Category Archives: Flash Fiction

The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA) – Scavengers

The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA) is a blog post series about Rebecca, the main character in the Dark Ascension series by N.R. Wick. Rebecca is the main character in the Dark Ascension series. These posts are short stories (flash fiction), usually with drawings, sketches, paintings, etc. of things that Rebecca might have seen during the Dark Ascension series. All TAORA posts will be in Rebecca’s point of view and voice. Enjoy!


I’m Rebecca Ashford, and this is my afterlife.

After the Ascension, it wasn’t long before the Scavengers lurked through the little town Errol and I lived in. Once most of our friends and neighbors had been slaughtered, the smell of death lured these gnarly beasts to the bodies. For the most part, Scavengers ate dead flesh. Their eyes are huge, but they can only see movement, which makes them poor hunters, so they rely on smell and things that are easy to come by like corpses.



One of the days that Errol and I ventured out of our tornado bunker to salvage any canned goods around the neighborhood, we saw a Scavenger carcass in the street. Its gut had been ripped open and looked like it had been partially eaten. An arrow protruded from the center of its head between the bulbous, milky eyes.

It brought us pleasure to know that someone was able to fend it off, but the victory must have been short lived since we found that person dead inside the crumbling house across the street with a bow and arrow still clutched in her hands. Well, we found half of her anyway. It reeked like rotting garbage, and the pool and smear of blood had turned black.

Her upper half had been shredded, probably by the curved claws of the Scavenger pack. Something must have spooked them, though, because they had left their meal half eaten. Whatever it was, we didn’t wait around to find out. Nothing good comes from investigating the cause of death here in the Shadowlands… or anywhere else, I’m sure.


The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA) – Shades

This is the first in a series started some time ago called The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA). Rebecca is the main character in the Dark Ascension series. These posts are short stories (flash fiction), usually with drawings, sketches, paintings, etc. of things that Rebecca might have seen during the Dark Ascension series. All TAORA posts will be in Rebecca’s point of view and voice. Enjoy!


My name is Rebecca Ashford, and this is my afterlife.

We saw the Shade that killed Sam today. At least I’m pretty sure it was the same one. They all look alike, but it’s the only one I’ve seen lurking around our street. Sam was the older brother of a boy in Errol’s biology class, and they lived at the end of the street. Seeing the Shade chilled my skin and made my stomach revolt with fear. I can still hear Sam’s screams echo inside my mind.

“God, no! Help me! Please, don’t—Don’t hurt me!” he had screamed. I don’t know what the Shade was doing to him, but gurgling screams followed his pleas, filtering into our tornado bunker from above ground. We stayed inside even after the sounds had stopped; we were too afraid that we would meet the same fate.

Sam was the first dead person I’d ever seen. I’ll never forget the image of him hanging from the tree in a neighbor’s front yard or how his head drooped to the side in an awkward, impossible way. His neck must have broken for it to look like that. I couldn’t begin to guess how long he’d been hanging there, but I’d wondered if he’d killed himself or if the Shade had done it for him. Errol guessed that Sam took his own life and insisted we bring him down.

We worked together to cut the rope and lay his body on the grass. After that, we weren’t sure what to do with him. It was dangerous to have his body out in the open since we lived so close to a group of Scavenger demons, who were most interested in human corpses, but they’d still smell him even if we buried him. Errol suggested we burn the body, but it was too dangerous to have smoke filling the sky so close to our hiding place.

In the end, we wrapped his stiff corpse in a tarp and buried him anyway.


I once asked Fox about Shades, and he said that they had once been humans. What sort of person could become those shadowy demons? I shuttered at the thought of becoming one.

“Can any person become a Shade?” I had asked.

For several moments, he had watched me silently with his intense, blue eyes before answering, almost as if he knew my fear. “No, not as far as my father and I have discovered. Only people who are exceptionally violent or evil have the chance to become a Shade. Even then, they would have to conspire with a demon first.”

Whether what he had said was true or not, I don’t know. It sounded plausible, but I wonder now if he was just trying to make me feel better.


The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA) – The Ascension

This is the first in a series started some time ago called The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA). Rebecca is the main character in the Dark Ascension series. These posts are short stories (flash fiction), usually with drawings, sketches, paintings, etc. of things that Rebecca might have seen during the Dark Ascension series. All TAORA posts will be in Rebecca’s point of view and voice. Enjoy!


