Chosen are the Few

Hello Hello and welcome to my urban fantasy microfiction, written based on the prompt: Write a piece under 300 words set in modern times, but where everyone knows that magic exists, and make it from the POV of someone who does not have magic.

I admit, this one just completely spiraled out of control, it started dark and then it got weird. Nothing terrible happens in the story but there are vibes that let you know it’s going to. Read at your own peril.

I was a software engineer, and there was a time when that would have been a good thing, but that was before the world discovered magic.  Not discovered, not really, apparently it was always there, things like vampires, werewolves, fairies, all the things of legend that went bump in the night, all real, right along with witches and wizards.

For some people things got better after the big reveal, disease disappeared, climate change was a snap of the fingers and then a memory, but other things changed too.  With the revelation of duplication spells, money became worthless, it was all back to bartering, and I had the social skills of a gnat.

There wasn’t a thing that could be done with computers that couldn’t be done better with magic, and I was what they called a null, not only did I not have the ability, I actually dampened, so people couldn’t even cast near me.

Overnight I went from a middle-class life in suburbia, to a social pariah, and none of those so-called wizards ever stopped to try and help my ilk.  It’s why I joined the foundation, because our sovereign spoke the truth, where others kowtowed to the supernatural.  He would lead us to salvation, to a promise land where we all would have value again, and I for one, could not await the day of reckoning.



Hello hello and welcome to this week’s short story, which by all accounts is strange. We are currently running a challenge on The Writer’s Mess Discord, which features a youtube drawing challenge, modified for writing.

So, in May we made a playlist and this month you use a random number generator to get two songs from the playlist, and use those songs to make characters, then use the week theme to give them a relationship. I thought it would be easy, then I got week 1, a friendship between character inspired by the songs “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, and “You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift.

This led to the story below, a relatively light story, with dark humor, and darker themes. If you are a person who gets triggered by death, you might wanna scan the tags before reading. Otherwise, enjoy!

She sat, to the appearance of most, alone in a shaded section of the bleachers, watching the practice below. To those who looked closer, the shadow beside her was just a shade too dark, but people dismissed it as a trick of the light, as when they tried to focus on the darkness, their eyes seemed to slide right past it.

“You know, there is a pretty easy solution to this,” a voice said from that darkness.

“There really isn’t,” she argued.

“No, really, a tiny shove here, a misalignment there, and oh, no, they didn’t catch her this time. No more head cheerleader. Done right, no more head at all.” Their voice was light, but she had known them long enough to know that the offer was legit.

“Then he would be sad, and mourn her the rest of high school. Or he would be scarred for life, because decapitation isn’t something most people can handle.” She explained it gently, as she didn’t want to upset them.

“But after,” they started, and she cut them off.

“After he would go after another cheerleader.”

“I’d imagine the visual would be enough to put him off cheerleaders.”

“Okay, then he would go after someone else that was pretty, well dressed, and dumb as a post. He has a type, and clearly, I am not it.” It hurt her to say it, but she had to face facts. She was never going to be on his radar.

“Well, you could change your clothes, and besides, trauma changes people, maybe a little decapitation would make him look for someone with a good head on their shoulders.”

She laughed, it was wrong, so wrong, but she couldn’t help it. “I can’t believe you went there.”

“I can’t believe that you can’t believe it,” they countered.

She sobered up a bit, before continuing on. “I, you’re right, I could change.” She wasn’t sure where to go from there, but she didn’t get a chance to.

“Don’t!” They said it loud enough that some people looked over, and she was surprised. They were usually a lot more careful about that.


“Don’t change, not for him, not for anyone. You won’t always be in high school, and pretending to be someone you aren’t… Just trust me on this one, it isn’t worth it.”

She scoffed, “it’s easy for you to say, you aren’t on a deadline. Your going to go on forever, and I-“ She gestured to them, sitting beside her.

She had spent enough time near death to become a friend. She could only see them when it was close, and they were a constant reminder that the treatments were never going to be a cure. She was just delaying the inevitable, and everyone knew it. It was why she had no friends, and why no boy was going to look at her twice, not with an expiration date less than a decade away, if she was lucky.

