garment and follow me.”

  6. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. But my biggest concern was that he would recognize me. I was Evan Wordsworth’s girlfriend after all. We had tried very hard to keep the paparazzi from snapping pictures of me, but they had managed to get a few pictures and got some info circulating on the web. Fortunately, Evan has some of the best fans around and they kept the pictures from circulating too far. Unfortunately, they could still be found if one looked hard enough, which I figured this guy’s boss did look hard enough.

    I closed my eyes as an image of Evan formed in my mind and tears welled up in my eyes. I had to do this, there was no choice. Sure, I could be captured and they could force Evan to do what they wanted by threatening my life, but I was also the only person who could save him. I quickly dried my eyes and picked up the tray of food and water. I let out a breath before trying to walk towards the guard confidently and calmly. It didn’t help that my heart was pounding loud enough to wake the dead. Evan’s voice rang through my head, telling me not to think about it. I concentrated on his voice, and I think it helped a lot.

    The gaurd saw me with the tray, nodded at me when I smiled at him, and opened the door.

    “Thank you,” I said before walking into the room.

    He nodded again, looking a little more pleasant. “You’re welcome.” He closed the door, and I fought to keep from bursting into a grin. I made it in!! But the next second, the urge to grin vanished.

  7. L.G. McCary says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I glanced at the hallway behind me. The research wing of the Library of Congress wasn’t as pretty as the reading room.

    I smiled and opened my backpack.

    “Check-in is on the left,” he said, poking in my bag with a plastic baton. “Sign in and leave your ID. You’ll have to throw that out.” He pointed at the box of cheese crackers.

    “I just bought it!” I whined.

    He rolled his eyes. “Don’t open it and leave it in your bag.”

    The receptionist at check-in was barely paying attention. I handed her the fake ID, deposited my backpack in the locker, and sat in the cubicle with the only blind spot in the room. The flattened cracker box concealed in my hoodie poked my ribs.

    The book came protected in a white archival box. It was smaller than I expected. I caught my breath as I opened it with white-gloved hands. Despite its size, it felt heavy, as if history added weight to its pages. I could barely believe I held the diary of the daughter of the most famous psychologist in history. She had written her name on the inside cover in spidery ink: Anna Freud.

    I turned the fragile pages to the day I was looking for. It was blank but for one phrase.

    Gestern festgenommen. “Arrested yesterday.”

    I couldn’t believe I was holding what the Gestapo were so desperate to find. The diary fit perfectly in the cracker box. The receptionist was clearly woozy from handling my ID card and handed me my backpack without a word. She would be snoring in moments.

    The ancient bottle of reagent was waiting in my hotel room to reveal what was inscribed on the rest of that blank page. Now I had to make it out the door.

  8. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. If he knew what I intended to steal, that I intended to steal at all, I would be hung for sure.

    Instead, he let me through, and I walked past, again lifting my furs to my shoulder. I could have turned back. I should have, but I wanted that treasure more than anything, more than life itself. With it I would feel like a king.

    Selling fine furs to Lady Magaree of Hambridge would put me in the chambers where housed my greatest desire.

    I kept my feet to a slow shuffle, telling each guard who blocked my way, “Can you direct me to Her Ladyship? I have more furs for her.”

    “Ah, Ham.” They all said, for I had been there many a time in my preparation, and after all there were many Hams in Hambridge. Then the guards would remind me which corners to take, each one bringing my thieving fingers closer to my goal and my heart farther into my throat.

    Then, I reached the door of her ladyship’s outer chamber, raised my shaking fist, and knocked. The door opened and I was ushered inside. There, I froze. The lady met me, coldly regal as always. This time, however, it was as if she knew my intentions, and I dropped to my knees. I hoped it looked like subservience.

    “Ah, Ham,” she said, unintentionally parroting the guards. “I have no need for furs today, but my daughter, Clerese, has wanted some to make a winter cloak.”

    Clerese, always full of life, leapt up from the windowsill. “I’ll show you my wardrobe.”

    My heart pounded, but I followed her out of the room. As soon as we were alone, I could wait no longer. “Clerese, will you elope with me?”

  9. Ahila Wilson says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    The guard with the evil heart, alluring beauty, and an intense desire to keep me out of the eternal gate called, My Savior’s Love!

    This guard never appointed rather absurdly obtained access to this gate. He stood at the side with specific deals, just to keep me out.

    This side of the gate, yes deprived! but everyone here appears satisfied at least. This is familiar, I feel in control, have no rules to obey, I am the queen in this realm. But, the question resounds, “why is that my soul longs to cross the gate?”

    I stood at the gate, reasoned with the guard, “let me cross, I am destined to be there.” He resisted with his charm, “oh, dear this is all there is, enjoy your life here and now, who has ever crossed death and back?”

    I continued with a curse, “you devil, bad scammer, don’t you see there stands my Savior, with wide-open arms, He endured the cross, defeated death, don’t I hold His wonderful Word?”

    The Guard growled with the pain, tried his best to stop me at the gate.
    He didn’t know, I am in the battle that’s already won! Belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, gospel shoes, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and Word the sword, with all these weapons, I marched glorious.

    Oh, the guard would have never let me enter if he knew my plans. I yelled, “you fool, the door is wide open, the tomb is still empty, who are you to tempt me? I am an elect of the living GOD.

    It is then, he moved away with shame, yes, he remembers his defeat but swiftly moves to the next in line.

    I prayed quiet, the person next knows the truth as well, “our Savior lives, He alone redeems!”

  10. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. No guard would allow a child into the Great Kingdom. Children were unwelcome. They needed care while the Kingdom was a prospering place.

    “Please, sir.” He would see me as a starving beggar girl and rebuke me.

    I prayed he would.

    “Please…” I called, voice pained, like a fox’s whimper when stuck in a hunter’s trap. “I have nowhere to go…”

    The guard’s emotionless eyes studied me. I was so close to him now, he could strike me down with one mighty fist. “Children are unwelcome past the gates.” His tone was just as cold as his old eyes.

    “Just a morsel to eat? I’ll leave!” I hugged my arms around my shaky frame. It was as if Elyon himself blew the cold wind that nipped my chapped lips.

    “Move along. The Great Kingdom cannot afford the like of you.”

    “Mercy, please.” Tears welled in my eyes.

    The guard looked around. He was a single guard at a merchant’s entry way–he was alone.

    Or so he believed.

    He would strike me dead if he knew what I was doing.

    “You have nowhere to go?” He asked.

    “No, sir.” To lie was to bring honor, my papa said. But the words of Elyon tugged at my pounding heart. If only Mama hadn’t found the Written Letters! Lying would come so much easier for me now.

    The guard mumbled something in his native tongue, pulled a key from his thick coat pocket. “Aye, a morsel won’t hurt at this late hour…”

    I looked to the gates, saw the guard’s scarred face soften, but I did not move. “I am sorry,” I whispered.

    A silent arrow pierced the night air and lodged in the guard’s heart. He fell, blood mingling in the snow, and my papa and his men darted toward the gate.

  11. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. The titanium case I carried was labeled just as it should be: MEMORIES / CLASS C3 / Delivery Only. I handed him the fake photo i.d. and authorization slip and waited. Every second that passed increased the possibility of a random inspection. But this was Tuesday, and according to my research, inspections had never happened on Tuesdays.

    “Ten minutes.” The guard entered the code that unlocked the freezer door. “If you’re not out in ten minutes…”

    I nodded my understanding and slipped inside, heart racing. Finding the correct shelf in the sea of shelves would be daunting, but I had memorized the floor plan provided by my client. I ran straight down eight rows, spun left for another seven, then spun right for two, and there it was, exactly where it should be — an entire row of shelves full of CLASS A1 test tubes, each one containing the most expensive, most coveted liquid currency in the world. I quickly pulled a dozen A1 tubes off the shelf and replaced them with the inferior C3 tubes I had smuggled in. My client demanded the best, paid a dazzling price for the best, and I would deliver the best, so help me God.

