Posted in Character Stories


“Why can’t you ever pick someone normal?”

Pulling my hood further over my head, I hiss my reply to Tiffany. “I fell in love with him the first time he spoke.”

Seated next to me on the church roof, she goes back to picking her fingernails with one of the twenty knives stashed on her body. “Yeah. When you thought he was a poet. You can’t be in love with the prince who just signed our death warrants.”

She’s not wrong. I’ve already gone and over thought this a hundred times since he was escorted out of the pub last night by the royal guard. My plan had been to break him out of jail. I was quite surprised to find that he knew them personally and merely got a slap on the wrist for being out past curfew. There are others who didn’t make it out of the pub with their lives. 

King Richmond decreed the curfew two months ago to keep ruffians from organizing within the city limits. Ruffians. The word always makes me snort. He seems to think that wearing a gold crown can stop the rest of us from doing what it takes to make a simple living or have a drink to take the edge off of the endless monotony of working until we die. 

From our position behind two stone gargoyles, I can just barely make out the prince’s blond hair. It looked silky in the dim glow of the stage candles last night. Today, he barely looks at the crowd formed at his feet. His voice trembles as he reads the words scrawled onto the scroll in his hands. 

His heart isn’t in it. Not in the way he proudly enunciated each syllable of his poems last night. He memorized those words. He cared to pause and let the audience drink in the meaning before continuing to the next stanza. Once, his blue eyes caught on me and he stuttered. 

He felt it, too. 

I just know it. 

There’s a thread knotted around my rib that ties me to Prince Castyl Richmond. 

“If you don’t shut your mouth, your tongue is going to dry out.”

I snap my jaw closed. Tiffany is a good friend. She’s a better bodyguard. I’m going to have to lose her if I want any chance of getting close to the prince. 

“Whatever you’re thinking is stupid. Just drop it,” she growls from her spot, those amber eyes watching me squirm. 

I gesture towards her as rudely as possible, my left hand thrown in her direction while my gaze stays pasted onto the prince. From the corner of my eye, I see her stick her tongue at me, the silver ball pierced through it catching the moonlight. Tiffany is a good person. She has her life in order, her moral code intact, and no unjustified love interests. She’s the backbone of her clan and in charge of making sure I don’t get into anything too difficult. 

Like a relationship with the son of the man who wants us dead. 

Gods. I let my temple rest on the stone gargoyle. I can’t help it. There’s…something about him. 

Those cheekbones. The way he rolls his words. That bit of electricity that restarts my heart when he looks in my direction. 

Like he is…right now. 

Tiffany grabs my arm, tugging me down at she hisses a curse. Bad. Nobody was supposed to see us. There’s a yell from the ground level. 

“We have to go now.”

I shrug out of her hold, her sharpened nails sticking to the leather of my jacket. “You have to go.”

Her teeth lengthen as she shakes her head at me. “Non-negotiable, Quinn.”

It’s really difficult being accepted into a group of werewolves. Every argument pretty much spirals into long teeth and longer claws and a lot of saliva. I know she has a job to do. I know my place in their pack as the only mage makes me important. Nobody else can replace the wards and ensure the clan’s safety. 

There’s just something that I need to do and I don’t think getting caught by the guards would be a bad thing. 

“Let me go, Tiff.” 

She’s pulling, her brute strength enough to haul me off my ass. “We’re leaving.”

There’s more yelling from down below. I think they’ve called the archers. 

I take a deep breath and pull my ring out of my pocket, the magic stone set into it glowing red as it hums to the power flowing through my veins. “I’m not going to tell you again. You go.”

Somebody demands that we put our hands up. Tiffany is growling. I don’t really have much of a choice, do I?

It’s complicated magic to create a portal. Lucky for me, I had time before the prince’s performance and I already set everything up while Tiffany scouted our spot. It’s basically the first rule of life to come to everything with a back-up plan. 

Grabbing Tiffany’s hand, I thrust her towards the circle I created in the dirt. It’s a one stop spell. Unfortunately, she’s aware of how magic works. 

The wolf grabs a handkerchief from her pocket and shoves it into my mouth while we wrestle in the circle. “You cannot be serious right now.” 

I roll my eyes at her. Oh, I’m serious. Seriously going to meet that prince. It’s my fate. I can feel it in my bones. 

Tiffany doesn’t believe in fate or love or basically anything besides what she can do with her own hands. I don’t regret it when I stomp my heel into her foot. There’s a crunch. I wore my heaviest boots on purpose. 

Cursing, she lets me go long enough for me to stagger back while I rip the fabric out of my mouth. The magic flares to life, a red light filling in the circle. I yell my spell. Tiffany is there. She’s howling and lunging at me. Then, she’s not. 

I’ll be paying for that when I make it home. 

If I get to go home.

I walk past the scorch mark left on the roof with my hands over my head. There are indeed several archers pointing very sharp arrows up towards me. The prince is looking up here, too. 

I think my heart might explode. 

“State your business, vagrant.”

Damn. I forgot how gruff the guards could be. It’s been a whole year since I last took up a cell in a dungeon.

“I just want to talk to you,” I say, clearly and calmly, my gaze never wavering from the prince. 

There’s a question on his tongue. I don’t hear it, though. An arrow whizzes through the air. I move too late. 

Fire burns through my shoulder as I topple forward. Blood drenches my coat. The gargoyle’s wing slips through my fingertips. 

The ground is coming fast. I shut my eyes. I suppose my death will at least linger in the prince’s memory for a moment. 

Something stops my fall, though. The wind. A strong gust. I open my eyes. 

Magic is very forbidden. It’s bad enough that I have magic in my veins. It’s going to be a much bigger problem that the only person here with their hand outstretched is the prince. 

Prince Castyl Richmond just saved my life. 

And put his own on the line. 

I shut my eyes again as I gently drop to the ground and the guards start to converge.

If we make it through this, we’re going to have the most epic love story.

Author’s Note

Happy Saturday! Thank you for reading this short story. I got the dialogue prompt off of Pinterest and just ran with the idea of a character falling in love with someone based off of the first words they said.

Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Posted in Character Stories

The Royal Bodyguard

“Would it kill you to relax?” 

The princess has a problem with quietly sitting in a room. I’ve tried giving her books and scrolls full of vivid pictures for her amusement, but nothing seems to deter the unwavering focus her lavender eyes seem to have on me. 

“Probably,” I murmur, my hands busy polishing the knife in my lap. “It would likely get you killed, too. Your parents are paying a hefty sum to keep your head on your shoulders.”

She sticks her tongue at me. I don’t respond. This is our nightly battle. Princess Iryna is a handful during the day, but she’s mostly occupied with her daily duties of patrolling the estate grounds, tasting different sweets from the kitchens, and pestering the few servants that were shipped out here to stay with us while the war wages back home. 

At night, she’s locked in a tower with me. No windows. One door that’s barricaded with a magic spell and a bookcase. It’s my duty to make sure she sees the morning sun once again. 

Clearing her throat, she slides off of the bed and claps her hands. “Make the music play, Cai.”

Cailleach is my name. Iryna is convinced its far too foreign for her tongue to work. I’ve given up trying to get her to refer to me by anything except that pet name. 

Snapping my fingers, the instruments laying on the side of the room jump to life. First, a sweet lilt of violin. A flute pipes in. Some drums are added. The music plays in a circular fashion, the intruments moving in and out of the tune while also spinning off on their own tangents. It’s something otherworldly, something jaunty enough for a tavern, but unheard of by this spoiled woman in silk garbs. 

Twirling in a circle, Iryna hums along to the tune and then holds her hand out to me. “Dance with me.”

I shake my head immediately. “You’re doing fine on your own.”

“We’ve been here for over a month, Cai. Nothing has come to gobble me up. Please,” she bats her eyelashes at me as I sheathe the knife at me side. “Please, just dance with me.”

“If I do,” I start, already regretting my decision to give into her sweet demands, “you have to go to bed after. Guests from other continents are arriving tomorrow and they need to see that you are well. It gives them hope.”

“Hope, hope, hope,” she grumbles, her higher pitched voice pulling at the edges of the word. “I’m more than just a symbol of hope, you know? I’m a person.”

I have to clench my teeth and take a slow breath to keep my eyes from rolling. These royals. They never understand how ridiculous they sound to the rest of us. My grandmother would have given her life to be remembered as a symbol of hope and love and goodness rather than burned as a witch in a world that feared dangerous women. 

That same world has asked for my forgiveness and given me a bratty princess to look after. It seems witches aren’t the worst thing on this planet. A witch that’s good with both magic and swords is an expensive kind of bodyguard that only the wealthiest clients can use. 


Ones that offered to not keep me in the dungeon for the rest of the crimes I committed before settling down with this job. 

“You’re thinking too much and dancing too little,” Iryna prompts, wiggling her fingers in my direction. 

I suppose there’s no making this go away without actually going through the motions. Uncurling from my chair, I stand and run my hands down my clothes. My red cloak is draped over the back of the chair, so I’m just in my undershirt and form-fitting pants. I’d be wearing my boots, too, but the princess has a rule about shoes in the tower, so they’re at the top of the steps on the other side of the blocked door. 

I look frumpy next to the thin woman in pink silk. She seems to float around the middle of the room. If I didn’t know better, I would think she had some magic in her bloodline, too. There’s no other good explanation for how she convinces me to do these things. 

Crossing the room, I hold my hand out to meet hers. Electricity singes my fingertips. It does every time we touch and I try my best not to think too much about it. 

Likely her parents had some other witch put a spell on her physical form. It’s that or… 

Well, I’m very sure she’s not my mate, so we’re going to leave that possibility out of this current equation. 

Spinning for me, Iryna lets out a giggle and then puts her other hand on my shoulder. We’re close. There’s mere centimeters between our chests and hips. The princess leads. She’s the only one here classically trained to do these little dances. 

I follow her moves and watch as the glow of the lamps catch her features. There. Her eyebrow is in a spotlight. It’s perfectly arched at me. 

And then it catches her left cheekbone. I think poets could fill novels with the curve of her cheek and ballads could be written about the flutter of her eyelashes. 

Another ray caresses her throat and I forget for a moment that we’re from separate worlds. 

