Tag Archives: action

Writing Prompt: Put Down That Book and Fight Me

Here we go with another writing prompt to get the creative juices flowing. Today’s task is to write a short story beginning with the phrase, Put down that book and fight me. 

If you want to participate, it’s easy. Just start writing 😉 Feel free to share what you write in the comments, or provide a link to your blog so others can see what you’ve come up with.

Have fun! 🙂

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“Put down that book and fight me.”

The old man in his easy chair didn’t look up. “I admire your tenacity, but I truly must finish this chapter.”

“To hell with your chapter. Stand up and defend yourself.”

“Ones defense is not determined by some notion to get up from your reading chair. Now if you don’t mind, I only have a few paragraphs left and you are interrupting my solitude.”

“You can have solitude when you’re dead,” the young assassin exclaimed. To prove his point, he swished his sword back and forth as if he were cutting through the very air. 

The old man ignored him and continued to read. So intent he was on the written word, his killer could have trashed every shelf in the library and he wouldn’t have budged from the comfort of his chair. In this, the newly arrived Intruder would have to take more drastic measures with his intended target.

“I will give you to the count of five to put your book down and fight. After that, I will kill you where you sit.”

Still, the old man read on, as if the assassin’s voice was nothing but the whisp of a memory echoing in the room. He turned to the next page of his book, and continued to take in each word. A slight smile crossed his face in the same way we ourselves might exhibit when reading a particular clever passage in our favorite tome.

The killer, shuffled from one foot to another as he counted. “One…”

He waited a beat. “Two…”

The old man’s eyes glued to the page, as he nodded in satisfaction.

The killer gripped the hilt of the sword tighter. “Three…”

He took one step forward. “Four…”

A breath. He raised his sword, preparing for the deadly swing. 

Crack! An excruciating pain in his ankle. He staggered back on his other foot, looking down unbelieving at the damage. He hadn’t even seen the old man move, and yet his his leg had shot out from him in deadly precision to strike the breaking point of the killer’s ankle. The rest of him had not moved, and in fact still sat in the high backed leather chair engrossed in his book.

“Oh, you are so dead,” the assassin snarled and charged forward, his sword swinging forward in an arc towards the chair. Before he reached it however, it was flipping backwards, the old man still in it, tumbling over twice until the avid reader was buried under it.

The sword had missed its mark and struck only fabric, enraging the killer. With his good foot, he tried to sweep the chair over on its side so he could see the old man, but the chair was too big and he staggered and swayed off balance. Regaining his footing, he thrust the point of the sword through the chair. 

Thunk! The tip of the sword didn’t meet flesh and bone, but the solid wood of the floor. The old man wasn’t under the chair. 

Looking up, he spied him right away. He was standing by the fireplace. In one hand he held a hot poker, just removed from the embers. In the other, the book he had refused to put down. He raised the volume to eye level and began to read again. 

Angered to the point where the broken ankle no longer mattered, the assassin charged, the arc of his sword swishing back and forth in crisscross movements before him. 

Holding the book out at arms length, the old man brought the poker to bear, gray ash flying off its tip. Sword met poker with a clang. The metal vibrated in their hands, but neither dropped their weapon. Instead, they parried back and forth, the old man taking the lead by driving the young killer back, while the would be assassin himself couldn’t believe the elderly gentleman in coattails still had not put down the book, even while fighting.

This distraction was too much to bear, and the old man with one swift twist of the poker, disarmed his attacker. The sword flew across the room, too far away to be retrieved. With a roundhouse movement , he swept the legs out from under his younger opponent. 

The youth landed on his back hard, the breath nearly knocked out of him. The hot poker was inches from his chest as the old man leaned over him. But the victor was not gloating, nor was he even paying attention. On the contrary, he was still reading. 

He nodded his head, smiled, and put his heel upon the young man’s chest to let him know he was not to get up. He snapped the book shut. He took a deep, satisfactory breath and tossed the poker away. Leaning down, he looked in the young man’s nervous eyes.

“The true reader doesn’t allow anyone to interrupt the tale,” he said.

The fallen warrior shook his head. “I can’t believe you beat me,” he whined.

“I was finished with the chapter.”

