#MWBB Week 2-36 : When Darkness Falls

When darkness falls, I am free from you. In the light of day I’m trapped and must do everything you do, echo every move you make, mimic you. So you don’t know, so you can’t tell, so you won’t see the truth of me.

When darkness falls, I am free to move on my own. Without you.

Tonight, there is no moon, the sky is black, the stars are hidden behind the clouds of a storm. There are no shadows anywhere. I am free to move, walk, run, crawl, jump and dance.

In the darkness, I am free.

I wait beside you, on your bed, as you read stories of space ships engaged in magnificent battles, of fighters zinging through the vacuum, guided by heroes. I wait until you’ve had enough, and can’t hold your book up any longer. I wait as you lift your hand, and flip the switch on your bedside lamp, and the room goes dark.

And I am free.

I start by moving down the side of the bed, to the floor. I walk beneath you, looking up into the box springs, checking where the covers touch the carpet, Slip beneath the cedar chest at the foot of the bed, but nothing’s there.

Beneath and behind the chest of drawers, I find nothing. I didn’t expect to. If they are here, they will wait, hidden, until I leave the room, then they will come out, and whisper in your ear as they twist your dreams.

I check behind your bookcase, beneath your desk and chair. I carefully examine the pile of clothing you collect in the corner of the room each week, and the miscellaneous items, mail, papers, empty soda cans, and other things, you leave randomly scattered through your room and still I find nothing.

I slide beneath your closet door, into the dark world inside. I check the corners of the room, the insides of your shoes and boots, and the box of wrapping paper, looking for any signs of them. I find none.

I slip back into your room and stand at the foot of your bed, “I wonder where they are hidden tonight.” I consider staying in the room, standing guard all night. It is the only way to make certain they don’t twist your dreams. But I can’t stay. Freedom calls me. It drags me away.

Through the door, down the hall, to the living room, where my family members wait for me. My father shares the story of his battle last night, against one of them. He found it hidden beneath your father’s pillow. He shows us the new notch on his sword’s hilt, “Another one that didn’t get away.”

My mother hugs him, “My hero.” She kisses him. He blushes.

My sister suddenly looks nervous, “I haven’t checked beneath her pillow!” She dashes from the room, racing to your sister’s room. She draws her sword as she runs down the hall.

If they have hidden beneath your pillow, I will have to deal with them when I return to your room. For now, I stay with my parents. We walk to the front porch, then the foot of the driveway. It’s time to visit the neighbors. More of us, from each house along the street. We gather in the street each night, and tell our tales of glorious battles with the demons of the dark. I find I like visiting the girl three houses north of yours. I like her smile. And her growing curves. I especially like holding her hand, and dancing to the music of the birds singing in the night.

I never will forget the first night she kissed me.

Too soon, it ends. Dawn will arrive shortly. We have to return to our duties. I have to return to you.

I slip into your room, my sword drawn and ready. I sigh with relief as I see no shapes beside you, nothing whispering in your ear. I slide beneath the covers, and I wait for you to wake. And when you rise in a few short minutes, I’ll be your shadow once again.

688 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 36 (Week 2.36) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Long Black Curl” by Tuatha Dea. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

#FTT 31 : Fingers Trembling

Fingers trembling, he slowly unrolled the ancient document. His mother, Oceana, sealed the note centuries before he’d been born. He’d always known about it. “I’ll leave you a note one day. On that day, you will open this.”

When he woke that morning, the castle was in an uproar. Oceana was gone. “All she left was a note on her pillow, addressed to you!” He recognized her handwriting, signature, and seal on the note. “I’m leaving to find myself. You are king now. Please, don’t follow me. It’s time to read the note.”

Sword closed his eyes and took a deep breath, “Breathe in. Breathe out. Recognize your fears. Step past them.” He felt the tremors in his fingers fade, and managed a smile. “Mother, you told me this day would come. May I not fail you.”

He read the note she’d written so long ago.

My dear son.