I’m Rebecca Ashford, and this is my afterlife.

My first life ended the day my parents died and demons ascended from whatever hell they came from. I don’t know if it was the Hell or not, but I do know that creatures poured out of strange black portals in the ground and sky. On the news, Errol and I watched one of the portals open up over New York City. Black vapor and oily, black tendrils spilled from the openings as beasts large and small fell to the ground. The carnage was immediate. It was as if the drop and new setting hadn’t affected them. Clawed and rabid, the creatures slaughtered people in the streets.


I drew this a few weeks after the first portal opened above New York City. I’m not sure how many of them appeared, but they disappeared after some time.

Eventually, most news stations stopped showing the New York City maiming. But once everyone had realized that endless monsters were emerging from the portals, some people thought it was too important not to show. Thousands of home videos were posted online, and posted or texted photos went viral. Within a week, the event had been named the Ascension and the monsters identified as demons. This was also when most of the larger cities had fallen.

My family lived in the middle of nowhere, an hour away from the closest city, but we weren’t safe. When the Ascension began, Errol and I spent ages trying to call and text our parents and our grandfather, who lived in a cabin at a lake in Nebraska. Hours had passed before the local news showed cellphone video of a portal opening under Lillian’s, the biggest grocery story in the city and where our parents had gone that morning. Fat tears streaked my face, and I held my sobbing sister while we watched the grainy building break apart and fall in on its self. Beneath the rumbling and snapping, we heard people inside cry muffled screams of pain and terror while bystanders watched in horror. The demon portal swallowed Lillian’s, then the street, then cars from the parking lot. They slid into the glowing black hole, along with our family’s silver Ranger.

Our hometown became overrun with shadow creatures not long after our parents were devoured. Neighbors ran through the streets while little black creatures chased them. It was almost comical until the Scavengers and Scourge showed up. The people no longer fled in fear. Instead, they failed, and the eyeless Scavengers tore them apart. While the demons focused on their prey, Errol and I snuck to our tornado bunker at the back of our house. We heard our neighbors’ shrieks through the air vents as we held each other in the dark.


Land of No Angels Aftermath

I was going through some of my work from grad school because I am going to apply for a PhD program later this year, and I found a couple of exercises related to Land of No Angels. It was so fun to read some things that didn’t make it into the book and things that I had written to help me understand parts of the book. I thought I would share a few pieces I wrote.

This particular piece was a writing exercise for a class (I believe the prompt originated from a book of writing prompts) and was supposed to be a short scene from the aftermath of Land of No Angels. In case anyone was wondering what prompted Fox to leave Crown Haven, this should explain it! Enjoy the Land of No Angels aftermath.


Fox slipped into the shadows of the altar room where he knew Errol to be. Even though she had only come out of her spell induced sleep three days ago, Errol had been extremely supportive to Fox in regards to his “little secret.”

“Why would he do this to me? To us?” a voice spat.

Rebecca. Fox had not seen her, let alone spoken to her, since curing Errol. Clearly she was still mad at him. He tiptoed behind the black curtains and maneuvered himself into a spot where he could see and hear them both better.

“I don’t think he meant to to hurt anyone,” Errol answered.

“He must have considering how little my feelings meant to him,” Rebecca said.

“You should talk to him.”


Errol sighed in irritation, “No wonder he kept it from you with how you’re acting about the whole thing.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means that you are being seriously ignorant! Don’t you think he feels bad enough?”

“No! No, I don’t think he feels bad enough! Not only is he…” Rebecca struggled with her words for a moment. She glanced from side to side, as though saying it out loud would jinx her somehow, and then whispered, “…a demon, but he also lied about it.”

“He’s only part demon. It’s not the same. Besides, he didn’t exactly lie… he just—didn’t tell you the truth right away.”

Rebecca scoffed. Fox thought for a moment; he wanted so badly to tell her that he should have explained himself the moment he found out. It was wrong not to, but the idea that he was part demon was not exactly an easy thing to cope with, especially during a time of crisis. Besides, was it really the lying that upset her or was it the fact that he had demon in him. It made him potentially dangerous and Rebecca did not like things that were dangerous, especially demons.

