Will-O’-The-Wisp Option Ab2: Wait

It’s time for the conclusion to this bizarre adventure. Readers have chosen to wait for a better time to free Alex. Let’s see what happens! (P.S. This adventure came about as a response to J.C. Wolfe’s writing prompt. Check it out here.)

Will-O’-The-Wisp Option Ab2: Wait

Maybe if you were right side up and could run, or crouch, or simply move like a regular human being, you’d consider freeing Alex now. But you’re stuck walking on your hands like some circus act and you’re pretty sure you’ll eat dirt if you try to move too fast.

So wait it is.

tree-branches-1461022You let the tree branch you’ve been holding return to its usual spot and back away from the field a few hands. Even with the branches obscuring most of your view, the faint blue light from the crop and the wisps filters through the leaves. The crop doesn’t move, so the wavering quality of the light is either the branches swaying or the wisps moving about. Since there’s no wind, you assume the flickers come from the wisps.

You lean your feet against a tree in an attempt to relieve your shoulders but the ache around the base of your neck doesn’t recede.

You continue to fidget until you realize that you can lie down. Now comfortably on your stomach, you shuffle forward to peek beneath the branch.

You come face to face with a blue flame.

Although your body wants to run, the flicker of transparent blue holds you. It weaves back and forth in an undulating motion that draws your eyes right and left.

“Brave,” whispers in your ears, “and possibly stupid.” There’s a long sigh that pulls tears to your eyes. So much emotion plays through that single, almost inaudible sound. “No one comes this far for a friend.”

“I do,” you say. Your voice comes out soft for your human voice but here, where words play on the wind, it sounds harsh and loud.

“You do,” the wisp agrees. “For that, I will help you take your friend home. Will you be brave one more time?”

You nod instead of voicing your agreement.

“Hold your breath.”

Before you can react, the wisp rushes over you and you’re wreathed in flames.

A scream threatens to escape but the wisp hushes you as though anticipating the reaction.

“Hold your breath and walk with me.”

The flame surrounding you does not burn, you realize. It caresses your skin like a glove and nudges you to walk into the field of humans.

You walk, following the gentle nudging of the flame surrounding you.

“Walk to your friend,” the wisp instructs and moves with you as you move, on your hands, to face Alex.

His eyes are alert and he grins when he makes out your face within the flames.

“Dig him up,” whispers the wisp.

Balanced on one hand, you scoop dirt away from Alex’s arms until he’s able to pull his hands free.

“Now race for the hole and dive into it. You must dive feet first. Now go. I can protect you no longer,” the wisp leaves your skin and rushes away through the field, making the planted humans sway away from its wake of wind.

Alex grins and you both take off, racing on your hands for the hole in the swamp.

Blue flame races after you.

“Watch this,” Alex yells and spins to run on his hands backwards. He puffs up his cheeks and blows a gust of air at the chasing wisps. His breath seems to push on them, forcing them backwards for a moment.

blue-flames-1630978You alternate who runs backward to push the wisps back until you reach the hole. For a moment, you have to pause, to catch your breath and fight off the giggles threatening to overcome you.

“Time to dive,” you tell Alex and, just before the wisps overtake you, you both spring from your hands and dive feet first into the hole.

The world goes topsy-turvy and your equilibrium flips in a way most unsettling to your stomach.

Then you find yourself clinging to a tree root in the light of day of the swamp. Alex gages beside you, retching into the hole you just left.

“That was crazy!” he exclaims as soon as he can talk. “And no one will ever believe us!”

You give him a long look. “They might,” you say and pull his hand up so he can see his skin. It glows a faint blue. In the daylight, it’s hard to see, but when night falls, he’ll light up a campsite with an azure glow.

“Well, that’s new,” he says but the change to his skin can’t keep the grin from his face for long.

The End

Yay! You succeeded at saving Alex. Well done!

Blessings and see you for the next adventure starting on the 6th,



Will-O’-The-Wisp Option Ab: Let Go

All right, welcome back to the adventure that J.C. Wolfe’s “What If” prompt started. (You can find the prompt here.) This adventure has turned extremely Alice in Wonderland-esque and it’s a great challenge! You’ll understand as you read =) Hopefully it makes sense.

So, let’s see what happens when you let yourself fall into the hole in the swamp.

