OF STONE and GLASS: Prologue

The crowd roars under the sweltering sun as two dragons enter the glass Cage. The first dragon’s scales gleam like fire, flickering flames with every twitch of his wing. He yawns, his jaws pouring liquid heat, simmering hot lava crisping the stone wall and dropping in hard black chunks to the rocky ground beneath. It sizzles and steams beneath his claws.

The other dragon is easily outmatched, at only half the size. Her blue scales seem muted compared to the other’s brilliance. She ducks her head, startled by the crowd, but keeps her eyes fixed on her opponent. Silvery pupils narrow and darken. She evaluates her challenger and his cocky performance as he spreads his wingspan to its fullest and drops from the ledge. He soars along the edge of the glass, reveling in the attention of the beings on the other side, enjoying the scraps of consideration they deem to give the enslaved beast.

The blue dragon’s claw scrapes the stone beneath her. Despite all their power, the dragons are forced to give the audience a spectacle, caged creatures acting at the will of others. Her scales click against each other as she follows suit, tipping away from the ledge, adding a spin and circling the Cage.

Their eyes, golden embers and bitter ice, lock across the empty space. A hush descends as the volcanic dragon closes in. 

The snap of teeth shatters the intake of breath. Claws screech against metallic scales. A shriek sounds as molten magma singes the edge of the blue dragon’s wing. And the crowd turns feral. Bloodlust radiates from them as their fists pound the air. Curses are hurled down like salt in a wound.

The orange dragon pursues as the blue yanks herself from his grip. She darts across the Cage but there is nowhere to hide. The circular arena traps her behind the glass with shouting humans, elvyn and dwarves cheering on the destruction. She glances through, trying to find one other being who sees what she does. But their eyes glisten with glee and their fists pump the air.

Her lungs scramble for a breath but is cut off as the other dragon wraps his claws around her throat. She struggles to get free but his clench tightens. Her heart beats wildly in her chest. Her wings beat feverishly as they plummet to the ground.

The earth rumbles at the impact and her tail goes limp.

This was her first fight in the Cage. This is all her life holds: enslavement and losing battles. But she refuses to surrender.

As her opponent whips his head to accept recognition and approval, she pushes herself back up. Her wings tuck in and her talons grip the earth. A hiss escapes her lips.

They think the fight is over. It’s only begun.

Championing Our Words

My writing dream all began when an innocent teacher said the fateful words, “Wow! You’re a good writer!”

And a monster was born.

I’ve been writing since middle school, more seriously since high school, and first tried to get published over five years ago. (*I’m still not yet published.) Over that period of time, I’ve made a lot of  mistakes and learned many valuable lessons. But here I am still plugging away at my writing & publishing dream. Why do we writers torture ourselves this way?

We have words inside us that need to be heard.

I’ll continue writing even if I never reach the illustrious level of “published.” Even if no one ever reads my words (I know someone will, my sister is my biggest fan,) regardless, I have to write.

So… How Do We Champion Our Words? 

After long years down this rough road, I’ve learned a few thing that bring me closer to publication every passing day. And, guess what? I’m going to share those secrets!

Check out my guest post featuring the rest of this article on The Spinning Pen!

The Park Bench

It is in a lonely corner of the park. Nothing makes it significant or worrisome. It’s just a plain wood bench with a metal base.

I am the nearest detective on shift when the call comes in, so I reach the crime scene first. It’s I who wrap the yellow tape in a ten-foot perimeter around the bench and dead body partially hidden in the bushes.

I debrief the jogger who found it, writing down her contact information and then walk the area to sweep for any clues. There is nothing. No sign of struggle, no loose items, just a body tossed haphazardly under the leaves, the face hidden in the shadows.

I wait patiently for my partner to join me, as he picks up our lunch from Wimpy’s, on Madison. I pace the sidewalk, checking my Facebook and Twitter. Nothing new. No new messages either. I shove my phone back into the pocket of my black uniform pants and tap my boot, glancing down the grassy hill.

When my radio sputters to life, I answer the captain and tell him the scene is secure. I avoid mentioning I am alone. After all, I am still a rookie. Even though it’s been ten years since I first made my goal to become a detective, I’ve just received this position.

I slump on the bench and wonder what happened to bring the victim here. The business suit and shined black boots are all I could see.

I breathe in deeply. Perhaps this is a test meant for the new detective. Maybe my partner is purposefully waiting to see what I do. Maybe I can solve this crime before he joins me with our lunch. We can sit on this bench and plan our next course of action, which friends and relatives to question, make a suspect list, and file the appropriate warrants.

I stand up and near the body. My steps are hesitant as I block out the imagined stories of the victim. Maybe he has a family; maybe she is—no—was a successful business CEO. I shake my head, moving to the other side of the bush. I gasp, almost gagging, and step back.

I found my partner.