Dark World

Author’s note: This week’s story comes from the [fiction]friday prompt provided by the great folks at WriteAnything.  I hope you enjoy it.

“Hey Dad, check out those clouds,” said Danny to his father who promptly ignored him.  “Hey Dad!”

“What is it Son?  Can’t you see I’m setting up camp?  You know you could help me out instead of just sitting there staring up at the clouds.”

“Sorry, it’s just I’ve never seen clouds like that before.  Look at them, does it mean we are going to get rain?”

Danny’s father let out a long sigh.  “You’re twelve now Son.  Sooner or later you’re going to have to stop daydreaming and grow up.  The weather reports indicated both suns would be out for the next several days.”

“Dad, for the love of the Creator look at the sky.”

Danny’s father looked up and froze.

“See, I told you there were a lot of clouds.  Why are they all in straight lines?”

Danny’s question went unanswered as his father ran back to the shuttle.  He stopped, spun around and hollered to Danny.

“Come on Son.  We have to get back to the city.”

“But what about our trip?”  asked Danny.  “We can’t just leave all our stuff out here.  Is it the clouds?  What about them?”

“Those aren’t clouds Danny, they’re contrails.  Now please, hurry.  We haven’t got much time.”

Danny’s brow furrowed at the word.  Where had he heard “contrails” before?  Rockets.  History class.  The U’mat War.  But it couldn’t be.  His father had said those damn U’mats were all killed.

Danny stood, eyes on the sky, pinned to the spot by the weight of his understanding.  A series of three quick beeps repeated itself from somewhere in the cockpit.   He watched as his father reached into the shuttle and retrieved a case Danny knew well.  His father carried the locked case with him wherever he went but as far as Danny could remember, he had never opened it; until now.

His father quickly entered the lock’s combination. The case sprang open revealing a beeping communicator, several items which looked like badges and pins and a gun. How did his father have a gun? Only soldiers or outlaws have guns. His father picked up the communicator and answered it.

“Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wales reporting in.”

“Sir.  The Admiral of the Fleet has ordered all officers to report to Defense Platform Alpha ASAP.  You are ordered to rendezvous there at which time your commission will be reinstated.”

“Rodger that.  I’m en rout now.  ETA to DP-Alpha 2 hours.”

Danny and his father climbed into their shuttle.  They lifted off and elevated up to two hundred feet before hitting the thrusters.  Danny had never flown this high before.  Two hundred feet was a restricted height.  Only military shuttles were allowed up this far.  He felt his stomach flop as he realized there were probably many new things he was about to experience; none of them good.

“Son, I hoped to hell this day would never come.  Thought we had beaten those U’mat buggers back to hell.  I guess we were wrong.”

His father continued to increase height.  The thinner air allowed the shuttle to fly faster.

Danny looked over at his father, straight-backed, eyes focused ahead, piloting the shuttle at a surprising speed.  Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wales.  How had he never known his father was a Naval officer?  His father reached across and turned on the shuttle’s large spot light and marking lights then turned to his son and gave a weak smile.

“You’ll be wanting to hold on tight now.”

The shuttle rocked and pitched as shock wave after shock wave pummeled the small craft.   They seemed to take forever to pass and Danny was sure the shuttle would be ripped apart.

“That was the rockets exploding then?” asked Danny.

“It was.  How much did they teach you about the U’mat War in school?”

“Just that it was awful.  Cold.  And many of our people died in the first hours of the initial attack.  That’s all the government would let us know.  One of our professors, Professor Ulrik, was fired for handing out banned text books.  I never saw them though.”

“Here’s the truth Danny.  When the U’mat first landed they seemed peaceful.  Gave us technology, helped heal our diseases, everything was great.  But what they were really doing was infiltrating our society.  Before long our military, banks and farms were all under U’mat control.”

“Why what did they want us for?”

“Not us, our planet.  Our suns to be exact.  Something about the ionic radiation they give off is vital to their survival.  We were defeated; save for one last, desperate measure.”

“What was it?  How did we beat them?”

“Keep watching out your window Danny.  We’re going to the last defense platform on the planet.”

Danny looked out the window scanning the horizon for the secret weapon.  He glanced back at the shuttle’s dashboard and looked at the clock.  1:00pm.  Something’s wrong.  1:00pm and the suns were setting.  No.  Not setting.  Going out.

