• Jabe Stafford

Digesting The Source

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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Upstream. The Source. At River’s Head. An escape to clean, safe waters.

Valia’s tail surged beneath the rapids’ churning surface. Jagged riverbed rocks pelted at her when she was under. Each leap out of the water exposed her to hostile spells and arrows. Her copper scales gave her away up above, but the vexen and bowmen couldn’t distinguish her from the salmon, especially during this season.

Between nature and magic, the former hid her secrets better.

A female vexen in sopping, decorated leathers on the banks snapped at her hunters. One word struck Valia’s ears before she plunged underwater again. “Alive.”

They had brought nets.

Reaching back through rushing waters, she seized her murky hair and drew a blade from a sealed oilcloth tied beneath it. Gills and tail pumping, Valia sprang skyward. She twisted and searched the space filled with fish and chill air. No arrows or rocks. No entrapping cords anywhere.

“Ecustra,” a male vexen bellowed.

Valia dipped her head to dive back in and slip the spell. The top of her skull crashed into a solid surface, shoulders and scales flopping roughly atop the waters. Unclean things rushed between her lips. Runoff. Urine. Spellburned ash.

Writhing, she spat and searched the rapids. Muck heaps loomed from upstream. Glistening waste wads the vexen must have brought to imprison her. Remains from their search for River’s Head.

Even their waste was a weapon. Waste, weapons, and spells were all Valia had seen of their homeland. If that was all they had remaining, it would ruin her land and people if they got into River’s Head. The vexen would digest it.

Two female vexen scaled a boulder near Valia. The shorter said, “She lead us to Source, Murthren?”

Murthren, the one with the decorated leathers, hissed, “When I make her speak, we shall find it.”

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