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.

Cracked Ice #writephoto

cracked-ice

Flight of Faith

When I was a child, I could fly
you and I hopped in dirt-road afternoons
faithful
and the dust-wind flung us over seas of wheat
scuffed shoes skimming the feathered awns
we whipped around the corners of the barn
in a home-sewn world of farm-hewn hands
our secret futures soared

In the veins of my hands
the blue brooks of time stream by
Somewhere on the way, I unlearned how to fly
and trod worn paths through autumn’s lea
snapped night’s brittle ice
shards of fractured faith
glinting in my wake

Today’s morning purls in plumrose
cast on a withering season’s stark debris
spangled with winter’s gilded rime
a new path of violet ice wends to the horizon
fragile, fissured, a wish yet unbroken
my secret future soars
faithful
and I wonder if I might fly
one last time

 

This attempt at poetry was in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Check out other submissions on The Daily Echo and maybe try the next one! Thank you, Sue. ❤

Passage #Writephoto

passage

Gabby tapped a finger on the holo-tab, scrolling through the checklist. She mumbled to herself to combat the interminable silence, “Done. Done. Done. Done.” Her shift was winding down, but she could squeeze in one more scan without a problem. Her team had been troubleshooting the anomalies for six shifts without a clue. Not one fritzed wire or crossed link, no cute little rodents sizzling in the circuits, or hideous viruses spewing garbled data.

“All systems operable,” the maintenance system announced. “Do you wish to proceed to level thirteen, mod seventy-four?”

“Not if I can help it,” she muttered, heading for the lift-port.

“Repeat,” the disembodied voice instructed.

“Yes. Mod seven four.”

“Proceed to the lift-port.”

“Obviously.” She pinched her fingers together in the air, minimizing the program. Trying to have a normal conversation with Opie, the ship’s original Operations AI, was like cooking with nutri-sims, the epitome of unsatisfying.

She hummed through the silence in the lift and exited on the thirteenth level – gray walls, gray floor, gray ceiling, same as every other level. Tracking the numbers on the doors, she strolled the corridor, the shipboard sounds muted, peaceful, sedate, boring. She’d just turned twenty-five, a fifth of her lifespan ticked off. Done. Done. Done. The thought of another hundred years of checklists punctuated by the same telebooks, revolving holofilms, and regurgitated musi-tunes tempted her to hack the entertainment database for some merciful sabotage.

At the panel to mod seventy-four, she punched the code into the slanted access plate, but the door didn’t budge.

“Greetings, Gabriela.” The pleasant voice of the modernized communications system chimed, breaking the ship’s silence.

“Hi, Darling.” The annoying name made her wince every time she said it.

“I’ve detected an anomaly. Do you still wish to enter?”

Gabby hesitated. She raised her hand and spread her fingers, opening Opie. “Safety analysis.”

“Perfectly safe,” Darling replied.

Opie ran through his data protocols. “Recommend initiating Safety Code SC-Six.”

“He’s a worrywart.” Darling sighed. “Of course, I understand if you’re anxious about missing the shift’s nutri-sim offering. Turkey and stuffing.”

“Open it.” The panel glided into the wall, and Gabby peeked in. At first glance, the mod’s interior appeared normal – a quietly blinking octagonal room, ten feet across, each gray wall dominated by a thin plasteel door that shielded the circuitry.

“Straight ahead,” Darling said.

“Don’t sound so giddy.” Gabby entered the mod and tapped the code from the plasteel door into Opie’s scanner.

The holo-tab blinked. “Anomaly detected.”

“How irritatingly repetitive.” Darling huffed. “Is he always like this?”

“Usually.”

“Well, are you going to open it?”

Gabby aimed her loc-key and hit the switch. The hidden pins clicked and the door released. She tugged it open and inhaled.

Beyond the gray portal the anomaly stretched forward in a rough passage constructed of actual stones and washed in gold and blue from the peculiar lights. At the end of the corridor, a cerulean brightness drew her eyes, a color seen only in images of a lost Terran sky. Yet neither sight could compete with the beauty of the sound. Beyond the elegant arches, voices and music soared, a sacred chant that welled in her chest, rose to her throat and caught in her lashes.

“Safety Code SC-Two Initiated,” Opie announced.

“Well, there you go,” Darling tsked. “He’s called security. You’re going to have to decide.”

“Decide?” Gabby stared down the length of the anomaly, the sapphire light and harmonies beckoning.

“To stay or go,” Darling whispered in her ear. “How much time do you have?”

“Seventy-three seconds,” Opie replied.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Opie,” Darling chided him. “One hundred years, Gabriela. You have a hundred years.”

Gabby stepped into the golden passage and closed the door behind her.

***

Many thanks to Sue Vincent of the Daily Echo for her #writephoto prompts that spark the imagination. She posts them on Thursdays. Join the fun!

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!

The Crypt #Writephoto

scotland-trip-jan-15-1731

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.

Lookout #Writephoto

lookout

This submission is for Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo weekly prompt. I can’t resist these.

Without a choice, Kael crept through the sheeting rain toward the garden, the baby heavy in his arms. His other sister, Gitta, hid behind the trellis, paralyzed by the terrible stridency of murder. He took a step closer and ducked back, squatted and held his breath, stroking Clover’s cheek to keep her quiet.

A guard in a black cloak stood at the corner of the shed, a loaded crossbow resting in his hands. He squinted in the rain as he scanned the garden, pens, and moor. Gitta didn’t seem aware of the man’s presence, and Kael begged her to stay as if his will alone could bind her limbs and silence her tongue. “Stay there, Gitta. Please, stay there.”

The guard spit and wiped the rain from his forehead with a sleeve before walking toward the pens. Kael tossed a stone into the garden. Gitta spun and he beckoned. As she ran toward him, he retreated into the heath. “We’re going to hide in the old cairn,” he told her. “You lead, quiet as a mouse.”

Gitta nodded, eyes like winter pools, her body soaked and shaking. She set off and Kael followed. They squeezed through the gap into the stone hollow. Kael opened Clover’s blanket and wrapped it around both sisters. They sat near the back, snuggled together, the tight quarters offering shelter from the storm.

“No talking,” Kael whispered when words formed on Gitta’s lips. She nodded and pointed at his shoulder. He gave his bloodied sleeve a peek and shrugged, then placed a finger to his lips.

Heather broke beneath quiet footfalls. Gitta pinched her eyes closed and Clover pressed her face into Kael’s arm as the shadow of a man blocked the gray light. Kael looked out, meeting the dark eyes. The stocky guard combed thick fingers through his wild beard.

“Niall?” another voice called.

“Just taking a piss,” the bearded man yelled into the rain. He gestured for Kael to stay before he trudged away. “No sign of them. I’ll stay on the moor and keep an eye out.”

Kael swallowed a sob, motionless, listening. The autumn skies brought premature darkness, the rain falling in rustling gales. Clover slept in his arms and Gitta dozed, emitting small sleep-filled cries that grated his raw nerves. The wind keened, and rain-dampened calls kept him vigilant, the hunters still on the prowl. Sorrow pressed down with the unbearable weight of the old stones.