“What the-”  Danny watched as both massive suns dimmed and darkness spread across the land.

“One desperate measure,” said the Lieutenant Commander.  “They need our suns to survive.  Your professors were right about one thing.  The U’mat war was cold.  Cold as hell.”

Of Bowling And Daughters

David stared down the waxed alley and imagined the pins falling.  He could see the track the ball would take on its way to topple the remaining pins.  He could feel his muscles already practicing the movements.  It was this zen moment that drew him back to the game.  The moment when time stood still and the world consisted of only the lane, the pins and him.  The ball—a physical manifestation of his will.

As he stood behind the line he knew exactly how to move his body to make the ball hit at just the right spot.  He hadn’t faced a 7-10 split for several years; choosing to let go of his career to raise his family.  A decision he never regretted.  Better home than on the road.  The time away from the game seemed to make no difference.  His mind and body worked in sync all afternoon making the shots exactly as he envisioned.  One more shot and the game would be over.

He began his approach to the throwing line.  His arm floated back, torso twisted slightly, arm floated forward.  The ball tracked exactly as he intended down the wooden alley striking the pins.  In the space of a second all but one toppled over and David smiled.  He let the smile fade before turning around.

“Oh no, I don’t know what happened.”

“That’s OK Daddy, you’ll beat me next time.”

“Maybe, but you did so well, I don’t think I’ll ever bowl as good as you.”

“Don’t say that Daddy, you just need practice is all.”

David helped his daughter gather up the equipment and hit print on the score board.

“We can put this up on the fridge.”

“OK, but the deal was if you won we go to the car show, but if I win we go for ice cream.”

“Yup, ice cream it is, then.”

David gathered up the bowling bags and headed to the door, watching as his daughter skipped in front of him, her winning score sheet swinging along side. He thought to himself that his decision to quit the professional league was definitely the right one.

“Hey Dad, why don’t we bring our ice cream to the car show?”


The Cave

The following is an excerpt from my current work in progress. I hope you enjoy.


Tristan struck a match and lit one of the torches placed on the wall of the cave. It cast a surprising amount of light. He turned and beckoned for Cara to follow.

“Levi said it will take us a day just to hike down and locate the door.”

“Do you have any idea where exactly we should be looking?” asked Cara.

“No, but he said I would know where to go without even knowing I knew it.”

“Levi said that?”

“Well, pretty much, yeah. The point is all we have to do is hike into the cave and trust that I’m picking the right path.”

Cara had no reason to doubt it was true. “We better get going then, hopefully we can find a place to build a fire tonight.”

“How will we know its night? We’re in a cave.” Tristan smiled to himself. He enjoyed spending time with Cara. She was the only one who understood his jokes. She cuffed him in the back of the head. “That’s how.”

The damp footing demanded concentration which left little time for conversation. A feeling like butterflies began to develop in Tristan’s stomach as they continued to trek deeper into the dank cave. Tristan took the lead stopping periodically to offer assistance to Cara. She didn’t need the help but wasn’t about to pass up a chance to hold his hand. They continued on for several hours before stopping to rest.

“Are you feeling anything?” asked Cara. Tristan gave her a coy smile. “I mean about the book. Do you know if we’re getting closer?”

“No, but we are definitely headed in the right direction. We should drink some water, then continue on. Unless you need to stop for a while.”

Cara took a few sips from her canteen then put her pack back on, signaling her readiness. They continued on in silence with Tristan in the lead once more. About an hour later they stopped again.

“What is it?”

“All of a sudden this doesn’t feel right.” Tristan spun around in a circle surveying the narrow confines of the cave. “I think we should head back a little bit and see if we missed a turn off or passage.”

Cara pressed against the wall so Tristan could pass in front of her and screamed as several skeletal arms shot from the rock and grabbed her arms and legs. Before Tristan could react a similar pair ensnared him causing him to drop the torch.

“Cara!” Tristan screamed as the torch fizzled. He struggled against the arms as another pair grabbed his legs.

“I’m here. I can’t move. I don’t think they are trying to kill us.”

“I don’t think so either. Stop fighting and see what happens.” Tristan took his own advice. The hands continued to grasp him firmly, but they didn’t squeeze as tight.

“I think this is part of the process of getting the book.” Said Cara.