“That is the same as lying and you know it,” Rebecca said.

“Oh, come on! How would you feel if you found out you were half demon? I’m sure you wouldn’t go around announcing it to everyone either,” Errol replied.

“I would tell the people I cared about! The people who mattered to me. Besides, when have we met a trustworthy demon?”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s true. Have we ever? No. Demons hunt us and kill us, or enslave us, but they do not love us, and they do not help take care of us.”

“How—How can you say that about Fox? He likes you. I mean, really likes you, and I know you wouldn’t be this angry if you didn’t like him too.”

Rebecca looked down; her face burned pink. As a few tears dribbled down her face, she said, “I—I can’t.”

“He saved my life. You remember that,” Errol said with vehemence that made Rebecca recoil. “He gave his blood to cure me, and he did it for you. Sure, he might not have wanted to see me die, but it was all for you. Don’t you dare forget that.”

Errol turned away and stormed off without another word. Rebecca sat with her hands in her face, sobbing and confused. Fox watched and forced himself not to try and comfort her. He didn’t want to make things worse, and Rebecca’s words stung him. After he couldn’t stand to hear her anguish any more, Fox slipped around the edge of the shadowed altar room and left unnoticed.


Fortune Teller Blog Hop

I’m participating in the Fortune Teller Blog Hop today, which means you get 16 free short stories. The idea was for everyone to write a story where one of our characters met a fortune teller of some sort. Well, the story I wrote takes place in the Dark Ascension world (Before the Ascension) and features two of the characters from the series. It was so much fun writing this short, and I hope everyone has fun reading it, as well as the other stories on the blog hop.


Mallory: The Smallest Witch

Bryce brushed his shaggy hair out of his eyes and stared at the decrepit house before him. He had almost missed the handmade sign that leaned against one of the weatherworn posts framing the front porch. The sign read, “Psychic,” but he wasn’t convinced anyone actually lived there. He wiped his sweating palms on dingy, ripped jeans and sighed. The need to find out if his plan was on the right track outweighed the uneasiness radiating from the boarded up house. With hesitant steps, Bryce ascended the steps toward the front door.

In his peripheral vision, he saw the curtains shift behind the grimy window next to him. Before his knuckles reached the door, it swung open. A scrawny young woman with wild, short hair and flushed cheeks stood before him. She had dark shadows under her eyes and wore tiny cutoffs and a spaghetti strapped top that didn’t fit her right. Bryce hesitated. This was not what he had expected the psychic to look like.

“Are you Jimmy?” she asked. Her voice drawled apathetically.

“No, I’m here for Mallory.” When the woman only stared past him, he added, “Are you the psychic?”

Her head perked up. “Oh, right. Mallory. Yeah, she’s here.”

They stared at each other in awkward silence until the woman walked away into the house. Bryce followed behind her and shut the door.

“I didn’t get your name,” he said as he studied the rotting wall next to the staircase.

“I know,” she answered and disappeared around the corner out of the foyer.

Unsure if he should follow, Bryce stopped at the bottom of the stairs before the entry way. He was half-tempted to leave, but his gut insisted he stay. After a few minutes, the woman led a small child by the shoulders. The girl couldn’t have been older than ten or so, and she was dressed with an over-sized sun hat wrapped in purple gauze and wore several layers of clothes made to looked like a robe. Her distant, blue eyes penetrated Bryce, but at the same time, they seemed to look past him.


The girl blinked slowly at him. “Yes.”

He addressed the older woman. “She’s the psychic?”

“Best one you’ll ever meet. Fifty bucks for a sitting.”

“Whatever, lady,” he huffed and turned to leave.

Behind him, the woman snapped at Mallory. “Go on. Give him a sample.”

“If Fiona knew what you were trying to do, she wouldn’t be very happy,” the child said.

Bryce paused in mid-stride. “What did you say?”

“Fifty bucks,” the woman demanded.

With a huff, he pushed two twenties and a ten into her hand. After she shuffled through it to count them, the woman led Mallory through an entry way to the left of the foyer. The room was bare except for a few plastic crates and a coffee table in the center. Even if the child was really a psychic, Bryce thought the building seemed more like a drug house than an actual home. The woman sat Mallory down on one of the crates and motioned for him to sit opposite of her.

“You’ve got twenty minutes,” she said.

