This 8-10 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!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix calls for the King Under the Mountain, and is allowed to try to bring Stephanie back, going through a gate with two guard goblins who then vanish. She has spent an uneventful day wandering the beach, fallen asleep, and woken the next day.




Alix jerked awake, torn from uneasy dreams by a loud, repetitive noise. She sat up, and something large attacked her. A flurry of white and gray dove at her head, and she jumped to her feet and stumbled back.

The whistling cries and flapping motion resolved into an enormous bird, its wingspan nearly as wide as she was tall, or near enough for something so determined to harm her. The bird dove at her again, and she covered her head with her arms, a sharp peck sending up a flare of pain as she retreated, blindly, further from the animal. Stumbling over a fallen piece of driftwood, she narrowly avoided falling, catching herself in an awkward half-crouch.

In a hollow carved into the sand a few feet in front of her, she saw a bird’s nest, with two eggs resting in it.

“Oh,” Alix stared at the nest in surprise until the sea bird swooped on her again, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”


*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They have just left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and are biking back to the dorms in the evening.

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.

33 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I can relate to this snippet. When I lived in bear country, I and others feared the day we might have to explain to momma bear that stepping between her and the cubbies was a total accident.
    Also, since this is a WIP, I’ll mention that in this phrase — “white and gray dove” — I read the last word as the type of bird, not as a verb.

  2. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Only more obstacles to prevent her from finding her cousin. You’re definitely not making it easy for her. But, I’m really enjoying the snippets. Well done!

  3. naomi shaw says:

    I love this snippet. They’d better get out of the way of that bird, and quick

  4. Oh dear, she has to be more careful! Dramatic scene…

  5. Nothing about this is getting any easier. 🙂 Good scene!

  6. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    She better step away from that nest now! Great snippet.

  7. Botanist says:

    People often think of birds as small and harmless, but if you’ve ever been harried by an angry gull or crow defending their young you’d certainly know different! Very convincing.

  8. nancygideon says:

    Mamas protecting their young can be mighty unforgiving. I hope this one proves to be charitable.

  9. Yikes, that was kinda freaky!

  10. Hywela Lyn says:

    I like the way she apologises to the bird – but I agree with all the above comments, mamma birds can be very aggressive when defending their babies, like most animals. I hope she manages to sooth its ruffled feathers!

  11. daryldevore says:

    Mama never likes threats to her young – no matter what the species – love her apology .

  12. elainecsc2013 says:

    That was a nice excerpt. I understand the bird now.

  13. Carrie-Anne says:

    That’s a very good reason for a bird to attack someone! It’s one of the most natural instincts, across most of the animal kingdom.

  14. Alexis Duran says:

    What a rude awakening. But considering where she is, I guess it could have been a lot worse.

  15. Jenna Jaxon says:

    She’d better get the hell out of Dodge before that bird gets serious about attacking!

  16. Diane Burton says:

    Uh oh. Mama is not happy. At least, Alix knows why the bird is attacking her. Now, she needs to get out of there. Good job putting her into more danger.

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