Friday, March 17, 2023

Memories of Goldfish Drabble


Brighttail swept closer, his tail brushing against her side.  Goldie hoped her scales were clean and bright.

"Let's build a place of our own," Brighttail said.  Goldie gulped, but before she could say anything, a face, huge and scary, appeared at the barrier.

They darted in different directions.

Goldie wandered for a bit, but she returned later.

"Hello, pretty." Brighttail swept closer, and his tail brushed against her side.  Goldie hoped her scales were clean and bright.

"Let's build a place of our own," Redtail said.  Goldie gulped, but before she could say anything,  food dropped from the heavens.


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Flash Fiction #553 -- The Stray Drabble


The people on the corner tossed pieces of fish to her.  Nice family, but the kids played too rough.

The old man at the apartment brought a bowl of cat food and talked about the cats he'd known.  She stayed until he was safely inside.

She mewed  at the next door until it opened.

"You are going to starve if you keep sneaking out.  Come on.  I'll get you dinner and see if I can fix the collar so you can't get it off again."

Not likely, Callie thought as she settled in for her third meal of the night.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Flash Fiction #552 --Dragon Song Drabble


The great Jade Dragon lifted his head and looked about the mountains.  His voice rose to welcome spring --- the snow melting, flowers raising their dainty heads, and sleepy hedgehogs ready for their first meal of the year.

On a peak nearby, Ruby Dragon joined in the song, her sweet voice calling forth the spring birds. Sapphire joined next, promising soft breezes and gentle rains for the season to come.

In the valley between the peaks, the human's stopped their work and ran in terror for the cover of their huts.  The dragons were awake!  They never listened to the songs.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Flash Fiction #551/Buffy the Pirate/7 (End)


The storm tried to blow her off course, but Serena could see the dock and fishing ships, vague shapes in the rainy distance. Before too long, she couldn't hear the battle on the boats behind her -- but what she had heard already echoed in her mind. She wanted Captain Vane and Tonis, and the others to be safe.

It was a harrowing flight, especially while holding Buffy and afraid she might drop the cat. Buffy had stopped trembling, though, and she was turning her head to look for trouble.  

They sailed over the dock. Home was straight ahead and up the hill, but Serena spotted people behind the fish house near the pier. She swept that way, hoping her mother was with that group. She landed, startling the entire group, many of whom held weapons.

"Is mom here?" Serena asked, gasping a bit.

"Not here," someone said. "Get out of the way, girl. This is no place for you and that silly cat --"

Serena started to say something to Jules, a pretentious young man not much older than her. Then she shook her head.

"I don't have time for this childishness," she said and meant those words. It gave her an odd feeling. She'd grown up on the last day. "Is mom up at the house?"

"Most likely down here somewhere," Mary said. She had an old sword in hand. "We won't let them raid us!"

"The first ship isn't the enemy -- the second ship is, and I am not sure about the third --"

Everyone looked at her as though she had gone mad. She was about to say more, but Mary and Jules shouted and pointed to the dock.

Two ships were almost there.

"Don't let any of them off!" Jules shouted. "Kill them all!"

"Don't kill anyone!" Serena shouted in return. The others were already moving, though, and no one listened to her.

Serena made a sound too much like a mad cat. She ran and took to the air, thinking she would go to the house -- but no. She spun and headed back to Vane's ship.

"Hey," Buffy said and sounded a little more aware.

"I don't know where Mom is," Serena said. She saw people moving but couldn't make out shapes in the rain. "I have to stop them from hurting Vane's crew."

Buffy made a sound of agreement. Serena considered putting her down on a roof but feared the cat might get hurt again, and she was no trouble to carry.

"Mom!" Serena shouted. "Stop them!"

She thought she heard a shout that might have been her mother, but she didn't have time to search for her. Instead, she landed on the dock, almost slipping into the water --but she held her spot and stopped the onrush of trouble.

"Get out of the way!" Jules demanded and even brought up his sword.

Then mom arrived and saved her from many angry villagers who didn't want to listen to a child, as she heard them say. Serena quickly related the situation, and by then, the battle between the three ships had died down to a few shouts and curses.

"I don't know if it is the truth about Vane, but I didn't want to make a big mistake we couldn't repair," Serena explained.

Mom nodded. Then she looked surprised as someone walked up behind Serena. She looked back to find Vane there, and he looked more than battered as he limped past her and gave her mother a bow.

"Lidana," Vane said. "I am glad to see you again."

Serena frowned. Not many people called her mother by name.

"Vantage Cross. I should have known," Mom answered with a bright smile.

Vane -- Vantage? -- bowed to her ... and just kept going. Mom barely caught him before he fell face down on the dock.

"As melodramatic as ever," Mom said and carefully lowered him. "Lucky I have my healing spells with me. Are you two alright? Buffy?"

"I hurt my wing. I can't fly!"  She began to shiver again and made one soft mew as she moved.

Mom had already spread glowing magic over Vane's side. She stood and did the same for Buffy, and the cat began to purr before she was done.

"Thank you, mom," Serena said, holding tighter to the cat. "But who is he?"

Mom looked down. "Get up, Vantage. I know you are awake."

He opened one eye. "I had hoped to avoid this part."

She reached and took his hand and helped him up. A little magic sparked between their fingers. She gave Serena an odd smile. "Serena, this is Vantage Cross, cousin to the King ... and your father."

Buffy and Serena stared.

"We married at court and moved away," Vantage said, nervously picking up the story. "But I am a rarity in the royal family -- a mage with more than a little power. For the last fifteen years, there has been trouble the king felt only I could handle. Like this."