For now, we’re two women locked in a room and only a breath apart. 

“You look quite pretty tonight, Cai.”

I shake my head. The princess delights in poking fun at my appearance. I always wear the same things. I don’t know how to apply blush with a fuzzy brush. Red lip stain has never blemished my mouth. 

“You are the beautiful one, Iryna.”

And, even if I regret those words in the morning, I mean it. She really is pretty. Pretty beautiful. 

She’s going to say something else. I can practically see the words spinning to life in her mind. Lips pursed, but not yet parted, she waits a moment too long. 

There’s a yell from outside. I drop her hands and step away. 

“So much for taking a night off,” I grumble in her direction as I hurry to fling my cloak over my shoulders. 

“You can’t go out there,” she calls as I start to push away the bookcase.

There’s a rumble vibrating the stones of this tower. Whatever has arrived is big. Too big to leave this part of the estate unscathed. 

“I can’t let it come up here, either.”

Magic skitters just under the surface of my skin. I’m ready. I’ve trained my whole life to do these kinds of things. A knife in one hand, I start to undo the spell blocking this door. 


I don’t answer. I have to keep muttering the words or the whole spell will dissolve in a chaotic fashion that’ll put both of us in more danger than we already are. 

“Promise you’re going to come back.”

It’s not a question. It’s a demand. I stumble over the end of the spell, orange sparks glittering around the doorframe. 

Glancing over my shoulder, I take in her innocent shape now trembling at the foot of the bed. “I haven’t failed you yet, Princess.”

Then, I’m gone. The door is shut and my boots are left behind at the top of the stairs as the stench of malicious magic wafts up towards our spot. It’s time to earn my wage as the princess’ bodyguard.

Author’s Note

Hey, readers!!!!

I was so excited to sit down and write the first short story of 2023! I hope you enjoyed these two and the upcoming troubles in their world. My wonderful editor put a sticky note on this one for a possible future full-length novel, so, if you enjoyed it as well, please say so in the comments below. Your views and words are what keep me coming back to the keyboard every week!

Thanks so much for being here. I’ll definitely be back Wed for our weekly WIP updates. See you then ❤

Posted in Character Stories

A New Orleans Evening

Olivia clears her throat. “Do you think this calls for an apology?”

Never. I shake my head, my gaze flicking between the raspberry mush in the microwave and the body by the fireplace. “He broke into my house.”

Her laugh carries no real merriment as she paces the length of the room, her cloak fluttering around her legs. “It’s kind of his thing, Avery.”

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that. I didn’t freaking believe it. 

There’s nothing I can really do about it now. The chubby, red-suited fool got caught in my bubbling cauldron like it was a snare set out for a much more malicious entity. There was a quick shout and then he hit his head and passed out. 

I’m still learning how to become the matriarch of our coven and now I’m faced with a seemingly impossible situation. Either I finish the spell Santa Claus ruined and tide us over for another year, or I save his life and the benign magic the humans look forward to every December.

There’s no way to choose. 

“I don’t understand why you find this so hard. Send a letter to the North Pole or whatever, tell them they have to find another guy to sit in the sleigh, and use your limited magic to give back to the coven, Ave.”

Olivia is my voice of reason. I called her immediately. She arrived in a burst of purple smoke with wide eyes and a smirk, her feline expression immediately taking in the collapsed form by the fireplace and jumping into new plans. 

In rapid succession, she voiced her ideas. She suggested disposing of the body with a spell containing fireplace soot and a bottle of vinegar. She told me to save my magic and move houses, leaving him here for the New Orleans police to find sometime after the holiday. She even suggested doing nothing and focusing solely on the spell trying to bubble in my caldron, the spell that’ll give magic back to the other witches who depend on the yearly routine to be able to do more than a simple levitation throughout the long months. 

It’s a yearly sacrafice. The magic festered under my skin starting last Monday. It seeped out of the other witches and returned to me, having been my mother’s before her recent passing. I could see pink specks of it color the air as it gathered in my home and infiltrated my body, wriggling under my fingernails and burrowing into my pores. To hold all of this magic is overwhelming. It takes all of my conscious energy to simply stay planted on the ground when all of this mystical dust wants to float me away to the ceiling and then out into the great beyond. 

One witch each year holds the power to change the world and it is our duty to return it to those who dutifully released it to us. 


The microwave dings before I can get any further into thinking about what I’m going to do with ‘ol Saint Nick. Olivia wrinkles her nose as I open it, the tart smell of raspberries overtaking my apartment. 

“I do hope you aren’t planning to share a slice of that. I think it’s burnt.”

I shake my head. “That’s the sage I mixed in. It should wake him up if I hold it under his nose.”

Of course, it doesn’t. Kneeling next to the unconscious man, I wave the raspberries near him. I flap my fingers in his direction. I even conjure a little tornado to specifically carry the smell straight to his nostrils. 

It does nothing. 

Crap and fiddlesticks. Why did he have to come in here? I shouldn’t be on his goddamn list. I don’t celebrate his holiday or look forward to strangers breaking into my apartment. All of the different herbs hanging from the rafters make a point of keeping most malicious entities out of here. Mr. Claus apparently didn’t get the memo. 

Olivia crosses her arms and taps her boot heel to get my attention. “Hey. We only have the duration of the peak of the full moon. You need to finish the spell.”

I know that. I can feel the magic getting jittery along my bones, begging me to put it to good use. My job is to return it, though, not use it. 

Of course, this is a bit of a different circumstance. 

“One spell,” I whisper, so that only I and my unconscious acquaintance can hear. 

Olivia, obviously, isn’t going to go for it, so I make a big deal of crossing the room to check out my mother’s spell book. “Liv, I need you to grab me two canisters of mustard seed.”

“You mean eye of newt?” She teases, rolling her heavily lined eyes at my refusal to use the old lingo for these spells. 

“You know what I want. And grab a bushel of lavender and a sack of honeycomb, too.”

She leaves in a poof. I don’t have much time. 

I toss my spell book to the side. Mom wanted me to be a good witch. She wanted me to focus on my cauldron work and never depend on the yearly dispersal of real magic. We just weren’t that kind of witch, she would say. We’re the kind that depend on nature and its limitless gifts. 

Except, I’m not. 

I’m full of this electrifying power and I know that I saw something in this little black book I picked up at a tavern a few months ago. 

Something to revive. Something to help a body thrive. Something to help him survive. 


The book tingles under my fingerprints, humming as if it too cannot wait for me to pick the right spell and give this magic a whirl. I shouldn’t. Hesitating, I glance again to the red-suited man that this world looks forward to every year. I must. 

Of course, this isn’t entirely my fault. The guy is supposed to check his list twice before jumping into any old chimney. 

I’ll fix him up and send him on his way and, if I’m quick, I’ll still have time to share the magic with the other witches. There’s a whole six minutes left before the window for my spell. They probably won’t even notice the little bit I borrowed for this jolly fellow. 

At least, that’s what I hope as I clear my throat and clearly enunciate the words on the page. I don’t know what language they’re in. Something Latin-based. Not something I recognize, though. Hopefully, I pronounce it closely enough. 

When I’ve seen other witches perform magic, the spell usually starts at their chest, little sparks flaring like fireflies bursting to life around them. Mine, though, doesn’t. It shoots straight out of my extended fingertips. Not yellow, but maroon. 

The magic flies straight for the man on the floor. It sizzles and pops, swirling around his head and then disappearing into his nostrils. 

There’s a long moment in which I think I might have made the situation worse. I can’t see the magic. He’s not moving. Christmas is over and I’m about to be the world’s most hated witch. 

Then, he sucks in a gasp and rolls over to cough up burgundy sparks onto my antique carpet. 


It worked. Now, I just need him on his feet and out before Olivia can try to stop me. 

Crossing the room to him, I hold out a hand as he carefully pushes up to a sitting position. “Sorry about the cauldron. I really wasn’t expecting a visitor.”

He lets out a raspy laugh that sounds too similar to the “ho, ho, ho” he’s known for. “No need to apologize, Avery. It was my mistake.” The guy lets out a hefty breath as I help heave him to his feet and then hold out my hands to steady him. “How may I repay you?”

I shake my head. “Totally unnecessary. Just have a good night and a merry Christmas and get out of here. You’ve got a lot of people to help.”

“There must be something I can do,” he insists, reaching into his pocket to put on some old spectacles. 

Purple mist appears to my left. Out of time. I try to pull Mr. Claus to the door, but he’s not budging. 

Olivia drops the ingredients as her jaw falls open. “You. Did. Not!”

Oh, but I did. This is bad. 

“I can still do the spell. We have,” I glance at my watch, “four minutes. Let’s toss everything in, stir counterclockwise and get this show on the road.”

“You broke the law, Ave. You can’t use magic that isn’t yours. Do you know what will happen if the council finds out?”

I imagine it has something to do with ropes and a mighty hot fire. “The only people who know are you and me and him, so we’re fine. Let’s just do the spell.”

She shakes her head and staggers back a step, her heeled boot thudding heavily on these old floors. “It’s my duty to report this, Avery. I can’t burn with you.”

There’s no time to convince her otherwise. Purple smoke makes me cough as she vanishes. 

Toad toes and crab claws. This is bad. This is really freakin’ bad. 

I’m not alone, though. 

Turning to the big guy at my side, I blow out a slow breath. “I think there is something you can do for me.”

He nods immediately, somehow already following my train of thought. “My sleigh has enough room for the both of us.”

And so, I grabbed a bag with my emergency essentials and then fled into the night, the sound of sleigh bells covering the panicky thud of my heart.

Author’s Note

A merry Xmas eve to everyone who celebrates! I hope you have a wonderful time with your friends and families and look forward to Mr. Claus’ arrival.

Thank you so much for taking a moment out of a chaotic holiday schedule to read this cute story. Leave a like and a comment in the area below to let me know if you enjoyed it 🙂

As always, check out Bridgette’s story as well, dealing with holiday traditions in a New Orleans graveyard: Christmas Eve in the Graveyard

And, if you’re looking for more from me, check out Lore on kindle vella for vampire shenanigans and a cozy romance this week.

We’ll see you next week for our official last story of the year!

