I’ll be honest. Ever since I joined a couple of writing groups, notably The Red Dress Club/Write On Edge, my writing improved. In fact, I write flash so much and discovered the art of tightening sentences and making each word count that it actually interferes with my ability to complete longer works.

You know what they say… some people can only write novels, some people can only write short stories. I’d like to say I can do both, but other than my first NaNoWriMo where I completed a 50K word first draft, I’m not sure I am capable. (I won’t quit though!)

I’m very thankful there’s a growing anthology market out there. I have been blessed to have my words added to 5 so far, not counting my OWS Inked contributions and upcoming short story collection.

Today’s post offers an excerpt from my short story, Fear, which is included in the 2nd anthology produced by Write On Edge and my publisher, Bannerwing Books. Enjoy.

Precipice 2Shallow breaths escaped the prison of my lungs as I stopped running. I stood at the edge of the forest, a dagger clasped tightly in my palm. The forest seemed cold, and I caught a hint of danger lying within it. The dirt underneath my toes sent shivers crawling up my legs, but I ignored it. A gust of wind burst from the forest and chilled me to the bone. I hugged my cloak closer to my body and sighed. Something was amiss. No birds fluttered from branch to branch. No songs breached the silence. Nothing moved save the wind. My heart became a hammer beating against my chest. Droplets formed on my forehead despite the cool temperature. I knew my enemy hid between tree trunks before me, taunting me with its unseen presence.

I had to meet Fear, the only name I knew the beast by, head on. Fear, the unidentified foe that terrorized my village, lived within the forest. I was the only one who could defeat it. I had no kin to mourn me, no significant other to assist me. I was the next Luck to ascend the throne. I had to face this alone. My resolve evaporated quickly as I faced the treeline. My knees quaked, and I wanted to turn around. Foolhardy to take on this task, I knew I could not return until I had decimated Fear. Heralded a hero by the people, they would not welcome a coward back. I pressed my eyelids together, let my lips move in unison as a prayer fled from between them. I lifted my face and reached up toward Heaven, hoping the All-knowing One would reward me with courage. Filled with renewed strength, I took the first step toward the forest and the soil shifted under my weight.

Fear (1).png

A sharp odor, much like onions, filled my nostrils and refused to leave. Fear, my mind spoke. Death, my senses said. For all I knew, they were both right.

Will she win the battle with fear and save her kingdom? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

Visit my Amazon page for a full listing of all my works and score a copy of Precipice while you’re there. You won’t regret it.

Post Author: Stephanie

Stephanie Ayers writes speculative fiction, where horror and fantasy collide. She is a self proclaimed word whisperer and unicorn living in Ohio disguised as a human. She mothers her children and avoids all things housework and zombies. When she isn't doing any of these things, she can be found browsing thrift stores and flea markets with her husband, attending football games with her son, or binging on TV shows.

Visit her Amazon page to view all her available books.

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