Nightfall

Image result for black and white forestThe sound feet hitting the pavement in perfect rhythm was the only sound which resonated through the quiet street. They belonged to a young woman taking the same route she takes everyday, with her knowing that she would arrive to work late and that no one would realise. She continues at her relaxed pace, with footsteps growing slightly heavier as the same unease shot through her. This unease was the reminder that this was her life until the end of her days. The town was too predictable, thus for her, too boring. Nothing ever changed, not the people, and never their routine.

This was proved when she turned into the busy street, greeted by the eyes of the barber peering out of his glass shop front. There was the same awful aroma coming from the real estate agents sucking their morning fag. Then the barking of the dog with his owners resting on the bench. All sounds and senses dulled ever so slightly with the familiar bustle of cars in traffic. This isn’t where I’m meant to be, she had always thought. It just doesn’t feel right.

A singular raindrop fell, leading her to sigh and pull an umbrella from her bag anticipating this change of weather. Not much time passed before the downpour increased, leading to the streets to clear. She watched a bus crammed with people stuck in traffic and decided to continued by foot — extending her beloved solitude. Another turn led her to enter an empty park, her usual shortcut which truly was not shorter. She stopped the blaring music in her ears to listen to the sounds of the rain hit the surface. 

The clouds above merged into a grey storm, showing no sign of stopping. The pitter patter of the water hit her umbrella forming a gentle beat which calmed her. The rhythmic sound was disrupted with the emergence of footsteps running through mud, accompanied by a heavy panting. It was sudden but the footsteps were closely approaching. 

Her pace began to quicken and it was not long before she achieved a full out sprint. She did not dare turn around, instead she glued her eyes to the setting directly in front of her, praying never to hear that gnarly panting again. A time soon came where she could no longer run, her ears ringing and vision blurred. She hunched over, squatting close to the wet grass, still with the umbrella in hand but not positioned above her. Her throat was aching due to a combination of the weather and the most exercise she had done in years, breathing hurt, yet she was hyperventilating. Her chest felt like it was on fire, and a twinge of fear remained instilled into her. When she was able to hear again and the need to throw up finally subsided, she had realised she could not hear the rain, nor any footsteps and bad things which followed it. It was replaced by an undisturbed tranquility. 

The feeling of was cut short when cold bony hand touched the woman’s shoulder. “Finally,” a deep voice said, belonging to a man towering over her. He stood upright making his six foot demeanour seem even taller, he was composed, no sense of uneven breathing, just serenity, in contrast to the woman near him. She turned around, examining the stranger’s face. Due to his paleness, his skin seemed to illuminate, his dark attire did not help his complexion — he wore a long black jacket with a hood over his head while strands of long damp black hair peeking out. His most prominent — and unsettling — feature were his black eyes staring down at her.

“Why were you running?” he asked, monotonously.

She racked her mind, wondering how she could explain to a stranger that she was running from something she never even saw. She stood upright mimicking his posture whilst dusting off her trousers. “Just late to work, so I should make a move.”

“I don’t think you’re going to make it there.”

“Excuse me,” she pushed past him and walked with urgency.

Her apprehension had returned, not able to stay near the strange man but her mind fixated on the initial creature she was trying to escape. She roamed further away, expecting to see the same red bricks from the wall she encounters every day, but instead was greeted by an unfamiliar terrain. The path that would lead her to work was no longer there, replaced by trees vaguely concealing a railroad. Though the heavy downpour stopped, the grey sky remained, however darker than before. 

She stood frozen at her new surroundings when the stranger approached her again. She didn’t know where to go, but wanted to run. “Stay away from me. I bet you were the one chasing me before as well.” The minimal composure she hoped to maintain had disappeared. 

“What are you talking about?”

“Something was running behind me, which is how I ended up — well I don’t even know where.”

“Please, honey, I don’t run. The real question is how you got here. What are you, like a witch or something?”

“What did you call me?”

“So not a witch.” He held his hands up. “You can’t be a reaper too. Sure, you’re pale enough but your eyes are brown.”

“Excuse me. I’m not going to stand here and be insulted, especially after you have already threatened me.” She turned around, grabbing her phone hoping to see where she was, but instead came to face a black screen.

The strange man was before her again, he had no audible footsteps, nor presence. “I guess you’re small enough to be a fairy.” He slyly smiled at his quip, while she just glared at him. “That can’t be it. There is hate in those eyes, you are nowhere near ‘sparkly’ enough to be a fairy. With those eyes, you must be a siren.”

“Hey, weirdo! What the fuck are you on about?”

There was silence. 

“Actually, you know what I don’t have time for this. Just tell me where I am so I can go work.”

“Nightfall.”

“Where am I?” she repeated.

“That is where you are.”

“Nightfall is not a real place.”

“Look around, darling. That is where you are.”

“I am lost in a strange place with strange man.”

“I am no mere mortal, miss. I am a reaper.” 

She fell to the ground and uttered the most pathetic words: “I’m gonna be late for work”.

A silence swept over them once again. He didn’t leave – a kind gesture that she did not want, nevertheless she quickly became consumed with her own thoughts. “I’m going to die here,” she muttered.

“Hate to break it to you but if you’re here then you’re probably already dead,” he said.

“You severely lack any sensitivity.” God, why could he not leave? “Earlier when you said you were a reaper. Did you mean like grim?”

“Is there any other kind?” a proud smile spread across his face as he bowed dramatically.

As he hunched over she grabbed his collar. “You bastard did you bring me here. I’ll fucking kill you.”

“What a gross misconception.” He sounded hurt and easily escaped her weak grasp. “Reapers don’t take lives, they only guide them to the afterlife.”

“Genius, are you meant to guide anyone today?”

“I usually get a name, one second.” He gestured with his index finger as he turned his pockets inside out like a schoolboy. “Nothin’”.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The warmth of the mug radiated to her fingertips. She stared down at the hot beverage, firmly believing that comfort can always be found in a cup of tea. The steam raised up warming face as she slowly took a sip. Familiarity, is all she thought.

Due to pity and curiosity, the “reaper” could not help but invite the lost woman into his home. She never went into a stranger’s home, but considering the circumstance, an exception was made. It was homelier than she had presumed. From the outside, his house looked like a small bungalow, however inside it was strangely spacious. The minimalist composition further added to this sparse look. There were no dividing walls, the bedroom overlooked the living room and past this was the kitchen. The kitchen particularly stood out, differing from the rest of the house, as it was contemporary and bright. She also could not help be comforted slightly by the thought of a reaper wearing an apron and preparing meals like a normal person.

