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Yesterday β€” 16 October 2021logicaldreams

Short Story: Her Fan, Her Weapon

15 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #7: Fan.

~Her Fan, Her Weapon~

Her fan is her weapon.

Among the flowing gowns and bright chandeliers, the purple and silver leaf hides her sharp smile, helping her blend in with the socialites around her.

In the shadows, the honed iron ribs slices as cleanly as any knife. In the restrictive dress favoured by the ladies of the land, it’s hard to fight, so she makes sure every strike counts.

Many have asked to touch her fan, a faux pass in her culture. All are rejected. They think that the fan is just a quaint decoration. She’ll keep it that way as long as she can.

~End~

Genre: general

Inktober attempt:

logicaldreamer

Before yesterdaylogicaldreams

Short Story: Her Fan, Her Weapon

15 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #7: Fan.

~Her Fan, Her Weapon~

Her fan is her weapon.

Among the flowing gowns and bright chandeliers, the purple and silver leaf hides her sharp smile, helping her blend in with the socialites around her.

In the shadows, the honed iron ribs slices as cleanly as any knife. In the restrictive dress favoured by the ladies of the land, it’s hard to fight, so she makes sure every strike counts.

Many have asked to touch her fan, a faux pass in her culture. All are rejected. They think that the fan is just a quaint decoration. She’ll keep it that way as long as she can.

~End~

Genre: general

Inktober attempt:

Short Story: The Little Candidate

13 October 2021 at 19:00

Follows after The Little Applicant. Read this first for context.

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #6: Spirit.

~The Little Candidate~

She kept up with their gruelling training, followed the strict diet they created for their candidates, pushed herself until she puked or passed out or both, did everything they asked of her and more for the sake of a stronger body.

But there were some instincts that were hard to overwrite, and even a fiery spirit couldn’t completely stop her full body flinch in the face of a threat. After much deliberation, he called their smallest candidate to his office for a chat.

β€œI don’t think you should be a bodyguard,” he said bluntly.

She held his gaze, face deliberately blank, fists clenched so tightly her knuckles turned white. β€œI can be better.”

β€œI don’t doubt that.” In the short time she had spent with them, she’d bulked up considerably from the scrawny lass who first signed up for their program. β€œBut that doesn’t mean this is the best path for your potential. I have a suggestion.”

He handed her an envelope.

β€œYou want to be stronger so you can’t get hurt. With your size, you’ll always be at a physical disadvantage in a direct fight. But combat isn’t the only way to neutralize a threat. You can learn to sprint faster and longer than your attackers, dodge out of danger, slip out of restraints or unpick locks, just to name a few. I know a friend who can teach you all of this. Together with what you’ve already learnt with us, that’ll be enough to keep yourself safe. Thoughts?”

She ran her thumb over the envelope.

β€œI’ll think about it.”

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Inktober attempt:

logicaldreamer

Short Story: The Little Applicant

25 May 2021 at 09:36

A bodyguard didn’t need to be big to be good, but…

He looked down at their smallest applicant, a little lady who didn’t even reach his shoulder.

Maybe she was stronger than she looked?

She wasn’t.

Maybe she had exceptional skills.

She didn’t.

Baffled, he pulled her aside.

β€œWhy do you want to be a bodyguard?” he asked.

She looked up at him straight in the eye. β€œI can’t be hurt if I’m strong.”

He didn’t know if the motivation was a right fit for a bodyguard, but he liked the spark in her eyes, not dulled at all despite coming dead last in their assessment.

β€œAlright.”

He would give her the same training they offered their other candidates. Either she would hit her limit and drop out, or she would get a strong body to match her fiery spirit.

~End~

Genre: general

Related fic: The Little Applicant

Short Story: The Little Candidate

13 October 2021 at 19:00

Follows after The Little Applicant. Read this first for context.

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #6: Spirit.

~The Little Candidate~

She kept up with their gruelling training, followed the strict diet they created for their candidates, pushed herself until she puked or passed out or both, did everything they asked of her and more for the sake of a stronger body.