“Levi said it would take us a whole day just to find the door to the room that holds the book. He didn’t say anything about protection spells.”

“What if something is wrong? The hands don’t have to hurt us to kill us. If we can’t get free, then eventually we’ll starve to death.”

“But I’m the guardian of the stupid book. Protection spells and traps shouldn’t even affect me.”

“How do you know you’re the guardian?”


“I mean, how do you know? Your mother was guardian before you, which puts you in line to become the next guardian after she dies right?”

“She is dead, remember. She was killed right in front of me. My father and I buried her before heading out to Laredo.”

“I know that. What I mean is, you know you are guardian because your mother told you about it. Our parents never had to fight to protect the books, so their training took place over a long period of time. Who knows what ceremonies and spells they went through? You and I never had the luxury of all their knowledge. We’re playing it by ear.”

“I’m not following you.”

“Well, I follow you, Tristan Waters, Son of Catherine Waters, guardian of the Book of Seven.”

The disembodied arms released them and retreated back into the rock. Tristan bent to where he last saw the torch, fished in his pocket for another match and re-lit the torch. He looked up at Cara. The orange torch light made her skin glow as she beamed down at him.

“Cara Brayborn, guardian of the Book of Eight, you are a genius.” He stood and before he knew what he was doing kissed her on the cheek. Even in the dim light of the cave he could tell she was blushing. “I’ve picked up the trail again. It’s this way.”

Cara followed behind Tristan; a little more closely than before. There were so many things she would have liked to talk about, but for the life of her she couldn’t bring herself to speak.

“Here’s the door.” There was no hint of question. It was an emphatic statement. “Don’t look like much of a door, but I suppose that’s part of the test.”

“If Levi’s estimation is anywhere close to correct, and knowing him it’s dead on, we’ve been walking for the better part of the day. Perhaps we should get some sleep.”

“I agree.” Tristan found a small notch in the wall next to the door. It looked like it was there to hold the torch so he tested his theory. The torch slid in easily and the door opened. “Well, hell. So much for sleep. I don’t trust this door to stay open for long, we better use it while we can.” He reached out, took her hand and together they stepped through.

The Collector

Robert dragged the chair across the kitchen floor and admonished himself for sleeping late. He had to hurry. His mother could awaken any moment to put a stop to his plan. His thoughts raced back to yesterday’s conversation.

“No Robert, you’ll just have to wait till it falls out on its own. I’ll not have you ruin an entire box of cereal with your hands.”

“I’ve washed my hands; they’re clean.”

“No, now that’s the end of it.”


“No buts! Now hand me the box.”

A loud dragging brought him back to the present as it echoed through the house. He cursed himself for not paying attention. He couldn’t blow this by being careless. He had to pull this off now or face another day’s wait. Everything pointed to the prize being at the very bottom of the box. Waiting wasn’t an option; he needed it today. He had to know if he would be the first in his class to collect the rarest prize.

Robert’s fingers barely reached the box as he stood on tip-toes atop the rickety kitchen chair. He paused to listen for his mum. The snores had stopped which meant she was probably in the bathroom. He had less than a minute to retrieve the prize. He ran to the table and smiled at his brilliance. No time to open the box slowly, he had to do it before she stopped him.

The bathroom door opened. In seconds she would be within eye sight of the kitchen table, she’d see him for sure. It was now or never. He tipped the entire box of cereal over.

“Robert! What are you doing?”

“I just wanted the prize.”

“Well now you’ve ruined the entire-” She stopped when she saw what he had done. “Well, Robert, that’s a fine solution, using my mixing bowl to hold all the cereal. Well done.”

Robert smiled and carefully took the prize packet from the top of the pile. He knew he had to clean up before she would allow him to open the brown paper packet. The slow careful pour of from the mixing bowl into the box seemed to take forever.

At last he was able to examine his prize. He picked the packet up and rolled it around in his fingers trying to make out the general shape. It didn’t seem to feel like the others. His heart fluttered as he tore into the packet.


All the waiting and planning had paid off. Robert raced from the kitchen to his room, burst through the door and threw himself into his chair. He gazed lovingly at his prized collection of wildlife statuettes meticulously arranged on the shelf by his window. His eyes fell instinctively to the empty spot. He imagined himself museum curator as he placed his new acquisition amongst his collection. Panda, Kodiak, Polar and now Grisly; the first in school to have all the bears. Nothing to do now but wait for Monday morning and announce his discovery to the world.

