S.S. Raven
Raven Poetrick
R. Vampire Haven
Raven's wRiters
wRiter's Guidelines 
Raven's Roost

Harry Potter's Year 7
Deathly Hallows at amazon.com

From Raven's Editor:
Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic

She's a Flight Risk
by John Schoffstall

The night bell captain rang up Tatiana's room, saying there were people coming up from the lobby. He was interrupted by sounds that Tatiana recognized as automatic weapons fire. Then the line went dead, along with the bell captain, she supposed. She'd spent the last month flirting with him, and it had just paid off. For her, rather than for him, but payoffs were often like that.

The Royal Peacock Hotel of Singapore had been attentive to her needs, tolerant of the strange hours and company she kept, but her father's servants had found her at last, as they always did. She imagined them charging up the stairs, panting, their brown and gray coats disheveled by their effort. They'd be at her door soon, to kidnap her and bundle her back home.

"She's a flight risk," her father had warned them when she first left Kiev. His servants nodded and grinned their toothy smiles, but refused to look her in the eye. Tatiana was seventeen then, of consumptive physique, her face as pale as a limestone cenotaph, but father's servants feared her because inside she was too much like him: proud, solitary, self-willed. Her Grand Tour through Pomerania, Constantinople and Aquitaine abruptly ended in Paris one rainy night when brigands attacked her party. In the confusion, Tatiana escaped into the fetid alleys of the Ile de la Cité.

Like the little girl in the Russian folk tale who is pursued across the snow by wolves, Tatiana had been running ever since, from the Hebrides to Hong Kong, from Hokkaido to Jenne-Jeno. In Paris, in a cafe on the moonlit Rue de Turenne, or in a hotel bar in the Seychelles, she poured through the International Herald Tribune for news about her father. Over the centuries, his power and influence had increased beyond measure. He was whispered to be the wealthiest financier in Russia, and a shadowy hand behind international politics. But Tatiana had grown in strength, too, inwardly, secretly, an iceberg to his Titanic. One night they would meet again, and try their strength.

But not yet, not here.

She opened the window. The moon was bright and full, the stars hidden by the city sky-glow. From below came the growl of traffic on Keong Saik Road.

Pounding footfalls outside. The locked door handle rattled. Where next? Sri Lanka? Monaco? The Channel Islands? In a thousand years, she had never been to Tibet. A body slammed against the door, and it splintered inward. Gathering all her strength, Tatiana leaped for the open window.

Her clothing fell empty to the floor as the door crashed open (Fidel, the largest, had knocked it down), and her father's servants bounded into the room. Maculata sniffed at her clothing, black underwear still inside the black dress, and barked his frustration. Fillette stuck her muzzle out the window and howled. High above, a tiny thing the color of night transited the moon on fluttering membranous wings, headed northwest, across the Straits of Johor. Towards Tibet.

As Dracul had warned, his daughter was a flight risk.


John Schoffstall's business card reads, "Recluse, Nudnick, Inventor of Curious Fictions." That's about the size of it. He likes fiction that takes you around corners you didn't know were there, and shows you things you never would have imagined yourself. He's had stories published in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, and Writers of the Future, among others. John is currently working on a YA fantasy novel. It is about unlikely and scandalous adolescents doing risky, shocking and thrilling things.


Did you like this short story?
Send your raves (or rants) to:

"She's a Flight Risk" © 2007 John Schoffstall. Used by permission of the author.
Raven Electrick © 2000-2007 Karen A. Romanko.