Posted in Character Stories

Caller Chaos

The phone is the worst invention created by mankind. It’s a lousy waste of time and space and it won’t fucking stop ringing. 

It’s not even in this room. 

Tossing the blanket aside, I squint at the red glow of the nearby clock. Three. No. This has to be a joke. 

I should pull the blanket back over my head and wait for it to stop. It would teach these fools a lesson about bothering me so early into the day. It’s not even early. The day hasn’t had a chance to begin and whoever it is thinks they have the right to bother me with their mortal concerns. 

Three a.m. is an ungodly hour. I suppose it makes sense. I’m about as far from holy as one can get. 

Stepping out of bed, I grab my emerald robe from the back of the door and then stagger out into the hallway. I have to make it all the way to the living room. Why did I put the goddamn phone so far from me?

Because I’m a fool who thought people would be decent enough to use the phone at normal times in the day. 

This had better be important. I swear to whatever larger force gathers in the air above Manhattan that I will smite whoever disturbed me if there isn’t a good reason. Perhaps I’ll liberate their heart from their chest while it still beats. 

Deep breath. I didn’t go to the last three years of mandated therapy just to lose my cool over a phone call. It’s not a good time to get careless. There’s still some people I need to impress before I can move on with my life. 

Robe tied tight around my hips, I tread down the stairs, leaving behind plush carpets for the icy feel of the laminate flooring that came with this rental. Supposedly it’s good for the environment. I miss the feel of real wood under my bare feet, though. Wood and stone and less of this nonsensical alternative crap. 

The phone blares again. It’s louder than all of the traffic on a busy Friday afternoon. The single, shrill scream rips through the still air of the house. It must be the seventh time that thing has rattled and demanded my attention. Whoever is calling is adamant that they need me. 

I pluck the red phone from its stand and press it to my ear. “Do you own a clock?”

“Clocks are for those already running out of time,” is the hissed reply from the other side. 

Az. If I had a heart, it would beat harder for that damn voice. I take another deep breath. I don’t have a heart. It was surgically removed after the trouble he got me into last time. I’ve moved on. I don’t need my heart or any soft feelings and I certainly don’t need to worry myself with the adolescent musings of the male on the other end of this line. 

“You can’t truly want to sleep in when there’s adventures to be had, Sera?”

There he is. Waltzing back into my life after years and expecting nothing to change. Well, this time things are different. 

“Lose this number,” I snarl into the phone. 

“Wait. Wait. I’m sorry. Wait.”

The apology catches my attention more than his whining. Azazel isn’t the kind of creature to offer his condolences, not now and certainly not when something is actually his fault. He needs something and he’s willing to play nice. 

I don’t slam the phone down even though the muscles have tightened in my hand and that’s all I want to do. “What could you possibly need from me?”

“Remember the night we got engaged?”

He sounds out of breath. This can’t be a good conversation. I shouldn’t have answered the phone. 

“Humans get engaged. We made a blood pact that you weaseled your way out of.”

“Sera…” he trails off. 

This is an old argument. He doesn’t want to hear about it, but I don’t care. I got left behind. I’ve paid the ultimate price for the trouble he caused. My life has been altered. If he thinks for one minute that he’s going to get anything from me without having to politely listen to my every rancid thought on this particular subject, then he is supremely in the wrong. 

“I gave you a necklace,” he continues before I can compile my thoughts into a starting statement with the way I hate his guts and every piece of connective tissue holding him together. 

I’m aware. The red oval with a single, gold wave cut through the center of it is currently dangling from my neck. I stole it back from the surgeons the last time I was at the hospital. There’s nothing quite like a man trying to steal your memories while you rob his office. 

“You can’t have it,” I bite into the receiver. 

He blows out a sigh. “I need you to hear me out.”

I laugh. No, I throw my head back and cackle like the madwoman I’ve become since the last time I laid eyes on Master Azazel Aticulen. It seems the man has left me to go work on his sense of humor. 

“I owe you absolutely nothing.”

“I know.”

Dammit. He’s done it again. I should throw this phone across the room. I should rip the cord out of the wall and smash the rest of it to pieces. I don’t. Az has never agreed with me before in his long, miserable life.

“I’ll break you out, but I need that necklace and I need you.”

He needs me. I’m not some whimpering waif in need of his approval. That being said, that’s exactly who I was the last time this demon tempted me away from my path in life. 

I’m not Miss Sera Phim, an innocent soul captured in a never aging body. I’m just Sera. Crotchety and bitchy and tragically unimportant Sera. 

“I don’t need you,” I grumble into the phone. 

It topples from my hand. The stupid thing clatters as it lands. I don’t bother picking it off of the floor and putting it back in its stand. I have no intention of answering it again tonight or any other night. 

I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed. Three o’clock is for demons and devilry. It’s the hour of mischief away from the omniscient view of well-minded beings. I stumble up the first few steps as my throat tightens. It’s the hour of hope and I cannot, I will not, allow myself to hope that Az is going to keep his word after all these years. 

He probably tried to get this necklace from the hospital just after I retrieved it. It’s the only reason he called. Likely, it’s more than a relic containing our blood and resolution to stay with each other. It’s probably a key for some hidden treasure he located. 

Too bad. He’ll have to find a spare or give up on his incessant need to uncover the Earth’s secrets. 

I’m at the top of the stairs before I realize my bedroom door is closed. 

The phone is downstairs. I could walk back down there and call for help. 

I didn’t shut that door. 

There’s only one pesky man with enough magic to get past the wards surrounding this estate. 

As if entranced by his presence, my feet move forward against my will. I cross the landing and press my fingertips into the painted white wood of the door. Az is hunched over the dresser in the corner, his hands very much in my underwear drawer. 

“Looking for this, then?” I snarl, pulling the amulet out of my nightgown to flash it between us. 

He straightens immediately, letting his phone fall from his ear and bounce across the floor as he looks at me. There’s no words to be had. He looks the same and I…well, time has been unkind. Time and the torture. Both are quite stressful on the stained soul. 

Az looks like he always does, though. Broad shoulders and black hair that frames his piercing eyes. He still has that obnoxious lip ring. 

“I really do want you to come, too.”

“And if I refuse?” 

He shrugs, his beautiful figure stuffed into a suit jacket that has to be a size too small. Stolen. He probably needed something with a specific scent to get by the bloodhounds stationed on the lawn. “I’m not against playing the villain, Sera.”

“I think we both know you don’t just play the villain, Azazel.”

He winces. I don’t usually call him by his full name. Today, things feel a bit different. It seems like the kind of day I stand my ground and fight back against the man who ruined my life. 

“Please,” he extends one hand towards me, each of his fingers ringed by silver jewelry, “I’ll make everything up to you. Give me a week, Sera. To use the necklace. You can keep it when we’re done and I’ll even hide you on a personal island if that’s what you want. You can’t possibly want to live out this morbid attempt at banality. White was never your color,” he murmurs as his eyes touch the blank walls. 

I should say no. Just to be stubborn. 

He’s right, though. No promise in the world could convince me to stay here for any longer than necessary. 

“Five days and I pick the island.”

His lips twitch upwards. “Six days and I’ll throw in the cat.”

“You still have Nyx?”

He nods. “Couldn’t let the bugger go. He reminds me of you.”

If I had a heart…

His words make me feel warm, but I brush that aside. 

“Deal. Now, get me out of here.”

Author’s Note

Thanks for reading this week’s prompt about a call at three a.m. This was a tough one! New characters, new tension, and new dilemmas. Let me know in the comments below what you liked and if you want to see more of this story!

Please make time to read Bridgette’s story here:

As always, check out Lore here: Lore by Angelica Reece

We’ll see you next week!

Posted in Character Stories

Midnight Moon

“Callisto, come on down, honey bear.”

I blow out a sigh. This is temporary. I have to keep reminding myself over and over again that tonight is no longer than every other night of my life. It might drag itself out for as long as it can, clawing at the remnants of time as it makes every single second unbearable, but I’ll make it through like I have each day since the beginning of my life. 

I survived last year when Niko decided to play by the dam that inevitably burst and sent him careening into the next village. His stunt probably shaved off six years of my life. If we were closely related to cats, I would still have plenty of time. Since we live our lives connected to the moon and the beasts that came before us, I really can’t afford anymore scares or infirmary stays. 

I survived three years ago when dad went out to an inventors’ meeting and never came back, throwing me in charge of this entire farm while mom took to the streets looking for any little sign of him. 

I’ve survived and that is all that really matters in getting me down the stairs and out towards the group that’s gathered for tonight’s event. 

We don’t have any typical farm accessories here, I think, as I stand at my window and look out at the expanses of fields that belong to our family. There aren’t horses or cows or sheep. There’s enough human farms that can take care of those needs. We don’t use traditional pulley systems or build silos to hold grain for the next year. The Hati family farm is a special place. 

“Callisto, it’s nearly time.”

Grandmother’s tone is not to be trifled with tonight. She’s more on edge than anyone else. This means more to her than to anyone else, too, I suppose. 

It’s an old tradition. I thought it would be one that I skipped completely, but my life has fallen out of my hands since both of my parents disappeared. No longer a woman fiddling with the pieces on a chessboard, I’m merely a checker being moved about the simpler game with ease. 

Go here, Callisto. Make your family proud. Hold your chin up when you speak to these men, Callisto, and know that someday it will not matter that you managed to keep your family alive for years without help because you’ll still be expected to marry one of these under-qualified oafs. 

I should have gone down earlier when there were less people and attempted to drown myself in the punch bowl. Grandmother is going to be at my side every step of the way from here until the dawn’s first lights. My fingers curl around the windowsill. There’s a crack in the next moment. I stare down at the dark claws extending from my hands and then glance at the splintered wood scattered over the floor. 

I’m supposed to be able to trust my instincts. Instead, they seem to be getting the better of me. I sweep the bigger pieces under my bed while Grandmother calls for a third time. 

I really have to go down there. 

Soon, the clouds will pull away from the sky and the full moon will wink down on our lush fields and we’ll know whether or not the Midnight Goddess is going to bless us for another year. If I miss an appointment with the lady of the sky, my grandmother will never forgive me. 

Here goes absolutely nothing. 

