Halloween Flash Fiction by Valerie Storm #YAFantasy

It took them the better part of an hour to return home and change into the “costumes” his mother had chosen for them for “Halloween.” A scowling Kari plucked at a floor-length black dress dotted with twinkling star-like beads. The sheer sleeves went to her elbows and the neckline dipped far too much for her liking.

Ari’s hand appeared in her view, then his fingers tilted her chin up. He was dressed in an emerald tailcoat, dark undershirt, and dark pants. Kari’s eyebrows rose.

He chuckled. “You look beautiful.”

Kari ran a thumb over one of his tailcoat buttons. “You, too.”

Ari grinned and took her hand. “As I was changing, Mother popped in. She said she’ll meet us in the square.” He squeezed her. “Let’s go. I…I didn’t want to say anything, but I’m hoping Revi will make an appearance.”

Kari’s heart tweaked at the hope in his eyes. She pushed away the annoying concern tickling the back of her mind.

Where is Guine?

They left the house and descended the hill. Beneath a night sky, Raziac’s square was lit in a myriad of colors. Purples, oranges, yellows, greens—and beneath those lights, Kari could make out the hundred-or-so villagers dressed in pretty frocks, dresses, and vests.

“Let’s go over there first,” Ari said, leading her to the eastern side of town—where Linus’ men had set up a table of ale.

Kari giggled. They followed a path of candles and carved gourds. Wilcoth, Linus’ lieutenant, was dressed in a shiny vest that accented his broad shoulders well.

“Lord!” he said, handing them each a cup of ale. He lifted his own cup and raised it. “To Goddess Mina!”

Ari copied him and they drank deeply. Kari drank too, without the fanfare—she had no need for human gods.

“Wilcoth,” she broke in before he could wander off, “have you seen Guine?”

Wilcoth frowned thoughtfully. “Hm…maybe? It’s been a blur, honestly. Linus had me setting up all the candles.”

Ari slid his arm around her waist and pulled her close.

“We’ll find him.”

Wilcoth smiled at them, then his attention shot over their heads. His eyes widened and he dropped his cup. Ale splattered Kari’s black leather boots.

“LORD!” Wilcoth shouted.

Ari and Kari whirled around just as a cacophony of screams broke out. Villagers ran past them, children crying, adults lifting them and escaping as fast as they could.

Galloping behind them was an atrocious creature: some kind of bat-goat-scorpion hybrid. It flapped mighty wings that were still no match to its bulging, four-legged body. A jagged-tipped tail whipped the air as it hurtled through the square, right to Kari and Ari.

Ari didn’t have his bow and arrow—she’d seen him leave it in the entrance hall, thinking there’d be no need for them for one night. So, Kari ran in front of them and threw her hands to the sky with a hoarse cry.

Thunder roared, then lightning snapped across the sky. A second later a bolt flashed down, engulfing the abomination in a burning, blinding blast that sent dirt flying.

Baring her teeth, Kari flexed her claws, ready to continue the fight if need be—she’d seen abominations like this before; what if it was one of Raven’s?—but when the smoke cleared…

The creature was gone.

Kari stilled, stunned.

Clapping made her ear twitch. Guine emerged from behind the smith, shaking his head and lowering his hands.

“Nice. Thought it’d last a little longer than that…”

It took a second for his words to register. Then the pieces connected. A creature…impossible. An illusion—magic—Guine.

“How dare you?!” she demanded.

“Halloween, right?” he asked innocently. “Time for scaring people?”


Heart of the Storm
Demon Storm
Book Four
Valerie Storm

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing
Date of Publication: 9/13/23
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-956883-14-5
Number of pages:410
Word Count:101219
Cover Artist: @Ginkahederling

A fresh start. An old home, new again.  And a new evil to match.

Crimson eyes and dark wings. Together, they'll be terrible. Can she break free?

Their light is broken. When a new darkness rises, will they overcome it?

Book Description:

More than night terrors keep Kari awake at night. Ari languishes beside her, broken by the horrors Raven bestowed upon him.

She hopes he heals, and soon.

When a familiar presence and an unexplainable human with magic happen upon their doorstep, Kari and Ari make a decision: leave Raziac Village in search of answers and a new home.

But the heart eater waits for them.


Kari pushed away her steak, half-eaten. “Can this place be real?”

            Rathik looked up from his turkey. “Sometimes I can’t believe it myself, and I headed the revolution.”

Ari leaned over his plate, eyes widening. “You did? How?”

“From within the town itself. I was on the guard. I hid myself, too.” Rathik looked at Kari. “My commanding officer believed I had a skin disease.”

A sudden memory pricked her attention. The day she’d run into a guard in Snow Shade—after stealing the magic book for Kiki—she’d glimpsed scales on that man’s face and forgotten all about it.

Guine snorted. “Nice.”

            Rathik inclined his head. “My position enabled me to sneak demons in. I was just trying to help sickly ones at first. Eventually my name—different than the one I used as a guard—became infamous.” He laughed, shaking his head, and took a sip of ale.

            “I…I remember your name. Rathik.” Kari wracked her brain, remembering the first bolt of lightning she had called down; it had been glorious, though it also represented the first time she had felt the burning fire of the Catalyst. She’d been attacked by a demon yelling about a Rathik.

            Rathik grimaced. “I became a rallying point for many demons in the north, and it wasn’t long until the Lord Isaac was looking for me.”

            Kari, nodded, recalling that, too.

“Lord Isaac became frantic, especially when a man and his wife were found dead in their homes. He ordered searches, and it wasn’t long before my friends were found out. One died, trying to protect the others.”

Kari’s throat tightened. Ari shifted so she could grab his arm. Guine glanced at them.

“It was me,” she muttered in a hoarse whisper.

“What?” Rathik asked.

“It was my fault your friend died. I…I was the one who killed those two humans.”

She’d had no choice, she’d told herself, yet that hadn’t been true. How many times had Kiki tried to convince her they could run away without leaving any bodies behind? And Kari had refused, sure that killing Anne and Joseph was the only true way to honor her parents.

If she’d listened, Kiki may have lived, and Rathik’s friend wouldn’t have died.

Rathik leaned over the table. “No. Trust me, Kari. It was only a matter of time before Lord Isaac snapped. Even Dorn, from Isaac’s council, said he was well on his way to madness without anyone’s help.”

“He’s right,” Ari said, rubbing her. “Even we’d heard some stories in Raziac. You aren’t to blame for his actions.”

Kari caught Guine’s eye, his expression indiscernible, then frowned at her plate.

            Rathik nodded. “His own people saw it. Some of them helped us, guiding our peaceful speeches to fellow humans, and reconciling began. Now we have this.”

            He waved his hand, gesturing at the room.

            “Even though I’d heard of the revolution, I can hardly believe my eyes,” Ari said. “This place is unimaginable.”



About the Author:

Valerie Storm was raised in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up, she fell in love with everything fantasy. When she wasn’t playing video games, she was writing. By age ten, she began to write her own stories as a way to escape reality. When these stories became a full-length series, she considered the path to sharing with other children & children at heart looking for a place to call home.

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