Painting Corners

“Wyrm I challenge you to a duel to the death!”  He yelled, a cry of pure anger. He charged.  His sword, Doombringer, channeling his rage burst into orange and red flames.  He slid down the remainder of the slope and sprinted towards the leviathan.

The creature’s eyes opened and narrowed.  It shook its scaly head and rivulets of gold sparkled down from its bronze scales.  Garagan, the mightiest of all dragons, had accepted his challenge.

A deep growl rumbled from its massive, tooth filled maw, shaking the cavern.

Baggon spied a blur and slashed downward, Doombringer intercepting the creature’s whip-like spiked tail.  The fiery blade easily piercing dragon scale as it lodged deep in the dragon’s flesh.

The creature roared with surprise.

Baggon pulled his sword, but it wouldn’t budge, seemingly wanting to keep cutting what it started.  He pulled again desperately trying to free it. The creature’s tail whipped away ripping Doombringer from his grasp.  He heard the clatter of the sword nearly on the opposite end of the cavern.

He ripped dual battle axes from loops in his belt.

“Render and Skullcleaver!”  He shouted, and the dual axes illumined dark green, an ephemeral glow of the void.

Garagan, now on its feet towered over the presumptuous once-king.  It roared a terrible deafening sound. All about the cavern stalactites fell, towers of precious drachengold collapsed.  Everything was in chaos.

It took everything Baggon had to not succumb to the terrible cacophony.  He responded with a roar of his own. “Foul wyrm, your head will be mine this night!”  

He charged right for its snout, stumbling over gems and gold, his ears ringing painfully as he neared the massive maw.  


Darkness and a sensation of falling greeted him.  He fell a number of seconds before his feet collided with stone, his left leg snapping somewhere near his calf. Pain rushed in followed by a sudden harsh queasiness. He collapsed to the ground.

He groaned then, laying in a miserable heap, unable to climb to his feet. Through blurred eyes he stared skyward. A light shown down, crystalline and blue with a dark slit down its middle.  Was it studying him? It’s eye filled the hole created by the collapsed floor. Had this all been a trap?

It growled deep and short, almost a laughing sound, while removing the glowing orb and re-blocking the opening with a teeth-filled, ruddy-orange glowing snout.  The coolness of Baggon’s tomb suddenly warmed. Trapped! Failure… At least he would no longer be alone, he had faced the worst evil of this world and succumbed.  He felt around him, discovering neither Render nor Skull Cleaver. He had dropped them when he fell, somehow not skewering himself with either.

As his tomb warmed, he placed his arms across his chest staring up at his demise.  My kingdom, my family, my beloved, I have failed you all…  He closed his eyes…

Well crap.  Now what?

I glance away from the screen, stand and stretch, rub my eyes…  “Well the hero of your series is dead. Good job.” I announce to Spots the cat, curiously contemplating what she might add to my latest tale, her tail forming a question mark at that very moment.

I look back at the screen.  Is there really no way out?  

I stare at it some more.  He is in a pit with a broken leg, about to be barbecued. Maybe at that moment a rogue stalactite falls due to the creature’s earlier roaring and impales it over the hole?  Then the hero can use the tongue hanging down as his escape rope!



He was it.  The only hope for a world infested with monsters and dumb as a rock for yelling at a sleeping dragon.  There has to be some way… Make him quietly sneak into the den and hit the creature while slumbering?  Nope, he believes in a fair, honorable fight, it’s as much ingrained into his being as his ability with his weapons.  The idiot.

I walk away, go for a drive, absent-mindedly gnaw on something food-like-but-fast while contemplating some miracle to save a character too chivalrous to be practical.

Maybe he wakes up from a dream?  With a broken leg? Maybe finds Skull Cleaver on the ground nearby and throws it-while laying on his back of course-hard enough that it strikes the dragon. Then the creature chokes to death on its own fiery spittle?  I have made a free throw while laying down… Oooo… now there’s something…

Have you ever painted yourself into a corner?

Have you ever tried so hard to make an action scene so exciting, or a thriller so intense, or a comedy so ridiculous that you painted yourself into a corner with seemingly no way out?

Have you ever actually painted yourself into a corner in real life?

My childhood memories are very vague on this subject, but if it was something that would make my life harder I probably did it.

I would carefully run the brush along the ground ever so slowly, making sure to, un-realizing of course, cover any potential escape routes with fresh paint.

Impossible? Maybe… or maybe not.

Is there anyone else morbidly fascinated with the impossible?  I would think many authors are, as well as inventors, engineers, and anyone who challenges the unknown or unsolvable.

I believe we each have at least some flavor of this madness within us.  It just seems that writing brings it out so well. Or is this just me? Could this be a difference between being a pantser or a plotter?  

Without those crazy enough to try, would we have space flight, or flight at all? Would we have laptops and cell phones? Submarines, automobiles, teleporters? Heh.

Challenge the impossible and you may find only a well hidden improbable after all.  

Note:  Sitting in a corner waiting for the paint to dry can be an effective, although extremely boring solution. Not recommended!

And with that slight diatribe, we return to our fallen hero.  Old Baggon might get lucky… who knows? Hopefully inspiration will strike at some point… I guess the story will be significantly shorter if it doesn’t.  

Don’t give up!

Even when it appears you have painted yourself into a corner with no way out, don’t give up! Think through it, study harder, or let the paint dry. Impossibilities are there because someone hasn’t quite figured out how to make them improbable. Could we be the ones to do that?

Smile while furrowing your brow!

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