    Arriving at the freezer door with a minute to spare, I rapped on the small window. The guard looked at me, glanced at my case, then looked at me again, our eyes locking. He hesitated, his hand hovering above the keypad. And in that small suspended sliver of time, I knew. Plan A was out. Plan B was in.

  12. Sarah Romanov says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. He stepped forward, holding out his hand, as I approached the ornate doors.

    “Authorization form?”

    I smiled sweetly as I stared into his eyes. *You will let me enter,* I thought at him. *You don’t need to see a form. You recognize me. And after I’m inside, you will forget you ever saw me.*

    He wrinkled his eyebrows and hesitated a moment before saying, “My apologies. I don’t need your form. You may enter.” The confused look on his face belied his words, but I wasn’t concerned. My Gift was true. I didn’t normally use it to break the law, but the time for obedience had passed. There was too much at stake.

    Once inside and out of sight around the nearest set of shelves, I took a moment to close my eyes and savor the welcome scent. Books, millions of them. Before the Confiscation, my home library had been my haven, this smell of ink and paper and leather bindings my comfort. Now, only an elite few enjoyed it. Bookwielders, they called themselves. As if books were weapons to be parried about only by those with specialized training. This library was their stockpile. All these beautiful volumes, locked away like prisoners; I felt the sorrow of those who had once loved these books like a weight on my shoulders, for it was a sorrow I shared.

    I opened my eyes and steeled my nerves. So much for sentimentality. The future of our society depended on me, and I needed to be strong. I had been Gifted for a purpose, and the time had come to use that Gift to its full potential. I had a Book to find, and a government to overthrow.

    • Ann Milo says:

      Exciting ending!

    • Kathleen Eavenson says:

      Librarians love & believe in the concept of the power of the book! You had me with that!! ?And then having to skulk around to get to them?
      (You might want to reword the Star Wars/Force scene in the beginning; that wording almost broke my “suspension of disbelief”. Otherwise it’s a Good start)

      • Sarah Romanov says:

        Thank you for your comment! I’ve never actually seen the Star Wars movies (just bits and pieces of the older ones), so I wasn’t aware that was something people did with the Force!

  13. A. Kaylee says:

    This is so fun! As is writing a fanfiction/flash fiction of my own novel.

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    Not being welcome in the place I lived in until my supposed death was hard enough but the guard not letting me through was a worse blow even if I knew it would happen when I took on the wrong man.

    With a smirk, I ducked into a group of soldiers who didn’t even notice that I didn’t belong worth them since I wore their uniform.

    In the palace grounds, I dropped into a row of bushes skipping out of the uniform I pulled on my own uniform with my correct rank of the prince — son of the king — on it.

    I saw my twin brother coming towards me with a sad smile I raised my hand during the handgun I held shooting him in the chest four times before he fell. Turning I made my way back towards the gate my jaw dropped in shock.

    Before me stood my older brother more crowned with our father’s crown. “Hello, little brother. Thank you for taking care of business.” He said in a mocking tone. “Guards, please clean up the grounds and inform my father of the unfortunate deaths of my brothers.” The new king said waving a hand toward me. The last thing I heard before slipping into darkness was the voice of my killer, and I knew then I would kill to win.

    • Glad you enjoyed the exercise.

      I have to admit, I was a little confused. He had to get past a guard, but he was a guard? And he killed his twin? For what reason? Then in the end, did he die?

      Thanks for submitting your entry!


  14. Milton James says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.
    Joshy smirked, glancing at his fluffy white jackalope friend.
    The guards are unicorns, they can read your mind you imbecile.
    The creature Joshy knew as Cottontail thought back, even as its fuzzy nose twitched in contempt.
    “Doesn’t matter when Archmagus Darryn gets to you.” The magnificent gray unicorn guard scoffed. “Then we’ll have this misunderstanding of summoning the wrong brother to our world behind us.”

    Deeper into the unicorn hive lights shone green and yellow from phsophoresent rocks.
    Joshy glanced down at the jackalope.
    Wait, why didn’t he hear your thoughts? Is it because you’re not just a mutant rabbit, but some kind of cursed angel or something?
    The jackalope began slapping his foot on the ground and shaking his head.
    The unicorn stopped and turned, sneering.
    I thought you were showing off…
    “I thought the last of you were long dead.” The guard lowered his head, his alicorn lance aimed at the jackalope. “Easily rectified.”
    The unicorn charged, and the jackalope bared fangs and leapt to meet the magical horn with his now-glowing antlers. A titanic pulse knocked Joshy over. The Unicorn exploded, magical goo covered the cavern walls. And Joshy.
    “Holy crap Cottontail! Don’t you think that was a little much?!”
    The jackalope’s eyes shone like heated bronze.
    I am Uriel! Archangel of light! Banished to this world to guard the Watchers, but enough! I will finish these equine demons and return to right service of the Most High. SO STOP CALLING ME COTTONTAIL!!
    Joshy smirked.
    “And I’m your ticket out of here?”
    The Jackalope’s eyes cooled.
    Truly, He works in mysterious ways.
    Shouts, whinnies and hoof-falls down the hallways.
    Joshy reached a hand out to the bunny.
    “Quick, let me rub your paw, I need some luck.”
    “Jackalope feet are NOT lucky!

  15. Rosalyn R. says:

    I hope you enjoy this little story! That prompt gives me so many ideas…
    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. Or what I was hiding.

    This place – this mean, hateful place that no one knew the name of – held my men prisoner, and for what reason? Selfishness, plain selfishness. The ruler, a barbarous man watching over this incredible, but ridiculous system, seemed to think it was his place to capture anyone and everyone. I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten me yet.

    But then, he’s probably scared.

    My eyes pierce into the guard’s surprisingly bright ones as I slip my hand into one of the large pockets of my bulky jacket. Only one thing was hidden there.

    The man seems to cower a little bit, probably expecting me bring out a gun or something. Ha. If only.

    “You cannot enter.”

    His comment, though harsh, holds fear. Just my advantage.

    Before I can stop myself, my hand lashes out and grasps the guard’s collar, twisting it tightly around his throat. He chokes and his body sags. I loosen my grip, letting him fall to the ground, and walk forward, just as an arrow slams into the doorway, inches from where I stand. I dash around the corner and my steps echo down the hallway as I search for my captured men.

    “Dirk, Dirk!”

    I swing around and stop by a door that only has a tiny barred window … the only way my men could get some air. “Here.” I slip my hand into my pocket again and push a bundle of arrows through the bars, into the hands of my finest warrior. “Hide them good.”

    “Will do. Thanks, Dirk.”

    I glance both ways before whispering, “You know where to find me later.” Then I hurry down the hall once again.

    Someday I’d be back. That barbarous ruler of a man won’t be getting away with all this for much longer. He’d be destroyed. And I’d destroy him.

    My feet clatter down a metal staircase.

    Now just to get out of this place.

  16. Lorraine Cassidy says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    Stealing into a soul to Waken it is never easy. This particular guard was Sloth, so I was sent to sneak into this particular soul. The Almighty keeps all Anointed feelings around to bring the Awakening. I go by many names as I sneak into souls – Boredom, or Listlessness.

    I must be careful not to linger or be caught by the soul itself. For my work is delicate, enough to encourage but not enough to discourage. I am a powerful emotion, so I must keep my spiritual footprints light.

    The guard is Sloth, however, and he does not care about emotions. We come and go as we please. If he knew, however, he would overtake me and try to smother me.

    I slide past the guard, aware of the beady eyed stare, the examination. No Excitement here, no Desire or Passion. No, I am Anointed Boredom, and no evil penchant recognizes the gateway. That is why I am first.

    The soul itself is brilliant, a drop of the Immortal in cloying spiritual darkness. I dance around the soul, tapping light and high. Other emotions around me hammer with fisted thoughts. Sadness pounds with memories of hurtful words. Depression scratches at the bottom, leaving deep wounds that no human mouth could mutter. Humiliation howls with every horrible happening that causes this soul to lay low.

