Welcome to the Continuing Tales. Some stories demand to have more than one chapter, many more. The flash stories which keep going you can find grouped together here.

The Continuing Tales

Click on the moon to select the series of stories you want to read. you never know when the next installment will hit, so be certain to check back.

Tales Selection

The Calder Chronicles

The Calder Chronicles
Silence Unbroken January 6, 2021 by Jenna Eatough

That arrogant ex-adventurer

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

“My presence, as always, is indispensable.” Caldar’s nod was brusque before spurring his mount down the trail. Sorrell shrugged, ducked his head, and raced after Caldar.

Perdyn waved the dust away. That hadn’t taken long. She fought against the smile as she watched the pair ahead. At least she could count on that arrogant ex-adventurer’s sense of importance to be a distraction.

Glancing behind any sense of mirth disappeared. Perdyn scowled. How old are would be in the report, but she wasn’t fool enough to believe the Omendii couldn’t guess Sorrell was with them.

The legendary hero returns from his self-imposed exile accompanied by pardon commander of the guards. Oh no, the Omendii would guess, and Caldar didn’t know enough. Why couldn’t she open her mouth and explain more to him?

Perdyn hadn’t disappeared. She’d stayed she’d fought for her position, to preserve Omand’s legacy, for normalcy. She fought. When has she gotten so tired? Perdyn brought up the rear alone with her thoughts.

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Notice August 14, 2019 by Jenna Eatough

I only ever met one person I'd call truly brave

Another Wednesday, another flash fiction. Calder is back again! Need to catch up on his previous exploits? Read about them here.

Perdyn winced as the guard’s voice carried. Far enough, in fact, two more guards poked out at the ruckus. They meandered more with curiosity than alarm. Perdyn couldn’t she afford for them to get too inquisitive. She turned her horse returning the guards’ attention to her. Shrugging, her cloak slipped over one shoulder.

The two guards snapped to attention. “Commander,” the first said. “We hadn’t heard you were in the area.” The other two halted at a distance, glanced between each other, and saluted as well.

“I trust everything is in order?” Perdyn flicked her reigns over one hand.

“Yes, Commander.” The two guards answered in unison.

She nodded curtly and flicked her gaze to the barricade. The guards bolted away moving the wood out of their path without another word. Yalena motioned Caldar and Sorrell to proceed and looked over the soldiers again.

“Son, I’ve only known one truly brave person.” Perdyn nudged her horse into motion. “Hope you never have to meet one.” Her voice broke on the last word. She shoved Yelena’s ghost from her.

Caldar and Sorrell had paused beyond the torch light and she motioned them to follow, not bothering to stop.

“They’ll report us traveling together.” Caldar grumbled as he fell in beside her.

Perdyn glanced at him and shrugged. “Couldn’t be helped.” She paused and grinned. “There is one point of grace.” Caldar raised an eyebrow. “They were so busy gawking at you that not one spotted Sorrell.” Caldar barked a laugh.

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Halt July 31, 2019 by Jenna Eatough

Was it really him

Another Wednesday, another flash fiction. This time Calder is back. Need to catch up on his previous exploits? Read about them here.

Perdyn frowned. Torches burned illuminating the makeshift gate barring the path. This would complicate things. “You didn’t mention the checkpoints.” Caldar had turned to glower at her as they slowed their horses.

She shrugged. The checkpoint hadn’t been here when she’d passed through week ago.

“Should we go around?” Sorrell voice rose slightly beside her. Perdyn closed her mouth on a laugh. Sorrell had the least to fear from a checkpoint. Not that she needed to worry. Caldar however. . .

“Pull your hood up.” Sorrell glanced at her and scrambled. “Hello,” she bellowed letting the smile carry to her voice.

“Hello,” a soldier returned. “Prepare to halt.”

“And here I was planning to ride straight through.” Caldar mumbled as Perdyn came even with him.

“Hush.” She tapped his arm. Caldar fell back and Perdyn returned her attention to the guards.

“State your business.” A board guard said holding a slate.

“Returning from Rhykath district.”

“Rhykath?” The guard peered up at her. “What took you to that backwater?”

She twisted as Caldar began to grumble. He shrugged. “Visiting a friend.” A second guard appeared from a hut, igniting a torch and meandering toward their group.

“Eh, must be some friend.” The guard turned his head to the side and spit.

“He is.” Perdyn shrugged. “But I prefer the comforts of Traleseth.”

The first guard glanced over his shoulder and snorted. “Who wouldn’t.”

The second guard stopped beside Caldar and gasped. “You’re him! Right?” Caldar rolled his eyes at Perdyn.

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Decisions September 5, 2018 by Jenna Eatough

She had been warned

Another Wednesday, another flash fiction. This time Calder is back. Need to catch up on his previous exploits? Read about them here.

“Yes.” Perdyn said. Her voice softening as she grabbed Sorrel’s arm shoving him away from Calder. Wise choice.

Calder clenched his hands tightly glowering at the water flowing under the bridge ignoring the two. Toarien. He couldn’t be alive. Calder had been sure . . . had made sure he was dead. “So why come to me?” he croaked.

“Because–” Sorrel started but it ended in a groan which coincided with the sound of a foot being stomped. Good. She didn’t have patience with that rule either.

“Because,” Perdyn this time, “you are the only one who got close to him. We need you.”

Calder closed his eyes, but that let the memories in. Opening them he emptied his stomach over the side of the bridge. “I’m done being needed,” he said to Perdyn, his voice a deep rumble warning her off.

He turned ready to stalk away. They’d found his cabin, a generous word, but he could find another. Further away he could disappear.

A hand closed on his shoulder. “Need isn’t done with you.” Swiveling he raised his fist to strike. She deflected the blow and jabbed hard herself knocking the breath from him. And the fury.

He sunk to his knees and looked at Perdyn. She stood over him, one fist casually on her hip. “Need another?” She never had taken warnings well. He glanced over to Sorrell. The boy stood quietly to the side eyes wide.

Calder grunted gaining his feet. “When do we leave?”

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Lives May 2, 2018 by Jenna Eatough

I miss moments like this more than anything
Welcome to Wednesday’s flash fiction wherein I write, as part of a group, a flash fiction based on the same short prompt and post the story.

This week Calder is back. Not familiar with who he is? Catch up with his story here.

Perdyn stepped slightly in front of him, not obscuring his view of the youth. “Technically, we’ve met before. He was at my naming.” Sorrel raised one shoulder, a spitting reflection of his grandfather. He should have seen it earlier. They’d both been trouble.

He glanced between the two and let a scowl mask his face. “I miss this most.” The words were short, clipped. Sorrell took a step back and Calder could hear the boy gulp. Good.

Rolling her eyes, Perdyn moved back to her position on the bridge. Her, he couldn’t intimidate. Time for a different tactic. “Stop prancing and out with it.”

Perdyn’s mouth twitched, a movement the boy would’ve missed, but he’d been watching. Good, she still appreciated directness.

“The Rhoissi–” Perdyn said. He turned away, blood pounding kept him from hearing more, but too late. He was back. Back with the air chill as a demon, winds tainted by blood.

He rubbed his knuckles harsh against his eyes, pushing the vision away before he could see her. “They’re dead,” Calder said uncaring what he interrupted. “All of them.” He yanked away from the hand seeking his shoulder.

Sorrel said, “Toarien–”

Swiveling Calder shoved Sorrel against the bridge, an arm across the youth’s throat. “Never say that name again.”

Perdyn’s hands scrambled for purchase to pull Caldar away. Assulting a member of the Omendii was foolish. He didn’t care. “Lives,” Sorrel wheezed.

Caldar released the lad abruptly, stepping back. “No,” he said numbly.

Don’t forget to read the other’s takes on the prompt. More stories go up throughout the day. Be sure to check our page on Facebook for updates as everything becomes available: Wednesday Words.

Secrets Revealed June 8, 2016 by Jenna Eatough

I offer no excuses

What is WonHundred Word Wednesdays? It’s when a group of amazing authors and I write 100 word stories all based on the same short prompt and post them. All the variations are fun to read. Calder is back.

On to the new chapter!

Perdyn glared at Calder, accusingly. The same glower she’d gifted him and Yelena with when they’d been caught raiding the larder.

Calder clenched, pushing aside the memory. He wasn’t her student anymore. She wasn’t even his commander. “I offer no excuses seeing as I’ve no idea what’s happening.”

Perdyn huffed turning back to Sorrell. “I’m here because you forced my hand.”

Sorrell shook his head. “My hand too was forced.”

“What’s forcing you both to me?” Calder grumbled loudly.

“He doesn’t know?” Perdyn said annoyed. “Of course you left that out. Calder meet Sorrell, grandson of the Omendii.”

Calder swore.

Don’t forget to read the other’s takes on the prompt. More stories go up throughout the day. Be sure to check our page on Facebook for updates as everything becomes available: WonHundred Words.

Secrets Found June 1, 2016 by Jenna Eatough

I couldn't see any other way out of this mess

What is WonHundred Word Wednesdays? It’s when a group of amazing authors and I write 100 word stories all based on the same short prompt and post them. All the variations are fun to read. Calder is back!

On to the new chapter!

Sorrell stammered reaching for his hood. Whatever the boy meant to hid was too late. Perdyn stiffened next to Calder. Calder tensed unsure of the shift in mood. Self-exile had drawbacks.

“Kyk preserve, what are you doing here?” Calder heard the familiar chill in her tone. Sorrell didn’t flinch. Not so green then.

Sorrell gave up on his hood and shrugged. “I couldn’t see any other way out of this mess.”’

Perdyn moved away from Calder grabbing the boys arm. “Anyway out of it, you’ve made it worse.”

“I’d say we had the same idea.” Sorrell looked deliberately at Calder.

Don’t forget to read the other’s takes on the prompt. More stories go up throughout the day. Be sure to check our page on Facebook for updates as everything becomes available: WonHundred Words.

Plea April 27, 2016 by Jenna Eatough

Is there something you want to tell me, son

What is WonHundred Word Wednesdays? It’s when a group of amazing authors and I write 100 word stories all based on the same short prompt and post them. All the variations are fun to read. Calder is back!

On to the new chapter!

The silence hung awkwardly. Calder itched to turn toward her. They’d always shared joking looks, but not now. He couldn’t afford to indulge.

“I shouldn’t have let you walk away.” Perdyn said.

Calder shook his head. “There wasn’t any other choice. If I’d stayed. . .”

“If you’d stayed, trouble.” Perdyn waived her hand as if swatting an annoying gnat. “Your leaving caused a different trouble. We need you back.”

Calder hunched his shoulders, trying to make the worn cloak hid him better.

Perdyn raised a finger turning away toward Sorrell. “Is there something you want to tell me, son.”