This week’s story was inspired by the [fiction]Friday prompt at WriteAnything. “While digging in a cereal box for the toy surprise, a child makes a grisly discovery”. I hope you had fun reading it.

That’s Ok Willy

The two man hunting party made its way through the woods guided by the silver light of the full moon.

“Shh, did you hear that?” said Willy in between gasps of breath. His senses were on high alert. Memories of sitting on his sofa and enjoying delivered pizza floated through his mind as he ventured forth on his first excursion outside the relative safety of the camp’s high fencing.

“No, lets go,” replied Wally, the camps most skilled hunter.

“Shh,” Willy labored to catch his breath. “It’s dangerous enough out here at night; you don’t need to be broadcasting our location to everything within earshot.”

“You’ve been complaining all night. We’re perfectly safe. You’re just looking for an excuse to catch your breath.”

“Well why on earth did you insist I wear these shoes? I feel like a fool with these things on. And their so heavy, I can hardly keep up.”

“They’re special hunting shoes. They help you walk quietly in the woods.”

“That sounds made up.”

“They spread out your weight, thus muffling your footsteps.”

“Ah. Why aren’t you wearing them?”

“Because I already know how to walk quietly.”

“Oh. Why did you insist on me hunting with you tonight?”

“Good Lord man you ask a lot of questions. I asked you to come tonight as my way of saying I forgive you for sleeping with Monica.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re evolved enough to let that go. Most other men in the camp would have challenged me to combat or something.”

“She’s just a woman Willy. There aren’t enough of us left to let the old customs get between us.”

“Exactly, my point, Wally. If we’re to have any hope of reviving the human race we need to be as prolific as possible. Gone are the days where jealousy and monogamy have any meaning.”

“Well, I hope when the others see we’ve hunted together it will help them to understand. Now, let’s get moving,” said Wally taking the lead and motioning for Willy to follow.

“I have to admit,” whispered Wally. “I thought you were more…”


“Yes. It seems I’ve judged the proverbial book by its cover.”

“It’s going to be dawn soon, if we’re gonna bring back food for the camp you are going to have to be quiet.”

The two continued deeper into the woods, quiet except for Willy’s heavy breathing as he struggled to keep pace with his new friend. Several bodies appeared before them, silhouetted against the moonlight. Wally froze and threw himself to the ground. “Get down!” he hissed.

“Wally, Is that…”

“Get down,” repeated Wally pulling him to the ground.

“Did they see us?”

“You hear them coming after us?”

“Thank God for that. You think we can sneak away? Good thing about the shoes eh?”

“Yeah, Good thing.”

Wally stood up, slung the rifle over his shoulder, inhaled deeply and looked down at the fat, terror stricken cretin who slept with his wife. “Hey! Come get us you bastards!”

“What? What are you doing?”

Willy scrambled to pick himself up off the forest ground spurred on by the sound of the approaching others. Wally kicked him in the stomach then turned to leave.

“Bye Willy. I’m sure Monica will be devastated.”

Life’s A Game

Author’s note: This week’s story is inspired by a prompt from the great people at WriteAnything. Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcome.


I’m driving to the toy store thinking. Thinking about Carol. Thinking I’m going to leave her because all we ever do is fight. She accuses me of not listening and she’s right, I don’t. I’m just so sick of the constant nagging and whining. If you believed half of what she says you’d hate me but I think I’m an OK guy. Nothing special, but I have friends and they at least think I’m OK. Anyway, I think I’m going to leave her after my little cousin’s birthday.

I’m looking at the shelves and wishing my Aunt hadn’t picked board games as a theme for the party because I really want to get my cousin a remote controlled car. I pick up Monopoly and put it back down. I mean it’s a classic, but does anyone really like that game. I grab Risk and put it back too. It’s a great game, but it takes forever to play. One game and you hardly ever pull it off the shelf again. Life. Now that’s a good game. Spin the wheel and see where you land. Some times you get lucky. Out of all the games here, this is probably the most real.

I toss the package into the back of the wagon and head off to the party. I probably should have brought some wrapping paper but fortunately for me, Carol’s thought of everything. I’m sure I’ll hear all about how right she was to save the gift bags after I was just going to throw them away and how she knew she better put one in the car because obviously, I would forget to ask for free gift wrapping. I guess she does have a point there. I go to put the Game of Life in the gift bag and notice a small piece of paper with her handwriting. It says “sorry”.