The rest of the house was dark, which suited him more. The sofa she sat on was black, similarly with the rug that rested below her feet. Behind her was his bedroom, with a black brick wall complemented by an array of  grey decor.

Her trance was cut short from the harsh steps of the so-called reaper. Before she even looked up, she  could see him pacing back and forth in her peripheral vision. “I don’t understand,” he said.

“You and me both, dude.” Finally relaxed and embracing the new warmth, she gulped down the hot tea. She stretched on his couch and began to lay down.

“No, no,” he rushed toward her before her back could rest against the leather of the sofa, placing his hands on her back and pushing her up. “No,” he repeated. “Don’t make yourself comfortable. You’re going to heaven or hell or whatever the afterlife is. But you don’t belong here.”

“Well, apparently you’re the expert, so you tell me what to do.” I was clearly a novice at this whole dying thing, she thought. 

He wanted to retaliate, but quickly deflated, knowing he had no rebuttal.  “Why are you relaxed now? Ten minutes ago, you were frantic, cursing me out.”

She shrugged. “Ten minutes ago, you were level-headed and carefree. You’re looking pretty flustered now.” She knew she was irritating her only hope to get answers but in this moment she finally did not have a care in the world. “What usually happens when someone dies?”

“I get a name and when I read the name I see the person’s face. I wander out to the forest and in the middle of the plains, someone’s lying there. They’re unconscious, laying in the same exact place, every time. When they come to, they can’t recall their life but when I look into their eyes, I see it all — guiding them through these wastelands, where they gradually remember as well. When they know their truth, then they have reached the end. For each person, it’s different but it’s usually a gate — a gate to the next life. The final one.”

“Interesting. But it proves I’m not dead. I remember everything, my whole life. My house for example, it’s nice. Not too big but not too small. There’s the porch door which is white and leads to the black tiles where I throw my shoes when I get home. Then there’s another door, a cream colour. This leads to our hallway. There’s two doors, the one with a glass pane leads to our living room. It’s all open, so we have a long room and the kitchen at the end. Above the kitchen is a skylight, which you can see from my room. The kitchen has a lot of light which I always hated a bit because it blinds me first thing in the morning. The-”

“Okay!” He cut her off, clearly agitated, “I get it! Was there anything weird about the events leading up to before I saw you?”

“It started off as a pretty normal day. It was raining before I got here, real heavy rain, it even had the same rain smell mixed with petrol and mud. And of course, the weird rabid dog panting which I thought came from you.”

His eyes widened. “Hellhounds,” was all he muttered. “Did it bite you? Tear you limb from limb?”

“No, I ran.”

“No one could ever outrun a hellhound, especially considering how unfit you are. Coughing your lungs out from the slightest bit of exercise. It is just so strange.”

She walked up to him extending her hand out as a sign of friendship. “We spent a bit of time together and I find it odd that we haven’t introduced ourselves yet. My name is Noor.” There was brief silence therefore Noor took it upon herself to continue speaking. “It means divine light in Arabic, fitting right?”

He was wary but graciously accepted the act of kindness. “Right.”

“This is the portion of the conversation where you say your name.”

“I’m reaper, I guess.”

“That’s not a name, you must have had a name once. A life aside from reaping.”

“This is all I know. All I have ever done. I am but a reaper.”

“So how long you been doing this gig?”

“What is with the interrogation?”

“I’m trying to be friendly.”

“I think I preferred when you were threatening me.” He sighed, “as far back as I can remember. The beginning of time, I guess. I don’t know. I don’t know when it started or when it will end.”

“De-pressing,” she said in a sing-song tone.

“I am sorry I don’t get the same luxury as you deplorable humans.” Noor was shocked, wondering what she had said to hit a nerve, and also hurt by his harsh words.

It wasn’t long before he spoke again. “I apologise for my outburst. I’m never like this, reapers don’t have a lot of emotion —  it helps maintain a judgement free zone. But I have met a lot of people. I have seen their deepest darkest secrets and all their desires, the flaws. I am not the one to pass judgement — but I see it and I can’t pretend like I haven’t.”

“So, you don’t like humans, how about the witches and sirens and fairies you mentioned? Maybe I’ve met one.”

“Doubtful. There are things not in your world which can enter mine. It’s like walking through a neighbourhood for them. Any being with free will have the same issues. And for the record I don’t hate humans.” He smiled, slyly referring to Noor. This was the first time he really smiled at her and she couldn’t help but grin back.

“I don’t want to make this about myself again but can you see anything about me, even a glimpse?”

“That’s exactly it. When I look at you, it’s a complete blank. Usually, I see everything when I look in their eyes. I see their souls. The eyes are a window to the soul, never underestimate how true that is. I see what they don’t know about themselves. Just to summarise, paper, vision, memory lane which then leads to the gate. I’m a glorified delivery boy. With you, there’s nothing, I didn’t even realise you came here, I didn’t know your face, I know nothing about you. It irks me.”

“Maybe it’s just a delayed reaction. What if you look in my eyes, like really look in them?”

“It couldn’t hurt to try,” he said. They sat opposite each other, legs folded like school kids. As they stared into each others eyes, his face betrayed him to show that he once again reached a disappointing blank. “You have black eyes,” he noted.

Noor knew that he was unable to see her years unfold before his very eyes, instead she saw his. The entirety of the reaper’s existence flashed before her. However, he was no reaper, not anymore and he wasn’t from the start as he believed. There is more to his story, that he had yet to learn. A sad story of a boy destined to live a normal life, but died before he became a man. As her vision became clouded, she felt a dampness on her face, but she saw his face change. Something he hadn’t felt in years despite the thousands of people who previously broke down in front of him — empathy.

“Micah,” was all that left her lips.

He looked at her in disarray, completely unaware of all that she had seen. He instinctively wiped Noor’s tears with his thumb, which she knew that he had never been compelled to do for any other soul. That only made her tears flow more. She abruptly stood up, startling him slightly. With her back turned to him, she quickly wiped the tears with her pulled sleeves.

Micah stared at her, restraining himself from comforting her. Before she was ready to face him again, she dug her hands deeps into her pocket and felt a roughness at the bottom, brushing over it with her thumb. Removing the foreign object — a scrunched-up piece of paper — and unfolding it, which revealed the new name Noor had just learnt.

“Micah, would you like to go for a walk?” Noor asked.

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Indie Books Masterlist

#IndieApril was a huge hashtag which encouraged people to buy books from authors who weren’t traditionally published. I put up a post asking authors to drop their links and it was a big list. More than I can read in a month but there are plenty of good ones I would like to. This compiles every book and a short description.

