Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #11

Hello Readers!

After a hiatus from writing these dailies, I am back with another one! It may not be a daily thing anymore, so sorry for the false advertising, but I will try to get back into these as they’ve gotten some really positive reception on here. They are fun, and I feel really productive to do them while working on my two WIP projects: my When In Doubt draft and my untitled Fantasy-genre series thats still being ideated.

Todays prompt was from the image above, which is a short story starter I found on Pinterest. While I didn’t take the story further like I originally wanted, what I did instead was add some depth to what was already included in this short excerpt and…enhance it a little bit? Here is my work below the image:

Image courtesy of finalfantasyblog.com

~~~

“Ignited Treachery”

The world burns all around them, and it was all his fault. 

The hero, who was supposed to protect them all and assure their safety, had failed miserably and let this darkness into their lives and couldn’t do anything about it once the darkness crept inside the walls and destroyed them from within. All because the hero put his faith in someone who he shouldn’t have in the first place. 

Screams could be heard off in the distance, but one by one, they were extinguished and became silent as the hero awoke in a daze on the marble floor. As he let his eyes adjust, he saw the pillars that had been knocked over, the debris that lay everywhere, and the scorching fire that was everywhere; a light that was anything but a beacon. 

The hero tried to get up when he felt the sharp pain go right up his legs and even his spine and howled in agony. It was then he remembered about the betrayal; the slashing off the rapier through his calves and lower back, then the knockout of the butt of the sword against his temple. The hero checked, and there was a bump right where he’d been struck. 

He had to find a way to help the others. 

A shadow moved behind the wall of flames, and the hero’s eyes widened at the sight of the villain crossing over, their cloak caressed the fire as softly as a lover’s kiss. He could’ve sworn it was like the flames moved with him as if they were a part of him. The villain’s footsteps are almost completely silent against the crackling destruction around him, enclosing him while stalking with the slow intent of a master predator with prey that can’t escape. The hero had nowhere to run, and the villain reveled in it.

“Well well well, now what do we have here?” The villain tilted his head in mock concern. “Haven’t you suffered enough for today? Why must you keep fighting the inevitable?”

Rage fueled the hero as he growled from the floor. “How could you? We trusted you!”

That only made the villain’s smile grow larger. “It’s too late for me, this darkness has taken too much from me. I can only embrace it and let it take hold of me. It was the only way.”

He’d said it with such utter calmness that somehow the hero felt a chill go down his back despite the blistering heat.

“I don’t believe you!” the hero roared. “Anyone can be saved if they seek help from others.”

“Oh, I very much doubt that.” The villain chuckled. “I don’t believe I was asking either way. You should’ve seen this coming, not that you could’ve stopped this either way.”

The villain gestured with a single long finger over to the floor nearby, and the hero followed to recognize his fallen comrade lying there. Deep cuts cascaded down their face, and blood seeped out like spilled ink all over the marble floor. It was his eyes, that were usually so bright with life and mischief and laughter, now dull and unseeing that told the hero he was truly gone. 

The hero could only cry in that moment. Yet another loved one he’s failed. 

“Weak. Just like the others.” The villain’s smile turned into a vengeful sneer. “I only wish I could’ve prolonged the inevitable, but there wasn’t much time, but you’ll get to feel every single rip and tear they couldn’t feel.”

The hero’s whole body went cold at those words as images flashed behind his eyes, and he screamed out in pain as the footsteps of the villain drew closer. Seeing red, the hero fought through his body screaming at him to give up, to just lie there and accept this dark end, but instead rose to his knees and drew his sword.

He couldn’t go down without at least one more chance of redemption.

The villain stops walking, his smile frozen in place.

“I swear, it’s always the most unintelligent who don’t know when to give up,” he says before he raises his pale hand and cups it out towards the hero’s weapon. The villain growls and squeezes into a fist, his hand jerking without control as dark violet veins appear. A strange, pale glow emanates from the villain’s single hand, and the hero gasps as his iron sword disintegrates like dust, floating away with his last barrel of hope. 

“You don’t have to do this,” the hero says. “Please, please don’t do this.”

With sweat on his brow, the villain smiles down at the fallen hero once more. “Please? Oh, how I love it when you say that.”

The villain grabs at the collar of the hero’s shirt by the collar and drags him up off his feet. With unexpected strength, the villain walks forward until the hero’s back is slammed up against the wall. The villains nails grow until they’re elongated blades, the edges digging into the hero until there is a bleeding necklace etched into his skin. The villain leans in closer to the hero, who sees nothing of the ally he knew before.

The villain purrs into his ear, “Please, do it again.”