    But my tapping is having an impact. The soul brightens, responds to my spiritual footprint. Sloth shifts in its position, noticing the change, and beady eyes land on me. I laugh. Sloth is too late.

    For as I lay boredom lightly across the soul, I can sense Discontent following me. And when Anointed Discontent begins to knock across a soul, Sloth can not stop it.

  17. Maggie Farnum says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning

    She had tried a hundred times to get past that tall stone gate, but the guard had always shooed her away because of her ragged clothes with patches all over and leather shoes not even recognizable. If the guard knew who she really was he would let her go immediately. But it was on her own accord that the guard wouldn’t know her. Because she had ran away four years prior. It had been the most dangerous thing she had ever done. She had almost died. But she had finally escaped him.

    She looked around at the dense woods behind her.

    No turning back.

    I have to get back behind those gates.
    She hated to lie, but she had no choice.
    She thanked God that it was a different guard who she knew wouldn’t know her.

    “Please, sir. I’ve come to give my grandma her old bible that she left behind before she came to work with Earl and Lady Fitzroy.” She was trying her hardest to look innocent. “It’s her most prized possession. I promise I’ll come right back. I solemnly promise.” I begged.

    “Show me the bible.”

    I flipped the flap from my satchel and handed him a bible that I had stolen and slightly ripped it up a bit to make it look old and worn with years of use.
    The guard looked it over and handed it back and then went to the gate to open.

    “Come back in 20 minutes. If not, I’ll send someone to find you, if not, there will be consequences.”
    I released the breath that I was holding and walked in.

    All I had to do now was get in the castle, and get my identity back.

  18. Lady Arin says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. Like the others in the village, he bowed when the Elders passed, and recited the Chants with fervor. When the Elders declared the will of the Divines, he believed them, like everyone else. Like I had, before the nightmares.

    Acolytes take a vow of silence, and must veil their faces. I had never been more grateful for either. My throat was so dry I couldn’t have spoken if I wanted to, and my face surely betrayed the fear twisting in my stomach.

    “Bit late for a cleansing ritual,” he said.

    Idiot, a voice whispered in my ear. Do you spend hours studying the texts? Are you worthy now to recite the prayers? What makes you think if the Divines had a message, they would give it to you?

    “Hurry up then,” the guard said.

    I jumped. In my moment of distraction, he had opened the door. Before he got more suspicious or my courage failed, I ducked into the chamber. The door shut behind me, and for a moment I was blind. Then my eyes adjusted to the dim light, and I froze.

    I had wanted to believe the Elders. I had wanted to think my dreams were only dreams. But there was the cell, just as filthy and small as I had dreamed it. And there, chained like a vicious dog, was the king’s son.

    The Elders said he had abandoned the Divines. They said they sent him home with a warning.

    His lips were cracked and bleeding. His face was swollen and bruised. He stared at me with wide, bloodshot eyes.

    I pulled off my veil, and knelt in front of him. “Don’t be afraid,” I whispered. “I think your God sent me.”

  19. Gay N Lewis says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    It wasn’t Saturday, but I’d bathed and put on my best flour sack dress. Was it the hot, Alabama sun or nerves causing me to mop my brow?

    As I walked to the jail, I carried a basket of fried chicken, biscuits, and chocolate cake. The saloon cook wasn’t too good, and right there in front of Deputy Clyde, Amos asked me to bring his last meal—the one before his sentencing.

    I opened the door. Clyde sat at the desk.

    “Evenin’ Clyde. I brought you an’ Amos a bit o’ supper.”

    Clyde carried the basket to the desk. “Right nice o’ you.”

    At Clyde’s desk, I placed food on a plate and then cut a big wedge of cake. “I hope you enjoy this, but if you don’t mind, I’ll give the rest to Amos. It’s his favorite.”

    “No, go right ahead. Your cake is legendary. Won first place at the county fair. I’m beholding to you for sharing. I’ll unlock the cell.”

    I kissed Amos at the cubicle and handed him the supper and three-quarters of the remaining cake.

    “I love you, honey. Don’t worry. Me and the kids are fine. You’ll be home soon.” I winked at him and Clyde relocked the barred door.

    About midnight, I loaded up the Model T with a few possessions. The kids and I then started out for Texas. I said a prayer as our Tin Lizzy passed the pitch-black jail house.

    Clyde slept at home in a featherbed, and I knew Amos was alone inside—noiselessly sawing away at the bars with that file I’d baked in his half of the cake. With his skinny body. He’d sneak through in no time, hop the next freight train, and then meet us in Texas.

    Goodbye Alabama.

  20. Olivia F. says:

    This was a fun little exercise! Here’s my entry:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.
    The heavy door banged shut behind me, sending an echo through the prison. Rusted bars stretched from stone floor to stone ceiling in two long walls on either side of me. The scent of mildew filled my nose, but as soon as I unzipped my skin and stepped out of the confines, it didn’t bother me anymore.
    My translucent blue hands smoothed the crystalline scales of my dress, and I waved at the ragged prisoners as I marched down the hall. Their stares made me grin. I had worried they might have gotten used to Winter Souls in their midst, but thankfully not. This escapade wouldn’t be much fun otherwise.
    A gasp sounded behind me as I slipped through the wall and keep walking. The icy wind whipped around the castle tower, and I grabbed ropes of it to keep from falling off the catwalk. Where my feet touched down, blue waves pulsated through the Winter Glass. They piled up at the edges, letting me see where the Glass ended and empty space began. The Yarvish kingdom lay below in rolling mounds of sand and scant grass. Just beyond was the vast ocean that the castle overlooked.
    I took a deep inhale, hoping to smell the tang and salt upon the wind, but without my human mask, all I smelled was dank dread wafting from the seaport nearby, where a fresh batch of slaves was being unloaded.
    As I continued on my way, my blue feet remembered the pulsating feel of the Winter Glass and took to dancing. I danced all the way to the cloud that hovered over the sea, tethered by a silver strand of Ghilli hair anchored to the sea floor.
    The salty wind whistled my coming, and the cloud’s door unfurled.

  21. E. Shinn says:

    This was actually really fun. Here’s mine.

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. Maybe I should have listened, when Odyssey told me this was madness. Nonetheless, the chubby, bald before his time guard nods his head.
    “Go on then.”
    His companion, utters a slight snore, both of them taking me for the bearded lord I told them I was. Ross would laugh if he knew that the most wanted girl in the kingdom just bought her way into the castle. He wouldn’t laugh if he knew why I am here.
    Tugging on my horses reigns, I slip into the courtyard just before the bell tolls curfew. Rain splattering down from clouds of fog, and making it easier to shroud myself in the darkness. Tugging off my cloak, I tuck it into my bag, heading for the servants quarters. I won’t need a magical disguise where I’m headed, and I’d rather not lose Odyssey’s family heirloom.
    Three paces in towards the kitchen, a tug on the fourth coat rack, and I step into the hidden passages. The thick, ruddy stone walls of the castle providing a slim taste of safety. I can remember the details of the passages well enough, Ross had every inch of the castle memorized. It was his game, to tell me about his home. He made a better friend, than he has a king.
    This time it’s my game. I’ve already bought the loyalty of the Highlands, and the Elves will not forget their friends and allies so easily as the High Court believes. Not once they have their payment. All that’s left is to kidnap the king.

  22. E. Shinn says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. Maybe I should have listened, when Odyssey told me it was madness. Nonetheless, the chubby, bald before his time guard nods his head.
    “Go on then.”
    His companion utters a slight snore, both of them taking me for the bearded lord I told them I was. Ross would laugh if he knew that the most wanted girl the kingdom, just bribed her way into the castle. He wouldn’t laugh, if he knew why I was here.

    I slip into the courtyard just before the bell tolls curfew. Rain splattering down from clouds of fog and making it easier to shroud myself in the darkness. Tugging off my cloak, I tuck it into my bag before heading for the servants quarters. I won’t need a magical disguise where I’m headed, and I’d rather not lose Odyssey’s family heirloom.

