As ever, the stories shared last week were wee gems, one and all, some more outlandish than others and isn't that the sweetest part for writer and for reader? Not knowing where the words will go, barely even half a dozen of them each week, and a bit of pretty thrown in so the words are nice to look at.
I tell you, every week I press publish and like some sort of church gargoyle I sit at the edge of my stone outcrop (chair), hunched over, hands folded gleeful and.
It doesn't take long for that first story to pop up, then another, and another through the week. I love them, one and all, and just like one of the more alarming gargoyles I am right now here and leaning close but instead of a water spout mouth I'm blink-blinking at you through this silicon and glass and whispering greedy and again:
Tell me a story?
Whatever Your Genre of Fiction…Surely You've Got a Hundred Words to Spare?
Will you let this week's pretty prompt bubble up words in the back of your pretty brain, we offer for your delectation and reading pleasure a few facets from last week's jewels, inspired by the writing prompt I haven't forgotten:
~ I run outside and I drop to my knees, digging my fingers in the earth. I send my mind down into her depth, I try to find the ball of tension in her, to make her be calm and unbent again. But I never could do what you did with so much ease, I never spoke her language like you did.
~ “They always got it wrong,” Lucia said, easing her bird-boned form into the pilot seat, fastened her harness on the third attempt, brushed her long, white hair off her face and pushing the flight helmet over her head until it clicked. “In the old movies, you know?”
~ “If anyone listens back to these tapes, all they’ll hear is a woman slowly going mad in a makeshift office on the roof of a observatory. That’s no different to someone going mad anywhere else, it’s just colder.”
~ Quarantine can drive you a bit mad… Fortunately, in my house, it only brought out all the worst puns, bad dad jokes and over-quoted movie lines. We – Gary and me, I’m Kat. Hi! – get on like a house on fire, always have. We are each other’s perfect kind of weird. So, being stuck at home with him wasn’t terrible. Observe…
~ They said it was a story invincible, that age would not wither our victory, nor time leave the tale unforgotten. They lied. We followed the star, vector north-by-northwest, made landfall, made history, the world cheered and praised, we were famous…
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I have meant and done you harm
Disguised beneath my canny charm
So none believe in you
You are trapped, imprisoned here
There’s no escaping me, my dear
Not straight away, that’s true.
Don’t slam the door or slink away
Or plot to burn me down today
Revenge is better cold
And served up with a clever, sly
That under stress will hold.
Resist the worn out metaphors
Equating stealth with padded paws
Find other ways to stalk
Bide your time and make your plot
Until you think that I’ve forgot
Your will to do me in
And enjoy the wild surprise
Reflected in my dying eyes
As I perish for my sin
I don’t go in for drama. I’m not a big noise-maker. If something riles me I’ll sneer a little, mutter an invective into my latte, move on, and that’s about it.
Today’s a little different. Some days are. I know them when they’re here, they have that scent to them, like something that’s burned a bit around the edges. The whole of it is still there but creeping in from the outside is destruction and if it’s not carefully cut out it’ll consume the whole, innocent and guilty alike.
That’s where I come in. I’m not a superhero, I’m not anyone anybody wants to know, but I have an ability and I use it to…dial down drama, negate noise, to stop destruction.
On the train I see a guy paw at a young man during the heading-home crush. He’s pretending his hand has to be there, right on the man’s clothed cock. The young man is pretty in his shock, frozen, unblinking. They say humans respond to danger by fight or flight but they hardly ever say freeze. If they don’t mention that it makes it so much easier to put the blame on the victim.
Anyway, I waited. I couldn’t get close enough. Not without risking others. Either the man was going to get off the train or the train would empty out, either way I waited. Before long both happened, a flood of people disembarked and so did the asshole. So I passed by the pretty boy and lied. “I’m a cop, I’ll make sure he never takes this train again.”
It didn’t take long to get the guy alone, he had a bounce in his step that took him pretty far pretty fast. When we were just coming up on a pet store I like — they don’t sell living things, just feed and toys galore — and though it was shut-tight for the night I called him and pointed into the store’s interior.
By reflex he looked in and quick-as-blinks I pushed my hoodie back until Estheriel, Meshana, Reav, and Clovom hissed out, tongues flickering. He shot out a hand, slamming it into the plate glass and then responded by reflex again, swinging round to look at me wide-eyed.
He wasn’t turned to stone, that’s not what I do. He was just…frozen. Like the pretty one on the train, and if you don’t think that’s scary you’re wrong. Asshole would stay that way too, for a couple weeks probably.
“Keep your hands to yourself,” I whispered, pulling up my hoodie and heading back to the station.
This wasn’t even my stop.
(This was inspired by the wonderful Medusa in the modern day comics done by Joanacchi (check their Tumblr by the same name), and by a tweet I read by a man to whom this happened on the train. Being an ally, he was trying to convey that until something like this happens to you, you don’t know how you’ll react; when it happened to him he froze.)
You deciding to leave me comes without a warning. Have I been too complacent? Did I not see the signs?
I stare at you and the pain of betrayal burns through my chest as sharp and quick as the breaking of bone.
I can’t believe you’re leaving me. Not today. Not like this. I don’t deserve that. We don’t deserve that.
You get up to leave the room and I run after you and we collide in the doorframe and tumble into the kitchen. I slip on the cool kitchen tiles and slam into the fridge and somehow the door opens and the stupid thing spills leek and carrots like intestines.
You look at me and shake your head with a small sigh before closing the door again. Once my clumsiness used to make you laugh.
I wonder if I should tackle you to the floor, but that seems a tad excessive even in these circumstances. As always you are able to read my intentions in my eyes, because you say, “No” in that voice that always makes me want to cower.
You walk to the door and you put on your shoes. I decide I’m just going to sit in front of the door. That way you can’t leave. It’s not a long-term solution, but maybe it will make you stay long enough to reconsider.
You stare at me for what feels like an eternity, then you go to your knees in front of me and you grab me and bury your face in my neck, shoulders shaking.
“I was just going to take out the trash, you ridiculous drama dog!”