The Cinnamon Witch (Slice of Life/Horror)

“Hey Jude. Don’t make it bad.”

A baker sings a Beatles song while sifting flour into a mixing bowl. Amber hair tied into a low ponytail. Freckles and flour smeared across her cheeks. She works on a shiny metal counter, disinfected daily, per the Health Inspector’s orders. Halloween banners hang in the window. It’s sunny today. 

Add sugar. Add baking soda. Time for seasoning. Ground nutmeg. Ground cinnamon. Ground finger bone. Freshly sourced, of course. She whisks until her elbow goes sore. 

“Take a sad song and make it better.”

Wet ingredients next. Crack an egg. Make that two eggs. A splash of milk. Cold butter. A spoonful of blood, for color. Who needs red food coloring anyway? Mix again.

“Remember to let him in to your heart. And you can start to make it better”

Her hand finds a rolling pin. Roll out dough. Flatten like roadkill. Cut into cute pumpkin shapes. Line the sheet. Bake at 350 degree for thirteen minutes. Lips curl into a smile. Wait thirteen minutes. Take out of the oven, let chill. Finish with a final dusting of cinnamon and powdered sugar. Perfect. 

“Hey Hazel!” A voice bellows from the front of the shop. “How much longer on those cookies?”

She does not answer him, only keeps singing as she piles the cookies on a plate. Ready to serve.

“Hey Jude…. Don’t be afraid.”


Happy Halloween, Writer bees!

– Lady Jabberwocky

Lyrics from ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles

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Two Young Adventurers Walk Into a Tavern (Fantasy Flash Fiction)

“Juniper…This….This…. Is a bad idea…”

“Why do you say that?”

A young fae and a novice wizard stood outside of a tavern. Shouting and laughing and glass smashing rumbled the stony building. Candle light spilled into the dirt road through a crack in the door. A burly patron wobbled out, a stein of ale in his mits.

Cecil quivered behind her. An exasperated sigh huffed out her lungs. Wings tilting downwards. “Oh come on. We have to find this Brutus guy. He knows about the dragon.” Chin raised, she dragged her friend into the seedy establishment. “Brave adventurers fear no danger.” She reminded proudly to her nervous companion.

Busty barmaids hustled around the room. Brawny men and women clinked glasses, toasting to successful quests. A heated game of darts was being played in the corner.

Look for the man with serpent tattoo. That’s what Ramona had told them. In him, you will find the answers you seek. Over by the roaring fireplace, a chiseled dwarf. A winged serpent painted on his bicep. Smoke from his pipe billowed into the air. A Warhammer strapped to his back.

“Are you Brutus?”

“Whose asking?” His voice gruff and disinterested.

“Me, obviously. Or are you blind?”

He scoffed, eyeing the fae girl. “Haven’t seen a fairy around these parts in a long while.”

“Good. Now you have. My friend and I are looking for information, about the Dragon of the South.” Juniper plucked the rolled up scroll from Cecil’s hands and unfurled the map for the dwarf.

He stiffled a laugh and shook his head, dismissing them with another puff of his pipe. “Fly away, little moth, Or you’ll – ” The tip of her gleaming rapier appeared inches from his face. Incoherent words stammered out of Cecil’s mouth. Juniper’s scowl never wavered. A growl gargled in his throat. Everything in the bar halted to a stop. Then, impish cackle broke the silence.

Perched on a table, a scrawny man strummed a lute, shoulders bouncing in giddy giggles. Pointed ears and eyes like lost emeralds. Opal white hair tied into a pony tail. The dwarf jabbed his thumb in the bard’s direction. The elf bowed his head, holding his instrument in his arms, ready to play a tune.

“Brutus P. Capatrius the Second, at your service.” With a dramatic wave of his hand, he beckoned the barmaid over. “Some cups of apple cider for the youngins.” A sly grin smeared on his lips. “You two are awfully adorable.”

You’re Brutus?”

“Miss Ramona, our mentor, sent us. To find the exact location of the dragon. A-And she also said…-”

“That we were lovers? In our youth, of course. Though I suppose it’s not a story for children.” He gestured for them to sit. “Sit, Sit, little dears.”

