Fourteen days and fourteen stories down. Nearly halfway through.
Last year I wrote stories based on images from the 17th century book, A Collection of Emblemes, Ancient and Moderne by George Wither. (You can see those, and the stories from previous years, by following this link https://stevetoase.wordpress.com/tag/flash-fiction-challenge/ This year I decided to give myself a bit more flexibility and go back to writing about anything that inspired a story.
Here are the next seven.
Flash Fiction Month 2018 Day 8
One by One
Each bee in the hive needed to be exorcised individually. Smoking the colony to drowsing, the priest took worker and drone out one by one. Passed them through the steam of holy water. Placed them to one side and moved onto the next. Minuscule and cold, the 60,000 homeless demons searched for new lodgings.
The priest was so caught up in the half remembered ritual he did not notice the demons crawl through the pores of his skin. Did not feel them scrape out hovels in his marrow. Did not hear all 60,000 screaming obscenities inside his chest, until he could hear nothing else.
Flash Fiction Month 2018 Day 10
My fellow writer Premee Mohamed gave me a title of ‘The Mars Portal’ on Twitter. Here’s the story I wrote in response.
The Mars Portal
Marked with blood and the rust of swords, the door to the Son of Juno was closed with wax the colour of torn muscle. Lighting the lambswool wick Castonadi melted the seal, watching the impressed woodpecker pattern drip to collect on the floor and harden once more.
The door crumbled and Castonadi stepped across the threshold of shattered stone, into the room beyond.
The god sat alone, surrounded by sheaves of corn, his helmet by his side, spear across his lap. Castonadi knew he had to walk slow. Place each foot with care. Above him the woodpeckers circled with no tree to alight in, and somewhere in the distance a wolf shuddered the crop with its howl.
Castonadi had to stop himself from reaching out to touch the god’s face, streaked with corrosion from his rotted armour. Instead he took the spear and held it to the sky. The god raised his gaze.
“I need that.” he said. “In case they arrive with ill intent.”
“No-one’s coming here,” Castonadi said, and drove the spearpoint into the plough furrows. The wood fell away and erupted into a bushel of corn. “Tend your crops and mend your fences. This place is forgotten and the better for it.”
The god nodded, and Castonadi walked toward the door, turning his back on the bringer of war.
Flash Fiction Month 2018 Day 11
Gaunt and gauze-like, ghosts do not have the purchase to cling to their places of death. Instead they tangle themselves in the breath of those who mourn them the most. Allow themselves to be inhaled by those who loved them, nestling in damp, moist lungs. Until they are exhaled and flutter like pennants of forgetfulness, singing torn memories to those who can no longer hear.
Flash Fiction Month 2018 Day 12
After the Last Song
The King of the City’s Night wore strands of frozen beer in his hair. Shattered bottle glass for fingernails. The glamour of mirrors wedged into cracked eye sockets. When he spoke his voice was not heard but felt in his ribs and lungs.
After the nightclub lights came on and the cloakrooms emptied, he walked the city streets. Ran fingernails of shattered bottle glass down the necks of those sheened with the sweat of others. Sipped memories and love and joy. Took something the revellers didn’t know they had but they would forever miss.
Flash Fiction Month 2018 Day 13
A Charm for the Lost
If you have lost your way home, follow these instructions.
- Take from your pocket a single stone with a chalk line running through its heart. Always carry such a stone with you for this purpose, but only one.
- Place the stone upon the road in front of you.
- Sprinkle the stone with;
One pinch of salt
Two crushed flowers from Lane-Wort, found alongside
corpse-roads. Make sure any stems are completely
discarded and not used in error.
A single eyelash plucked from your left eye, while the
stone is in place.
Three splinters from a crossroad gallows.
- Once this has been carried out cover the stone with moss and ignite. The smoke will bias in the direction you are seeking.
Beware, that this method is fraught with risks.
If the stone used has many veins of chalk then you will become lost on the county’s green lanes until your own bones become dust.
If you drop many stones upon the road, by the end of the year your body will be quartered and displayed on the entrance to four royal towns across the nation.
If the stalk of the Lane-Wort grazes the surface of the stone, the dead of one year and a day will find you wherever you may journey, and scratch their crimes into your skin.
There are many ways to be lost in the world and sometimes it is better to walk further and find the road home than exchange one lost for another.
Flash Fiction Month 2018 Day 14
Stood in her white cotton dress the girl sang the cattle call across the valley.
The living cows did not know the notes, but the dead heard, and recognised the tune. Shivered themselves from the soil. Stamped their clay marked hoofs across the fields.
When they reached the girl the cattle from the graves and middens tried to get her attention, but they were like so much dust in the air.
Turning her back she walked away, leaving the herd alone in the mist drenched field.
To read the stories each day, you can visit my writer page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stevetoase1/ or come back in week to read the next seven stories.