Category: 1000+ Words

Counting Sheep (Sci Spanks 2015)

Counting Sheep, the full story, will soon be available in the Sci Spanks 2015 Anthology – along with loads of other goodies. Comments on this post are from readers who were able to enjoy Counting Sheep when it was live. Want to know when the anthology is available? Subscribe to this blog to stay in the know.

Meanwhile, read Manuel and Ellory’s previous adventures:

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Discovery

Thanks for playing Love Spanks 2015!

All stories are down now, but if you want them for your very own, get the Love Spanks 2015 Anthology. Here’s what you’ll get:

The Snow Liger by Jae

Like most cats, liger shifter Griffin hates winter…until her human mate Jorie asks her to help with the research for a love scene she’s trying to write.

Mistress on Her Knees by Anastasia Vitsky
When a Domme loves a Domme, strange things can happen. When a Domme loves a Domme who is her former submissive and cheated with her best friend, all of the usual fun with handcuffs turns into something darker.

Sweet Sherrie by Louisa Bacio
There’s nothing quite as sweet as two friends, tussling between the sheets. The “shy one” Sherrie wants to explore a physical relationship, but not before teaching her sorority sister bestie Desiree a few lessons on teasing.

Learning to Trust by Olivia Starke
Cookie making gets naughty when Madeline surprises her fiancée, Casey, with some sweet treats.

The Briefcase by Sara Daniel
Sadie is on a mission to deliver an important briefcase for her boss, Rhea, whom she’s lusted after forever. But an emergency changes Sadie’s plans, and suddenly she is trying to keep a horde of well-meaning friends from prying the briefcase out of her hands. When the shocking contents spill out at the worst possible moment, much more than Sadie’s job is at stake.

Bank Shot by Geonn Cannon
A bartender offers refuge to a woman fleeing a bad date during a storm. When the lights go out, they pass the time with a game of pool with very interesting stakes.

Just Desserts by Tara Quan
After messing up in a big way, Allison Chen attempts to bribe her lover with a box of cupcakes. Felicity has a far more delicious form of restitution in mind—one involving a crop, camera, and vibrating toy.

Spanking Sidney by Leigh Ellwood
Kit loves women, loves sex…and now she loves spanking.

Just Chaps by Alyssa Linn Palmer
Biker Alex suggests to her girlfriend Elly that she ought to wear leather chaps with nothing underneath, but Elly needs some convincing.

Discovery by Anne Ferrer Odom

When friendship is your greatest temptation, love is your enemy. What will Madison do, now that her love for Harper has become more than she can handle?

Accidental Date by Erik Schubach
Angela Sutter was waiting for her math tutor to arrive. When Kennedi shows up, misunderstandings snowball and Angel finds herself in a situation she never expected.

The First of Many by Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z
Danny was looking forward to celebrating her one month anniversary with her domme Lucy. She wasn’t expecting there to be a test, though.

Gold Rush by Cathy Pegau
A rough and tumble gold miner and a prim assayer find love in the 1890 Nome AK gold rush.

Terci’s Dream by Kate Richards
The Domme of Terci’s dreams appears in a dream…in a dungeon, where the third door is always theirs. Can an author’s fantasies come true or are they destined to stay between the pages of her bestselling books?

Dating Storm by Victoria Cobretti
Who knew that dating a Gargoyle could be so tough? Well, Maggie and Kalila are about to find out that when you are dating a Gargoyle, sometimes you have to settle for the unconventional dates.

Love in Disguise by Jessica E. Subject
Aeria dreads the coming of Valentine’s Day, especially after being dumped two days earlier. Can a sexy android show her how much fun the day can be and all that she’s been missing in her search for a lover?