Will-O’-The-Wisp Option Ab: Let Go

With the wind howling past you, going up isn’t an option. You debate hanging on and hoping the wind will let up but serious cypress-sentries-duotone-1457769doubts plague you about whether or not you can hold out long enough.

Plus, the wisp told you to “Brave the wind,” and you trusted it this far.

With a gulp and a squeezing tight of your eyes, you let go. Your stomach lurches and for a moment your dinner threatens to find its way out your throat. It burns and your muscles tighten like you’re choking. But then everything relaxes even though you’re still falling. There’s a moment of weightlessness. The wind still howls and whips around but you’re part of it, moving but without sensation.

All perception of movement comes to a perfect standstill. The darkness turns to a dull gray like predawn and, below your feet, you’re looking at what appears to be sky.

But you’re not falling any longer. Your feet stay in the air, pointing at that dull sky.

You glance up and see the circular hole you fell through. Wind still buffets you from that hole, like a jet of water, it keeps you suspended in place but gravity feels upside down now. You wiggle away from the wind and find dirt beneath your hands.

When you attempt to put your feet on that dirt, you flip back over. You’re in a perpetual handstand in an upside down world. So you walk on your hands with your feet up in the air.

After getting over this impossibility, you start exploring this world.

clouds-in-pond-1492637Trees hang with their roots free and their leaves and branches buried in the soil…above you. You cross over several half buried branches and around large, umbrella like plumages of trees.

A glow catches your attention. There’s a blue hue to it that reminds you of the wisp. Waddling on your hands, you approach and stop just within the leaves of a branch sticking out of the ground. You have to push the branch up a bit, against the dirt above your head since your face sits so close to the ground, but then you blink. It’s the oddest thing yet.

It’s a field. Trees surround it on all sides with their roots spread wide to the gray sky. Their trunks are lit in the bluish hue cast from the crop in the field.

A crop of people. Their hands and arms are buried up to the elbows with their bare toes pointed toward the sky. Those nearest you appear solid, fully normal except for the awkward position of their planting.

Beyond the more normal looking people is where the glow starts. The third and fourth rows of people seem to emit a blue light from their skin.

The next rows grow progressively less solid looking and more blue fire-esque.

Between the rows flit bits of fire. Wisps tending their crop.

Horror ties a knot inside you. So many people being changed into little bits of flame.

Your eye snags on a familiar face.


He’s planted like the others on the far left edge of the field.

Around him glows a faint bluish hue but he’s in the second row. His skin hasn’t turned yet.

Do you try to free Alex now or wait for a time when the wisps go away?

Ab1. Free Him Now?


Ab2 Wait?

See you Thursday for the conclusion to the adventure.



Will-O’-The-Wisp Option A: Stay Still

Welcome back to the adventure that was inspired by one of J.C. Wolfe’s “What If” prompts. If you’re interested in reading the prompt or checking her other writing, hop over to her blog here. Otherwise, the will-o’-the-wisp is in your sight and you’re holding very still to see how close it’ll come. Let’s see what happens next!

Will-O’-The-Wisp Option A: Stay Still

When you were very young, you tried to chase a will-o’-the-wisp. It teased you, getting almost within reach before ghosting away so quickly that you stumbled into the swamp in your attempt to follow it.

blue-flames-1630978So now you hold very still beside the dead coals of your fire and watch that ice blue flame dancing its way toward you. It weaves an erratic pattern amongst the trees that leaves an imprint on the backs of your lids every time you blink.

You try not to blink. Try to hold that wisp in your sight like you captured it there.

Then it’s across from you in your camp, wavering with the soft breeze.

“You brave the night for your friend?”

You stifle a gasp. In all the stories of the wisps, you’ve never heard of one speaking. The voice doesn’t even sound solid. It mixes with the breeze like a soft sigh, barely audible.

“Yes,” you answer and the wisp dances away for a moment as your exhale seems to push on it.

You hold your breath and it ghosts back to its original position.

“Will you brave more? Will you brave the water and the marsh, the light and the wind?”

You’re not sure what all that means but before your nerves make you question your goal, you say, “Yes.”

The wisp giggles and the breeze tickles your ear.

“Then follow if you can.” And the flame darts away with the same breeze that tickled you moments before.