Someday, I will leave the kingdom, and return to my home, the sea, to find myself, and remember who I am.

You will become King that day. It will be a big responsibility, but you will be ready.

The people of the ocean will be ready too. They will need you to lead them, to guide them, to protect them, as they take their next step into the future. I cannot see what that future will bring. I only know you are the one to lead our people into it.

It will be your turn then, to write a note for your child. Daughter or son, I cannot tell. And explain to them the day you will leave. The day they will become the ruler of the ocean kingdom. The day they will lead our people as they take the next step in their journey into the future.

Your loving mother,
Oceana.

Sword knew what to do. He called the captain of the kingdom’s guard. “The queen has declared we are not to follow her, or look for her. She has declared I am now king.” He ordered no one search for his mother. “The kingdom guard will spread the word of Queen Oceana’s abdication.”

He ordered a week of mourning for the departure of his mother. Followed by a week of celebration of the future. “It was always her wish the people of the kingdom be happy.”

Then, he invited emissaries from the machines to the kingdom, so the people of the kingdom would learn of the machines.

Lastly, he ordered the kingdom be searched for any fairies with wild magic, with any found brought to the castle, where he would teach them of their wild magic, and how to use it responsibly, and for the good of the kingdom.

At the end of his first day as king, Sword visited the surface. He stretched his wings, soaring into the sky, where he watched the moon, and the stars. Change was coming. It was time for he asked Rose to become his queen.

492 words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 31 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#RaceTheDate 12 : Outnumbered

“It’s time.” Sword knew the invaders outnumbered him, 1000 to 1. 1000 soldiers on each invading starship.

He’d fought them when they attacked a village. One fairy against an army. They knew he was there and gradually overwhelmed him, wore him down. Only the White Witch has saved him.

This time he’d take the fight to them. Keep it in a confined space. Inside their starship. He flexed his hands, and called forth his swords, feeling the density wave in the air, extending from his fingertips as the machines turned the air into invisible swords, capable of slicing through rock, wood and metal.

They wanted a war. He’d give them one. They’d learn what it meant to invade Cylinders.

He flexed his wings, and moved silently, flying between the trees, staying hidden. When he reached the starship, he accelerated, extending his arms, calling on the machines. He sliced through the open ground to the starship in before anyone realized he had arrived. His swords sliced into the side of the ship, carving an entrance through which he entered.

Inside the ship, his swords sliced through everything and everyone in his path. On the rare occasions an invader managed to shoot at him, Sword folded his arm, and deflected the shot with the shield the machines formed for him.

He worked through the ship. Room after room. Floor after floor. When he left the starship, nothing alive remained inside. He withdrew the way he’d arrived, flying through the trees. The invaders outside the ship didn’t follow him.

The battle over, he flexed his wings and rose above the trees, into the moonlight sky, where he roared the roar of a warrior born. A warning to the heavens.

If you come here. You will face me.

And you will die.

294 words
@LurchMunster


A little story I wrote for Cara Michaels‘s Race The Date flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoy it. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge this week. I find it amazing the stories people can create in 300 words or less.

#5SF : Edge

Sometimes, I feel like an old, discarded sword, no longer used, kept in a corner somewhere, left to rust. I used to hone my technical skills, my programming and security knowledge and ability, to a razor-sharp edge. I believed my survival depended on my skills. Until I put them down, and walked away from the life I’d always know. And like an old, rusty, useless sword, they’ve begun to rust; the razor-sharp edge my skills once had has faded, becoming old, rusty, and just as useless.


Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Edge.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 7)

Dawn on the sixth day of Sword’s journey was absolutely beautiful. The sun slowly inched above the trees, turning the clouds and sky shades of pink, purple, and blue. Sword had slept well that night. The birds woke him up in time to see the sunrise. They could be very loud when they wanted to. Especially a screech-owl, standing next to your head. Sword’s ears were still ringing.He’d been angry at first, wondering why they would wake him so early. But as he watched the birds, he began to think they woke him for a reason. As if they knew there would be a beautiful sunrise. And they wanted him to see it. As if it was a gift. And the sunshine breaking through the darkness of the night, and bringing all the colors of the world to life once more was beautiful.