Don’t forget to read the other’s takes on the prompt. More stories go up throughout the day. Be sure to check our page on Facebook for updates as everything becomes available: WonHundred Words.

Uncrossed Bridges April 20, 2016 by Jenna Eatough

I'm too old to start again

What is WonHundred Word Wednesdays? It’s when a group of amazing authors and I write 100 word stories all based on the same short prompt and post them. All the variations are fun to read. Calder is back!

On to the new chapter!

Calder slouched against the bridge’s wood, impatiently tapping his fingers. She was late.

“Interesting definition of alone.” Her voice was more worn than he recalled.

Calder glance at Sorrell. “He can’t hear over there. Couldn’t have prevented them attacking?”

Perdyn leaned over the railing pushing into his view. Her hair had silvered and face wrinkled. Too few were from laughter. “I got through your door.”

Calder scoffed and waved his arm. “We seem outdoors.”

Shaking her head, Perdyn leaned against his arm. “We need you back, Calder.”

“Stop.” He turned away. “The boy already tried. I’m too old to start again.”

Don’t forget to read the other’s takes on the prompt. More stories go up throughout the day. Be sure to check our page on Facebook for updates as everything becomes available: WonHundred Words.

Rescued February 17, 2016 by Jenna Eatough

Midnight, on the bridge. Come alone

What is WonHundred Word Wednesdays? It’s when a group of amazing authors and I write 100 word stories all based on the same short prompt and post them. All the variations are fun to read. This week I have continued the story from the previous weeks stories: “Forgotten,” “And Found,” “Filler,” “Nameless,” and “Served Cold.”

Silence. Strange since it’d been, what, an hour, maybe two since noise had shattered his decades long solitude. Waiting for his heart to slow, Calder shoved the man off. At least he’d been a good shield. Whoever had attacked hadn’t hit Calder, if he’d been a target. Or the boy.

Crouching, he inspected his attacker. A dart stuck in the man’s neck. In all the mens’ necks, but this one had parchment as well. Plucking up the weapon, he inspected the paper.

      Midnight, on the bridge. Come alone.

He shoved Sorrell with his boot. “Up boy. We’ve elsewhere to be.”

This is the last planned post for Calder and Sorrell. What do you guys think, should I continue their tale?

Don’t forget to read the other’s takes on the prompt. More stories go up throughout the day. Be sure to check our page on Facebook for updates as everything becomes available: WonHundred Words.

Ollie and Josephine

Ollie and Josephine
Cooped March 27, 2024 by Jenna Eatough

Author Jenna Eatough's Flash Fiction Story from writing prompt: It's time to give up

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Ollie felt blind. Out of the loop, and she hated feeling blind.

Ollie couldn’t even rankle Josephine Maria Ziegler for cooping them up. Even if Ollie reckoned she’d deserved some rankling after vexing time getting her here.

Still, the Professor had requested them to stay inside the hideout, not her. Ollie hated disappointing the Professor.

He’d asked, and she, Alessia, and Timothy had obliged.

Mostly without murmuring.

A day had turned into weeks, and Ollie itched to get out and do something. Instead, she leaned against the Professor’s chair.

The man sat situated at the edge of the lab, Eagerness and weariness tugged him forward in his chair as he watched with fingers steepled Josephine’s newest attempt… at something.

The black smoke billowing shortly spoke to her results. That, and the Professor smacking his leg frustrated.

Ollie sighed loud enough to yank his attention. “I figure, it’s time to give up.” She shrugged.

“We can’t give up.” He gestured to Josephine palm open. “If she can’t figure–”

“Whoa now.” Ollie held up her hands placating the Professor. “I dun mean Josephine. Just the confinement. Because if we don’t Timothy is gonna resort to cooking beans again.” She grinned wryly. “None of us want that.”

The Professor smiled tiredly in return. “No, we don’t want that.” He turned back to Josphine and gnawed his lip. “Perhaps if you all can cause distractions while she works…”

She smacked the back of his chair and grinned. “Distracting I’m good at.”

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Glamourous Outlaws September 27, 2023 by Jenna Eatough

Author Jenna Eatough's Flash Fiction Story from writing prompt: My life isn’t as glamorous as my wanted poster makes it look

Wednesday has come around again, and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

“And this is the bunkroom,” Alessia clapped her hand on the rough wood bunkbed post turning to face Maria Josephine Ziegler. How she’d let Ollie talk her into touring Josephine about while she spoke with the Professor only the desert sun knew.

Josephine stood scant inches within the doorway, clutching her skirts tightly against herself. She didn’t have to act so blazingly obvious about her distaste.

“This is it?” Josephine didn’t bother glancing at Alessia. Instead the woman swallowed, a movement which jerked her shoulders and left her looking like she’d just lost kin. “I thought there would be… more.”

Allessia followed the woman’s gaze to the bunks. The blankets were thin with occasional holes, but they were still warm. Beneath them, straw poked from the mattress in spots.

Alessia turned back to Ollie and shrugged. “My life isn’t as glamorous as my wanted poster makes it look.” Alessia plopped herself down on the bunk, wood and ropes creaking beneath her. A puff of dust rose into the room.

Josiphine sneezed, a soft sound more reminiscent of a mouse than a person. “Perhaps I’ll talk to the Professor about setting up a cot in the workshop.”

Alessia thunked her elbows onto her legs. “Didn’t you see what just happened in there?”

Josephine blinked. “We mean the fun puzzle?” she asked managing to sound truly perplexed.

“Yeah.” Alessia shook her head. “Fun puzzle.” At least there weren’t any townsfolk about for Josephine to cause another brawl between.

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Home at Last May 17, 2023 by Jenna Eatough

Word Prompt: She had never dealt with an experiment gone haywire before

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Finally. Finally, they’d nearly reached the caves the professor had dug them into. A few more strides and she, Timothy, and Alessia would be home. She’d take a good long soak and the professor could deal with Josephine Maria Ziegler for a bit.

The gulch leading down appeared and Ollie half ran, half slid down the slope to the wood door shut snug against the orange stone. She wrenched the door open.

“We’re back, Pro-professor.” She hiccupped on his name. The entry chamber was filled with mechanics belching steam and careening about. The professor dangled the pinchers of a large one.

Her mouth fell open at the sheer madness. Even after months hauling Josephine about, Ollie had never dealt with an experiment gone haywire before. And this had to be madness. Where did she start righting things?

An elbow pushed Ollie aside as Josephine rushed forward. The woman paused, rolling forward on her toes and clapping her hands excitedly. She nearly bounced with giddiness. “Oh! What a marvelous puzzle!”

Josephine gathered up her skirts and rushed forward, twisting about the mechanics, ducking under swinging bars. Arriving at the side of the mechanic holding the professor, she yanked off a panel.

Ollie had to admit she must have dealt with this before. Because in moments she had a panel off and the mechanic dropped the professor next to Josephine. Holding out her hand, she beamed at him. “Professor!”

Ollie grunted. Of course they’d met before. They were both bonkers.

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Speed’s Delay January 18, 2023 by Jenna Eatough

Word Prompt: Now I'm Ready

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

“We’re out of time.” Ollie glanced to Timothy standing at the strider’s controls. More exacting, holding the engine back to creep the Strider along. Not that where were much ground left before town.

“A moment more.” Josephine Maria Ziegler didn’t glance up as she demanded.

“Unless you wanna turn around, that ain’t happening. Come on.” Ollie grabbed her arm.

Shaking her off, Josephine, snapped her doohickey’s cover in place. She lifted it in her hand and grinned. “Now I’m ready.”

“About time!” Timothy hollered. Releasing the gear, the Strider jerked forward. He, Alessia, and Ollie faced the swiftly descending ladder and grinding open door as the strider settled into the town’s station.

Below a marshal’s voice hollered orders. And the chorus of voices answering.

“Well, this’ll be interesting.” Alessia grinned at Ollie.

Ollie grunted. Interesting had become too common a phrase since smuggling Josephine out. But all that were left was getting through the guard below, a quick jaunt into the desert, and Josephine would be secured.

Leaning forward, Ollie caught a glimpse of the two-dozen waiting for them below.


“Ears!” Josephine shouted as something soared over their heads. Something that looked strangely like the gismo she’d just finished. Clamping her hands over ears, Ollie didn’t have to be told twice. Not anymore.

There was… well, not a boom. More a whoosh. Ollie glanced down. The men below lay sprawled about. “They ain’t dead, are they?”

Josphine sniffed and raised her chin. “As if. Now can we please depart.”

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Preparation Confusion July 6, 2022 by Jenna Eatough

She tipped the contents on the floor

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Ollie leaned against the wall watching as Josephine Maria Ziegler tipped the contents on the floor. “Ya ain’t disproving my point.” So much for her hopes that the woman could manage the rest of the trip in peace. A cog rolled across the length of the strider and bounced off Ollie’s boot.

Josephine paused still holding the drawer she’d extracted from the driver’s station. “If I’m not mistaken, we’ve nearly arrived?” She glanced toward the window.

Ollie glanced out. Light shone in the darkness beyond, a darkness brought on by actual night and not just the results of Josephine’s last explosive experiment. “I reckon we are.”

“Then we’ll need a mechanic.” She crouched down, swishing the parts about heedless of oil and grim contrary to every other situation.

“What makes you reckon that?” Ollie asked kicking away a larger gasket.

Josephine glanced to Timothy and Alessia. The pair sat flush against the farthest wall determinedly ignoring them. “How has our stops gone lately?” Her voice held false sweetness.

“Uhh.” Timothy’s brows climbed higher the longer he held the sound. Alessia ducked her head and examined her cards more closely.

Cowards. And while the stops hadn’t gone well of late, that had mostly been due to Josephine’s fluttering. She straightened standing clear of the wall and opened her mouth. Ollie glanced back at Timothy and his still ghastly black eye.

The result of Josephine’s last fit.

At least she was being proactive? “Fine.” Ollie shrugged and leaned back against the wall.

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Butler’s Example March 9, 2022 by Jenna Eatough

The butler had a limp

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

“I’m certain I don’t recall!” Josephine Maria Ziegler’s eyes widen as she stared at Ollie. No doubt in feigned shock. “I can’t believe you would accuse me of being careless with the health of those in my employ!”

Ollie snorted and crossed her arms. “Really, because when I first meet you the butler had a limp.”

Josephine pressed hand against her chest, fingers splayed. “I can’t help if the man was a clumsy oaf.”

“Ha! Even an acrobat couldn’t navigate that workshop without tripping.” She raised a finger and narrowed one eye to forestall argument. “And insisting on tea on the opposite side and up a landing.”

“Well,” Josephine said and stopped. “What does that have to do with this?”

Ollie glanced to where Alessia and Timothy sat inspecting fresh bruises. “I’m sure I’ve no idea.”

“Well, if you all were going to insist on course discourse, I had to distract myself.”