~~~

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #10

Welcome back readers! It’s already day 10 of my daily writing challenge, and I think this is my longest one yet. The weather is starting to get much better out, which means yard work, but of course I’m more interested in both my major writing projects (When in Doubt and an Untitled Fantasy series) if not finding another article or source for improving my craft.

Total side note: CNN has an online creative writing masterclass bundle for only $30 about ALL the aspects of writing: creating a novel, a kids book, freelance, journalism, editing, publishing, etc. I just bought it, and plan to take advantage ASAP, and HERE is the link to check it out yourself!

Anyways… for today’s prompt, it’s the image below and for my short story: I kind of went on the Sarah J. Maas route and the idea for a young blonde woman in a gorgeous gown and venetian mask ascending the marble staircase, but she’s not there for the reasons many would rationalize.

Enjoy!

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“Deadly Desire”

A portly man in a dark wine colored tunic shoved his way past several other audience members out of his way as soon as the lights for intermission went up. He ignored their yells of protest, and picked up even more speed with his pace until he was just under a jogging pace. He cursed himself for having the bladder of a small rodent, and of course the nearest lavatory was still a small journey.

Outside the theater into the atrium, he descended a grand marble staircase and distracted himself by mentally tallying the cost of the many crystal chandeliers that were lit up upon the high ceilings. He chuckled to himself with satisfaction that the ones back at his villa were more impressive. They better be; he paid plenty for them. 

At last, he made it inside the lavatory and was able to relieve himself. 

Once again, he paid no attention to any dirty looks fellow guests shot his way as he made his way back up the stairs, and didn’t see the young woman as he turned to get around a pillar.

The woman wailed as some liquid splattered all over his front, and he groaned with the shattering of glass on the marble floor. 

“Oh my goodness! My apologies, sir, I should’ve watched where I was going,” she apologized.

“You’re lucky it’s a dark material,” the man fumed while he checked the stains running down his front. “Do you have any idea how much this cost?”

The woman wailed. “I can’t tell you how sorry I truly am, is there anything I can do?”

“As a matter of fact, You—” 

The words died on his lips as he looked up at the woman. She was young with blonde hair in a half-up style, amber eyes widened in fear behind a venetian mask, had amazing breasts on display wrapped in a strapless corset-dress. She had to be the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen; never mind she was probably half his age. He thought to himself how women like her would appreciate what men like him could do for them.

He cleared his throat. “You know what? Forget about it, as I tell my soon to be ex-accountants, accidents happen.”

 The young woman laughed with relief plain in her eyes. “Oh my, well is there a way I can make it up to you? I can pay for any damages.”

The man guffawed and patted his gut. “Nonsense! I’m sure we can reach some sort of agreement.”

Her eyebrow lifted at that. “What did you have in mind?”

He wrapped his arm around her bare shoulders and turned her towards the stairway. “Let’s discuss it in my carriage and share a nightcap at my villa. This play is horrendous anyways.”

