Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned

Finish the Story: Darkness


Join in for a lighthearted, no-pressure writing prompt. Leave your perfectionist at the door and follow a dangling story thread to see where it leads you.

I always post my story doodle in the comments, and I’d absolutely love to see yours as well if you feel comfortable sharing it!

The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before …


  • The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before the sun rose.

    The smothering darkness was his only cloak. His only protection from the Sun Gods.

    Free Humans weren’t allowed in the Sun God realm.

    If you were seen, you were a slave. If you weren’t in your appointed location, you were a disobedient slave. Beaten and sent to the work gangs on the next Great Pyramid for the Gods.

    Of course, if you weren’t in the Sun God realm, you were in the Realm of Shadows.

    Free to scrabble in the dusty fields for food. Free to compete with monsters once thought mythological for too-slim resources.

    Still, even that was considered far preferable to a blistering life in the Sun.

    No one outside of stories told by elders around campfires had crossed the border and returned.

    No one in his village had ever even considered crossing.

    No one until him.

    He cradled his burden closer to his chest and ignored the burning of his lungs, the rock-hard strain of his thighs.

    In the distance behind him, the cry of an eagle sounded an alarm.

    He ran faster. He could almost see the border.

    No, he COULD see the border. Panicked, he realized dawn was upon him.

    He dared not turn back. Not even when his imagination turned early morning breeze into the hot downdrafts from eagle-winged Sun Gods.

    One hundred feet.



    Another eagle scream shattered the last of the darkness as his foot crossed the sharp border from hot sand to muddy swamplands.

    He did not stop, even though he knew his persuers could no longer easily spot him against the open expanse of desert sands.

    A boat, half-hidden beneath tree fronds pushed into a shallow swamp. Hands shaking as he lowered his bundle to his lap and began paddling away.

    He’d done it.

    He’d broken the peace.

    The Sun Gods would not forgive this. The reaction would be horrible. Thousands would die. If history remembered him, it would be as a villain.

    He didn’t care.

    Anything would be better than this life of cringing in shadows.

    The bundle stirred and let out a curious chirp, one golden feather falling from a fold of cloth to land in a metallic clatter against the bottom of the boat.

    War was coming to the land, and with it — change.

  • Not the biggest fan of this particular one…but this is what I had.


    The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before the spell ended.

    Gritting his teeth, he ignored the sting of sweat in his eyes and the burning pain in his muscles as he reached up for the next handhold.

    “One step at a time,” he muttered to himself through gritted teeth. “Just one step at a time.” He reached for the next hold as he spoke. “First climb up this stupid cliff, then recharge the crystal, then be a hero.”

    The darkness was absolute. The soul merchant had really come through for him this time, this spell was choice. If it wasn’t for the feel of gravity’s gentle drag, he wouldn’t even have known he was on a cliff.

    “One step,” he muttered again, jerking his head around in a quick shake in an attempt to clear the sweat dropping from his brow.

    The darkness was absolute. But after spending this much time moving up the cliff face under its aegis, he felt he could almost see the cliff in front of him. It was like his mind just knew where the next handhold was to reach for. For instance, the next one would be there, just above his right hand. The edges of the stone would be sharp and craggy against his fingers. The next one was above that and to his left. It would be thinner, and sharper than the right one, so he’d have to hang on with the tips of his fingers. And the next one would…

    He paused for a second. It wasn’t as if he could see the next handhold. He could see it.

    “Aw, shit,” he muttered and began to climb with renewed vigor as a surge of adrenaline poured into his system.

    The spell was wearing off.

    “I knew it was too good to be true,” he said as he forced his flagging limbs to greater speed. “I knew it!”

    Like a dream upon waking, the thick darkness that had covered his ascent up the cliff face began to wisp away to nothing.

    It wasn’t enough. The spell had run out too soon. The top of the cliff was…

    “Oh,” he said with surprise. “Right here.”

    He turned his head to look back as the last of the darkness faded. There was a glow building up on the top of the hill behind him as the Aspect charged up her shot.

    With a grunt of effort, he levered himself to the top of the cliff and stood in triumph. He’d made it! They’d said the wall couldn’t be climbed with the Aspect on guard. They’d stated that Kethenecia was out of reach to the people of the valley, and yet here he stood, triumphant.

    “I did it!” He screamed into the morning sky.

    A brief flash of light glinted on the hilltop and his eyes widened in surprise.

    Standing at the top of the cliffside, he threw himself to the ground in a reckless dodge as a searing bolt of light flared toward him, slamming into the top of the cliff with a crash loud enough to end the world. Splinters of rock peppered his face as he looked up with wide-eyed shock.

    Right, so maybe taunting the immortal guardian of the wall wasn’t the best idea he’d ever had.

    Keeping his head down and low to the surface, he crawled along toward the other end of the wall.

    Surely, getting past the Aspect was the hard part?

    He was sure that finally, his adventure would begin.

Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned