Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Phantom Wolves #WEPFF #wep #flashfiction #excerpt #RPG #fantasy

#WEP October Challenge The Phantom of the Opera 

I'm using another excerpt from my high-fantasy story that uses the roleplaying characters Xavier and Wend play in my Existence book series.

Some of you may recall excerpts in WEP's June & August posts. There's background information there. I'll copy the size chart here as a quick reminder. 
Great Wolf size @JLenniDorner

A great wolf is huge, as you can see. Monoghan is a wolfwere (a wolfwere is a wolf that transforms into a man or a hybrid form). 
This excerpt has the trio near the end of the journey. 
881 words and Full Critiques are most welcome!
Tagline: Phantom wolves battle our heroes.

Phantom Wolves

By J Lenni Dorner

Phantom of the Opera WEPFF Oct 2023 image

"Shh," Monoghan whispered as he crouched down, hiding both of them under his body. Another growl came from the bush. Monoghan snarled in response.
The bush split apart, dead leaves flying in every direction, as the monster shot from its hiding spot. Teeth snapped from a skinless muzzle that lacked a snout. A single vacant, dull blue eye rolled around the socket. The creature growled and howled as it pawed a hole in the ground.
Candra wrapped her arms around Phin Fynn, rocked back and forth, and chanted a spell that would hide her from animals. The creature pounced in their direction.
Monoghan grabbed its neck with his mouth, his teeth tearing into the thin layer of flesh. It howled until its neck snapped off its body. "Next time I tell you to be quiet, be quiet!"
"It was a spell to hide us," Candra whispered.
"I know what it was. Do you think I can't recognize a beginner's level spell when I hear one? It would have only worked on you, not him. And, judging by the taste, it wouldn't have worked at all."
Phin Fynn shoved his way free from Candra's hold. "You can tell just by the taste?"
"I can tell when I've bitten an unnatural being, yes."
"Unnatural?" Candra peered out from under Monoghan to look at the shredded body.
"It wasn't born. That creature was made. Someone used forbidden magic. That creature was a conjured phantom wolf but enlarged to be the same size as I am."
"Weren't you made, too?" Phin Fynn asked as he moved in front of Monoghan and tapped the corpse with his foot.
"No. I was born."
"Great wolves were made once though, weren't they? Just like this one." Phin Fynn poked the ears on the torn-off head.
"How would you know anything about the history of my kind?" Monoghan nudged Candra to her feet with his muzzle.
"I heard stories. It is true, isn't it?"
"No, we were never conjured. We were normal wolves once. The spell turned the first ones to human form, but only in part. And we were never phantoms." The corpse dissipated into a black cloud.
"Then what happened?" Phin Fynn tilted his head and watched Monoghan.
"The human forms were forced to mate. They had wolf pups. The mothers died giving birth. The fathers and pups, fueled with rage, broke free of the spell that caged them and killed the witch. Why do you want to know this? It won't help you sleep at night." Monoghan's stomach churned as he recalled his parents, who were two of those pups, telling him the story.
"It might," Phin Fynn turned and walked away.
"He is the strangest child I have ever known," Candra whispered before following him.
Beyond the destroyed bush, they encountered a clearing littered with fallen trees. Monoghan padded around, examining them, as Phin Fynn strutted along a log, showing off his balance. The trees had long claw marks in the bark.
"Did that Great Wolf you killed do all of this?" Candra asked as she struggled to move closer to Monoghan.
"That was not a Great Wolf. The conjured magic made the phantom my size, but it wasn't what I am. And no, it did not do all of this. There are more."
"Lots!" Phin Fynn exclaimed with glee rather than terror.
All around them, there was movement. Tree branches snapped. Leaves fell. The ground shook. A chorus of growls filled the air with a sickening hum that vibrated to the bone. Monoghan and Candra moved cautiously toward Phin Fynn, who was jumping on a fallen tree, seemingly unaware of the pointy teeth and sharp claws getting nearer.
A howl rang out. A conjured phantom wolf leaped out from a tree. Monoghan concentrated his defense with his mouth and front paws, as he tried to stay near Candra and Phin Fynn. It felt like a lifetime ago since he fought multiple opponents, particularly ones that he didn't know well.

He bit at the leg of the nearest attacker. No blood seeped from the wound. It made no howl of pain. Fear pheromones did not fill the air. Monoghan's eyes widened as the massive phantom wolf fought as though no damage was done.