“Not with exploding mechanics!” Ollie flung her arm out indicating the soot covered windows and bits of metal strewn across the floor.


“No!” Ollie’s fingers went to her pistol. “Unless you’d like walking be your distraction.”

Josephine glanced out moment, viewing what little of the dusty landscape was visible through soot. She huffed but relented retaking her seat on a bench.

“How in tarnation did she manage that from a couple gaskets anyway?” Timothy muttered, not mollified by her current contriteness.

Ollie rolled her eyes as Josephine rose to defend herself. So much for peace.

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Expression December 29, 2021 by Jenna Eatough

The colloquialisms became more colorful

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Josephine sniffed audibly from the corner where she sat primly despite the absolute white knuckled grip she kept on the strider’s basket. Ollie, glanced toward Alessia, careful that Josephine couldn’t see, rolled her eyes, and turned fully to the lady.

But not before she caught Timothy’s snicker. She supposed she deserved that since he’d been stuck babysitting her lady while Ollie fetched Alessia. Josephine’s eyes grew rounder as she thought this. Eh, too long answering then. “Whatcha wanting?” she said hooking her thumbs in her belt.

Josephine’s back straightened, a feat Ollie wouldn’t have thought possible. “Did we have to take a strider?” Josephine said, the last word rising octaves as the mechanic stumbled over some unseen impediment far below.

Ollie swayed with the movement, plopping her arm on Timothy’s shoulder. “Well, seeing the strider gives us options a train wouldn’t, and seeing pursuit got a might closer than then I’m liking.”

Josephine pursed her lips and scowled at the enclosure. “Yes, but it’s so… compact. And must you all insist on using coarse speech?”

Ollie placed a hand over her heart. “Josephine, I’m hurting. After all lollygagging, you ain’t grown used to us yet?” She glanced between Timothy and Alessia. They grinned back at her and chimed in with their own indignation. As the ride progressed, their colloquialisms became more colorful

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Leaving Now September 8, 2021 by Jenna Eatough

The crowd spread out around

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Ollie grabbed the sheriff’s vest pulling him with her as she rolled them out the shop’s door. Wincing at the caterwauling as they struck against legs, she felt only a moments guilt. Not like she knew who was out the door. Besides, the particularly noisy gent dodged quick enough and the midday the crowd spread out around giving them space.

She jumped from the ground, smacking her elbow against the sheriff’s head before he could rise. The man sputtered and collapsed to the ground as the door creaked behind them.

“I told you I was done.” Timothy’s voice rose above Josephine’s protests. Glancing back, Ollie watched Alessia yank Josephine from the store.

Ollie clamped her mouth closed keeping her laugh in as Alessia glowered at Timothy. “Coward.” Alessia said.

“I ain’t no coward. I just ain’t suicidal.” Cries sounded from across the way and Timothy’s gripped his holstered pistols.

Spinning Ollie saw a trio sprinting from the saloon opposite the shop as the crowd spread out around them. Thankfully, Josephine went quiet behind.

Timothy paused at her side as the men halted their headlong flight mid-street. “So, what’s the plan the ditch?” Ollie glanced at him, and he jerked his head to the right. “Stable’s that away.”

“Nah.” Ollie grinned drawing, fingers tapping her own pistol as Alessia and Josephine joined them. “I was thinking the station and a strider would be faster.” She surged forward even as the trio startled at her words. This would be fun.

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Silence Please September 23, 2020 by Jenna Eatough

It was as if she didn't understand the concept of 'shut up'

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Alessia slapped her hand over her eyes and a matching sound echoing across the room. Timothy no doubt. Madam Josephine Maria Ziegler prattled on ignoring that thunder clouds held nothing next to the sheriff’s face now. It was as if she didn’t understand the concept of “shut up.”

A concept she was disinclined to learn from the pair of them, and one disregarding was bound to land them in trouble. Lowering her hand over her mouth she glanced at Timothy. He’d dropped his hand and was staring blankly ahead as if accepting of his fate.

Fine it was up to her. She stepped forward. “Now sheriff–”

“I demand to be compensated,” Josephine wailed over Alessia. If she’d heard her attempt to speak at all. She shook her skits holding them out before her as if the gash were evidence of a heinous wrongdoing.

The sheriff stroked his pistol a bit too fondly for Alessia’s liking. Enough she was beginning to doubt he bought the false name she’d managed to tag Josephine with. “Seems to me we ought not to be hasty,” he drawled. One corner of his mouth turned up and his eyes turned eager. Yep, suspicious that one.

“Or we could just leave now and save you a heap of hassle.” Alessia and Timothy both twirled, grinning at the familiar voice. Ollie leaned in the doorframe.

Behind her, Alessia heard Josephine squeak, but went silent beyond that. Finally, she knew play time was done.

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Interference’s Reward June 3, 2020 by Jenna Eatough

Should we do something

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Alessia stopped at the door, a shutter gripped in either hand, mouth dropping open. Timothy glanced up from the bench he was slouched on as she entered. The was a scratch under his left eye, which was decidedly on the colorful side of normal. Had he been brawling?

A screech wailed from the center of the room. Josephine Maria Ziegler red cheeked yanking on a bolt of cloth with an equally red cheeked matron on the other end.

“Should we do something?” She gestured to the woman.

Timothy pointed to his eye. “I ain’t getting between her and her wants again.” He shook his head like a mad man and sat back crossing his arms.

Alessia snorted. She’d never seen him cowardly before. “Fine, I guess I’ll do it since Ollie sent me to collect her.”

Timothy perked up. “Ollie sent ya for her?” Allessia nodded and opened her mouth to speak. “See ya!” He bolted under her arm and down the street before she could respond.

Alessia gawfed and marched to the center of the room. She grasped the center of the bolt and scowled at the two women. “Let the fabric go now.”

Alessia settled carefully on the bench next to Timothy, dabbing her fingers at her aching eye as she assessed the damage. She wouldn’t be seeing out of it tomorrow. Timothy was grinning at her as the sounds of bickering still drifted from the store. “So, how’d interfering work out?

“Not a word.” Alessia hissed.

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Blog Anniversary Stories

Anniversary Stories
Trickling Time June 4, 2024 by Jenna Eatough

Trickling Time: Author Jenna Eatough 's Flash Fiction Blog 10th Anniversary Short Story 6-4-2024

I didn’t know what I’d had begun when in the very late hours of the day I began my flash fiction blog. That fateful choice occurred 10 years ago to the day. This year, however, instead of posting it just before the days end, I bring you a special anniversary story just after midnight.

For ten years now I have explored realms through brief glimpses. Some lasted the length of the tale. Some continued across multiple weeks. But some give you glimpses into the larger universes I am working on.

This year’s celebration story is a continuation of Erieri’s tale again. Only this year she refused to be contained within the length of flash fiction.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these years of flash fiction (or for those just discovering my blog) and will enjoy them as much as I have. On to a new year of stories!

Erieri sat in the Plains of Time’s grasses. The blades had grown tall and waved languidly about her, obscuring her view of the horizon. Not that the plains generally contained much to observe. More since her guardianship. Neither the ruins nor hillock faded though her need for their presence had ended. Rather she hoped her need had ended.

The plains were gratefully quiet presently. Hendat and Cormac had ceased their endless bickering for the moment. How Hendat had survived his training beneath Cormac Erieri could not image. Now as retired Guardians the only time they didn’t argue was when they went their separate ways. Hendat had stalked off and Cormac remained nearby, likewise concealed within the grasses. Erieri knew without asking him, he’d sensed the same tension which held her motionless.

She didn’t know what she waited for. Nevertheless, the intense pressure of air choking her lungs echoed the air before a storm broke filled Erieri. Something approached, and Erieri, as the guardian of the time, needed to stand ready.

Well, sit anyway. Erieri didn’t know nor did it matter on the Plains of Time how long she’d waited. Long enough her legs had grown weary though. Her patience finally paid off.

The grass swirled about her, bent, and brushed against Erieri as if the still air had been drawn in by massive lungs. Such intense movement did not belong on the plains. Standing, she turned toward the wind and saw Cormac move likewise.

A new ridge marred the horizon, and along its length a clockface appeared. Not Erieri’s clock. As guardian that shoe would have recognized without hesitation no matter what form it took. Nor did the presence resemble when her time had tried to envelope another as the archer had claimed. This clock was something else.

Footsteps approached her, with unhurried heaviness. “Have you seen or heard of this before?” Erieri glanced at the man who seemed no older than herself and had arrived here by her actions. As odd as it felt asking Cormac, once she’d completed choosing him, his memories had merged with those of his time serving as Guardian of the plains. The guardian which had trained her trainer.

Cormac shook his head. “I’ve never seen it before.” He paused and scratched the underside of his chin. “Nor did my master speak of such a thing.”

Erieri shrugged and turned from Cormac. Her hands went to the weapons she carried, a bow gifted by the archer and the fragment of time sword Cormac had forged once before and lost. Hendat had told her the plains were a quiet service once. Except for the Allurer. Except for Hendat and Cormac’s return. Except for… Erieri tired of encountering every exception.

A third figure stood at the base of the clock. Not Hendat. He would never stand with quiet solemnity. He’d be pacing and muttering to himself. Erieri clutched her sword as the air changed yet again with her approach. The winds drew a grey sodden mist about the clock. The plains disappeared a few paces behind her. Only Cormac, the man near the clock, and the clock itself remained clear. The mist seeped into the clock turning whatever color it should have gleamed a dull grey as if the clock lay disconnected from her reality.

“Who are you and why have you brought this clock here?” Erieri demanded reaching calling distance with the man.

The man twisted to face her. He stared at Erieri with vaguely too long feature features and structure. One which mimicked what Erieri expected, but off. Not in the eyes though. Those gazed at Erieri with an intensity she had not felt since her earliest Guardian days.

Cormac stopped beside her, growling slightly. He saw the figure as well. Erieri’s vision doubled, and a woman appeared overlaid with the man. Commonality remained in their eyes and clothing though, gray with vest and pants varying in their femineity or masculinity. Still Erieri knew him. “Allurer,” Erieri slurred.

Anger rose in her, and her hand tightened on the hilt. The Allurer carried no weapon. He never had.

Nor had a Guardian before Erieri. Cormac had confirmed he’d lost the blade promptly after its forging. Yet, just as Erieri had marred the planes, she’d broken this tradition as well.

Raising his hands the Allurer spoke, “This is not my doing.” The voice slid over Erieri with a familiarity which wrapped about her as if that sound alone could grant her comfort. So few words, and still he pulled at her. The tones whispering for her to surrender her charge to protect to relax instead.

He hadn’t been inappropriately named.

