Tales from the Asylum

SPFBO Edition: Joyce Reynolds-Ward


One of the goals of SPFBO is to give a chance to self-published authors to get more exposure. This year I’m taking part in the competition with my own team. You can keep updated on our progress and all of our content on my SPFBO 5 page!

Tales from the Asylum is a new feature I came up with for SPFBO. I wanted to create a unique opportunity for the authors to show off their story telling skills by taking their characters and putting them in an asylum room to see how they would deal with the situation. A lot can happen in a closed space…


The Author

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Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a speculative fiction writer who splits her time between Enterprise and Portland, Oregon. Her short stories include appearances in Well…It’s Your Cow, Children of a Different Sky, Allegory, River, and Fantasy Scroll Magazine, as well as on Curious Fictions. Her books include Shadow Harvest, Pledges of Honor (2018 Self Published Fantasy BlogOff Semifinalist), Challenges of Honor, Choices of Honor, and Klone’s Stronghold. Joyce has edited two anthologies, Pulling Up Stakes (2018), and Whimsical Beasts (2019). Besides writing, Joyce enjoys reading, quilting, horses, skiing, and outdoor activities, and is a member of Soroptimist International of Wallowa County.

The Setting

Joyce Reynolds-Ward


The Scene

Oh crud. How did I end up here again? I thought we took care of Pastor Ananda and his abusive treatment of electric elementals. Guess not. So how do I get out of this place and back to the Stronghold?

“Strug? STRUG? STRUG!!!!” I use my mindspeech to reach out for my partner.

Then I cringe as it bounces right back into me. I double over and fall off of my chair, hands clapped over my ears in a futile attempt to shut out my own mindspeech.

At last it’s done. I unfold myself, and crawl back into the chair, crossing my arms on the tabletop and resting my forehead on them. That hurt.

Now what? I’m not that scared little girl that Ananda bullied into suppressing my supernatural self. Can I call electricity to me?

I close my eyes, face down on the table, and extend my arms, palms up. I think about the electrical flow. My friends. Where are they?

A tingle in my hands is the first sign that electricity has answered my call. It tentatively prickles up my arms and into my torso, then down my legs.

Good. Good.

More, I think to it. Give me more.

Tingles and prickles change to a hot flow as my electric friends answer my call. I burn and pulsate with power as first I sit, then stand, throwing my hands wide. White-hot current dances from palm to palm.

OUT! I think to it. GET ME OUT OF HERE.

Jagged blue-white lightning sparks from my fingers, lashing at the walls. They fall, revealing that I’m–yup, back in that damned Faraday cage again, in the darkened basement of that damned church of Ananda’s. Only now, instead of Ananda and Uncle Jayanesh glowering at me, three men with the fish-belly white skin and dark hair of blood elementals smirk in the chairs by the cage’s controller.

Some of the former minions of my late ex-husband Karl. Figures. One reaches for the controller to reestablish that white room.

“Not going to be that easy, boys.” I smirk back at them, and point my finger at the controller. It shorts out. Then I grab the bars of the cage, and, calling on the other half of my heritage, pull them apart. The boys jump up from their chairs and start backing toward the door as I leave the cage. I raise my hands to zap them, now fully the half-demon, half-electrical elemental, but they burst through the door and thunder up the staircase, squealing in fear.

All right. It’s going to be that way. I turn back to the cage and summon more power, this time from my demon side. It takes time, but when I’m done, the former cage is nothing more than a puddle of hot metal.

No other electric elemental will ever be tortured like this again. Not if I have anything to say about it.

And meanwhile, I need to figure out just how on earth I got here.

My name is Reeni Dutta. I am not just one of the few remaining electrical elementals, but I’m also part-demon and one of the Guardians of Klone’s Stronghold, a haven for young supernaturals unable to guard themselves because they’re behind the developmental curve–as so many supernaturals can be. These guys have just managed to make me very, very angry.

And now I worry about the Stronghold. How did those three little twirps manage to get me back here? They certainly weren’t powerful enough to subdue me under normal circumstances. Is something wrong at the Stronghold?

“STRUG!” I mindspeech again.

No answer.

Now I’m really worried.

Author’s Note

Um. There’s a few spoilers for KLONE’S STRONGHOLD here, and, uh…I just realized that I might have written a rough draft opening scene for an unplanned sequel. Welp, folks, stay tuned because this one might just pop on the scene in mid-to-late 2020.

If you’d like to get in touch, you can find Joyce Reynolds-Ward on social media:

Website | Blog| Facebook | Newsletter | Ko-Fi

Joyce Reynolds-Ward entered Klone’s Stronghold into SPFBO and got sorted into Fantasy-Faction‘s group.

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You can keep updated on our progress and all of our content on my SPFBO 5 page!