“You,” they started quietly, coming more into focus than she would like, and for a brief moment she wondered if the expiration date was going to be today. “You are worth getting to know, even if you aren’t going to be around forever. Tomorrow isn’t promised anyone, Auggie. I won’t tell you who, but, you are going to outlive more of them than you think,” they said, gesturing at the field. “You just have the misfortune of knowing it, and that shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of it, from living a life just as full as the rest of theirs. More so even, because you don’t have to worry about saving for retirement.”

It was a dark kind of humour, but it was hers, and she let out a bitter laugh. “Okay, okay, I get it. Live for today, Carpe Diem, all that jazz.”

They smiled at her, and it should have been terrifying, but she felt warm, loved. It wasn’t a conventional friendship, but it was the best she had ever had.

She took in a deep breath, let it go, and asked the first thing that came to mind. “So, I know you can’t tell me who, or like, how, but, like, numbers?”

At their raised eyebrow of confusion, she continued, “I am going to outlive some of them, but like is it 1, 6, 14, 72 or 9? Come on, give a girl a hint, at least.”

“Less than 72,” they deadpanned, and at her pleading look, sighed before continuing, “but more than 14.”

She blinked, “really?”

They nodded, “really.”

“Point made. So, new goal then,” she started.

“Different boyfriend?” They asked.

“I am thinking life is too short to stick to such narrow traditional relationship definitions.”

“New girlfriend?”

“Well mostly I was thinking, get laid, but ya, maybe you’re right, girls could work too,” she conceded.

They met each other’s eyes, and cracked, laughing like idiots. She didn’t care if she looked like a nutcase, laughing alone in the bleachers, because at the end of the day, what she would really be missing in a life cut short, were more moments like this.

Neon Dreaming

Hello Hello and Welcome to this week’s six-sentence story, based on the word CAROUSEL. I went about 16 dark places with this, and yes, apparently the word can inspire some pretty good horror, but instead I went to a slightly different place, well a dream really. It’s a bit odd, but for once no warnings apply, so I hope you enjoy!

Sometimes when I am dreaming, there is a moment when I realise that this is a dream, and usually that is when I decide to wake up, because the possibility that I might be late overwhelms my desire to try lucid dreaming.

Tonight, for the first time I had kept going onwards, and exploring the increasingly unrealistic dreamscape my mind had created, which was something akin to a rainforest, if the rainforest was coloured by a child with only neon paints.

The most unrealistic part of it all was the complete lack of heat or humidity, the entire place was perfectly temperate in a way I rarely experienced, though I thought I must have overdone it yesterday, because the pain in my legs could be felt in the dream as I walked along.

I laughed aloud when I figured out that I was dreaming of Faerie, and while it was strange that this is how I had conjured it, because this is not how I had imagined it, the increasing number of mushroom circles I had seen definitely pointed in that direction.

I wondered absently if they all went to different places, were they like single use portals, a fountain alternative, but it was only as I bit into the apple that I didn’t notice myself picking, the tart juice bringing my taste buds the life, that the whole place came into focus in a way that made me suddenly terrified.

I tried to wake up, but to no avail, my mind spinning with a carousel of thoughts, that kept coming back round to hit me with the unescapable truth, that this was not a dream, I had eaten the food in Faerie, and I would never be able to go home again.

The Death of Baldur – Sci-Fi Version

Hello hello, and welcome to the short story of the week, which was written for the Mythological March Event on The Writer’s Mess. This piece is for Week 3, Norse Myths, where the goal is to take one of the Norse Myths and re-imagine it. I took “The Death of Baldur” and re-imagined it as a sci-fi story, told from the perspective of Loki.

Baldur was an ass.

Okay, so Baldur was good looking, smart, and incredibly kind, which I must admit irritated me to no end.

Everyone on The Asgard absolutely loved Baldur, and they all knew him. While The Asgard, name ship of the Asgard fleet, lead ship of the Yggdrasil alliance was large, it could feel very small to those living on it. There were a lot of people on the ship who could get away with fading into the background, becoming the invisible force that kept the ship moving forward, but neither Baldur, nor myself, Loki, were among them.

