Hot Air

Writing Exercise

Blood flows from her nose.

“I-I’m warning you,” she stutters.

The boy in front of her laughs. “What are you gonna do, Oxy? Blow a puff of air at me?” His hand ignites with flames. “Even for an air manipulator, you’ve always been weak.”

“I’m not an air manipulator,” Oxy says. Her eyes flick over to the panel of bored judges. They don’t think she deserves to be a student at Olympia Heights Academy, the foremost school for metahuman studies in the country. It’s why they paired her with Pyrotech for the entrance exam.

Pyro rushes forward. He’s stronger. Faster. He pins her to the ground, raining blows against her face and chest that sear her skin. Oxy screams in agony.

“You can barely make the air move, Oxy,” Pyro laughs, one arm poised savagely overhead. “You really think you’re enough?”

“I told you, I don’t manipulate air.” Through a mouthful of blood, Oxy grins. “I manipulate oxygen.”

His flaming hand erupts as the pure oxygen she shoves around his body ignites.

Pyro lands on the other side of the testing field, unconscious. Oxy lays flat on the ground, breathing heavily. After a long, exhausted moment, she stands with shaking legs. She glares at the shocked judges.

“And yeah. I’m enough.”

Gnarly P.I.

Writing Exercise

Gnarly cracked open a bottle of Brosia and poured the frothing mixture into a pair of empty glasses. He lifted one up in his grubby, mole bedecked fist to pass to the tall drink of water who’d poured herself into his office. Of course, Gnarly was a gnome, so just about anyone could be a tall drink of water compared to him. Even so, this skyscraper of a human woman could put any of the high elves in Manhattan to shame.

Her eyes were dusky brown under long, curly lashes. Full, pink lips sat perfectly above a small, pointed chin. A cascade of curly black hair framed her heart-shaped face. She was a looker, and she knew it.

“Please,” she begged, blinking down at him through tear-soaked eyes. “You gotta help me, Detective Gnarly. They said you were the only one who could.”

Gnarly pressed the glass of Brosia into the woman’s hands and downed his own glass in one gulp. “I don’t do that no more, sweetheart. Hadn’t you heard? I’m retired.” He gestured with the empty glass toward the framed page of the New York Times that held a position of honor on his wall.

“Little Person Detective Caught Fencing Ancient Artifacts.”

“Little person,” Gnarly muttered. “Pah! If only they knew.” He kicked the leg of his chair, jerking it out from under the desk, and hopped on. He settled in with a disgruntled growl. “This city don’t believe in people like me.”

The woman clutched the glass of Brosia desperately to her chest and got down on her knees in front of him. “I believe in you,” she said, her voice a mere whisper. “I believe. Please, you gotta help me.”

“Help you with what?” Gnarly was nearly at the edge of his patience, which was actually considerably high for a Goblin.

“It’s the Wanderkin,” the woman whispered, her eyes wide like saucers. “The Wanderkin took my sister.”

Gnarly sat bolt upright in his chair. “Don’t you dare say that name out loud,” he said, his voice trembling in terror. “Don’t you dare.”

The woman whimpered. “It’s back. It’s back.”

“No. It’s not. It can’t be.”

Co-writing a Story with AI


This story snippet was written using AI Dungeon, a game that uses AI to guide your adventures. Everything written in blue was written by the AI and everything in black is my own contributions to the story. I had a lot of fun using the free version of the game, and it’s definitely a game I’d like to eventually return to and see how a full story might play out. I hope you enjoy this first attempt!

You are Puck, a rogue living in the kingdom of Larion. You have a long steel dagger and a length of rope. You walk down the city street looking for somewhere to steal from. You look around and see a shop window full of beautiful vases. You think to yourself ” Vases? What sort of thief are you?” but then you see a little dagger that you think would look nice on your belt. 

You walk up to the window and look at the dagger in your hands. It is a beautiful weapon, made of blue-glazed steel. You place the dagger in your belt and then slip inside the window.

The shop is mostly empty with only a sleepy shopkeeper and a handful of customers idling about. You keep to the shadows, out of sight, and slowly make your way toward the beautiful blade that would make a lovely match for the dagger already attached to your hip.

The display case is at the far corner of the store.

You wait for a customer to distract the shopkeeper, then quietly slip next to the case. The lid lifts easily without a noise, and you withdraw your new dagger. It has the same blue-glazed steel as the one already on your hip, but a curious amber gem adorns the pommel; too fine a piece to be left in a ramshackle shop such as this.

You grip the hilt in your hand, and make sure that the dagger is securely fastened to your belt.

You slip out the front door, and back onto the street. You have your prize.

You walk slowly down the city streets, keeping a close eye on the crowds.

You are Puck, a thief, and you have an important mission to perform.

The merchant’s guild has been fencing in stolen goods, lately. Normally Puck wouldn’t mind, but it caught the attention of the thieves guild. The thieves guild had made it Puck’s business to find out who was behind the black trade and why the thieves guild had yet to receive their cut.

After all, it wasn’t like stealing from small time merchants was really all that profitable. You say “I am ever the loyal dog.” You decide to let the dagger that is already on your belt do the talking and head in the direction of the guild.