Sonnet: Dark

Smothered in darkness, no light to be found.

Engulfs me like a night that will not end.

Unable to run I crawl on the ground.

So dark, on my sight I cannot depend.

My senses so dulled I can see nothing.

The sun will not rise, the stars cannot shine.

Confined in my cell alone, suffering.

I cannot speak but only moan and whine.

Give me a glimmer of hope in the light.

Please send me a sign that a life can glow.

Warming my heart and restoring my sight.

My soul needs some light in order to grow.

And so I will wait for the day you come.

To raise me from the dead, no longer numb.

A Monster in the Woods

From my short story The Monster in the Woods. It’s solid stuff. But of adventure. But of horror.

Nearby, an ancient creature sniffed the air and caught scent of the herd. The beast growled low and looked about for signs of the animals but did not find them. Instead, he sniffed again and turned to the direction of the unsuspecting bucks. He squinted his eyes and sniffed some more, confident he had found the source of the smell. He slobbered and groaned thinking about how delicious and tasty the bucks would be. His eyes focused as his hand gripped a rudimentary club in his giant fist, tightly.

    The deer perked their heads up hearing a commotion nearby. Their ears twitched back and forth as they tried to determine the direction and nature of the disturbance in the otherwise peaceful and calm woods. Nerves shot down their spines and told their legs to run but they did not know in which direct to flee. They were frozen with hearts pounding and eyes bulging, ears desperate to find the danger. 

    Then a crash nearby gave the bucks the confirmation they needed. They broke into a dash for safety, leaping over fallen trees and crooked bushes. Their pursuer was not about to let his meal escape however. The beast was so large that it bowled through trees and smashed through brush growing hungrier each leap. 

    The bucks dashed as fast as they could. Quick and lithe they fled for their lives but they were not getting further from the beast. 

    Like thunder rolling across the forest floor, the monster reached the herd and swallowed them up. Growls and snarls were the last sounds they would hear as the savage creature smashed one buck with a forehand swing of the massive tree trunk it used as a club snapping its body as if it were clay, then a back hand caught another and crushed it as well. Three bucks still raced for their salvation from the demon born monster that sought them. Another swing of the club shattered a leg of one and hobbled him though he tried desperately to rise once more and flee. Not satisfied with three bucks, the monster dove after the remaining two, landing atop one and pinned it helplessly to the dirt then clawed at the last. The young buck was raked across the back. It cried out as searing pain shot through its body but it only stumbled, blind to anything but holding on to life and escaping the drooling maw of the hideous beast, it blocked the fire in its flesh and willed its legs to continue on in flight. 

    The beast glared at the prey that dashed through trees towards freedom and was intent on chasing it further but then the buck under it wailed and the creature looked to it, annoyed that it protested its fate and snapped its gnarled and twisted teeth into the poor animal’s neck; ending the torture. The taste of blood and flesh in its mouth was enough to break the trance of reckless pursuit and the monster paused to savor the meal, leaving a huge gap in the innocent animal’s neck. 

    The monster climbed to its feet gripping its club in one claw and the dead buck in the other. It looked longingly towards the direction in which the sole survivor escaped and then a cry from behind turned its attention to its other victims. One lay dead beside a tree that rose like a headstone above it. Another laid, body broken, only able to plead for mercy with feeble cries. The last crawled away with the only strength that remained in its badly damaged bones. 

    The beast dragged the gnawed buck along as it approached its dying friend. A quick smash with the club was the only release it received but it was preferable to the only sensation that remained; suffering. The creature then turned to the noble buck that continued to cling to the hope that it may yet survive. A trail of blood lead from the spot where it endured the powerful blow of the club for several yards into thicker brush. The monster stomped on the foliage and immediately found the animal toiling to put distance between it and its predator. It turned to view its executioner before the sweet release of death and saw the an enormous monstrosity it had never seen before but knew that there was no escaping its greedy appetite. 

    In a deliberate and slow motion, the beast reached out for the buck which did little to resist except call out once more. It took the animal in its claw and effortlessly lifted it to its dark maw, Then in one bite ended the torment. 

The otherwise majestic and beautiful forest bore a deep and hideous scar that day that would not heal easily.

Gather round

The Bard’s Opening Rhyme

Gather round, kind folks of this town. 