    Three paces in towards the kitchen, a tug on the fourth coat rack, and I step into the hidden passages. The thick, ruddy stone walls of the castle providing a false taste of safety. I can remember the details of the passages well enough to find my way into the upper floors. Ross had every inch of the castle memorized; it was his game, to tell me about it. He made a better friend, than he has a king.

    This time it’s my game. I’ve already bought the loyalty of the Highlands, and the elves will not forget their friends and allies so easily as the High Court believes. Not once they have their payment. All that’s left is to kidnap the king.


  23. Jes Drew says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    That is, nothing. He looks like the sort who would have appreciated a show.

    Zane smiles when the guard leads me into his waiting room. “Kristian Clark. I assume by your being here that you agree to the good doctor’s terms? No funny business, I hope. That could end very… badly.”

    “No funny business,” I agree. “I will take the boy’s place in keeping open the portal between worlds if you will let him go.”

    “Very well-”

    “But first- may I see him? One last time?”

    Zane does not look eager to comply, but behind him Dr. N. himself gestures for me to approach a cradle. “Yes. Come remove this weak-minded urchin from my greatness.”

    Stepping up, I look into the cradle that had only recently been used as a conduit to funnel the innate dimension power of an infant into the door I opened so blindly and so long ago.

    I lean down and kiss the overly warm head of the poor, innocent child I’d been consumed with worry about for so long.

    Now I will be consumed by power.

    “Good-bye, little one,” I whisper. “Just know your daddy loves you.”

  24. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.
    “Jackson. I’ve brought the prisoner’s meal.” My skin crawled as the guard’s eyes undressed me and he licked his lips.
    “Watchu got there, missy.” Greasy hands shifted the linen covering the plate, releasing a waft of hunger-inducing aromas.
    Swallowing bile, I smiled at the repulsive man. “You don’t want that.” I lifted a bottle of sweet wine, waving it before his face. “You’ll like this.”
    He dropped the linen, wiped paw-like hands on his stained uniform, and reaching for the bottle, attempted to encircle my waist with his other hand.
    Stifling a shudder, I stepped back, brandishing the bottle again. He took the hint, popped the cork, and swallowed a substantial portion of the herb-laced wine. Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he reached for me again. The motion pitched him down onto his face.
    “Thank you, Lord.” I grabbed the key and lowered the plate to the floor next to the bottle now resting on its side, crimson liquid puddling beneath it.
    Feet skimming cold slate, I sprinted to the end cell. The heavy wooden door creaked like a dying bird as I pushed through to face the lichen-encrusted wall. I sucked in a quick breath, focused on a small blue gem set in the stone, and drew a leather cord holding a matching stone from the front of my blouse. The gems touched; they flickered.
    Movement. I scanned right. Jackson’s wife emerged from the shadows, arms wrapped around her son and daughter, purple bruises marring her face. I waved them over as the portal flared open.
    Tears streaming, Sophie grabbed my hand, kissed it, struggling to thank me. Shaking my head, I propelled her and the children into the opening. Sprinting back, I released the prisoner. Laughter trailed as we held hands and disappeared in the collapsing gateway.

  25. Jay DiNitto says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    That’s precisely why I told him my intentions.

    “Eye’m going t’sh-to steal,” I, in my drunken rake’s disguise, declared with exaggerated slur, “that thing, right there. Thank you v’ry much!”

    It worked! Lisette heard my final words, our predetermined cue. A small section of the floor molding rose, on the far side of the display room, revealing the narrow passageway. A mechanic’s creeper then glided out on well-oiled casters.

    I unsteadily pointed at my target: the telluric electronal harvester, humming quietly behind the guard. It burnished bright with newly manufactured metallic curves and subtle, decorative illuminations. Naturally, it levitated, needlessly; my brother was ostentatious with “his” inventions as they were display at our annual Von Barger Estate Fair.

    Lisette–my blessed, willing, diminutive, long-suffering, task-runner–slid out from the darkness of the hidden room. Brother’s architectural cleverness was my opportunity.

    “You d’serve a dance, my friend!” I announced to the guard, and ersatz step shook my limbs.

    Lisette lithely slid onto the creeper and wheeled underneath the harvester, deactivated the correct section of casing to reveal the electronal hopper and its wiring, quickly sketched out my proprietary schematics, and slid back into the passageway in just under a minute.

    “Thank ye v’ry much fer yer time, sir!”

    I belched, produced a silver ducat from my pockets, and flipped it over to the guard. It fell lamely onto the carpet in front of him. I doffed my hat and left down the hall, among the other fair-goers.

    By this time tomorrow, the other Von Barger son will receive a very obnoxious series of tele-scripts and sketches that revealed my successful little reconnaissance and recovery mission. Our little prank war continues!

  26. Sarah Levesque says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I had to be calm, confident, charismatic to get by him, or I’d be shot. Or worse. Getting out would be harder – I’d have to use all my acting skills to brazen my way back out of the ghetto with the Jewish children hidden in the ambulance. Thank God they knew how to be quiet, far better than I had as a child. They had learned from the fear of their elders.
    I showed my papers. They were all in order. They had to be for me to pull this off. I flirted a bit as the guard checked the ambulance, and was finally allowed into the ghetto. I sighed inwardly with relief – the first part was over.
    I was a familiar face here. I handed out food, clothes and blankets, I gave simple medical care, I talked with the residents of the ghetto, and I quietly collected children in my ambulance. Then it was time to leave. Time to act again. I took a deep breath. Calm, confident, charismatic.
    I showed my papers again. They were still in order, of course. I flirted again as my ambulance was given a cursory glance.
    Finally I was allowed to continue. Again I breathed a sigh of relief, this one probably audible to the children hidden in my ambulance.
    We were free.

    [Based on the life of Irena Sendler (née Krzyżanowska)]

  27. June Bruce says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I tiptoed around him cupping the medallion around my neck. Sneaking into the stables I found Makil sleeping. I feared waking him should he make noise. Shushing the horse standing above him, I dipped my hands into the food trough and let a pile of oats slip through my fingers onto Makil’s lap. As if following my lead, the horse began eating the oats off his body. It awoke Makil. Sensing danger, he jumped only to wince at the restraints cutting his hands. Our gazes locked and the fear in his eyes motioned, “Go!” I shook my head and climbed up the gate. Bending over the top I removed the medallion from my neck placing it around his. I nodded and he knew what I offered. Jumping down, I passed a knife through the stall slats into his tethered hands. He cut his bonds and tenderly took both my hands in his. Tears fell from my eyes as I pulled back and motioned to the exit.
    Makil slipped the lead rope over his stall mates head and swung open the gate. Grabbing a tuft of mane, he hoisted himself onto the animal’s back and turned towards me. Suddenly, I heard screaming and the wild-eyed guard led a pack of sword wielding men towards Makil. Without another look, Makil raised the medallion high in the air. A golden beam of light shot from his hands. The streak of glitter shattered a hole in the roof and I cowered at the blinding sight. Makil kicked the horses’ side and it reared through the dancing particles. I watched as Makil and his horse burst through the roof, riding the beam through the night sky towards the moon.

  28. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. The guard was Simon Peter the Apostle, seated beside the Pearly Gates.

    As I approached, he recognized me, as someone who he’d known during his time on Earth, as one of Jesus’ Apostles.

    He said, “Judas?”

    “Hi Pete.” I told him, “Been a long time.”

    “Right. Two thousand years, and it’s not long enough.”

    Then he asked, “What are you even doing here? You know you’re never getting in.”

    “Yeah. I know. My name Judas Iscariot, is accursed above all names. I’ve never met anyone else with my name. I’m the only Apostle who nobody names their son after. The world is full of people named Peter, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Joseph, Timothy, Philip and others. While there are men named Jude, and women named Judy; I’ve never heard of anybody named Judas.”