Weight slammed into his back legs. Pain shot through them as he fell, his whimper echoing. A moment later, he was weighed down by multiple enemies. He flailed around, clawing and biting blindly. 

Monoghan howled for help, a howl meant to be heard by Great Wolves. They would not come, for they had died out long ago. As he caught one of the attackers and tore its head from his body, he was struck with the horrible realization that these phantom beasts were the nearest family he had left. He let out a whimper, not from the pain of the claws that sunk into his back, but from the vision of scattered wolf parts before him. Dead. Every beast dissipating into a black cloud was by his own doing. A howl of heartbreak rang out from deep within him.

"Be better than they are! Prove you are still the hero of legend." Phin Fynn cried as he grabbed Monoghan's muzzle. "Fight, or watch us die." His visage of youth slipped away.

Write Edit PulishWrite Edit Publish blog
#WEP - October #FlashFiction Challenge - The Phantom of the Opera - Post October 18 - 20
The fourth movie Challenge of 2023, "The Phantom of the Opera."

Two life updates.
One, my aunt-in-law is reaching the end of her life. If I am away and late to respond, that is likely why. Thanks in advance for understanding.
Operation Awesome Happening at

Since May 2016, I have been joyfully interviewing debut authors at Operation Awesome. I absolutely loved doing this. It is one of the great honors of my life. However, since Twitter has been taken over, finding my debut authors has been too difficult. I've been failing week after week. The stress is too much. I am leaving the role and possibly the team. Brandy is also leaving. And Kate is hoping to take on a role other than Dear O'Abby. So we need to search for new operatives We're looking for new team members!
If you would be so kind as to share the link, and/or this tweet (X post), and/or the Facebook post that would be greatly appreciated.


  1. A stirring excerpt. Can't wait for the book! Wolves are part of a few stories today. No fiercer animal to impart terror.
    It's getting harder and harder to keep teams going these days. Life pulls every one in a different direction.
    How sad for you and your aunt. I hope her journey is peace filled.

  2. <- Me, too. This'll totally help:
    ● ●
    Cya soon, miss gorgeous...

  3. This extract has emotion,action and intrigue - all together. Loved the sneak peek. So sorry about your aunt. It's a difficult time.

  4. Ack! So much tension - and you left us hanging! Great story :) I'm so sorry about your aunt - it's such a difficult time for family. Sending hugs your way and hopes she finds peace

  5. How quickly I'm pulled into this story, falling under the spell of Monoghan's inner life, a sharp contrast to Pfin's innocence and yet fierce affirmation of what Monoghan can be. Yes, I want to read the rest! Don't worry about responding. Take that time you need for your family and yourself.

  6. Monoghan is clearly a tortured soul, but I think he has it in him to be triumphant. If not for his own sake, then to save the lives of his companions.

  7. Hi, you did a good job of building up the tension in the fight. It moved the story and kept me engaged in the story. Excellent job. Shalom shalom

  8. Hi JL - you are building the story into an intense tale ... Monoghan is coming into his own. I do hope all is peaceful for you, your aunt, and her family - with thoughts - Hilary

  9. Hi JLenni! So sorry about your aunt. Hope her passing is peaceful. Your story was gripping in more ways than one. It was tough on readers to leave it where you did! You've intrigued us all.

    Hard to ride these waves of change. It's so hard to keep a team operational. Hope you fill the positions you need to and find your focus.

  10. What a great fragment. But it ends on a cliffhanger. I want to know what happens next.

  11. An exciting and well crafted tale. Well done, J Lenni.

  12. This was a gripping excerpt, thank you. So sorry about your aunt-in-law. Wishing you and family strength at this difficult time.

  13. So much tension and emotional depth as well. This is a great story.

  14. The suspense, the action and the fascination made this a thoroughly engaging read. Loved it. Sorry to hear about your aunt-in-law. Take care.

  15. What a great job you did in building tension. Well done. My condolences to you and your family.

  16. I love how you built up the tension in this snippet of your story. So sorry for what your family and you are going through.

  17. Good luck with your NaNo novel! Buddy request has been sent.

    I did the end of life caregiver thing in 2021 during Nano and it was rough. Take care of yourself and do what you need to do for you.

  18. Oooh! I can't wait to see the rest of the story--you definitely got my attention there.

  19. Whoa, that was tense! I'd love to know what happens next.

    It's frustrating how apps keep changing and making wonderful things like Operation Awesome more difficult. I wish I had time to volunteer!


Welcome! Please let me know how to find you to say hello back.
What is your favorite fiction genre to read?