The Book Assassin

This week’s challenge over at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog is to randomly choose three things from three different lists and create a 1,000 word story with them.

I got a library, an assassin, and a bomb. It’s nice when things work out.

The Book Assassin

Some books were never meant to be written.

Quarto reflected on this as he tightened his cloak around his shoulders. The rain was steady, but his hat and cloak were thick and waterproof. Rainwater filled the gaps in the cobblestone streets, and darkened the facades of the ancient buildings which grew ever more ancient as Quarto made his way deeper into the narrow alleyways. Finally he stood before a door. He knocked firmly with a gloved hand.

The man who answered appeared elderly, but opened the heavy door with little effort. He regarded Quarto for only a moment, then stepped back to allow him to pass through the doorway.

“Greetings,” said Quarto. “A pleasant evening.”

“Indeed,” said the man who had opened the door. “May I take your things?”

Quarto removed his dripping hat and cloak, and handed them to the man.

“Your boots and bag as well,” he said.

“My boots?” said Quarto.

“Our collections here are quite precious,” said the man. “Priceless, and irreplaceable, and quite delicate. We do what we can to keep out the mud and rain.”

“I understand,” said Quarto. He placed his boots by the entrance and, removing his notebook from his leather satchel, handed that over as well. The man took them, then disappeared into an adjoining cloakroom. As he turned Quarto noted the brief flash of steel beneath his formal jacket.

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Sumerian Sandstorm

This week’s flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig involved a list of pretty unusual story settings, and although I was hoping for Starbucks during the apocalypse, a random number generator gave me #13: Ancient Sumer.

Where is Sumer? I had to Google it to. Turns it out it’s not so much where, but when:

Wikipedia: Sumer was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age … modern historians have asserted that Sumer was first settled between ca. 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people who may or may not have spoken the Sumerian language. These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called “proto-Euphrateans” or “Ubaidians“, and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria). The Ubaidians were the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery.

Another fun story to write!

Sumerian Sandstorm

Sergeant Jackson leaned forward, trying to see through the windshield.

“Can you see anything, Sparky?”

“Nothing Sarge,” his driver replied. “We’re blind.”

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The Funeral (New Story/Writing Exercise)

It’s been a while since I wrote fiction, but luckily Chuck Wendig over at is great at kicking your ass for that.

I thought his weekly flash fiction challenge would be a good running start at getting back into the writing habit. This week’s challenge is to use all ten of the following words: funeral, captivate, deceit, brimstone, canyon, balloon, clay, disfigured, willow, and atomic. It’s a challenge I’m happy to say I failed – I couldn’t figure out a way to work ‘atomic’ in here, and rather than try to shoehorn it in, I just left it out. Editing is all about cutting out the unnecessary words, right?

Anyway, here’s what I came up with. It was fun. Lyrics from ‘The Funeral‘ by Band of Horses, from their 2006 album Everything All the Time. It just happened to be on my playlist at the right time to catch me as I started writing this.

‘The Funeral’

“The Funeral” was playing on the car stereo, and John was singing the lyrics low under his breath, if only to fill the awkward silence.

I’m coming up only, to hold you under.

“Is that for me?” asked Willow. She reached under the car seat for the bottle of Bartle & James.

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