Fantasy

Soul by Dave GF Blackwell – A snowstorm. A body with the cause of death unknown. A bloody crime scene. A missing elderly woman. An unidentified young girl. A young girl found naked and covered in blood at a crime scene harbours a powerful gift and a traumatic past that changes the lives of Marie and her foster daughter in ways they couldn’t imagine. Death is only the beginning. This is the story of Kimimela.

Gold Shadow by L.C. Perry – In the North American continent, eighteen year old Ebony has been living as a slave for as long as she can remember. The underground cities, the tattoo, the scars and the shackles are a part of the only world she has ever known. She knows that in order to survive, she will have to stay strong. And she will stay strong, cursing those in power, until her very last breath. She waits for a meaningful way to die as she quietly pushes her body to its limit…but that all changes when rebels from the surface drop down right in front of her.

Hippocrates and the Hobgoblin: The Child of Murindur by C.S. Colvin – The chaotic confines of the hospital kept Creed occupied, even as he felt something change within. The embattled physician’s dreams were more frequent, and oddities were becoming the norm in an otherwise pedestrian existence. Following a tumultuous turn of events, Creed awakens in another world, one in which he slowly remembers to be his home as the past and present collide. Mürindür has been waiting, and within moments of arriving, he is rescued by his hobgoblin friend, Ojin, as they embark on a perilous journey to protect Creed’s bride and their unborn son, a child of prophecy and purpose.

The Well of Youth by E.J. DawsonGrateful to be leaving the deathbed of his estranged father behind, Andy Morzov wants nothing more than to return to Amphion University to submit his thesis to his mentor Professor Nick Holloran. Instead, he discovers the professor missing – possibly dead – while on a secret mission for the Illisian government.

The Van Helsing Paradox by Evelyn Chartres – a dark fantasy which tells the story of Clara Grey, who is a member of the Tower, a religious order of hunters who work outside the confines of the Church. Witness her rigorous training, how she faces adversity, and fights in the Great War to become the derringer wielding flapper she is.

The Light Conjurer by Rachel Rener – Ever since Aspen (as she calls herself) awoke three years ago in an empty cabin in the middle of the forest, not knowing her name, where she came from, or where she was, she’s been forced to live entirely off the grid. It’s a lonely life she’s grown accustomed to – until now. Suddenly, strange things are beginning to happen all around her: a raging tornado manifests out of nowhere, narrowly saving her from an out-of-control semi-truck; her frigid bath water inexplicably becomes luxuriously hot; without warning, the wood fireplace erupts a plume of white-hot fire straight into her living room.

The Dark Mermaid by Christina Barr – Luna, heir to father’s throne, is banished for saving the life of a human boy. He gives her a choice: kill the boy before she turns of age or be destroyed.

Healer’s Touch by Deb E Howell – Llew has a gift. Her body heals itself from any injury – but at a cost to anyone nearby. Whereas, Jonas is haunted by memories of his loved ones. At his side, the cursed knife that took their lives acts as a cruel reminder of his pain.

Premonition by Rachel KrotecIn a future deeply divided between two magical sects, seventeen-year-old Lilah Crowne prepares for what ought to be a surefire win in the annual competition for warriors—until an unexpected encounter sends her world reeling.

Long Grows the Dark by Catherine Labadie – In the past, a sorceress introduced a queendom’s golden age right before the return of an ancient foe. In the present, Gwendoline fights for free will even if the cost of her choices may be too dear for her to pay.

The Etherea Cycle by Kristina Kelly, Jonathan Fuller – There is a darkness that threatens this world, as it once did long ago. Three distinct realms, one forever shadowed, one drenched in light, and one caught in the grey between, battled for supremacy. To preserve peace, two emissaries from each realm are chosen to partake in an epic quest: the Trials of the Innermost. In the left hand, knowledge. In the right hand, combat. The six Truthseekers must learn to look beyond the birthplace of their companions, or risk failure as they face challenges designed to test their deepest fears.

Chieftess by Delilah Bluette – Leilana never wanted power. She never wanted to rule even if it was always her destiny. Mytis knows that the Gods have decreed his Empire encompass the face of the world and he will do anything to make sure it happens. He never anticipated the assassin he sent to the Eastern Islands would kill the wrong heirs, making an enemy out of three nations now united against the Imperial Mages or that a grieving husband’s revenge could threaten his Kingdom.

First Magyc by Nicole DragonBeck – The ethereal song spilling from behind the door persuades Ria to help the Guardian Cedar Jal escape his prison between worlds. She discovers a land of magyc and music which feels strangely familiar, and gets entangled in the Guardians’ search for the missing pieces of the Amber Torch. This tale starts with Ria, but it’s up to all those who keep the Path – the Guardians, Witches, assassins, and even Death Himself – to save magyc.

Prelude (Borderlands Book 0) – Long trained and battled hardened, this band of heroes must forsake magic and hunt the vile Spawn with deadly determination, simple brutal weapons and obscure advice buried in an ancient book. What starts as another routine sweep soon becomes a battle for survival as they are challenged by horrors powerful beyond record. Now, not even skill, experience and the Captain’s unique family legacy can guarantee the patrol’s survival.

Spirit Horse and the Battles of the Guardians by T. Louise Perry, Tina Perry– All Ella wanted was to graduate high school and leave. Tormented by her alcoholic father and his best friend Jimmy who will stop at nothing to have her.A letter from her aunt Jean asking her to come for the summer was what she thought was a life saver, but instead it turned her life upside down. She meets Chase and falls in love, everything was perfect till she finds out that she’s pregnant. She has no idea that the child she carries is the reincarnation of the powerful Spirit Horse.

The Dawn Warrior by Ginny O. – Warrior and magician, exiled Princess Roxana has spent the beginning of her adult life helping others escape their curses by dealing with the evil magicians that cast them. Now it’s past time that she dealt with her own fateful curse. Nearing twenty-one, the curse will fall whether she wants it to or not. Neither she, nor her only companion, Gorlouis, a fire dragon, can stop it. She needs to find the witch or find her fairy godmother before her birthday.

Bloodlines by William B. Taylor – Alex Tinsdill never thought a simple DNA test would lead to a $250 million inheritance and Cove Point Manor, a massive estate built during the Gilded Age on the Gold Coast of Long Island, New York. Alex’s inheritance doesn’t come without a cost, however, as two greedy relatives soon show up, determined to separate Alex from his new found riches. When the relatives arrive, the spirit of the former owner of Cove Point Manor, who died under mysterious circumstances almost 100 years earlier, awakens.