You bolt out of the camp after it. Within moments, water soaks into your shoes and the bottoms of your pant legs.

The flame dances in place as you slog after it and that giggle floats by you again. The wisp might be playing with you but by now, it’s the only light you have to go by.

Once you’re a bit closer, it takes off again, ghosting through the trees just at the edges of your sight.

a-real-swampland-in-florida-1374930Your right leg sinks into the marsh up to mid-thigh. Before it sinks farther, you grab a tree trunk and try to pull free but the mud around your foot tries to suction your shoe from your toes.

You place your left foot on a root in an almost painful splits move and try to pull your foot free in a forward motion to push your shoe on while you free your foot. With a ‘s-w-u-i-c-k’, the mud releases you and you almost stumble forward into an even deeper part.

Braced against a tree, you take in your surroundings.

The wisp is nowhere in sight. The marsh’s heavy air closes in against your skin and the dark cuts everything off about five feet in any direction.

A giggle bounces around the otherwise silent marsh.

“Step carefully now,” that soft voice cautions, “to brave the marsh and the wind.”

Panic wants to steal your courage as you realize you’ve no sense of where you are.

“Brave the marsh and the wind,” the voice whispers again and this time there’s a direction to it.

With the dark, you can’t really tell solid ground from marsh, but you can tell the slight white shimmer off of the roots of trees. One careful step at a time, you move from tree trunk to tree trunk toward the direction of the voice.

A circle appears on the ground in front of you, deeper, inky black than the rest of the night. No tree trunks appear for you to keep moving.

“Brave,” the voice whispers on a gust of air.

That damp air picks up harder and then, with a solid push, it howls. Your feet slide off the root you’re standing on and your fingers only grasp air as your try to keep your balance.

You tumble into that inky black hole and find yourself falling through nothing. The wind howls and then your fingers clamp onto what feels like a vine. The muscles in your shoulder protest but you hold on and get your other hand on the vine.

The wind pulls and gusts, trying to break you free.

“Let go,” the voice howls with it.

Do you…

Aa. Hang on?


Ab. Let go?

Blessings and see you Tuesday for the third part of the adventure,



The Blog-o-shere is an interesting world. Some blogs come and go quickly, some hang in there, with time proving a dogged and admirable perseverance. Some fascinate with the voice of their writing and others with their content. Some manage both.

One of the things that fascinates me most about this cyber world is the interaction with people I will probably never know, but who I let into my living room with their words on a  weekly basis. There are some I’ve interacted with for several years now. I can’t pin down the exactly quality that drew me to one blog over another and kept me coming back but I can say that this adventure came from one of those blogs.

J.C. Wolfe posts everything from short stories, to odd word definitions (and I thought I was good with vocal. This woman puts me to shame!) to What If writing prompts. I love it. This blog feeds my inner nerd.

Here’s the prompt that planted the seed for this adventure:

What if… you saw a will-o’-the-wisp while you were out camping with your friends?

I veered a bit from the original prompt but the gist is there. Thanks, J.C. for the idea for this!


Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

Within the glowing red coals of the campfire, you picture his face. The narrow nose and cheekbones of a boy too small for his age. The brilliant emerald eyes reflecting a lively spirit barely contained in his tiny frame. The two short scars over his left eyebrow, the only remnants of a fight another boy started, picking on him for his short stature, but that Alex finished.

You’d stood beside him in that fight, fending off the bully’s friends. You fingers find the longer scar running half the length of your arm that you earned from one of the other’s rings when he punched you.

That was only one of many fights you’d stood together in, but now you find yourself alone beside the dying fire.

Alex should be sitting beside you, recounting the many times you’d gone exploring the marshes. But he’d lost his last fight, his fight with the will-o’-the-wisp, and you hadn’t been beside him.

You’d shown up late to the campsite that night. Everyone knows the dangers of the marshes, so it’s standard practice to only go in groups.

Alex had wanted to build a lean-to to sleep in. He assured you he’d only be out here alone during the daylight and so you arranged to join him after work.

You showed up maybe a half hour after sunset, found the lean-to, found a smoldering fire, but no Alex.

“He’s just gone,” Mr. Leon, the head of the search party, tried to console you when they gave up.

