I dragged myself through the last tangle of thorns, leaving scarlet trails across my hands and face, and emerged into a clearing. In the centre was a pool of deep water reflecting the clear blue of the sky. A woman sat beside it in flowing robes, and as she turned to look at me I instinctively straightened my tailcoat.
“My lady.” I doffed my hat. “I have journeyed around the world to find you.”
Her sigh was the fluttering of butterfly wings.
“I am Sir Gideon Whiting,” I continued, “scholar, adventurer, knight of the realm. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?”
“I’ve heard of everyone, Sir Gideon. It happens when you have eternity to fill.”
“So it’s true!” I sank to my knees beside her.
“I know everything, yes. Every detail of your story, from the abandoned child in the industrial slum to the trek through deserts and jungles that brought you here. I know your true mother’s name, your deepest regret, the thrill and the shame of your first kiss.”
I was astounded, yet also disconcerted. She matched my vision of an immortal, full of beauty and grace, but where was the power and pride of an omniscient immortal?
“So you see it all?” I asked, feeling a little embarrassed as the implication sank in.
“History is a circle, Sir Gideon. I am fated to survive each turn of that circle and be there for the start of the next. I know about you because you have told me it all before.”
“Amazing,” I whispered. “The things you must have seen.”
“Yes, I have seen and heard and tasted every detail of this world, done it so many times that I know it all. I am utterly, unbearably bored.”
“Perhaps there’s something I can do to entertain you?” I asked. “A joke, a story, a song…”
“We’ve tried that before. Trust me, you get boring pretty quickly.”
“Oh.” I slumped. “So what do you want from me? Can I help you to end this cycle?”
The thought was a terrible one, but sometimes terrible acts were needed, and my revolver sat ready at my hip.
“You think I haven’t tried? After a while, even blowing your own brains out gets boring.”
“Then what’s the point?” I asked, staring at my fat, useless hands. “What’s the point if I can’t change anything?”
“Go back and enjoy your life, Sir Gideon. Be grateful that it’s the only one you have.”
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By Sword, Stave or Stylus
A gladiator painting with manticore blood.
A demon detective policing Hell.
A ninja who can turn into shadow.
Prepare to be swept away to worlds beyond our own in these thirteen short fantasy stories.
Action, art and mystery all feature in this collection, available in all ebook formats.
From reader reviews:
‘These fantasy genre stories take wordsmithing and storytelling to great heights.’ – Writerbees Book Reviews
‘There isn’t a single story in here I don’t love. All short and sweet (or dark), all fantasy with history woven through, all a slightly skewed perspective that will make you rethink assumptions. Totally worth a read.’