Bryce looked directly into Mallory’s eyes. “How do you know about my wife?”

“I’m not sure. I just know things.” She rarely blinked.

“Do you know why I’m here, then?”

“Yes,” she said. “You want to know about your special plan.”

“Will it work?”

Mallory hesitated. “Doesn’t it bother you that Fiona wouldn’t want you to go through with it?”

Bryce pulled his stare away from her. He had already known his wife wouldn’t be happy about it, but thought she would warm up to the idea if she knew it would work.

“Listen, I just want to know if it will work,” he said.

“That kind of power is dangerous.”

He slammed his hand on the table. “Just tell me if it’s going to work!”

Mallory paused for a very long time. If it wasn’t for her hollow eyes and wise demeanor, Bryce might have thought she was about to lie. In that moment, he almost felt sorry for her. The woman caring for her was whoring her ability out to strangers, and who knows what else she was allowing.

“The summoning will be a success,” Mallory finally said.

“It’ll cure me?”

“I can’t see that,” she said.

“But the summoning works?”


“Then I’m sure I’ll be cured.”

Mallory didn’t respond.

“Is there anything else you can tell me?”

“Don’t keep it from Fiona.”

“Why? She’d try to stop me.” Bryce stood up.

“If you say so.”

“Thanks.” When he left and passed the gaunt woman, who stood at the entrance of the foyer, he said, “Best fifty bucks I’ve ever spent.”

“They all say that,” she said with a lopsided smirk.

Once Bryce left the woman shuffled to Mallory and sat down. “Why did you lie to him?”

“I didn’t.”

“Fine, why did you conveniently avoid the most important part?”

“He didn’t ask me if his summoning spell would end the world.”

“I wish you’d never told me about that,” the woman said.

“You’ll forget about it when Jimmy brings your ‘medicine.’” Mallory couldn’t see her mother, but she imagined a look of reverie on her sunken face.



Fortune Teller Blog Hop


If you would like to read all of the stories in this blog hop, please check them out in the links below!

Also, I’d like to thank everyone for reading and have fun.

Happy reading!

Kayla Curry (Host) Alyssa Auch S. M. Boyce
N.R. Wick Steve Vernon A. F. Stewart
Linda Taylor Tami Von Zalez Quanie Miller
Ellen Harger Deborah Nam-Krane Erin Cawood
Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba Wendy Ely Laure Reminick
Jen McConnel

A Writing Exercise – Story Through Letter

So, I’ve been in a sort of rut the last few days. I think I’m getting over it because I’m so annoyed that I’ve been neglecting NaNoWriMo related things that I will shortly be starting my outline. In the meantime, I am writing this entry about one of my most favorite writing exercises from 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley. I have no idea why it’s my favorite or why I love it so much, but the first time I ever used it was amazing. Basically, what I will do is give and explanation of the exercise (in green, if you would like to try it) and then write my own (in block quotes). I could just show my old one since it was my favorite, but it doesn’t pertain to my current novel and I think I would benefit from a little free write, so to speak.

Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Write an email (or a note, letter, or something of the sort) as one of your characters to another one of your character with a list of 5 – 8 items that one either needs or will bring. A successful exercise will include implied plot and character personality. It’s an exercise to help you understand your characters and is a fun way to brainstorm.

Here’s mine:


Bridget ran off after Kitcha went mental last night. She’s probably alright, but we really don’t have the time to track her down. I say we cut our losses. I’m sure she will turn up and Kitcha is capable of taking care of the both of them. If we are going to get to Julian by tomorrow morning we will need a few supplies.

  • Peroxide
  • Mountain Dew
  • Baking Soda
  • Canned Peaches
  • 9mm Ammo
  • Bandages
  • New Bike Chain

I’m taking care of everything but the ammo and bike chain. It only seems fair you find those since the 9mm and bike belong to you. Just saying.

Be Back in an hour,

I totally remember why I love this exercise so much. It’s fun and easy and you can actually say a lot about a character in such a short bit of writing. If you choose to do this exercise, I would LOVE for you to link or post the result.

Also, anyone try Write or Die? I find it quite fun! I was really excited to hear that a desktop version may be in the works. Hopefully I can use that. If not, I may just try using the online version. Who knows! But check it out anyway, because it’s pretty neat!