But there were some instincts that were hard to overwrite, and even a fiery spirit couldn’t completely stop her full body flinch in the face of a threat. After much deliberation, he called their smallest candidate to his office for a chat.

β€œI don’t think you should be a bodyguard,” he said bluntly.

She held his gaze, face deliberately blank, fists clenched so tightly her knuckles turned white. β€œI can be better.”

β€œI don’t doubt that.” In the short time she had spent with them, she’d bulked up considerably from the scrawny lass who first signed up for their program. β€œBut that doesn’t mean this is the best path for your potential. I have a suggestion.”

He handed her an envelope.

β€œYou want to be stronger so you can’t get hurt. With your size, you’ll always be at a physical disadvantage in a direct fight. But combat isn’t the only way to neutralize a threat. You can learn to sprint faster and longer than your attackers, dodge out of danger, slip out of restraints or unpick locks, just to name a few. I know a friend who can teach you all of this. Together with what you’ve already learnt with us, that’ll be enough to keep yourself safe. Thoughts?”

She ran her thumb over the envelope.

β€œI’ll think about it.”

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Inktober attempt:

Short Story: Deadly Target

11 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #5: Raven.

~Deadly Target~

Raven black hair, topaz yellow eyes, a crescent burn scar above the left elbow.

Target found.

He lined his sight to put the woman in his cross hairs. His fingers pressed on the trigger and he braced for the kickback as he fired.

The woman dropped without a sound.

Was that it? The unkillable lady with a bounty large enough for any successful hunter to retire for the next two generations, felled by a single shot?

He watched for a few minutes longer, finger on the trigger as he observed the unmoving chest. It was only after he was certain that she was dead that he released his breath. He shuffled back under the cover of the trees and rose out of his prone position.

β€œNot bad, but not good enough,” a voice said behind him.

He jumped and swung his rifle toward the threat. His weapon almost fell from frozen fingers when he saw the very woman he thought he just killed.

β€œLet’s make a deal. You don’t try to kill or harm me again for the rest of your life, and I’ll let you live. How does that sound?” she said, completely relaxed despite the gun pointed at her.

If she hadn’t spoken up, she could have easily killed him before he realized she was behind her. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, he was hopelessly outclassed.

β€œAlright,” he grunted.

She pulled out a small branding iron. With a flash of her golden eyes, the crescent head burned red hot.

β€œGive me your arm,” she said.

He bit back a yell as she pressed the heated iron above his elbow. When she pulled away, he had a matching mark to hers.

β€œIf you ever attempt to kill or harm me, that mark will immediately take your life. Am I clear?”

β€œYes ma’am.”

* * *

She watched as the sniper disappeared from sight. Only then did she allow herself to grimace as she dug his bullet out of her heart. Immortality had its perks, but the inability to feel pain wasn’t one of them.

Well, that was one new bounty hunter she didn’t need to worry about. She used to kill them in self-defence, but that didn’t stop others from coming, only increased the bounty on her head. This method still didn’t stop the attacks, but at least the larger organizations now ignored her in favour of other more deadly targets.

She stepped into the shadows and vanished.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

Inktober attempt:

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Deadly Target

11 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #5: Raven.

~Deadly Target~

Raven black hair, topaz yellow eyes, a crescent burn scar above the left elbow.

Target found.

He lined his sight to put the woman in his cross hairs. His fingers pressed on the trigger and he braced for the kickback as he fired.

The woman dropped without a sound.

Was that it? The unkillable lady with a bounty large enough for any successful hunter to retire for the next two generations, felled by a single shot?

He watched for a few minutes longer, finger on the trigger as he observed the unmoving chest. It was only after he was certain that she was dead that he released his breath. He shuffled back under the cover of the trees and rose out of his prone position.

β€œNot bad, but not good enough,” a voice said behind him.

He jumped and swung his rifle toward the threat. His weapon almost fell from frozen fingers when he saw the very woman he thought he just killed.

β€œLet’s make a deal. You don’t try to kill or harm me again for the rest of your life, and I’ll let you live. How does that sound?” she said, completely relaxed despite the gun pointed at her.