Twisted Fate by Jessi Elliot – Aurora Marshall is sharp, witty, and always has a plan. Ready to finish her business degree and graduate, her life is going smoothly—until the night she meets Tristan Westbrook. Tristan, the overbearing, gorgeous fae leader, and an admired businessman in the human world, is all kinds of dangerous. While he finds Aurora intriguing, her refusal to bend to his will keeps them locked in a constant power struggle.

Second Skin by M Damon Baker – “In one final attempt to salvage the wreckage of my life, I stepped into a virtual reality chamber, searching for something, anything, that might make me want to live again. But when I emerged inside the virtual world of Second Skin, I immediately discovered that things had gone wrong—terribly wrong. I was suddenly trapped in a strange place where nothing was what it seemed; unable to determine what was real… unsure of anything, including myself.”

Always Gray In Winter by Mark Engels – A distant daughter. A peculiar device. A family lineage full of secrets. When werecat Pawlina Katczynski finally resurfaces, her location previously unknown to anyone close to her, the reunion is short of welcomed. Instead, she finds herself thrust tooth and nail—tooth and claw—into a feud between opposing werecat clans as her family and their enemies reignite a battle that has raged for years. Always Gray in Winter invites the reader to join the feud and see if blood is truly thicker than water

Sham Belly Shack by Ginny Stone – a modern day South African fairytale. The Beetle Boys descend upon the Glen, causing more chaos. Granny Catty is transported to a dark time in her life when she was married to Husband Number Eight and her husky vocals were considered captivating. Trapped in a dingy seamy nightclub, the feisty Cee-Cee-Lia has no option but to do her wicked husband’s bidding.

Concealed Power by Michelle Crow – For centuries, Earth has served as the battleground for a secret war between a reptilian alien species and the clandestine human organisation dedicated to eradicating this extraterrestrial threat. But when a single woman becomes the focal point of this brutal conflict, the fate of the planet alters forever.

Dun an Doras by G. Tarr – People are dying in Ben’s sleepy village. Mysterious deaths are just the start, it looks like the very fabric of the universe is tearing apart. With Ben, Branna, (an apologetic banshee), Ged, (an accidental werewolf) and the right hand of Gaia, do humans even have a chance?

Elysia by C.C. Francis – In the far future, technology is known as magic. That magic preserves a tenuous peace between two countries in the hands of its seemingly immortal inventor, the Sovereign. But Will Darkwood knows nothing about that, he lives a simple life by a lake, spending most of his days dreaming of what things are like beyond the far-off mountains. One morning, Will opens a strange letter with no return address. Inside is the source of the Sovereign’s ancient power. The next thing Will knows, he’s on the run from an infamous assassin. He manifests dangerous abilities he can’t control. He’s a threat to everyone around him.

The Paths That Be by Serena Whynd – Already well-versed in the Law of Attraction, universal energies, and other eastern philosophies, Tali’s life is forever changed when one night she is woken by her deceased grandfather. She finds herself thrown into new levels of reality that are far beyond what she is used to.She meets Jane, who introduces her to her true calling – more than just a quest for self-awareness and personal growth. Tali finds herself undergoing ancient rituals, shape-shifting, and working within her dream state to help souls transition from trauma into their next life.

Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist – Anchorage, Alaska. A place where people don’t care if someone goes missing. A place where Leia Walker tries her hardest to hide from the world, wanting a normal life without anxiety and OCD. But Leia’s bubble pops when an old friend is back in town and twists Leia’s reality . A bloody event proves what Leia is scared to learn—Sophie Gardner, her old high school friend and saviour from the bullies, is a vampire.

Green Mist Rising by N.R. Gurney – It all started with the letter. Now years later, when Sarah Salter finds herself in an alternative dimension, she is forced to adapt. She has to make new friends, and learn in order to thrive. Come experience her journey, and her pains, as she takes up a new role as an oracle.

Only Words by Summer Kiska – Shane Ashby is witch with cursed, who needs to defend against a sister she never thought she’d see again. And with the worst timing ever, a desperate, if irritatingly attractive warlock shows up at her door in need of a tutor.

Resurrection: Legend of Sanction by Kanye Sampson – It’s been 14 years since the Great War. The Demon clans have been scattered. The Human Empire seeks to annihilate them. The Brotherhood of Shadows, a band of Demon warriors, seek to return their people to the light, by any means necessary. Two swordsmen form an unlikely alliance.

Empire’s Daughter by Marian Thorpe – In a re-imagined dark-ages Europe, a young woman must choose between her lover and her land, beginning a journey into lands beyond her imagining, into danger and opportunity, and to a deeper understanding of loyalty, sacrifice, & the dimensions of love.

Heavenward by Olga Gibbs – Meet Ariel: a quiet, unnoticeable girl with an incredible gift. She never had an easy or pleasant life, but the arrival of three gorgeous strangers meant her measured life is turned upside down, as she discovers that angels exist. Now against her will, she’s drawn into an ancient celestial conflict, where her powers will decide the fate of humanity.

Over a God’s Dead Body by Joel Spriggs – Loki hates being bound to Seth, the most micromanaging of all the Egyptian Gods. But when their quest to regain Seth’s crown leads to a boring midwest town where nothing happens, Loki discovers a family he never wanted to admit may exist.

Dog! by Mike Robbins – Bazza is an easy-going middle-aged college lecturer with a taste for weed, porn, beer and redheads. When he adopts a rescue dog, he sees nothing odd about the animal. Then a Himalayan monk comes to visit, and senses something strange.

Francis is Alive by Moshood Adebayo – Francis Is Alive portrays the return of the most dangerous man in the world who is thought dead. He is found at the center of world leaders’ debate determining the fate of a World War. A love story, a paranormal haunt, endless games of assassinations and crimes; such is what Francis brings from his death.

Krakbrayn by Torsten Krol – tells the story of Tagg, a young World Trade Center bombing orphan, who wakes up in New York City to find his brain has been hijacked.

Dystopian

The Future King: Logres by M.L. Makworth Praed – Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for.

Romance

The Sinners’ Club by D.W. Plato – In the town of Pleasant, one young man will challenge faith itself for the woman he loves. Gaius Stewart is handsome, smart and charismatic. Elizabeth Anderson is beautiful, selfless and caring. There’s only one problem: he’s a self-proclaimed Pagan, and she’s a devoted member of The Church of Latter Day Saints.

