Flame #writephoto

flame

Thanks to Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo for her Thursday #writephoto prompt.

Going Hungry

“Eat your dinner.” Mogreth’s father wagged a half-eaten leg bone at the meat sizzling on the flames.

“I’m not hungry.” Mogreth slumped on the log bench.

“Your mother’s testing a new marinade. The least you can do is try it.”

Mogreth watched his mother gnaw on a thigh bone. Last night, she cooked a rump roast that his father gobbled without taking a breath. Tomorrow, she would probably grill ribs slathered in fat. Maybe stir up a meaty stew with grisly leftovers and giblets. Mogreth wrinkled his nose at the thought. “Why can’t we steam some broccoli or cauliflower?”

“Vegetables are horrible for your health,” his mother said. “Have you ever considered the havoc they wreak on your digestion?”

“Disgusting,” his father muttered and tossed the bone over his shoulder into the growing pile.

“I could grow my own,” Mogreth pleaded. “I found the perfect spot for a garden.”

His parents sighed with weariness, exhausted by his perpetual nagging. But he couldn’t help it. He wasn’t like other teenagers with their bristly hair and yellow, stumpy teeth. His room was immaculate, clothes pressed, shoes polished to a spiffy nut-brown. He studied books on horticulture and nutrition, his thick fingers gliding over the glossy pictures. If he had his druthers, he’d spend his days digging in the soil, pockets bulging with seed packets and dreams brimming with the perfect zucchini.

He stared into the fire. No one understood his longing, his peers least of all. They preferred exploring caves, stomping on small animals, and clubbing villagers, a divergence in tastes that made him a prime target for teasing.

“You really should try this.” His father beckoned to his mother for another crispy morsel. “The sauce adds just the right amount of zing. Clears the sinuses. Nothing like food roasted over an open flame.”

Mogreth’s mother giggled at the compliment. “Don’t wait too long or your father’s going to suck the meat off that last bone.”

“Help yourself.” Mogreth waved a gloomy hand at the charred meat. He might be a troll, but the whole idea of munching on villagers disgusted him. He’d rather go hungry.

A bit of silliness since I’m in an editing fog.

Thanks for reading!

The Swan #writephoto

sue-vincent-prompt

The reaper perches on her bedpost, obsidian feathers secreted in the ebony of night. Below him, the woman lies supine, one leg extended, toes pointed. Her thin arms arch upward in a dream, supple as wings in spite of the brittleness of her bones. He understands her grace, the persistence of her soul’s dance.

Moderato e maestoso. Her lips part as Tchaikovsky swells in her head. The scène finale. The reaper cranes forward, immersed in the sublime pathos of the song. She dips her chin in gratitude, elegant white feathers and fingers cupping her heart. The reaper weeps and splays his black wings. Her dream ripples across the lake and she glides into the golden light, forever a swan.

**

Thanks to Sue Vincent of the Daily Echo for another mesmerizing #writephoto Thursday prompt.

The Hunt

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This is a 500-word stand-alone flash piece. I hope you enjoy.

The Hunt

I found the woman that Kester shot, stiff and snow-dusted beneath a fir. Other footprints head north, the white glaze of ice crunching as we track them in our heavy boots. This is my first hunt, my first war, old enough now to join the rebellion and execute my neighbors. Better than a bullet in the back, Kester says. You have to pick sides in these things.

“We’re stopping for the night.” Kester kicks the snow and points at the trees with his rifle. “You’re in charge of wood, Grayse. The rest of you set up camp.” I stare into the black forest beyond the body, my eyeballs stinging, toes gone numb hours ago. “Get going,” he barks at me. “I’m gods-damn freezing.”

My rifle abandoned, I trudge into the winter barrens beneath a star-spilled sky. The trees are giants wearing snow-draped robes, yet their crisp twigs and dead branches snap like small bones. I fill my arms, tramp back, and head out for more. Kester will nod when it’s enough, so there’s no point in asking.

Worried about losing my way, I follow the tracks while gathering my sticks, and the trek is easier where the snow’s crust was broken. Before I’ve hiked far, the trees thin and part, and at the forest’s edge, the night burns in a fire-show of light, rippling in hues of topaz and tourmaline.

Beneath the sky’s blazing ribbons, a village winks into existence, candles glowing in frosted windowpanes. I blink and rub my eyes with frozen fingers. Across the pale snow, I behold my countrymen staggering, stiffly, colder than death, lurching like disjointed corpses toward salvation. Their skeletal shadows stretch in the holy light back to me.

“Grayse! Graaaaayse,” Kester bellows from the forest, searching, my absence too long. “Graaaayse.”

In a panic, I run toward the village. I don’t know why. Do I seek its snug hearths or the promise of golden windows beneath a child’s magical sky? Or do I flee my future? Am I a weapon of the soulless, a beast in a child’s skin, killing my victims in the cold? Before me, the hunted weep and fall as they flee. I grab a man who pleads on his knees and hoist him up. Arm in arm, we stumble through the deep snow before the calls of my pursuers.

The last to reach the village, the man staggers through an open door and turns, beckoning me inside. I want to join him in the warmth and light. Instead, I draw my knife and face the skylit snow and black rim of forest.

“What the hell, Grayse?” Kester demands as my unit tramps toward me across the barrens.

“I was…” Despairing, I glance back before attempting to explain the village, to defend my actions, but behind me, nothing more than the night’s aurora ripples over the snow. “I was…lost.”