If she hadn’t spoken up, she could have easily killed him before he realized she was behind her. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, he was hopelessly outclassed.

β€œAlright,” he grunted.

She pulled out a small branding iron. With a flash of her golden eyes, the crescent head burned red hot.

β€œGive me your arm,” she said.

He bit back a yell as she pressed the heated iron above his elbow. When she pulled away, he had a matching mark to hers.

β€œIf you ever attempt to kill or harm me, that mark will immediately take your life. Am I clear?”

β€œYes ma’am.”

* * *

She watched as the sniper disappeared from sight. Only then did she allow herself to grimace as she dug his bullet out of her heart. Immortality had its perks, but the inability to feel pain wasn’t one of them.

Well, that was one new bounty hunter she didn’t need to worry about. She used to kill them in self-defence, but that didn’t stop others from coming, only increased the bounty on her head. This method still didn’t stop the attacks, but at least the larger organizations now ignored her in favour of other more deadly targets.

She stepped into the shadows and vanished.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

Inktober attempt:

Short Story: Knot So Bad

9 October 2021 at 19:00

Follows after Knot aΒ Problem.

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #4: Knot.

~Knot So Bad~

He has just finished an hour long boss battle when a timid knock draws his attention to his bedroom door. His sister leans against the wooden frame, fingers twisting in the folds of her skirt.

β€œCan you help me with something?” she asks.

He saves his game and swivels his chair around so he can face her properly. β€œSure. What do you want me to do?”

Last time, he helped her sort out ten balls of tangled yarn.

Today, it’s the same request with a different batch of yarns, now also covered in hardening glue. How did this even happen?

β€œI have a solvent to dissolve the glue, but I’ll need the yarn to be already separated before I can completely wash it off. It’s one of those chicken and egg things, you know?” she says with a helpless shrug of her shoulders.

Flakes of dried glue hangs off his sister’s fingertips, evidence of her own attempts to pull the threads apart before coming to him for help.

He rolls up his sleeves. β€œPick a spot and we’ll start from there.”

The thought of touching the sticky threads make his skin crawl, especially when the solvent turns the glue into a slimy goop, but once he actually digs in it’s not so bad. By the time the sun goes down, they have each colour laid out to dry before his sister rolls them back into balls.

β€œYou don’t have to make anything for me,” he says, remembering the last time he helped out. His sister has finals coming up. He doesn’t want to distract her.

She buys him a new game instead.

~End~

Genre: family, slice of life

Inktober attempt:

logicaldreamer

Short Story: The One Who Watched Out For Him

30 June 2020 at 09:07

Follows after The One He Couldn’t Get Along With. Read that first.

~The One Who Watched Out For Him~

In a quiet corner of his friend’s cafe, his enemy dropped a bold claim.

β€œI don’t hate you.”

β€œYou don’t?” The question slipped out of his mouth as the spiced fig slipped off his fork.

β€œNo. Why would you think that?” she said as she scooped a mouthful off her plate.

β€œYou don’t talk to me.”

β€œI don’t talk to a lot of people.”

That… was true.

β€œYou always argue with me,” he said.

His brow furrowed as she took a few moments to consider the question. Finally, the crease smoothed as her lips parted.

β€œAh. You mean when I disagree with you. It’s normal for people to have different opinions.”

β€œBut you only disagree with me.”

β€œNot true.”

He raised his fork at her. β€œYou’re doing it now.”

She batted his fork away with her own. β€œI disagree with other people too. The only difference is that your fans are too starstruck to speak up when they should.”

β€œThey’re not my fans. They’re my friends.”

This time it was her turn to point her fork at him. β€œFriends don’t just stand by and let you do stupid things like try to dance near stairs when you’re drunk.”

β€œI don’t do that,” he protested.

She sent him a flat look. β€œYou did. Just last Friday.”

He didn’t actually remember last Friday, so he could neither confirm nor deny her claim.

She slid her attention off him to spear the flaky Danish pastry on their tasting platter. He cupped his chin in his hand.

β€œSo, from what you’re saying, we’re not enemies.”