Cormac snorted beside Erieri. “You’ve always lusted for our time. After trying to steal it so many times and ways do you expect any of us to believe you now?” Erieri heard the bitterness in Cormac’s voice. She’d yet to tease tales of his encounters with the Allurer from him. Hendat had been similarly recalcitrant. Someday, she’d get them both to speak.

Erieri shoved the thoughts away and refocused on the Allurer. His features had softened, deepened. The impression he gave spoke of sorrow, but Cormac was right. The Allurer used every tactic to gain his desire. Her eyes twitched as she allowed her concern to twist into rage.

“This is not my doing.” The Allurer said, turning away before Erieri could speak. When he continued, he spoke sop softly Erieri would not have heard him if she’d spoken. Or Cormac had stirred the grass. “But I know this.” If she’d thought his expression sorrowful, his voice would make a statue weep.

“Then tell us what it is,” Erieri demanded. The Allurer turned back, glancing at her sword. Erieri forced herself to release her grip on the weapon.

“It is the end of time” the Allurer said.

Erieri looked from him to the clock. Looked as it cut into the ground and felt the rightness of the Allurer’s words. Time was ending. But this couldn’t end her time, could it?

Glancing at Cormack, he shrugged at Erieri before moving past her and the Allurer. He paused at the base of the hillock. Grasping a handful of dirt, he allowed it to drop to the ground in a poofing billow, and the clockface there. Too dry for the plains.

Erieri joined him and reached to press her fingertips against the clock’s glass face. “I would not,” the Allurer said. Erieri turned and scowled at him. If he didn’t want her to, then she certainly should. Turning away, she touched the glass and cold seeped into her. Erieri cried out and fell to her knees.

“What have you done?” Cormac thundered. His voice sounded strange in her ears. Quieter. He grasped her arms pulling her up to sitting from the ground. She felt the pressure, but not the warmth of his skin. Whatever heat her body contained the clock drew toward itself.

“I did nothing.”

“Erieri! Erieri!” Cormac’s hands tightened on her, shifting her, but the clock held her gaze. “What have you done?” Cormac demanded again.

“I have done nothing,” the Allurer said. His voice sounded dim as if daisy fluff stuffed her ears. Erieri heard the distant thud of a footstep behind her. Heard Cormac growl. The muffled words barely reached her. “I have done nothing, but I have seen this,” the Allurer said.

“Then how do we stop it?”

An empty chuckle, and the Allurer spoke again, “I saw this. I did not stop this. I cannot stop this. Only she can.”

“How? You claimed you failed. How can you know she can?” Cormac’s hands tightened on her, and she felt his panic. He held her closer as if to lend her strength, but nothing reached her.

“Because I am here to aid her.”

“Aid her?” Cormac scoffed. “More likely twist this to your advantage.”

“No, I am only here to help–”


“Let him.” Erieri’s voice ground within her throat, as if the words struggled to creep through thickening glaciers which sealed her voice within. An Ice the Allurer never carried.

Cormac remained still a moment before the pressure of his hands released her arms. Another hand with just too long fingers touched the back of her head, soft and light.

Erieri felt the Allurer enter her mind.

Her mind tensed, ready to refute the Allurer’s touch. Ready to believe the touch vial after the unknown time he’d haunted their plains attempting to destroy them. The touch was not.

Her presence beat equally against his, neither dominating nor reminding her of nothing more than dirt and river water mixing into a slurry. Unexpected. She decided the word was Unexpected. But not. Unpleasant.

The Allurer moved within her mind. His presence slid about her, sliding but never connecting. The male version of him she’d known entered her mind, as did the woman Cormac saw, and more. More versions of the Allurer, male and female. Erieri knew the faces he’d worn were both his and not.

Gasping, she pulled back from him as realization of his familiarity struck her. He knew where to strike them because he was a guardian himself. As quickly as Erieri gained the realization, his mind slid about her and formed into the man she’d known. They stood on an open, unending plain. Here, though, the colors surrounding them had been stolen leaving behind nothing but grey.

“None of that,” the Allurer growled. His clothing thickened, turning into armor and covered every bit of him. Every bit but his head. He held the helm in his hand and stared at her, leaving the barest trace of connection between them.

“I thought you meant to help me.” Erieri wrapped her arms about herself. Her own clothes remained the same ones she’d worn on the planes. Familiar to her life before becoming Guardian. Before becoming Hendat’s apprentice.

“I said I would aid. I did not say I would surrender everything to you.” Erieri sniffed, realizing she had invaded his mind. She’d ploughed through his thoughts, grasping, learning, taking all he’d been.

He had not done the same.

She took a step back and shook her head. “I did not mean too.”

“I know. If you had, we both would have lost.”

“Both lost?” Erieri asked.

The Allurer shrugged. “How did my presence feel to you?”

“Like thick riverbed clay?”

“Silica then. You felt like water to me. Quick, fleeting, strong,” the Allurer said. He turned away. “Water and silica mixed becomes clay and undistinguishable. Do they not?” He turned away and started striding through the non-plains.

Erieri pressed her lips tightly. Silica and water may combine into a beautiful clay, but eventually it hardened when the water evaporated. What did he not tell her?

Whatever didn’t matter at the moment. Presently what mattered was stopping this time ending hers. Erieri recalled enough of his thoughts to see him standing before his own time’s clock. That had been the memory which caused her to realize what he was. No had been.

Erieri was equally certain he no longer acted like a guardian. He had stood before his own clock and nearby the death clock had glowed. That had killed his guardianship.

That would not be her times fate. Nor Erieri’s She dashed after him. “Where are we going?

“To the Center of Time.”

“The center? Don’t you mean the beginning of time?” Erieri grinned trying to turn solemnity to humor and thereby lesson and her nerves.

The Allurer shook his head. “The beginning of time? Foolish nonsense. Time does not begin. It is.”

“If time does not begin and just is, how can it end?” Erieri asked.

The Allurer’s step hesitated a moment. “It does not end, but that would have been hard to explain there.” The clearing changed ahead. Still grey, a pool appeared suddenly. Above it uncountable circles glowed at varying heights. Though most soared high above the waters as if they’d escape the pool. “But not so hard here.”

Erieri crept forward, her steps light and careful as if expecting something to notice her if she moved too rapidly. Lines stretched from the circles about the pool, drawing from its depths. Erieri scowled shaking her head. No, the pool drew from the circles. The pool glowed darkly and joined them all.

“Time does not end,” The Allurer said. “Time returns to the center. There it is wrung through it until what was is no more. What may be becomes.” The Allurer stopped next to her and glowered at the waters. Erieri gasped, looking at the lines attached to the circles. Those were times, clockfaces. Looking into the pool, she saw more clocks glowing within. No, on the other side. The pool bore no depth in itself.

“Times begun. Times end. All of it occurs here.” Erieri said. The pool glowed dimly, grey. “The end of time,” she said.

The Allurer nodded. “The Center of Time.”

Erieri watched time trickle toward the pool. Disquiet settled over her, and she knew not even a guardian should see this place. But what of a chooser? The thoughts tickled her brain, and she shrugged it away. She could tease that thought out that later. Assuming she had one.

Assuming she could return. Erieri could not say how she’d gotten here beyond the Allurer had brought her with the promise of aid.

“We’re here. Now what?” She grabbed his arm jerking him about. “And how did you know to get here?”

He turned and pointed his finger pointing toward the water. Or she’d thought it the water at first, but peering as he continued not moving saw one circle nearly to the water’s surface. Dim. Nearly as dim as the end of time itself. Time flowed from it, each ripple pulling the clock closer to the center in movement she could see. Movement every clock shared. She watched the other clocks see the slightest pull on each. Each drawn ever toward the center. But the one he indicated lay nearly at the center. The end. Moving faster to its demise.

The Allurer’s time.

“All right,” Erieri licked her lips. “I suppose that answers that question, but what do we do now?”

The Allurer pointed turned to point at a circle lowering from the rest. Slowly, barely perceptibly, but lowering. Erieri did not need to ponder what clock that was. Her own time.

“You must shore up your time.” He turned to her. “The sooner you do, the easier the task will be.”

Erieri scrunched her brow confused. “Shore up time. How do you shore up time?” Erieri said. “Time is.” She turned toward him and saw solemnity in his expression and understood. “You’re not here to help me with this task.”

“No, I am not,” the Allurer said.

“Bringing me here was the aid you promised. Bringing me because you knew the way here.”

The Allurer nodded, saying nothing.

Erieri turned from him and looked at the clocks. The myriad of faces all connected through the Center of Time. A final realization tugged at her consciousness, persistent no matter how much she did not wish to entertain it.

The second hand on her clock moved, and a tremble sounded throughout the area. Time rippled between her clock and the center, pulling her clock lower. She did not have the time to hesitate.

“You mean for me to become like you. You mean for me to rob other times to save my own.” Erieri turned back to the Allurer, and still he said nothing. Instead, he took his helmet and placed it upon his head.

The certainty of the knowledge faded slightly as if it had become long ago learned, a concept she had grasped once and left long dormant. A concept he had given her. A concept he now returned to himself. Erieri turned from the Allurer back to the Center of Time and the other times there.

Those times hovered strong, buoyed by the time they held. Time and time to spare. She could siphon from them miniscule amounts. Amounts they would not notice. A practice which bought her time and would make her the same as the Allurer. Trapped. Trapped and always searching for more time causing other times to tumble sooner to the center. All would end and begin anew alone.

There was no answer there.

Shaking her head, she turned back toward the Allurer. “I cannot do that.”

“Then your time is doomed.” His voice echoed within his helm, and the Allurer turned back to his own time. “I failed to act sooner myself. If I had acted, so little time would have been needed… now so much.” Erieri understood his desperation. His time was ending. And yet.

Her gaze moved back over the clock faces. Brilliant, beautiful. Each reflected a different hue, a different reality. Which one belonged to the archer, her nameless friend? Could she risk taking her time? Robbing from one who had helped repair the damage Erieri had caused by her own self bending and twisting time. Looping it so that her past, present and future selves might coalesce at once to see, understand, and pass judgement.

And all clocks were bound by threads to the center. Threads which drew them down. Each Alone in their shared fate.

The word shared caught in Erieri’s mind, and she spun toward the Allurer. Alone, and yet she was not alone. The Allurer had invaded her plains, her time, trying to draw out some for herself. His presence there echoed with every guardian before him.

Alone and not.

He’d meant her time to keep his aloft.

Could his time do the same for her?

Erieri licked her lips and folded her arms tightly looking at the Allurer. “I have an idea,” she said. The Allurer turned from his contemplation of the waters to face her again. She could feel his eyes move within the slit of his shadowed helm.

Erieri pointed at her clock still hovering high in the air. “Go there,” she said simply.

The Allurer shook his head. “Why? Do you feel guilt for my time’s death and wish to offer up yours now?”