The End of Hatred by Rachel Hefner – Slayer Princess Miranda, heir to the throne, has hated the Vampyres for a thousand years. When a female Vampyre washes up on the shore of her compound’s riverbank, she seizes the moment to take the offensive. Sathan, King of the Vampyres, distraught at his sister’s disappearance and captivity, agrees to travel with Miranda to resect the Blade of Pestilence, also hoping to change his people’s state of endless war.

My Northanger Abbey by Jenni James – Kathryn Morland is determined to escape the hardship of watching her mother’s decline with Alzheimer’s. Her plan is to write a modern version of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. It’s not until Heath Finnegan walks into the bookshop where she works that she realizes how horrible her book is. Well, maybe not the whole book—just the hero.

The Color of God’s Eyes by Christina BarrCharlotte, purchased by Lady Cohen, a widow newly married to a plantation owner in Mississippi, is tasked with taking care of her son, John, not realising that he’s been tasked with observing her for any unique abilities. The two grow secretly in romance, but their future together is threatened when John’s loyalty to his father and the South is called into question.

Glue by D.W. Plato – Dacia thinks she’s escaping a miserable life with her emotionally abusive husband only to get caught up in a world filled with meth and sex. Her out-of- control lifestyle leads her into more than one sexual encounter with a variety of men. A friend with benefits turns into something more. A handsome sex addict’s fantasies take her to the brink of out-of- control passion. And Christopher, a man who is boy-next-door charming, cute and good to her who will do anything to get Dacia to give him a chance.

Coming of Age

What Friends Do by C.E. Shields – If you entrust your identity to your only friend, how do you grow up to be yourself? When self-doubting Debbie meets confident Antoinette in 1980s suburban New Zealand, her adolescent worries seem to be over. But while their connection deepens into adulthood, joy and aspiration increasingly compete with insidious jealousy.

The Light in the Sound by V.G. Anderson – character-driven and often comical story of a spirited young woman, Rachel Richardson, who works in a porn shop in Seattle. Her estranged family lives a thousand miles away, and she has a bunch of wretched friends. Rachel is tired of walking through life half asleep—literally and figuratively because she also suffers from night terrors. Her sense of disconnection from family, work, and friends grows, resulting in her attempting to cut all ties, turn inward, and numb herself emotionally. Ultimately, in the wake of losing everything—yet again—Rachel is forced to discover how many times one person can start over before self-destructing.

Where Do You Go To by Jean Cerfontaine – When the young Marie-Claire wakes up in Rome, she has no idea who she is or how she got there. Her tale of adversity starts in the biting cold, her past unknown and her future uncertain. Our heroine gets adopted from the Marcigliana orphanage by a French diplomat, initiating a journey of self-discovery across post-World War II Europe.

Pitching for Sanity by Mike Reuther – Bill Barrister is riddled with almost crippling anxiety, the kind of nervous condition that prevents him from having any kind of normal life. Once a teenage pitching phenom, he finds temporary calm and comfort from throwing a baseball every day in the backyard of his boyhood home where he lives after spending twenty years in the military. When a free-spirited boyhood friend lures him on a cross-country road trip, Bill is sprung from the malaise of his small town existence and off on a reluctant journey of self-discovery and of his past.

Baseball Dreams, Fishing Magic by Mike Reuther – A baseball player, a fisherman – a young man looking for answers. Perhaps no pursuits stir the passions of dreamers and poets like baseball and fly fishing. For Nick Grimes, a small town kid with big dreams, these two pastimes and sports are more than pursuits of the soul, they are means to an end. Or so he thinks.

True Crime

Notra Dame by Jacqueline Evans – Discover the true story of a woman trying to make sense of a mysterious world. She suppressed what came naturally to her but a pivotal moment in her mid-twenties opened a door. The depth of knowledge that ensued began to snowball, leading her to predict global events and high-profile murder investigations.

Thriller

Lost Girls: A Novel by Caitlyn Grey – At 24-years-old, Felicity Walker’s seemingly average life was anything but that. She had endured enough heartache and life-altering events for one lifetime. With the help of Heather, her best friend, Felicity was able to get a grip on the mental health issues that kept her captive for years. She then found a a missing person poster that wore her name and that day’s date.

Living Nightmare by D.M. Dore – Night after night in the fourth-floor ward of the Mendwell Institute, Tobin Blake awakens screaming from nightmares of gruesome deaths and tortured souls. Therapy isn’t helping, the drugs aren’t helping, and lately the nightmares are getting worse. When a new doctor and his hypnotist colleague arrive promising breakthroughs, most patients are relieved, but Tobin senses something deeper is amiss.Now a stranger is hiding cryptic clues and suspicious newspaper clippings beneath her pillow, and when the nightly visions begin leaving bruises and scars on her waking body, Tobin must fight to retain what’s left of her sanity.

Room 119: The Whitby Trader by T.F. Lince – High-flying trader Dean Harrison has it all – the London penthouse apartment; the fast car; the beautiful wife. But when the threads of Dean’s life start to unravel, they do so with alarming speed.Following the advice of a frail stranger, Dean sets off for Welnetham Hall Hotel and is plunged into the mysterious world of Room 119 – a world where nothing makes sense.

A Haunted Past by April Kennedy – Angie Conaty, has long suffered from a reoccurring nightmare. The same one she’s had since childhood. As an adult the dreams come far less frequently, due to her demanding public relations position, in the Toronto based reality television station, Gottchaon TV. Her boss – an entitled rich manchild – elects Angie to be the assistant director for his new show, Sustainable. Flying her out to British Columbia, where her dreams become hallucinations, and they come vividly, while she is fully lucid, and working with the handsome and rugged Max Murphy, Sustainable’s leading man!

Little Mickey: The Novel by David Matthew Bennett – During a power cut, the Detectives of Oswestry Police Station, finally catch the serial killer, they’ve been hunting for 15 months. He’s clearly unstable, and they’re against the clock to get the answers they so badly need before his solicitor has him committed.

Werewolf Nights by Mari Hamill – Threatened by financial ruin, widowed bakery owner Catherine Mercy leads a solitary life with more interest in reading about werewolf lore than in finding a man. Her now deceased husband kept her trapped in the house claiming that a werewolf might hunt her down. Already in her thirties, Catherine feels ridiculous trying to become an actress, but lands the leading role.

Historical Fiction

The Quest for the Sun God’s Tomb by C.J. Evans – Retired Lieutenant Willie Abrams is enjoying the Cuban sun in 1921. Just him and his friend, retired Sergeant Banesfeld run their bar in peace, while selling a little rum to mainland prohibition USA. There’s also a young girl which Abrams has taken under his wing from the war who helps them out. Then one day when an old girlfriend comes around asking for his help, she unexpectedly gets kidnapped. Abrams is thus sent on an adventure towards a tomb in ways he did not expect, while dealing with prohibition gang politics.

