Inspiration is a dead end.

Did you do the work today? Hint: thinking is not the work. It might be a part of your process, but your work is to write down a word, a sentence and a paragraph. And then do it again. And again, until the story is told. It is that simple, and it is that hard. Watch this video, then sit down and do the work.

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It’s the twelfth day of my quest to master flash fiction, a good exercise to write better fantasy novels. Here’s the work I did today.

Loyalty

Zorgreth hops off the bed and levitates, only for a moment, looking at the still sleeping human woman, and feasts on the gentle rising and falling of her bare bosom. Her scratched skin bleeds, spotting the otherwise pristine sheets. 

He sniffs her scent, his scent, their scent, the scent that clings to the air at the top of his tower and groans, then licks her blood of the tip of one of his claws.

She is formidable, the prize that makes life on this desolate outpost worth living. She is the only pleasure he can take so far away from his own kind. 

 The sight of the servant, whose triple-chin always shines from bacon grease, is enough to quell any desires Zorgreth still has. Were the man not so able to keep the other humans in check, Zorgreth would have fed him to the pigs he so enjoys to nibble on.  

Zorgreth descends, but does not touch the floor. He does not walk with humans. The servant wrings his hands. By the netherfires, what now? 

Tell me, he says.

A messenger, master.

And?

The servant looks up, his eyes are wide, his bottom lip trembles. Zorgreth moves forward to loom over the man on purpose, and the servant cowers.

The… the hound, master. He sent the hound. 

Zorgreth glances up, at the bottom of the bed and sighs, as his heart skips a beat. The hound can mean only one thing. He straightens his back, and glides past the servant.

Zorgreth settles into his throne, his wings fitting comfortably into the niches carved out for them. Leaning to one side, he props his chin up on his left fist, and he lets his right claw dangle over the armrest, never taking his eyes off his master’s messenger.

The grimfeiler’s pointy ears are cocked, and its coat is so black it puts darkness to shame. It raises its chin and sniffs the air, then grins. 

A fat drop of drool falls from its fangs and sizzles like water on a hot stone when it hits the marble, leaving a scar that magic cannot fix. Zorgreth snarls.

Those stones are precious, he says.

This may be the last time you see them, the grimfeiler says.

Another drop of acid drool marrs the stone. 

Zorgreth perks up. What has changed? he asks.

I am here to see if you can be trusted, the grimfeiler says.

I have served, kept this place. 

It is only normal that you are fond of the fairskinned ones, the grimfeiler says, you are, after all, a halfbreed.  

Zorgreth clenches his claw into a fist, and holds the grimfeiler’s stare.

At least I come from good stock, he says. Deliver your message.

The grimfeiler grins. Our master wishes to send one to their world. 

Impossible.

Not anymore.

Zorgreth gasps. Then… then it is true? The gateways are open?

The grimfeiler stares at him, raises its snout and sniffs the air again, then stares past Zorgreth, straight at where the bed must be in the tower behind him. 

The hound knows.

Without hesitating, though he fights to keep tears from showing, Zorgreth releases the spell and a moment later the woman’s scream is cut short by a loud crash of wood breaking on stone. It is a mercy. The grimfeiler would have come for her after he is gone.  

The grimfeiler nods, then slowly turns away. Follow me, it says, and marches out.

Zorgreth spreads his black wings, stretches them, and takes flight after the hound. 

Finally, he is free of this place.

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