Friday, February 28, 2014

Wishbone 2.0

100 words for you today, and a little fantastical... after all, shouldn't wishes be?

I was tempted to keep going with this one, but my arm was protesting a little too much, plus I'm taking my grandmother out for lunch today and spending the afternoon with her. It's nice now that she no longer lives a 5+ hour drive away.

It was too late to change my mind after the wishbone snapped in half.

The size of the wish depends on the size of the wishbone. A chicken might grant you an easy day’s work, a sparrow, perhaps, finding a coin on the ground. You could ask for hurt feelings to be greased and repaired from a goose, or a meatier wish, the return of an unrequited love, from a turkey’s hard breastbone.

A swan will only grant something pure, and something earthy, good weather maybe, from a pheasant.

On a dragon’s wishbone, I foolishly wished to unmake the world.


Wow, last day of February... a good time to wish, and wait, and hope for spring.

I'm really excited to see what people do with this prompt... what wish would you regret?

It was too late to change my mind after the wishbone snapped in half.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Never cold 2.0

Have any of you read, 'The Orphan's Tales', books by Catherynne Valente? I read both of them about 2 years ago... and loved them. That shouldn't be a surprise as I'm really into dark fairytales/etc.

I never considered writing anything along that line until I had a strange dream* a few weeks ago...

Here's a very brief description: a square, low-roofed shrine (ceiling about 5' high max), walls/floors panelled with dry, woven grass mats, the interior is lit by the golden light of oil lamps, and the air is heavy with the humid scents of burning oil, earth, and decomposing vegetation. Lining the walls, and in a double-sided row down the centre, are dark wooden cabinets (about 3.5' high, room enough for the oil lamps to not catch the roof on fire) with an uncountable number of tiny drawers, each containing the soul of someone/something in limbo between life and reincarnation. Each soul must tell its story before it can move onto its next life.

The keeper of this shrine is a creature somewhere between a fox and a cat, more than twice sly, and thrice canny. The dimensions of its body change, not only squash and stretch into unlikely shapes/proportions, but the opacity of its body bleeds from heavy, impenetrable shadow, to the cool watery grey of early mist.

I didn't actually intend to connect that far-gone dream to the prompt I offered this morning, but somehow these 250 words could theoretically be the 'sales-pitch' of one of those innumerable drawer occupants... and no, I would never expand this flash fiction piece, but I might rewrite it entirely if I was struck with the urge to explore this world.

Can't wait to read what you guys wrote!

The dead are never cold. The holy men of the fane** lie when they say a soul flies out through the mouth and takes the heat of life with it to light the stars. Or maybe it’s simple ignorance, because a corpse is not warm to the touch when it’s oiled and dressed for burial.

Like a fire-tender with his chest of ash-nestled coals, a necromancer knows where cinders sleep, ready to kindle and snap at the first gift of infusing breath.

Many people you know, many people you meet, are already dead, but they still laugh on the corner with friends, or haggle over the price of cured-sausage, spring onion, and eggs.

Necromancers don’t steal willpower or harvest souls. We ignite life as it was, for a price, just like a fire-tender, or a holy man of the fane. It’s a service like any other available at market, we simply offer inner-heat instead of fire, more time in the present with loved ones, rather than the promise of cold enlightenment in the starry-after.

Now my friend, mark the yellowed cheeks of your daughter, and smell the growing sour of plague on her breath. Keep your purse closed. Alchemy and tinctures will not save her. Send a messenger when her hourglass expires, and we will do business, you and I. 

It is no great price to re-ignite her life, and upkeep is a modest monthly fee to keep her flame by your side.

*I very, very rarely remember dreams, and when I do, they are incredibly vivid and target all 5 senses

**fane is an archaic word for temple/shrine as I was trying to avoid religion-specific terminology, mainly because I'd rather make up my own rules/beliefs/etc.

Never cold

I think it's the grey February weather that makes me a little... morbid? But spring is coming soon!

Here's the prompt for today:

The dead are never cold.

Friday, February 14, 2014

No Love 2.0

Not romantic, but perhaps... a little sexy? I had fun writing this one, though I did have to Google what lipstick tastes like... :) Perhaps it's a quirk, but I'm always fascinated how scent and taste can draw out and bind strong memories.

150 words:

There was no love in her kiss. It was a simple press of flesh, the brief commingling of her lipstick and my eucalyptus flavored gum.

My heart stirred, while hers lay still, her mouth busy with habitual greetings, arms inviting the next visitor in the doorway for a polite, dispassionate hug, careful not to crush the bodice of her white satin dress. I licked at the crayon-taste of her pink lipstick and kicked my sneakers towards a corner heaped with men’s dress shoes, high-heels, and studded purses.

Music pulsed. Alive. Warning. Torturous.

I licked again, carefully. Not to remove, but to savour. Another memory carved into my brain, another sensation to feed my guilt-ridden obsession. Another moment of squirming heat to re-live and re-examine after I close my door, close my eyes.

My brother’s wife.

Hands shaking, I adjusted my skirt and joined the party.

No Love

It is Valentines Day*... and you all know I'm not really a romantic, so here's the prompt for today:

There was no love in her kiss.

*Today is also the Chinese Lantern Festival

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hark 2.0

Here's my 100 word offering, enjoy!

I called him Hark. Not short for Harker, or Harkley, but after the Middle English word for ‘listen’.

“Are you listening?”

It was always on his lips, a prequel to whatever else he had to say.

Not so much a question, but an order. A warning.

Stop what you’re doing.

Pay attention.


Before he asked what I wanted to drink, or which movie to see. On the sofa, curled into one another, and entwined in the sheets of his bed.

But most of all in the classroom.

“Are you listening? This will be on your English 9 final exam.”


Happy February! Spring is on its way!

This line for today is 0.1% inspired by re-reading one of my favourite stories, "The 13 Clocks", by James Thurber. If you've never read this... you are missing out. I am currently indoctrinating my six-year-old nephew... and if you don't love the story, I will slit you from your guggle to your zatch!

And I do mean only 0.1% inspired... I just love the sound of the word 'Hark'. Such a sharp, fast, pointy word that's both fun to say, and hear :)

Onto the prompt:

I called him Hark.