Fill up your beer, and lend me your ear. 

I will tell you a tale, so let me regale.

Of legends of old, and hoards of gold.

Perhaps of dragons, or things you cannot fathom.

Many places I’ve been, many things I’ve seen.

Adventuring this land, sword in my hand. 

My tales will amaze, with every phrase.

For no one is better, at crafting each letter.

Into fabulous adventuring stories.

I want to be a champion

The World Series begins begins tonight and I’m a huge baseball fan. I love the competition and as my favorite team, the Dodgers, try once more to win it all, I was reflecting on my writing. Some days I’m convinced I’m amazing and others I suspect I have no business even offering my words up for consumption. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between.

To make matters worse, I read other authors’ work and occasionally I cannot imagine how anyone got through a piece and other times I feel unworthy to even pretend I’m an author when I read the art others produced. Again, there is a wide variety and I’m sure the truth is in the middle.

So back to baseball. I have been using the word “champion” a lot to describe the players competing in these final games. I say things like “champions find a way,” and “if they have the heart of a champion, they will win.” Indeed one team will be crowned champions and the other not. But there is another layer underneath that.

Among each team still playing there are some who are far more skilled than others. There are “MVP” level players on each team. But beyond those, there are plenty of professional players who are good but not great. Some are probably even average and one or two below average.

I’m not mad at them, in fact I’m excited for them! They are professional baseball players and they are on a team that may win the World Series. They may end up as champions.

I may not be the best writer ever. In fact I’m sure I won’t be. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not a good writer. It doesn’t mean I won’t one day make an entire profession out of writing. It doesn’t even mean that I can’t be a champion.

Each and every player on both teams in the World Series has put in a ton of work and earned their spot. They are professional ball players and they have a chance to be champions. I love that.

So I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep working. I’ll keep publishing. I may progress to the level that writing pays all my bills and I may even progress to the level that I would consider myself a champion.

I’m in the game. I’ll get my at bats. I may just hit a home run. I promise I’ll keep swinging. Watch.

Battle Between Monsters

The charred-wood arena was located in a remote land; far from the regulating eyes of the legionnaires. The fights that were held there were illegal, but also the most fantastic of all, and so many risked arrest and banishment to travel to the hidden site, beyond the woods and carved into a mountain, as legend has it, by dragon’s fire. Indeed the rock jutted inward from the otherwise regular contour of the mountain in jagged edges and teeth-like points. The arena itself appeared somewhat like the snarling mouth of a serpent snapping at its prey. In its throat monsters and men battled to the death.


The arena was run by despicable men. Men who cared nothing about right or wrong, only about money and prestige. They profited off the deaths of heroes and slaves, champions and beasts. They did not value life in the least; only coin and fame. With this goal in their hearts, they captured or lured many types of souls with promises of mercy for their families or wealth for their pockets, yet most promises went broken. Still, the bouts did not go unfilled and the seats did not remain empty. Many gathered for glory, entertainment and wealth.


This particular evening there was a fascinating match. The owners of the arena managed to capture an ogre and pit the foul beast against a troll, and equally disgusting creature. Both were very strong yet also heinous. All were intrigued by the fight which was about to begin.


A pair of men, who placed bets of the opposing beasts sat next to one another with goblets of ale apiece. Each were officials from a nearby kingdom; lofty in position and authority. Though the arena was forbidden, they did not hesitate to participate in such sport, confident that the regulation did not apply to those meant to enforce such social constraints. They delighted in the spectacle and enjoyed seeing the hoi paloi risk their lives for a small purse of coins. Their names were Lords David and Vanne.


Lord David, smile beaming across his face leaned over to Lord Vanne who he was already very familiar with and stated with confidence, “This troll will defeat the ogre easily! I’ve put much gold on that! It will be a glorious battle!”
Lord Vanne grimaced, “I wouldn’t be so sure. The ogre is a savage creature. Deadly. I put my coin on him.”


“You know nothing,” David scoffed, “Trolls are ancient creatures. They’ve roamed the lands murdering and destroying peasants since before civilization. They’ve lasted this long, they’ve learned to survive anything. This orge is no match.”


“You are ignorant in the ways of ogres, clearly,” Vanne countered, “Ogres are stronger and more savage. While the history of them is shrouded in mystery, their results speak for themselves. None can best them. The ogre will tear the troll limb from limb.”


