Brooke Shaffer

Author, Gamer, and Cat-Collector Extraordinaire

100 Free Words

The Chivalrous Welshman

5|Free Time

Saul looked up. “Oh, you wanted to start now?”
“Why not?”
“Because I'm going to kick your ass long before the campers do.”
“Yeah? Try me. I'm no rookie.”
Saul stood then. Even with his bad back, he seemed to grow a foot as he approached. “You're right. You're just a child.”
Tommen figured he'd had enough exposure to the Akari by now that he could at least hazard a pretty good guess when an Akari-Band was used, such as now when Saul encased the whole cabin.
“Cabin's Banded,” he said sinisterly. “No one can see what we're doing in here.”

6|Leap Second

He stood, wobbled, stretched, flopped back down. His head felt like a lead balloon, and it took a concentrated effort to stand up and just make it out of the room. He stumbled out to the kitchen, plugged in his phone, and dialed. He could hear Micaiah's phone ringing in his bedroom and it was a minute before he picked up.
“Good, you're awake,” Micaiah said.
“Yeah,” Tommen murmured. “Now come out here and make me some coffee.”
“You're very demanding this morning.”
“I need the boost, believe me.”
“Tommen, you're sick. You probably shouldn't have any caffeine.”


"Not a word," Rifun said before Tommen could think twice. Then they were standing in a Fast Band.
"What are you doing here?" Tommen asked.
"First day of school. I thought it would be appropriate to add a sixth class to your daily regimen."
"Because I don't have enough homework already?"
"Please, Tommen, we both know you can make all the time you need to get that homework done."
Tommen shifted his stance. "I did as you asked. I managed to touch my DNA, or I think I did."
Rifun nodded. "That's good. But that was only part of the assignment.”


"On the one hand, I did get more information on the journal and its possible whereabouts."
"And on the other hand?"
"The Turitians wanted to renegotiate the deal you made them before the Zero Hour Revolution. It was on the spot, and I was unprepared."
"What did you tell them?"
"I told them that if they went in with the Order to help overthrow the Borelians that they might get one of the Borelian-controlled planets and the rights to build another outpost...?"
Rifun stopped in his tracks and Tommen nearly ran into him. Rifun turned.
"You promised them a planet and an outpost?" he echoed.

9|Turning Point

Miach's attention was caught by a flash of orange and Rifun was led into the room. The bruises on his arms had healed, but the way he walked suggested that he may have had some fresh ones under his clothes somewhere. Just what kind of 'pushing and shoving' was going on back there?
"This is a different setup," he observed dryly as his wrist cuffs were removed.
"Come, have a seat." Bartlett patted the chair beside him. The guard and even Terry looked uncertain, but Bartlett held up a hand. "It's all right. He wouldn't endanger his acquittal now."

10|The Eleventh Hour

Ryan grinned and shifted his stance. "Well now, this sounds like the beginning of a plan. Distraction? Stalling? A feeble attempt at persuasion? What's he thinking? Where is this line of thought going and why?"
He sounded so much like Rifun, it was almost terrifying. Nevertheless, Tommen kept his composure and, with his heart hammering in his chest, said, "You're here to kill me. So here I am. Kill me."
"A sacrifice? To what end? You fancy yourself a noble savior, do you?" Ryan backed up to stand beside Tyler again. "I don't buy it."
"So then, what's next?" Tommen challenged.

[Unnamed Series]

1|Before and After

It was one subject that they hadn't discussed in their weekly meetings, mostly because it was not something Walter cared to have recorded and examined. But it was one that they were going to have to have soon, because they were going to get their paperwork from the Wheel of Time before they got on the plane.
Dessert proved to be a simple slice of chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream. The look on Tommen's face was priceless.
"I take it you didn't get fed real cake and ice cream?" Walter guessed.
Tommen just shook his head. He swallowed.

The Lone Wolf

2|Alpha Wolf

The first time Roland heard of Aktiya Waya, he'd been huddled in a small camp somewhere in what the white men called Missouri, waiting for the supply wagons to meet them so they could cross the river. His people were not the only ones being moved west, and he often listened in on the stories from the others over the campfires, the stories helping the people to ignore the demands of their stomachs for a little while.
Roland was not his name, or not his real name. His mother said that it was the name his father gave him, made it easier for him and his people to pronounce.

The Hands of Time

2|The Hands Pulling the Strings

Suddenly there were no more steps and the tar released like a popped balloon. Rifun's force against the tar that was no longer there carried him into open air. His mind went totally blank as he fell. At the last second he wondered if he should fall forever, that perhaps it was a trap for the foolhardy.
Then he hit cold metal. His head slammed against the ground. Stars burst before his eyes and a migraine erupted in his brain almost instantly. The rest of his body didn't feel much better, and he lay there, groaning, for a long couple of seconds.

The Akari-bearer

1|Bearer of Bad News

"Good afternoon, Minister," the judge greeted. "Making friends with the locals, I see."
The court official with the Minister began to speak. "A Bhreithimh, these boys attempted to steal money and goods from—"
"Yes, I know. I can read, thank you." He looked at Miach and MacEoghan who tried to make themselves small. "Boys, where are your parents?"
"Our father died in the Great War, and our mother died from sickness."
The judge raised a brow. "How old are you?"
"Ten, I think."
"You do know that it's 1931."
"Yes, sir."
The judge and the boys stared at each other.

[The Path to Freedom]

1|The Way

Suddenly, all the lights flipped on, earning more shouts and curses. Rifun did not get off his bed; he didn't need to in order to see what was happening. The weeping man's cell door was open; the officers were growling and snapping at each other like a couple of dogs fighting over a bone. The prisoner himself was still making bloody dying sounds.
"Aw, man, did Weeper bite it?" Crazy Mex asked.
"Sounds like he's trying to," Lifer said, having the least advantageous view.
A couple of nurses joined the officers, though they hung back until told to get close.

2|The Truth

He flinched away when she touched him.
"Sorry," she murmured.
"No," he said hastily. "No, go ahead."
He steeled himself as she put a hand on his shoulder. A dozen different ways to disable her ran through his mind as he told himself that she was friendly. She wasn't here to fight him, nor shake him down. She was good.
Habit won out in the end and he shrugged her off.
"I did it," he said. "I did it, I went, and you had a good time. That makes me happy. All right?"
She hesitated but finally replied, "Okay.”

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