Trudging downstairs in the lavender, silk gown Grandmother had designed specifically for this night, I tilt my chin up and assume the haughty expression demanded on eldest daughters. Grandmother is at the foot of the stairs. She’s unconvinced by my stiff shoulders and casual movements. No matter. The point is to trick the people into appointing me to this annoying council. Grandmother is stepping down and her vote has already been cast for me. 

“Took your sweet time, honey bear,” Grandmother grumbles as I curl my fingers around her elbow and allow her to lead me into the greater part of the house. 

I’ve known this place my entire life. It’s my home, my shelter, my forever and always if the council has their way in determining the course of my life. It, however, looks nothing like the memory of my childhood. 

The shadows are darker in each of the corners. All of my nicknacks have been removed and replaced with ancient relics meant to bring good luck and well being to the head of the household. To me. I have no idea if any of it is working as I sneeze on a breath of lavender and sage and wish that I didn’t have to go through with this entire ordeal. 

“Head up, Callisto. We cannot show weakness in front of the council.”

I know. She has told me a thousand times in the last fortnight. 

Don’t scuff your shoes, Callisto. Head up, eyes forward, keep your face expressionless. Be a leader. Prepare to be led to your doom. 

Well, she didn’t say the last part, but I feel it in every vein of my body. Something is going to go wrong here tonight. 

And it’ll probably be my fault. 

“I’m ready,” I answer instead of confiding my concerns and insecurities. 

We don’t have time to deal with negative emotions. We hardly have time to recognize celebrations and good moments. It’s incredibly hard work to keep magic alive in the world. Humans don’t even understand the importance of our work. The council takes us for granted. It’s best to keep a stern expression and shoulder the weight of reality without murmuring a complaint. 

We make it out of the den and past the dining room. I try not to think about the way my stomach grumbles. I don’t think I’ve eaten since yesterday. I forgot. I keep forgetting. There’s so much to do and so little time for myself between it all. 

I hope there’ll be some ham left over for me. 

The thought almost tips me into a fit of giggles. Almost. I’m a mature adult. I’m the head of my household and positioning myself for an esteemed seat on the council. Thoughts about food are frivolous. 

Besides, my brothers aren’t going to leave a morsel for anyone else. 

We’re outside in the next moment, Grandmother and I stepping through the large, open door as one. She doesn’t offer any final pieces of advice. Perhaps she’s just as nervous as I am. 

Little lights flit throughout the tall grass in the fields. Fireflies, humans say. Fairies, I think to myself. Evidence that magic is real and alive here in the Hati farmlands. 

A single path has been mowed through the grass. Grandmother and I enter it together, the bits of greenery seeming to lean closer and brush our shoulders. It’s a caress of good luck. It’s a warning to watch our backs. Some of them linger longer than others. All of them wish for our safe return. 

The council is erected in a large circle somewhere fifty yards away from the main house. We’re directly under the fullest point of the moon. It’s here that my fate will be decided. 

Entering the main area, I keep my chin high as Grandmother bows. I don’t dare stoop into a curtsy. It’s far too early in my life to be throwing respect to everyone around me with the kind of enthusiasm of a child tossing confetti. These men should be tipping their heads for me. Instead, we stand across from each other with tension thickening the air. 

“Callisto Hati, your arrival was predetermined in the stars.”

It wasn’t. I keep that to myself, though. Nobody knew my parents would be gone by now. These kinds of rituals are more interesting when we blame the stars rather than the people who hurt us. 

“Are you prepared to receive your share of the Midnight Goddess’ power?”

“I will take whatever she deems appropriate,” I answer carefully, heeding Grandmother’s warning to not be too excited for power in front of these hyenas. 

There are more speeches. They go over my history, my lineage, and some of my successes of the last few years. None of them truly understand who I am. To them, I’m a data sheet with a couple of major accomplishments. I’m not a person. Soon, once they know what kind of magic fills my veins, I’ll be no more than a possession. 

Run, the wind seems to whisper as it whips by my face. 

There isn’t time. The clouds begin to part. Candles around this circle are extinguished. We bask in the coming glow of the moon. 

The next moments pass by in a haze. Moonlight dances over our circle. It seems to shrink away from the men in an attempt to sidle closer to me. My veins are on fire. There’s power and magic tingling along my skin. 

Potential. Something big. 

“Are you ready for this, Callisto Hati?”

It’s a woman’s voice, but not my grandmother. The Goddess. I can’t answer. My voice is frozen somewhere with the air in my lungs. 

Yes. No. I truly hope so. 

“You’re meant for more than this world,” she murmurs so close to my ear that I feel she’s really in my head, looking at my soul and poking around in my personal bits. 

I don’t know what that means. I don’t get a chance to ask. The Midnight Goddess wraps her arms around me and chooses my fate. 

The world I’ve always known disappears with the blink of an eye.

Author’s Note

Happy stormy Saturday!!! Thanks for visiting my page. I hope you enjoyed a little family story with a little magic and a lot of potential. Callisto Hati is a spur of the moment character I crafted for this particular story, so leave likes and comments down below to let me know what you think!

As always, please take an extra moment to read my writing partner’s story on the same prompt. Bridgette White:

And if you’re looking for more, please check out Lore: Lore by Angelica Reece

We’ll see you next weekend!

Posted in Character Stories

Luna’s Library

The butcher next door sent us a pot roast for the coming holiday. Luna has it chilling in one of the employee fridges downstairs while she keeps me up on a ladder. I convinced her not to force me to decorate outside, but I have twelve boxes of tinsel and baubles and identical red ribbons to disperse through the library. 

There’s three levels for my festive obligation. Two for guests. One for us. Especially funny or slightly inappropriate signs get put in a separate pile to be used in the employee quarters. 

Stepping down, I move the ladder over another shelf and then climb back up. I would argue this as an abuse of Luna’s employer rights to have me on a ladder in the middle of the night making this place a holiday wonderland before the children and avid readers can come back tomorrow, but I don’t really mind. She’s done too much for me since my head injury. I’ve had amnesia for well over a year now with no indication that I’m ever going to remember what my life was like before she took pity on me and gave me a job and a purpose at this quaint library. 

Luna broke a lot of rules to get me in here. I didn’t have any legal identification to submit. I don’t even remember getting here, but when I told her she didn’t have to help me, she just smiled and promised that this kind of thing was what librarians lived for. 

There’s a couple of other employees who fill in throughout the week, but it’s usually just the two of us here. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. The others are fine. The readers are nice. But Luna is the best. 

I don’t know how to put it into words. I get a warm, fuzzy sensation in my chest when I look at her in her oversized, purple sweater and round golden glasses. Her hair is always thrown into a messy bun to keep it out of her eyes while she reads and bustles around this place. The library wouldn’t stand without Luna. I swear some of the books lean out of their shelves and peek at her in the same way I do whenever she walks by on a mission to another part of this old place. 


That’s her. I swivel to find her with her arms wrapped around yet another box. Through the partically open flaps, I can see that this one is full of stars in a million sparkling colors. 

“I’m so sorry, but I just found this one downstairs. Do you think you could do them across the ceiling in the children’s reading area?”

She could ask me to catch and slay a dragon and I would say yes. Nodding down to her, I give a thumbs up. The work truly doesn’t matter. I get to do it in this place with her and that makes me so bloody happy. 

“I have one more favor to ask,” she calls up to me after I turn back around to finish securing my tinsel. 

“Yes,” I answer, eyes forward on the sparkling bits of plastic that seem to bring our readers far too much happiness. 

She lets out a giggle, her simple mirth-filled sound infectious as I let myself blow out a chuckle. “I didn’t even ask it yet. How do you know the answer is yes?”

Turning back around, I grin down at her. “It’s always yes, Luna. Whatever you need.”

Her lips twist as she squints up at me. “What if I asked you to clean the toilets?”

I shrug. “Yes.”

“Or I told you I needed you to scrape the pigeon droppings from the roof?”

“Yes,” I’m barely holding in laughter as I step down the ladder.

When I’m on solid ground once more, I step over a couple of boxes to share the same small aisle with her. We’re shoulder to shoulder with the contemporary and historical romance novels. Dozen of tiny eyes stare at us from the shelves as I wait for her next question. 

She steps back a step, some of the joy of the moment fading from her eyes. “You’re too nice, Liam.”

“I don’t see how that would be a problem.”

She rakes her fingers back through her frizzy hair. “Of course you don’t know it’s a problem. That’s the whole tragic flaw in your character.”

Usually, I wouldn’t think twice about the odd way Luna speaks. She lives in these shelves and breathes the air of these old books every single day. Literature is in her veins. She makes odd comparisons to novels all the time. 

She’s not usually upset about it, though. 

So, instead of doing the smart thing and letting this go, I push her to explain. She lets out a strangled sigh and starts to walk away, muttering that she can’t tell me the truth without telling me the truth and I have no idea what that means. 

Abandoning the decorations, I follow her past the fantasy books and the horror novels and the poetry section on the way to the employee stairwell. She’s already through the door, the heavy thing thudding shut behind her before I can grab it. I watch her brown hair bob as she takes the stairs two at a time in a near jog away from me. 

I can’t leave her to just be upset. Maybe I am too nice, but she’s done a thousand tiny things for me since I stumbled into this little town with nothing except the clothes on my body. She even converted one of the office spaces downstairs into a bedroom for me to use while I try to figure out who I am. Nobody accepts the credit of a person without photo identification or a birth certificate. Without Luna, I wouldn’t have a place to stay or a place to work or a purpose in this world. 

I think it’s only right that I’m too nice in return. 

Taking my time going down the stairs, the worn handles sliding easily under my fingertips, I amble down to the employee area. I don’t have to look around for her. She’s going to be in her personal library. The little room has enough space for two shelves packed with books that are out of print or too battered to be put back out on the floor and her reading chair. It’s her place of comfort. It’s the one place she could try to lock me out of since I have a set of keys to the rest of the doors. 

As suspected, the door is shut and locked when I make it down the hall. Letting my forehead rest on the cool wood, I try to listen for any sounds from the other side. There’s some rustling. Perhaps she’s already flopped into her chair with a favorite book and she’s trying to find that one specific page that brings her joy. 

No matter what’s happening in there, we still need to talk. I’m not going back up that ladder until I know she’s okay and she tells me what exactly I did to cause this reaction. 