As they debated the virtues of the beasts, the monsters were released from their cages and set loose in the arena. For moments they were confused, each looked about and saw all of the spectators. Each howled at them and roared with stinking breath detectable throughout the circle. All held their breath and coughed trying to escape the stink of the combatants. With attendants pushing the beasts with poles and trying to anger them, they finally noticed the other. They did not hesitate to attack, each recognizing the danger in his opponent.


The foul creatures rushed toward the center and collided as two boulders sending an earthquake throughout the arena and a deafening crack like the snapping of a giant trees. Each monster howled in pain as bones broke in the collision. Undeterred they attacked further through a grapple. They bit and clawed and kicked at one another.


Blood, spit, hair and teeth were flying in all directions as the two hideous creatures battled for their very lives. Meanwhile, the crowd roared in approval.


Lord David was confident his favored monster, the troll, was winning. “You see this Vanne, you fool? The troll is the better beast by far! Surely he will win!”


“You must not be watching the same fight,” Vanne replied, “It appears to me that the ogre is much more powerful. There is conviction in his attacks. The troll will succumb to his savagery any moment.”


“Nonsense!” bellowed Lord David. “Your ogre is done for. Trolls cannot die except by fire. The ogre will never prevail.”


The lords yelled at the top of their lungs at one another trying to convince each that they were correct to back their particular brand of monster. Neither budged but stubbornly held their convictions.


The ogre and troll grappled with equal strength, each unable to manipulate the other into submission. Both monsters dug deep into their pain and anger and battled on. As they struggled for control of their enemy the troll tripped and stumbled backwards. In his fall, however, he pulled the ogre with him and threw the beast with all his might into the side of the arena.
The monster crashed through the wall separating the spectators from the combatants and several who were cheering on the battle were injured. Screams of terrified mortals filled the air as the ogre, confused and blinded by hatred, clawed and punched those near him. One by one he murdered those men who moments earlier cheered him or his opponent on. They were not as gleeful now that they were part of the fray.
Guards with spears sped into the arena, some to block the troll, who regained his footing, from engaging the ogre any longer, others to try to coax the ogre from his attacks on the crowd.


The ogre would no be deterred. He relentlessly attacked those around him and the number of dead rose quickly with blood and limbs spraying from the epicenter of the attack. The heinous monster left a trail of death as he moved through the fleeing crowd.


The troll was mollified for a moment as the spears thrust at him gave him pause, but he was far too angry and hateful to be calmed by a few guards and when he backed against the wall he looked up and decided he could leap upon in. With a roar and a mighty jump, the troll bound to the top of the protective wall and stared down the helpless crowd. He hopped off the wall and into the crowd of people and tore through them like he evil counterpart did on the opposite side of the arena. All were in peril.


Lord David blamed the ogre, “Your stupid ogre caused this mess! Now look at what’s happened! People are being murdered by that dull monster and you were naive enough to support him.”
Naturally Lord Vanne saw the scene very differently, “You imbecile! That hideous troll you so brazenly backed threw the ogre into the crowd. It is the troll’s fault that these people are dead.”
The Lords continued to argue about who’s fault it was and who was misguided in their support of their respective monsters. Meanwhile the evil beasts murdered any they could get their claws on, included the pair of lords who did not have enough sense to flee when danger approached. They were more concerned with blaming one another than saving their own lives. In the end, dozens were murdered and the beasts escaped and fled into the night.


Kings denounced both beasts eventually and passed decrees outlawing such arenas and the beasts they forced to fight therein. But alas, little changed. The charred-wood arena was rebuilt and once again was a place for the hopeless to seek fame and fortune. Others like it thrived across the land. All the while ogres and trolls roamed the countrysides murdering peasants and destroying towns.

The Catalogue

All books available by Phillip Brunnengraeber

Join the adventure today! 

The Sureshot Series:

The Sureshot Rises

Sureshot the Assassin

Sureshot the King (Coming soon) 

The Monster in the Woods (A Sureshot Short Story)

Goblin Brothers Series:

Goblins Episode 1: Born in Blood 

Goblins Episode 2: Family

Goblins Episode 3: Blood, Bone , Spirit

Nonfiction: 

This is Crazy: Finding Who you are and What you Want