And he realized it was a gift. Sunshine. A beautiful day. This was a gift from the fairy child named Sunshine. Mystica’s first adopted daughter. She had the wild magic gift of weather. Sword smiled. Then he laughed. He felt great. His friends, Mystica and her daughters, were looking forward to his visit. And he was almost there.

Once the sun was up, Sword resumed his journey. Chasing the birds from tree to tree. It had become a game. Sword, chasing the birds, and the birds staying just out of reach. It was a marvelous way to pass the time on his journey. And in no time at all, Sword and his bird friends had covered miles. The birds were singing, and dancing. Sword was laughing, watching them dance. He’d never known birds could dance. He’d never paid attention before. But they were dancing. And Sword joined right in, hopping around, fluttering his wings, craning his neck, flapping his arms, and doing his best to imitate his avian friends.

The birds led him down from the trees, to a small clearing, filled with roses. Sword stopped there for a time. He looked at roses. Deep red velvet ones. Cream colored ones. White, pink, yellow. His favorite were the multicolored ones. With red fringes on yellow petals. Or white trails through red petals.

Sword sat down in the middle of the roses, on a well-worn path. And he closed his eyes. He knew. This was one of Rose’s gardens. He was getting close to the end of his journey. And he would soon see Rose.

The birds stayed there, among the roses, with him, as he heard a rustling noise. He looked to the West, and saw a shadow in the forest. A big shadow. He watched as that shadow slowly detached itself from the forest, and walked into the daylight of the roses. It was a wolf. A big one. It stayed on the trail through the roses. It stopped a safe distance from Sword. And it sat down.

The birds sang for a while. Then, they took flight, scattering in all directions. Leaving Sword alone with the wolf. The wolf just sat there. Watching Sword. “Am I supposed to follow you now?” The wolf nodded. Then stood up, turned and headed back the way it had come. After a couple of steps, the wolf stopped, looking back at Sword.

Sword got to his feet, and followed the wolf. In this place. In this forest. Near the lake. Sword began to realize things were different. Dragons weren’t dangerous. Wolves didn’t attack people. Predators and prey lived in peace. Side-by-side.

This was the land of Mystica and her daughters. He could feel it. It was a distinct feeling. A happy feeling. A safe feeling. A caring feeling. Where everyone was welcome. Every creature welcome.

The wolf led Sword down a well-worn trail. A trail walked by wolves, and others. A trail that blended into the woods. One that was hard to discern. But following the wolf, it became obvious to Sword. He knew he would never have found it on his own.

He’d been planning to head West, until he reached the river. And then, he’d explore the river to the north, hoping he was south of the lake.  After a couple of days, he’d turn south, and search for the lake to the south of where he’d found the river.

Now, he didn’t have to search. He could feel the wolf leading him to the lake.

Along the trail, Sword noticed more and more vines filled with green leaves, and flowers. White and pink flowers. And he began to feel music. He could close his eyes, and he could feel music gently caressing everything. The flowers, the trees, the ground, the wolf, and himself. He knew the music was Musica. And it was music that soothed all the aches and pains he had from his journey. He couldn’t help but smile.

The trail came to the river. Sword had never seen this part of the river before. But he knew it was the river leading to the lake. And he was happy he had the wolf guiding him. The wolf turned south. So did the trail.

The wolf stopped and took a long drink from the river. Sword did the same. The wolf waded into the river, diving under its surface, splashing around. Sword realized the wolf was taking a bath. So he waded into the river too. And splashed. He washed the dirt off himself. Washed the debris out of his hair. Got his shorts soaking wet, and mostly clean.

The wolf and Sword returned to the trail, where they stopped, and waited for the water to dry off of their bodies. “Thank you, kind wolf. You are wise to help me make myself more presentable for Mystica and her daughters.” Sword swore the wolf smiled.