Lucan by Christine Duts – Reclusive Lucan now tells it all. There are no more secrets; and his past is no longer shrouded in mystery. We are introduced to his wife, Althea, and his beloved sister, Claudia. The tragedies that plagued him in mortal life are now out in the open, unleashed from his cross of burden.

Antonius: Son of Rome by Brook Allen – After young Marcus Antonius’s father dies in disgrace, he yearns to restore his family’s honor during the final days of Rome’s dying Republic. Marcus is rugged, handsome, and owns abundant military talent, but upon entering manhood, he falls prey to the excesses of a violent society. His whoring, gambling, and drinking eventually reap dire consequences. Through a series of personal tragedies, Marcus must come into his own through blood, blades, and death.

The Lord Poet by Megan FranksMeet Lord Edmund Troy, a carefree aristocrat and renowned poet in Victorian-era London. Idolized by the masses for his charisma and dashing good looks, he finds himself in the sights of wealthy socialite Agatha and her cousin Catrina.

Sci-Fi

Symbiosis in Seattle: A Novella by Sutherland Staatz, Eric BergWhile walking home from what initially seemed like a routine suicide cleanup, Tammy Metz stumbles upon the aftermath of a bloody assault involving performance art and a syringe. The P.I. Amy Lamb, exhausted from her obsession to solve her missing brother’s cold case and bored with snapping photos of cheating husbands, receives a call about a husband who might be stepping out on himself. And C.J. Crow, a homeless teen that sees blue as often as he sees red. He has answers that everyone desperately needs.

Quarton: The Bridge by Ian Hornett – Fen, a young scavenger surviving in the ruins of London, finds an unusual stone – the quarton, one of the building blocks from the Garial Bridge destroyed 5000 years previously. Its strange pulse pulls her in, forcing her to question not only the past, but her whole purpose in a world with no meaning. She is not the only one. There are others who have been sucked in, all of them with equally confusing pasts, all of them with conflicting motives… and all of them desperate to get their hands on the block.

Star Chaser: The Traveler: Beyond The Outer Rim by Reiter – Z’Gunok Tel Dungias, an enigmatic member of a noble house of Malgovi. Despite representing the newest generation of a truly fascinating race, Dungias lacks the mystic power possessed by his ancestors; the ability to summon IRO energy, and forge the world around them as they see fit. His failings as a Malgovi have left him an outcast, an outsider, and convinced that his destiny lies elsewhere in the universe.

The Starhawk Chronicles by Joseph J. Madden – The year is 2283. Though more than a quarter-century has passed since the end of the last war, the Galactic Confederation is still busy picking up the pieces. Whole sectors of the galaxy remain lawless, rife with corruption and greed. The criminal element has a well-established foothold on these sectors. It is a good time to be a bounty hunter. Jesse Forster and the crew of the STARHAWK are some of the best bounty hunters in the business.

Crystal and Flint by Holly Ash – It’s been 300 years since humans arrived on Neophia and the planet’s intelligent species have yet to agree on how much influence humans and their advanced technology should have on the planet. With the threat of war hanging in the air, Lieutenant Commander Crystal Wolf races to finish construction of the mega submarine, Journey, in order to calm political tensions on Neophia and cement her already stellar military career.

Pandora’s Box by Nathan Marchand – Cadet Brewer is a military brat living in a “perfect” world. Or so it seems, until the oppressed Camp Countries’ leader, the Overlord, unleashes a deadly virus and changes the balance of power. Consumed by vengeance, Brewer vows to fight the Overlord’s New Order and volunteers to defend the last remaining stockpile of WMDs. But the base is attacked and Brewer, as the only survivor, unwittingly becomes the sole protector of Project: Pandora’s Box.

Child of Humanity by Dr. Alyse N. Steves – “My name was Allyson Owens. It isn’t anymore, but it was back then. I was a daughter. I was a sister. Most importantly, I was supposed to be a friend. By the time I realized that I wasn’t, it was too late. This is the story of how we not only failed those we swore to protect, but how, in our darkest moments, when we fell into shadows that we couldn’t see, we had to be shown the light.”

Ghosts of San Francisco by Mord McGhee – In the year 2185, reality is a terrifyingly ugly place. The only time teenage Rigs feels alive is when she’s breaking heads as a member of Poseidon’s Angels, feared San Francisco biker gang. Rigs has devoted her life to violence and getting ahead in the world within the world’s societal confines—add in technological ghosts haunting the world as digital astral projections capable of all-things including murder.

Action & Adventure

The Melankholia Effect by Ace Layton – The city of Melankholia. A shadowy sub-world, full of monsters and misery. Not everything is terrible, though. People are generally nice, and they’ve recently come in to having their own sun. The new abundance of light, and the plants that followed it, are a nice change from the dark and dreary world that most shades grew up in. Lola recalls the way it used to be. She remembers the endless gray skies, lighter in the day and darker at night but always present. Now they have sunrises and sunsets and stars. Considering what little else has changed, it’s actually kind of nice.

The Unnamed Bears Favor by J. Lyon Laden – Mythical China, 9000 B.C.E. A nameless outcast is summoned by the village priestess to undergo his initiation into the Rik-Sika, a band of hunter-assassins. To earn his place, he must travel with them to the ruins of his people’s stronghold, which sits on a plateau near the roof of the world. On the perilous journey, he encounters restless ghosts, giant man-bears, and the dreaded ogres who rule the mountains. Faced with unimaginable odds, the unnamed discovers his true origins and with it, a powerful secret buried by generations long ago. Armed with dark knowledge, the boy must choose between his life and the fate of his people.

El Dorado and the Amazon by Ruth Elliot-Smith – The allure and power of gold draws Alex Cavanagh, failed international mining magnate, to Colombia to revive his fortunes. He finds a dangerous land of anarchy, uncharted jungle and warring drug barons. With him is Frederica Allsop, newly divorced, emotionally and mentally scarred from a mysterious past but determined to fulfil her life’s ambition to see the Amazon River. Their passionate affair threatens to destroy them both and if it doesn’t, the cocaine cartel will!

Poetry

Devolution by Ami Sanghvi – Based off Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy [and written in old-world verse], it’s about Heaven, Hell, Earth, God, Satan, and human morality.

Lost in Quatrain by Adiela Akoo – A diverse collection of original poems about this curiously crazy experience called life.

The End of the Rainbow by Geetha Krishnan – A book of poems on life, nature and personal experiences.

