by Leo King

Approx. 1000 Words

Color of Blood Series:
Part 1 | Red Blood
Part 2 | White Blood
Part 3 | Blue Blood
Part 4 | True Blood

Gone are the blue skies that gleam like the wide open sea. Gone are the lush green forests where the likes of Giant Shoes and Grandma’s Houses lay. Gone are the white clouds that take on animal shapes. Gone are the shimmering streams, the babbling brooks, and the lovely lakes. The only structure I recognize is the castle, and even that looks like it’s from my nightmares.

The sky is blood red with black clouds billowing up from scores of massive factories in the distance. The man in the moon is grinning madly and drooling blood. The forests are just stumps, and the river beds are dried up. The few towns and villages I can see are in ruins, with what look like pockets of people – Humans or Toys – scurrying about like rats. The large plains where the annual Cow Fiddle Festival took place have been turned into a forest of impaled victims. The castle itself is now black and twisted, gnarled like the snaggletooth of my former jailer. A large tower rises in the distance, beyond even the castle.

From the tower, lying all the way across the land, are massive chains. Every location, every town, every village, every fortress, even the Gaol, has a shackle on top attached to a massive chain that runs across the ground and heads to the tower.

Jane and I stare blankly at what has become of our kingdom. Then Jane starts to laugh hysterically, partially doubling over. I remain silent and let the hatred build.

“Your Highness,” Jack calls out suddenly. “Look!”

I turn and see it. The March of the Toys. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Toys, all shackled and being led from caves and carriages and across the wastes towards the Quarry. Heads hung low, spirits broken, the Toys seem to be in a state much like my sister and me. Teddy Bears without one or both button eyes, Dollies with ripped out hair and torn dresses, Stuffed Puppies without noses or ears, Rubber Duckies with their bills sewn shut, Stuffed Bunnies without their cotton tails, and so many more.

I start to weep bitterly as I see what has become of my kingdom.

“Look,” says Jack again, pointing. “They’ve got Humpty!”

I squint to look harder, and sure enough the round-shaped form of our former Prime Minister is among the shackled. His shell is cracked, and he looks broken. It would take more than all my father’s men to fix him again.

“Red sky in morning,” Jane says thoughtfully as she joins us. She looks unusually pensive considering her madness. She looks at me and nods, saying, “Sailors warning.” Her vocal inflection tells me that she is convinced it’s the best information I’ve had all day.

“Your Highness,” Jack says, his voice suddenly cautious, “we have bigger issues.”

I turn again to see what Jack is pointing at. Down the one path away from the Gaol is a puddle of blood. Blue blood.

“Trolls,” I say, tightening my jaw. The natural enemy of Human and Toy alike, Trolls will eat anything.

I hear something coming up the path, and fast. I ready my sickles, and Jack readies his candlestick sword. Jane imitates a boxer and starts to shuffle her feet around. I do my best to focus. If this is a troll, it’s going to be the fight of our life.

Instead, a young girl about twelve years old appears, wearing flight goggles and dressed in a leather jacket with the logo of a well with the inscription “This Girl’s Worth More Than a Bucket of Water!” In her hands she carries the most over-sized Gatling gun I’ve ever seen. I had forgotten how strong Jill Nimble is.

“Sister,” Jack said, relief on his face. “We thought you were a Troll.”

“Nah,” says Jill, her accent much thicker than her brother’s. “That Troll what I shot a’hunnerd times is right behind me. It’s pretty pissed. We may wanna run for dear life an all. Just saying.”

The ear-splitting roar shakes the very ground. The rushing of approaching feet makes the very rocks tremble. Jack and I exchange worried looks – THAT is a Troll.

“Think we can take it, Jack?” I ask, motioning to him, Jill and myself.

“Not likely,” Jack says, gritting his teeth. “Maybe if your sister summons that scythe thing again?”

Jane throws her arms up and sings out, “Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down!”

I blink as Jane’s words register. I instantly get what my sister is saying. I look over the edge. At the base of the Gully is Jill’s plane. She must have had no choice but to set it there. Assuming we don’t die on the way down, if we jump, we have a chance to escape before the Troll catches us.

“Jack, Jill, follow me down the hill!” I grab Jane’s hand and rush towards the edge. She’s laughing hysterically.

“That ain’t no hill, you Goose-darned crazy—“

Jill is interrupted by her brother, who grabs her and follows.

As we leap, I think of my kingdom, my sister, and the long fight we have ahead. There will be much blood spilled in the upcoming months – red blood, blue blood, and white blood.

But in the end, the true blood is the bond between my friends, my sister, and me. That is the blood that will not be spilled.

But for the rest of the world, there is no such safety. We will fight. And, we will spill blood.

For the liberation of Toyland – we will spill blood!

(The End…and yet The Beginning…)

Note From Leo: If you wish to leave feedback on this horror short story, please fill out the comment form below. I make sure to read all feedback, both praising and critical.