When they’d dried off, they continued their journey to the south. Bushes filled with flowers filled in both sides of the river, they bushes were well cared for. Sword realized all he had to do to find the lake was find the roses of that garden. Find the trail. And follow it to the lake.

And suddenly, there it was. The lake. The trail just ended, and opened up to the lake. The wolf led Sword out into the clearing.

Rose was there. Waiting for him. She smiled at him, and gave him a big hug. Wrapping her arms around his neck. She never said a word. Neither did Sword. And when she finished hugging him, she took his hand, and led him into the clearing, where Mystica, Dream, Sunshine and Musica waited.

“Welcome to our home, Sword,” Mystica greeted him. “It’s so grand of you to visit.” She picked him up, like the little boy he really was, and gave him a hug before setting him down. “I must tell Oceana that you are here, and unscathed.”

That’s when Dream spoke. “OK. Mommy. We’ll take care of him.” And she smiled. And Sword, for the first time in his life, blushed. It was an interesting feeling, that burning sensation in his cheeks, and across his chest.

Mystica laughed, and so did her daughters. “I’m sure you will.”

And so ended Sword’s first journey to the lake. It was a journey he would make twice a year, every year, from then on. At first, Mystica’s daughters knew he was coming to spend time with all of them. But, over the years, it became obvious to all of them. Sword made his journey twice a year for Rose.

The two of them were like two halves of one whole.

He spent plenty of time with all of Mystica’s daughters. He loved them all. And they loved him. But he made that trip, twice each year.

For Rose.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 1)

Six months after Mystica, her daughters, and the dragons had returned Sword to Oceana and her ocean realm, Oceana knew it was time to ask. She knew from Sword’s behavior what was wrong with him. Why he lacked the focus he’d once had. Why he had been that way for the past six months.

Oceana sighed, in her room, and knew what she would do the next day.

When the sun rose above the horizon, the Oceana’s realm came to life again. The other ocean fairies and the mere-people woke from their rest, and began to carry out their day-to-day lives. That’s when Oceana spoke to her messenger. “Have Sword come before me.”

The messenger had raced from Oceana’s home beneath the ocean to Sword’s lands. Sword was the young prince. Son of Oceana. Heir to the kingdom of the seas. He had a special magic. The magic of the sword. With the ability to swing his arms, as if holding a sword. And the air, and sea both would cut what he swung at as if he’d struck it with a sword.

He was already among the greatest warriors of the ocean realm. And he was only a boy.

The messenger informed Sword of Oceana’s command. And Sword happily complied with his mother’s wish, visiting her in her home. When he arrived, Oceana embraced him, as a mother does her son. And then, she asked him, “Do you wish to visit Mystica and her daughters where they live by the lake in the woods?”

Sword almost leaped for joy. “Yes! I would love to visit them!”

Oceana wasn’t through with questions, though. “My son. Is there anyone there you especially wish to visit?”

Sword’s eyes shined in their brilliant ocean blue. “Yes, mother. There is.” And Sword, the brash prince that he was, actually looked at the floor, and stared at his feet. As if searching for words. As if afraid to speak. “I miss Rose.”

Oceana smiled. It was as she’d always known. Since the day he saw the little girl named Rose, and the way Sword behaved around her, she’d known. She’d also known that Sword and Rose were too young to know. But Oceana knew. She could see it in the way they two of them behaved when they were together. She knew each was the missing half of the other. That one day, each would make the other whole.

“Then, my son, it is time you began your journey from boy to man. We will contact Mystica, and let her know of your wish to visit. Then, you will make the journey to their home on your own. So that all will know this was your decision. And your wish. And all will know that I would not deny your wish to you.”

So it was that Oceana summoned her fairy magic, and called for Mystica. The water before Oceana shifted, and Mystica’s shape gradually appeared. Oceana smiled. “Mystica, of the White Magic.”

