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Trying to write a short story...

Hey guys... I just posted this to the Fantasy group, but they're not always the quickest at responding, so thought I'd pop in here too...

I'm trying to write a short story, which is hard for me, as everything wants to turn into a novel!! Anyway, I have created this medieval style world, (which all my novels are set in), and so is this short story...

The basic story premise is that a Warlock is teaching a group of apprentices... but he is a very bad teacher, he hates kids, and they hate him... The opening two lines are:

                          Warlock Denton Silpepper was the worst teacher the Citadel ever had.

                         Everyone said so, and they couldn’t [all] be wrong.

FYI, I have ALL italicized in my Word version, not sure how to do that here, so used [ ]...

OK, so I've reached the point where the boys try to play a trick on Denton, which backfires... This is just my first draft, but can you take a peek and offer any suggestions or thoughts? You're always so inciteful!

 I think the only other things you need to know are that Caelon is the head master type person, Bulmont is the class bully, and Kyler is another student, who wasn't involved in the incident... Thoughts are in italics again, so more [ ]... 

One final explanation... these Sorcerers make a distinction between TRANSFIGURATION, which is temporary, and TRANSFORMATION, which is a permanent change - and strictly forbidden. That's important to the story thus far and later on... Here's the scene:

Telling THIS group of boys something was forbidden was like waving a red cloak in front of a marsh hog. Both were likely to land you in a mess of trouble.

Denton groaned, thinking of the reaming Caelon would give him for this error in judgement. He jumped up, promptly stepping on the hem of his robe, tripping himself, and tumbling back to the ground.

Rubbing his wounded dignity and dented head, he finally made it to the door, his torn robe trailing about him and attempting to tangle round his ankles

As he threw the common room door open, he startled five boys sitting around a chalk circle. There were herbs and spices in a bowl in the centre, which smoked slightly from the tiny flames Bulmont was shooting into it with a jab of his finger.

They were chanting, though broke off in dismay as their Master burst into the room. Denton rushed forward.

“No, no, no, you mustn’t.”

Afterwards, no one could say exactly what happened, but it’s likely that Denton tripped when the torn pieces of his robe succeeded in wrapping themselves around his ankles.

In any case, he fell forward, smearing the containment line the boys had drawn, and spilling the burning herbs all over himself.

There was a sudden cloud of smoke, which set everyone coughing and retching. A flash of brilliant light finished the job of blinding them the smoke had started, and the boys heard a hideous scream, which effectively choked off any sounds they were making.

In the sudden silence, a bedroom door opened, and a small voice spoke.

“What the bloody hell have you fools done?” Kyler asked.

That was an excellent question, what had they done?

Waving their arms and robes, they attempted to clear the smoke away, until Kyler remembered they were Warlocks. He cast a small wind charm to clear the air before they attracted the attention of other Masters.

Master Denton groaned and picked himself up. He ached all over and felt distinctly odd. His vision was strange, perhaps he’d lost his glasses…

As he reached for his face, two large paws with vicious claws swiped at him. He jerked backwards, pushing them away, and the paws turned and slapped away from him.

“MY HANDS!” He said… or rather, tried to say. What filled the room was a shrill chittering.

 Denton jerked his head down, to look at his toes, which were tingling weirdly… only his body wasn’t his anymore. His thin frame and tattered robes had been replaced by something that looked like the bulk of a hog, with long rough bristles of hair.

“NO!” Denton… squealed… and ran from the room on all fours.


He rushed into his room, and straight through into his bathing chamber, where he stopped short in front of the full length mirror. He reared back, horrified.

A… creature… stood looking back at him. A hideous, odious, repulsive, abhorrent… thing was watching him. He lifted one hand without looking at it. The monstrosity in the mirror lifted a paw. He tilted his head. The beast did the same.

It was… him.

He stared. Pale green bulging eyes, with large black pupils stared back from a small triangular face. He’d been right about the hog body, he could see the round tummy and buttocks of a swine, and feel the coarse hair bristle as he moved.

An ear twitched, drawing his eyes upwards. Large, wide ears sat on either side of his head, slightly higher than on a human, but not up on top like a rabbit.

