Here’s a snippet from the first short story I’ve completed since high school.
The Sunset Queen raises her hand, discusses with her advisers. They all shine, as mirages on hot asphalt. I wait as patiently as I know. Will the prospect of me losing distract her enough?
Finally, she looks at me. “And if you do not win?”
Normally she might not accept such an offer from an ignorant mortal. I have, however, provoked her and reminded her of my claim of competency. She smiles. “For life.” It is not a question. I am not expected to answer.
“It is granted. Win, mortal.”
I am escorted away from her presence and finally, terribly, breath a sigh of relief.
She did not ask the important questions.