This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

“Jabberwock Keys” is a complete just-for-fun short story that could use some polishing. A sorcerer hires  jabberwock named Daisy to guard his treasure, given a silver flute to summon her by the shopkeeper who suggested her, and having paid a hiring fee, gets on a horse made of metal and leather to return to his tower.



He turned his horse’s head in the direction of the road, and pressed his heels to the buttons set under the leather. Moving in a precise, smooth walk, the construct followed his instructions, picking up the pace as he pressed his heels twice more, shifting to ground-eating gallop.

Behind him, he heard heavy footfalls, and glanced back to see the Jabberwock galumphing after him, running through the trees parallel to the road.

As he traveled, Magnus caught glimpses of her fine-scaled, mottled green and brown hide, gleaming dully in the light like snake skin, or of her bright ruby-red eyes winking in the light. And often he heard her, crashing through the undergrowth, or the sudden noisy eruption of frantic birds flinging themselves into the air as she passed.

Finally, he reached his destination, a lonely tower set atop a jagged spire of rocky cliffs. Picking a way up the sides would be nearly impossible, with the long stretches of smooth surfaces, jutting overhangs, stretches of sharp rocks, and the unstable areas that triggered deadly rockslides. For those that didn’t deter, enormous raptors also lived in the spires, large enough to carry off a man to their nests.

*    *    *

Due to NaNoWriMo, I’ll probably be a little slower than usual, but I still value your feedback, frazzled as I am!

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

31 responses »

  1. chellecordero says:

    Wow, you really painted very vivid visuals. This puts the reader right alongside the rider. Great snippet.

  2. Its so easy to get lost in your world. Great snippet!

  3. Frank Fisher says:

    I felt like I was along for the ride, and pictured the whole scene – at least I think I did. I loved the rocky cliffs at the end. Interesting snippet!

  4. Excitement in every word. You paint quite a picture of the chase.

  5. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love the visuals you create. I could easily picture this as a movie.

  6. Lisa Medley says:

    Fave line = ground-eating gallop. Perfect! Great 8!

  7. Very happy about the galumphing, naturally! So, if anyone is brave or foolish enough to climb the crazy rocks and elude the raptors, they’ll have Daisy waiting for them? Loving this story!

  8. Alexis Duran says:

    Home sweet home? This is a great, vivid scene full of motion. (I’m also a fan of galumphing.)

  9. I LOVE the Jabberwock! This is the best little story and I’m prepared for anything, just please give us more! Wonderful snippet!

  10. Sarah W says:

    Still galumphin’ awesome, Caitlin! 😀

    I do wonder why he needs even more security, though—paranoid much?

    • caitlinstern says:

      Because he has awesome treasures in that tower, and people keep going on quests to liberate some of it, so they can restore a king to his throne, or rescue a princess, or slay a dragon…

      Get a reputation as a dark magician, and “heroes” just help themselves to your stuff. No manners!

  11. burnsmillie says:

    I love that the jabberwock galumphs : ). But of course, what else would it do? Keep up the good work on Nano!

  12. Hope NaNoWriMo is going well. Another beautiful and visual snippet. I love the descriptions.

  13. Evelyn Jules says:

    As if this isn’t already riveting enough, you bring in deadly raptors too?! You really have me on the edge of my seat with this story! Loving every minute of it! 🙂

  14. Hey there! It’s cool to get such a “realistic” interpretation of a jabberwock, since the poem is largely fun and entertaining nonsense. Bravo! Good to see you again.

    • caitlinstern says:

      It’s nonsense, but there’s quite a feel of danger to the jabberwock, isn’t there? Those “jaws that bite” and “claws that catch,” and “eyes of flame…” That is a beast with presence, even if it isn’t described in great detail. 🙂

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