“Oceana, of the ocean realm. How may I help you on this day?” Even as she spoke with Mystica, she felt the white magic building. And in a few simple heartbeats, the image of Mystica became  Mystica herself. Mystica couldn’t help but notice the questioning look in Oceana’s eyes, and felt drawn to explain. “Yes, Oceana. I had this ability to travel great distances in mere moments when I traveled to the ocean realm to rescue Sword.”

“Yet, you did not use it. Why?”

“I have only used it rarely. And at those times, it left me nearly exhausted, and very weak. Merlin has explained to me that with time, I will grow stronger, and using the magic of travel will become easier. But for now, it’s difficult.”

Oceana smiled. “I understand. I can only imagine how much effort it takes to travel such distances in such short times.” And both laughed. They talked briefly, Oceana asking about Mystica’s adopted daughters, and Mystica sharing stories of her daughters, and how they had grown in the past six months. Especially tiny Dream. They also talked of the wild magic the girls possessed, and of the way they were learning to live with it. And control it.

Then the topic drifted to why Oceana had called Mystica. “Sword has asked to visit your home. He misses you and your daughters.”

Mystica smiled. “And we all miss him. Especially Rose.”

And so it was that Sword would make the journey from the ocean realm to Mystica’s home on his own. Scream and Merlin would talk with the dragons, and the dragons would watch over Sword on his journey. They would help Sword if he needed help. And Mystica would watch over him from the lake in the forest. If Sword needed help, and the dragons were not able to help, Mystica herself would help.

Mystica and Oceana embraced, as if they were sisters. And then, Mystica simply faded away.

The next morning, Sword started the six-day journey to the lake. As ordered by Oceana, he went alone. This was one more step as he grew from boy to man. The ocean kingdom was so proud that the prince was growing up, taking the next step toward becoming a man. They knew he would one day soon become the great warrior he was born to become.

#ThursThreads, 26 April 2012

[Author’s note : Each week, on Thursday, @SiobhanMuir graciously hosts a Flash Fiction event on her blog. Having never tried Flash Fiction in my life, when my friend and fellow survivor of NaNoWriMo 2011, @janiecrouch invited several of us NaNos to participate the week she was the judge, I decided why not. And I’ve been hooked. These Flash Fiction challenges are great fun to me, and push me into writing words I would never have written on my own. I’ve been asked by several people that know me to share the FlashFiction entries I write, here, where they can find them. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’ll put the entries up, one at a time, as I get to them. And at the start of each, I’ll leave a link to the actual entries of the #ThursThreads challenge, so that you may read all the other entries from that week. I have encountered some truly grand writing, and truly grand writers as a result of this baby step I’ve taken into the world of Flash Fiction. And I’m very thrilled that @SiobhanMuir has provided this opportunity each week. On that note, here’s the promised link to the entries from Thursday, 26 April 2012. Happy reading, everyone.

Mark]

 

“Sword, what is this place?” Rose asked, as we stepped from the trees, into the ruins. I took her hand. Relishing the way it felt in mine. The softness of her skin. The warmth of her palm. The way her graceful fingers laced through mine.

I walked forward, and she walked with me. I’d always come to this place alone.But I wanted her to see it. I would have no secrets from her.

There were strange things there, I know she’d never seen. The ruins were like some kind of grid. Made of big squares, separated by big walkways. There were the remains of huge castles everywhere. But they were not like any castles I knew of. The biggest castles were no more than four stories tall. But there were castles here that had more than 20 stories.

The walkways had once been clear of vines, and trees. Wrecks of four wheeled carriages were scattered everywhere. Vines climbed over and through the wrecks.

I lead Rose to to a building I knew of, stopping to look at her. Her strawberry blond hair. Her blue eyes. The curve of her neck. I reached up, and brushed her hair out of her face, back behind an ear. My fingers had never felt so alive. I wanted to stand there forever.

“We’re here.” I spoke. “What’s inside will change everything you know about the world that we live in.”

It was time to show her the machines.