"My father," Serena said. Then another thought. "Why did I never ask? A spell?"

Mom nodded. "It was the best way to keep you out of danger, given your blood ties to the king."

Serena sat down on the ground. Buffy fell over.

"Your mother and I see each other at least once a year at the gatherings she attends. I hope for more time together now that you know. When you were younger and showing your first powers, we agreed it was unsafe for you to turn up in my company. It's gotten better now. You will have to come and visit me at court."

"Me. At court."  Serena glanced back at the ships. Piracy didn't sound so bad.

"And me, too!" Buffy all but bounced up and down. "I want to go to court!"

"Do you promise to behave?" Vane -- Dad -- asked.

"Of course!" Buffy replied. She even smiled.

All three of them took a step away.

Cats should never smile...


Friday, February 17, 2023

Flash Fiction #550 -- Buffy the Pirate/6

 Buffy and Serena wanted to fly ahead and warn the others not to attack, but there were a couple of problems.  

First was the weather, which was getting worse. Neither of them wanted to end up in the ocean.

Serena admitted a second problem, but only to herself. Her mother was the only one who might believe the story. She might not get to her fast enough to stop the others. Once they were at the dock, Serena could send Buffy while she stayed and hoped to hold back the others.
If they made it that far. Vane went up to check on the other ship. Serena picked up Buffy and followed. Vane started to turn back, and she felt he was going to order the two back -- but for whatever reason, he changed his mind.

The storm had died down somewhat, and the ocean wasn't quite as choppy. Half the crew was hard at work running the ship while the others were taking swords from the chest and hurrying to posts where they could see the enemy.
Vane took a sword, and Serena just held to Buffy and followed him to the rail and stared past into the gray, wet world -- and there it was for a moment -- something huge and fast closing in on them.
"Can you fly?" Vane asked.
"I don't know. The weather isn't good," Serena admitted, as much as she wanted to leap into the air and somehow get help.
"Don't go unless you have to. Both of you. But if things turn bad, go quickly. We aren't far from Bay Village. You can do it."
Serena found it odd that he worried so much about the two of them. He did turn his attention to other work now, though. Serena and Buffy kept watch on the ship.
"I have a little magic," Serena said softly. "Mom says I'll start getting more magic soon. Why can't I have the power to help now?"
"We'll do something," Buffy said. She twisted a little, looking up at the storm.
"Careful!" Serena warned. "You're all wet and slick -- Buffy!"
The cat slipped out of her hold and tried to spread her wings but hit one on the rail. With a yowl of pain, she tumbled into the water.
Serena leapt in after her.
She saw the little body surface once, paddling and sinking again. And then Serena hit the water. Cold water. She almost panicked, but she saw Buffy in the water not far away. It didn't take much to grab her and get back to the surface, although she didn't know what to do now --
Captain Vane landed in the water, making a big splash and wave but grabbing Serena by the arm. There was a bit of magic in his touch, reminding her that he did have magic of his own.  

"Buffy -- save her --"

"I have you both," Vane said. Magic wrapped around them. They moved toward the ship where the others lowered a net. How could she hold Buffy and climb?

Buffy shivered in her hold and mewed softly. Her eyes remained closed. Serena held her closer and reached for the net as Vane brought them to the ship.

"Hold on tight," he said, gasping slightly. "They'll pull us up."

The magic still embraced Serena and kept her from falling, but she obeyed and held on anyway. The net began to move upward, and she could hear the grunts of the men pulling them upward. Captain Vane's magic began to fail as they neared the top, and Serena worried as much about him as she did about Buffy.

Tonis took Buffy gently from her hold, and someone else pulled her up and back onto the deck. Vane did the same and gave her a wane smile.

"We couldn't be wetter in this weather. How does Buffy look, Tonis?"

"Better," he said. "I have wrapped up her wing --"

"Serena, can you hold her and fly if you need to?"

"Yes," she said and took the cat into her arms. Tonis had wrapped a scarf around Buffy, pinning her wings into place. Buffy shivered still, but her eyes blinked open, and she shifted slightly. "Be still. Mom will help you when we get there."

"Be ready to fly," Vane told her.

And then he rushed into battle.

Two groups of pirates fighting proved to be far more scary than Serena had ever imagined. She was glad when Tonis pointed to where she should hide for now.

"They have bows," Tonis warned as he helped her behind some rolls of rope and tarps. "They have bows, so if you fly, stay low to the water. Be careful."

Serena wanted to ask why they were so worried about her, but Tonis rushed away, and she feared she heard the trouble coming closer.

"I want to go home now," Buffy whispered. She still shivered. "It's not fun anymore."

Serena agreed, but they both fell silent as the fighting moved within a yard of them. Serena crouched down and protected Buffy as best she could.

The clash of steel and shouts grew louder and then retreated again. The sounds changed, though. In a moment, Vane appeared. He had a cut on his side, but it didn't slow him.

"I can see the village dock," he said as he offered his hand. "Go quickly and let the good people know that we are not the enemy. The second ship is the last of the real marauders. The third ship --"

"Third?" Serena asked as they moved to the railing.

"I think it is my ally, but I can't tell in this storm. So go quickly."  He helped her unhook the cape over her wings. "Be careful."

He lifted her up on the rail, and she held tighter to Buffy. The wind was rough, but as soon as she spread her wings, it lifted her from the ship, and she had no choice but to fly.

And fast with trouble following close behind them...