Quick Prose-ACK CAFKL Update: Thank you to everyone who came and bought our books! They’re all sold out. :) Chapters 2 will be published by end of this week, I still need to clean some bits out. Thank you very much for your support!
And as a tiny bonus, here’s a quick ficlet I did for the 15-Minute Ficlet challenge on Dreamwidth:
15 MINUTE FICLETS PROMPT: Bone
The white piece caught her attention.
It was hard, she thought, but much more so than normal. She lifted it up to the sunlight. There, just at the very tip, there was a hint of red. She picked it up and brought it close to her face. It was bright red. A part of her recoiled, but another part of her merely blinked at the red mark.
“Did you find anything, Samantha?” a voice called out to her. She answered without turning, fascinated by the piece in her hand.
“Yes, I think I found his bone,” she tried to examine the red dot closely without bringing it too close to her face.
There was a rush of steps, the slipping of gravel as someone made their way across the rough surface to her. A transparent bag appeared under her hand holding the bone, opened. She sighed.
“Do we really have to?” she turned to the man holding the bag behind her.
“Bone, bag, now, Sam,” he spoke to her as though he was speaking to a child. Sam pouted, then dropped the white piece into the bag. He sealed the bag.
“Don’t make that face, Sam. You know how important this thing is.”
“Pfft, no one’s going to care, Morris. It’s just a piece of his bone,” Sam stuck her lower lip out, sulking.
“It’s a piece of the Emperor’s bone, Samantha,” he carefully put the bone into the small medicine bag he was carrying. “Do you know how much people would give for this?”
“Hmph,” Samantha moved off, sulking.
She left Morris’ line of sight, not wanting to argue over a stupid bone. Of course, he had not noticed and she didn’t tell him about the piece of flesh that was still attached to the bone. He could find that out on his own, she thought, weaving between the mounds of junk around her. That’ll show him. He’d try to sell the bone and no one would want it because it still had some flesh on it.
After all, the bones of Royalty were only useful if they were completely picked clean, she stuck her tongue out at the thought, then stopped, cocking her head to one side. Who had said that? She knew it was a person, her memory told her so, and they had been sitting on a porch when they had told her that. Bones were only useful if they were clean, because that meant the person had been dead a long time.
“What’s picked clean?” she had asked, and looked up. Funny, she couldn’t remember the face of the person anymore.
“That means it’s pure white. No hint of red, no hint of colour. Just whiteness. Sometimes it shines in the dark. Those are the best kind of bones of all. If they have a bit of red, you dump and run away immediately, you hear me, Sammy?” the gravelly voice was all she remembered. She couldn’t remember if the speaker was a man or woman now, either, only that they were old.
“Cause that’s them flesh attached to that bone, and they just died. You run if you see that, you hear me? Don’t you wait, don’t you try to sell,” there was a finger in front of her face now, admonishing her. Samantha remembered going cross-eyed looking at the finger.
“So that’s bad?”
“Very. Them police will come you, and lock you up, then there’s no more Sammy,” she shook her head to break herself out of the reverie.
She heard a shout. Samantha turned and began scrabbling up the mounds of junk. Morris had put the bone away, and there had been a bit of flesh stuck to the bone. Just a tiny bit, almost unnoticeable, but there had been flesh. Something wasn’t quite right, Samantha thought, but she could not remember why.
“Let me go!” Morris was struggling against two burly men, who were trying to pull him somewhere. She saw his knife on the floor, next to him. It was a large hunting knife, but Morris carried it more to scare off the kids who tried to pick their pockets. He was useless with a weapon.
Samantha was not though. She removed her revolver from its hiding place under her jacket at her back, knelt on one knee, and took aim, safety already off. The sun, thankfully, was behind her; they would have to squint into the sun to take aim at her. She took a deep breath, and then fired.
The sound of the ancient revolver was loud in the junkyard, enough to silence both Morris’ screams and the murder of crows nearby that was always around the junkyard. The men pulling Morris’ hands stopped, one of them dropping dead.
“You bitch!” the remaining man took out his own gun, and it was then that Samantha caught sight of the large yellow star on the left side of his chest, sewn into the jacket.
“Oh shit!” she thought as she ducked to the left, several thoughts running through her mind.
“That’s a Royal Enforcer!” was the first, followed by, “Damnit Morris, run you fat bastard!” and then “I shot an Enforcer crap the Guard’s going to come after me shit we can’t sell that bone anymore oh Gods where can we hide oh damnit I should have shouted first,” and then a bullet whizzed over her head.
She ducked behind a pile of junk and heard the man swear. Samantha looked up to the sky and said a quick prayer, doing something she would never admit to in public.
“Goddess, help us get out of this alive.”