“If you say so, lead the way,” she replied as she wrapped her arms around one of his. He silently gestured to some attendant to go clean up their mess, hardly making eye contact with the boy as the two of them descended the stairs. 

~~~

The two of them were packed into his carriage, and were already on the cobblestoned street to his villa thanks to the fact that he’d paid his driver handsomely to stick around and wait for him to sneak out like he’d planned on. He was smug as he noticed the woman seemed more impressed with him by the second as she took in his ride. His carriage was spacious, but she settled right next to him on the bench as they rode through the night. 

“You never did tell me your name,” the man pointed out. 

She curled a lock of hair through a gloved finger. “Merindah, sir. My father is a diplomat visiting Cresthaven to secure a new trading agreement with the king. I thought I’d enjoy some of the finer aspects of entertainment your city has to offer.” 

He hardly paid any attention to what she said after she mentioned her father. “That’s absolutely riveting. Can I grab you a glass of wine, since you spilled your last all over me earlier?”

Merindah nodded with a serene smile, and he turned his back on her as he reached over into a side compartment to his secret stash.

“Do you happen to have the paperwork on the Magraven case in there too?” Merindah asked, ever so innocent.

The man scoffed as he reached in further for two flutes. “Of course not, Why would—”

He stopped. How would a visiting diplomat’s daughter know anything about the Magraven case?

Something wasn’t right. 

He frowned as he turned back to her, but a blade against his throat stopped any words from escaping off his tongue. That, and the cloth Merindah shoved in his mouth. 

“Scream, and I end your miserable life right now.” Merindah’s smile dropped, and the dark look she now wore chilled the man to his bones. Her blade edged against his throat, and he gulped, already feeling a thin trickle of blood slip down his Adams apple. 

He was too terrified to even answer.

“I take it you know I’m not really a diplomat’s daughter by now, right?” She whispered against his ear; to anyone who possibly saw the two of them, it’d look like they were a canoodling couple. 

“What is the meaning of this?” he sputtered out. 

“You and several other key players are planning something, and the Magraven case was just the first step, am I right?”

His silence confirmed the answer she’d already suspected. 

“Well, there’s another group that thinks your plans to further separate the classes in order for more money in your pocket isn’t a very useful idea for the wellbeing of everyone, so they hired me and some of my friends to take care of it.”

Sweat beaded down his forehead, and he attempted to shove her off, but she only stuffed the cloth deeper down his throat and stabbed the blade into his thigh. Pain unlike any other tore through him and he bit down on the cloth. 

With a smirk, Merindah dislodged her blade from his leg and returned it to his throat. He was shaking all over, and copper stung his nostrils as he felt more of his blood flowing down his leg and settling into his handcrafted leather loafers. 

He should’ve stayed at that horrendous play…

~~~

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #9

Welcome back, and hope everyone has been safe and healthy! For today’s writing challenge, the image of a log cabin was the the prompt selected by Danielle, my friend and other writer participating in these. Obviously, it’s creepy AF and kind of foreboding, so I went with what felt normal and went with a horror route. It’s not what I normally write, and I never got feedback from Danielle, so i’m curious to see what anyone thinks! What did I do right? What needs some improvement? What did you like? Didn’t like? Feel free to comment, or send me a message somewhere.

Enjoy below!

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“Unseen Forces”

To anyone else, it would sound like a simple task that any normal being could do. To anyone else, it would quite literally be a walk in the park…or a log cabin in this case. Walk in, grab a ring, and get out. Simple as that, nothing to worry about right? Easy like Sunday morning, or even just getting out of bed most days.

The only difference here was you absolutely couldn’t look into the eyes of the horror that lived there. 

No one really knows how it came to be or where it came from; it felt like some story told by the campfire or some fairytale kids were told by their parents in order to stay out of the forest at night. Some may look at it as some version of the Boogeyman, the Jersey Devil, or even Slenderman to some; maybe it had no face just like the internet myth. It was hard to say because no one survived long enough to catch a glimpse of whatever used that small bed of land in the middle of those ghostly woods as it’s feeding ground. 

I have no choice but to walk closer towards the cabin. I can’t go back without that ring, but whatever it is, that thing took my wife who carried it with her. 

The ground beneath my feet cracks, so my heart stops and I freeze as my eyes go straight for the ground. I’ve literally never felt my body so tense before, but as I peek up with one eye open, I’m honestly surprised I’m still alive. 

Somehow it’s even more chilling how there’s still absolutely no sound at all. No calls from birds, no other living creature around; there wasn’t even a breeze to move the tree’s. Everything looked dead. Despite what I know, my eyes dart around, almost like I’m expecting to see whatever it is running at me through the trees, but the silence makes it even worse. 

Legs barely able to move and I can finally breathe again, so I manage to make my way closer to the cabin. The fog lifts, as if it’s inviting me to come in closer, and I wish I could do anything else, but I continue ambling up to the log cabin. 

The stairs moan as I ascend, almost like they’re begging me to stop, and I bite my lip. A bead of sweat runs down my brow, and I’m almost tempted to just bolt right inside already, I can’t take any more of the anxiety running through my veins, weighing down my chest, and the paranoia making me picture something like the freakin’ demogorgon jumping at me.

I swear it was like the air froze as I reached forward and clasp the knob, and I don’t think I will ever forget the sound of that creaking door if I can somehow make it out of this alive. 