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A Siberian Vacation

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I happily accepted “The 24 Hour Wood Spoon Writing Challenge” from author Jess Ramthun. 24 Hours, 2000 words, paranormal – must include a wooden spoon and a Russian dictionary. Published here with 22 minutes to spare. 🙂

~~~~~

“Let’s go to Siberia, you said. Krosnayarsk is lovely, you said.”

“C’mon, Steph, I wanted to share my homeland with you. How could I know we’d pick up some ghost girl at the chapel?” Anya piled her light brown hair onto her head and stabbed a pencil through it. She tapped another against her teeth as she perused the local paper.

“We shouldn’t have toured that place,” Steph grumbled. “All old chapels are haunted.” She spitefully yanked the pencil out of Anya’s hair.

“I hate when you do that.”

“I know.” Steph rolled her broad shoulders back and slapped the pencils down on the table. She scrubbed her hands in her own, greying, close cut hair. “We came here to get away from this.” She waved toward the kitchen corner and the girl Anya couldn’t see.

“So send her back to the church.” Anya shrugged.

The faded girl clasped her hands at her chest and let loose a string of Russian Steph didn’t understand. Her big blue eyes filled with tears.

“Dammit.”

Anya snickered but didn’t lift her head from the paper. “Getting to you, is she?”

“One day, I’m going to find a spell that forces you to see them.”

The ghost girl waved to get Steph’s attention. “Ya zastryal.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Steph told her.

“What what means?” Anya asked.

“What she just said.” Steph scrunched her nose. “Ya … zartsel, zastrid … some word that starts with a ‘z’”.

“Really, Steph?” Anya sighed. “At least try to pay attention to what she says.”

Steph turned her attention back to the girl. “Okay, say it again.”

The girl’s brow furrowed. She said nothing.

“Fantastic.” Steph threw her hands up. “She can’t understand me either.”

Anya rolled her eyes and stood up. “Of course she can’t. She’s from here. I think what you were trying to relay was ‘I’m stuck’. You do know some Russian. Tell her your name. It might help her feel more comfortable.”

“I don’t want her to feel comfortable. I want her to leave.”

“Stephanie May Holland! I’ve had quite enough!.”

Steph cringed. Anya hadn’t lost her temper in some time. Then again, Steph hadn’t behaved this badly in some time.

Turning toward the corner Anya spoke in soft Russian. Stephanie caught the words “dear” and “please.” A sliver of guilt lanced through her. She could make more effort to learn her lover’s language.

The child faded away.

“What did you do?”

“I told her to wait in the living room while I remind you how to behave.”

Steph took a step back. “Wait, Anya, there’s no need— ”

“Isn’t there? I’ve let you wallow in self-pity for a month now. You have to let go.”

Let go? You know nothing of what I endure to solve these cases. Nothing!” Steph shouldn’t push. Anya’s face promised unpleasant consequences. Consequences you need.

Anya spoke too matter-of-factly. “I know that you are meant to help the dead. And I know that you are searching for a way to excise your necromantic power.”

How could she know that?

“I’ve been your lover, your Domme, longer than I haven’t been, Stephanie. I know you.”

“I don’t want this power,” Steph pleaded. “I don’t want to relive rape and torture and death with victim after victim. I can’t.”

“You can. You will. Your strength helps them find justice.”

Stephanie’s throat seized up, and she had to force the words out. “Not last time.”

“No,” Anya confirmed. “Not last time. But you can’t throw away your ability to balance life and death because of one failure. I won’t let you. Get the spoon. We’re done talking.”

“You brought the spoon?”

“You know my mantra. Never travel without a swimsuit or a wooden spoon. You never know when you might need them.”

~~~~~

Stephanie bent over and hugged the wooden table, pants around her ankles. The first whack across her bottom stung, but she clenched the table edges and held her breath against crying out.

“Necromancy is a part of you, Stephanie.”

WHACK

Stephanie gritted her teeth.

“You can’t shirk your obligation.”

WHACK

“Tell me why you do it. Why do you help the dead?”

Stephanie pressed her lips together until they hurt and got another whack for her efforts.

Tell me why.”

No. Anya couldn’t make her—

WHACK

Wait!” The shout escaped before Stephanie could stop it. She heaved a breath. “Wait.”

“I’m waiting.”

Stephanie whispered into the unforgiving wood, “The dead have no one to speak for them.”

“Except you. And a very few others blessed with your skill.”

“It’s not a blessing,” Stephanie gritted out.

WHACK

“Ow!” Tears leaked from Stephanie’s eyes. It’s not a blessing. It’s not.

WHACK

“How many have you helped, Stephanie?”

Stephanie squeezed her eyes shut.

“Answer me.”

The tears came fast now, and Stephanie couldn’t stop them.

WHACK

Answer me!

“It doesn’t matter!” Stephanie shouted. “He got away! He got away, and those women will never be able to rest! Never!” She sobbed against the tabletop. “I couldn’t stop him. I couldn’t. I couldn’t.”

Anya set the spoon down, pulled Stephanie up, and folded her in her arms. “No, you couldn’t. Despite everything you did.”

Stephanie held on tight. Her broken soul cried out for this lesson from Anya. Anya her anchor. Anya her healer. Anya her love.

“How many more will escape in the future, if you can give up your power?”

Guilt sliced Stephanie from belly to throat.

“Will you give him that victory, too?”

The question hurt worse than any punishment. “No,” Steph croaked.

“Good. Get the dictionary of Russian mythological creatures from my suitcase. We have a girl to help.”

“A dictionary of—” Steph sputtered. “You knew. You planned this.”