Silence stretched between them. Brief or long, Erieri could not say and knew did not matter here. “In a manner, yes.” Erieri shrugged and looked back toward the center. At his time and at hers. “Do either of us have time to argue?”

The Allurer chuckled softly. “Not what I expected, Guardian.” His words echoed harshly. Removing his helm, the Allurer grinned at Erieri. “Though I will accept your donation.”

“Then let us do this.”

The Allurer stepped back, his armor changing again. Wind spread from the back of his suit, sharp and metal. They screamed twisting, no beating the air with enough force to lift him from the ground.

Erieri watched him sail upward before turning her back on the Allurer. She moved to the edge of the center and walked out. Her feet didn’t sink into the water. She strode across the pool to where the Allurers time sank.

Erieri was convinced that her idea was mad. Convinced that she damned her time all the faster. And the Allurer? He had nothing to lose from her attempt. If she were right, even slightly right, this bought him more time. Every inch of the Gaurdian within her screamed against the idea. But she was desperate.

They were both desperate, and Erieri did not wish to become like him. This was at least a different path.

Reaching out, she touched the flow stretching from his center. Like water sliding into silica at a rivers bank, she felt herself connected to his time.

It yanked her forward. Power lashed about her shoulders and pulled her in. Erieri cried out, a cry which echoed angrily above her.

She halted with her face a mere breath from his clock. Straightening, Erieri turned and looked back to the sky. The Allurer hovered beside her clock. He had placed his hand upon it, and she saw new lines forming. A line to his time, and a line to hers. Each a thread but a trickle of time. Each feeding new time into the other as the other siphoned off in exchange.

Neither fell further as they stood staring in silence. The Allurer’s rose slightly, buoyed by her time. Neither dependent on the center alone anymore.

A slow grin crossed the Allurer’s face, and he nodded to her. The Center of Time faded from her vision.

“How could you let the Allurer near to her?” She heard Hendet bellow loudly.

“Do you think I saw another choice?” Cormac said in angry defense.

“So, you granted her approval?”

Erieri opened her eyes in time to see Cormac, gestured toward the clock. The clock wavered even as she glanced at it, dimming as if unneeded.

But not disappearing.

“She needs approval from neither of you,” Erieri said. Rising, she dusted grass and dirt from her knees.

Cormac and Hendat turned toward her, their mouths both opening to argue with her. Both stopped staring behind Erieri.

She twisted, but the Allurer was gone. Mostly. A light shone behind her following as she turned. A trial of light.

“What’s that?” Hendat demanded.

Erieri didn’t bother to look at him. She didn’t want to see their expressions or care about what they thought of her choice. She’d become something neither merely guardian nor chooser. Those roles only concerned themselves with their own time for all she’d chosen this fate.

She shrugged. “It’s a trickle of time.” And time was but both she and the Allurer had needed, and what they’d found. Erieri left the oddly silent pair and marched across the plain. She didn’t know how much time she had, but, however long, she’d guard.

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A Sliver of Time June 4, 2023 by Jenna Eatough

Author Jenna Eatough 's Flash Fiction Blog 9th Anniversary Story 6-4-2023

Nine years to the day have passed since I began posting new flash fiction stories weekly! Not to the hour though. I didn’t want to make you all wait until minutes before midnight.

I’m honored to have had the chance to explore new universes, different voices, and concepts in larger worlds I am working on and glimpses into others. Thank you everyone who has been a part of this journey with me.

to celebrate I am back with a special, longer anniversary flash fiction story. A tradition which started on the 5th anniversary of my blog and has continued since. Erieri tales of time is back again this year with a new installment.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these years of flash fiction (or for those just discovering my blog) and will enjoy them as much as I have. On to a new year of stories!

Erieri stood and watched the old man flattening the grass of the Plains of Time as his robe and cloak billowed behind him. “Excuse me. What are you doing?” Erieri bypassed asking how he’d gotten there or even who he was… they’d get around to that as time circled to it.

Solitude here was far less peaceful than she had been led to believe. First, there’d been the allurer, a known presence. Then Hendat returned. Then his mentor, Cormac, had also found his way back. Time itself had collided introducing Erieri to her counterpart from another time. If those souls’ intrusion weren’t enough, Erieri didn’t know when she’d have to deal with herself again. Past and future selves.

No, another stranger appearing in the Plains of Time did not faze Erieri in the least. But did he have to litter them. She scowled at the stone sitting beside him. She couldn’t figure out why he’d dropped a stone in the Plains of Time with a sword embedded in it.

“Who? Who am I?” The man’s voice sounded incredulous. She glanced back to him to see him blinking at her as if she proven herself quite mad. As if not knowing him were the greatest of sins.

“No, I didn’t ask who. I asked what are you doing in my plains?” Crossing her arms, she tapped her foot at the man.

He stepped back from her, and placed spread fingertips across his chest as if she’d struck him. “How can you not know who I am?”

“I didn’t–” Erieri huffed. “Fine, who are you?”

The man puffed up and a sudden breeze rippling his cloak behind him. “I am the greatest wizard who ever–”

Erieri snorted. “Well, that explains that.” She pointed to the stone. “Be a great wizard and make that disappear. Don’t you know that littering time is dangerous?” She skipped over having caused a bigger rock to appear over somewhere herself.

The wizard stopped, smacked his lips together, and scrunched his nose. “And who are you to tell me what to do, child?”

Erieri shook her head. “Shouldn’t the greatest wizard of all time know the guardian of time when she’s standing in front of him? Especially when he’s trying to claim an audacious title only time can bestow?”

“But I could have sworn the guardian was a man.” His voice sounded incredulous, and he looked about as if expecting to see somebody else materialize. Siena hoped Cormac and Hendat kept their noses out of this and remained off bickering wherever they’d gotten themselves too.

“You’re probably thinking of Hendat. He was my predecessor.” The wizard kept muttering beneath his breath about just yesterday having met him. “Time doesn’t work here how any think it will. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable back in your own reality.”

The wizard shook his head furiously. “I cannot return until my task is done. To do so would be to threaten my entire reality.”

Erieri scowled at the wizard. “And to remain here is to threaten all realities.”

“I quite agree.” A new voice interposed itself into their conversation. “Give me the sword and we can be down with here.” Erieri didn’t recognize the voice, too high and light. Not another mortal here. Sighing, she turned toward the speaker.

Behind her, a woman floated in the air wearing a gown seemingly made of mist so fine were the threads. It flowed about her a dark cloud caught in a breeze. A pretty, wispy girl.

She belonged here even less.

Erieri felt the malice and power flowing from her. Power that would definitely disturb time. Striding forward, Erieri reached out and retrieved her staff from the pocket she’d hidden it in. “And you are?”

“I am the rightful inheritor of my brother’s sword.” She jabbed a finger toward the sword sticking out of the stone. “I have come to reclaim my inheritance.”

Erieri groaned, allowing the movement to flow through her body as she slumped slightly. “This is a family dispute? Did have to play this out through time?”

“He is no kin of mine.” The woman’s voice sounded harsh. “He stole the sword from my fallen brother before any could naysaying it.”

“I did no such thing,” the wizard sputtered.

“Definitely a family squabble,” Erieri muttered.

“I am protecting the greatest of all treasures.” He raised his hands and clapped. Lightning flashed outward, disturbing the night shredding what little peace Erieri retained. The spell drew a portion of the moon, pulling the light to him to swirl about him and the stone in a shell. “And I shall not surrender it.”

Erieri sighed and started walking to the left side stepping as the woman threw a returning spell at the wizard. They’d had to drag her into their squabble. Clear of the tossed about spells she turned around. Erieri folded her arms again and shook her head. “Wizards. They always think everything is the end of time.”

Taking her attention from the battling wizard, she turned toward the sword. Then again it might be the end of time depending on what happened to that thing.

Power rippled through Erieri as she looked at the blade. She’d only noticed the hilt before gilded in silver and gold with a brilliant gem set in the pommel. All that had been a show for mortals. The blade was something else.

She cursed the wizard for trying to seal it away. She would have known it sooner if he hadn’t encased it in rock. A sliver of time honed sharp. Who had forged that thing and allowed it to pass to the mortal lands? It could sever time itself.

She appraised the two battling Wizards. The woman was obviously consumed with rage. Perhaps rage tinged with grief. Erieri knew that might heal with time, but the rage would not. That emotion burned too strongly in her leaving nothing else.

The elder wizard, the man he was no better. Certain he was always right, and while Erieri thought he’d done the best he could by the sword his perspective was still limited. He’d born dreams into it. Impossible dreams and forced them into reality, only to see them crumble as all must.

No. Neither of them were worthy holders of this sword. As guardian she would not allow this into anyone’s hands.

Erieri called the blade to her. It sprung from the stone, leaving a crumbled mess behind as landed in her hand.

Both wizards stared at the fractured stone in utter shock before turning toward her. She held the sword before her, bracing herself. “If either of you would like to try taking the sword from me, be my guest.”

If she’d thought the light flared before, it was nothing compared to now. The moon descended itself and encased itself around Erieri in brilliant light.

The other woman screamed, fleeing from Erieri’s light. “This is not over.” Her shrill voice carried across the plains, and Erieri wondered how far through time that would echo.

The wizard knelt dropping to one knee, resting a folded arm on it, and bowing his head to her. “Guardian, I apologize. I did not recognize you before.”

“Yeah,” Erieri snorted. “Well, I did try to tell you.”

The men nodded and rose to his feet. “I am glad to entrust the sword to you. May you keep it safe until its time returns again.”

Erieri nodded, biting her tongue against telling him its time would never come again. Not in the mortal world. No point antagonizing him.

He turned away as if to exit the Plains of Time. While Erieri was grateful to see him go, she couldn’t ignore a niggling concern. “If she wanted this blade so badly, and you were so desperate to seal it, what will prevent others from seeking it here? I can’t have everyone just tromping through time searching for it.”

The wizard turned back and smirked. “I’ll tell them I gave it to a lady living in a lake.” He waved gesturing to the plains. “For time is a river and here time gathers. What else is this place but a lake of time? Let them get wet searching actual lakes.”

Erieri thought he’d opened a gateway and be spectacular in his departure. Instead, he vanished as if a morning mist lost beneath the sun leaving her alone with the sword. Lowering it, she released the power she’d held and stared at the thing. What was she supposed to do with this?

“Who dares defile the Plains of Time!” a voice boomed. Looking up, Erieri saw Hendat rushing across the field followed by his mentor. Each held staffs before them.

“You’re a bit late. I already sent the wizards home,” she called to them.

Hendat stopped blinking at her. He jerked slightly when he noticed the sword in her hand. Cormac, however, rushed forward to examine it more closely. “You found it? Where was it? I spent centuries wondering where I put that thing.”

Erieri’s mouth opened as she looked at Cormac in shock. He’d forged a sliver of time into a weapon, and he’d lost it? Releasing one hand from the sword, Erieri smacked her forehead. Time grant her patience.

