#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 17

The old woman smiled. A far younger woman stepped out of her. “I’ll take you to Alice.”

“Who are you?”

“Cynthia. Your grandmother.”

I followed her along a walkway, beside a road. It started to rain as we walked. She pulled an umbrella from her waist and began to run. “Quickly, Flint! The horde comes!”

55 words

This is part 17 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s flat amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

The Kraken

I watched the last fairy die. The US Army hunted her down, trapping her in her home. A pretty, green alcove filled with peonies, bluets, trillium and orchids. The humans set it on fire, leaving her a choice. Die in the fire, or flee. She fled. When she did, the Army opened fire on her. And the last fairy, the last guardian of the forest, died. Brought down by far too many bullets from human guns.

Mother Earth cried in anguish, “They murdered Orchid! They murdered the last fairy!”

I was silent and unmoving on the ocean floor. There was nothing to be done. Nothing to say. We had always known the day would come when the humans murdered Orchid.

“The last guardian of the forests, and the murdered her! Just like they murdered the last mermaid, the last dragon, the last unicorn, the last siren, the last centaur.”

“Indeed, milady. They did.” I knew what she would say, what she would do. The humans had built their economic machine, their society, and become dependent on it. They’d lost their way, becoming encased in their ways, their never-ending need to rule the world, to bend nature to their will. “They’d doomed themselves, and all life.”

Mother Earth cried, tears of rain fell from the sky over the home of the last fairy for weeks. The  blood of the fairy was washed away. I remembered Orchid. For over 1000 years, she’d been the last fairy, the last guardian of the forests. Despite everything the humans had done, Orchid had manage to maintain the fragile balance of nature in the forests through that time. She’d survived 1000 years, alone, after the humans murdered the rest of her kind. She’d worked so hard for those centuries, keeping the forests alive.

Until the humans found her. Until the humans murdered her. Like they’d murdered all the guardians. Like they murdered everything they touched. Without Orchid, the forests would die within two or three decades. No forests would be left, save for the human wildlife parks.

“You are the last, you know.”

“I know, milady. I know.” I was the last guardian. The only guardian the humans had not found, had not hunted down, had not murdered. So long as I lived, the seas would survive. Their balance as fragile as the balance of the forests Orchid had protected for so long. “Remember, milady. Remember your promise.”

I knew she did. She’d given her word to Orchid and me. She would not unleash the plagues until the last guardian was no more. She’d honored that promise for 1000 years. She’d honor it now.

But we both knew the day was coming when the humans and their technology, their machines, would find their way to the bottom of the sea. There, they would find me, the sea monster of their legends. The Kraken.

When they did, Mother Earth would unleash her plagues upon the humans and restore the balance of nature herself.

#SatSunTales 46 : Ultimate Decimation

I walk in the rain each year to remember what happened the day the world changed. The day the DuPont plant exploded in Indonesia and released a chemical solvent that reacted with water vapor into the atmosphere.

The solvent turned water vapor to hydrochloric acid, and more of itself. It only worked on water vapor. Like the clouds.

The world named that day “Ultimate Decimation Day”, the day one in every ten people died. 700,000,000 people. They were the lucky ones.

Billions suffered chemical burns. Rain got in their eyes, burning them. It got in their lungs, scarring them. And thanks to the water cycle, our chemical solvent was slowly replacing all the water on Earth. It was slowly killing the plants and animals.

Bacteria, with their short life cycles, might evolve immunity to the rain. Might. We wouldn’t. Ultimate Decimation Day was the day we all died.

150 Words

This is my entry into Rebecca Clare Smith‘s 46th #SatSunTales. Please, go read the other entries. It’s a tough challenge, and brings out some wonderful tales.

#MidWeekBluesBuster – Week 06 : A Rainy Night In Soho

I didn’t live in Soho, and never would. But, it was a rainy night, and I couldn’t help but hear the rain striking the windows to my apartment. It wasn’t a downpour, just a good, steady, soaking rain.

