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A peek at my fantasy office. No, really! There's a delightful misconception in the literary world, a near-legendary tale that authors are fueled purely by coffee—cup after cup of that intoxicating brew, our muse for every page turned and every tale spun. But here's a little secret from my corner of the fantasy realm: while most authors are downing espressos and lattes, I'm sipping on apple cider. Yes, you read that right. Sparkling apple juice is my potion of choice, the golden elixir that fuels my tales of enchanting worlds and passionate shifters.

Flash Fiction: The Start of Alfie's Journey by Author Wendy May

A winding path through the woods
All journeys start with one foot after the other...

After a long hiatus from writing fantasy novels, Wendy May decided to dust off her imagination and get back into the groove. She started by writing small snippets of fiction every day, just for fun and practice. She didn't worry about plot, character development, or worldbuilding. She just wanted to tell a story in a few sentences or paragraphs. She enjoyed exploring different genres, themes, and tones. Some of her snippets were dark and grim, others were light and whimsical. Some were inspired by fairy tales, myths, or legends, others were entirely original. She found that writing these snippets helped her regain her confidence and creativity as a fantasy author. Here's one of them:

A young boy walks through the woods
Alfie is out for a walk

The path through the woods was a familiar one to Alfie. Even after so many years of living in the same small town, his feet still seemed to remember the winding paths and the way under the low-hanging branches. Alfie paused, the sun dappled shadows playing with the light in the trees. He could hear the soft sound of the river, hidden off to the side, and the songs of the birds in the trees, and he smiled in contentment.

It was hard to imagine anything ever changing here. Even after all his years growing up in this little corner of the world, it still seemed like nothing ever really shifted in these woods. But then he heard it: the faint but distinctive sound of his name on the wind.

He straightened up and looked around, but there was no one there. He frowned, a slight chill running down his spine, but the feeling soon passed. He shrugged and continued walking, pushing down the feeling of uneasiness.

The trees began to thin and the path opened out into a clearing. He stopped in awe, marveling at the beauty before him. Wildflowers dotted the field in front of him, their colours dancing in the sunlight. To his right, he could see the river ripple in the breeze, its gentle currents meandering through the valley. In the distance, he could hear the faint sound of a waterfall, its song echoing off the hills.

A young boy looks up to gaze at something in the middle of the woods
What is Alfie looking at I wonder?

Alfie smiled, feeling a strange sense of peace fill him. He breathed in deeply and the sweet smell of the wildflowers filled his lungs. He looked around, seeing the beauty of the wild and feeling a deep connection to it. There was something about it that called to him, like it was a part of him.

He continued walking, pausing every now and again to take in the beauty of the place. As he walked, he couldn't help but feel like he was being watched, but he shrugged it off, telling himself it was just his imagination.

Eventually, he found himself in front of a large tree. He stepped closer, admiring the ancient gnarled roots and the broad trunk that seemed to reach up to the heavens. He reached out, touching the bark and feeling a strange connection to it. As he stood there, he seemed to feel a presence beside him, and he jumped in surprise.

A beautiful brunette with elaborate silver jewelry in her ears, hair, and around her neck.
A heroic test awaits. Will Alfie answer the call?

He looked up, and to his astonishment, he saw a figure standing there. It was a tall, graceful-looking woman with dark brown skin and long, flowing brunette hair. She smiled at him, and he felt a warmth radiating from her. She reached out, placing her hand on his shoulder and looking into his eyes. 

"Welcome, Alfie," she said softly. "I am the guardian of this place. I have been watching you for some time now, and I believe you can help me."

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