“Wait,” Juniper’s head shook in disbelief. Wings aflutter, she hovered off the ground, drawing closer to Brutus. “You’ve fought a dragon?”

“Definetly not. I simply sang it a lullaby.” He grinned, beaming in his mirth. “But I have seen the nasty bugger.” His fingers stroked the strings once. “I wouldn’t go chasing him if I were you.” He warned in a sing song tone.

“We must collect….” Cecil tossed Juniper an uneasy glance. “something from the dragon’s lair, for one of Ramona’s spells.”

“And what Ramona wants, Ramona gets, no?” He snickered, gingerly taking the map. This dragon was notorious for being difficult to find. Lots of tunnels and caverns, he explained. The two children drank cider as he told his tale of the dragon of the south. With a feather quill, Brutus marked a point on the map with a circle. “This… Something…. That you two are searching for better be worth it.”

“We can handle it.” Sticking her nose up in the air, she grabbed her companion’s hand. After giving their thanks to the carefree bard, the two adventurers scurried outside.

Cecil hugged his stomach, letting out panicked breaths. “I can’t believe we survived.”

Lifting off the ground, Juniper swooped the wizard up underneath his arms and carried him through the night sky. “Now all we have to do is find that dragon egg.”


You’re In Charge (Short Story + Self Critique)

Hey Writer Bugs!

Today, I’m taking a look back in the archives and sharing a story I wrote from 2015 from Fiction Writing Class. Since this piece is four years old, and my writing has evolved over time, I’ll be self critiquing myself at the end of this post. This is me learning from past mistakes.

—————————————–

    “Audrey?”
            “Yes, Arthur?”
            “Is our house gonna get blown away? Like in the Wizard of Oz?”
            We crunched potato chips as the wind howled outside.
            “That was a tornado,” I answered “This is a hurricane.”
            “They called it a super storm on the news.” He said
matter-of-factly. He was a small boy, with blonde hair and big curious hazel eyes, wearing Batman pajamas. My little brother was six year old, an age where he had a question for everything.
            We were sitting on the sofa, a pile of junk food between us. Our elbows leaned against the windowsill. Mrs. Goodrow’s tree across the street was teetering from side to side, threatening to fall. She was a wicked old bat, who would yell at children, including my brother, for playing in the street too loudly. Said the kids were ‘disturbing Winston’, her bird. Nutty weirdo. Part of me wished that tree did fall.
            “It’s an extra big hurricane, so they’re calling it a superstorm.” I explained, rolling my eyes, thinking we could wait out the storm, like the last one.
            “Mommy would be mad,” He started, digging his tiny hands into a bag of gummy worms. “Cause we’re up past bedtime, eating candy and chips and watching a scary movie.”
            Our parents left to Florida for a couple of days, for a business conference,  leaving me, a fifteen year old in charge of a six year old, Arthur. All I heard was “You’re in charge”, so I spent
my allowance on junk food and rented movies. They thought the storm’s route would redirect, that it wouldn’t hit New York. It did.
            “They said I was in charge, right?” I reminded with a smile. I glanced at the flat screen t.v. in the living room. An old scary movie was playing. There was a close-up on the werewolf’s face, which looked more like a cheap Halloween costume. “Look Arthur, you can see the zipper on his mask.” I laughed as I ran a hand through my messy strawberry blonde hair. He giggled too.
            “Are Mommy and Daddy ever coming back?”
            “Of course they are, they’re just stuck in Florida until this storm blows out of New York.” I answered, my gaze returning to Mrs. Goodrow’s tree, still swaying from side to side. The roots were beginning to peek through the ground.
            The lights began to flicker. I stared at the lamp in dread. “Oh no.” We were then engulfed in darkness.
            “The lights went out.” He informed, his Batman pajamas glowing in the dark.
            “I see that.” I huffed. This was perfect. I stumbled quickly into the kitchen, rummaging through the junk drawer for a flashlight.
            “I can’t see anything,” Arthur said, following behind me. “This is scary.”