“I have no idea what you mean.” Anya excelled at false innocence.

~~~~~

“We aren’t getting anywhere!” Stephanie shifted from foot to foot, wishing she could sit comfortably.

“Be patient. Tell me what she’s saying.”

Stephanie grumbled, but gamely tried to repeat the ghost girl’s words.

“ ‘Dogs with orange boots’. I think you might have something wrong there.” Anya grinned and Steph’s groan. “Let’s take a break and review.” Anya spoke to the corner in Russian. “She’s going to wait while we talk in English. What do we have so far?”

“She was stabbed. By her father.” Bastard. “And buried at the very edge of the chapel cemetery.”

Anya kept scanning the dictionary pages, shaking her head. Finding nothing.

“She likes dumplings. And birds. And a boy who started coming to church last month.”

That was the thing about ghosts: once they found someone who could hear them, they wanted to share everything.

Anya flipped another page and froze. “At the edge of the cemetery?”

“Yes, why?”

“Inside edge or outside edge?”

“Uh. Why?”

“We need to find out if she was baptized. I think this child’s a—” Anya stopped abruptly. Her eyes flicked to the corner she knew the ghost girl occupied. “In our folklore, when murdered, unbaptized children become spirits that seduce people to complacency and suck out their souls.”

Seduce? She died at what? Seven?”

“Not all seduction is sexual. Look at yourself. You’ve been working your way closer to that corner ever since we came in. Why?”

Stephanie swallowed. “She needs us.”

“No. She doesn’t.”

“How do you know? You can’t be sure she’s really one of those…” Stephanie waved at the book on Anya’s lap, “…things? We can’t just ask ‘Hey, were you baptized?’. Stephanie smiled at the little girl, and the girl smiled back, rocking from side to side, her hands clasped behind her back. “Try this – ask which church her family attended.”

Still a risky question. The ghost girl listened, fiddled with the edge of her dress and replied with a single word.

“She asks ‘pocheemoo’. Isn’t that ‘why’?”

Anya winced. “Did you even listen to the language recordings I bought you for the plane?”

“Two words. Alien. Erotica. Wins over learning ‘Where’s the bathroom’ in Russian every time.“

“You have a serious problem. But yes, that word means ‘Why’.”

Stephanie took a deep breath, keeping her eye on the ghost girl. “Tell her I can help her move on better at her home church.”

As Anya translated, Stephanie prayed the spirit couldn’t sense lies.

“She says…” Steph concentrated. “Me… neeyeh… hadeem vuh… jerkoff?”

“Seriously? I take back every request I ever made for you to learn Russian.” Anya kept her voice light, even threw in a laugh for good measure. Steph knew it for the false thing it was, but the ghost wouldn’t. “If I understand your butchered Russian correctly, I think it was ‘We didn’t go to church.’”

“We need a priest, Anya. Or she is going to kill us and eat our souls.”

“I’m not leaving you.”

Steph forced her own laugh and leaned over to kiss Anya on the cheek. The ghost girl smiled. Good. Keep her happy.

“You have to, Anya. I like my soul. I want to keep it. Get the priest. And I’ll owe you a sexual favor if you can get me one who speaks English.”

“I’ll add it to your tab. One English-speaking Orthodox Russian priest, coming up.” She squeezed Steph’s hand as she headed out. “Stay alive.”

~~~~~

Stephanie treated the ghost like the child she pretended to be. “This is ‘B.’”

The girl repeated the sound carefully, smiling and clapping when Stephanie nodded.

Could this sweet child really be a monster? What if her parents quit going to church after baptizing her?

The girl started to sing. A lullaby? The child pointed at herself and then Stephanie.

“You want to teach me?”

The ghost girl repeated the gesture and the verse. Stephanie sang along as best she could. Then again. And again. And again. And…

The child’s voice settled over her like a blanket. Stephanie’s limbs warmed, taking on the languidness of afterglow. The late evening sun glinted off the snow outside. Steph’s eyes drifted closed. I wish my Anya were here.

~~~~~

A vicious bang tore Stephanie from sleep. The front door? What the devil? She opened her eyes, and loosed a scream of terror.

The ghost child was straddling her chest, jaws preternaturally wide and filled with way too many rows of teeth. It sucked in Stephanie’s breath as fast as Steph exhaled. When struggled to inhale, there was no air. It had all her air.

Stephanie’s vision dimmed, but she heard someone yelling her name, shaking her. Anya.

A shaky old man’s voice asked, “You call priest before doctor? You are strange woma—?” Thunk. “Monster dictionary? What—”

Eta Potercha!” Anya again, saying It’s a … was that the name of this thing?

A distant but frantic string of Russian followed, but Steph’s world was reduced to that horrid gaping maw coming closer and closer—

Icy water slapped her face. Stephanie sputtered, jerking herself upright. “What the hell? What did you do? Why am I all wet?”

“I make holy water.” He pointed at the empty pitcher on the floor. “From your sink. Is not great. Is good enough to baptize.” The priest snapped his wrinkled fingers. “Gone.”

“You saw it?”

“No.”
“Then how could you baptize it?”

The old man shrugged. “You not breathe. Maybe dying. I guessed it. If wrong, I would make more water. Throw it more places.”

Stephanie snorted. She sent her internal feelers out, sifting through spirits for a the girl’s signature. Nothing. “Well, if she’s not gone for good, she’s gone for now.”

The priest harrumphed. “Better be gone for good. Time people stop dying in middle of night.”

Stephanie gaped, and Anya ushered the priest out the door before Steph could find any words.

“Anya,” she croaked as her lover returned, “how long… how many…?”

“Shhhh.” Anya pulled her close and stroked Stephanie’s short hair. “We’ll never know. But it’s over now. People will start living. Because of you.”

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