The Strange Gift – #BlogBattle

Howdy!

Yes, I’m finally getting back to the #BlogBattle again! I haven’t participated in weeks and hopefully I’ll stay a little more up to date with it in the future. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this week’s story and, as always, make sure you check out the contest and rules on Rachel’s blog and vote for your top THREE favorites!

The word: GIFT

The genre: Contemporary with a touch of fantasy

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Amelia tossed the book onto her bed and flopped after it. The book was a Christmas gift and a rather unusual one at that. Her parents knew she didn’t like to read. But they insisted that the gift hadn’t come from them. It had been wrapped in silver packaging with a tag that simply held her name and left under her stocking.

Still, the book intrigued her. Inside a gilt edging, a knight wrestled with a green scaled beast. The colors were so vibrant, she almost thought that it might be a picture taken from a fantasy movie. Another thing that was odd, since she’d never really been a fan of fantasy.

She turned the book over. Leather bound the spine and threads of gold wound through. There was no title. No author name. Nothing. Only the picture of the knight and the dragon. She hooked a finger under the heavy cover and flipped it open.

What happened next, she could never explain. She didn’t simply read. The letters swirled around her, pulling her in to another world.

A knight.

Lost. Wounded. Pursued.

A cliff. A griffon. A daring jump.

A desperate woman. A secret.

A rescue and a moonlit kiss.

A fight on the steps of a fiery mountain; a volcano that spawned a dragon.

An enemy greater than mortal man.

Courage bred from pure hope.

Sword in a calloused hand.

Griffon dies.

Knight falls.

Darkness descends. Hope remains.

The sword lifted.

A fatal blow struck.

Dragon stirs no more.

Wounded knight.

Another kiss.

Another quest.

The words ceased their spell and Amelia uncurled herself from the corner of her bed, where she had huddled under the blankets reading. She checked the clock. She’d come in just after dinner and now the sun was just beginning to rise.

She slowly closed the book, pressing the pages shut with a touch that resembled a caress. She’d never known books to hold that kind of power. The knight still battled the red-scaled dragon on the cover. She lay back on her pillow, resting the book on her stomach, mind running wild as she recalled the story, wishing there might be a sequel to follow the new quest. Eventually she fell asleep.

Her mother came in to wake her hours later but withdrew with a knowing smile when she saw her sleeping daughter curled around the book. Amelia woke on her own not long after, sitting up with a bolt. The dragon had been green, hadn’t it? She was so sure. But now the scales glittered red and its gold eyes gleamed with undisguised cunning. There was new desperation in the knight’s eyes and a new winged figure hovered in the smoke filled air.

She hesitantly cracked open the cover again and saw new words. She slammed the book closed, questions racing through her mind. Her hands shook as she shoved the book to the foot of her bed. She could not ignore the mystery as she went about what was left of her day and she was once again drawn to the book that night.

The red dragon remained. Fingers trembling, she opened the book again and allowed the words to spring forth to weave their spell once more.

Same knight.

Blinding desert.

Golden dragon.

Whispered advice.

Sword sharpened.

Race to prevent new destruction.

Griffon’s brother.

Female warrior.

Strange new alliance.

Red dragon springs forth.

Sword broken.

World burns.

A simple dagger.

Desperate thrust.

Unprotected paw.

Warrior gives her sword as death calls.

No time to mourn.

Fire burns as sword pierces maw.

This story was shorter, but Amelia wiped away tears as she set the book aside, not daring to look at the cover. The knight survived, she was sure. He had to. The book lay face down, tempting her. She turned her back to it and slept.

The book rested on the table for two days before she summoned the courage to look. Now a black dragon spewed forth flame as the knight struggled to save the figure in its claws. The magic began again.

Black dragon.

Promise of vengeance.

Reign of terror.

Knight survives.

Wounds healed.

Destiny chosen.

Escaped thief.

Stolen sword.

Dragon forged.

Unlikely pair.

Unlikely friends.

Bond like brothers.

Captive woman.

Ransom undefined.

Desperate plan.

Knight advances.

Flames abound.

Doom looms.

Thief plays his part.

Knight strikes.

Dragon dies.

Celebration.

Wedding.

The End.

Amelia closed the book with a happy sigh. The green dragon reappeared on the cover and the knight looked young and unafraid. Time to begin again.

She read and re-read over the next year. When Christmas came again, she pulled the book from her shelf. It was time for it to move on. She knew this as sure as the words she had memorized, the story lodged in her mind forever. She left the book on the window sill and left the window cracked. She couldn’t explain it. It just felt right.

When she awoke the next morning, the book was gone, and in its place lay a dragon scale.

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21 thoughts on “The Strange Gift – #BlogBattle

  1. So, Claire, I still want to do an interview! I have been totally focused on getting Captive Hope ready for publishing and totally spaced the fact that we haven’t done it yet. It might be later this week, but I hope you are still up to doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting tale. An original (to me, anyway) way to present it, too. One might be led to believe you had an outline, but didn’t have time to finish and posted it regardless. We know that’s not so, but someone might think it. 😀
    Well done, Claire!

    Liked by 1 person

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