I was, after all, not just the a captain’s son, but third son of the Allfather, who ran the ship, the fleet, and ultimately ruled over the entire alliance. I grew up with the same level of scrutiny as one of my samples in the lab, continuously observed, tested, and in my case providing sub-optimal results.

Everyone had known since the day Thor was born that he was to replace Odin as Allfather when the time came, as first born, it was his duty to do so. Personally, I had my doubts on how well that would go, as Thor could outfight just about anyone, in or out of the cockpit, but he has this earnest quality, a naivete about him that was sure to spell trouble for him when he took the helm. There was plenty of time for that to change though, and I feel I continue to do my part to help subdue Thor’s overly trusting nature.

Baldur was second son, my half brother, and somehow, almost impossibly, he was even more trusting and earnest than Thor. Baldur was a pacifist, a position which I could never bring myself to support, and worked as a diplomat, spreading peace where Thor would choose to fight.

I would have thought that my parents would try and dissuade him from his ridiculous notions, but instead they indulged him, in a way that I was never indulged. Everyone loved Baldur, from his friends, e to his enemies, and well with Baldur no one stayed the latter for long.

Where Baldur could do no wrong, I could do no right. I was fair with a weapon, but not like Thor, had a silver tongue, but could never broker peace like Baldur, and my gifts instead laid in the fields of science, and technology. Oh the things I could do with holo-projections were unparalleled, and while I was penalised for the prank later, I once convinced Thor that he was speaking to our mother, when in fact, it was one of my works. Was I congratulated on my success? No, I was confined to quarters because Thor hadn’t the brains not to paint the hull pink, the idiot.

My talents didn’t end with holo-projections though and I could use plants, and crystals to heal the most lethal of wounds, and when I fought, a little of the right tincture on my blade made me far more lethal than my dear brother.

I, however, was dismissed as a trickster, a child, and no matter how glorious my creations, I could not get my father to see me for what I was, gifted. Watching the same man who told me that I could not trick my way out of a fair fight without being branded a coward, turn around and praise Baldur for refusing the same fight was infuriating, and I watched it happen again and again, day after day.

While Baldur was never anything but kind to me, and wasn’t that the worst, having someone you hated being nice to you, ugh, I did not feel the same way in return.

I could ignore them treating Thor differently, as Thor would one day be responsible for all of us, but then there was Baldur. It was like my parents had their heir, their spare, and then got saddled with me. I decided to make myself useful, and where I worked on Thor’s gullibility, with Baldur I worked on his pacifism. Sure he had guards, but there were so many dangers out there that the guards could not defend him from.

I mean, when I helped that delegate smuggle in that blaster, I didn’t expect him to actually SHOOT at Baldur, you know, just be armed. Father was livid with me after that incident, but not for my actual role, the delegate died before he had a chance to reveal my hand in it. No, Father was livid as he believed I should have been able to disarm the attacker prior to the shot, despite being half a room away, and unable to see what was going on.

It did inspire action though, not from Baldur of course, but from my dear mother, who insisted Baldur be kept safe. Thus began the “great upgrade” where over three years the fleet’s security system was revolutionised to detect and disable threats.

The cost was astronomical, and the sheer marketing of it all, spinning the colossal waste of funds into something that would “keep us all safe” was absolutely disgusting, as there was no way that the endeavour could succeed. I told Father as much, that there would always be a way around such a system, a novelty, an oversight, and my Father, arrogant as he was, issued the challenge for me to get around it.

Well, not in so many words, he said that I was acting childish as I could not think of way around it, and I knew that he meant it as a challenge. The biggest weakness in the system, as far as I could tell, was in the detection of poisons, where things such as amounts and species changed all the variables.

The science teams were aware of it though, and my own healing research was incorporated into the system, though the extensiveness was glossed over rather than praised, and I did GOOD work. One by one. All departments’ research was uploaded, and then came the plants.

They were sensitive, as so many had applications in healing that could also harm, so Frigg herself added the information in, on each plant, the uses, the doses, etc., and I watched in disgust as critical research went untended in favour of the system that should never have been.

It was going to make us lazy, slow, and when the time came that we encountered an enemy that was not so slow, our guard would be down, and I had to make them see that. Pandering to Baldur’s whims could end up coming back to hurt us all.