Kester smacks me across the face. “Run off out here, you get lost forever.”

“No,” I murmur. “You get found.”

 

Flickr Image: Northern Lights, Yukon, Canada www.studiolit.com

Violet Sky #writephoto

Sue Vincent #writephoto

Sue Vincent #writephoto

Violet Sky

We gathered at the border of the road, called out of our misery by one of the children. The dawn bled, a bruised and bloody wound. How fitting for the sixth extinction.

Yet, it was a dawning.

I had thought, long before the die-off, that we might poison the planet and arise one morning in disbelief that we couldn’t survive on an obliterated world. Or perhaps disease would usher mankind to the pyres, our super-viruses ravaging our weak and chemical-laden bodies. Of course, mutual annihilation was a possibility, the promise of our youth and sum of our talent and treasure dedicated to war. The end always made for entertaining speculation.

Who would have believed the culprit was time, all spiraling down with the slow ticking of the clock, the December of the human race.

I peered at the upturned faces of our isolated band as the heavens thrust spears of light through the clouds’ closing gash. My companions’ bodies appeared to glow in the rare sunlight, their radiant souls shining through, reclaiming lost beauty. In their smiles, I witnessed the dawning of hope and hadn’t the heart to tell them we were ghosts.

**

Thanks to Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo for another enticing photo prompt. She tosses these out to us on Thursdays and reblogs our submissions. It’s great fun. Head over and give it a try!

Sunday Share – My Heaven

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A few days ago, my muse demanded more writing time, less blog time. A day later, silly me decided to ADD a day of blogging, increasing my posts from 2 to 3 times a week. Seems like I’m sabotaging myself, but here’s what I’m thinking …

There are funny, creative, touching, stunning posts floating around the blogosphere. I’m adding a “Sunday Share” feature dedicated to reblogging a favorite post. I’ll close comments, so anyone who is interested can click through, enjoy someone’s talent, and perhaps make a new connection. My compromise with the muse. Easy!

Today is the first, a 153-word flash piece by Jade M. Wong. I hope you enjoy it.

My Heaven

“So, um, is it going to hurt?”

“Hurt?” The angel smiled at me like a parent indulging their child’s lackluster joke. “I think the time for pain has passed, dear.”

“Oh, so then, how do we-I mean-” I trailed off as the angel landed …

(continued): [Flash Fiction] My Heaven

I am Worldmaker

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I am Worldmaker. You know naught of me, yet behold me in the very fibers of the air, in the devices of my creation. My realm spans the chaos of stars, beyond time expanding, worlds shaped and dying. I am elemental, secretive, the spark that sets mystery in motion, the wielder of birth and destruction. Some name me God, but possess not a wisp of understanding. I am vaster than the reaches of imagination. Can you conceive, truly, of eternity?

My fingers roll as I breathe being into this gaseous inferno. I fling my fireball to the cold reaches of the void to cool and crack, to change the very complexion of space. There is a pattern in anarchy, a sublime collection of chance that in each moment transforms existence. Do you understand? That you are a miracle? Wondrous and infinitesimal, that you matter not at all?

Am I cruel, heartless? Do you find in my tale the fear of annihilation? Or in the infinite act of creation, am I the mother of life, an embodiment of love? Do I care for your ephemeral souls? I am none of your human imaginings. I am.

I am.

Curious.

I have contemplated myself in your corporeal image. You, the mere whimsy of happenstance. What is it that compels me to peer through the veil of stars to your blue orb with its wind-blown seas? You are nothing. In a sweep of my hand, I might hurl your planet into extinction, and in the dance of time, none would know or care. What is it that draws my gaze your way?

Hidden among you there is one who knows me, who has the power to read the runes burned in my countenance. He is the wyrd, Worldshifter, wandering in self-accepted ignorance while possessed unwittingly of truth. For to live without knowing is the doorway to wisdom.

He is a man grown now, rummaging through the hours you call time, hurrying over the surface of your mechanical planet, wasting breath and questioning why. I wonder at his constant seeking and inquisitiveness, his desire to part the veil and step into the mystery, even at the risk of his fleeting life. He might be foolish, yet I think he is, in fact, oddly courageous.

My latest world spins free with a turn of my wrist. It soars, whirling into other planets, colliding in a blaze of agonized destruction. In its debris new worlds will birth, new life that would not have breathed if not for death.

My gaze returns to him.

I gather stardust unto myself, shaping my vision of being into solid form as I plummet downward. The heat of your atmosphere burns me, peels away my identity in black cinders and powdery ash. Fear flares like a brand through white bones and scarlet blood. A shooting star, I plunge into your cool, gray sea.

Forgetting who I am.

***

Note: So who is this mysterious World-Shifter she’s so intrigued by? Click here for the companion piece written by Nick (Babbitman). I love the direction he took!

The Crypt #Writephoto

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Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo once again provided a lovely photoprompt to fire our creativity. Thank you, Sue.

The Crypt

The passage stretched longer than the old priest promised. A final door scraped open into a rectangular crypt, fluted arches interwoven in the dimness. Cobwebs luffed like gossamer sails as the air stirred. Eight slender columns splayed their stone fingers, supporting the vaulted ceiling, its paint flaking from the solemn faces of watchful gods.

In three rows lay the stone sarcophagi of dead kings, their likenesses carved into the dusty lids along with narrow slots for their spirits to breathe. The princess gazed straight ahead, whispering a prayer as she walked between the ancestral corpses, skeletal reminders of her royal lineage and her father’s impending doom.