Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Flash Fiction - Don't Open the Chest!

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
I’m a were-mongoose; small, fast and mostly immune to poison. That was about to be tested.

The fabled Pandora’s Chest was in the pit. So was a seven foot long King Cobra. Or it could have been eight feet, maybe ten. It was coiled. Only its head was raised, undulating in that weird way snakes have. It was mesmerising.

HerpestesFerrugineusSmit “Snap out of it.” My best friend and treasure hunting partner, Breanna, nudged me in the ribs.

I rubbed my side. “You have the sharpest elbow.”

“That’s because I poked you with the key.”

The key was as long as my hand, old, and forged of bronze to unlock Pandora’s Chest. We only wanted one thing from the chest: the Eden Chart.

“Maybe we should have refused to take the key from that weird nun,” I said.

“You want to visit the Garden of Eden and steal those Apples of Wisdom, or not?” Breanna demanded.

I studied the cobra’s weaving head. Back and forward, side to side. I blinked. “You know what happened the last time someone ate one of those apples.”

“Yeah, yeah. Edith got over-clever and bopped Isaac Newton on the head with one. Voila, the Industrial Revolution.”

“Pollution, environmental destruction. Eeeek—hsss!”

My best friend had just pushed me into the pit. Breanna never had much patience for philosophical discussion. Fortunately, shifting from human to mongoose is instantaneous and I landed on four feet and launched myself at the cobra in a whirlwind of teeth, fur, claws and aggression.

Breanna scrambled down on a rope—she’s plain human—and darted past the cobra guardian to unlock the chest. She opened it. “Got it!”

The cobra smacked the chest closed with its tail.

Breanna didn’t waste her breath squeaking. She shoved the Eden Chart under her shirt and swarmed up the rope. I was two seconds behind her, digging my claws into the pit’s dirt walls and scrabbling up and out. We lay flat on the floor of the temple cellar and panted our exhaustion and triumph.

We should have run while we could.


Sorry, sorry. I know this was meant to be flash fiction with a complete story, but this snippet just wrote itself – and now I have no idea how to end it, or even who the narrator is!

The prompt word was "cobra".


If you enjoy shifter romances, my new release, DOCTOR WOLF -- out in just 7 days -- has a werewolf botanist hero and a pack princess heroine.

A werewolf in London romance. 

 Liz Jekyll might be the most wanted werewolf in London—wanted for dating, that is—but she doesn’t take it as a compliment. In fact, it’s a wretched nuisance because Liz has a vital secret to hide. What she needs is a disinterested werewolf who could pretend to be her boyfriend.

Carson Erving would be very interested in Liz if it weren’t for Gentiana Aeternae. The botanist werewolf from Alabama has found the legendary Elixir Gentian, and ruthless people will do anything, kill anyone, to get their hands on a plant that can grant an extra hundred years of life.

As danger explodes around them, two very independent werewolves will have to do the unthinkable and rely on one another. But when Liz’s secret is revealed, who will die?

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