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At Arrow’s Point June 4, 2022 by Jenna Eatough

Jenna Eatough's 8th Anniversary Blog Post

Eight years ago today, just before midnight, I posted my first flash fiction story. A habit I have continued weekly every Wednesday since. It’s hard to believe eight years of flash fiction stories have passed. These stories have let me explore new universes, different voices, and concepts in larger worlds I am working on. I am glad they are part of my writing.

For the 5th anniversary of my blog, I decided to start posting special, extra-long stories to mark the occasion and Erieri was born. She’s back again this year with a new installment and I’ve made it easier to find all her chapters. To see previous entries, click the “Anniversary” link above.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these years of flash fiction (or for those just discovering my blog will enjoy them) as much as I have. On to a new year of stories!

Flat. Flat. Flat.

The planes extended in every direction about Erieri. The planes of time, unending and never changing. At least that is what those without attention thought. In truth they constantly changed.

Grasses grew, lengthened, wilted, and fell.

Flowers bloomed in a chaotic rhythm Erieri still struggled to understand.

Ruins dotted the plains whispering of worlds and paths she’d yet to explore.

Outcroppings appeared out of nowhere.

Erieri stopped abruptly and Hendat and Cormac swept past her before they realized she’d stopped. They glanced at each other, thankfully not arguing for the moment, before turning back to her. “Erieri?” Cormac asked.

“Have either of you seen anything like that before.” She pointed to the outcropping, twisting to keep her gaze on them.

The quick eye widening confirmed what she’d expected. They’d been giving her peace finally, but only for her ears. Their fight had continued silently, though in what form she didn’t want to guess, even as they’d trailed behind her ignoring everything else.

Erieri rolled her eyes and turned away. “So never.” Not an unsurprising answer. Not here. Time like the plane changed and waivered beneath site.

The air beyond the outcropping wavered, rippled, forming a pool of brilliant blue spirals. Onto the outcropping a woman clambered. She clutched a bow in her hand and had arrows strapped to her back. Beyond her presence here, where only the master and apprentice (and apparently other masters who’d trained her or she’d chosen), she seemed normal. Well put together, even.

Not the allurer Hendat and Cromac swore would return yet.

Erieri jerked her thumb toward the woman. “Please spare me any riddles. Have either of you seen her before.”

Cromac shook his head, his own brows drawn together as he watched her. Hendat scratched his chin, his answer unsurprisingly less direct, but Erieri was willing to bet he didn’t know her either.

Great. Another new mystery, and she’d left her walking stick at camp. Empty handed, Erieri turned away from the pair and started toward the woman. The outcropping wasn’t too high, and she gripped the stone pulling herself from the ground.

Once her head poked over the summit she folded her arms over the stone and glanced up at the woman. She’d notched an arrow and stood facing the ripples, string pulling back.

“Hello!” Erieri’s greeting sounded loud and chipper, and the woman jumped her shot flying wide. She turned to look at Erieri. “Would you mind giving me a hand up.” A bit forward of a move, seeing as the woman was obviously armed and Erieri was not, but she’d been told numerous times she had everything she needed. Today she had her cherriness.

The woman’s cheek pulled in as if she gnawed it. The bow lowered and her hand moved away from her arrows, but otherwise she didn’t move, still steps away from Erieri.

Erieri huffed and glanced over her shoulder. “Not a horrible height, but I’d still hate to fall.”

The woman’s nose wrinkled, but she nodded and moved toward Erieri, grasping her hand, and pulled her up onto the outcropping. Erieri clasped her forearm with a broad smile.

Erieri could best describe the woman’s expression as confused as she backed away from the edge with Erieri following her. Definitely too formed for the allurer. “Welcome to the plains.” She let a friendly smile bloom.

She pulled back slightly, but thankfully left the bow dangling idly at her side. That the woman was familiar, Erieri knew, but she couldn’t place her. Not another future or past acquaintance to deal with. The sound of climbing sounded behind her, and the woman glanced over Erieri’s shoulder.

“You caused this.” The woman spoke quietly, but Erieri heard the strength there. Her lack of need to boast. “You brought them here.” She pointed an accusing finger beyond Erieri.

Erieri turned, her body following her head like a puppy chasing her tail. At the edge of the outcropping Hendat and Cormac clambered up the stone. She turned back. “Technically they proceeded me.”

The woman rolled her eyes and pointed at the distortion. “Technically I don’t care. They’re causing that.”

Erieri turned toward the distortion, tilted her head, and placed a hand on her hip. Through the spirals she could almost see… someplace. The view reminded her something of peering through a clock, except it wasn’t any world under her care.

“Where’s that?” She turned back to the woman, and she was scowling at Erieri. “Should I say when?”

She jerked her arm and the bow sprung up and into a tighter grip. “Only a guardian would ask such a preposterous question. And you of all of them should know better.” She turned away from Erieri and pulled another arrow from her quiver, drawing and pointing it toward the spirals.

“Me of all…” Erieri stopped and shook her head. She could figure that statement out later. “So, what’ve I caused this time?”

The woman let the arrow loose and it flew, zooming through the air with a cutting buzz. The point struck the center of the spiral and halted, falling to the ground. An aggravated grunt stopped Erieri from complimenting her on the shot.

Taking a step back, Erieri raised her hands and widened her eyes. “I still don’t know what I’ve caused.”

The woman raised her free hand, reaching toward Erieri before yanking and rolling her fingers into a first. “Is this your first time meeting me?”

Erieri glanced between the bow and the woman and nodded quickly. “Not the first time for you?”

“No, though you cautioned me patience when we reached this point. But how could you? How could you be so foolish as to weaken the divide between our realms.” She gestured to the distortion again

“Oh, is that what that is?” Erieri turned back to the woman. “What is your realm?”

“The immutable.” Hendat could have been impressed by the vagueness of that answer. Speaking of which. She turned back to Hendat and Cormac. “Either of you have a suggestion.”

“Well,” Hendat rubbed the back of his neck.

Cormac shook his head. “We are guardians of our realms, not other realms. I’ve never seen this before.” He gestured toward the spirals. “Or heard of other realms.”

The ground rolled beneath their feet. Erieri stumbled and Hendat grabbed her arm, pulling her back from the edge of the outcropping. She looked back to the woman. “The divide is weakening?”

The woman nodded.

“And it’s only going to get worse.”

The woman nodded again. “Until it swallows both our times.”

Erieri swallowed. Great she’d only been on the job… what felt like no time, and she’d already almost gotten time swallowed twice.

The woman stood for a minute watching her. Erieri turned away and glowered at the distortion. If it had been a clock draining, she could have simply controlled the flow through her will, but this was something else. She opened her pack and rummaged through it. Discarding gages, lens, and other oddities she still hadn’t determined a use for.

The woman grunted and turned away. Raising her bow to fire at the thing again. The arrow bounced impressively but uselessly away again. “Why are you firing arrows at it.”

“Because we must collapse that anomaly while we can. Why aren’t you?”

Erieri glanced about and turned back to stare at the woman. “I seem to be short arrows. Weapons weren’t part of my supplies.”

“And yet, I know you’re an expert shot…” The woman cut off again looking from Erieri to the bow she held. “Or will be.” She thrust the weapon at Erieri, shoving it into her hand.

The wood was heavy as Erieri clutched it. When she glanced up the woman was already removing the quiver from her shoulders and thrust it at Erieri as well. “You’re mutable. Perhaps you need to affect this end, not me.”

Trying to juggle the items thrust at her, she glowered at the woman. She’d decide later what she felt about being called mutable. “Then perhaps you should be on the other side,” she snapped.

The woman looked at the distortion. “You’re right.” Turning she sprinted away from Erieri. “Be ready to fire when I’m through,” she hollered. She leapt from the edge of the outcropping into the portal and the air followed her, dragging Erieri forward. Cormac grabbed her arm pulling her close and backward.

The distortion sharpened as the woman struck it, pushing her way through to the other side. Through a hole at the center, she could make out the land beyond. Canyons spilling away and pointing toward a horizon Erieri could barely make out.

When the woman landed on an outcropping which matched the one Erieri stood on she turned back, the wind pushing her hair back behind her. Stretching out her arms, a bow and arrow appeared in her hands.

“Oh, forget it!” Erieri snatched an arrow out and dropped the quiver, the rest scattered about her. She fumbled with the bow, trying to watch the grace she saw from the woman on the other side, and equally trying to ignore the unsettling feeling of an arrow pointed directly toward her. At least she wasn’t firing into the wind.

Raising her bow, she mirrored the woman’s movements. Watching as she mouthed words, a count down and she was nearly at one. The woman’s head nodded abruptly as she reached the number and her arrow flew. Erieri’s twanged from her bow as the string snapped painfully against her arm.

She dropped the bow, clutching her arms and rubbing her skin furiously as she watched her arrow. It struck the anomaly as the same moment as the other arrow, and light blossomed from where the two points meet. The woman’s skill that. Erieri doubted she’d ever be able to make such a shot.

The wind halted. Not with a furious clatter she’d expect with averting the end of the world. It just stopped. When the light dissipated without even a meager thunderclap, she could see the hole filling and the woman grinning from her own realm.

They’d done it. Erieri smiled back and an irritating thought struck her. She stepped forward hollering toward the quickly receding spirals. “I didn’t catch your name.”

Through the thickening air Erieri caught her grin. “I didn’t give it!” The voice sounded rippled, and she barely caught the salute before the distortion closed.

Hendat placed a hand on her shoulder. She turned grinning, expecting congratulations for averting the world’s end again, and saw him looking at the ground. At the arrows strewn about Erieri’s feet. “Are you going to pick those up?”

Erieri stared angrily at the man. “I stopped time from collapsing and all you have to say is ‘are you going to pick those up’?”

“Saving time doesn’t excuse littering.” Hendat turned away, still staring at her with a smirk and started walking right off the edge of the outcropping. Laughing, Erieri stooped to retrieve the arrows.

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7th Anniversary June 4, 2021 by Jenna Eatough

7th Anniversary

Happy 7th Anniversary to my blog!

On this day 7 years ago I wrote my first blog post and got it up right before midnight. Apparently, I am following that tradition again this year. Still after the insanity of the last year for me, I am happy to have this post done. I hope you enjoy this yerar’s chapter of Erieri’s tale.

Here’s to another year of stories!

The argument chased Erieri through the grasses and onto the plane, diminishing in volume to a dull murmur then nothing. She leaned sideways smacking tall grasses, flush with the spring of somewhen. Straightening, she glowered over her shoulder toward the lanterns illuminating the camp’s position.

“You could’ve warned me being the lone Guardian of all Times wasn’t as alone as implied.” Swatting the grasses again, Erieri turned to escape further into the endless plane and faltered.