Now I don’t know, maybe it is me. Maybe she does still love me. Maybe we can make this work. I head inside and join the party. I smile at Carol as she takes the gift bag from me and she smiles back. I had forgotten how beautiful she is when she smiles. I watch as her face morphs from smile into the fixed corners and crumpled brow that I’ve come to loathe. She slams the bag hard into my chest.

“What?” I ask.

“You always screw things up. Claire is getting him Life,” she says and fixes me with a stare.

“Well, how the hell should I know?”

“I left you a note in the bag. You were supposed to get him Sorry.”

-Splat- (it’s not what you think)

Author’s note: My esteemed editor, Jodi Cleghorn asked me to write a story called “Splat” and dedicate it to her. So, Jodi, this one’s for you, though I bet you wish it weren’t.


So far it’s been one hell of a day. I mean who would have ever thought so much crap could happen to one person in only 24 hours. It all started this morning when my alarm clock didn’t go off. Apparently the power was cut off to my apartment after some drunk driver plowed through a stop sign and sent a family sedan into a utility pole. So now I’m late getting up but somehow manage to get out the door. No problem, if I drive fast enough I can still make my meeting. But no, luck shat on me again. I’m on the freeway making good time when traffic slows to a crawl because apparently, there’s a five car pile up. And according to the radio one of the cars is on fire with several people trapped inside. There goes any chance of my making the meeting.

So now I’m out of a job but maybe it’s all for the best. My supervisor’s a dick and I’m getting bored with calculating statistical probabilities anyway. I take the first exit I can and leave my crap-box Ford in the first parking lot I find. I may as well head downtown and grab a bite to eat, grab a paper and see what’s available in the help wanted ads. But before I can even get to my favorite Korean bar-b-que, the apartment building next to me catches on fire. I’m about to walk on past, thinking it’s got nothing to do with me, when all of a sudden I hear a woman screaming my name. So naturally I look up. It’s some woman I don’t recognize. I turn to walk away and hear her scream “Hepmabebe”

I’m tying to figure out what she’s screaming, thinking it must be some French word for help, when she tosses something out the window. So now here I am, hungry, no job, and now there’s a baby mystery bundle hurtling towards me at an alarming rate. Why does this always happen to me.

If he catches the baby turn to page 47 or, turn to page 81 if you want the rapidly descending object to be a bag of cash.
Please seek immediate psychological help if you want the story to live up to its name.


I stare down at Sandra’s makeup mirror balanced on the edge of the white porcelain sink. The last of my coke is chopped in two straight lines and I know I shouldn’t but I probably will.

Just now before I lied and said I had to piss, she told me to stop or we were done.

Said she’d brought so much into this relationship and I was killing it, killing us, killing her.

I said I had no more coke but she’s not stupid. She knows me and my secrets. I’m no mystery. She’s a goddess and I’m a demon-vampire sucking her life away and I can’t stop but I tell her I can. She knows I’m a liar even though I don’t want to be. I say I gotta piss and go into the bathroom. She doesn’t say goodbye.

I did my last two bumps today. I swear to God, I swear to Sandra but they’ve both gone and left me here alone. I can’t even see myself in her mirror anymore.

Deceptions and Aliens

Author’s Note: I’ve decided to go back to posting a few #fridayflash pieces based on prompts from the totally awesome WriteAnything.com. This week’s prompt: “Pick a book of fiction you’d never read (e.g., if you read sci-fi, pick a romance). Open to a random page and read the last couple paragraphs of the page. DO NOT TURN THE PAGE. Now continue writing the story. Feel free to change the genre as you write.”

Ready? Strap in.


From the novel “Deceptions” by Judith Michael
Copyright 1982 by JM Productions Ltd.
Page 321

“Garth removed the ivory combs in her hair and the heavy waves fell over her shoulders, bronze in the dim light. He looked at her slender body and passed his hands along the clear, silken skin as if he had never seen it before. Her ripe fullness lifted toward him, her head high and proud as he gazed at her. I am a part of us, her eyes said, and my beauty is greater because you desire me.