There’s no movement inside, only dark silhouettes all pushed against the walls. The air was thick with dust and there was a strange odor that instantly made me gag, but there’s still no movement or sound other than my steps as I hesitantly stepped inside…

~~~

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #8

Welcome back readers! Just another day in the pandemic that we’re all going through, but my motivation today is that I have Savoy’s pizza preordered and so I excited knowing I have a great dinner on the way! Here’s todays Daily Challenge prompt below, based off the image of a bonfire with friends:

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“Bond-Fire”

On a late August afternoon, Matt walked through the back fenced door into the small backyard, and smiled to himself at all the faces already sitting around a lit bonfire pit. Peter, Tony, and the three other guys they were living with had all sent out a mass text telling everyone who was back at school to come over to their place and have a reunion, and Matt had no idea so many of his friends had returned. 

Eden was the first to notice him walking, so she squealed with joy and rose up out of her lawn chair. Her blunt bangs bouncing in tune with the clap of her flip flops, Matt’s mood continued to rise as she jogged over to wrap him up into one of her signature bear hugs. 

“Oh my goodness! It’s so great to see you, Matt!” Eden gave him a peck on the cheek, and everyone else’s greeting could be heard over the crackling of the fire. “Come, come! Sit next to me, I’m sure we can pull up a chair somewhere.”

“Right here, bud.” Peter gestured to a chair he’d grabbed that’d been resting against the house. “Happy to see you, can I get you a beer?”

“No, I’m fine, but thank you.” Matt sat down and smiled around the fire. “I missed you guys, it’s great to be back.”

Jared grinned from across the circle. “You look like you got plenty of sun, Bedbreaker.”

Matt chuckled. “That’s what being a lifeguard will do to you.”

“So that’s why you’re so blond.”

Madison flipped her long hair over her shoulder as she peered over while sipping on a WhiteClaw. “No way, he totally got some highlights.” She got up to get a closer look at Matt’s scalp, and he squirmed in his seat when she made a satisfied noise in her throat. “I knew it.”

Matt groaned. “Nice to see you too, Mads.”

“Love you, boo.” Madison tossed him an air-kiss before she went back to her chair next to Jared, who’s grin only widened.

“Don’t worry, I think you look pretty neat,” Eden said with a wink.

“I see it now,” Peter said. “But you look good, bud.”

“Well, now that my hair has gotten enough attention, how about we change the subject,” Matt suggested. “Like, favorite summer memory?”  

~~~

I know, I know… it’s not much to go off of. I used some familiar characters I’ve created from my “When In Doubt” project (check it all out above on the main menu), and believe me, there were plenty of similar scenes like the image above when I went to college.

I thought some small plot or conflict would come to me as I started writing, but it just didn’t happen, so I can admit that today’s daily wasn’t all that much of a success. It happens, and I told myself that I’d post the less successful days on here too to maybe show others that not every day is a successful writing day, and there’s nothing wrong with that! To be honest, I’ve been working on my 2nd Draft of my WIP, and my focus was more on that.

Danielle, my cowriter and friend doing these daily’s with me, and I have another prompt for our next short story, and I should have it written later tonight and posted soon!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Writing/Articles

Daily Writing Challenge #7

Hello readers! Welcome to the seventh day of this daily writing prompt I’m doing with my friend from work, Danielle, and today we did something a little different: We each created a basic character for each other to work off of with the following information: Name, occupation, and social class. Here’s what Danielle gave me below:

  1. Elswyth
  2. Blacksmith
  3. Commoner

From just that information given, we had to create a story around the character, so here is mine below:

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Image courtesy of newsroom.posco.com

“Forged in Deception”

The finest steel must go through the hottest fire, and those have been the words Elswyth has gone by ever since he’d begun his apprenticeship with Gondlyn Wachovic, perhaps the greatest craftsman and blacksmith the kingdom of Cresthaven has ever seen. 

“Those swords ready for molding?” Elswyth asked his master as he looked inside the furnace at the claymore’s they’d been tasked to commission recently. 

“Aye, can you get started on that, lad?” Gondlyn nodded his head towards the front door, where three figures blocked the way, barely allowing any sunlight past their silhouettes. “I got some business up front to take care of first.”

Elswyth wiped sweat from his brow, and pushed his chestnut hair out of his dark eyes, darkening his skin with coal. He put on thick welding gloves, his welding mask, and grabbed a sledgehammer. One of the large swords was already placed on an anvil; the one his master was about to forge, and began to pound away to give the weapon a more defined shape.

