Shawna Smart got tired of just slayin’ around the garden…

(here an intern at A Word with You Press appears to be truly bummed that the editor-in-chief wields his editorial sword the old fashioned way rather than relying on Dragon Speak) Snow on the ground today, Literati covering the ground like confectioner’s sugar all around the towers that are A Word with You Press.  And …

(here an intern at A Word with You Press appears to be truly bummed that the editor-in-chief wields his editorial sword the old fashioned way rather than relying on Dragon Speak)

Snow on the ground today, Literati

covering the ground like confectioner’s sugar all around the towers that are A Word with You Press.  And speaking of sweet things, I was delighted to find the cyber post-person delivered a story from one of our favorite fable-ers, Shawna Smart. We haven’t had a story from her in a while, but just a reminder that she earned the respect of many and the ire of a few by winning our Cat Ass Trophy contest a while back.  Welcome back, my dear!

Have you not yet entered for a chance to wine a date–oops!–win a date (what was I thinking???) with Kristine ROSE Grant? Phone date with the famed relationship goddess is only one of the prizes you can win in our A Dozen Roses from a Single Thorn: A Valentine’s Day Contest. Here be the rules that beg to be followed or broken:

http://www.awordwithyoupress.com/2014/01/15/roses-and-chocolates-and-thorns-oh-my-our-first-contest-of-2014/

And here is

Another Day in Paradise

by Shawna Smart

The Day of Roses and Wine appeared in good time.

I made my offering to the Goddess of Love, stopped to get my war braids chopped off, body sluiced clean, face scraped free of whiskers, and then I slew a troublesome dragon who’d pestered the main castle garden for a week.

Afterwards, my quivering legs threatened to fail after too many close ups of the great lizard’s fangs, each as long as me arms, and I plopped down on the closest garden bench, blowing out hasty breaths, and sobbing a bit for the ones that perished by my sword.

Catching a warm trickle of sweat racing for my unprotected eye with a sleeve corner, I accepted a liter of ice water from our groundskeeper and sucked it down as quickly as I dared.

Wouldn’t do to founder now, not when I couldn’t be sure I would not have to fight again in a moment. The incongruous carcass of the dragon I’d just killed lay in flagrant death in the center of the garden, its hot black blood dripping, creeping and pooling in smoking pools that ate with ferocious glee into the crafted surfaces of the ordered landscape.

I could see far down the path the princess, riding in the clean white saddle of a sleek steam horse bristling with wood, leather and shiny bits of chrome-flashed edges and spikes, snooping ahead with its sherbet orange solar-spark eye lamps, spearing questionable objects with brilliant probing finger lights.

She stopped a long moment just before she passed me, her face turned to the hulk of the smoking corpse lying on her tiled patio before moving on, with nary a glance for me, the hopeful slayer of an incredibly tough and nasty dragon.

Slapping irritably at the variety of biting flies swarming about after all that fuss and fury, I felt a deep sweep of mistrust for my best friend, who came hurrying along after seeing the end of my fight and the reaction of the lady I hoped to woo from the distant kitchens, wiping his pale freckled fingers on his grease-washed shirt.

He cleared his throat, looking at the mess before us and then at the empty path, me still sitting, now overheated, foolish, wet and bloody, and alone in the baking light of the sun.

“Well I am sorry,” he muttered, an embarrassed look clouding his face. “My dad swore that killing a dragon loosens the thigh strings of any maiden, but I guess it was only a rumor.”

The silence became something ponderous.

He grinned and offered me something clutched in a flour-spattered hand.

“Rose petal cookie?”

With a scream I launched myself at him, and we had a fine roll in the garden, among the stinging flies and the pools and black blood.

It was just another day in paradise.

5 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    “Another Day In Paradise” tasted rich, succulent and savored around my tongue, the battle thick within my throat as a war fought with haunting memories of those he has slain in battle becomes an attempted stage for seduction. But a warrior is after all a warrior and a peaceful, innocent maid is herself. It is written that one only gets one first impression. Steaming, bloody, dragon dead in a garden from a sweaty, worn thin warrior is hardly a turn on gentleman and so the carriage must pass, the opportunity to wed dashed, leaving only the playful banter of male friends celebrating their lives. They will be live another day which to a warrior is all the paradise he will be left with. The death of the romance is as certain as the death of the dragon. The warrior and the maid will live on, but without each other’s love.

    I wished to add that your writing Shana Smart is of a very high caliber in vocabulary, meter, imagery and my favorite which is imagination laced with creativity. Thank you for sharing your story with this admiring reader.

  2. Ken Weene says:

    What every knight knows: Never leave the smoldering corpse of a dragon around for maidens to see. Bring them the head only and on a platter. They see that hulk and mess and immediately figure they’ll be cleaning up after you. Ah well, better to have a good cookie than a supercilious one.

  3. Diane Cresswell says:

    I love this. You have such incredible detail in this story that I was standing next to the great dragon fighter and felt his loss. Alas… fighting dragons aren’t always a sure bet to win a lady’s heart, especially if she likes dragons!!!! What a grown up fairy tale this would be if you enlarged it a bit – but not dragon large. Sometimes its not that great to be a dragon slayer. Love’s supercilious ways.

  4. Stars Fall On My Heart
    Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    I thought women LIKED heroes? What happened? Was that her pet dragon he slew? Was she mad about the blood making a mess? Or did another prince slay another beast of her liking?

    Maybe the dragon should have been his offering to the Goddess of Love <3 This was a fun read!

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