YAFF Muse is a weekly blog series I will be trying to take part in, featuring some YA Fiction Fanatics members. In this series, we’ll post original short stories created from an image meant to inspire our Muse. Hope you enjoy! And don’t forget to check out the other YAFFers participating in this series (links below).


Photo credit: earl35 from Morguefile.com

Dakota leaned against the railing and looked out at the sea of hot air balloons. The colors reminded her of Faerie. God she missed the feeling of flight. The feel of the air under her wings. But to give in to her desire to fly would bring unwanted attention, endangering her and her siblings. The children of the royal family were sent into hiding. She had to honor the terms set out by her parents. A tear slid down her cheek.


The voice was warm like honey and familiar. A boy from her class. Zander Gray. Though he was the topic of conversation amongst the girls at Ford High, he usually kept to himself. He stepped up beside her.

“Hi Zander.”

“What are you doing up here?”

Wishing I could be true to myself and take flight. Words she thought but wished she could speak. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye. He was definitely easy on the eyes, but that didn’t mean she could trust him. “I’m just watching.”
“Want to go for a ride in one?” He leaned against the railing, but she knew he wasn’t looking at the balloons. The weight of his gaze made her uneasy, but she nodded. “Great. Come on.”

They walked the halls of the glass building and rode down in the elevator. His truck was parked close and before long they were on their way to the big open field she’d watched the balloons launch from. Heat radiated between them and her nerves were in overdrive. He let out a soft chuckle.

“What’s so funny?” She looked at him then.

“You don’t talk much. With most girls I’ve met, there’s hardly a chance to sneak a word in.”

“What do they talk with you about?” One of the reasons she had no friends was her lack of knowledge of human girls. In Faerie things were different. Her home was torn by a civil war that was still going on to her knowledge. Had been that way her entire life.

Zander stopped the truck. “Nothing that interests me. Come on.”

He hopped out and walked around to open her door. She slid out of the seat, putting herself close enough that she could feel his warm breath against her cheek. “So do you know how to fly a hot air balloon?”

“Yes.” The field stretched out before them. Several balloons were still grounded, hot air filling the fabric until they hovered overhead. One in particular caught her eye. A dragon emblem lay against an emerald green back drop. She gasped. Zander’s hand slid into hers. A faint glow appeared under her hand when it met his.

“You are a guardian.” Dakota made the statement, knowing he wouldn’t deny the truth.

His voice was hushed when he spoke. “Yes. And you are a princess of Faerie.”

“You aren’t supposed to make yourself known. It is a punishable offense among your people.” Still she liked knowing there were others from her world living in the city she felt so alone in.

“Are you going to tell on me?”

“Only under threat of torture.” She smiled for the first time since she’d had to leave home.

“Still wish to go for a ride? It’s not the same as feeling the air under your wings princess, but it’s a start.” Zander winked at her.

Now have a look at what the same photo inspires from my fellow writers at YAFF~

Traci Kenworth

Miranda Buchanan

Vanessa Barger