I turned out all the lights, then pulled the curtains aside, so I could look out, over the street. I pushed the ear buds for my music player into my ears, and turned on my music. Wouldn’t you know it. The first song it randomly picked, “A Rainy Night in Soho”. I’m not a fan of that song, and for a moment I considered pushing the next button. Instead, I let the song keep playing.

I looked out the window, watching the rain fall and the black clouds shift around in the sky while that song played. I saw a couple hop out of a cab, him first, opening his umbrella, and helping her out. He paid the fare, and the two of them walked, hand-in-hand, into the building across the street. I don’t know why, but that made me smile. Maybe I was imagining they’d had dinner together, at some expensive restaurant, then returned home for a night that started with betting naked, and went from there. Maybe I was imagining I was him, and when we got to the apartment, I turned on the music, and took her in my arms, and we slow danced, just enjoying the feel of holding each other.

Whatever the reason, I knew it was something I shouldn’t have done, because it made me remember. Her. I sometimes wondered why we have memories. Why we just can’t forget, or erase them, like we can erase files on a computer. “I don’t like that song any more, I’m deleting it.” Or “That book makes me cry, I’m deleting it from my library.” But that’s not how our memories work, is it?

And by the end of that damn song, I remembered how she’d told me, one day, “We will always be friends.”

I’d asked her, “Really?”

She’d smiled, and hugged me. “Yes. Always.”

The next day, she was gone. I woke up, and she’d left during the night. I’d called her number, but got no answer. I’d gone all the places I knew she went, and never found her. She left. And never said, “Good-bye.”

That was two years ago. And that night, watching the rain, watching that couple from the cab, listening to that stupid song, I stood there, looking out my window, and remembered her, and her last words to me. “Yes. Always.”

Sometimes, I wish I could erase my memories of her.

451 Words

At the request of Ruth Long, I decided to try my hand at Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#VisDare 10 : Whimsy

The rain broke, leaving the sky filled with white clouds. Alice pulled me to my feet, “I want to show you something.” She lead me to a fountain across the courtyard. Snails were climbing all over it. She extended her hand to the snails. Several touched her fingers with their antenna, and I heard her in my head, “I missed you too.”

One snail moved to the edge of the fountain wall. It looked right at me. Alice smiled, “It’s OK. They don’t bite.” So, I imitated her, extending my hand out to the snails. The snail at the edge of the fountain extended his antenna, grazing my fingertip with them, and I heard a new voice in my head, “You’re new here.”

I jerked my hand away, surprised. The snails shook, rattling their shells, and Alice laughed. I heard her voice again, “His name is Taran.”

150 Words

This piece is the seventh in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#VisDare 9 : Alone?

The train left the tunnel, running above ground. It stopped at a train station. Alice extended her hand, and smiled, “Please?” I could not resist the light in her eyes, so I took her hand. She led me from the train.

“Welcome to Phoenix,” she gently squeezed my hand.

She laughed when she saw my questioning look. “Phoenix?”

“It’s a story you’ll learn, in time.”

We exited the station into a large courtyard. A tall stone monument stood alone, near the train station. Drops of water fell from the sky. I let go of Alice’s hand, and sat on the base of the monument.

Alice sat down beside me. “You’ve never seen rain, have you?”

“Rain?” I looked up, letting the small drops of water strike my face. “I think I like rain.”

I took her hand, and we sat in the rain.

147 Words

This piece is the sixth in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. I like all of them.

#MondayMixer : Living In An Outdoor Oubliette

Living in that outdoor oubliette for twelve months was not always fun. It had good moments, like when the sun shined through the grate above my head. I got the hear the wind, the rustling of the tree leaves, the howling of dogs, the meowing of cats, even the songs of several shrikes. When the three vocalized in unison it did get rather discordant, although quite humorous to listen to.

It was not all fun, however. I’d been ankle-deep in water at one point. And in that cave, water took forever to evaporate. Nor shall I forget the day I was looking up at the sun when a big dollop of bird pooh fell from the sky. It was days before it rained enough I could wash my face.

I will never forget that winter, living in my outdoor oubliette and the experience of frost upon its stone.

150 words.

I wrote this little ditty for Jeffery Hollar‘s weekly Monday Mixer flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in this week’s challenge. They are all well crafted.