Sneak Peeks

Wondering what to expect from our first magazine? We offer exclusive inside peeks into just two of the stories you will find within the cover of the OWS Ink: Literary Journal in April…

Ready?

From Chasing Legend by Stephanie Ayers:

The wind swirled around her in response and a game of tug of war commenced. The paper fluttered in her hands, yet she did not lose her grip. The corner waved, its symbol winking twice, branding itself in her mind, before it disappeared. She ignored the wind, the voice, everything but the trees. She locked her sight on the fur tree and stepped forward, trusting her feet to stay on the path. A bough reached out and caught her hair, and a root rose from the ground. She stumbled. One step, two steps. Her heart hammered her chest as the ground rose swiftly, yet she remained upright, her footing steady. Putrid green-gray fog hid the forest floor. She saw a hollow pyramid carved into the tree trunk to her right moments before the fog swallowed it.  She stepped forward only to be yanked back by the bough clutching her hair.

letters-637324_640“Let me go!” Katya twisted sharply, pain surging across her scalp as hair ripped from her head. She moved quickly, stepping to the base of the tree on her right, and searching wildly for the next symbol, burned against the exposed root of another tree. Each time she found one, the distance to the fur tree increased, even though she never moved away, always forward. The fur tree’s outer branches should be almost touchable, but they remained out of reach.

“Ugh!”

Rain pelted from the canvas, soaking her, a cold splash of hot anger.

There’s no escape.

The wind carried the voice to her ear, a frosty whisper that seeped through her marrow.

“I’m not listening!”

She stepped on the root so it could not trip her and studied the trees in front of her. She found the symbol leading to the fur tree like an engraved path. Her stomach lurched as the trees moved, changing the path, adding blocks, and shaking their branches.

We rule the forest. You do not belong here.

The tree in front of Katya grabbed her. A face formed on its trunk. A vine sneaked up her leg. She pulled the knife out, slashed at the vine, and it withdrew with a shriek. She sliced through the tender twigs holding her captive. Sap weeped from the wounds, and the tree wailed.

You evil girl! To maim a tree in this forest is a mortal wound! You will pay!

And from White Ivy by E.C. Jarvis:

Kane hauled the bearded man to the top deck and threw him at the feet of the Captain. Wind and rain pelted from all directions, the swell of the ocean spray spilled over the rail as the ship dipped from side to side.

The Captain stood as before, legs spread wide to balance against the ship’s movements. Her curls of hair became matted against her cheeks, bare chested, arms folded beneath her breasts. The eyes of the crew on deck locked onto the prisoner at her feet.

“Cursed. Women are a curse upon the ocean,” the prisoner shrieked. The Captain put her boot on his forehead and shoved hard sending him rolling end over end across the deck.

joseph-conrad1Roper stomped up on deck, still swinging a lantern. He was wrapped up tight in a long coat, hood pulled up over his bald head.

“Find out the man’s name for the log, Roper,” the Captain said.

“Aye,” Roper said. He shoved the lantern into Kane’s hands and stomped over to the prisoner thumping him once across the bridge of his nose. A spray of blood shot sideways, and the man grunted in pain. “Name,” Roper barked in his face.

“Cursed devils the lot of ye,” the prisoner spat. Kane’s eyes rolled again. At least if the babbling idiot was showing himself to be a complete moron, Kane’s punishment for disturbing the Captain’s slumber would hopefully be less severe. Roper thumped the man again.

“Enough. I don’t have time for this,” the Captain yelled. “If you won’t tell me your name then I’ll ask your friends, and if they won’t tell me, then I’ll just damn well make it up. Makes no odds to me if no one ever hears of you again.”

She marched forward, grabbed the man by the collar and dragged him a few steps along the deck. The prisoner stumbled and slipped, his legs spreading underneath his body. As he crashed down, he almost took the Captain down with him. In one move, the Captain grabbed the man, though his body was far larger and bulkier than her own, her sinewy arms swirled him around and smashed him into the rail with a grunt.

Kane watched on, knowing what was coming, but feeling no less in awe at seeing it. The Captain tipped the man up, grabbing at his ankles and plunged him over the side in one move. With the roar of the storm and the swell of the ocean, it was impossible to hear the splash as the man hit the water. The Captain stood by the side for a moment looking down, her back to the deck, her hair blowing wildly in all directions. Kane watched her as she no doubt watched to ensure the loud-mouthed prisoner hadn’t been lucky enough to catch the side of the ship as they passed. Eventually she turned and marched over to Roper. “Take the rest of the Night Guard shift. You come with me,” she said pointing at Kane.

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