Themes: Fantasy, Horror
Her gnarled knuckles ache with the pain of age and cold as she directs the brush this way and that across the upright canvas. Darkness is her comfort, her old friend, her nightly blanket. Darkness, because eyes clouded by cataracts require no light by which to see.
Time, her old nemesis, claws at the few days she has left, scraping them away hour by hour. Each minute slips through her fingers like minnows in the stream, each lost moment dragging her closer to oblivion.
The hog-hair brush runs dry. Methodically, she dips it down into the red on her palette. Blood-red. Virgin heart red, to be specific. It will make a lovely rosy colour on the portrait’s cheeks. The flush of youth. Yes, she will be young again.
Brown the hair, brown harvested fresh just last night. The woodcutter’s daughter, her lovely skin, her oak-coloured tresses. Pigtails, she wore. Pigtails no more. The body will be found soon enough.
The boiled-up bones of the baker’s newborn babe give ample glue. The long brown locks lie beautiful along the portrait’s hairline. How well they frame those flawless cheeks pinked by virgin blood.
The finishing touches, now. Blue eyes, cornflower blue, to match the blue sky. The dress of the goat-herder’s daughter, ripped to tatters. A wolf, they say. A wolf is fine for the woman. Let the wolf take the blame.
The eyes in place, sightless she stares at the vision of youthful beauty. A face to break a thousand hearts. Much better than the wrinkled, saggy flesh her real face has become. Wartless, hairless, free from liver-spots… yes, this face will do nicely.
She puts down the paintbrush and picks up the spell-book. A whimper draws her blind eyes to the corner of the cottage, where the blacksmith’s daughter, fairest of the lot, lies bound and gagged.
Yes. Why not? A new body to go with her new face. Smiling toothlessly, she picks up the wickedly curved knife.
This slightly macabre flash fic was written for a Blog Battle challenge, with a theme of Selfie and a genre of Fantasy.
Rather than go with a more urban or contemporary fantasy, I thought I’d stick with something a little more typical for the genre. I’ve come in waaaay under the word limit, but I hope you enjoy the story. It was inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Themes: Fantasy, Crime, Rebellion
They knew him as The Shadow and spoke his name in whispers for fear of reprisal. He’d robbed six nobles in the last month alone, and now The Shadow had his sights set on a seventh. The wheels of the gilded carriage scattered clouds of dust into the night air as the horses blew heavily in their traces. They had travelled far this night, and swiftly.
The carriage was not unprotected, but that merely made his task more of a challenge—and increased his enjoyment of tweaking noble noses. The six mounted House guards he had anticipated, but the plainclothes men had the look of mercenaries about them, which was even better. Mercenaries exploited the fear of others; they would find themselves unpaid at the end of this night.
We dug into the ground with pick and axe, iron and steel biting into rich earth. We delved for everything which sparkled and shone. From the ground we tore everything precious, and some things which were not.
Then we dug into ourselves. We pulled out our sparklies and shinies, the jewels of our hearts and minds, and we wore them on our sleeves and around our necks. We wore them so that others could see and admire our beauty.
We ruined the Earth. Nothing would grow. As for our hearts and minds? As barren as the infertile fields we tilled.
This little story is something I wrote a week or so ago, when my muse offered me a random taste of inspiration. I was going to hold on to it until I found a reason to post it, and that reason has now materialised in the form of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. If you’ve enjoyed this story, please check out some of the other submissions on Sue’s blog!
A chap who likes writing (and waffles) is running a competition for people who also like to write (though I believe waffles may be optional).
The premise? Write 200 words of anything except play, screenplay or poetry. Post in the comments over there, and wait for some fellow human beings to judge your worth. Should you be deemed SUPER worthy, you’ll win some stuff plus bragging rights. You could also put your achievement on your CV/resumé or college application forms, I guess.
Now you should go and make words happen. Huzzah for words!
(P.S. Did you check out my previous post on de-cluttering your inbox? Because this is my second blog post today. Gasp! If your inbox feels claustrophobic, go read what I wrote earlier.)
Themes: Horror, Demons, Suspense
It came in the night. A rage-filled howl shattered the peaceful air of the valley, screaming its promise of pain and death. Zihao’s eyes flew open. He pushed himself up from his futon and grasped the hilt of his sword. Fear clawed at his stomach; he fought against it, and won.
He slid down the ladder from his treetop hut. The demon’s taint was in the air, oily, charred, a bitter stench of fire and blood. It was faster than Zihao had imagined; piercing screams told him it had already reached the village.
She felt it before she saw the first clouds shadowing the horizon. The gentle breeze changed swiftly, picking up speed, gusting through her feathers, urging her, fly! fly!
“Storm!” she screeched as she wheeled through the turbulent currents. “Storm!”
A thousand others took up her call, joining her dance on the swirling zephyrs. Far below, in the rocky cove, hunting seals heeded the call and moved to the safety of the shingle beach.
“Storm!” she screamed at the floating wooden animal beneath her. But the pale-faced creatures standing on it merely waved up at her, deaf to her warning.
Every other Sunday I’ll be publishing a drabble about, or from the perspective of, a bird. This week’s bird is the ubiquitous Gull. What’s so special about the gull, you ask? Here are three facts which you may not know about this noisy, often annoying family of birds:
- Gulls can drink salt water! Their exocrine glands allow salt to be excreted through their nostrils, so whilst drinking salt-water is a big no-no for you and me, gulls manage quite well.
- Gulls are monogamous, and their mating bonds usually last throughout their entire lives. In this, they do better than some humans!
- Hybridisation between some species of gull is quite common, making gull taxonomy a particularly tricky subject.
I like to imagine that to the first European settlers reaching America’s shores, the sight of gulls nesting along the coast would’ve been a measure of comforting familiarity in an otherwise strange and dangerous land.
To view previous bird-related drabbles, click “A Bird’s-eye View” above, or select it from the Short Stories section of the menu at the top of the page.
Themes: Science-Fiction, God, War
“Are we doing the right thing?” Fran’s voice quavered around the laboratory. “He’s been gone for so long. What if we can’t bring him back? What if something goes wrong? So much has changed since he was last awake—”
“We’re doing the right thing,” Miner broke in. Brows furrowed, he stared at the computer terminal as his fingers danced over the holographic keyboard.
As she watched his fingers work, Fran marvelled at a new thought: when Adam had last been around, there had been no holographic keyboards. No holographic technology at all! How strange the world would seem to him now.
Themes: Fantasy, Fairies, Myth
Mother and babe slept soundly, she beneath a grey blanket and the child nestled in a crib at the foot of the bed. The glass of the bedroom window pane fogged with the heat of Saoirse’s breath as she stared in at the pair. The sleeping woman was fair and beautiful, exactly Odhran’s type. He always picked the finest mortals to bear his offspring.
Saoirse shifted, working feeling back into cold muscles. The plates of her dragon-scale armour flexed to allow movement, and she subconsciously brushed her fingers along the hilt of her starfire blade.