Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A free story reprinted for your reading pleasure

I thought I would post some free flash fiction. This one is a fantasy parody. This story first appeared in the April 2010 issue of Bards & Sages Quarterly. It is one of the few stories that I can actually remember the day I wrote it. It was written on July 4th 2009. I like to think that I have improved as a writer since writing this piece. There is a large chunk of telling instead of showing  but since it is (I hope) a humorous narrative, I think it still kind of works, though I wouldn’t do it now. So without further ado, here it is:

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Thornpicker & Nab
By Alva Roberts

Daemon Thornpicker walked along the worn path, his fingers pinching his nose shut. It smelled bad, really bad, like a thousand gym lockers concentrated into one horrendous locker of death. It came with the territory when you were a Necromancer.

It was not as if Daemon woke up one morning and decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life around rotting corpses. He was a proud graduate of the University of Magical Studies. After a few semesters of drinking and general carousal, it came to his attention the ale was not a major. It was a surprising discovery, as most of the students of UMS spent their free time and most of their class time consuming large quantities of Wizbang, a famous ale made from left over cafeteria food, brewed in Hogshine Dormitory.

Therefore, under the gun and in need of a major, Daemon decided to study Necromancy. He had not chosen his course of study from any desire to learn the dark mystic arts. He chose his major because most practioners of black magic rarely got out of bed before noon, and having his earliest class at three in the afternoon was often a great blessing, especially when a new batch of Wizbang was ready to be sampled.

A few years later Daemon graduated with a Magchelors in of Arts in Necromancy, with very little memory of having actually earned it. He did have some fuzzy memories of a monkey in a dress, which he never investigated.

It was a struggle after graduating, there were very few career paths open to Necromancers. That was until Daemon discovered Balon Grimpin’s book: The Scourge in You: Starting Your Home Based Apocalypse for Fun and Profit. The book changed Daemon’s life.

He quit his job working as a bartender, and went to the local graveyard with a shovel. The graveyard was, of course, the best place to start a new life.

Now he marched on the City of Burnsolott with his horde of undead minions. There had been a few surprises and pitfalls, which was common when starting any home based small businesses.

First of all, there was the smell. No matter how many times he washed his robes, the smell simply would not come out. Daemon had not had a date since raising his army. Then of course there were the start up costs, the ingredients necessary to raise the undead were rare and costly.

The hardest part had been finding suitable corpses. His minions were not the most frightening of hordes, as they mostly consisted of elderly women in floral print sundresses. Nevertheless, they were undead and for the most part, they seemed to obey his commands.

“There’s the City!” Daemon shouted to his minions, breaking into a coughing fit as he attempted a maniacal laugh.

“Hey there what do you think you’re doing?” A voice called out.

Daemon looked over to see a small green figure marching toward him. A goblin. Daemon watched the creature in wonder, he never seen one before.

“I’m on my way to conqueror Burnsolott and then the world.” Daemon said his voice cold and ominous.

“You got your permit?”

“Permit? Who are you?” Daemon asked.

“My names Nar. I’m the Union enforcer. You need a permit from the Union of Villains and Evildoers. Can’t invade the city without it. And then of course there is the equal rights violation.”

“Equal rights?”

“Yeah. I only see zombies in your horde. There isn’t one troll, goblin, dragon, giant, elf, or ogre in the whole lot, there’s going to be some penalties for that.”

“Just out of curiosity, why do I need a permit to invade the city? I mean I have a horde I could just you know…go around you and stuff.”

“Because that would make the Union mad. Do you really want every warlord, evil stepmother, witch, vampire, and Shadow Lord in the kingdom upset with you?”

“I’m sure we can work something out.” Daemon said fidgeting.

“Bribery is against the law! And in this case rather expensive.” The goblin said with a greedy smile.


After hours of negotiations, Daemon had all the necessary permits, a new member added to his horde, and a lot of weight subtracted from his coin purse. His new minion was a goblin and a cousin to the little one named Nar. This one was named Nab.

“Okay, where was I? Oh yeah. There’s the City!” Daemon’s voice cracked as he attempted mad laughter. “They will soon learn to fear the name Thornpicker! Come my fiendish allies, we will crush-. Oh, damn it. You in the pink and yellow turn around. No picking at your wounds. Wait minute.” Daemon stopped, rearranging his horde by hand, as they were currently ignoring his commands.

“Let’s try this again. There’s the City!” Daemon giggled, a feat much easier than insane laughter. “What is now?” Daemon asked, looking down his new goblin employee who was tugging on the hem of his robe. “I’m in the middle of my villainous dialog, I have to finish before we can pillage and plunder the city.”

“That’s just it boss, I think we’re a little late.” Nab gestured to the city.

It was completely engulfed in flames. Huge scaly shapes flew over it on massive bat like wings.

“Dragons? But I had all the permits!” Daemon whined.

“You didn’t read the small print, the documents do not grant exclusive rights to said property, merely the right to invasion of the property. It’s first come first serve. Looks like you‘re going to have to raid a different city.”

“Damn. Damn. Damn it. I don’t have enough money to buy the permits. And I’m sure as hell not walking to the next closest city. Have you smelled the zombies? Looks like its back to bartending and making Wizbang for me.”

“Hey wait a minute. You know how to make Wizbang?”


In just a few short months, Thornpicker & Nab was one of the largest breweries in all the kingdom, with the legendary Wizbang ale as their top seller. When asked how he became so successful Daemon always replied, “Never underestimate the value of a good education.”

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