A gray wall stood before her blocking the planes. Rough stone marred the smooth surface showing that more than a mason’s hand had worked on the wall above which stars blazed. Grey light shone beyond the arch, bathing the stone within

When had that come from? She drifted slowly toward the entry pausing beside the massive pillar and peeked around to the space beyond. Five chairs were arranged in a ring in the center of the chamber, three of which were occupied. Not by the men she’d left bickering, nor the allurer. No, even beneath the cloak they were decidedly feminine.

Whoever they were, they didn’t belong in the plane. She’d have to send them back, or forward, to wherever they belonged. Erieri’s knees wobbled the last step as three identical and intimately familiar faces turned toward her.

Almost identical. Each varied in age, but she knew the face. She saw it when she looked in the mirror.

“Finally,” the woman to the right said. She ran her hand through familiar brown hair, streaked with gray. “That just leaves one more. Sit,” the elder Erieri said pointing at one of the remaining seats.

Erieri fidgeted, running the hem of her cloak through her fingers. The other three stared at the ground before them not speaking. The stars blazed in the sky and the horizon remained stubbornly dark. Either no time passed, and her impatience was showing, or time was sideways. Here either was possible.

Straightening Erieri sat back in her chair. “What are we waiting for?”

Shoulders shifted beneath red cloaks, but the elder was the only one to look up. “The last of ourselves of course.”

“Of course.” Erieri rolled her eyes. Why couldn’t Hendat or Cromac try insinuating themselves now? At least then she could ask them a question. Not that either were likely to answer in a fashion which made sense.

Footsteps echoed over the plane, turning toward the archway she saw another version of herself, this one younger, enter the circle. That Erieri paused at the entry, fisting her hand and placing it against her lips.

“How,” she said turning toward the eldest. “I don’t recall this happening before.”

The woman waved her hand dismissively. “You will.” Erieri sat back in her seat huffing at herself as the elder rose from her seat instructing the newest version of herself to take the final seat. With the four seated she looked them all over.

“Why are we here this time?” another asked as the young Erieri slipped into her seat. She swore her muttering about having lost her mind. How young she was.

Blinking she sat straighter. “This time?” she asked looking between the three. “You mean this has happened more than once.”

The final one shrugged. “You’ll get used to it. There’s times it is… useful for figuring issues out.”

“We’re here,” the eldest said with a glower silencing the other woman, “to determine if we’ve taken the wrong path.”

“The wrong path?” Erieri said, glancing at herself.

The eldest nodded. “The plane was meant for one guardian at a time. You’ve brought two more in.” She pointed a finger accusingly at Erieri.

“I did no such thing. I can’t get them to leave.”

“A lack of competence,” the one to her left muttered.

The other huffed, crossing her arms. “I certainly wouldn’t make that mistake.”

Her younger self remained mute, gripping the bottom of her chair. Erieri scowled. “Of course, you wouldn’t, as far as I can tell you’re all older than me. You’ve more experience.”

The eldest shrugged. “You’ve been trained.”

“You call that training? Do you even remember the half answers if Hendat said anything?” The one to her right, the next closest in age from what she could tell sat forward, snorting trying to restrain her laughter. “See, she does!”

“Simply not an acceptable excuse. Your job is to protect time from all threats, including ourselves.”

Erieri gapped at herself at pointed at the younger. “Then why is she’s here?”

An Erieri waved her hand dismissively. “Obvious. She’s from before our arrival, and we can prevent you from ever becoming a guardian.”

The second eldest nodded. “Simple enough to change her path so we can’t make the same mistake.”

Erieri and her younger self stared at the eldest. “But you’ve already been through this.”

“Yes. And?”

“You’ve been through this.” Erieri moved her arm in a circle before her indicating all the hers present.

“Yes, four times before. What is your point?”

“That you’ve been through this four times, and obviously I’ve turned out to be you, so this is the path.”

“Not necessarily,” the second eldest said shrugging. “My previous three times through all ended differently.”

Erieri opened her mouth to speak and stopped shaking her head. There was no point trying to argue. “Fine, then this is MY path, and I won’t abandon it.”

“The choice may not be yours,” the next older said. “There are three of us to your one.”

“Two,” a voice squeaked before Erieri could respond. Her younger self had released her death grip from the chair and was standing. “I’ve not a notion what’s happening, but I want the chance to find out.”

The eldest stopped, narrowing her eyes at the youngest. She moved a hand to rest on her waist. “You’re two. Do you truly think you can win?”

“Yes,” she said. “Because if here is away from there, I want to reach here. Or have you forgotten how driving that desire is?”

Erieri’s eyes widened as she’d listened to herself speak. They’d have forgotten. She had already forgotten. Rising from her chair she went to stand next to herself. “We won’t turn back.”

“And if forward leads to disaster?” The eldest asked.

Erieri grinned. “Then I’ll pick another direction. Because I can choose.” Raising her hand she halted time, before the other hers could finish standing. She turned her back on the circle and strode from the archway, only glancing back when she was yards removed.

The elder version of herself had vanished. The younger stood, her grin remaining strong even as she faded. Memories flooded into Erieri’s brain. “Oh,” she whispered eyes widening. That was how her dream began. She’d chosen herself.

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Time’s Choice June 4, 2020 by Jenna Eatough

6th Anniversary

The 6th anniversary of my flash fiction blog is here!

6 years ago today I wrote my first flash fiction and created my blog. Last year I started celebrating the anniversary with a story of time. This year I decided that celebrating time passing with another chapter to the time story from last year was fitting. I hope you enjoy your time here as much as I enjoy writing stories to share.

Here’s to more years of stories!

Surrounded by rubble, Erieri, Guardian of all Times, absently nibbled her sandwich leaning against her favorite spot. The selected column had fallen and eroded to cradle her back while she lazily draped her arm over the stone.

The field carried a noticeable yellow tinge to the grass and shrubs today. The breeze brushed across her face with tendrils almost suffocatingly hot. At least compared to what she considered normal. Though normal was a thought this place protested. Still, if the heat seeped into things here it could seep back out to elsewhere. Erieri couldn’t leave that.

Taking the last bite, she brushed the crumbs from her hands and pushed away from the pillar. Standing free, Erieri closed her eyes and held out her arms, opening herself to the plane and time, seeking the source the heat was trickling from. Eyes snapping open, she stared into the distance her sight said was the same as any other. There. She strode forward answering time’s call.

The plane moved about her, the same as always until it wasn’t, or she stumbled into the center’s circle. Erieri strode seeking what was different about this direction. A disc of light flashed into existence a breath before she smacked into it.

Her eyes darted down and back to the top of the light again. Disc was the best descriptor she had, though the sides wobbled, changing too rapidly to claim any shape long. The ever-changing edges wafted ripples across the center, vying for control of the light. Erieri circled and the thing moved with her, morphing and warping to keep her in front.

She stopped and furrowed her nose. “Well something is demanding today.” She’d never seen or heard of anything like this before. She twisted and glared into the horizon. Old Hendat was nowhere to be seen. Not that his answers would be less then maddening. If he bothered to give them. More likely he’d tell her to figure it out herself.

She turned back to the portal and puffed out a breath, blowing her bangs out of her eyes.

Erieri blinked.

Bangs? When had she gotten those dread things? Time was getting away from her.

Fine. It wanted her attention. It had it. Reaching out Erieri touched the disc. Light spilled out from the surface, wrapping about her hand, and yanked. Stumbling forward, heat dried Erieri’s throat.

The plane disappeared and the ground shifted beneath feet. Stumbling Erieri found a dune shifting beneath her boots the golden sand unsettled by her appearance. Light and heat reflected from the sun. “Ugh.” She stepped backward finding footing above the ground. Her boots were held firm by ground that would be there or had already there. Hendat would’ve reminded her there wasn’t a difference where she was concerned. Whatever the case, Erieri was grateful to free her feet from the furnace the sand.

“Aiye!” a voice screamed. Yanking herself about, Erieri saw a man stumbling backward. Sand scattered in waves about him as he shoved backward eyes wide.

Erieri narrowed her eyes, trying to see him clearly through the light and dust. He was young, perhaps little more than a youth, but he was well constructed. A change for the Allurer’s rush constructions. Beyond Hendat, he was the only man to visit the planes. “Allurer be gone.” Raising her chin, Erieri folded her arms.

The man responded in a series of sounds with more consonants then Erieri could process. She raised a hand covering one ear at the barrage of noise. There was nothing alluring about that. Who was he? She tilted her head allowing the wind to shift about her, tendrils of time passing through her. “Demon, demon!” The sounds resolved themselves as time taught her the tongue. “Don’t drag me to your realm.”

She glanced over her shoulder and saw the portal glowing red, but still sticking obsessively with her. Erieri sighed. No, there was a time the sight of someone appearing from a red portal would have disturbed her as well. “I’m no demon.” She turned back, wrapping her tongue around the strange sounds.

The boy screamed louder, his blue eyes widening as he fell back over the dune’s ridge. Drifting forward, Erieri allowed her feet touch the ground as she reached the crest.

The man was still tumbling backward toward a string of people twisting through the sands. More hands had lifted and pointed her direction. Red stained the sand in front of her. Erieri drifted downward as fingers pointed up.

Pain seared through her side. Gasping, her hand clamped around a wooden shaft. Learning forward a man appeared beside her, light clothing blending with the dune beside him. He glowered, driving the weapon deeper. Erieri gurgled and collapsed. Her blood was absorbed by the sands as it hit the ground. Light enveloped her.

“Demon. Demon!” She gasped, pressing her hands against her side as the light blinded her. The pain was gone, and her side felt whole. The ground shifted beneath her feet again. Looking, she saw the golden dune washing against her boots as it had when she’d first arrived. The boy was there again, stumbling in his sudden change of direction again. He’d been moving her direction before she’d appeared, she realized.

Erieri raced forward, grabbing for his arm whirling beneath a scrap of fabric which provided scant shelter from the sun. The cloth ground against her skin and slipped away. “No, don’t run.” She screamed chasing after him.

Erieri wasn’t sure if she’d spoken in his language or hers. Either way he ran. She followed, spitting sand as a plume struck her face. Reaching the crest, Erieri tackled him, the ground sliding beneath them, knocking them into a tumble of elbows, knees and heads knocking into each other. They landed in a heap at the base of the dune. Erieri gasped trying to gain her breath after the last blow.

A man dressed in light clothing appeared beside them, his dark eyes glaring as he raised a wooden spear. Erieri stretched her arm, holding out her hand. “Stop!” she screamed. The wood plunged into her chest, robbing her scant breath as light robbed her sight.

The cycle repeated. Erieri stepped into the sand to see the boy screaming, stumbling backward, not from the sands but a sudden rapid change of direction as he ran from her. She’d chase. She’d go the other way. She’d stand still. Always the dark eyed man came for her. His wooden shaft piecing and stealing her life again.