The labor had been something to get used to, especially the heat, but Elswyth has never been exceptional at anything other than his crafting. He did carpentry before becoming a blacksmith’s apprentice, but wanted something that felt more substantial to him where he felt like he was making a bigger difference for the good of the whole realm, and not just the locals who adored his handcrafted furniture. Luckily, Gondlyn had been looking to take someone on under his wing, so when Elswyth had visited the shop one day to have his carving tools sharpened and learned about the opportunity, he’d decided then and there to take him up on the offer. 

Lately, there’s been a small group of men in cloaks that had been showing up more times than any other customer, and usually their visits required closing the store momentarily with Gondlyn taking them back into his private office. Elswyth was never allowed to join in, and usually just got a dirty look or two from them; silently telling him to mind his own business. Knowing his role, he learned to keep his head down and continue his work. He knew the Captain of the Guard, Sir Charles Hainswright, was the client looking to purchase new swords for him and whom he’d considered his top men. 

Not too long later, Gondlyn came back to join Elswyth and work on the claymores. The cloaked men were already gone as if they were never truly there, but left a look on Gondyln’s face that sent a chill down Elswyth’s spine despite the blistering heat emanating from the furnace. It was a look that he’d never seen cross his master’s face before. What did those men want?

Elswyth took off his mask. “Sir, who were those men?”

Gondlyn ran an absent-minded hand through his scraggly beard, his pale eyes miles away. When he still didn’t reply, Elswyth dropped his sledgehammer and walked over to tap him on the shoulder, the air getting chillier by the moment. 

Gondlyn jumped back as if brought out of trance. “Wha?…Oh, sorry El. Just thinking about the next supply run, and what else I need.” 

His master chuckled at himself, but Elswyth wasn’t buying any of it. 

“Is everything alright, sir? What do those men want?” 

Gondlyn sighed, and he glanced at his office door as the lines of his face deepened. “Nothing you need to worry yourself about. Tell you what, I need to go into the market and pick out a few things. You mind watching the shop until I get back?”

“Of course, Sir.” There were so many questions on Elswyth’s mind, but knew his master wasn’t going to answer a single one of them. He knew he’d have to get any answers on his own. 

Gondlyn left in a hurry, and Elswyth waited a few moments after he heard the door close. Sure enough, the man returned in a huff, forgetting his money pouch like usual, and barely nodded a farewell as he left once again. 

Now, Elswyth snuck into the back office, and made sure to wipe his darkened hands on his work trousers. Inside, nothing seemed out of place or strewn about; Gondlyn may be scatter-brained here and there, but one thing he always made sure of was that his workplace was tidy without hardly any piece of parchment or tool out of place. Nothing was on his desk, but then again, whatever those men wanted surely wouldn’t be left out in the open. None of the cabinets hid anything out of the ordinary; just a lot of documents keeping records of all transgressions and specific orders from all their clients. 

After peeking at everything twice, Elswyth was about to give up when he remembered about the secret compartment right where one was to sit in a chair. 

Eyeing the door one last time, Elswyth sat down on the chair he’d crafted for Gondlyn almost a year ago, and pushed the secret compartment open and another stack of parchment lay wrapped between a thick, woven cloth and tied with black twine. 

What lay within the wrapping was something Elswyth would never have imagined. He couldn’t believe his master would be a part of something quite like what was drawn out on the pages of parchment, and all the infamous names of noblemen that were somehow involved. This alone could get them all hanged for unspeakable crimes it’d be committing. 

Elsywth’s blood ran cold, and his heartbeat was rapid while his hands shook in terror. What should I do? Do I go to the guard? Request the presence of the king? Who else can I trust with this? 

Elyswyth shot out of the chair as movement at the door caught his eye. Gondlyn stood there, peering down at the diagrams in his hands. He walked into the office, carefully closing the door and locking it behind him, all the while there was murder in his eyes. 

~~~

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Personally, I was pretty happy with how this daily turned out! The idea popped into my head almost immediately after I read the word “blacksmith” when Danielle sent it to me, and from there, these short stories just flow out of me! Are they any good? I don’t know, no one’s really said much about them or reached out and commented, but whatever! I enjoy doing it, and that’s all that should matter. I’m trying to tell myself that one shouldn’t do anything just to seek out glory, and I’ve always just been someone who needs acknowledgement from others in order to feel happy. I know I will end up being happier if I learn to veer away from that way of thinking

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell