Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Each week I post a single word writing prompt on Twitter, #sunscribbles, and sometimes I write a short story to go with it. The prompt this week is Go.
Introduction: Sunday Scribbles Writing Prompts
Past stories: Sunday Scribbles Short Stories
It’s been ages since I’ve written a short story, and I was in a bit of a slump. Thankfully Diana came to the rescue with her new monthly picture prompt feature:
There are so many talented responses already, and I can’t wait for the list at the end of the month to check out any I’ve missed 🙂 I had a lot of fun writing my own version too!
Fall of the Ice Giant.
The dimly lit tavern heaved with patrons, most, if not all, lowlifes and crooks, yet here, in this run down establishment, Serena knew they were safer than anywhere else. Thieves never targeted their own. She grinned and let the dice clatter across the table. They landed with a thud, and she threw back her whiskey with a cheer. ‘Still think you can win, Vic?’
Victor, her partner in crime, raised an eyebrow and held the dice between long fingers. ‘Of course.’
She gestured with her glass. ‘Get on with it then- Hang on.’
He paused mid-throw and frowned as the crowd parted. ‘Looks like we got business.’
A short cloaked figure, with a scar over his right eye, stalked towards them. He stopped at their table, pulled up a chair, and slouched into it, legs crossed as he eyed the dice.
Serena grinned. ‘I take it this isn’t a social call?’
‘No. As much as I love to gamble, there are easier ways to earn a living.’ He pulled a bottle of whiskey from the folds of his cloak and refilled their glasses. ‘Bodyguard work. Usual rate.’
He tapped the side of his nose. ‘Need to know basis.’
‘What else is new?’ Serena shoved her fringe from her eyes and took a sip of whiskey. Her eyes slipped shut briefly. Trust Carados to bring the good stuff. ‘Special instructions?’
‘Wrap up warm.’ He stood and shoved the whiskey bottle towards them. ‘Meet me tomorrow, Spaceport 13, five forty-five sharp.’
‘Right. Will do.’ She stared after Carados as Victor refilled his glass. ‘What d’ya think he’s after this time?
Victor shrugged. ‘Who knows what goes on in that funny little head of his? So long as my blade sees some action, I don’t care.’
She raised her glass and grinned. ‘I’ll drink to that.’
Three days later, lost somewhere in the chilled wilderness of Pluto’s third moon, colder than her mother’s eyes the day Serena left to become a gun for hire, she was far from grinning. She huffed as they trudged across the carpet of white and tugged her coat tighter around her.
Victor’s lips twitched. ‘Can’t handle the cold?’ He waved his bloodied blade and pushed onward into the driving wind. ‘We on the right track, boss?’
Carados gestured to the crumpled parchment in his hands. ‘Not much further.’
Serena kicked what looked like wolf bones and grimaced. ‘Something’s out there, an’ I don’t like it. Peeled the flesh clean from the bone.’
Victor shrugged and tilted his head. ‘If it finds us, we’ll deal with it.’ He blinked rapidly against the driving snow and pointed ahead. ‘Is that what you’re looking for?’
Serena raised a hand to shield her eyes. Towering higher than the second moon of Pluto was a frozen ice giant. The air around it was still. Not one snowflake from the terrible blizzard fluttered near it, as if the area were frozen in time. ‘You brought us here for that?’
Carados glared at her. ‘I don’t believe I pay you to ask questions.’ He pulled a silver monocle from his pocket, laden with dials and small buttons, placed it over his scarred eye, and frowned. ‘There’s a group up ahead, Plutonian humanoids. Stay alert.’
Victor sheathed his sword and pulled his rifle from his back. ‘Let’s go.’
Chaos greeted them at the base of the giant. A hairy creature sat in front of a large cave under the ice giant’s hand, a smaller version of its icy effigy, surrounded by Plutonian corpses. Beady eyes swivelled to look at them. Serena crouched and pulled out her rifle.
‘Aim for the-‘
‘Eyes, I know!’ She yelled back, taking aim and firing crimson beams across the icy landscape. ‘You might wanna take cover, Mr C.’
‘Cover? There’s no where to take cover!’
When she chanced a glance at their boss his eyes were darting frantically between them and the monster, fist closed around the hilt of the knife at his belt. ‘Then stick close,’ she said, unloading shot after shot at the beast as it lumbered towards them.
The beast opened its mouth, exposing teeth as sharp as ice, and barrelled closer. Victor cursed and threw his gun aside, drawing his sword. As the beast reached them, he jammed the blade into its mouth. Serena fired rapidly at its head, and with a final snarl turned whimper, it collapsed to the floor. She shared a triumphant grin with Victor and turned to their boss.
Carados let out a hefty sigh, and his shoulders slumped.
Serena nudged him. ‘Who knew archaeology was such a dangerous business, huh?’
‘Indiana Jones would have a thing or two to say about that,’ Victor replied.
Serena stared at him.
‘What? A hit-man can’t take an interest in the cultures of lost worlds?’
Carados shook his head and smiled. ‘What I seek should be within that cave. Let’s go.’
The trio trekked towards it. Inside, Carados adjusted his monocle and frowned as he ran his hands over the uneven ice. ‘There must be more behind these walls. Start digging.’
Serena shared a look with Victor. Victor tapped the nearest wall. ‘With what, boss? We’re hired guns, not diggers.’
Carados waved a hand towards the mouth of the cave. ‘I pay you to do as I ask. Go find something!’
Serena slunk outside, Victor hot on her heels. ‘How about your sword?’ she asked, as Carados joined them at the entrance.
Victor handed it to her and shrugged. ‘Give it a try.’
‘Scared to do it yourself?’ She drove the point towards an icy finger to test its effectiveness. An almighty crack pierced the air, and she winced as a fissure snaked upwards, towards the icy head.
Victor grabbed Carados by the arm. ‘We need to move. Now.’
Serena stood frozen for a moment, fixated on the crack. So much damage from such a small blow… She shook her head and dashed after her companions as the ice began to split apart. Only when they’d reached a safe distance did she dare look back. ‘Oops.’
‘Oops?’ Carados stepped towards her and pulled out his knife. He gestured wildly at the crumbled ice giant, eyes watery and lips trembling. ‘You imbecile!’
‘Hey, I did what you asked me to!’ Serena said with a glare. She reached for her gun.
He shook his head and huffed as he put away his knife. ‘Forget it. Maybe there’ll be something left.’
Serena sighed and holstered her gun as she followed him back towards the fractured icy rubble.
Victor picked his way past them, towards the centre. ‘Hey boss, you’re gonna want to see this.’
Carados took careful steps across the broken ice. ‘What? Is that-‘
He dropped to his knees, and his eyes shone manically, all traces of fury and despair gone as he pulled a glimmering dagger from the ruined giant. ‘Carnwennan…’
‘Carwhatnow?’ Serena asked.
Carados ignored her and stood, dagger held in front of him. The wind whistled and the storm picked up around them, allowing the blizzard into their sanctuary. ‘We did it. Bonuses all round.’
Serena shared a grin with Victor as they followed a beaming Carados back across the icy wasteland. Regardless of where he went next, be it crazy, dangerous, or downright weird, they’d follow. He was creepy, sure, and a little scary at times, but he was also their best customer.
Thanks for reading! Hope you liked it 🙂
Share lines from stories with #sunscribbles every week on Twitter, or write a short story based around the prompt and share a blog link.
Next week? January TV and books, including Punisher Season 2!