The old man reached down with his free hand and helped his student to his feet. 

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Grigori Chases Nicolai & Liliana

A/N: Ugh, the whole household has been hit with sickness, so it’s been hard to concentrate on my current project Vampire Boys, but in keeping with the vamp theme I thought I would share this piece of writing. This was an attempt to look at my short story “The Last Dark Hour” from a different angle and POV. I’m a bit uncomfortable when not writing in first person so this was a challenge for me. Now if you are familiar with “Last Dark Hour”, it featured two vampire lovers discovered by the caretaker at a cemetery. This piece is intended to take place before seeking refuge in the graveyard. Again, I’m not really sure what is to become of my short story or whether it will continue to expand or not, but this scene came to me and I had to get it out somehow. Hope you enjoy 🙂 

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Benton Meyers was nearly asleep in the driver’s seat when the couple slid silently into the backseat of his cab. He barely heard them; it was only his lazily closing eye that saw the flash of shadow behind him in the seat. Startled enough to bring him to full alert, he turned in his seat to see who would slip into his cab at four am without a word.

The first one he noticed was the girl. Long dark hair framed a pale face, her complexion nearly glowing in the moonlight. Her eyes were a deep brown, in which the longer he looked at her the lighter they seemed to become. Her lips were thin, traces of red lipstick still there, but as she licked her lips, the red disappeared and he thought it could be something different than lipstick. Blood perhaps.

 He next noticed her black dress, the top cut in a low V that revealed the beginning swell of her breasts. His breath caught in his throat as he heard her companion say, “drive.”

Benton tore his gaze from the girl to see the one who had spoken. The other passenger could have passed for the girl’s brother in wardrobe alone. A black suit minus the vest, a ruffled lace shirt with the top buttons missing revealing his bare hairless chest, with remnants of deep scratches in his flesh. His eyes were not dark as hers. His were blue. And the longer Benton looked, the more they seemed to change in a kaleidoscope of color. From deep blue to cyan, to shades of the ocean and then a summer sky, his eyes never stopping in their rotation of change.

 This troubled Benton and made him uncomfortable, as if he knew something was wrong with this couple. Still taking in the man, he noticed his lips were full, and like the girl, carried a trace of red at the corners. His dark hair cropped close to his neck, framed a chiseled face as if he were a Greek statue breathed to life. Even his physique, visible beneath his attire, reminded Benton of the body and build of figures of mythology, causing him to wonder if for a second these people were real, as the girl’s form was just as perfect as his, if not infinitely more pleasant to look at.

“Drive,” the man repeated, this time with a more commanding tone, and Benton heard it echo in his head like a mantra: drive, drive, drive.

“Where to?” he stammered, feeling nervous, for he knew he didn’t have a choice. The voice told him to drive and he would have to do just that.

“Just drive,” the dark stranger commanded. “Straight ahead.”

Benton started the cab and put it in gear. Without glancing back at his passengers, he pulled away from the curb and did as he was told. Straight ahead had been the commandment and thus it would be so.

There was no traffic on the road at this hour, so he pressed the pedal to the floor and gave the cab a little gas. The tires caught pavement and squealed. The stranger issued a new command. “Not so fast. Stay under the speed limit.”

Benton let up on the gas.

“For now,” the stranger added.

The girl glanced behind the cab as if expecting someone to be following them.

“He’s there,” the man whispered to her.

“I don’t see him, Nicolai.”

“He’s there, Lily. Trust me.” He leaned forward in his seat. “Turn left here, cab driver.”

Benton turned the wheel and headed down another street. This street was just as deserted as the others. One could walk down the double yellow line for nearly a mile without seeing any cars in the road. The world seemed to be asleep at this hour.

“Here he comes,” Nicolai whispered, as a shape suddenly careened around the corner behind them. It was big and black, running on all fours. Its long snout sniffed the air and saliva dripped from its jaws. A huge wolf bounding after them at incredible speed, its eyes red and angry.

Lily nearly screamed, but Nicolai grabbed her hand. “He will not touch you, my love,” he said and kissed her lightly on her trembling lips. “Our love will always prevail.”