She didn’t even look up. β€œDon’t be dramatic. Of course not.”

β€œThen… are we friends?”

β€œWe don’t interact enough to be friends. More like acquaintances.”

He tapped his fingers against his cheek.

β€œBut… we could be.”

She looked up, brow creased again, this time with suspicion. β€œWhat are you getting at?”

He straightened in his seat and offered a hand. β€œLet’s be friends.”

She huffed. β€œWhat are you? Five?”

But she accepted his hand in a firm handshake. He didn’t have an enemy.

All was right with the world.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: Knot a Problem

6 April 2021 at 07:53

One look at the frustration on his sister’s face is all it takes for him to make the offer. β€œI’ll help you.”

When he dumps the bag of tangled yarns on his bed, his breath catches, but it’s too late for regrets. Pressing his lips in a determined line, he gets to work.

Picking at the looser loops, he nudges apart the multicoloured strands. He goes slow, not wanting to accidentally create dead knots. The yarns reward his patience by gently unravelling under his touch.

When he’s done, his mouth is dry, his body hurts when he moves, and the afternoon sun has dimmed into dusk. The aches that have accumulated after the hours of intense focus fades at his sister’s relieved delight when he hands her ten neatly coiled balls.

Two weeks later, he receives a handsome handknitted jumper with special sleeves that end with holes for his fingers to poke through like fingerless gloves.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Related story: Knot so Bad

Short Story: Knot So Bad

9 October 2021 at 19:00

Follows after Knot aΒ Problem.

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #4: Knot.

~Knot So Bad~

He has just finished an hour long boss battle when a timid knock draws his attention to his bedroom door. His sister leans against the wooden frame, fingers twisting in the folds of her skirt.

β€œCan you help me with something?” she asks.

He saves his game and swivels his chair around so he can face her properly. β€œSure. What do you want me to do?”

Last time, he helped her sort out ten balls of tangled yarn.

Today, it’s the same request with a different batch of yarns, now also covered in hardening glue. How did this even happen?

β€œI have a solvent to dissolve the glue, but I’ll need the yarn to be already separated before I can completely wash it off. It’s one of those chicken and egg things, you know?” she says with a helpless shrug of her shoulders.

Flakes of dried glue hangs off his sister’s fingertips, evidence of her own attempts to pull the threads apart before coming to him for help.

He rolls up his sleeves. β€œPick a spot and we’ll start from there.”

The thought of touching the sticky threads make his skin crawl, especially when the solvent turns the glue into a slimy goop, but once he actually digs in it’s not so bad. By the time the sun goes down, they have each colour laid out to dry before his sister rolls them back into balls.

β€œYou don’t have to make anything for me,” he says, remembering the last time he helped out. His sister has finals coming up. He doesn’t want to distract her.

She buys him a new game instead.

~End~

Genre: family, slice of life

Inktober attempt:

Short Story: The Old Boat

7 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #3: Vessel.

~The Old Boat~

The boat might be large, but it’s also old. A faded sea-green hull covered by white scratch marks, musty carpets curling away from the yellowing walls, rusty hinges that leave doors permanently open or close, the list goes on.

But the rigging and motor are good and it’s within his budget, which is more than he can say for the other vessels he’s seen the past few months.

β€œI’ll take it.”

He doesn’t have the money for now, but he’ll earn more in the future to slowly fix up his new home, one problem at a time.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Inktober attempt:

logicaldreamer

Short Story: The Old Boat

7 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #3: Vessel.

~The Old Boat~

The boat might be large, but it’s also old. A faded sea-green hull covered by white scratch marks, musty carpets curling away from the yellowing walls, rusty hinges that leave doors permanently open or close, the list goes on.

But the rigging and motor are good and it’s within his budget, which is more than he can say for the other vessels he’s seen the past few months.

β€œI’ll take it.”

He doesn’t have the money for now, but he’ll earn more in the future to slowly fix up his new home, one problem at a time.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Inktober attempt:

Short Story: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

5 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #2: Suit.