“It’s only been a few nights,” you protested but none of them listened. Their downturned eyes told you stronger than any words their fear of the night and the haunting reality that Alex was just another victim of the marshes.

But Alex would never give up on you if the will-o’-the-wisp pulled you away from safety.

The coals at your feet glow a dull, angry red. Soon, you tell yourself, soon the wisp will find you and entice you from the camp. And you’ll follow it into the dark marshes, chasing the elusive flame, because somewhere out there Alex waits for you to find him.

The lids of your eyes droop. You slump against the outside wall of Alex’s lean-to with your legs outstretched and ankles crossed, waiting. Time creeps along, sluggish. You watch those angry coals flicker around the edges like the heat dances on the edges.

You jerk. No sleep. You cannot sleep or you’ll miss the wisp.

But the coals at your feet are almost black now and the night hangs heavy and dark. How long you snoozed you can’t say because clouds and trees cover the sky.

Stupid, you scold, stupid. You had one task and instead you fel—

A flicker over your left shoulder makes you freeze. Slowly, you turn your head.

blue-flames-1630978There, distant but there, flickers an ice blue light. It dances between the trees, ghosting closer, then farther, then closer again as though it’s waltzing.

Everyone says a will-o’-the-wisp will follow you if you try to move away but chasing one is futile.

You hadn’t thought beyond finding it and following it. But how to go about that?

Do you…

A. Stay still until it’s close?


B. Try to follow it?

Blessings and see you Thursday for the continuation of the adventure!



The Tournament Option Bb1: Obstacles

Welcome back for the conclusion of the adventure. Let’s see what perils or rewards come your way!

The Tournament Option Bb1: Obstacles

Your partner’s arm has bleed through the bandage as you considered your options. If mastery is a test of his swordsmanship, he won’t do well. You’re not sure what obstacles means but it’ll at least give the man a chance with his wound.

“Obstacles,” you tell the announcer.

“Obstacles it is!” he shouts and waves for several men standing beside the ring to prepare things.

They haul two heavy wooden boxes into the fencing ring and set them in the corner.

Then a man stands on top of the boxes and waits to be told when to open them.

“What do you think is in them?” the big man asks.

You shrug but there’s a skittering coming from inside that makes your skin crawl.

“The goal,” the announcer shouts for all to hear, “is for our two contestants to fence with each other. Three strikes wins. But they must deal with the rats while they fight.”

“Rats?” the big man grumbles.rat-1343687

He sounds exactly as you feel. Rats. Of all things, they had to pick rats.

You help the man to his feet and you each take an opposite corner.

You nod you’re ready and the bout begins.

Although your focus stays on the big man and his heavy sword, you hear the scrape of wood on wood as they release the rats into the ring.

At first you think the tactic unrealistic. What’s to keep the little beasts from simply escaping the ring? But the rodents don’t head for the crowd. Instead, they race around the wooden fence several times and then head in small groups for you and the big man. They’ve been trained for this. Great.

The big man takes two steps and is within range to swing. When you take the strike on your own sword, your hands go numb. It’s then you know you’re in trouble because, although you can’t feel your hands, you can feel the rats trying to climb into your pant legs.

They swarm over his legs as well but he’s got high boots and his pants are tucked snugly into the tops.

You manage to duck around him on the next attack and tap him on the side.

“Strike one!” the announcer shouts.

The big man grunts and comes at you again. You almost drop your sword with his strike.

The longer you fence, the more the rats warm their way up your pant legs. One seems to have made it to your knee and has latched onto the skin at the back of your leg.

You kick in an effort to break him loose but all this does is set you off balance. The big man takes the advantage by taking a note from your own book. As you stumble, he rushes you and shoves one heavy shoulder into your stomach.

Before you can react, he lifts and you sail backwards. Your heels clip the top of the fence but there’s no way to stop your backward motion.

“Sorry,” he says as you land on your backside outside the ring. “Didn’t want to hurt you.”

You can’t blame him. With his heavy sword, which they never blunted, simply striking without bruising or worse is quite difficult.

You nod and shake your leg hard to dislodge the rat still hanging onto your knee. The beast flies from the end of your pant leg and you kick it back into the ring.


They line the contestants up in front of a pavilion once the day of contests is finished. You end up behind the big man as the second to win in the fencing matches.

The King steps forward to congratulate him. “What would you have as your prize?” He asks for all to hear.

