Tuesday, July 18, 2023

“The Hero” • by Eric Dontigney

The need was great. The problem insoluble by mortal hands. So, the plea was sent.

To everyone’s great shock, he had come. He took up station in the tea house, silently sipping, his eyes far away. None would meet his gaze, for they knew who sat at that table. The warrior of legend who once found enlightenment in the edge of a blade of grass. The man who had felled the demonic Black Well sect alone. He was the Sage of the Heaven-Sent Sword.

Then, as though impelled by the gods, he stood and strode forth.

There was a cry of, “Blade of the Sundering Sky!”

When the villagers dared to look, only splinters remained of what had once been the Squatting Devil Writer’s Block.


Eric Dontigney is the author of the highly regarded novel, THE MIDNIGHT GROUND, as well as the Samuel Branch urban fantasy series and the short story collection, Contingency Jones: The Complete Season One. Raised in Western New York, he currently resides near Dayton, OH. You can find him haunting obscure sections of libraries, in Chinese restaurants or occasionally online at ericdontigney.com.

When asked to explain this story, Eric said, “I’ve been writing nothing but Xianxia for the last couple months, so Xianxia is what you get.” If you want to decrypt this message, read his post from last week, “Talking Shop: Royal Road and Success.”


SHAMELESS PLUG: If you like Harry Dresden or John Constantine, you’ll love Eric’s Rampant Loon Press novel, THE MIDNIGHT GROUND. READ IT NOW!

The Pete Wood Challenge
is an informal ad hoc story-writing competition. Each month Pete Wood spots writers the idea for a story, usually in the form of a phrase or a few key words, along with some restrictions on what can be submitted, usually in terms of length. Pete then collects the resulting entries, determines who has best met the challenge, and sends the winners over to Bruce Bethke, who arranges for them to be published on the Stupefying Stories web site.

You can find all the previous winners of the Pete Wood Challenge at this link.

This month’s challenge was to write a 125-words-or-shorter flash fiction piece keying off the words “writer’s block,” whatever the writer might interpret those words to mean. While normally the challenge is open only to members of the CODEX online writer’s group, this time Pete decided to up the ante by inviting the members of the Stupefying Stories Secret Inner Circle to submit entries as well. The results have been… interesting