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!)

This is a snippet from my yet-to-be-completed NaNoWriMo story, Black Ink Plague, a fantasy about inkbloods, people who were left at the roots of a magic tree as babies, and can use charcoal from those trees to write and cast spells.

The main character, an inkblood called Liar, cast a spell to kill the gang leader called Cin, and accepted payment from the gang’s second in command, then traveled to a nicer part of town, where she was let into a home by a disapproving butler.


It wasn’t long before a woman stepped into the room, skirts rustling. Her silver dress contrasted her warm brown skin, her dark hair arranged in curls that Liar knew were mostly a wig, framing a strong face that the years had been kind to.

“Will it be just you, today?” Liar asked, standing.

“Yes, my husband is busy at the moment,” the woman replied.

“Give Father my greetings, then,” Liar pulled out a small bag of money from her purse, setting it on the table next to her chair, along with the book she had been reading, “I only came by to bring you this.”

“And what kind of job did you do, to earn that?” Her mother asked, dark eyes fixed on the bag, cool distaste wrinkling her nose.

*    *    *

Black Ink Plague is set in a world similar to ours, with the addition of the Rakau tree, which has magical properties–charcoal or ink from the tree can be used to cast spells. However, only inkbloods, babies who were left overnight at a Rakau tree’s roots on their first full moon, can harvest and use the tree. The price they pay for their magic is that the ink infects them, staining their skin and eventually forming words from the spells they cast on their skin. These words change their lives in unexpected ways.


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.

21 responses »

  1. Yes it’s fiction but you’ve captured this mother’s heart with your words.

  2. Alexis Duran says:

    Didn’t see that coming! Awesome job of setting us up for a subtly delivered but powerful emotional hit.

  3. Sarah W says:

    Okay, so this pinnacle of maternal affection (“my husband”?) is the one who left her newborn under a magic tree all night? And she finds the result—who is bringing her money to support her silver-dress lifestyle, I presume—distasteful?

    Nice lady you wrote. 😀

  4. Woah! I did not see this coming! Her parents? Talk about a twist. Great 8!

  5. Kim Magennis says:

    Thank you for that snippet. I love how you introduce the idea that her family life is complex and fraught with all sorts of sore spots.

  6. I’m with the other commenters, really a terrific plot twist and makes me feel more sympathy for Liar (as well as giving me lots of questions inagoodway). Really enjoying the story…today’s snippet was GREAT.

  7. Ooh, I have a feeling she’s not going to like Liar’s answer. Awesome snippet!

  8. ralfast says:

    Second wives and first children almost never mix.

  9. Kate Warren says:

    Mama might want to be careful not to upset Liar. If I had a kid with powers, I’d be REALLY nice to that kid.

  10. Carrie-Anne says:

    I loved the twist at the end, and of course your descriptions.

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