The door flings open before I can get her name out of my mouth. Stumbling forward, I fall into her and the book shoved my way. She’s talking before I can steady myself or get out the next question. 

“You don’t have amnesia, Liam.”

That has my attention. The old book now in my hands has no cover. It’s just a green volume with wrinkled yellow pages. Nothing special at first glance, but clearly loved by its weathered condition. 

“Of course I do. I didn’t even know my name when I got here.”

She shakes her head, her eyes too wide behind her lenses. “You’re not a real person.”

Maybe she had too much spiced eggnog. This is getting increasingly worrying. I don’t have a question at the front of my mind. Well, more honestly, I have a hundred questions, but I can’t figure out how to form any of them into words before she lets out an exasperated moan and snatches the book back out of my hands. 

Ripping it open, she flips through it until she finds whatever she’s looking for and then shoves it back in my direction. Her pink, painted nail points to a sketch with a single word caption: Liam. 

That’s my name. That’s certainly a drawing of my face. I trace the jawline and the nose before glancing towards her. 

“What is this?”

“You were so nice,” she remarks again, her voice too high pitched. “But the writer gave you a terrible end and I just wanted to help.”

I’m not following this conversation. “This is a book, Luna. Just a story. It looks like me, but I’m sure it’s a coincidence and-.”

She shakes her head. “Just listen. It is you. You don’t really think you just stumbled by my library and then I took you in, do you?”

Of course I do. That’s been my daily background for the last year. I’ve lost my mind and Luna took pity on me and I work really hard to make sure she understands that I appreciate her. 

When I don’t answer, she scrambles to continue, “Okay. I know this sounds crazy, but magic is real. Most people don’t believe it and they probably won’t ever see it, but I can and I found a spell in one of these books,” she flings her hand behind her to draw my attention to the haphazard stack of ragged volumes. “I used it. On you. And now you’re in this world instead of dying in this book.”

Oh. Okay. That seems perfectly logical. I keep my sarcasm tucked behind my locked jaw as I continue to stare at her. 

“You can say something now,” she prompts, her fingers curling into nervous fists at her sides. 

“I don’t know what you want me to say.”

She sighs. “You don’t believe me, do you?”

I shrug. “I think you think this happened, but it’s been a really long day and we should probably get some rest be-.”

Luna isn’t sticking around to hear what I have to say. Turning away from me, she grabs her reading chair and, using the full force of her petite frame, drags it away from the center of the space. I want to ask what she’s doing, but I don’t need to. There’s a hidden door. 

Opening it, she steps down onto the ladder. “I wasn’t going to tell you anything, but the magic has gotten out of hand and there’s a leak and I can’t just keep this a secret forever.”

I stay in the main room, holding the book with my face and leaning over to try to see into her secret space. She’s back up in a minute, a wire cage in her hand. “Page 67, Liam.”

I don’t have to turn the pages to know what she has trapped in that very small cage. “So, dragons are real?”

With a skittish nod, she climbs off of the ladder and sits on the floor with the scaly creature tucked onto her lap. I sink down to be across from her as she tells me the story of how her magic escaped and I’m now not the only fictional character to make my way into this world — her world. 

“I’m sure you’re upset and confused and I completely understand, but you’re kind of the only person I can ask to help me.”

She’s right. What I thought would be a typical day has now been flipped upside down and shaken around for good measure. That doesn’t change anything between us, though. 

Reaching across, I let the lizard with wings smell my fingers while I look ahead to the girl who brought a book to life. “Yes. I’ll help you.”

Author’s Note

I had no idea what I was writing when Bridgette sent me this prompt. I usually have no idea, but this vague “day in the life” prompt really threw a wrench at my personal muse. Tossing aside my usual vampires, I had to search for someone with a more interesting spark.

Liam is a character I once wrote an entire Hallmark-esque novel about ten years ago. He’s a hero in every sense of the word. Got the girl, saved the day, did everything he had to in order to fill his position. I just don’t love writing contemporary romance, so threw the book in a dark drawer to rot while I wrote about vampires and danger.

I think he’s going to be amazing in this magic filled fantasy alongside Luna the librarian/amateur witch.

Thanks for coming this week! Please leave your comments and thoughts in the section below. Reader insight is the best motivation to moving forward with these different projects.

As always, check out Bridgette’s story as well: Under the Sign

And catch up on Lore here: Lore by Angelica Reece

We’ll see you next week 🙂

Posted in Character Stories

Devilish Dealings

The King is busy. 

I let my head rest against the cold, stone wall at my back as I watch the flickering light of the torches dance down the never ending hallway. It seems the country has room to make plenty of enemies. So far, I seem to be the only one lodged down here. Perhaps the King has run a more peaceful regime than propagandists would have suggested. 

My feet scrape across the cracked and sandy floor. For what it’s worth, it might not have been sandy before I got here. I took off my shoes awhile ago and seemed to dump out a whole beach. 

Twiddling my thumbs, I let out a sigh. This is not how I intended for today to go. I should have taken a different highway into town. Maybe then I would have avoided Marcus and the king’s men altogether. Now, my life is hinging on a contract between me and royalty. 

There’s a cough from somewhere down the hall. I suppose I’m not alone. I would have taken more time to thoroughly investigate this area if I hadn’t been promptly dumped in here by the soldiers who took my weapons. 

Nobody is coming to get me. I may as well make a friend while I’m stuck down here. “Hello?”

My voice is carried away on a draft. There’s no immediate response. Pushing to my feet, I tread across the frozen floor and wrap my fingers around the icy bars that contain me to this cell. I press my face against them to try to peer further into the dark. 


I haven’t been in here long enough for my mind to be playing such tricks. 

I’m about to give up and return to my creaky bench when I hear something else. A tap. Tap, tap, tap. It’s a steady sound across the solid floor and it’s getting louder. 

“Hello? Can you hear me?”

The tapping doesn’t stop. Closer, ever closer, it rings out and echoes down this corridor riddled with empty cells. That doesn’t sound like a guard and I can’t imagine a prisoner from the depths of the prison is ambling towards me. This person is unhurried and precise, the sound of their movement never wavering in their approach. 

Patience may be a virtue, but it’s never one I learned. Grabbing the bars on either side of my face, I give the door a shake, the old metal rattling together in an cacophonous clatter. It makes me grit my teeth and stagger back to clap my hands over my ears. It’s loud enough to stir the dead. It has to be enough to get the attention of that approaching person. 

The tapping has stopped by the time I can unplug my ears and straighten. Nothing. Gone. Maybe they were trying to avoid detection and failed when I made noise. 

Ridiculous. I kick at a clump of hair on the ground, my mind full of possibilities for my current predicament. I came peacefully. There was no reason to resist when I was told that the King wanted to see me. Now, though, a niggling fear wriggles at the forefront of my skull. I was a fool. I’m going to be lead to the docks for a well-fitted rope and a pirate’s demise. 


Marcus is going to barge into the administration chambers and demand that I be returned to him. My parents signed over the entirety of their estates to him before their deaths. They bought me a place in his home. While they thought it was safety and security against the coming evils of the world, it was a mistake they didn’t live long enough to see come to fruition. 

I can’t go back to Oceanend’s Manor. 

A low rumble behind me pulls me out of my thoughts. Whirling to face the front of the cage, I stare at the well dressed man leaning his weight onto a thin cane. The dungeon isn’t exactly the kind of place for a suit. He’s clearly the person I heard walking closer, though, so I step forward and thrust out my hand. 

The man’s dark gaze flicks over my fingers and then back to my face. “I suggest you hear the terms of my deal before you go shaking hands, little girl.”

There’s a terrible power to his voice. Not something I necessarily hear when he speaks, but something I feel at my core. My soul trembles as I let my hand fall back to my side. 

“Who are you?”

His full mustache wiggles as he blows out a sigh. “There isn’t time for trivial questions. I can get you out of this cell for a price. Are you willing to listen to the terms?”

No. Yes. I don’t know. Either way, I won’t be intimidated into a deal with him.

I take a step back from him. “I can just wait for the guards to come down for me.”

He doesn’t move from in front of the cell as he bobs his head in agreement. “You could. You have every right to sit here and rot until they finish their deal upstairs with a very irate man claiming he has right to the lady pirate.”

Marcus is already here. 


“Why would you help me?”

His pink tongue flicks out to wet his bottom lip. “Because I, too, need help and we’re in the right predicament to help each other. Are you done with the inquisition, madame?”

I know better than to stop asking questions. Good women hug walls and win wars in silence. I’m not a good woman. 


That hypnotic undertone to his voice has made a hole in my logic and left me a victim to his offer. “What are you proposing?”

Tapping the cell bars with his cane, he clears his throat. “I’ll get you out of here. I’ll outfit you in a tip-top wardrobe and give you chambers to carry out our business until the terms of our deal are met.”

Perhaps he thinks that I’m frivolous enough to give away my hand for the offer of fine clothing simply because I’m a woman. His mistake. “And what do you need from me?”

There’s a wicked gleam to his eyes as he tilts his head, the flames seemingly dancing across his pupils. “I need a champion, Amelia Evans, and I believe Fate is too wise to bring me a capable woman for it not to be you.”

There’s a compliment in that statement that has my guards falling further down. Nobody has ever insisted that I’m capable. I have fought tooth and nail for everything that has come my way in the last year. Just today, my crew gave me up because it’s easy to replace me with a wealthy man. 

“A champion for what?” 

My words barely wriggle past my tight throat. Everything about this man makes me want to say yes. The deal can’t be that bad if it gets me out of here and far from Marcus. 

One eyebrow pops up towards his dark hairline. “You’ve not heard about the King’s proclamation?”

“I just got into town a few hours ago.”

Every syllable is tugged right out of me. This man is a force I’ve yet to meet in my short experience outside of this country. I’m losing my ability to think for myself. It’s as if a ribbon is tying itself around the both of us, trapping us in an ebb and flow of conversation I have no chance to contradict. 

The man is nodding to me, a slight grin curving his lips. “The King’s daughter is to be married to whoever wins the competition. Not all people can make the trip or attend the battles, so he has allowed for neighboring kingdoms to send their champions as well. I would like you to be mine.”


