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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 new WIP–“Discovering Gremlins.” Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination, despite a shadow following him home. The next day, he breaks his phone screen, his shower sprays water everywhere, the subway car he’s on is delayed more than an hour–after lunch Harry (she of I.T. fame) pushes him into her office and tells him she can fix his gremlin problem–and sends him to buy an expensive sound system, then go home.

Previous snippet: At least his red, sweaty face helped sell that he felt ill from lunch, and soon he was on his way to buying that expensive apology.

He watched the digits climb on the register’s readout grimly, thinking that if Harry was messing with him, he’d slip laxatives into her lunch randomly for months.

At least schlepping the boxes back wasn’t as difficult as he feared. Like plenty of expensive purchases, they weren’t very large, fitting easily into a single bag. He folded his arms around the bag on the subway, watching every flicker of shadow out of the corner of his eyes, and flinching at every groan and lurch of the subway car.

He texted Harry, “almost home.”

She sent back a thumbs up.

“This better work,” he muttered, stuffing his phone back into his pocket. When he stepped off on his stop, his nerves had frayed from every creak and smudge.

Perching on a retaining wall outside his apartment, he waited impatiently for Harry to appear.




He checked his phone for a text, a call, an email–anything to tell him that Harry was on her way.


After a half hour, his rear numb, he pushed himself up, gathered the bag he’d tucked under his legs for safe keeping, and climbed the steps to his building. He’d be careful not to touch anything complex, and avoid all the electronics he could. Maybe he could make this apology on his own.

He couldn’t wait out here for hours–if Harry was really concerned about the danger, she’d have texted him back by now.

“How dangerous can they really be?” he muttered as he trudged warily to his room.

Seth set out each box with the sound system components Harry had listed, arranging them so the pictures and logos faced up, creating the prettiest circle he could.

“I’m really sorry,” he said to the empty room, keeping his eyes fixed on the boxes, “I didn’t mean to—I didn’t mean to upset you…”

Not a bad start, except for the stumble where he’d almost said something about their stupid rules.

*    *    *

Gremlins have camouflage magic, and a way of making people who catch just a glimpse forget them. This is good for humanity, because they’re powerfully ugly, and react violently to being discovered. But when Seth hits his head and lands on the floor right next to a gremlin, he sees it… and it notices that he’s done so. Things are about to go downhill for Seth.


Do y’all remember the NaNoWriMo from last year I shared here? It started like this:

“We should have left the party earlier,” Alix said, glancing around the darkening woods, her stomach knotting with fear over what would soon be lurking in them. Everyone knew that the goblins that came to the markets during the day were pretty safe, so long as you followed the rules. But the goblins who came out at night… the rules about them were so restrictive, it was easy to go wrong.

“You worry too much,” her cousin Stephanie, hunched on her bike seat, slurred, then hiccupped.

They should have skipped that second drink, too. Then they would have been back at the dorm right now, safe and sound, but at the rate they were pedaling, they would be caught out by the night.

Alix’s stomach lurched, and so did her bike handles, veering to the side and dumping her to the ground as if her trusty ten-speed had transformed into a bucking bronco. Groaning, she rubbed her bruised rear, and tried to stand, the world swimming around her. Before she could get upright, she lurched to her hands and knees to be sick.

Behind her, Stephanie leaned her bike against a tree, and wobbled over to gather up Alix’s hair in one hand, and pat her on the back with the other, murmuring soothing and mostly incoherent phrases until the attack was over.

“You feeling better?” Stephanie asked, when the retching had stopped for a while, and Alix had sat back, scooting away. She released her cousin’s hair with a final pat on her back.

Grumbling a noise that vaguely resembled agreement, Alix stood slowly, and when the world—and her stomach—didn’t revolt, rummaged in her backpack for a stick of gum. Finding a battered lone survivor on the bottom, she held it up in triumph before sticking the gum in her mouth, and folding the wrapper into her jean’s pocket.

 Rubbing tears out of her blue eyes, she kicked leaves and dirt over the mess she’d left, then hunted for her cousin, just realizing that Stephanie wasn’t waiting for her against a tree.

“We should—” she began, but Stephanie cut her off with a laugh.

“Enough should for right now! I’m going to stretch my legs a bit. Come on, Alix!” She started walking, scuffing her feet though the fallen leaves, her stride wavering from side to side.

“Steph! Get back here!” Alix demanded, then regretted it when Stephanie tossed her head, curled sandy blonde hair flying around her face, and took off running through the trees.

I finally, finally got to the end of the first draft (the first time I’ve ever done so!), and I need Beta readers. Mostly concerned with continuity errors, repeated words, and any places that just don’t make sense or need elaboration.

Any volunteers? Send me an email through my “contact me” link at the top of the blog. Thanks for all your encouragement that helped me get this far!

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.

20 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    While I hope for his sake this takes care of his gremlin issues, I’m not terribly hopeful.

  2. He’s still in major trouble and where the heck is Harry?

  3. Oh dear, probably not the smartest move to proceed without Harry to help! But I’m sure this will get even more interesting as a result LOL. Great story so far, enjoyed the excerpt!

  4. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Oh, I hope Seth can figure this out without doing anything to make them more mad with him.

    And congrats on finishing your story! I look forward to reading it when published. 🙂

  5. Alexis Duran says:

    I don’t think this is going to go well. Just a feeling 😉

  6. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Where is Harry? I’m not sure what he’s doing will fix his problem. I’m curious to find out.

  7. I’m worried something’s happened to Harry. More gremlin mischief, probably!

  8. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Uh oh. Somebody’s in trouble.

  9. Hywela Lyn says:

    Oh I hope this works, but I have a feeling he may have blown it somehow!

  10. Diane Burton says:

    You can’t fix the problem this early in the story–even if we all hope so. Good job making us all suspicious.

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