    “You want us to do something about that?” Pete told me, “Forget it. Everybody has free will.”

    “I know. I’ve just come to let you know that is about to change.”

    “In what way?”

    “There is,” I told him, “a new, non-denominational church about to open, in the New York Metropolitan Area, named “The Judas Iscariot Bible Church”.

    “Oh we’ve heard of it. Believe me. We know everything about every heretical cult there is, was, and shall be.”

    “But the members aren’t heretics Pete. They’re born again, Bible believing Christians, who’ve accepted Christ as Savior.”

    “Yes. We are aware of that.”

    “What that means, is that while I’ll never be allowed to pass beyond these Pearly Gates, these people, who’ve taken the Name of Judas Iscariot, will.”

    “Praise the Lord Judas.” My former Associate told me, “Good-bye.”

  29. Katherine says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. But all he saw was a cowed, obedient slave carrying a bucket of dirty water and a mop.
    “I’m here for cleaning duty,” I said, fixing my eyes on the ground.
    He opened the heavy, metal door and let me through, but shoved me as I went past him. The bucket of water sloshed onto the floor. I hunched my shoulders, just as I did every time the jailers mocked me. Defiant slaves got tossed in a cell themselves. Today of all days, I could not afford that.
    “Better clean that up,” the guard sneered.
    Moans, curses, and broken prayers filled the air of the hall. I kept my eyes on the sterile white floors, glad that I couldn’t see inside the cells. The sounds and smells were horrifying enough. I made a halfhearted effort to clean the empty cells and the floor, swishing the damp mop around. Someone might notice if I progressed too quickly.
    When I passed the fifth cell, something inside threw its weight against the door. I jumped. The guards didn’t bother to turn their heads.
    I took a deep breath as I reached the second to last door, praying that they hadn’t moved him. It was too late to turn back now. I pulled out the key I’d stolen and opened the door.
    My beloved raised his head, shock on his face. Beaten, blood-covered, but alive and sane. “Kyria, what are you doing here?”
    “Saving you. Can you stand?”
    He staggered to his feet. As the guards skidded to a stop outside the cell I turned to face them, baring my teeth in a grin. Time to show them my true self. Skin became scales as I attacked.

  30. Gregory N says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. But some things are worth fighting for. Even at the first ecumenical council of the holy Church. Even in front of the Emperor.

    Bishop Eusebius was an older man, but his easy smile and magnificent robes were a shocking contrast to some of the desert monks in attendance at Nicea. Upon seeing my guide, he stiffened.
    “Well, if it isn’t our friend, the Black Dwarf,” a few snorts of laughter from the Bishop’s entourage. “Athanasius, what brings you to our side of the aisle?”
    “This man has asked for an introduction.” He nodded at me. “Nicholas of Myra.”
    I wasn’t here to listen to jokes, so I spoke before he could tell another.
    “Is it True? You intend to argue that the Son is merely a creature?”
    The Bishop tisked. “How dramatic. But, perhaps an explanation from the source,” Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia waved his hand toward one of his underlings and beamed with fatherly pride. “Arius of Alexandria.”
    The youth had curly hair and a ruddy complexion.
    “If God is, as Plato argues, unoriginate,” He postured, “then not even the Son can be His equal.”
    The bishop clapped his hands for his protege.
    That’s when I punched Arius in the face.
    He hit the floor. Hard.
    One of Bishop Eusebius’s assistants screamed, but I roared louder.
    “You’d worship Magnificence, but downgrade the crucified Carpenter! Your unoriginate is a god for the powerful but you will not confound the Son, Light of Light, True God of true God.”
    “Enough. You brute.” The bishop. No longer jovial. “Leave us.”
    My diminutive guide hurried me away.
    “Your cheeks are as dark as sugarplums.” he said, grinning.
    “Their arrogance is as deep as their heresy.” I muttered, attempting calm.
    “Nicholas the Red.” Athanasius laughed, “Someday they’ll make you a Saint!”

  31. audie says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    After all, I was dressed as a mime, with the intent to interrupt a seminar put on by none other than Great Cthulhu, one where he’s teaching people about the virtues of mountainous madness, the need for the Great Old Ones to reestablish dominion over the world, and, for some reason, flipping houses; because if there is one thing Great Cthulhu fears most, it’s mimes, and, honestly, after seeing myself in disguise in the mirror, who could blame him; and if I can do that, then the world would be saved from becoming a place of mindlessly gibbering sheep, although, after flipping through the cable channels in my dirt-cheap hotel room last night, I fear I may be too late to keep that from happening.

    Now, if only I could get past the guard. And get out of this invisible box.

  32. Ann Milo says:

    Hi, everyone! Here is my story: hope you enjoy it. 🙂

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    Violet’s thoughts swirled through her head as her horse strode purposefully toward the guard stationed at the distant gate.

    She’d been told the next clue would be inside the San Trans Villa. It was crucial for her to find the clue in order to deactivate the bomb.

    Violet’s thoughts abruptly came to a halt as her horse reached the guard. “Hello, sir,” she said brightly. “Would you mind letting me in?”

    The guard remained motionless, staring straight ahead. Violet waved her hand in front of him. Nothing. She backed her horse up 200 feet and charged him toward the guard.

    The guard snapped to attention, immediately sprang out of the way, and unwillingly opened the gate.

    Once inside the villa, Violet crept cautiously along the long hallway. The crystal chandeliers were covered with cobwebs. The dusty hall was ornately furnished. The atmosphere was dark and forbidding. Not a soul was in sight.

    Violet glanced uneasily about her. There was a rustle, and she turned, quickly looking around while backing down the hallway. Suddenly she bumped into a dark form. Slowly she turned to face a huge man with a scarred face, holding an ax. She shrieked. The man, frightened by the tiny girl, shrieked as well. They both tried to run, but collided with one another. The man kept whispering, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, God has not given me a spirit of fear. . .”

    As they broke free, the man rushed from the room. As he ran out, something small and round bounced from his belt.
    The clue? Violet glanced down. Then it hit her.

    It was the answer to the code for deactivating the bomb.

    Suddenly she heard rustling, and her foot hit the clue, sending it down a grate in the floor.

  33. Sarah Daffy says:

    Fun challenge!

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    The airport inspector and guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning – and hiding.

    Right now I was being screened such at customs, for metals or explosive devices. What the airport inspector didn’t know was that a Bible was stashed away in the false bottom of my carry-on bag.

    In this country it was illegal to import Bibles. It was illegal to be a Christian. It was even illegal to own a Bible. That’s why I was helping my friend Edward smuggle Bibles.

    I held my breath as the airport inspector looked me over, hoping and praying he wouldn’t find me out. Or my secret. He patted me down and used his metal detector. Nothing. No metal, no explosive devices, nothing. He grunted.

    “Go ahead, ma’am,” he said. “You’ve got nothing illegal on you.”

    I smiled and moved ahead. I was through all customs, all inspectors, now all I had to do was figure out a plan and get the Bible to Edward.

    Suddenly someone rushed across the airport, someone I knew and recognized.


    The worst enemy of the Christians. He was known for hunting Christians down, reporting them to the authorities, and worse. I knew someday God would bring him to justice, but right now I was terrified and thinking that day would never come.

    “Don’t let her get away!” Amir shouted. “She’s carrying a Bible!”

    Immediately the inspector officer rushed after me and caught hold of me. Amir stood by, smirking.

    “Explain yourself,” the officer demanded.

    “I have nothing to explain,” I said, “except I’m doing the will of my Father in Heaven.”

    I looked up and our eyes met, mine boring into Amir’s. Right then and there I knew he was sorry he’d betrayed me.


  34. Teish says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. He eyed the cart overflowing with spare parts that I dragged behind me.

    “Working late?”

    I shrugged, “You know how it is when you work for a living. Fancy folk are all sleeping, but they want their ships fixed by morning.”

    His laugh echoed of the metal corridor walls, “Isn’t that the truth!” Scanning his ID and punching in the door code, he let me into the hangar.