Once again he gathered her into his arms, her softness curving against the muscles of his arms and stomach and legs, the warmth of her body merging into his. They held each other, treasuring their desire, for now they knew it would be fulfilled. At last he bent his-”
head away from hers. Thank God, she thought. Another second and his breath would have knocked me out. Inter-species breeding was still new and apparently there were still some kinks to be worked out. That’s OK, she thought chuckling to herself. I have some kinks of my own that need sorting first.

“Why are you laughing?” asked Garth. His smoldering eyes searched her voluptuous body for answers.

“It’s just I’ve never seen eyes actually smolder before,” said Katherine. “In my world it’s a horrible cliché.” She bit her lip. The last thing she wanted was to insult him, especially now. In his current state of full arousal he could accidentally kill her.

“I’m sorry,” he said climbing off her.

“Please don’t leave.” She grabbed one of his eight arms and pulled him back on top of her. “I find the smell quite pleasurable. It turns me on.”

She lifted her head to his and kissed his lips, tasting the warmth of smoked Gouda as her tongue explored the depths of his mouth.

“Oh Garth,” she whispered, her lips brushing his antennae. They lay entwined on the hotel bed, Garth’s full weight pressed upon her.

“Garth,” she breathed, pounding her fists against his back and the bed. “Garth,” she moaned, it was barely audible. “GARTH!”

“Oh dear Jebbus!” he exclaimed shifting his weight off her. “How clumsy of me to forget you don’t have an exoskeleton.” Katherine lay panting on the bed. “Did I hurt you? Should we stop?”

No you didn’t hurt me and no we shouldn’t stop,” she said tracing her long slender finger down his thorax toward his groin. “It’s been too long since I’ve had something between my legs that wasn’t plugged into the wall.”

Then in an surprising turn of events the reader didn’t see coming she devoured him and thought his leftovers tasted better the second day.

Author’s note Redux: See, this is why I have no business writing romance. And by the way books from the ‘free’ table at the annual library book sale aren’t always worth it.

The Vanquishing

Kara stood defiant; her thin, lanky body filling the door way.

“You can’t come in.”

“What?” Danielle couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“You must be Kara. Get out of my way and tell your mother I’m here for her.

“She knows you are here. She isn’t going with you.”

Danielle took a step toward the young woman but had to stop short. Kara was standing just inside the door. ‘Smart girl,‘ she thought.

“Last chance. Go and fetch your mother.” Danielle flashed a practiced look of hate. Kara was unafraid.

“You can’t have her. Please leave now.” She did her best to look as intimidating as Danielle.

“You understand, young witch, I can tear this place apart? Is this something you want? Now bring your mother to me.”

Kara shook her head no. Danielle balled up her fists and began to build up her magic. She sent a blast of compressed air toward the woman but to no avail. Kara remained standing in the doorway. Apparently the woman was stronger than Danielle had given her credit for. She tried her spell again, this time she put all she had into moving the girl. Kara braced herself against the force of the demoness’s powerful spell. It was too much and she was forced to retreat back to the home’s central fireplace.

A thunderous sound echoed through the house as the front door’s granite threshold cracked and heaved out of the ground. Danielle stepped over the now useless stone and entered the girl’s house.

“You think you can use magic against me?”


Kara stepped back.

“You think I’d be bound by the archaic rules?”

“I thought –”

Danielle put up a hand to forestall any sniveling.

“I appreciate you trying to protect your momma, but I’m afraid you both will have to die. The world doesn’t need another witch and I can’t constantly be looking over my shoulder after all.”

Kara took another step back; the flames of the large kitchen fireplace singed the small hairs on her ankles. Danielle took a step forward and smiled wickedly. She shoved the girl into the flames.

The fire flared up and circled her – protecting her from the demon.

“Well, well, it appears I’ve underestimated you again.”

Danielle’s eyes glowed orange then red as she gathered all her power. She released it all at once at the young woman who stood unharmed as the flames carried the demon’s magic up the chimney.

“You asked if I thought you would be bound by the archaic rules but you didn’t let me answer.” Kara stepped out of the cleansing flames.

Danielle took a step back.

“This is not my mother’s home. This is my home and I am with child.”

Kara paused to see if her words were having their intended effect on the demon. They were. Danielle struggled to flee but found her feet frozen to the ground.

“You may be powerful demon, but the protectress of the hearth abides here and you, Danielle Avercoft, were not invited in.”