“My daughter from the query,” the big man responds without pause.

You hold in a smile. Of all people to loose to, you couldn’t have picked a better one.

As he turns from the field, his eyes glisten with unshed tears.

“Thank you,” he whispers as he passes by.

Those who came in second place are handed a small purse of coins.

You pocket yours and head out to pay off a portion of Ruben’s sentence with your prize. Then you head back out to the woods.

A messenger finds you later.

“There’s another tournament to the south,” he explains, “the family would like you to compete again and use the purse to free Ruben.”

Considering how the last tournament went, you tell the messenger the family can make their own contribution to getting Ruben out.

You don’t hear from the family again but years later, Ruben tracks you down.

“Think I’m done with the bakery,” he tells you, “the family made no effort other than contacting you to help me. Maybe I’ll open my own shop.”

He spends the night beside your fire and does indeed open his own shop, a confectionary, in the city.

The End

Yay, you didn’t die and, in a way, you helped a man save his daughter. Well done and thank you to everyone who participated!

Blessings and see you next time,


The Tournament Option Bb: Work with the Man

The adventure has taken us to a rather unconventional kind of fencing. Readers have chosen to team up with one of the other contestants. Let’s see if this proves good or bad!

The Tournament Option Bb: Work with the Man

Considering your odds, you’d rather have someone on your side in this contest. You nod to the man in agreement.

He smiles and, as you watch, he squares off against the other man in the ring, turning his back to you completely in a show of trust that’s startling.

The woman contestant smirks and moves like she’s going to surprise your partner from the side.sword-1420556

Not on your watch. You move to put yourself between her and the big man.

Then you all wait for the fencing match to begin.

“All right contestants,” the announcer stands on the corner of the fencing ring to be seen above the crowd, “remember, you must overcome two of the other three in the ring. Good luck. And GO!”

The woman’s fast. You duck her first swing and catch her return swing on your sword. The clash of it sends a shock into you hands.

You throw her off with a shove and take a step back to rebalance. The crowd in the stands roars. It’s deafening in the way a trumpet makes your ears ring. You go on the offense and beat the woman back several steps.

There’s a deep-throated scream behind you that sends chills down your spine. It’s your partner’s voice, you’re sure of it, but you don’t chance a look back as the woman tries to use the moment of distraction to her advantage. She swings and steps closer, trying to get within your longer reach.

You fast step and get out of her way, then reverse your motion the instant her swing goes past you. Before she knows it you’re beating her back again.

You’ve no desire to actually harm her but judging from your partner’s scream, a gentle hit won’t end the contest. The announcer said ‘overcome’ two of the three in the ring. So it’s knock her out or force her from the ring.

The fence around the ring sits just above her hips. To force her out will require some extra momentum but the longer you fight her, the more you realize that knocking her out just isn’t going to happen.

She’s extremely careful about her head. So force her out of the ring it is. Your chance comes when she stumbles in an effort to side step. She keeps her sword up, but you push it slightly to the side with your own blade, step in close by taking three quick, almost running steps and throw your shoulder into her sternum. Then you lift with your legs as you keep moving forward.

She huffs as the air is forced from her chest. Then the back of her knees hit the fence and she goes flying over the top rail.

The spectators scream their encouragement of your tactics. You stomach rolls as the woman’s head hits the ground and she’s knocked unconscious.

Only then do you turn to see what’s happening with the other two in the ring.


Your partner’s right arm drips blood in a steady stream from a slice across his bicep. The wound must have cut deep because he’s struggling to keep his broadsword up as he blocks a strike from the smaller man.

He pushes the smaller man away and attempts a swing but his movement is just too slow and the other man ducks inside his reach for a killing blow. The smaller man isn’t going to pull short. His face scrunches in determination and the muscles along his back and neck tense in total abandonment to his course of action.

You switch your grip on your own sword. You rear back and throw. At any sort of distance the throw wouldn’t be effective but the fencing ring’s small. The sword flies through the air and lands with a heavy thump with its hilt against the smaller man’s temple. He crumples in a boneless heap.

There’s a moment of stunned silence before the crowd above jumps to its feet in ecstatic joy. Your ears ring as you join the big man and check on his bleeding arm. Tearing the sleeve from his shirt, you tie it around the wound.