“So, if I win…”

“Participate and I’ll grant you your freedom when this is over, Amelia Evans.”

Hope is a bird flapping its wings against the confines of my chest. “I don’t have to win?”

His smile widens. “I know you will.” He extends his left hand through the bars. “Say yes, so we can move you to better quarters and start planning our victory.”

My fingertips are centimeters from his grasp when I remember to stop myself from just giving into his demands. “Say I don’t have to win. I have no idea what’s waiting for me out there. I want my freedom even if I lose.”

“Make it into the final game, Amelia and, win or lose, you’ve done enough to be granted your freedom.”

The final game. I have no idea what it will take to get there, but that seems like enough wiggle room for me to earn back my right to live my own life. 

Our hands are nearly touching, the strange man almost statueseque as he waits for me to close the miniscule distance. “I’ll be needing money and a boat when we are done with each other.”

Mischief curls his grin. “Do well for me, Amelia, and I will grant you your heart’s desires after each portion of the game.”

It seems too good to be true, but the alternative is sitting back down on that bench and waiting for fate to find me. I grip his too warm hand and give it a confident shake. “Deal.”

Invisible fire licks up the expanse of my left arm. I try to pull away, but his hold tightens. We’re bound together as the heat intensifies and pain scrapes across my forearm. My knees give out and he continues to hold onto me as I gasp for air from the floor.

Seconds or minutes pass. I can’t tell. Eventually, he murmurs for me to pull up my sleeve. 

In doing so, I find a perfectly formed rune burned into the flesh of my arm. “What the hell is that?”

The man releases me. “It’s been said to be the mark of the devil, Amelia Evans.”

There’s no chance for me to say something in return. The world tips sideways and blackness washes over me.

Author’s Note

Thank you for reading this week’s prompt! While Phoebe would have been the obvious choice to use after last week’s hint of a demonic deal, I wanted to challenge myself to something different. Here’s the second installation of Captain Evans and the journey she has unwittingly began.

As always, if you enjoyed this story, leave a like and a comment down below, so I know to continue tinkering away at this character.

If you’re looking for more of my writing, Lore Ep. 17 is already available on Kindle Vella. Check it out if you’re in the mood for a fun romance between a vampire and the girl who stole more than just his wallet: Lore by Anglica Reece

Be sure to check out Bridgette’s “deal with the devil” prompt as well:

Have a great week and we’ll see you back here next Saturday!

Posted in Character Stories

Danger in the Dark

“What am I supposed to call you when we’re alone?”

We’ve survived two days together. I flaunt my appearance as Alyssiana Laur and watch the vampires in this mansion shrink away. I don’t know all of her history yet, but she’s a real piece of work who knows how to keep people in line. Perhaps in another life, I would be as cold and malicious as her. 

Laur is always by my side. He’s quiet during the day and a bit boisterous at meals, but he doesn’t truly come alive until we’re shut away in our shared room. I tried to argue to stay in my own chambers, but he insisted that I could protect him better if we stayed close. 

He was right. 

I haven’t slept since receiving the envelope with this job and it’s starting to grate on my general wellbeing. “We could just not talk,” I grumble, the edges of my personality blending with the cruel persona of Alyssiana Laur. 

Laur snags a pillow from the bed and heads for the couch on the opposite side of the room. “I think I liked you more when you were trying to cut my heart from my chest.”

I shouldn’t care. This man is a means to an end. He’s a job. A job that if done well could result in me making enough money to pay off my debts to Jack. I didn’t mean to become a mercenary. It seems like a lifetime ago that I made a deal with the well-dressed devil. Now, though, since Laur has agreed to split the estate’s wealth with me if I remove Alyssiana from the picture, I have the first real chance in eighty-seven years to make a gamble for my freedom. 

The word is a bubble of hope that clogs my heart. It’s stupid. I shouldn’t be putting too much thought into all of this. My dreams are a seal about to be swallowed by a killer whale. 

There’s no real escape from my lifestyle. 

Laur has slung a quilt over his legs and crossed his arms over his chest. I shouldn’t care that he’s a pouting fool. I can’t decide why his scrunched eyebrows under that ridiculous dyed blue hair matters.

It doesn’t. That’s the truth. 

Something akin to sympathy or concern registers in the back of my mind. Feelings. This stupid excuse for a man is ruining my heartless image. 

It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have made this bargain with him. There’s no janitor waiting around these halls to clean up my emotional mess, so I have to deal with Laur myself. It’s for the best that we continue to play a united front. 

At least, that’s how I try to argue that my next words are more for him than me. 

“Phoebe. No last name. Just Phoebe is fine.”

Laur sits up instantly, surprise coating his features as he gathers his blanket in a heap in his lap and stares at me like I’ve repeated complete gibberish instead of real words. “You’re Phoebe the phoenix.”

It’s not a question. He’s tasting every syllable on that silver tongue. It shouldn’t matter what he thinks. It doesn’t. Yet…when he utters a name I haven’t used in the better part of a century like it’s a title meant to be worshipped or praised or never forgotten, I can’t completely ignore the way my chest warms a little too quickly. 

I should say something else. I should turn out the lights and tell him to go to bed. I should…

The power flickers and then cuts out completely, drenching us in darkness. 

Laur immediately scrambles to his feet, grumbling as he stumbles to get out of his blanket and manages to kick something with his big toe. I don’t move. There’s thumping and cursing coming from Laur, but nothing else. 

A sliver of moonlight sneaks into our room through the thick, grey curtains. We’re alone. It’s dark and we’re alone.

Laur doesn’t let fear quiet him. “Who do you think did it?”

The undead man can’t see me any better than I can make out his dark form in this room. If he was a full vampire, then I could use his specialized vision to our advantage. No, as we are, I need him to be quiet while I listen for any threats. 

My arm outstretched, I hold my hand at face level as I let flames break out along my fingertips. It’s not a lot of light, but it’s enough for him to see me raise a single finger to my lips in a motion of silence. Quiet. Somebody has cut the power on purpose. They want to catch us off guard. 

It’s probably that woman from the dining room yesterday afternoon. I can’t remember her name. All of the people here think too highly of themselves. They have ridiculous names to go with their posh demeanors. This one in particular had her hair piled on top of her head and a dozen roses threaded through it. She thought it was clever to hand out flowers to the rest of the gathered women.

I was foolish enough to take it from her. 

A thorn bit into my hand and a single bead of blood welled to the surface. I saw her nostrils flare. My exterior is perfect. I look exactly like Alyssiana Laur, but I’m no witch and no vampire. There’s no way to cover the smell of ash and lingering smoke that runs through my veins. Her eyes dipped right to my hand before I could excuse myself from the room. 

She knows. 

Maybe this isn’t about Laur at all. 

My heart thunders in my ears as I move to stand closer to the window. If this isn’t about Laur, it’s about me and they’ve been smart enough to attack at night. Magic still swirls through me, but a phoenix is tied to the sun. I won’t be able to change my appearance rapidly or keep a flame lit through the long night if I also have to run from a predator or engage in a fight. 

I hear the footsteps too late. They’re already in the conjoining room. 

”Get down!” 

I hiss the words at Laur, but he’s too busy staring at the door to pay me any attention. “Who’s there?”

My physical appearance can be changed at will, but there’s nothing I can do to reduce the effect physics has on me. I can’t move faster. I can’t stretch my arms beyond their limits and wrap them around Laur across the room from me. Instead, I’m rooted to the floor as the door splinters inward and he’s slammed backwards. 

His head cracks against the wall. There’s a smear of something that can only be blood as he slumps to the floor. I let the flames on my hand die. 

We’re trapped. 

“Make this easy, little bird.”

I know that voice. I’ve fulfilled jobs for that sultry voice. I will spend the rest of my days wishing I’d never met the owner of such an addictive tone. 


There’s a snap of fingers and the lights come back on. I blink against the sudden change, glaring across the bed at the man who broke into our room. He tilts his head to the side, taking in Laur’s prone body and my undressed state. 

“Didn’t realize you were getting paid for evening deeds, dearest.”

I bare my teeth at him, flames biting at my gums and reshaping my smile until I am sharper and deadlier than ever before. “Most mercenaries work at night, Jack.”

His black eyes flick between me and Laur once more. “Shouldn’t you already be done taking care of this job?”

I shake my head. “He’s the client.”

Jack’s depraved laugh rips through the room. “I wouldn’t have approved of that. Who gave you the mission, little bird?”

This is not the time or place for this conversation. Cassias Laur is a private man, but his estate is only so large. Eventually, someone else is going to realize that there was a problem with the power and come looking for the supposed master of the house. 

“I’ve been doing this long enough to take my own cases, Jack. Let me finish this one.”

Arguing with Jack is miserable work. The demon has the patience and wit to walk most people in circles. He’ll have me agreeing to something far worse if I can’t get him out of here quickly. 

He obviously has the same idea. Another snap of his fingers plunges the house back into darkness. My heart stutters. It climbs to my throat and demands to be released. 

I wouldn’t admit it to Laur, but I’m terrified of the dark. Phoenixes are terribly difficult to kill. It’s much easier to lock them up somewhere and forget the key. Jack knows that. 

He knows I dread the night. 

His cool breath caresses my ear. I don’t move. My skin crawls and sweat coats my palms, but I don’t dare move. 

There’s certain rules in dealing with Jack. He can’t touch me unless I make contact first. 

“Are you getting attached to your clients now, fire walker?”


Jack’s low chuckle seems to vibrate in my bones as he circles me. The man is more shadow than figure. The moon doesn’t dare peek in anymore. My vision is gone. He moves too quietly for my ears to pick up on the movements. I’m prey sitting pretty for my predator.

Terror winds its way down my spine like a centipede, weaving its writhing body through my nerves and pinning me to the floor. 

I was ready to deal with a witch to retrieve Laur’s heart. 

I don’t know if it’s worth going toe to toe with Jack. 

There’s a low moan from the other side of the room as Laur starts to come back to life. My foolish heart gives a hopeful thump, thump, thump. It’s a worthless reaction, though. Cassias Laur is a coward and a scam artist trapped in this house by the witch who took his heart. He isn’t a hero. He can’t save me. 