    “Thanks!” I called over my shoulder, “I’ll buy you breakfast after we’ve both punched out.”

    The airtight doors sealed, cutting off any response he might have made. I wanted to run to the fifth ship on the left, but that would have looked weird to the security guys monitoring the video feeds.

    It wasn’t the prettiest ship here, scuffs and a scorch mark or two marring the dull gray alloy, but it was spaceworthy. I shoved the cart up the ramp with a huff. I’d barely gotten it onboard when he tossed the parts hiding him onto the deck.

    “What took you so long?” he tumbled over the side of the cart and straightened his gold-trimmed jacket.

    “Do you want them to know that something’s going on?” I started picking up the mess left in his wake, “And really! That’s your idea of dressing to blend in? What’s wrong with you people?”

    Eyeing the shabby interior of the ship he frowned, “I told you to find something decent. This is a rust bucket!”

    I tossed the last of the scattered parts back into the cart, “They’ll execute me, you moron! They’ll just keep you locked up indefinitely. I’d rather not get caught if it’s all the same to you.”

    He glared at me and I glared right back. I never should have agreed to help the crown prince escape.

  35. Wesley Sterner says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I could see him at the end of the hall and the door just on the other side of him. The odor from the prison was strengthening with each step. My own escorts tightened their grip as if I would be foolish enough to run. There was nowhere to go. I had run out of options and the only way was through.
    The guard pulled a massive key ring from a wooden peg sticking out from the wall. I could see where the stone blocks stopped and the carved face of the mountain began. My escorts stood me up, forcing me to put my shackled feet under me. Their weight forced me to shuffle the last few yards until I stood in front of the door. A few moments later the shackles were removed and the door was opened.
    The odor of forgotten humanity struck us like crushing putrid waves. My escorts gagged as they put their foot into my back and kicked. I fell headlong, sprawling on the ground as I struggled for breathable air. I heard the door slam behind me.
    The cavern was massive, going up several levels with rings of carved or natural platforms encircling a deep hole a hundred yards across. The bottom of the hole glowed with flowing magma. I moved throughout the prisoners until I found the two faces I recognized.
    “What do you want?” The woman spoke, her face hard with years of abuse. The white-haired man beside her was doing his best to decide if I were friend or foe. Allies were probably rare in here.
    “I am here to rescue you,” I said, smiling like an idiot. That was when she laughed.

    • June Bruce says:

      You drew me in from the start and the hero’s last words endeared me to him. Good job. One of my favorites!

  36. LC Crouch says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I placed my belongings on the scanner, making small talk with the other patrons as we passed through security. The school group I entered with, posing as a chaperone, made excellent camouflage and the tension drained from my shoulders as we slipped seamlessly past security, into the first exhibit. Years of training with the Israeli Defense Forces’ Sayeret had led me to this quintessential mission.

    Turning the corner, I headed towards the target. One more left, two rights. The map of the museum was committed to memory. Reaching for the elevator button, the light caught my ring, the glint stealing my focus.

    Zikhrono livrakha. Your memory is a blessing. I honor you today, Grandpa Joseph. My breath caught in my throat, and I blinked away tears. Don’t be a rookie, David. Take your thoughts captive!

    Thankfully, a stray tear would not be noticed. Not here.

    The bell chimed, doors opened, and I stepped forward, emboldened now that the target stood before me. After a lifetime of preparation, decades of training, and years of planning, I was five yards and thirty seconds away from fulfilling my destiny and righting eighty years of wrong. I had thirty seconds while the camera panned away. Checking my watch and fictitious itinerary, I marked the time as the camera shifted.

    In one practiced move, the document slipped to the back of my itinerary. Another sweep of the camera and the document had been passed. One final turn of the camera, and the package had been brush dropped on the target.

    Ninety life-altering seconds was all it took. Grandpa’s ring was reunited with that of his first love. A worn letter from Grandpa joined the exhibit beneath the rejoined rings, lamenting the loss of his beautiful Ruth in the holocaust.

    Zikhrono livrakha. I will never forget.

  37. Claire Tucker says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    Then again, he didn’t really have a choice.

    My clinking shackles warned him of our approach, and he disinterestedly looked me over. The soldier bringing me here, presumably against my will, stopped smartly before him.

    “Another of the Followers,” he announced proudly. The guard yawned and casually pulled a register towards himself.

    “Name?” he asked me, slowly preparing a pen.



    “Preaching a dead man rising through the power of the One.” The guard paused. Looked at me, noting my scrawny frame and pale skin. Returned his attention to the register and slowly wrote my exact words.

    “Level 5, cell 14,” he instructed the soldier. “Don’t speak too loudly down there,” he warned me, “or the whole of Taybinth will hear you.” I smiled and nodded, perhaps seeming a little too eager for a cell in the deepest, darkest parts of the Twisted Tower.

    The guard had been right – the lower levels of the Twisted Tower amplified every sound a hundredfold. The soldier chained me to the wall of cell 14 and left, his footsteps echoing back to me as he ascended back into the light above ground. I waited for what would be called silence here – the laboured breathing of a captive, the clinking of chains, the scurry of a rat. Then, I drew a deep breath and began to sing.

    “To God, be the glory!” The prison amplified my voice, the sound reaching through the walls to the very foundations. I felt the beginnings of a tremor in the earth beyond.

    “Great things He has done!” I could hear chains rattling. My own fell away as my voice thundered through the confines of the place.

    The guard would never have let me in, had he known how I planned to get out.

  38. This was fun. I shared it with my writing group, and we each wrote something. Some will post. Thanks for the offer.

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.
    “Who are you and why are you here?”
    My robe and the hood shadowing my face identified me as a monk. “Brother Herbert,” I mumbled, with my voice in tenor mode. “I’m here to see the young woman sentenced to death.”
    He shook his head. “She said no religious visitors.”
    “Not religion. I want to talk about her future.”
    “Like heaven or hell?” he chortled.
    “Something like that.”
    “Follow this tunnel. At the T, turn left. She’s at the end, as far down as the dungeon goes.”
    My sandals made no sound on the packed dirt. She stood with her back to the bars. I cleared my throat. Twitching in surprise, she turned to face me.
    “What do you want?” Her jaw was clenched, her eyes cold.
    “I’m here to help,” I replied.
    “Help? How can you help me? I’m to be burned alive tomorrow.”
    A few mystical words opened the cell door enough for me to step inside. “Take my robe and hood. Keep your head down as you pass the guard. Don’t talk. Mumble if you must.”
    “Just do as I say. Your friends are waiting outside.”
    “They’ll burn you!” She tried to keep her voice low, not very successfully.
    “Not likely. But I’m not afraid to die.”
    “Neither am I!”
    “I know, but you are far more important than I am. You are the leader of the revolt. They need you, not me.”
    Minutes later she walked slowly up the tunnel, head down. I closed the door gently. After a few more mystical words, a black cat followed her past the guard and out of the dungeon.
    The unfortunate part of my plan was that, the next day, some other young woman, hooded for burning, stood in the place of Joan of Arc.

  39. Brandy Brow says:

    Three hundred words exactly. 🙂

    Food Invasion

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I didn’t even have to sneak in. He put me right into his mouth on his piece of lettuce, thinking as he crunch-crunched that he was doing good for his body. And to think, just last week he wouldn’t touch vegetables. Funny how a little trip to the hospital can change a person’s diet.

    After all that GoLytely to get things moving again, I guess he decided he’d rather obey doctor orders and eat the fibrous greens instead of return for another hospital stay tethered to the toilet. That’s what a steady diet of meat, dairy, and bread will do to a person. But he hates hospitals more, he says to his wife through a forced grin as he douses the next bite covered in me with caesar dressing.

    She smiles, says she’s glad he’s home, how stressful it was, worried his bowels might burst; glad it turned out easy.

    I feel him grimace at “easy” as he chews and begins spreading me throughout his mouth and nasal passages. A swallow, and then another bite of me.

