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Friday Flash: "Burning Books"

It's that time again for my bi-weekly feature, "Friday Flash," featuring flash fiction stories that I've written either in the past or that are brand new, depending on how I'm inspired. Many of the stories were originally written on the (now gone) story-sharing site storypraxis.

I plan to have these stories on the blog for 2-3 months and then move them over to Free Reads so that you can easily find them all in one place.
Burning Books

There are three things I know I should never do:

  1. Murder
  2. Marry for love
  3. Burn books

Apparently these things lead to the ‘destruction of civilized society.’ It’s not what nice girls do: kill people, or marry someone who can’t advance their social standing, or set fire to literature.

So why am I standing on the parapet of this tower, my skirts kissing the zephyr, my hands trembling and clutching the mismatched objects I hold as if they’re the only thing that matter?

Perhaps it’s because they are.

One thing after another is all it took. My mother arranged the meeting with Thomas. Second-cousin twice removed, all very legal and very good for our family’s position. Family be damned. He stunk of herring and tobacco, and his doublet smelled as though he’d just slaughtered the creature and thrown its hide across his expansive girth.  

My weak ankle wavers and my breath catches as I thrust my arms out for balance.

A few moments more are all I need.

Thomas. He was nothing like Henry. Poor Henry, whose deep brown eyes I wanted to swim in for the rest of eternity. Eternity. What does that even mean? How could we ever know?

I should be concerned about this, as an active contributor to the destruction of civilized society. But I don’t care.

I hope Henry finds someone worthy of him. I no longer am. I hope he learns the truth and does what I cannot. He deserves to marry out of love, and nothing more.

Over the edge of the tower, I can see the shadowy outline of Thomas’s body, splayed on the smooth, cobbled path that leads to this place. Romantic, they call it. How little they understand.

No future. No love. No hope. My soul is already damned, if that means anything.

Two objects in my hands. I place the heavy book on one of the crenels, bracing myself between the merlons. A tiny box of matches in my other hand slides open. One match is all it will take.

I strike it against stone, and a flame flickers to life. The book beckons to the flame, but now is not the time. I have committed Sin Number One. I almost committed Sin Number Two. I will not commit Sin Number Three, but allow this book to rest here, my words within, in desperation that someone—anyone—will follow the instructions within. Henry needs to know.

I touch the flame to the hem of my dress. I step forward and the air rushes around me, its caresses turning to anger.

I will not burn books. I will not marry for love.

But I’m done with civilized society.

Besides, two out of three isn’t bad.   


"Waiting On" Wednesday: "Ashes in the Sky"

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly feature started by Breaking the Spine blog, where upcoming and anticipated books are spotlighted -- there's a massive sign-up list where you can visit all the bloggers who are participating in the event, so if you want to check out more up-and-coming books, do head over there and take a look! 
Typically, only one book is showcased at a time, making it incredibly difficult to choose which one to talk about...but I'm going to go ahead and start this off with one of my publisher sisters' books that I can't wait to read. 
I read the first book, Fire in the Woods, a few weeks back in anticipation of this new release. If you like YA science fiction with a contemporary bent, this might be right up your alley. :D
*WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead for the first book, Fire in the Woods, so if you haven't read it and plan to, just head HERE for its GoodReads page and start there!*

Ashes in the Sky (Fire in the Woods, Books #2) -- Jennifer M. Eaton

Releases: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Description from GoodReads:
After inadvertently saving the world, eighteen-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school.

Though when she's offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien space ship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she'd be crazy to turn something like that down, right?

Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages and the two seem to pick up right where they left off. But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David's efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David's advanced tech nor Jess's smarts will be able to save them.

ASHES IN THE SKY is an action-packed, romantic Sci Fi adventure that will leave readers screaming for more.
Want to learn more about Jennifer's work and stories? Head to her website right here and check it out!
Reminder: Book #1 is Fire in the Woods