Lily looked lost in his eyes for a moment, as if she had descended into a pleasant dream at the sound of his voice. To an outsider, she would have seemed as if she had no control of herself like the cab driver. But she did have control. So much control in fact, the hunger for her lover, the love that overwhelmed her, threatened to wash the streets clean with unbridled passion. She was not hypnotized, or not of her own will – she was in love and trusted her soul mate with her life.

“Faster, cab driver,” Nicolai urged, and Benton surged ahead leaving the rabid wolf behind. But not for long. The wolf itself gained speed, pushing itself to the limits of the breed’s normal endurance.

“He’s going to catch us,” Lily said in a worried tone. And as if to prove her point, the wolf gained the cab and pounced onto the trunk. Its claws dug into the metal as if it were cardboard. Looking through the back window at the two passengers, it snarled viciously, a noise coming from its jaws that remarkably sounded like a curse, “Liliana.”

She screamed, and for a brief moment it appeared the wolf grinned. But brief it was. Nicolai had opened the cab door and grabbed Lily’s hand. “Let’s go!”

Yanking on her arm, he pulled her out of the cab and they tumbled into the street like a pair of rag dolls. They rolled on the pavement and in one swift motion regained their ground, the pair coming to a stand in the middle of the street.

Startled over the flight of his passengers, Benton slammed on the brakes. The wolf lost its grip and tumbled across the top of the car to land in the road. The wolf shook its head and snarled at Benton through the glass. Reaching through the driver’s window the beast raked its claws across Benton’s cheek, leaving four bloody gashes.

Benton screamed and tried to scoot across the seat away from the window. The wolf poised itself to strike again but then stopped. This was not its prey. The beast reared up on its hind legs and with its front paw wiped saliva from its cheek. It was a very human gesture. Then it straightened up as much as it could on its back legs and turned to Nicolai and Lily who still stood in the street, rooted to the spot and waiting on the wolf’s next move.

The creature laughed at them. A slow guttural sound that became more human by the second. The deep growl became a distinct human laugh and then the beast spoke to the couple.

“There will never be an escape,” it said. “I will follow you for eternity, tracking you to the end of the earth for my revenge.”

Nicolai stepped in front of Lily in a gesture to protect her. “Your misguided quarrel is with me, Grigori. Leave Liliana alone.”

“Oh, she made her quarrel, bard. Don’t you remember the hot burning ash at the castle that was to be our wedding place? I remember it well, how she sent it flying into my face.”

“The wound seems to have healed.”

“Ah, you know as well as I do that wounds heal, but pride does not. Too many times have you both trampled on my pride.”

“Pride goes before a fall, Grigori.”

He laughed. “We all fell long ago, my once and never friends. And I have chased you across continents to have my vengeance.”

“She never was yours, Grigori. And she never will be.”

“She was mine! And you took her! Bewitched her and turned her against me.”

“You’re wrong. It was you who bewitched us. It’s your own curse that lead into misery.”

The wolf, Grigori, didn’t say another word, but instead fell to all fours and snarled in anger.

Finally Liliana spoke. “You can chase us however you like, you pathetic excuse for a prince. But you will never catch us.”

“Oh my pet, I already have.”

“Then come and get me, dog face,” she spat at him in contempt.

That was enough to make the wolf lose his human voice and revert to his more animal nature. He let at an angry howl and leapt at the two lovers. Before he could bridge the distance and reach them however, they changed. In an instant, where they once stood, now were a multitude of rats. They crawled and skittered across the asphalt going in every direction, a cacophony of vermin on the run.

The wolf stopped, his eyes darting to and fro trying to determine which two rats out of the multitude was his prey. A pair of distinctive larger ones had separated themselves from the group and were heading towards a tree lined sidewalk. Grigori bolted towards them and in a flash had one in each paw.

“I told you there’s no escape,” he growled.

But no sound issued from them. It wasn’t the lovers. He held two ordinary rats in his clutches. He howled in a rage, dropping the two rats and spinning back around. Some of the rodents had escaped while he had pursued the wrong ones, and in anger he slew the remaining rats one by one, his rage growing with each death cry. For he knew Nicolai and Liliana had escaped him again.

2017 Paul D Aronson.