~Not All Heroes Wear Capes~

The suit was tailored to fit him like a second skin. That meant that when he had a growth spurt overnight, they had less than a day to figure out how to fix it before the recital that evening. There was a chance his instructor might accept his growth spurt as an acceptable reason for turning up improperly dressed, but she kicked two students out of rehearsals last week because they wore hoodies. He wasn’t willing to take the risk.

Letting out the hems wasn’t enough to cover the extra length his limbs now had. The fabric came from an older batch with a hue just different enough that the alteration would be obviously tacky. They tried to rent a piece, but his lanky body meant that anything at the right length was too loose for his body.

β€œI can take it in for you,” said the staff at the fifth suit rental they visited. β€œGive me an hour.”

They waited in the shop, staying near so that he was within reach whenever the staff needed extra measurements. He paced up and down the carpeted floor, nervous fingers tapping the notes he would perform in a few hours against his thighs.

One hour before he needed to be at the concert hall, the staff emerged with the suit. β€œDone. Let’s try it out.”

At a glance, the suit didn’t look any different, but after he put it on, the previously baggy material moulded to his body in pleasing lines. He clutched the staff’s fingers, flushed red from the intense sewing under fresh band aids.

β€œThank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Inktober attempt:

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

5 October 2021 at 19:00

Written in response to the Inktober prompt #2: Suit.

~Not All Heroes Wear Capes~

The suit was tailored to fit him like a second skin. That meant that when he had a growth spurt overnight, they had less than a day to figure out how to fix it before the recital that evening. There was a chance his instructor might accept his growth spurt as an acceptable reason for turning up improperly dressed, but she kicked two students out of rehearsals last week because they wore hoodies. He wasn’t willing to take the risk.

Letting out the hems wasn’t enough to cover the extra length his limbs now had. The fabric came from an older batch with a hue just different enough that the alteration would be obviously tacky. They tried to rent a piece, but his lanky body meant that anything at the right length was too loose for his body.

β€œI can take it in for you,” said the staff at the fifth suit rental they visited. β€œGive me an hour.”

They waited in the shop, staying near so that he was within reach whenever the staff needed extra measurements. He paced up and down the carpeted floor, nervous fingers tapping the notes he would perform in a few hours against his thighs.

One hour before he needed to be at the concert hall, the staff emerged with the suit. β€œDone. Let’s try it out.”

At a glance, the suit didn’t look any different, but after he put it on, the previously baggy material moulded to his body in pleasing lines. He clutched the staff’s fingers, flushed red from the intense sewing under fresh band aids.

β€œThank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Inktober attempt:

Short Story: The Odd One Out

22 February 2021 at 06:53

Magic was the backbone of their society. Heating arrays kept the icy water warm enough to remain liquid, charged crystals directed the water to their destinations as glowing plants lit their path and levitation stones transformed the terrain as needed.

Here, there was no need for science. Not when technology required equipment while all magic needed was a word and a thought.

He didn’t care.

He liked what he liked. And what he liked was coaxing life out of dead objects. It didn’t matter that he was the odd one out. It just want meant he had less competition and got his materials for cheap.

That, and it also made him the strange one rather than the incompetent one. Neither were great, but he would much rather be known for his eccentric intelligence than his inability to use magic.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

Related story: Aggressive Gift Giving

Short Story: Aggressive Gift Giving

3 October 2021 at 19:00

Related to The Odd One Out. Best to read that first for context.

Also written in response to the Inktober prompt #1: Crystal.

~Aggressive Gift Giving~

He was in his shed, tinkering with his latest invention, when his neighbour burst through the door. Without even pausing to greet him, she looped a necklace around his neck.

β€œWhat’s this?” he asked as he lifted the crystal pendant for a better look.

Gold light rippled beneath the green surface, and his breath caught as he recognised the jewel as the latest storage crystal on the market. Despite being small enough to fit in one palm, a single piece could hold enough power to make his house float in the sky for a whole year without getting recharged.

Too bad he couldn’t use it.

He hooked his fingers under the metal chain to pull it off but his neighbour pressed her hands over his.

β€œI can’t use magic. I won’t be able to use this,” he reminded her.

