To Usurp the Usurper

This story first appeared on All other rights to the story were retained by the author.

Nelvon jerked his head around, afraid that the creatures might be hiding somewhere just off the forest path. His spell of Disreputable Provision had caused them to avoid contact with him for the past three miles, but the spell wouldn’t work on them again.

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a scrap of paper. On it were the words “Discount. Savor. Regress.” He had discounted the hell hounds, in one sense of the word. He had savored the taste of ambrosia, the nectar of the gods. Now he hoped to regress. He stole a glance at the backs of his hands; they were still as wrinkled as before he had entered the ruined temple, before he had found the goblet of god food. His body still suffered from the effects of aging.

He wheezed as he hurried along the path, moving his ancient legs as fast as he could. One, two, one, two, one, two. He kept a rhythm, just as he’d been taught when a member of the wizard corp. One, two. Glance left. Glance right. Were those red eyes peering out at him from the bushes to his right? Was that a dark shape skulking behind the trees to his left?

Nelvon stuffed the paper back into his pocket. His cloak flapped loudly as his legs pumped, continually propelling him forward. Yet his ears were alert, his eyes keen. The smell of wet leaves after an afternoon rain filled his nostrils. What did wet hell hounds smell like?

A low-pitched, deep-throat growl caused his legs to break rhythm and spin him around. There was not one hell hound, but five, the largest of them in front, and only five yards away. They bounded towards him on silent feet that didn’t quite touch the ground. Their eyes burned red, like living coals in a blazing bonfire. The leader came within leaping range, and leaped.

With no time to think, Nelvon spat out the first spell that came to his mind, the spell of Sound and Thud. It was foremost in his mind because of the silence with which these creatures ran. It wasn’t natural.

And he’d used up most of his other spells already.

The leader smacked into him, hard, knocking Nelvon onto his back. His head cracking on the gravel of the forest path exploded like thunder. The lead hell hound hesitated at the sound, its front paws on Nelvon’s chest, its drooling snout hanging over Nelvon’s face, it’s foul breath seeping into his lungs. In that moment of hesitation, Nelvon reached up and took the hell hound by the throat. He twisted, and the hell hound’s neck snapped, while it’s head lolled limply to one side, and then it slumped onto his prone body, lifeless, but heavy in death.

Laughing, he effortlessly rolled the hell hound’s body off him and sprang to his feet. Looking at his hand, he saw the wrinkles had all gone. Pulling up his sleeve, he saw rippling muscles. He lifted his head and laughed, shaking a fist at the sky. “I have done it!” he exclaimed, and the power of his voice surprised him.

The other four hell hounds stood their ground, staring at him, their tails between their legs. Then they moved slowly backwards, retreating to the protection of the treeline behind them.

“I don’t think so,” said Nelvon. “I have defeated your leader. I am now your leader. You belong to me.” He knew the laws of magic and the supernatural. “Follow me, and protect me as best you can.”

They understood him. He was their leader. Their tails still between their legs, they formed a V formation behind him and followed him along the forest path. He did not look furtively about him. He knew that any other hell hounds out there would think twice before attacking him now.

“I am coming for you, Aggreth,” Nelvon murmured. “You usurped me, and now you will pay.”

No one would stop Nelvon from returning to his position as chief wizard on the Wizards Council now. As a demigod, he could rule the council for eternity.

Visiting Other Worlds

A giant man juggling worlds. I’ve created a few different worlds in my time, and traveled in several created by others. The first world I remember visiting was called Earth, sometimes referred to as Terra, the third planet from a star called Sol. Earth was not of my creation; it was far more complex than any world I have ever created. I assume Earth was in existence quite some time before I came into being, but I have been unable to prove my assumption.

I don’t remember the portal I used to visit Earth, but I’ve been told it was a relatively small one, anchored in the uterus of a female human called Mommy. The size of the portal forced me to enter Earth as a proportionally small creature. I arrived on Earth in the form of a human, which appears to have been a good choice, since other life forms on Earth were subjugated to the will of the humans. The only form that might have been better than human would have been the cockroach, but apparently the choice of portal through which one enters Earth determines the form one will take on Earth, and the portal anchored inside Mommy did not support cockroach forms, only human ones.

Passage through the Mommy portal was so traumatic for me, it wiped my mind clean of all memories. I have no memory of what or where I was before arriving on Earth, and in fact I do not even remember anything from my first year on Earth. Baby Mike I have seen portraits of what other people claimed was me, but none of those portraits from my first year on Earth jogged any memories. My memories of my second through fourth years are vague at best, but looking at portraits from those times caused a stirring inside me, a subliminal recognition of the subjects of the portraits, so I believe the claim that I was among those subjects. Continue reading “Visiting Other Worlds”

Standing on One Foot For as Long as Possible

A troll, an elf, and a goblin each wanted advice from a certain one-footed wizard, and traveled by individual routes to visit him. The troll reached the wizard first, and was told that to receive the wizard’s advice, he must pass a test. The test was to stand for as long as possible on one foot. Continue reading “Standing on One Foot For as Long as Possible”

The Old Country

About 5400 words, Parental Guidance Suggested

Jimmy kicked aimlessly at a snow drift and looked with a smug grin at Emma, who sat with her face in her hands and her young tush on the cold concrete of the stoop. Her shoulders quivered with each sob.

“You’re not a baby anymore,” Jimmy said, wiping his nose on his coat sleeve. “It’s time you learned there is no such thing as Santa Claus. He’s just somebody grownups say is real to make their kids behave. It’s all pretend. You have to grow up some time. Stop crying or you’ll wake up Grandma.” Continue reading “The Old Country”

George in Blunderland

So I understood how Alice felt when she fell down that stupid rabbit hole. Except that she wasn’t freezing, and all she had to do was wake up. I wished I could just wake up. This was strange enough to be a dream, but it hurt so bad all over, no way it was a dream. I probably broke all my bones.

I lay crumpled on the ice with talking animals for company and nothing to eat or drink and no way home.

“You look good,” said the polar bear. “Short and skinny, but crunchy. My name is Patty. What’s yours?”

“George,” I muttered with a shiver, not in pain too much to wonder how a polar bear could talk or to be glad it wasn’t attacking me. Continue reading “George in Blunderland”

Looking Without Seeing

Failyne bit into the dirt, trying not to scream. The brown grass crackled as Khanakh knelt beside her.

“Look at me, sorceress.” His tenor voice oozed venom. “It can all be over. Your power will be mine, and there is nothing you can do about it. The sooner you admit it, the better for both of us.”

She couldn’t have turned over to look if she wanted. Yes, she had power, and she had planned to use it against her enemy. But he had discovered her plan, and sought now to bring it to ruin. Catching up with her moments before she could work her summoning, his first action had been to break all her limbs. Continue reading “Looking Without Seeing”