KidLit

Meet ClaraBelle Blue by Adiba Nelson – one of the most diverse children’s books on the market. Sharing the message of inclusion, and helping children see that regardless of having a disability, all kids want and need the same thing – play and love.

Life in Your World by Anj Cairns – Sketch, a light-infused energy, loves the boy Matt. she watches him from the Core and wishes she could be part of his world.Sent out from the Core for training in the human world of North London, Sketch seizes the opportunity to prove herself, and show Matt how she feels.If she fails to learn what it’s like to be a human, she will be trapped in the outer world forever.

Agent 603: The Teddy Files by Tabitha Bell – Agent 603 embarks on his first adventure as a Teddy Seal secret agent. His mission is to locate the whereabouts of his assigned human’s (Amy’s) leopard. Is her closet that messy? Or is something more sinister lurking in the dark?

Taste of You, Taste of Me by Sarah D’Anne – The saying, “Opposites attract” almost works for this story. Crystal knows what she needs, but does she really want it? She gets the chance to find out when a young man knocks on her door. What will she do when the opportunity to change her life is sitting in her living room?

Rescue the Night by John Stuhl – A delightful story of the young girl Thompson Lee and the mysterious Sandman. Thompson, her sister Lily Conner and their best friend Carly Elise follow the Sandman on adventures into the night sky, where they find fun, mysteries and danger. With their special gifts, and help from unexpected sources, the girls seek answers to the most threatening problem of the night – vanishing dreams.

Non Fiction

Mother of Millennials by Kathryn Mortimer – Mortimer thought she had it all worked out when she became a mother. It turns out she didn’t. Looking back, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion she could have done better. Her big mistake? It’s not easy for her to admit, but the truth is she was blinded by expectation. This book is her attempt to make amends. To say sorry to her daughters for her inadequacies, and to allow them to share their own stories. Harriet talks about her quarter life crisis, and how it helped her escape from unfulfilling work and relationships. While Sally’s honest account of her mental health problems.

Literally Unbelievable by Bronwyn Harris – Harris was a new teacher thrust into a classroom in Oakland, California’s “Killing Zone.” Her teacher preparation classes had not covered making child abuse reports, teaching traumatized children, or keeping a class calm during a lockdown. This book chronicles the ups and downs of the students she taught, as well as the toll this work took on her personally.

O-B*TCH-UARY by Ticia Rani – “Hi, my name is Olivia Carpenter and this is my hair raising, lumpy, bumpy journey. Wanna come? Sure, you do. There’re laughs, fist fights, bra burning parties, nasty drama filled girl snits, baby showers, and death. Let’s not forget that part. Come on, grab a coffee, tea, wine- Oh! Wine, *sigh* Anyway, have a seat and get comfy cuz I have a story to tell.”

Eternal Damnation Has Never Been So Sexy

Every piece of vampire fiction since 2008 and the emergence of a certain book has caused the same carbon copy of every plot to exist in the same way. A handsome “high school” vampire falls in love with an average sad girl who will later entangle into a love triangle. This is no shade to any authors because this gave my preteen years so much excitement to gush over these stories with my friends. The annoyance of this to me and the apparent number of people who are sick of it could be summed up in one word: consistency. After this has been repeated so many times, overkill is the only word I can think of. By the end of a trend when people jump on the bandwagon it results in repetitiveness and lazy writing.

It also destroyed the idea of monster stories, they’re no longer a homage to terror. Now, if these monsters were not sexy or a romantic interest then they are reduced to a mindless one dimensional villain. So when did monster stories not become scary, when was it better to be the monsters we once feared?

Therefore in preparation to me wanting to write a vampire fiction which I want to read, here are plot devices I wish to no longer see in vampire fiction:

Issue #1: They only attend high school:

Before anyone @s me, I know exactly why they take place in high schools; it is aimed at kids these age however it makes no sense. If you were 100+ there is no way anyone would want to redo high school over and over. The first time was bad enough, I imagine the tenth just gets even more tedious. There’s nothing knew to learn and you are spending time around people who are in a completely different place. They are too much of your junior who have high school problems which you can’t relate to. As someone in my 20’s I find my teenage problems trivial, so someone living for at least a century must find it grating. You are so out of touch and honestly it will make you hate yourself an humanity even more.

I’m not even going to delve into how predatory it is to be involved romantically with someone 90 years your junior, especially when they are not even adults.

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Issue #2: Love overcomes everything with no struggle:

The male vampire in his natural habitat is a soulless cold killing machine but quickly switches to a big cheesy fluff-ball with no development simply with the love of a good woman. Cute, right? WRONG . Let us not forget the endless killing these beings have done and pain they have caused to mostly innocent people but we feel sympathy for them and root for them because they are in love. They are not good people still, there is no guilt and no struggle. This gives two additional points which are wrong with this. Firstly, the time scale, they haven’t known each other for long at all but are willing to risk it all. Secondly, is the ill writing of the woman, who is portrayed as so bland and void of nay personality, an object created purely to with the sole purpose to fall in love with him, which eliminates the anticipation if they are going to be together.

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Issue #3: The absence of any weaknesses:

The general tropes for all vampires have gone and they have quickie solutions as to why they are seemingly indestructible. Some of the older tropes were pretty cheesy, let us not lie to each other, the most iconic and hilarious being garlic or sleeping in a coffin. There’s no reason for this besides aesthetic. but there seems to be no real threat if vampires lived among us because sunlight doesn’t hurt them and holy water is a myth. They aren’t creatures of the night or eternally damned because humanising them is important.

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Issue #4: The sudden appearance of every other mythical creature:

It tends to be predominantly werewolves and then this results in a rivalry between them which often times develops into a frenemy relationship. This isn’t limited to werewolves, there are witches, doppelgangers, and mixes of all of these, the inter-species breeding is something else as well. One can apparently not exist without the other and it often distracts from the main issues. It gets a bit tedious and ineffective having undeveloped characters of different creatures and heavily rely on gang wars for no reason, the overkill is real.

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Issue #5: Immortality is always deemed as a good thing:

I have never been able to relate to this. They always think of immortal life as a goal, they believe in souls and know they are damned but every lead human is fine with this. Immortality would mean watching your loved one die and not seeing them because they will see you do not age. The main characters often times do not have terrible home lives and a loving family but are willing to give it up easily. I am not going into detail about the idea of living forever because it sounds depressing. There will be a point where you are content for it to end. Also the idea of actually living as a vampire doesn’t sound great; no taste of food, having to drink blood, fighting this and then hurting people.

