Our own personal fairytale

Day 16: Remember
No Novel November 2019

Illustration of a giant dragon breathing fire on a lone knight - Firebreath by drachenmagier via Deviant Art

“Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince. Being the eldest son, it was vital that he marry quickly and well. Other rulers offered their most beautiful daughters as a match, but he turned them all away. His parents began to worry. Would he be eligible to wear the crown when the time came?

“The search was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a dragon. Every knight volunteered, but the prince shouted them down. There had been a prophecy: His future bride waited in the clutches of the dragon. He would go alone or never marry, allowing the kingdom to fall into ruin.

“What choice did they have? He set out on the eve of the harvest moon, the ring of destiny in his ears.

“But when the prince arrived at the watchtower by the sea, he found no wyrmling but a gargantuan beast. It fell upon him with claws and teeth and flame as he retreated into the surf. Hemmed in by death, the prince marshaled his courage for what he hoped would be a fatal blow.

“But before he could strike, the dragon let out an unearthly scream and fell dead in the sand.

“A girl wielding a bloody sword emerged from behind the carcass. She thanked him for his distraction and offered to take him home since his horse had been eaten.

“They’ve been together ever since.”

The queen gripped the king’s hand as another spasm shook his failing body.

“I remember,” he whispered.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here. 

Think mystical thoughts

Day 15: Guess
No Novel November 2019

Madam ZuZu’s Psychic Pservices isn’t her full-time gig. She spends her days answering phones for a local telecom, rushes home to scarf down a Hot Pocket, then Ubers to her downtown storefront just in time for the bars to start swinging.

She’s barely wrapped her turban when the doorbell jangles. It’s a blonde guy, maybe 25, with sad eyes, no ring, knockoff shoes, and stone cold sober—the worst kind of customer.

“Welcome, stranger,” she says, pitching her voice low. He starts to speak, but she rushes on, “Yes, of course I can tell you about her. Come.”

Blondie’s eyes widen, but he obediently sits down across from her at the “crystal” ball.  

She stretches her fingers out and grimaces as if in pain. Then with a sudden, indecent moan, she says, “You will meet a tall, dark stranger. She will sweep you off your feet. It will be soon.”

It’s the most obvious, bogus cliché, but his excitement is real. Dude is desperate.

With heart-shaped sparkles in his eyes, Blondie puts $100 in her hand, then steps out into the neon-lit night.

Where he’s knocked down by a brunette blur in a short skirt and high heels.

“Oh my god, are you okay?” the young woman exclaims, helping him up.

Madame ZuZu watches as the two laugh apologies until it turns into a date at the wine bar next door. She shakes her head, smiling to herself. Even a phony psychic gets it right once in a while.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here. 

More precious than gold

Day 14: Jewel
No Novel November 2019

Tall wizard tower in the forest painting - rapunzels tower by crazycolleeny

“This is not what we signed up for.”

“What do we do now?”

“I’m trading it for gold anyway.”

The three dwarves huddled in a far corner of the creaking turret, heads together, voices low. After a month on the road battling orcs, bugbears, and a particularly vicious shrubbery, they’d found what they were looking for.


It was supposed to be a simple quest: a standard B&E with a smidge of larceny. Not even the paladin had complained. Sure, taking out the wizard at the top of the tower had been tricky, what with the moat and no doors and all, but a lucky shot from the rogue had fixed that. When it came to transporting the loot, though, there were no good options.

“We could just leave it.”

“And risk someone else taking it? No.”

“Okay, then, Mister Charisma, you deal with this.”

“Fine, I will.”

The bard turned back to the center of the room where their treasure waited. The Jewel of Elrovius, prized for its rare magic, sold from buyer to buyer over the past year, stolen by this (ex)dark elf wizard, and sought for a handsome reward by its previous owner. He winced to look at it. So small, so dangerous.

Getting down on his knees, he addressed the Jewel directly.

“Did he hurt you?” he asked in the girl’s human language. She shook her head, bouncing shabby curls. “Good.”

“Are you taking me back to…him?” she whispered.

“No, dear. We will take you home.”

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here. 

The rager of the gods

Day 13: Envy
No Novel November 2019

Two green beer bottles in a bucket of ice via WallPaperFlare.com

Shots! Shots! Shots!

The gods sat in a circle around a bucket filled with ice and unlabeled bottles. With Hera away for the weekend, Olympus had become the site of an epic rager, complete with a dance floor and a mountain of ambrosia pizzas. Most of the younger deities had already passed out, but a handful of stalwarts remained.

There were three potions left, identical except for effect. Lust had sent Hephaestus and four demigods for a different kind of party; Wrath took Artemis and Aphrodite to the backyard; Poseidon was working off Gluttony in the kitchen; and Hermes had a Sloth aura that made them all sleepy.

Athena scrutinized the bottles. No matter what she drew, it was guaranteed regret in the morning. But what the Hades—what happens on Olympus stays on Olympus, right?

She grabbed one and knocked it back. The taste made her cough, acrid and sharp, and when she opened her eyes again, the world was bathed in green light.

She waited to see what else would happen. But as seconds passed, she realized that while she felt no different, the eyes of her friends had turned baleful and cold. Desire mixed with hatred.

No one said anything. They just stood up and left, one by one.

Athena sat alone on the throne room floor wiping away bitter tears. The effect was only temporary, she knew, but the ache, the isolation, the emptiness—the sting of envy—was all too real.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you’d like to know more and/or join in, click here.

Signing off

Day 12: Test
No Novel November 2019

Remixed 1940s TV test pattern black and white - TV test pattern by btnkdrms via Deviant Art

I don’t know how the argument started, just that it started in the middle of my favorite show and went on way, way too long. One minute we were cuddled up on the sofa, bodies softly conforming to each other, breathing and hearts synchronized; then somehow it was three hours later, and we were at opposite ends, balled up in individual protective shells.

Maybe it was because I cried when the wife wound up back in the kitchen after her “kooky scheme” to be a jazz musician failed. Maybe it was because I laughed too hard when the husband’s prized Chevy was crushed by a falling piano.

Whatever it was turned our romantic comedy into a soap opera. There were dramatic monologues, significant pauses, impassioned pleas, artful tears—all reaching a shrill crescendo, then fade to black.

I waited until the end of the anthem before I looked up with breath drawn for another try. But all I saw was the test pattern reflected in his eyes. Perfectly blank grey and black circles.

That’s when I knew it was time to leave. That’s when I knew that nothing worth staying for would be broadcast on his channel ever again.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here.