Notes from Lady Jabberwocky

  • I like how the story begins. This is a good example of in media res. When the reader is dropped into the middle of a scene, or in this case a conversation, with little context. Grabs the attention of the audience quickly.
  • At this time, I hadn’t learned about Hemingway’s Ice burg theory. Some bits have too much unnecessary exposition. Like explaining how old the kid is, or why the parent’s are away. Show, don’t tell, Lady.
  • For some reason, I wish there was more physical interaction between the two siblings. Just to show more of their relationship as brother and sister. Their movements seem so staged. However, I made some interesting choices with a few verbs, like the boy digging his hand into a bag of candy, rummaging through a junk drawer.
  • Both setting and character descriptions need to be bumped up. I should’ve added more detail on the inside of the home itself. Right now, it feels like two kids floating in empty space, with only a window and a television to occupy them.
  • The idea of a young teen spending all her money on junk food and candy and movies while her parents are away makes me smile. Also, the boy’s glow in the dark Batman pajamas is an easy to imagine picture. It’s details like that that make this simple story feel real and relatable.

Back during peer review, we had to offer comments like this on stories written by fellow students. A proper, honest critique can really help someone grow and learn as a writer. And looking back at old work is definitely an enlightening (and cringey) experience.

What did you guys think of this short story (and my self critique)? Should I do more of these? Let me know in the comments. Have a great weekend, writer bees!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Sorcerous of the Winter Moon (Fantasy Flash Fiction)

This is a short story I wrote based the prompt of the week “Create a Fantasy Weapon“.


“What in all the realms is that?” The two children of magic stepped forward. Wedged high into the stone was a bejeweled staff with shards of ice cradling a turquoise orb.

Cecil shivered behind me, adjusting his spectacles. “The wand of Pellinora the wicked, sorcerous of the Winter Moon.” He unpacked a leather bound tome from his belongings and skimmed the tattered pages. Wings of a monarch butterfly appeared on the young fae’s back as she lifted herself off the ground for a closer look. Her fingers lightly caressed the silver handle. “I-I wouldn’t touch that if I were you. Legend has it that Pellinora was banished into her own wand.” Her companion’s voice wavered.

Juniper grasped the staff in her hand. Her idle flutter dipped down in the air, not expecting the weight of the scepter to be so heavy. “Oh please, that’s just a myth-” The orb began to glow, filling the cave with shimmering teal light. In a flurry of magic, a whirlwind of snow and ice began to rage within the cavern.

“Juniper!” The young wizard called out, the blizzard colliding into his chest and forcing him to the ground. “Put it down!” She released the scepter, ice burning her hands. Frost chilled the tips of her wings. The silver staff clattered to the ground, the orb’s light dimming in ease. Cecil scrambled to his feet, clutching the book to his chest. “I forgot to mention, the wand can summon a blizzard at one’s will.”

The fairy girl hovered over the wand, shaking the snow out of her chestnut brown hair. “But I didn’t ask to summon anything!”

“It may not have been your will, b-but it may have been hers.”

The two adventurers stared down at the scepter. A devious laugh echoed through the cave.


Proud Colors (LGBT Flash Fiction)

Red. Red is the color of romance and passion and successful first dates. This red did not cut it. Need a darker shade of red. Like glass of chilled Merlot red. Like matching his football jersey red. Makeup remover to the rescue. I viciously wiped Ruby Explosion off my lips. What else is there? Tickled Pink. Burnt Berry. Cherry Pop will have to do.

Mascara gives me eye lashes like Ramona Ortega from down the street. That girl has ridiculously long eyelashes. And curvature like no other. I’m built like a tall can of beer. Light beer. The kind women pretend to enjoy at Super Bowl parties. Mascara can’t give me curves like her.

Eyeliner is a game. Playing connect the dots with you eyelids. I always manage to draw outside the lines. “Al,” My sister stands in the doorway, folding her arms across her chest. There’s a constellation of freckles scattered across her nose. A smile curls onto her lips. This week, Pepper dyed her hair purple. Purple. The color of childhood dinosaurs and artists on the brink of insanity. Moody purple is tied into a top knot. “Need help?”

My hands brace against the granite counter. Doubt is grey, if you look at it close enough. Grey creeps along the shell of my ear. “Be honest, Pep. Do I look like a clown?” I ask because a clown was definitely staring back at me in the mirror. What if baby deer eyelashes isn’t enough to win him over? What if cherry red lipstick isn’t enough to earn a goodnight kiss?