β€œDoesn’t matter. I customized it so it’ll work even for you. Watch.”

She snapped her fingers and conjured a fireball in his face. He jerked back, instincts kicking in even though he knew he was too close to the flames to dodge. But the fireball never reached him.

A barrier sprang in between them and the flames crashed harmlessly against the translucent shield. He looked down to see runes of light floating above the surface of the pendant.

β€œIt’s not the same as using magic yourself, but I’ve included a few simple spells,” his neighbour explained and handed him a folded piece of paper. β€œInstructions are here. If you need help you can practice with me.”

β€œHow much is it?” These things were expensive, definitely beyond the budget of a girl balancing work and study while providing for two younger brothers after losing their parents the day she turned eighteen.

Once again, he tried to return the necklace, but his neighbour backed out of the shed.

β€œDon’t worry about it. Think of it as payment for always babysitting my baby brothers for free. Childcare’s expensive, and if you’re well protected it means my brothers are too. Anyway, I have a shift starting in ten minutes. Bye!”

She snapped her heels and teleported away, leaving him blinking at empty air. That was… the most aggressive gift giving he’d ever experienced. His gaze slid to the mechanical guard dog he was working on, still incomplete on his desk.

Fine. If she insisted that he take her gift, then she had no room to refuse his later.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

Inktober attempt:

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Aggressive Gift Giving

3 October 2021 at 19:00

Related to The Odd One Out. Best to read that first for context.

Also written in response to the Inktober prompt #1: Crystal.

~Aggressive Gift Giving~

He was in his shed, tinkering with his latest invention, when his neighbour burst through the door. Without even pausing to greet him, she looped a necklace around his neck.

β€œWhat’s this?” he asked as he lifted the crystal pendant for a better look.

Gold light rippled beneath the green surface, and his breath caught as he recognised the jewel as the latest storage crystal on the market. Despite being small enough to fit in one palm, a single piece could hold enough power to make his house float in the sky for a whole year without getting recharged.

Too bad he couldn’t use it.

He hooked his fingers under the metal chain to pull it off but his neighbour pressed her hands over his.

β€œI can’t use magic. I won’t be able to use this,” he reminded her.

β€œDoesn’t matter. I customized it so it’ll work even for you. Watch.”

She snapped her fingers and conjured a fireball in his face. He jerked back, instincts kicking in even though he knew he was too close to the flames to dodge. But the fireball never reached him.

A barrier sprang in between them and the flames crashed harmlessly against the translucent shield. He looked down to see runes of light floating above the surface of the pendant.

β€œIt’s not the same as using magic yourself, but I’ve included a few simple spells,” his neighbour explained and handed him a folded piece of paper. β€œInstructions are here. If you need help you can practice with me.”

β€œHow much is it?” These things were expensive, definitely beyond the budget of a girl balancing work and study while providing for two younger brothers after losing their parents the day she turned eighteen.

Once again, he tried to return the necklace, but his neighbour backed out of the shed.

β€œDon’t worry about it. Think of it as payment for always babysitting my baby brothers for free. Childcare’s expensive, and if you’re well protected it means my brothers are too. Anyway, I have a shift starting in ten minutes. Bye!”

She snapped her heels and teleported away, leaving him blinking at empty air. That was… the most aggressive gift giving he’d ever experienced. His gaze slid to the mechanical guard dog he was working on, still incomplete on his desk.

Fine. If she insisted that he take her gift, then she had no room to refuse his later.

~End~

Genre: fantasy

Inktober attempt:

Goals of Logical Dreams: September Recap + October Goals

2 October 2021 at 01:32

Last month, my goal was to create three posts a week for a total of 12 posts in September. I didn’t always post on schedule, but I made sure to fulfil the goal, so that’s probably a better way to frame my goals moving foward.

October is also the month of Inktober. I’m not an artist, but my friend is, so I’m just going along for the ride. My goal this month is to write a story for all 31 prompts, which would be posted across the next two months, since I’ll be busy with NaNoWriMo in November.

Hoping for a productive month ahead πŸ™‚

logicaldreamer

❌