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The various scribblings of AJSavage Posts

The Break | 50 Word Story

Cassandra spun the dial.
“You done yet?” Joel never believed in her. “Security. Two minutes tops.”
A few more turns…
He sighed. “Time. I’m leaving.”
His footsteps faded just as the safe opened.
Pocketing the gems, she checked her watch. Thirty seconds.
Time enough to escape from security. And Joel.

I had so much fun with the challenge last week that I thought I would taking another crack at @jayna’s awesome fifty word story challenge again. This time the prompt was “break.” Never let anyone tell you that writing or editing a fifty word story should be easy just because it’s short. Ha! Here’s a glimpse of the effort that went into this.


Quick Silver (A short story)

Silver Good-Fisher shot across the tops of the waves.

Land was close and she was fast approaching the place where the breakers pounded themselves into spray and foam. Here at the surface where the Great Deep met the sky, the water was warm and pleasant. Joy and water blended in a symphony of wind and wave. The scents of salt, weed, fish, crab and mollusk–both the living and the dead–were a heady mixture. It was almost enough for her to forget the loss of her pod, of her mother. Her adopted pod members were fun, but they were not yet family.

She leaped and twisted, twirled and dove, but part of her knew that she needed to take care. Past the patch of seagrass and the fast current was the cove.

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Hook, Line and Sinker — Story Openings (Part 1)

The Hook

Distractions. The world is full of them. The modern world even more so. There are a thousand things a potential reader could be doing other than reading your story (or novel, or screenplay, etc.). Even a reader who is willing to cooperate–who has made the commitment to spend time in your story with you–still has thoughts going off in the back of their mind. The siren call of their phone, the expectation that their kids will come home soon, the ever-present question about whether they really did turn off the gas. There are any number of reasons why even the most willing reader will put your story down. Then there are editors.

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The Cabin Boy

“I’ve never met a werewolf before.” Kira tilted her head, watching the boy. The sailors had him locked in the brig, thick wooden bars the only barrier between them. Outside, seagulls shrieked their displeasure at the wind. Waves shredded into frigid, salt-laden spray. The decks were unsafe, frozen and canting, and even below, she could barely take two steps before needing to hold on to something.

The boy hung his head. “They say I killed those people. I…I don’t remember.”

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The Footman and the Pea (a short story)

Evan’s bed shuddered beneath him as though a herd of buffalo were stampeding across the commons. Thunder? For a moment he wondered if he was about to be drenched in a downpour, or trampled under running hooves, but he was no longer living on the common, lying on a pile of heather. He was a footman now.

He grimaced, peering through a half-closed eyelid. It seemed Kelty was up, and from what he could tell, Grizwald’s pallet was empty as well. Calling them buffalo was an insult to the beasts. Had anyone ever been as loud? He closed his eye again, scrunching his face further into the wool-stuffed mattress. Mornings in the castle were not like this. It sounded as though most of the castle was awake, though it was long past time they should be a-bed. To top it off, his head ached from the ale he’d polished off the night before.

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Jazz Firebrand’s Last Dance (A short story of Japan)

This is a story I wrote a while ago about unrequited love and a little bit of magic, or is it just wishful thinking?

Masahiro is an artist with secrets. He draws Japanese-style manga comics, full of intricately crafted characters armed with knives, guns, and hi-tech spying equipment. The title of his comic is Jazz Firebrand Za Spectacular, a small-run publication featuring the adventures of the heroine, Jazz Firebrand. Very few people know Masahiro is the artist. This is his first secret. He doesn’t talk about it, not even to Yuki, the girl he loves. Perhaps Yuki does not know that Masahiro loves her. This is another secret.

Jazz is a spy, a mercenary for hire, and sometime assassin; a woman for whom life is an endless series of ever-heightening crises. Jazz faces death page after page, urged ever onward by the stroke of Masahiro’s pen.

These days a single scene blooms from the ink again and again. The same scene repeats–unbidden–as if his life depends on it. As if the life of someone he loves depends on it.

