It's been a week since Halloween, a week since the end of October, a week since the culmination of Short As Fictober, my self-imposed, month-long writing journey. I haven't written much of anything since then, but I have had a moment to reflect on the experience and make a plan of sorts.
When the night had grown long in the tooth, and the starless sky turned dark enough to swallow the streetlights and traffic signals, every bar and tavern in downtown Bridgewater swung their doors wide, sloshing last-call patrons homeward.
Edith wore an old brown barn coat, the same one worn by her mother and her mother before her. Two lifetimes plus one in the making ran throughout the fabric, the buttons, the zipper. Inside, the coat had four pockets, each with the potential to contain entire worlds. This particular attribute made the girl's task at hand--delivering The Basement Tapes to the next faction over--significantly easier.
When the house goes dark, Penny lies awake making monsters out of shadows, wondering at the creaks and groans moving ever closer down the hallway's floorboards.
At dawn I pull the last batch of donuts from their bath in the deep fryer, and rack them to cool. My shop, Tasty Donut, opens its doors in thirty minutes and I'm lagging behind. Three straight days running on no sleep will have that effect. Surprised I've been full steam ahead as long as I have.
Sten can't afford a moment's rest. He traces the path he'd taken in his fall and tumble back up the hill, and spots the mob of forest trolls who've been hounding him all morning already rushing down the slope toward him, with far more aplomb than his ass-over-teakettle approach.
The angel startles awake and rolls over in his hammock, squints against the glare of sunlight shoving its way through the screen of sycamore leaves.
Berta Saunders banks her plane hard to the left, swerving around a flock of juvenile dragons who squawk and screech and spit middle finger equivalents of flame in her direction. She checks the mirrors she installed on her craft just in case one of the little bastards decides it wants to show off and give chase.
An 8-bit symphony warms up before launching into the overture to begin the final stage. Boscoe sighs, and wipes the sweat from under his hat band with a gloved hand. He nearly has the pattern down, and it's a good thing he does.
The lantern's white-yellow light proffers a soft circle, a small illumination bubble to hold back the miles of darkness overhead. You count off the last fifty paces in this corridor, and stop. When you bring the lantern close to the cave floor, you find the same symbol you'd seen in the last three rooms--an eye floating above three wavy lines. Your heart sprints and your belly turns inside out.