    He doesn’t ever want to go back to the hospital, he says. I divide in his gut and send off another attack force. My kin is already hunkered down in his intestinal lining, feeding on the freshly smoothed surface. By now he’s beginning to feel them.

    His intestines rumble and he lets out a grunt. She doesn’t notice, but she will.

    He’s right to be afraid. Soon they’ll learn my name, along with the rest of the country, and he’ll swear off rabbit food forever. But not until after another hospitalization in about a day, and then he’ll wish it was only because of meat and cheese.

  40. Andrew Miller says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning, thought Ruan as he made his way down the hall. Despite this assurance that the plot was not compromised, sweat continued to trickle down his back. Suppose they are more daring than I thought? Suppose the guard let me in so they could trap me?
    The frightening notion had no sooner formed in his mind than he banished it; even Count Drummond was not that reckless. If so much as a whisper of what Ruan intended to do was noised among the Count’s men, he would have had a whole contingent of guards waiting. Focusing on that, he forged ahead.
    Echoing footsteps rebounded from the walls as he drew near his goal. A tingle crept along his neck as he rounded the final corner and saw Count Drummond approaching him at a fast walk. But instead of giving in to panic, Ruan slowed his steps as the Count drew near.
    “Ah, Ruan,” the man said, a hint of scorn barely discernible in his voice. “I was wondering what had kept you.”
    Apprehension rising, Ruan dipped his head in acknowledgement of the greeting. “My apologies. I did not realize you were waiting for me.”
    The Count arched an eyebrow, seemingly feigning surprise; though when he spoke, his words were anything but startled. “I have eagerly anticipated it.” A deaf man could have heard the threat in his voice.
    The game was up. Realizing that subterfuge had failed, Ruan decided for boldness. “It is unlawful for you to hold your daughter prisoner, count. She has been summoned by the Prince, and must therefore go.”
    “She is not the Prince’s daughter,” the Count said, drawing his sword. “She is mine.”
    Ruan drew his own blade and prepared to die.

  41. C.K. Heartwing says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    I pushed that thought aside and strode forward. Instinctively, my hand gripped my sword’s hilt as a means to anchor myself to reality. Inside me my soul warred.

    What was I doing? The thought was quick–feverish, even. Brynmor. It was my real name; it was who I was. Tyrant Incarus’s feared second-in-command. From a blow to the head that I still could not recall, I had forgotten all of the horrors I had endured and even more, all of the horrors I had inflicted. My past had vanished from my recollection like dust upon a wayward breeze. If only it hadn’t returned.

    What am I doing? The question flashed through my mind again, this time with more urgency.

    I am doing what is right. What I should have done years ago. The voice was still mine, but more assured. Gallow. The name I had come to be known by for the past three months. The name that came from the method of execution that had been planned for me. I almost wished it was my true name. That I was truly Gallow, a man who found the courage to fight for what was right.

    The distance between the guard and myself grew shorter and shorter. It was time to right the wrongs I had committed. The distance between the guard and I vanished into nothingness. It was my fault that the warriors who had stood up to Incarus’s cruelty were now imprisoned. I would set them free.

    Or I would die trying.

  42. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. I smiled sweetly as I entered the dungeon, carrying a plate of food for the prisoner. The guard nodded a brief greeting, recognizing me as a kitchenhand.

    My dress had specks from cutting up meat, and my hands callus from a life of hard work.
    I followed the guard down the dim passageway to a wooden door with iron bars in place of a window. The guard took the soup and bread off my tray and slid it into the cell through a slot in the door.

    Looking curious, I glanced through the bars of the door, trying to see inside. A dirty, raggedy man sat quietly in the middle of the floor, his eyes closed. He took no notice of the food.

    “Last meal,” laughed the guard. “Vegetable soup. They won’t waste meat on you.”
    The prisoner did not response.

    “There is much talk about him.” I raised my voice slightly. “They say he does not even fear death. That he believes in a god for more powerful than ours and will take his followers to paradise.”

    For the first time, the prisoner opened his eyes and looked silently in my direction. His peaceful eyes held me. Strength seemed to flow from him into me.

    Again the guard laughed. “Idly chatter. Take no stock in it. Can you go to a temple and see his god? Touch this mysterious being? No statues exist of it.”

    Trying to be as brave as the prisoner, I said, “Still, his words have stirred others. They speak of his courage, his wisdom.”

    “Be careful, woman,” warned the guard. “Spread his lies and you could be the next one waiting death.”

    I nodded meekly, giving the prisoner one finally glance—and a secret smile which the guard missed due to my long hair.

  43. Evan Brandt says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. This thought repeated in Tardan’s mind as he strode down the brightly lit corridor. If only Tardan knew what he was planning. All he knew was that he had to get to Pharon; the humans had no idea what was coming.

    The guard came to attention as Tardan approached, “What are you doing down here StoneSmith? Shouldn’t you be at the gathering?”

    The gathering was the last public appearance of Melim, their king, before he died. Tardan would have been there, but these corridors would only be empty for so long.

    Tardan donned a sheepish expression. “ I forgot my Weddingstone in one of the dropships.”

    The guard frowned, “The dropships haven’t been used for deployment in a thousand years. Besides, these ones are new.”

    Tardan grinned, “Funny story, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.”

    The guard’s expression darkened. “Don’t move. I’m calling my superior.”

    Tardan sighed, “I was hoping to avoid this. Sorry pal.” Tardan flicked his hand downward. A tile of stone launched from the ceiling and landed on the guard’s head, rendering him unconscious. Tardan strode through the door and into the hangar.

    The hangar was a great featureless cavern; utilitarian and boring. Tardan selected a dropship at random and climbed in, hoping that he would be able to fly one after so long. After a moment of panic involving random button-pressing, the engines started. Tardan breathed a sigh of relief and lifted off.

    It wasn’t long before the communications panel displayed a warning: cease or be destroyed. Tardan pushed the engines into full power, he had to get to Pharon and he wouldn’t let being shot down stop him.

  44. Abigail Falanga says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.
    A terrible risk.
    “Worth it!” I muttered.
    “What’s that?” asked one of the others.
    “Nothing,” I replied, hopeless as everyone else. Nothing – yet.
    But soon… If it worked. If I could pull it off.
    I had to. It was worth the risk. The situation couldn’t get worse. I couldn’t shake from my vision the desolate dwellings, gaunt faces of women, silent children without laughter or play or even complaint of hunger and fear.
    It had gone on long enough.
    The marauders swept through regularly, taking our sustenance, whatever caught their attention, until nothing was left. For years it had been so, until we expected it, as if this was life. Sun, sand, sword…
    And still, no one dared rise and stop it. We were strong enough – we of the Sons of the Right Hand. But resistance met death.
    But… If the head of the marauders was destroyed, the rest would crumble.
    And I had a secret I had at last determined to use.
    The guard glanced us over, disdainful of the ragged men with cloaks draped away from our left hip to show we carried no weapon.
    Then he nodded, sneered, let us enter.
    “Tribute, lord,” I said.
    The marauder chieftain was a revolting mountain of fat, like a leech sated on blood. He smiled, as if kindly accepting an offering that would keep his hordes off. It never did.
    We laid the tribute at his feet, bowed, and withdrew.
    All but me.
    “I have a private message, lord.”
    A bribe – that’s what he thought. “Very well, remain,” he said, motioning his attendants off, and asked indolently: “What is your name, and what is this message?”
    “My name is Ehud, lord,” I said. “This is my message:” and reached my dominant left hand to the sword hidden under my cloak.

  45. Penelope Laird says:

    The prompt inspired me to write a song:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning
    He noticed my beauty, but not my prudence my faith and my understanding

    Hear, O hear me, father
    Creator of the waters
    Your sons and your daughters are thirsty
    I beg you to wet our lips

    I am Judith
    Just Judith
    I don’t need a last name
    My tribe and your tribe
    Remember my fame
    I know when to party
    I know when to pray

    Hear, O hear me, father
    Creator of the waters
    Your sons and your daughters are thirsty
    I beg you to wet our lips

    Foolish mortals
    You think you’re smart
    You can’t read people’s minds and hearts
    But you think you can read God’s
    You think you can test him
    But what are the odds?