A dog-eared sketchbook rests on Masahiro’s knees. He’s been sitting there so long he’s lost all feeling in his buttocks. Usually when Masahiro draws he is relaxed, but today he is wound tight, teeth clenched so firmly the muscles of his jaw creak in protest when he opens his mouth to lick his lips. Each detail must be just right, every patch of shading just so. He presses down so hard with the pencil that the tip breaks off, flitting across the stiff card stock.

The page is broken into panels, some half-erased where Masahiro has changed his mind part-way and tried to start again. The bottom of the page is almost entirely taken up by a close-up of an open female eye.

Masahiro’s hand trembles.

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Tears | 50 Word Short Story

Raising the fiction bar on Steemit one 50 word story at a time, @jayna has issued a new writing prompt for the 50 Word Story Challenge. I haven’t ever tried flash fiction at this length before, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  The latest prompt for the challenge  is: tear.

The rift drew closer to the station. A colossal tear in space-time, looming behind the final escape pod.

Inside, Jeffrey waved happily. Unaware, but so perfect.

She shuddered. “You fucking look after him, Tom.”

He nodded, buckling himself in.

With a final look at her baby, she sealed the hatch.



The Tengu – Something I’ve been working on

The sounds entered his dream like tendrils of smoke, drifting through the cracks in his consciousness until finally there was nowhere left for him to escape it but to waken. Unusual sounds in the night did not ordinarily bother Steve Vannon. So when he found himself staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, pulse racing, he naturally assumed he’d had a nightmare and did his best to drift back to sleep. Despite his insistent cajoling and the deep breathing exercises his idiot father had forced him to learn by locking him into an online Prana class, the slow incessant click, click, grate, snicker, whisper that seemed to emanate from the woods just beyond the Fujiwara family’s ornate garden, refused to allow him to sink back into his dreams.

His girlfriend Emily lay be beside him on a futon of her own, her deep breathing indicating that she was still fast asleep. He watched her for a moment, wondering whether she dreamed and if that spidery echo had found its way into her mind also. If it had, she did not appear disturbed by it.

Awake or asleep, to him Emily was perfect. He had no doubt her dreams would be as well, though she often professed to not having any. Right now, with that nail-on-slate rasp echoing in his mind, he envied her that.

He extricated himself from the futon, stood, then walked to the window, padding as quietly as he could across the tatami. Outside the world was lit blue by a waxing moon. The garden lay below like a fallen jumble of shadows that hinted at a geometry that by day was disguised by the soft lines of artfully placed shrubs, bushes and rocks.
Above that, a wattle and daub garden wall topped by a row of gleaming roof tiles ran the length of the property and beyond it towered the blue-gray wood that Steve knew stretched for miles in nearly every direction until finally cut by the freeway back to Tokyo. Overshadowing it all was the rocky peak of the mountain with its cliched single spire of weathered granite topped by a single dwarf black pine. Tree and mountain were back lit against the brightness of the moon and framed as perfectly by the window as a Spielberg shot.

Steve listened again for the nose, but it had stopped. If it even existed in the first place. Lately his dreams had been troubled, but he suspected that finding a corpse in a park was the kind of thing that might have that effect on someone. And finding one that seemed to have been dismembered and burned was even worse.

Somewhere nearby a small animal cried out in pain or fear. Steve heard the beating of birds wings, the chirrup of crickets and the constant drone of cicadas. He rubbed his face, yawned and started to head back to his futon when a movement from the corner of his eye stopped him. For an instant he thought he’d seen a figure perched atop a large rock beside one of the moss-covered stone lanterns that dotted the garden. He blinked, looked again and whatever it had been was gone.

Crawling back into bed, he lay listening to Emily’s soft snores and hoping sleep would find him once more.

To be continued…

This is just something I’ve been thinking about and part of a larger project. Let me n

If you like my work, please consider following me for more. I’m posting smaller (hopefully) humorous bits and pieces as well as some longer pieces as I build up my courage.

Tengu statue pic from here

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