[Bat.] he thought distractedly.

The bulging eyes bothered him, so he moved his gaze downwards, but that wasn’t much better. A bulbous pink nose flared as he watched, and he realized he could smell so many scents it was hard to identify them. His human nose had been much less sensitive… if he’d had this nose sooner, he’d have made sure they cleaned his bathing chamber better.

The nose in the mirror wrinkled at the odors of damp and mildew, forcing a tiny horn just above his nose to fidget.

“I have a horn…” Denton said, and he saw the thing’s mouth move, but what he heard was only more squeaking.

His attention had fastened on his teeth, driving out all worries about his voice. He spread his lips, gazing in disbelief at the long, yellowed… well, one couldn't call them teeth, they were more like... fangs... that filled his mouth.

They over filled it really, as four of the longest, a top and bottom on each side, overhung his lips and threatened to pierce his face.

Hardly daring to examine himself, but needing to know the worst, he let his gaze drop further down. Instead of hog’s trotters, his feet seemed to be padded, like a dog or a wolf. Though from the size of the thick, pointed nails protruding from his toes, more like a bear, or a lion.

With something approaching shyness, he peeked between his hind legs, and was relieved to find his ‘bits’ tucked inside a pocket. At least he wasn’t completely exposed.

Something thick and pink slithered behind him, and he panicked, thinking it was a snake. Whatever it was whirled with him, and he spent a few moments chasing it in a circle before he settled enough to realize he now had a tail.

A scaly, hairless, thick pink tail… just like a rat, though enlarged by several magnifications. Denton was able to flick it, and it shot out, knocking a bottle off the shelf behind him. He jumped as the glass shattered on the stone floor, and shampoo splattered everywhere.

The strong odor almost overpowered him. [How on earth did I ever bathe in that?]

If he’d always been small for a human, he was rather large for a… whatever he was. He wasn’t a rat, or a possum, or any other creature he recognized. But he wasn’t enormous either. Upon reflection, he thought he was probably about the size of a fox.

He met those pale, bulging, far too green eyes in the mirror. Up till now, he’d been composed. Remarkably calm, really.

Probably shock. He nodded wisely at his reflection, clamping his lips closed to avoid hearing that awful chittering if he tried to speak.

What did he feel about this turn of events? As a scholar, he found himself categorizing his various body parts, and studying his emotions from a distance.

But as the transfigured person, he found that under his surface composure he was very close to complete panic. A sudden thought brought him up short.

[I was only transfigured. Yes, I’m sure of it. They wouldn’t have… they wouldn’t dare transform me. But what if they made a mistake? They had no idea what they were doing!]

He wanted to run up and down the halls screaming for help, but since he couldn’t speak, such an action might be more dangerous than helpful.

After all, what would he have done if some huge, disgusting rodent suddenly appeared outside his door, squealing and running to and fro?

[Why I’d grab my broom and smash it, that’s what.]

He had to stay calm, and think this through.

A figure appeared in the mirror behind him. It was Bulmont, and he was holding a large wicker basket…

Any comments appreciated!

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Replies (5)
    • HA, just realized I wrote "inciteful", when I meant INSIGHTFUL... oops!

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      • Hi Jo

        Thanks for posting part of your short story.

        The transfiguration scene for me is too long and there is far too much detail about his new body.

        What about the transfiguration itself, did Denton see/feel the change to his body? 

        I use transfiguration in my own writing and try to get the experience of transfiguration and what the character has changed into, all in one paragraph.

        In a well known wizard book series, the characters  take a potion to transfigure, the actual transfiguration is explained / told  in about 100 words.

        less is more.

        hope this helps

        Good luck with tour writing 

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        • Thanx for the feedback... I've garnered a small team of Beta readers, so I'll see if they agree... But you are right, less is usually better!

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        • No problem Jo, hoped it helped.

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          • Well this might make you laugh... just got the first Beta Questionnaire back, and she said her fav part of the story was the transformation scene, as she could picture it happening and his near-hysteria, LOL.

            Just goes to show, you can't please everyone!!

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