The system appeared perfect, and dozens tried to bypass it when it first went up, throwing things at Baldur, trying to hurt him, and laughing at the system holding them back. I knew then that Baldur was in far more danger than Thor, someone would eventually be successful, and Baldur was learning to stand in front of blasters instead of duck, this would not do. I hated him, but having him dead, it seemed a step too far.

It took me eight months to find a flaw in the system, and I waited another year to allow the security system to become old hat, for the slowness of complacency to creep over the fleet before I enacted my plan.

When I searched the database, I had found that Frigg had not been nearly as thorough as she may have thought, and there was a loophole, a missing plant, and a missing evaluation, mistletoe.

Obviously I wouldn’t be able to get him to just eat it, and really, it wasn’t typically lethal in this manner, so it would be a poor test indeed. Instead I would capitalise on Baldur’s daily tradition, of tea with friends, and add some mistletoe to the next batch of new tea strains that were being tried. It would be their own fault, having the service being prepared entirely by Hod, a blind man, without any prior identification of plants being added. They were just asking or it.

At worst it wouldn’t taste good, they would take a few sips and feel some nausea, and at best, they would all drink a cup, and get some terrible cramps, then I could reveal that in a higher dosage it could have been lethal. I would prove that the guards were still needed, and that the security system was flawed.

I had no sooner switched out this days dried berries for mistletoe,. than I was summoned to the Allfather’s chambers. I admit, at first I assumed that the security system was far more sophisticated than I had expected, but alas I was disappointed to learn that I once again was being sent on a mission that someone with half my credentials could have completed. I was never allowed on any of the good projects, unless I started them myself, and even then they were sometimes given to another.

I was gone three whole days, and the thought that kept me going was the look that would be on Father’s face when he realised that the oh so vaulted security system-that he would not let me assist in designing, but I wasn’t bitter at that, I did not think it could work-had failed so badly as to allow for the mild poisoning of Baldur the perfect. It would be glorious.

That there was no one at the shuttle to greet me was surprising, I expected at the least that Father would send someone to request my immediate contribution to the security system, or my recommendations, given my prior dismissal of it, but there was no one.

The halls were near empty, the mood visibly low, and when I read my messages in my quarters, I sat heavily on my bed as my knees went weak. Baldur, second son, ambassador of the Yggdrasil alliance was dead.

It was being hailed as an accident, Hod, had added the lethal mistletoe berries to a new tea blend in error, and they were not recognized by the security system as poisonous due to an oversight in programming. It seemed that a brief border scuffle had cancelled the tea gathering of the day, and so enamoured by the new flavour, Baldur had drank the entire pot alone during an overnight meditation, and been found dead the following morning. An investigation hadn’t revealed how the poisonous berries had ended up in Hod’s hands, but it was being assumed that it was a mix-up on one of the greenhouse ships with tragic consequences.

It would be days before I received my accolades, for being right about the security system’s flaws. The Allfather had Frigg add mistletoe, and redesign all the modules relating to plant’s toxins. I was summarily ignored, as usual, as apparently despite being correct I was still not good enough to help reprogram the system.

I was watched far more carefully after that, and while the guard all claimed it was because I was now second son, I knew otherwise. For no reason at all, Odin suspected me, and it hurt to have my motivations questioned.

The biggest downside of it all, was the time I now was forced to spend with Thor, to help smooth over his rough edges when taking on diplomacy. Listening to him fumble another greeting I missed Baldur a little, for his buffer had let me keep to the laboratory and skip most of these silly meetings.

I looked over at Thor, who was basking in the attention of an ambassador who would take advantage, and realised I was going to have to up my game with hi,. Thor could not take over the alliance with an attitude such as this, and he was going to have to improve, or I would have to do something about it.

I will admit, this was partially inspired by the myth, and partially inspired by David’s Tea, that has a few tea blends with mistletoe, which I question heavily due to the fact it’s poisonous. It was the first day in an advent calendar I gave from there once, and my friend asked if I was trying to kill them… I also worked to add in the unreliable narrator aspect, so make sure to drop by and comment if it worked. Thanks!