    Don’t put God to the test
    Make a humble request
    And be willing to work for it
    Carpe diem et ora et labora

    Hear, O hear me, father
    Creator of the waters
    Your sons and your daughters are thirsty
    I beg you to wet our lips

    War, huh, what’s it good for?
    Cleopatra can lose it
    Joan can win it
    Helen can start it
    And I can finish it

    Give me strength this day, O Lord God of Israel!

    The enemy’s dead
    He drank more wine last night
    Than before in his life
    And I cut off his head
    With his sword

    Hear, O hear me, father
    Creator of the waters
    Your sons and your daughters are thirsty no more
    Because you (have) wet our lips

  46. Timothy Hicks says:

    It’s almost that time of year, so I thought this story would be fun.

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

    It’s not like I was going to check out a time machine and kidnap Saint Valentine. At least not for good. I only needed his help for a couple of hours.

    See, my fiance, Alissandra, was still mad about that little misunderstanding last Christmas. How was I to know a partridge in a pear tree was just a song, not a request? Have you ever tried to get a live partridge to sit still in a pear tree for any length of time? And the carpet? Well, I’ll just say the cleaning bill was a bit more than expected.

    Any way, this Valentine Day I plan to outdo myself. What girlfriend, or fiance, could say no to their very own Saint Valentine Card from St. Valentine himself? Actually, it might be a Valentine Scroll. But it’s the thought that counts? Right?

    “Toric Coupler engaged,” intoned my console. “Input spatial-temporal coordinates.”
    When was Saint Valentine around? A quick web search, and I was off to Terni, Italy around 269 A.D. with my Valentine scroll tightly clasped in hand.

    The transport door opened onto a brilliant Italian landscape. Rocky hillsides gave way to the deep greens and reds of vineyard rows. I started downhill, whistling Valentine’s Day by some famous last century artist named David Bowie.

    A man approached and slowed. I waved him over and asked in my best AI-assisted Latin, Qua Sancti Valentini vivit (Do you know where Saint Valentine lives?).

    He scratched his head. “Huh?”

    I understood that one without my AI Translator’s help and nodded my thanks.

    Two hills later I saw my first building. A sign outside displayed the ichthus fish symbol. Seemed like a good place to start.

    I knocked on a door. An older man in homespun weave answered.

    “Qua Sancti Valentini vivit?” I asked.

    “Interius.” He motioned my inside. “Valentini.” He patted his chest.

    “Great! I wonder if you might help me, Mr. Valentine.” I held out the scroll as my AI translator communicated my needs.
    Back inside the temporal transport, I pressed the home button.
    “Alissandra will love this. Best Valentine gift ever!” I smiled deeply, hugging the scroll tight against my chest. “That’s one holiday taken care of. Let’s see, Christmas is only ten months away. Plenty of time to choose her gift.”

    Now, I wonder when Saint Nicholas lived?  

  47. The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning. Fortunately for him, he didn’t read minds. Unfortunately for the ball’s guests, I did.
    “Your identification, please,” the guard said.
    I held out my ID, well, not mine. I’d stolen it off Violet Willson’s body after I killed her. After coloring my hair black, I looked enough like her to pass.
    The guard examined my face, then my ID, his thoughts on getting home to his kids, not on his job. He handed the ID back. “Have fun.”
    I strode past him, my black dress billowing.
    Inside the ball, politicians and corporation owners danced. A normal person would’ve seen a pretty scene with sparkling dresses and sharp tuxedos, but I felt the blackness of evil seething in the room. There were only a couple of the elite types who had any decency, plus a few of the bodyguards. I hated guards. They were often innocent, unlike the scum they guarded. I’d have to avoid killing them, which made my work harder.
    I strode to the center of the ballroom, as far away from the security as I could get, then I took in a deep breath. My fingernails elongated into claws, and fur sprouted from my body. The black dress split at the seams as my body grew, turning into a giant cat-like monster. With it came the instinct to hunt, the instinct to kill, but more than that, I saw the evil oozing from the finely dressed scum. They were more monstrous than I’d ever be. They screamed and ran, like the pathetic prey they were. I leaped into the fray, my claws extended. Tonight, evil would die by my fangs.

    • June Bruce says:

      Very much like the setting and am intrigued at the transformation that’s taking place. I like the original plot line too.?

      • Thanks! I keep wondering, would a person who could read minds have an extreme amount of empathy, or would she be likely to start killing people because she knew they were evil? I decided to try writing about that, and turn her into a giant cat monster as well.

  48. Elizabeth Hinkle says:

    Oh BOY I’m cutting it close, but! Here we go! 😀 I hope y’all like it :3

    *The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I had planned. He’d also probably try to have me killed, but it’s not like that was possible.

    *Step 1: Enter Compound…*

    I slid through the latest in inescapable-prison-walls technology like an unstoppable harbinger of death and stepped inside the compound, staring at the swarm of unknowing prisoners and guards alike.

    According to my implant, inside of the prison was cold, but I couldn’t feel it any more than the deadly radiation that was slowly eating away at my flesh.

    *Step 2: Find Cell 1094…*

    Swallowing back the bile and the hundred different things I wanted to scream, I stepped away from the horde of the violators and slipped through the inner compound doors and, silent as the grave, the weight of a billion lives pressed against my throat like a knife.
    The hallway faded away into nothing as a single number glared through the infinite lines of cells.


    *Step 3: Execute Rebel Leader…*

    My dual rows of teeth felt like glass and splinters as my jaw clenched, my now-black blood pounding in my ears and my eyes burning into the digital cell number embedded in the pristine wall.

    Hearts in my throat, I forced my frozen legs to move.

    She sat in her cell, back rigid and jaw set. Her eyes burned with the fire of a plan.

    I took out the syringe and held it in her neck, the half-real needle phasing through her veins as though it weren’t real.

    I deactivated my cloak.

    She collapsed without a sound.

    I caught her as she fell and clutched her head to my chest, entire body shuddering as tears dripped off my chin in an endless stream I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.

    *Oh nebulas,* The distant sound of guards and screams and alarms blearily penetrated my wretching sobs. *Why you?* *

  49. viji sol says:

    The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning, my mind whispered. I was a girl from the town called shabby where every one was isolated because people there were born dirt coated, a dirt that can’t be removed . There bodies were filthy and smelly. Even the nails and hair was dripping drops of mire. People who gazed at us moved aside with a frown on their face. We were hopeless. That is when I heard this good news from a sister called grace who saw me by the streets. She whispered zealously that there is a life giving spring inside the King’s palace that could wash me off all my dirt for good. Oh ! How My heart leaped for joy hearing that life giving news !! Tears of hope streaming down I ran to the the gate hoping to enter the golden gate of the King’s palace.

    As I was planning to somehow sneak through the gate, I felt a touch so warm over my cold shoulders. My head turned, in wonder !! Is somebody really touching me ? I murmured in shock .

    It was the King. Yes he really did touch me, held me by my face, kissed me on my head and swept me off my feet . Before I knew, I was being carried gossamer like a feather towards the spring. And there, he washed me, washed me pure, pure as snow and called me his own and crowned me . My heart was fluttering in joy, my eyes raining with hope , but my feet was leaping high towards the dirty town. The guard stopped me, you don’t have to go there you know ! You belong here now, in this beautiful palace.
    But I said , Yes sir ! And that is exactly why

    I have to go ! I have to tell the people in shabby town about this sweet spring that could clean them. I have to bring them here !

    I have to go !!
    I have to go !!

    • Ann Milo says:

      Really good! 🙂 I like the example of being born with dirtiness that’s not able to be washed off, but then being washed in the spring inside the King’s palace and being made “whiter than snow”. Keep up the good work!

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