April 30, 2014


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. 

Popular Fantasy Story/Series: Harry Potter, et al

Trope: none

Current Event: none

Zoe Raven Jefferson a Nobody of Nobody, tried focusing on the hovering obsidian sphere as meditations proceeded, finally and slowly calming her turbulent head games, when a cry went up from outside, “Syzhin devils!”

The assembly leaped to its feet as the land raid siren began its mournful wail, echoing even to the depths of the Kylslithe University; everyone rushing to defend the battlements against the scourge of the world. Andre Xavier Xavier, a Bryshwyn of Bryshwyn grabbed her hand, yanking her to then end of the bench before Fendwyri  Alyn Wader – whose family opposed Xavier’s in everything – could take her with him. Even so, she tore free of him and ran with the rest of the students, teachers, workers, villagers, and soldiers garrisoned there and rushed to the battlements.

Raven raced up the stairs, but started when Xavier grabber her arm again, this time yanking her from the ground. She screamed, “I just want to walk!” as a whirlwind lifted them up to the top.

“Just say, ‘thank you’ and let’s defend the school!” he shouted.

Raven shook her head, shoved him away and ran to one of the magnifiers. Looking through it, she could see the boiling cloud far out over the Chapatti Plains of massive syzhin devils. Birds the size of pigs with immense wings, they flew because of a bladder filled with hydrogen ballooned over their backs and held them up. She scowled, shouting, “There’s so many!”

Heading for the garbage dump on in the foothills of the Jag Mountains east of them, Xavier shouted back, “Scavenging must be bad on the Plains.”

“Not as bad as it’s going to be now they they’re here!” said Fendwyri. “Those are UL-42s. Light, fast, but with semi-rigid wings.” The flight of ultralights armed with infrared lasers hummed overhead and out to meet the scavengers.

As the flight closed in, the cloud of devils suddenly expanded. “What are they doing?” Xavier said. The jovial good mood of those on the battlements poised to watch a routine battle where humans came out the winners shifted abruptly. Voices faded as the flight kept on straight as an arrow but the syzhin devils expanded around them.

The flight broke up as the ultralights attacked the targets enveloping them. Fendwyri said, “That the wayk are they doing?”

Someone on his far side elbowed him. He yelped as a girl’s voice said, “Watch the language! There are educated people on these battlements.”

Raven laughed but Xavier stared at the flight as they broke formation to soar and glide in every direction. He said, “No one’s ever flown against a flock of syzhin that’s not a standard head-on collision of forces. The pilots are targeting individual birds without considering the three dimen...”

Raven elbowed him as the ultralights sliced through the first syzhin, lighting the bladder and watching it explode. But while the pilot was shooting one, a second dropped down from above, shredding the wing’s metallic fabric. Spiraling wildly, the ultralight fell out of control along with four others down to slam into the earth and explode in a ball of flame as oxygen met fuel and hot laser parts.

The University battlements were silent now. The other pilots had stopped firing and were fleeing in complete disarray, just trying to escape the shrinking globe of sharp beaks and hooves as the aerial battle dissolved into chaos…

Names: Popular African American name, Australian Capital Territory, Common African American last name; Popular American name, Brazil

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