Word prompts: Kind and shift. For kind, I used breed and shift: transform.
The idea for this Tanka came from a passage in my WIP: The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer when Esme (the mirror girl,) tells Amelina (my main protagonist,) about her experience with the shadow men.
Could it be a dream or is it real?
I am currently working through my edits after my beta reading comments with a view to publishing this in the autumn.
Here’s a short extract:
A black furrow of shadows lined his forehead. He beseeched me with his eyes, but when he saw my resolve a maniacal laugh erupted from his demented mouth. This laugh galloped from his lips in the form of a diaphanous spirit which became a pack of wild neighing horses – all black, glossy stallions. They galloped towards me. They didn’t stop, they kept on coming. Their hoofs trampled upon me pounding all of those black shadows away. They should have crushed me but I didn’t die. Instead, their hoofs stamped and stamped, breaking bones, crushing my organs and tissues until the bleeding stopped. The pain was unbelievable. I longed for death. But the horses whinnied, as if laughing. Their laughter ran through my body, fixing my broken bones, easing my pain, making me whole again. They tossed me up in the air, and I landed on top of the lead stallion’s back. He leapt into the blackness, carrying me off with him.
Black Diaphanous Horses
Such a breed they are
Like no other you will see
Transformed from shadows
Wicked horses galloping
Are they real or devil’s dream?
If you’d like to join in the challenge here’s the link:
It has been an age since I joined in #BlogBattle and I’ve missed it but I’ve been very busy editing my manuscript so I have a bit of an excuse! Anyway, this week the prompt word just seemed to speak to me: Voice. I have just the story in mind! It’s an idea inspired by my current WIP novel, The Curse of Time, which I’m currently sharing on Wattpad, (Prologue and first few chapters….)
My short story is a YA Fantasy… with a touch of wacky humour. This short story takes a quirky look at what might have happened if the main character in my WIP: Amelina, had her missing dad return as a zombie!
The Knock At The Door – The Buried Voice.
I heard a knocking coming from the front door, a light tapping, but persistent sound. I ran downstairs. Through the frosted glass I saw a hazy silhouette. The knocking stopped. I opened the door a fraction and peered out.
I spied a half dead living body exhibit, a horror museum zombie. I staggered. This thing was gasping for breath, making terrible rasping sounds. His eyes were bleary, sad pools of stagnant misery. I clung to the door frame, seeking support, almost mimicking him. I wanted to run, to escape this visitor, but instead I let him in. I don’t know why I did. Somehow it seemed the right thing to do. One thought gave me comfort; I figured that if this stranger turned nasty I could run faster than he could. He hobbled into the house, each step a slow, painful shuffle. I pulled the dining chair out for him. He didn’t sit, he collapsed. I didn’t know what to do next. I hovered for a moment uncertain. His breathing continued to rattle in his rib cage, so I rushed off to get him a glass of water. When I returned he held the glass with his pinky extended, his hand shaking, the water spilling. He lifted the glass to his lips, drinking in gulps that tugged at my heart.
‘Amelina,’ he croaked, his eyes swimming out to reach mine.
The ocean currents of his sad lost eyes drew us together. The shock pummelled me with a force that I couldn’t begin to describe. His voice couldn’t say the words he longed to say, those syllables were lost on some faraway shore, yet I knew what was in his heart.
He had my name in his heart. Of course he had. I knew who he was, of course I did. That pinky told me before he did. He’d always had trouble bending that finger, ever since he’d broken it, mucking about on a family holiday in Cornwall.
I heard the sound of mum turning the key in the door; she didn’t have a clue what was coming. She was adrift in the sea and had no idea.
She walked into the hallway.
‘Amelina, I’m home,’ she yelled.
I didn’t reply. I couldn’t say a word. That pinky still had me transfixed.
Mum walked in and saw us. She staggered, and swayed.
‘What, the….. who… is….’
He lifted the glass with trembling hands and she saw the truth.
Poor mum. It was all too much for her; she swayed, and then fainted.
Mum was out cold. I didn’t know what to do. Zombie like dad took over; he picked up his glass and waved it in mum’s direction. I got the parental message. Water. That’s when I heard it, this plaintive meowing coming from the patio. A black cat had his nose pressed against the glass. I rushed to get mum the water, passing by the patio door on the way to the kitchen I didn’t stop to think I let the strange cat in.
Before the water even reached mum’s lips, she came to, stirring.
I gave the cat a bowl of milk. It seemed the thing to do. He supped it up as if he was starving. I gave mum the glass of water; she swallowed it down gulping back tears.
By now Mum had clocked dad. This second viewing couldn’t have been a pretty sight, but she braved it. She didn’t cry out. Instead the expression on her face almost hiccupped as if she was swallowing her shock, a bitter watery pill. She must have noticed the cat too but didn’t object. I expect she didn’t have the energy.
Much later that evening mum and dad were getting reacquainted. The reunion, if you could call it that must have been slow and painful. A chat with halting words, a slow shuffling to get to know each other again. I withdrew to my bedroom.
Nothing could quite match that first shock of seeing dad but what happened next came close. I saw a tiny person captured in my bedroom mirror. I thought I was hallucinating. So I tried to wipe her away with a flannel.
‘Hey, stop that,’ she scolded, ‘I don’t need a shower, you’re making me all smeary.’
I stepped back. This was crazy. First dad reappeared, then the cat fell in the door, and now I had a talking girl captured in my bedroom mirror. WTF. I recognised this tiny person; it was Esme, a girl from my school who’d vanished suddenly with no explanation.
I closed my eyes willing her away. I just couldn’t take anymore. Things like this just didn’t happen to an ordinary girl like me.
When I reopened my eyes, she was still there, frowning, as if I’d captured her and put her there, like I made it my habit to be her jailer. She scowled. I ran through the house and checked each mirror. She was in all of them. Every single one. Ugh.
I had scowling Esme on tap.
A dad, who kinda did the, kinda didn’t do the zombie dude scuffle.
And a black cat who craved attention.
Sometimes fate ladles out wicked blows. Our once happy family was a distant memory, and laughter became a cruel joke.
Now we’re an unhappy family of three plus a mirror girl and a strange black cat with a white handkerchief fur necktie. This cat dude knows how to dress. Yeah, he came house hunting in his Sunday best looking for loser owners. Our sad house remembered its past, shrunk, and became a reflection of our sorrow. Nothing was ever going to be the same, but one sad fact remained, the curse wasn’t trapped.
1000 words max fictional tale (or true if you really want)
PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
Go for the entertainment value!
State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
#Blogbattle is a wonderful community of short story writers via Rachael Ritchey, do pop over to her blog to find out more:
I’ve been nominated to do this before so this time I’ll introduce you to a snippet from my current WIP, a children’s story about a naughty girl called Morag who likes to get into mischief and ruffles the scales of a toy shop dragon. As this is a fantasy the dragon ends up being much more than just a toy dragon! I have entitled the short snippet Morag’s Mischief and Mayhem, hope you like it!
Morag’s Mischief and Mayhem
Morag’s father looked at her in dismay, ‘Oh, that’s awfully naughty, you’ll be in for it!’
Eilidh smirked, “Mother and grandmother will be very angry.”
“Aye and that’s a fact,” said her father eyeing Morag critically.
Morag shrugged and tossed her hair back. The dragon’s eyes watched her angrily, in fact his eyes seemed to glow a deeper red as Morag walked towards the door. Morag could swear that she heard a muffled cry, and the words, ‘I’ll visit you later.’ Her eyes smarted as if the shop had filled with smoke. This time she sensed that she had gone too far. The spirits of her Chinese ancestors were flaming mad!