I ride across the meadow as the sun crests the horizon, rising into the morning sky, tinting the early morning mist with a soft rosy glow. It is a beautiful morning, only the birdsong, the pounding beats of Abraxas’ hooves and the huffs of his breath break the silence as we canter towards the gentle slope of sakura woodland to the south. 

That peace will soon be broken though. I’m riding this way with purpose; to take down the Mongol deserter. Just drawing first blood will be enough with this one. He’s already proven his inefficiency and that he is unworthy of his place in the Mongol army. But then, they stand little chance against the Samurai, it’s hardly surprising that he’s chosen to run. Why is it always the beautiful places that are tainted by battle? Already I can imagine the blood staining those petals that float like snowflakes in the gentle breeze. 

The sky has already lost the rose-pink tinge. The clouds and mist burn away in the warming sunshine as it rises. I can imagine living here, a peaceful retreat amongst the cherry trees, to be showered every spring in a delicate snowfall of pink blossom.

My concentration snaps into place. There he is, hiding amongst the dense shrubbery. I’d known I’d find him there; coward. I slither down from the saddle, draw my katana, and head towards him with confident strides.

My katana clashes with his great sword, both of us on the offence. Sweat beads my brow as I dance lightly around him, trying to slip under his guard. His muscles ripple with each stroke, the strength in his sword arm should be lethal. I slip aside, easily.

Sparks fly as our blades caress. We disengage and he pounces, more quickly than his bulk suggests, sword in an overhead strike.

“Not today!” I scream. Dodging sideways, I hook my foot around his ankle. Off-balance, he stumbles. My blade nicks his throat.

“Boo-yah!” I shout into my headset, “Girls rule!”

Mike groans. “Jess, you’re intolerable when you win.”

“Another round?” I ask, gripping the controller.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

Carrie, I did not expect that ending at all! You had me glued to the screen from the first line! This is a fabulous story and I absolutely love the twist at the end. You have a way with describing scenes so well. It is like one could smell the petals, feel the heat and hear the weapons clashing. Well done!

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

I totally agree, there are so many great stories to read. I really enjoy the different writing styles too.

Genya Johnson
Genya Johnson (@genya-johnson)
1 year ago

The ending was totally unexpected. I never saw this coming. The descriptions were so vivid and visual. A great story.

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Zena Wilde
Zena Wilde (@zena-wilde)
1 year ago

This is great! I love how vividly you describe the setting – absolutely loved the twist as well! Completely unexpected and made me smile.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
1 year ago

Yeees, the ‘girls rule’ twist made me jump and smile, Carrie.

Susan Giles
Susan Giles (@susan-giles)
1 year ago

Well, Carrie, you had me pulled in and fooled until the very end! Very well written, I laughed at the turn of events. Thanks for the story.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 year ago

Yep, you fooled us all Carrie! The back story, the battle, every word was enthralling and worthy of applause. The twist at the end was the cherry on the cake. Brilliant!

Lydia E Atzemian
Lydia E Atzemian (@lydia-e-atzemian)
1 year ago

As a very large fan of anime as well as a girl with multiple male cousins, I was thrilled.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

Your description of nature and anticipation in the first part are very well made, Carrie, as well as your way of putting suspense into action and fight. The end turns everything around in a hilarious, totally surprising way. Very good work!

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Ha, ha Carrie, you are always full of surprises, a very vivid and entertaining write, well done.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

A wonderful twist ending, Carrie! But also a thoughtful glimpse at a very real piece of history. I love the line ‘Why is it always the beautiful places that are tainted by battle?’. Very well done 🙂

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Nice twist, Carrie. I never expected it. Well done!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

You’re welcome, Carrie.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
1 year ago

Hi Carrie, congratulations!

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 year ago

Congratulations Carrie! I loved this one.  ?  ?  ? 

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 year ago

Congratulations, Carrie! This story had me hooked from the exciting beginning to the unexpected and fun ending!

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Congratulations Carrie.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

Congratulations to you, Carrie.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

Congratulations, Carrie! This was such a fun story with a great ending.

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