Nobody can really save me from Jack. 

Jack is what lurks at the edges of my nightmares. He is night incarnate. A blackened soul ready to reap the vulnerable with a cutting grin and curling fingers. He is the darkness made physical. 

He holds the key to my freedom and knows it. 

Unperturbed by Laur’s waking, Jack clears his throat. He’s centimeters from my face. If I waver at all in my current stance, we’ll brush together. 

“I was contacted to come retrieve my asset by the lady of the house, little bird. You can leave with me now or I will give her permission to deal with you as she sees fit.”

That damn woman in the dining room. She must have snitched to the real Alyssiana Laur. Any attempt to take the witch by surprise is now gone. 

There’s no good way to get back Laur’s heart without going straight through Alyssiana. I wanted to sneak my way into her world and tiptoe back out, but that option has been ripped out from under me. 

We’re completely screwed. 

“Don’t worry ‘bout me. You can go home. I’ll deal with her on my own.”

Laur’s words are slurred. He’s still on the floor trying to recover from the damage Jack’s arrival caused. 

“You’re a dead man,” I murmur, my words struggling to penetrate the consuming darkness. 

There’s a scuffle. Laur must be trying to push himself up into a seated position. “I haven’t lived in a long time. I’m willing to go down for this, but you don’t have to stay involved. Go back to your life, Phoebe.”

Fuck me. 

I would have. 

A day and a half ago, I would have wiped my hands of the money and the possibility to better my life in order to return to the relative safety of my previous lifestyle. Now, with my name on his lips and his pain my fault, I can’t just leave. Cassias Laur needs his heart. He deserves it more than anyone else. 

I won’t abandon him. 

Jack must sense my wavering loyalty as he leans close enough for me to smell the peppermint on his breath. “When Lady Laur is done with you, I’ll have a dark hole to shove you into, Phoebe,” he snarls the threat, my real name a weapon in this circumstance. “Don’t make me the villain, little bird. Come with me now and we’ll pretend you didn’t just try to make the biggest mistake of your career.”

The dark. 

That’s his promise. 

If we fail, Laur dies and I’ll be tortured to live out my extended lifetime in some mildewy pit deep within the earth. I’ll be down there long enough to forget the way the sun feels when it tickles my skin at the beginning of the day. He’ll keep me hidden from the world until my magic is dried up and my name is long forgotten. I’ll die a thousand times in the dark. 

Somehow, Laur makes it across the room and presses his fingers into my trembling hand. “It’s okay. Go home.”

I shake my head. If I leave now, Laur is dead. If I fail, Laur is dead. However, if I stay and best the witch, we both get a chance to live. 

It’s not fair to throw away his life to save my own. 

I may fear the dark more than anything else on this planet, but I won’t let it conquer me. Holding onto Cassias Laur, I send Jack away and accept my fate. 

Win or lose, I’ve made a decision and can no longer deviate from this path. 

Squeezing Laur’s hand, I let my head fall on his shoulder as the lights flicker on and the night continues.

Author’s Note:

Happy Saturday!

Thank you for making it to the end of yet another short story. I made a total of three versions of this story, covering the subject of vampires chasing different characters through the dark and creating intense fight scenes from thin air. None of it hit the mark of being scared of the dark, though, so I dug around in my phoenix story for a better lead. I hope you all enjoyed this character development and the official first time I’ve named Phoebe.

For anyone new to the blog this week, most of my stories have recurring characters. To follow along with Cassias Laur and Phoebe, you can check out my other stories containing them: Here for a Heart, Villain or Hero

As always, take a few more minutes to check out Bridgette’s story as well! Afraid of the Dark

Thanks for your continued support and come back next week for a story centered around a “deal with a devil.”

Posted in Character Stories


It’s the twenty-second day of winter and I am nowhere closer to winning this battle. Mushrooms are thriving around the doorway of the apothecary shop. At this rate, they’re going to have me sealed in before spring can arrive. That’s not my main problem, though. 

I scrounge around the back of the shop for another watering can and then head out to the garden. The green house in the far left field is untouched. I wasn’t stupid enough to let him in there. The rest of my plants, though…

My lettuces have turned grey and started to flake under the distress of the gentle wind. The stems for my carrots rotted the moment he stepped foot in this area, a prisoner in their soil. When I pulled them up, they were black and shriveled. Other plants show the same treatment. What was once a thriving garden is now in a match for life over death and losing more each day. 

Harry is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. He’s kind and funny and paid attention when I talked about my little business. I liked that he wore bow ties to every one of our dates and didn’t make comments about my ladylike career like other people I’ve wasted time on. I wanted to take him home. I wanted it to work between us. However, he forgot to mention that he’s a lord of the Underworld. 

I should have noticed sooner. There were never plants around us at our dates. Later I found out that he always got there first and disposed of them. What a huge red flag. 

Other people acted odd around him. I didn’t notice. Instead, he got into my head and became attached to a sprocket of my thinking mechanism. I didn’t find it odd that severs would linger closer to my side of the table or set his food down on the edge without leaning into his personal space. 

How could I?

He had me captivated with his dark, brown eyes and I was in a frenzy to find anything worth holding onto before this wretched, winter season took over my life once more. 

I’m an idiot.

It killed me to oust him from my garden. I didn’t notice anything when he first stepped into the shop. Most of the plants in there are dried and mushrooms apparently have no dislike for his kind. The moment he stepped out back, though. I shudder at the memory of my plants withering before my eyes. 

I finally found someone I really, really liked, but I won’t give up my life’s work and my garden for what would likely only be a fling. 

I walk the even lines between garden boxes, gently watering anything that seems to still be hanging on. More blackened leaves fall from my dying plants. I don’t dare dig up the affected soil yet to see their dead roots. I have to swallow a sob. This is so not fair. 

It’s fine. 

It’s not, but I’m not going to dwell on it. 

Taking my watering can with me, I leave behind my dying plants to visit the green house. There’s a padlock on the outside just to keep any rambunctious teenagers or animals out of my exotic plants, but otherwise, my path is unobstructed. Using the key I keep around my throat, I let myself into the building. 

Lush, green plants sprout from their designated pots. I grow things from outside of this country. Orange and yellow and pink fruits dangle from trees that branch up towards the vaulted roof. There’s a rainbow of vegetables alongside the left of my greenhouse, all of them expensive species that can single-handedly pay the rent on my property when the market comes to town and tourists arrive in hordes. 

To the right, flowers in every shade appreciate the soft glow of special orbs I have situated above them. There’s striped petals on some and beautiful gradients on others. I have one species that is pink with gorgeous, yellow dots. A few carnivorous breeds hide their sharp feeding canals with bright red leaves. There’s more diversity here than the entire west coast. 

I can’t ever lose this. 

Lost in thought, I move around the space, gently talking to the plants as I water those that need it and sprinkle love on the ones that don’t. I could do this all day. I honestly would do this all day except there’s a knock at the door. 

“The neighbors probably need something,” I mutter to an especially dazzling Dahlia before setting it back down and heading to the front of the greenhouse. 

The door is already open. This can’t be happening. I recognize the tall figure from the middle of the greenhouse. He’s wearing odd clothes and partially obstructed by dangling monstera leaves, but I know who he is. 

“You can’t be here!”

I inwardly cringe at my own voice. It would probably be smarter to not scream like a mad man at a lord of the dead, but I can’t contain myself. These are my plants, my life, my entire business and his presence is enough to slaughter them all. 

No. I can’t do this. 

Out. I have to get him out before I lose the rest of my livelihood and have to move to some deserted town in the middle of nowhere just to get by for the rest of my miserable days. 


His voice is a cool balm to my frazzled nerves. It shouldn’t be. It should have the opposite effect since he’s literally every one of my current problems. However, I can’t ignore it. My shoulders loosen and a rush of excitement zips from the base of my skull to my stomach. 

Gods, this isn’t fair. 

As much as I would rather hide in here and not make any real eye contact or have a physical altercation, I have to save my plants, so I step closer to the door. Not directly in front of him, but within a couple of meters. He can see me. I can see him. I think I’ll completely lose my nerve if he reaches out to touch me. I’ll forget my head and say yes to some kind of deal before I can get him out of my greenhouse and effectively out of my life. 

We were working so damn well before all of this. 


Oh. Harry’s been talking, his face blurry behind a shield connected to the weird suit currently covering his body. I haven’t heard a single word from him. My mind is abuzz with thoughts. There’s electricity trapped within my veins. I’ve been struck by Zeus and I might not live through this encounter. 

“Why are you here?” I choke on every syllable, but I get the words out between us. 

He makes a gesture at his suit. “I’m trying to make this work.”

The cackle that leaves my body belongs more to a witch than myself. “Make this work? This? This isn’t anything. You left three weeks ago!”

Harry tries to put his hands in his hair, but just plunks his gloved fingers against the cage surrounding his head. “You told me to leave. I’ve decided that I should have stayed.”

What a man. Of course he thinks the solution to our problem is just him making a definitive decision and following through with it. I would kick him in the shin if I wasn’t keeping my distance from him. 

“I can’t have you here, so please, just go.”

“Percy,” my name is a plea on the lips of a hanged man. He has my attention. “Please, just watch.”

He reaches his left hand towards the large, holey leaf on his side. That plant took me five years to grow. My heart leaps up from its proper place and stuffs its throbbing body into my throat.

 No. Please. Not that one.

I can’t get anything out as I stagger forward and try to catch his hand. He’s quicker than me, though. The black fingertips of his suit make contact with the plant. 

It’s over. It’s over. I met the wrong guy on a dating app and now my life is over. 


The plant is fine. 

Unlike everything in the garden outside, the monstera leaf is absolutely perfect. Heck, it’s gorgeous in his hold. 

“How are you doing that?”

I can just barely see his grin through the clouded mask. “I had this suit made to contain my powers, Percy.”

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry or sputter something incomprehensible, but all of it comes out of me at once. My knees cave in. The dirt floor meets me as I crumple. 

Harry kneels down in front of me while the world continues to spin. “Are you well?”

“You made this to protect my plants?” I gasp, reaching out to touch my fingers to the thick fabric covering his right forearm. 

Harry’s opposite hand comes up to cover mine. “I made it for you. So, I could see you. If you’ll let me come around again?”

