#NaPoWriMo 2021 – Day Twelve – Destroyer

He’d be gone before the rubble settled.
Leave a town burning in his wake,
crushed stone slithering through cracks
like sand in a broken hourglass,
pooling empty hours into empty streets.
This seafarer, spacefarer, carving out
his stamp on a place
so he might be able to see it from above
when he glanced down
at the ruins he’d built.
He must have seen a beauty in destruction
or why would he have sought out more?

This prompt challenges you to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Prompt – Day Twelve

Origami Self – A Poem By Carol J Forrester

Each day there seems less of me.
Folding in on myself,
there is a sense I can crisp my edges,
find the perfect bend,
turn blemishes in and under,
tucked away out of sight.
Any tattered edges can be smoothed,
rebound into covers
tight enough to stop my spilling out.
An ache tells me that I use to spread
all these pages of myself
out across open floors and tables,
revel in how much of me there was.
When did it become a shrinking,
less is more,
best kept out of sight
and out of mind?

Heart Of The Dead #FlashFiction #SeptemberSpeculativeFictionPrompt

When the bodies washed ashore, the novices were there to pluck them from the mud.

It wasn’t pleasant work. It was a short trip from the edge of the city to the bend in the river. The unfortunates who made it, came out of the silt choked waters heavy and stinking, muscles still locked up by rigour mortise.

‘Another one!’ The cry went up from lower down the bank, further along than the bodies usually travelled.

Flexing her fingers to work some of the feeling back into them, Maradine followed the other novices to the cry and tried to avoid looking as if she was dawdling. She let herself breath when she saw the child, eyes huge and bug like, withered limbs half buried in the mud. It was small, small enough for two of the novices to manhandle inside the temple doors without need of her help. She didn’t try to work out how this one had found its way to them. The monks frowned on questions regarding the vessels.

‘Jamie, Galeth, you take this one,’ said the Thalt. He was the oldest of them and as such was able to avoid the task of ferrying the dead back and forth. He stood and watched until the two younger novices had hefted the child between them, Jamie with his hands under its knees, Galeth at the shoulders. They stumbled in the mud but kept their footing. Dropping one of the vessels always resulting in a beating.

The rest of them lingered as Thalt moved on, casting a careful eye over the banks. He was short for his age, not that any of them were entirely sure of their ages. If Maradine had to guess, she would say he was close to his fifteenth year, almost a man in most circles. Thalt certainly seemed to think so. He had taken to coercing female novices into shadowed corners and empty supply rooms. Told them that it was their duty to serve all those above them in the order.

Maradine had been spared his attentions, but only because of her markings. The ones that her village had said made her a witch.

The wind picked up and Maradine clutched her robes tighter. It was still early and the bodies had been few which meant she was still dry. Soon enough the noon bells would toll in the city and the gallows would begin their daily work of filling the river. By evening she would be as wet and rank as the dead they salvaged.

She glanced up at the temple behind them, its low, squat roof crouching at the foot of the mountains. By evening the dead boy would be sat at a bench with the rest of the novices, fresh robes still stiff with starch on his fragile, little body. She wondered how long it would take him to speak. She had been silent for almost a month before Thalt had beaten words from her throat. It had been the first and the last time he laid hands on her. The only time she had believed her village might have been right about her.

She shivered again and turned her gaze away from the temple.

Once she was old enough she would be sent out on assignment. Then should might have chance to run. Until then she was bound to the will of the monks, and the flow of the river.

She watched Thalt pause at the water’s edge and counted the seconds until he moved on.

Patience was all she needed. Patience and a heart of the dead.

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Flash Fiction written for the September Speculative Fiction Prompt. If you would like to join in then please follow the link and share your own speculative fiction pieces based on the image above. There are no word count limits, no form specifications, just a picture and your imagination.

One Last Hope

Grendal, Chief Clansman of the Ruling High Council For Witches, Warlocks, and the magical sorts, did not appreciate being woken before dawn. His bones complained about the cold and his knees refused to cooperate as he traversed the endless staircases and corridors that led from his rooms to the Grand Hall, where the rest of the council was supposedly waiting.

‘Where is everyone?’ Looking around the room he could see four others, only one of which had bothered to change from their night clothes. Looking at the swaying man Grendal reconsidered the assumption and decided that he’d not been to bed in the first place.

‘Well,’ Grendal demanded, ‘where are the rest of the sods?’

‘Succumb?’ said one of the others. Elmer Throttle sat hunched in his seat, the folds of his dressing gown tightly roped around his midriff and a single fluffy slipper poking out beneath the hem. ‘He believed himself to be a Warawhump, whatever that is. He won’t come out of the cook’s wine cellar and appears to have crafted himself some form of warren.’

‘Bugger,’ swore Grendal. ‘I thought Maximus said he had this newfangled spell-work under control?’

‘He did,’ agreed Elmer. ‘Clearly he was wrong and we’re no closer to finding a solution. I think we might have to face facts and-‘

‘No,’ Grendal snapped. ‘Under no cirumstances whatsoever are we doing that.’

‘We might have to.’

‘I’d rather succumb.’

‘Would you really?’ smirked Elmer. ‘Well you might before the day is out, we all might and then where will we be?’

Grendal ground his teeth together. ‘Fine, summon her. Let’s see what she can make of it all, if she answers that is?’

‘Oh she’ll answer alright?’

Grendal turned towards the new voice, Eliise’s figure materialising from the shadows around the edges of the room. ‘You know I can’t resist a party Grendal.’

Eliise’s smile was wide and her eyes danced with a fire that hadn’t burnt in Grendal for almost fifty years.

‘Of course,’ he growled. ‘You called her here already. Typical. Fine, see what use it is, we’ll all be mad by the end of it, mark my words.’

‘Now, now darling.’ Eliise closed the distance between them and laid a hand against Grendal cheek. ‘You really need to have more faith. After all, how many times have I saved your skin?’


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Prompt: ‘New mind-altering spells and intoxicating potions are causing headaches for the Ruling High Council’ – Promptuarium

A really quick piece for tonight’s Friday free-write. If you want to check out some of my other short stories and flash fiction pieces you can see them here. Or go to the home page and check out some of my favourites that are listed there.

This week I also wrote a piece about how main characters can have an impact on the write and how they change as a writer grows which you can read here. This is in response to the Daily Post’s Discovery Challenge: Superhero and a post I’m really proud of so I hope you’ll check it out.

Hope you all have a fantastic Friday.