“This isn’t fencing,” you grumble as you work, “this is butchery.”

“Yeah,” the big man agrees. “Thanks for the save.”

Before you can respond, the announcer steps up onto the corner of the ring and raises his hands for attention.

“Well done!” he shouts. “Now, since you obviously worked together, you can pick between Obstacles or Mastery?” he holds out his hands for your choice. You glance at the big man and he shrugs. Neither one of you have any clue what those options mean. If they’re like the last two, they’ll involve more bloodshed then you’d like.

Do you pick…

Bb1: Obstacles?


Bb2: Mastery?

Blessings and see you Thursday for the conclusion to the adventure,


The Tournament Option B: Fencing

Welcome to the fencing ring! Readers have chosen to try their hand at the tournaments by fencing their way to the top. Shall we see if it works?!

The Tournament Option B.Fencing

roman-coliseum-1479942The rain subsided with the morning sun and now you’re standing in line to register for the tournaments with the sun warming your shoulders. It burned off the mist within an hour and your cloak’s almost dry as you approach the table at the entrance to the coliseum.

The man behind the table holds his pen over a sheet of paper. He waits for you to say which challenge you want to participate in.

“Fencing,” you inform him.

He grunts and accepts the papers you hold out containing your information. They tell him everything from your name to where you were born and to which family.

“Isn’t this a baking family?” he asks, pointing at your last name.

“Mostly,” you reply, perhaps a bit shortly but you’ve been questioned like that your whole life.

He eyes you and your weaponry and then shrugs and hands your papers back.

“The fencing field’s to the left past the archery section,” he says, “first tournament starts in an hour.”

You thank him and move on.

The coliseum’s huge, made to support gaming events and trials but today, instead of hosting a single event, the ground is split into five wedges like a pie. Spectators mill around the seating above, able to see all five areas.

On the ground, however, you can only see the wedge you’re standing in and the two neighboring wedges.

Archery is immediately to your left and beyond it you can see the fencing square. To your immediate right sits the hand-to-hand combat arena and you guess jousting is on the other side of the coliseum because you can make out the heads of several horses in that direction.

The fifth wedge you can’t guess at. All you can see in that area is a crowd milling about.

You pass through the archery wedge and make your way to the table in the fencing wedge. You hold out your papers to the man standing behind it. He grabs them from your hand and holds them directly in front of his watery eyes.

He snorts. “Baker. They’ll let anyone in these days.” He tosses the stack of papers onto his table and points to the outline for the fencing square. “Stand in line. Your turn’ll come soon.”

His attitude rubs you wrong but you hold your tongue. People always comment on your family heritage. You’ve found the only way to silence such ridiculous assumptions is to show them you’re capable. No verbal argument seems to work.

You move to stand in line beside a man twice your height. His shoulders are broad enough to shoulder a wagon.

He glances over at you and raises a brow.

“Speed?” he guesses.


“Perhaps,” you kind of admit. “Power?” you gesture at the broadsword he’s carrying.

A toothy grin splits his face. “Perhaps.”

You grin back as you set the rest of your weaponry against the side of the fencing ring. You won’t be needing the bow and arrows and they might get in your way.

“First contestant,” shouts a man standing at the opposite side of the square. “Obstacle or Multiple?”

“What’s that mean?” asks the huge man.

You shrug. “Guess we’ll see.”

The first man in line shuffles from one foot to the other, then blurts out, “Multiple.”

The announcer gestures him into the ring, then he gestures at the big man beside you, at you and then the woman behind you.

“Multiple contestants it is!” the announcer shouts as you all move into the ring as well.

It’s not a lot of space for four people swinging swords.

“You must overcome two of the three others in the ring,” the announcer explains. “If you step out of the ring, you’re done. If you strike with anything but your sword, you’re done. Good luck, Contestants.”

You get a sinking feeling in your stomach. Before, they’ve always blunted the swords. There’s no attempt at this tournament to do so and the rules stated nothing about not killing. This could turn ugly really fast.

“Work with me?” the big man asks out of the side of his mouth.

You know nothing about him. He could turn on you without warning. On the other hand, someone watching your back could be a huge asset.

Do you…

Bb. Work with Him?


Bc. Go It Alone?

Blessings and see you Tuesday,