Anger, by Michael Bilderback

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Pain throbbed through Byron with every breath. The ache of old bruises blended into the agony of fresh welts. Ragged breaths made his body tremble. His waster trembled in a shaky grip. Sweat had pasted his tunic to his chest like a skin. In contrast, the Maestro was still, sword and buckler poised in casual grace.

“Again”, Maethius Maestro intoned.

The maestro’s wooden blade began to move through the beginnings of the drill of the day. With deceptive speed, the waster cut the air lazily while Byron and Maethius stepped in rehearsed steps. All Byron needed to do was score a hit on the maestro and this pain would end for today.

The drill be damned!, thought Byron. Instead of dipping his sword into The Fool, Byron pushed his waster into The Wheel, knocking Maethius’ blade away. Byron wasted no time and stepped into a half lunge, waster thrusting at Maethius’ body.

The Maestro reacted with the skill of a sword master. He rolled with the thrust and wrapped his buckler arm around both of Byron’s arms. Maethius made a quick snap of his arms and calmly broke Byron’s right elbow.

The old aches went unnoticed in the wake of this new injury. The feeling was awful. His arm below the elbow hung limp, the waster falling out of his hand. There was no sensation there either. Nothing…yet the joint itself cried in agony.

Maethius released Byron’s arms. Byron sank to his knees, cradling his useless arm. Tears burned down his cheeks, gasp of pain racked his body.

“I will see you flogged for this!”, said Byron. “No House will have you when I am through with you!”

Maethius turned and loomed over Byron.

“I think Elizabeth Reina will see this as an object lesson in failure. One, you failed the assigned drill utterly. Two, you failed even to win when you changed the conditions. And three, you have failed to make me remotely concerned with your surprise.”

“Now, see if you can make it Zoya Voodez without failing that as well.”

Maethius heaved his waster and buckler into the far corner of the salle and stalked away. When the Maestro reached the door, he turned his head once last time.

“You may leave for the healer after you have seen to the equipment or I will see you flogged, you insolent whelp.”


Dinner Plans

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Aaron slammed the refrigerator door shut.


His sister stuck her head out of her room. “Something wrong?”

“What happened to the milk?”

She rolled her eyes. “It got up and walked away. I used the last of it in my coffee this morning. What’s the big deal?”

“The big deal,” he said through clenched teeth, “is that Stacey and her parents are coming over for dinner in an hour.”

She walked into the kitchen area. Aaron stood there in a white apron, with a mixing spoon in one hand. The contrast between that and the scowl on his face was funny, and Emily had to stifle a laugh. “And this is connected to the milk… how?”

“It’s connected because the salmon I’m making needs milk.”

“Then go get some. Hell, I’ll go, if you need me to. I don’t know why this is such a big deal.”

“Of course you don’t,” he muttered. He grabbed an egg from the carton and smashed it against the rim of the mixing bowl with such force it cracked in half. He swore, shaking yolk and eggshell from his hand.

Emily was finding this less and less funny. “No, I don’t. So why don’t you enlighten me?”

He made a big deal about washing his hands in the sink, not looking up at her. “You never liked her.”

“Who? Stacey?” she asked. She really wasn’t sure where this was coming from. “I like her just fine. I didn’t like Julia, and Laura was a bitch, but Stacey’s nice.”

“I’m glad you approve of her.”

“Hey, you’re the one who brought up my opinions, not me… Wait, are you suggesting I deliberately used up the milk to sabotage your dinner plans?”

“Don’t be silly,” he muttered, taking another egg and staring at it.

“I don’t think I’m the one being silly here.”

“Just forget it. I’ll get the milk myself.” He put the egg back in the carton and started to leave the kitchen, but Emily blocked his way.

“No. I’ll get the milk. You stay here and do… whatever else it is you need to do.” She stormed out and grabbed her jacket, yelling back at him as she pulled it on. “I’m not going to let you blame me with your passive-aggressive bullshit if something goes wrong! I’ll make sure that if this blows up in your face, it’ll be your fault!”

Emily slammed the front door shut.

Prompt: Anger

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This week’s prompt is anger.

Write one or more characters being angry at each other. The restriction is “show, don’t tell.” Phrases such as “She was livid with anger.” or “He said, angrily.” are not permitted.

Good luck and good writing!