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Issue #6: Family is of the utmost un-importance:

Aside from the person they are going to fall in love with, everyone else in their life is irrelevant. I would get it more if they had a terrible home life, no aspirations and future, which meant vampirism is the best option but that is hardly ever the case. The main characters usually have pretty good home lives and if not they have other things going for them. Family hardly ever makes an impact on their decision and I find that hard to understand and believe.

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Issue #7: BEING SEXY!

They are always the best looking in the room, stand out good looks, models. The talk of the town. Is there a requirement that you have to be a certain level of attractive before you can be turned or does turning make your bone structure reconstruct itself and become automatically thin? They never talk about them being average let alone plain. But seriously if I saw someone pale, translucent almost, and thin, never fluctuating in weight, I would think they were sickly. Especially if people hardly see them eat, or function as a normal person. But hey, sex sells.

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(Of course, I am putting in a gratuitous shower scene as the last image.)

 

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 11

Day 11: You are now a dragon. Describe your hoard.

 

Somewhere millions of years ago

A new day calls for a new adventure. The world is so small when you can fly, it used to be lonely but I found a new home. A home which consists of an ensemble of misfits. But we aren’t misfits anymore because we found a place we belong.

First there’s me, Titania. I’m a very average dragon; not the smallest or largest. Nor am I particularly strong but by no means weak. Just average. I tell a lot of bad jokes and try to lighten the mood when others get heated but I also find it difficult to read the atmosphere, especially when people are emotional which gets me into trouble more than I care to admit. Despite this I tend to get along with the others quite easily due to my lazy attitude.

Next we have Valentinus, he is a very loveable character. Typically described as the loveable idiot by others in the group. Nice but clumsy are the two words which describe him the best. There have been a few occasions where he forgets that he needs to use his wings to fly and is shocked when he starts getting closer to the ground. No matter how easily distracted he gets, no one would dare mess with him as in the hoard he is by far the largest and the strongest.

Another colourful character is Zephyros, she is constantly angry and looking for a fight. She successfully gets into fights and usually ends up victorious, however it still results in plenty of scratches and bruises. Somehow in these antics the others regularly get dragged in. She also has a habit to quietly make here leave, noted for her disappearing act which makes her hard to find.

The “leader” of the group is Nikomedes.  He is a reluctant leader and by no means thinks he is capable or even willing. He is the best leader they could have and in an odd way he sometimes admits that he is quite good at it. being smart and tactical make him a perfect fit for what he does however he is lazy and dislikes the idea of babysitting the others, making for a very unorthodox leader.

In all the strong personalities, which occur, there needs to be a buffer. This in no way means they don’t have a strong personality, but their personality is one that doesn’t clash with the others and instead calms others This is where Ashoka comes into play. He has a very tranquil aura which gets passed onto the others which can dissipate the thirst of blood for fights. He can stand his own when he needs to, therefore not someone who can be pushed over. In general, however, people do not want to annoy him as he is known for being the pure one, gaining him the younger brother role.

Similarly, to Ashoka who has a calming aura, we have Euthalia. She is very caring to the others and simply known for “loving too much”. In the past she has never fit in anywhere which is why this group of misfits mean so much to her. When everyone fights or there is a possibly she is the quickest to show emotion, only emphasising she is the one who is the most attached. It is a common occurrence that she adopts other strays so has a lot of other animals which surround her. This has fated her with being the “mum” of the group.

Finally, we had Ragna, she is the “planner”, giving the group a sense of purpose as she decides where they’ll go and what to do as firstly she is the only who can be bothered and also the fact that she is forever organised. She gets along with everyone without too much friction but gets along the best with Nikomedes due to them spending a lot of time together to decide what the group should do. Also, the tactical attributes they both possess. They are known for being quite deadpan and emotionless but feels genuine love for the rest of the group.

Sometimes I feel like my existence in this group doesn’t matter, no one would realise if I was there or not. However, I often get reminded that we are a family and that’s enough to stick around.

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 10

Day 10: Try to convince your reader that the mythological creature of your choosing exists.

Okay, hear me out: what is a unicorn, really?

It’s a horse but with a horn, like a horse-rhino hybrid. We have horses in the world and, also, rhinos so: why is the possibility of a unicorn so preposterous?

There are tales of unicorns in all cultures and people who have claimed to see them. They appear in literature, art, even constellations. The legends exist before people have had the opportunity to converse about it. They had no means of communication, yet they describe the same thing. This is no pure coincidence.

Much like rhinos of our time, people used to track down what we now identify as “unicorns”, for their horns. They believed them to have magical healing abilities and if you could catch one it would bring prosperity and luck to you. For this reason, unicorns were forced to run into hiding.

In reality,  they were much larger than a horse, so people would hunt them in flocks. They tracked them, took their horns and celebrated by eating their meat. In many cases, it was believed that cooking the meat burnt of the supposed “magic”, therefore it was typically eaten raw to preserve this.

Years before this, unicorns were treated as gods among the people. Again, deemed for being necromancers, they were prayed to. They were loved. Thought to bring good fortune. In contrast to the later legends, hurting a unicorn would only bring anguish and misfortune. But legends change: the king decided that his people should only love him, worship him. He acted as a supposed messiah and said unicorns were creatures of the damned, instead of waiting for humans at the pearly white gates that they believed, he claimed that they guarded the gates of hell. He said they were unnatural and need destroying. He said the reward was of the horn they possess, where the unicorn was born from witchcraft, the horn had pure unadulterated magic. Thus, it could be used for medicine and perform miracles. (He said this because he still believed the old tales. The ones that told unicorns were gods, so he would never hurt one, instead he left it to his people to be damned.)

The roles of virginal women often come into play when talking about unicorns. This is because there was a group of women who were thought to be so pure that unicorns would be attracted to them. They were pure simply because they had pure, untainted love in their hearts and devoted themselves to saving the unicorns. They were warriors, who fought the selfish, power-hungry king. The idea that they were all virgins was not true, it just serves as propaganda as pure always equalled virgin in these times. These brave women lived and died by the unicorns and after years of strenuous battle, they finally exposed the king.

When people wanted to except the unicorns again, it was too late. They had already left, even the women knew that humans didn’t deserve unicorns. They feared they would be betrayed by humankind again so the unicorns scattered, taking different paths. Some took to mountains, others to the sea. Maybe they eventually evolved to narwhals but there is so much of the ocean not known. There are even tales of how they went to the heavens, disappearing into the sky. To me, this is far-fetched, but evolution, science, prove the existence of unicorns.

It’s just the magic you can choose not to believe.