Always when she drifted time grabbed her yanking her back. The light blinded and the cycle returned again.

What did time want from her? Turning toward the disc, Erieri beat her hands against it knowing the disc was time protecting her and trapping her. She leaned against it, hands braced wide. Time answered to her, but this would not obey her in this barren world. The spear drove into her back.

Erieri dropped to the ground as she light released her again. Her fists beat against the ground, driving beneath the surface with a puff and into the compacted ground beneath. The heat blistered about her hands threatening to burn her. “No!” Her voice carried her frustrations echoing over the dunes.

Erieri was time. She bent it to her will. Hendat had taught her to weave the flows, not be tangled in them. “Why am I here!” Her tears evaporated as they rolled down her cheeks. “How do I go home.”

A hand touched her shoulder. She turned and the boy stood at her shoulder. He moved shifting beside her until she sat in his shadow. His blue eyes looked at her in sympathy, echoing her trapped feeling. “Escape?” He looked to the portal of light behind her.

Erieri shook her head. “It won’t answer me.” She pushed herself from the ground.

“Escape,” he asked again. His eyebrows rose, as he gnawed his lips raw from heat and exposure.

“Escape if it will listen.” She waived her hand at the portal, abrupt and fast with frustration. A shadow stretched over them from the crest of the dune. The dark eyed man stood there, the blasted spear in his hands. “No,” she moaned, the sound twined by the boys.

Erieri looked at him. Her despair mirrored in his face. Oh time. He’d been running when she’d come, and she’d wrecked it for him every time. Why would time make them suffer together?

Reaching up, she clasped his hand and smiled mournfully. Perhaps next time she could find the power to free him. She gasped as energy was yanked from her, moving from her hand to his. The boy straightened as the energy washed over him. The disc circled to rest behind him, abandoning Erieri.

He turned toward the disc. “Escape now.” His palm slammed against the disk, power washed from him into the surface unraveling the bands of time that had trapped them both. The boy stumbled into the light dragging Erieri with him.

Arms wrapped around Erieri, gripping and holding her inches from smacking her face against the grass plane. The yellow seeped out of the plants as she took a deep breath. Thankfully cool air rushed into her lunges. She shifted, scrambling to put feet beneath herself and stand. “Hendat, thank–” The words died in her throat as Erieri turned.

The man behind her was not her mentor nor the allurer. He posture matched Hendat’s though, confident of his place here. He was grace wrapped within flowing fabric which responded to a breeze she did not feel. His eyes were blue. “You’re the boy?” She reached toward him.

He grinned, grabbing her hand before she could touch him. The grip was strong and the smile friendly. “And you’re the demon,” he teased. “Nice to finally meet you again.”

“Who are you?” Erieri scrunched her brows. “How are you here. Only Hendat visits me here when chooses or the–”

“Allurer?” the man broke in. “A pain that one. Though probably not as much as Hendat’s vague answers. I almost regret teaching him that bad trait for our sake. If I hadn’t, I might have saved us both pain. As to the why, until now I did not know you to visit. You were an unseen shadow.” Erieri opened her mouth, unsure what to ask.

“What!” a voice cried interrupting them. Erieri turned and Hendat stood in the distance. “Don’t tell me she’s a chooser, Cromac?”

“Student, you’d be wise to watch your tone.” The man, Cromac, turned to Hendat with a glower.

Cromac? Hendat’s mentor? “But if you’re Cormac, you proceeded me here.” Cormac grinned at Erieri. She grunted rolling her eyes. What was proceeding in this place?

Cormac turned to Hendat crossing his arms. “She’s a chooser indeed.” He winked at Eriei. “I’m pleased to finally thank you for choosing me.”

“Chooser?” she repeated. Hendat might have mentioned that once. Something about some, only some being choosers as well. Had she chosen a proceeding guardian? Erieri raised her hands and rubbed her temples. “This place isn’t going to get less complicated, is it?”

“No,” Hendat huffed folding his arms. “And this place is going to get crowded.”

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Guardians June 4, 2019 by Jenna Eatough

5th Anniversary

5 years.

5 years ago today I wrote my first flash fiction to include on my blog and got it posted… right before midnight. But for 5 years I have been writing and sharing stories each week. In celebration of that milestone I have written a special flash fiction this and I’m introducing some new design elements to the blog. I hope you enjoy them all.

Here’s to another five years of stories!

Erieri stood at the nexus and scowled. That clock had not been here a month ago before old Hendat’s retirement. Erieri was new, untested, exhausted, and Hendat was. . . unreachable.

She wrinkled her nose sniffing and moved toward the wooden monstrosity. Nothing to do but investigate. She glanced at the yellow flow and scowled. Quickly too, there wasn’t much time. Erieri snorted her amusement at the absurd thought. The nexus was time, time of all the worlds.

“Where did you come from?” she asked, rummaging in her pack as she sought an instrument and grasped it tightly. Raising her hand, she peered through a crystal lens which showed a green tinge to the new clock’s face. Yellow mist swirled through air, pulling from the worlds’ clock behind her to this one. No wonder the nexus had cried in her mind yanking her from her bed.

She moved closer to the clock, stashing the lens before raising her hand toward the wood again. She had to stop the flow before it gobbled all of worlds’ time.

“I wouldn’t,” a voice said behind her.

Turning, she scowled as she spotted a man standing between the pillars to the plain. He shouldn’t be here. No one but the guardian and the apprentice should be here, and she hadn’t taken on an apprentice yet. “Who are you,” she demanded, hands tightening at her sides to keep them from shaking.

“Who are you to demand such things?” the man asked.

She raised her chin. “I am the guardian.”

“Guardian, eh?” The man snorted and moved forward circling to her right. “Do you even know what that means?”

Erieri opened her mouth to reply and stopped, scrunching her nose. She was the guardian of the nexus. She. . . guarded it.

“But guard it from what?” the man asked, a mischievous grin spreading slowly over his face.

“Stop that.” Erieri reached into her bag, searching for something. This man did not belong here. That much she was certain of.

“I belong here more than you do.” She looked from the bag to see him much closer. He wasn’t quite right, much as his clock. His clock? Yes, she was as certain of that.

She stepped back retreating, unwilling to let him come closer. “I said stop.” She willed strength into her voice and resisted stomping.

The man stopped and crossed his arm slackly. Something about the tilt of them was almost condescending. “Oh, little girl, you don’t even begin to understand.” No, he wasn’t quite right. Erieri just couldn’t decide what was wrong. There was something off about him as if his body had been put together in a hurry and without regard to proportions.

“I understand this place is my charge until I surrender it to my successor.” She gripped the strap of her pack tightly. “I understand I have all the tools I need to care for it.”

“Hopefully, you will pick a more worthy successor then Hendat did,” the man paused regarding her. She screamed as his hand clamped around her arm. The man had moved more quickly than she could respond to or follow. He leaned forward placing his mouth near her ear. “But you will surrender to me, and I will show you wonders.”

Erieri wrenched her arm in his grip, fighting to break free and put some distance between them. Reaching for her bag, she felt for the probe. It had a sharp enough point to do damage.

The man grabbed the strap, wrenching the bag off her shoulder and flung it away. “No,” she cried twisting to follow, but his hand clamped on her shoulder. Erieri turned back toward the man.

She gasped, trying to draw in air as the sky turned red around them. The man drew her close again. The heat centered on him, draining away her energy. “Give in,” he whispered. “Allow your time to end.”

Her knees wobbled as she reached out grabbing his shirt to keep herself from falling. Give in? She looked over her shoulder at the clocks. Hers a great circle with her world viewable beyond. Others would appear there if she willed it. But her world was known, comfortable. Though clouds and lightning marred its blue skies now.

His arm slipped around her, supporting her. This, this was easy, comfortable. Standing here was nothing like the chasing Hendat around as he’d strode through the Nexus on tasks. Tasks she still wasn’t certain she’d understood. Why had he made her guardian so quickly? Why hadn’t he told her more? Hendat was every frustration of the last years’ struggles.

This man, though, was a mystery hiding what it contained. Enticing and calling for exploration. “There see?” he whispered. “Let me make your life easy.” Yes, she could give in and rest.

Her gaze traveled up the clock as he moved his hand to rest between her shoulders. The clock face glowed greener still, visible to her eye alone now. Raising a hand, she stared at her skin. It was. . . ashen, as if it were being drained too. She shuddered, instinctively drawing away. “No,” she whispered.

“What?” the man asked.

“No,” Erieri repeated shoving him away. The man stumbled back from her. “I will not give in.” Red leeched from the sky and a cool breeze brushed past, refreshing her.

“You must give in.” The man scowled, his not quite right features twisting further.

Erieri shook her head. “I must do nothing but what I choose.” The yellow ribbons of light lessened. She ran a hand over her arm and watched the layer of grey peel away.

Snorting, Erieri turned away from the man and back toward his clock. “Do not take another step,” the man warned behind her.

She looked over her shoulder scowling. “Or you’ll what? Try to restrain me again?” She snorted and raised her hand to the clock, touching its surface. The clocked shuddered under her touch, wavering and vanishing. The last of the yellow lines disappearing into the clock.

Erieri looked behind her. The man stood at the edge of the plane among the pillars, in their shadows again. Taking a shuddering breath, she fell to her knees.

“I had wondered how the allurer would appear to you,” a familiar voice said nearby. “He’d always appeared as a man to me as well. Though Cromac before me always swore he saw a woman.” Erieri turned in time to see the familiar shrug and gasped.

Hendat sat on a broken pillar rolling a pebble between his fingers. “I thought you had moved on.” The words were flat as she spoke them.

“I have,” Hendat said and tilted to his head to the side as if thinking. “I did. I will.” He shrugged. “Do those words have any meaning for this place or us?”

Erieri snorted, feeling the tremors subside from her body. “You could have warned me.”

His face fell, tilting downward. “Oh child, that is the one thing I could not do. And the one thing you will not be able to do.”

“Why?” she demanded.

Hendat smiled crookedly. “Because the moment I warned you, you would have been unable to stand.” That made as much sense as ever. Practically none. “Oh, you’ll get it someday.” Hendat waived his hand dismissively.

She turned and looked toward the pillars. The man was still out there. “Does he have a name?” she asked.

“Does it matter?”

Erieri glanced and him narrowing her eyes. She shook her head. “I guess it doesn’t matter. But what do I do now?”

Hendat laughed resting an elbow against his knee. “You already know the answer to that one. Be the guardian. Be time.”

“Keep going,” Erieri said. Looking over the plane she spotted something sparkling in the distance. She turned back to Hendat, but he was gone. How like the man. She turned back to the glimmer in the distance. That was as good a direction as any.

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