The words are so sincere. I’ve got this man on his knees and I have absolutely no idea what to do with that information, so I focus on something else instead. 

“Wouldn’t you rather have someone more like you?”

Gods. It shouldn’t matter. My eyes are hot. The tears are starting and there’s nothing I can do to cover it. My legs are soaked from the watering can landing on its side next to me. I’m a dirty mess and this man, this lord of the dead, is staring at me like I’ve sprouted a field of dandelions off the top of my head. 

Harry shakes his head. “I’m tired of those like me. I want you, Percy.”

Again, he’s made a decision and is willing to make it work by sheer force alone. “How?” 

Harry gently tilts my chin up to meet his gaze through the thin barrier between us. “However you’ll have me.”

I swallow hard. He means it. This is everything I’ve fantasized about since throwing him out of my life three weeks ago. 

Am I allowed to say yes to something like this?

We’re so different. We’re literally from completely different worlds. I am plants and life and he’s… he’s staring at me like nothing can change the way he feels right now. 


His teeth are a million north stars blinking to life as he grins at me. I think this may be the first time I’ve seen him smile like this. Like it’s real. Like it might last. 


I nod, my mind stiff foggy from the onslaught of emotions his appearance has brought. “We’ll try to make it work.”

In the next moment, he clasps his arms around me, tugging me tight to his broad chest. “We’ll make it work.”

When said like this, when uttered by a lowly god, I don’t think I have a chance to oppose him. 

Our fate has been set.

Author’s Note:

For this week, I wanted a small reprieve from the crazy cast of characters I usually use. The phrase “tumultuous soulmates” immediately reminded me of the Hades and Persephone lore, so I decided to write a queer story between a plant shop owner and the devoted lord of the dead. This was a really quick and fun write, so I hoped you enjoyed reading it!

Thank you to everyone supporting this blog and my writing career! It means the world to me to see views and comments on this page every week 🙂

Please take a moment to check out Bridgette’s prompt as well: The Cornfield

We’ll see you next week!

Posted in Character Stories

Villain or Hero

Someone is playing a wicked prank this evening. Witchcraft of this sophistication must cost more than all of the rare sand dollars in the world. I eyeball the woman on my arm as we step out of the dining hall. 

The paprika-spiced pudding in my other hand was a dreadful decision to grab. If this interaction turns into a bout of fisticuffs, I’ll be forced to smash it into her pretty face before running for my life. I haven’t lived as long as I have by taking on my problems head first. I’m much better at getting some distance and strategizing. 

I’d recommend that lifestyle to anyone. 

Run and live another day. 

It’s how I became Cassias Laur. 

Which, I’m fairly sure, is the reason there’s a shapeshifter playing the woman of the house. 

She follows along, matching my pace as we leave behind the hall and enter a room lit only by a small night light in the corner. There’s a hiss next to me. Dammit. She’s taking this opportunity to attack me. 

Nope. Not going to do that. 

I step back, ready to throw the pudding as hard as I can, but she’s no longer by my side. Squinting into the dim room, I don’t see her again until the plate is slapped out of my hand and a knife is pressed to my throat. 


Not how I intended to end my night. 

I mean, I’m aware someone is trying to kill me, but this is just getting ridiculous. 

“Woah, woah, woah. What did I do to you?”

Her voice is so quiet next to my ear. “It’s not personal, darling. Someone paid me for a heart and I’ll be taking it now.”


I’ve always been a nervous laugher. Now, the giggles start and I can’t stop them. I’m trying to explain to this shapeshifting woman why this is hilarious, but I can’t seem to get anything out other than blatant gibberish. 

Confused or infuriated, the woman pulls me tighter against her lithe form. The knife travels from my throat to my chest. She’s trying to get my heart. 

I’m trying to get my heart. 

I’m going to kill my friend when I find him. That letter wasn’t really meant to be shipped off to an assassin. Now, it has completely backfired and this woman is going to be quite upset when she realizes that my ribcage is lacking the one thing she is trying to take. 

“I don’t have it,” I finally manage to wheeze out. 

Her hold doesn’t loosen. “What do you mean you don’t have your heart?”

I truly doubt that she finds me intimidating in any way, but I put my hands up in the general sign of complacency and innocence. “Please let me explain. I haven’t had it for years.”

“If you try anything…” 

She doesn’t need to finish the sentence. “Totally. Of course. My heart is already gone, but you can take a kidney or something if you want.”

Releasing me, she lets me turn around to face her before she slams me against the nearest wall and replaces the blade over my chest. “Talk fast. I don’t get paid to wait.”

“I’m the one paying you!”

There’s a war playing out over her borrowed features. I’ve seen the real Alyssiana Laur make that face. She’s either going to demand a heinous crime of me or commit one herself. 

“Look, I don’t really have a moral stance on suicide, but this isn’t really an appropriate way to go about ending your life.”

 Those blue eyes almost seem kind on this supernatural creature. She’s giving me a moment to explain myself. 

“No. I’m not a vampire.”

It’s a strong start. Doesn’t explain anything really. I have to say more. 

I’ve got this. 

“The woman you’re currently using as a costume is my boss. Well, more like my keeper. She’s a witch and she took my heart and I just wanted it back, but I didn’t really mean for a letter to get sent out to someone like you.”

I drag in a breath of air after spewing out way too much information. The way she’s watching me makes my skin feel too tight. She could still stab me. It won’t kill me. The only thing that could kill me is the real Alyssiana destroying my heart. However, stabbing doesn’t feel nice whether or not one is immortal, so I am really trying to avoid that outcome and I can’t relax until the weapons are put away.

Frustration tears through her pretty face. She pulls down the bracelets on her wrist to flash a dark tattoo at me. “Show me yours.”

Oh. That. I unbutton the first few buttons on my shirt and pull the fabric down to reveal the jagged scar on my chest. “It showed up this morning?”

The woman, creature, she-demon lets out a yowl and stalks away from me. Her muttering is interspersed by her making jagged swipes at the air with her very sharp knives. I keep my back to the wall and my mouth closed. This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with an angry woman and I’d like to leave this room with most of my important parts. 

Finally, she composes herself enough to whirl back on me, her knives tucked into sheaths somewhere on that stunning dress. “If I don’t get your heart, I give up mine at the end of our agreement.”

Shit. That’s some crazy stuff. 

I didn’t write that.

But I know who did. 

“Look, this is all a huge misunderstanding. My friend got overzealous in his attempt to help me. Can’t I just release you from the bargain?”

Her sneer is sharp enough to cut through a stack of wine glasses. “That’s not how magical bargains work.”

Right. I should have known that before I said anything. My bad. I’ll make a point of researching magical practices at the first opportunity. 

I stare at the woman impersonating the tempestuous witch who chained me to my current predicament. This doesn’t have to be a truly bad situation, does it?

Before I can lose my nerve completely, I just blurt the next words. “Maybe instead of being a bad guy who stabs people, you could help me?”

A barking laugh blasts through me as she throws her hands up into the air and stomps back across the room. We’re in a small tea lounge. I figured most of the house guests would be busy until later, so this was a safe space to talk to this woman, but now I’m concerned she’ll start smashing the quaint furniture and wrecking the glass cabinets.

None of it is really mine, but still…

If we could get rid of Alyssiana, then technically I would be the rightful owner of this whole estate. 

Not a bad idea. I don’t have a plan yet, but this feral creature has to be the key to getting the freedom I have craved for centuries. 

For too long, I have played the part of doting husband and loyal subject. Alyssiana tricked me into this. She carved my heart out of my chest and tied my immortality to herself. I didn’t do anything to deserve this and I truly feel remorse for getting this woman involved, but… if it helps… I really would like to see if she can retrieve my heart before the month is out. 

“You want me to play hero?” 

Her voice is hollow from the other side of the room. This isn’t a joke. It’s a real question as she contemplates her place in the world. 

“You could be villain-adjacent if it means I walk away alive at the end of this.”

There’s no humor gracing her severe expression. “I thought you were the villain when I arrived.”

Her words are soft and thoughtful. She’s hiding in the shadows, likely more herself here where I can’t see her clearly than she ever would be in any physical form under direct lighting. I don’t know how long she has lived or how many lives she has taken. Perhaps our lives have crossed for the betterment of both of our stories. 

“Well, this is a chance to work together and be whatever we want.”


The single syllable is whispered so quietly that I could have imagined it if the aching hole in my chest didn’t suddenly feel full. She gets it. We’ve been used and pushed into black and white boxes as simple as hero or villain. 

It’s time we take back our stories and write the ending we deserve. 

I hold my hand out towards her. “No more contracts, but I agree to help you if you help me.”

She regards me like I’m a bug that has wandered in off of the street. I’m worthless and small and inconvenient. Her head tilts to the side. Those soft eyes can’t belong to a monster. She lets her gaze travel over me and I feel like a marble statue being inspected and admired and remembered. 

Crossing the room, she slips her hand into mine. “Words are just as binding as paper, Cassias Laur. If I play your hero, you agree to be mine. Deal?”

Yes. Of course. This is likely a terrible idea that will earn me the death Alyssiana has been foretelling for decades, but I don’t care. 

Yes. I want a chance at my own life. 

Yes. I want someone to think of me as a hero. 


Author’s Note

While this portion can stand alone for my villain to hero prompt, I would like to point out that it is a continuation of my “Here for a Heart” story a few weeks ago. I flipped the perspective and gave Cassias Laur a chance to speak his mind this week. Goofball characters that are unsure of themselves and mesmerized by the sophisticated, supernatural counterparts I cast opposite them is probably my absolute favorite thing to write, so please keep coming back to the blog if you enjoy it!

These are characters that I don’t have a decade long outline to work off of, so if you enjoyed this or the “Here for a Heart” told from the phoenix’s perspective, please let me know in the comments, so I continue to make time to shape these foolish people and their complex outline.

Thank you for reading this week and make sure to check out Bridgette’s prompt as well: Room 313

We’ll see you all next week!

Next week’s prompt: Tumultuous soulmates are on opposing sides of a conflict

Must include the words: apothecary, bow tie, ladylike, sprocket, mushroom, scrounge, frenzy, match, oust, prisoner