She stands beside me, offering a simple shake of her head. “Are we going for beautiful or handsome?” She asks as she skillfully traces my eyelid with the pen. Like an artist at her canvas.

A laugh hiccupped in my chest. “Both, if I’m lucky.”

“Good. Because you look like both,” Pepper straightens my jacket and runs her fingers through my hair. An encouraging, motherly touch that came from my sister. Stew together tallow, orange and gold and you’ll end up with a bowl of encouragement and pride. “He is gonna fall head over heels for you. I mean, he’d have to. You’re the only guy crazy enough to wear a full face of makeup to a roller skating rink.” She adds as she finishes a near perfect cat eye with a flourish.

I face off against my reflection and dust the nerves off my shoulder. The doorbell rings. A kaleidoscope rattles in my brain. He’s early. With a playful wink, she pats me on the shoulder.

“Go get ’em, Albert.”


To everyone celebrating Pride Month, this one’s for you.

– Lady Jabberwocky

Meet the Detective and His Assistant:(Excerpt From My WIP Mystery Novel)

Up the claustrophobic staircase, I opened the door to the recluse’s apartment. On the frosted window glass read the name Private Detective H.B. Cooper. There he was, sitting at his desk, slouched in his leather chair. His light chestnut hair was streaked with silver. Hazel eyes hid under two thick eyebrows. “You’re late.” He muttered, polishing the brass handle of his walking stick. His accent was distinct, a proper English accent, he would call it.

“Good morning to you too, old man.” Rolling my eyes, I placed the mug of coffee and his newspaper on the desk. A glass vase holding a bouquet of daisies was placed on the kitchen counter. “Secret admirer sent you flowers?”

“Hardly,” He scoffed.  “A token of gratitude from out last client.” While reading the front page story, he commented on his previous case. “You think finding a scribbled message about how cruel the world is and what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the temple is enough to prove a man killed himself?”

“Usually.” Placing the vase in the sink, I poured some water for those dehydrated flowers. “You’re in the paper, by the way.”

His wrinkled face pinched into a scowl. “As If I care for such trivial commentary.”

His modest apartment was more of an office than a home. The room centered around a Cherrywood desk. There were no pictures of loved ones, if he had any. No heirlooms to remind him of his homeland, London. Just an overflow of books that spilled from the bookshelf onto the coffee table and the floor. A condensed library, with many books on many different subjects. Too many books for one man, if you ask me.

In front of the pea green sofa was a coffee table with a typewriter sitting among scattered notes and files. Consider that my desk. There was a cramp kitchen area and a bedroom door I had never entered.

While being employed by the detective, I became a jack-of-all-trades. I was his caretaker, his assistant, the royal note taker and the feeder of the cat. In one of the cabinets were cans of cat food. Peeling back the metal lid, I set the tin of stinking fish mince on the floor. No cat in sight. “Merlin is outside,” He pointed out before he took a sip from the steaming cup of coffee. A grimace of displeasure came across his face “This tastes bloody dreadful.” Every morning, the coffee is deemed dreadful.

“You gotta be kidding me?” I climbed out the window onto the paint chipped fire escape. Orange rust clung to the metal. The black cat stood precariously on the railing, tail swishing without care. His muzzle pointed to the sky, whiskers testing wind conditions. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, earning a meow of displeasure. “Y’know, one day, that cat of yours is going to fall and get flattened.” I nodded towards the streets where car horns were blaring.

Crouching back in the window, I dropped the cat into Mr. Cooper’s lap. He was engrossed in the newspaper. From the fire escape, I caught a glimpse of the parachute jump and a thin blue line of the ocean. It’s nice to wake up every morning to a clump of seaweed in your nostrils.

At the time, I had been working for Mr. Cooper for about a year. He was an odd egg, but boy, was he sharp. He had a sort of humble, unexpected kind of brilliance. In a hidden notebook, I kept record of facts of the detective. Mr. Cooper was a vault of information. A man who solved mysteries for a living was a walking mystery himself.


This is an excerpt from myWIP Mystery/Detective story, introducing my two main characters. Thought it was a good way to kick off May of Mystery. Let me know what you guys think in the comments!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky