The Waiting

They stood, watching, waiting…

The ferocious army that all three worlds feared. Deceived and frozen. A million moons leaving them covered in sand and dust. Their existence purged from the annals of time.

Yet they waited. As patient as snipers.

They could see.

The reign of the sorcerers had come to an end. Hunted and eliminated due to their own arrogance.

It was the age of the men.

Greedy fools. With every passing year they came closer.

Soon, they would break stone; and the curse would be broken.

The army would rise again.

The reign of the demons would start.


In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 4 Jan 2019, based on a photo by Russell Gayer

La ville colorée

I stare at the map in my hand.


Photo Prompt © Dale Rogerson

This was the address.

After the miles of wilderness, I had driven through to get here, this entire town was a riot of colours. I could just as well have been in Legoland. All the houses were either Brick Red or Royal Blue or Crimson Yellow. The doors were decorated with ornaments and string lights.

I reach the fountain with its beautiful translucent corals and turn right. Even this narrow alley has colourful umbrellas flying above, as if the starless sky was much too bland.


Photo Prompt © Bikurgurl

I look around, wondering if I was on the set of some film, seeking out the hidden cameras. All I see are the pedestrians walking in pairs, always in pairs…


So I am cheating a little here, combining two prompts.
The first is
Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers prompt of 21 September 2018 based on a picture by Dale Rogerson, and the other, Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday: Week 89 prompt based on her picture taken at the Seattle Aquarium.

Rapunzel

The Scrivener’s Forge Exercise 10 challenges us to re-write a well known fairy tale from the point of view of the bad guy.
What follows is Rapunzel’s tale from the point of view of the witch Dame Gothel….


Rapunzel

I run the long golden strands through my hands, soft like silk, thick like rope, recalling all the years I spent grooming them. The many hours spent oiling, massaging, combing, and braiding, the fierce pride that I felt to behold my Rapunzel with her long golden hair.

When I first held that golden haloed cherub in my arms, and those little lips quivered and tears as big as pearls lined the edges of her baby blue eyes, that was the moment that I fell in love with her, and as I held her against my bosom, I knew that it was preordained. Rapunzel was mine.

Ensuring her happiness became my mission. All her wishes were fulfilled. I taught her to read, write, sew, play the piano. She was everything I had hoped for. Loving, smart, joyous. She filled my life with song and laughter. Oh, what a divine voice she had. When she sang, the birds and angels came by to hear.
She was barely five when she got those god-awful chicken-pox. Every scream of hers cut through my heart like a whip. It did not matter how many days and nights I had to stay beside her, I realised I could never ever loose her. Her end meant my end.
When she crossed the threshold into adulthood, I knew that she was mine to protect. What does she know of this cruel world. What does she know of the base needs of man. One glimpse of her beauty and any man would ravage her. I was not going to allow her innocence to be plundered.

I told her that. I explained to her that she needed to remain in the tower for her own good. The world was not a safe place.

But what does she do. She lets down her hair and offers herself up to the first male who comes along. I should have known. All those years of grooming could not erase her lowly birth.

At the end of it all she turned out to be as devious as her thieving father.

I cut off her hair with my own hands.

She thinks I’m a cruel wicked witch. Let her. The foolish girl does not see how my heart aches. She does not hear my silent wails of betrayal.

I shall wait for him tonight. The plunderer who stole my Rapunzel from me. My knife will steal his life before he can steal her purity.

Flames

The dilapidated factory would be torn down once the case ended. Eleven dead in a mysterious fire. I would have liked to get a picture of the fire. Better still, one of the men burning… banging on the door screaming… hands flailing… Could have made good money out of that.

Stepping over rotting planks, I inhale deeply. Charred smell lingers, almost like last weekend’s barbecue. The thought makes me laugh.

A sudden waft and the door bangs shut plunging me into darkness. Groping inside my bag, I pull out the flash light. That’s when I see them, singed, smoky; and as they walk towards me, the flames flare again.


In response to the Friday Fictioneers challenge of 29 September 2017 based on a photo by J. Hardy Carroll.

The hunters

She looked gorgeous in black. With her cascade of obsidian hair in sharp contrast to her alabaster skin, those high cheek bones and sharp nose, she may have been the grieving widow, but she was still the sexiest woman in the room, and she knew it.

From behind the veil, her kohl lined eyes scanned the room, finally coming to rest upon the young man in the fourth row, taking in his muscles, clean shaven square jaw, the fine lines of his bespoke suit, and the subtle glint of his Rolex. He was probably at least ten years younger than her, but that only made the chase more exciting. She decided right then that she wanted him, and what she wanted she always got. One way or another.

*

She stared at the pictures before her. This was not the first time that he was cheating on her. He was young, rich and handsome, women threw themselves at him, but he always came back to her. Normally she didn’t care. But this bitch was obviously pregnant. This time she was scared.

*

She had nothing. He had been slowly and systematically transferring all their assets into his name and she hadn’t even noticed. In her crazy whirlwind life of parties and holidays, she hadn’t realised when the ground had disappeared from under her feet.

Loading her husband’s old pistol she could not help but scoff at the irony of the picture hanging above the mantle…

Time is like a ravenous lion – he devours everything.


In response to the Photo-Fiction #102 challenge

Shit luck

“Urgent delivery. He promised a generous tip if you make it in half hour.”

My day had been really shitty so far. The alarm had not rung, and despite getting dressed in record time, I had missed the bus. I was starving and cranky. I need cheering up. Like a generous tip!

I rushed to grab a bike.

But it simply wasn’t my day. I tripped, fell, twisted my ankle. No cycling for me. Shitty fortune continues!

Sam calls me next morning. “You lucky bastard,” he screams.

“My ankle hurts like a bitch. How is that lucky?”

“Andy made your delivery. Customer was a psycho. He shot him. Andy’s dead man.”


In response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday, week 35 prompt based on a photo by Zachary Staines

Across the puddle [Scrivener’s Forge exercise on Plot and Endings]

This is my submission for the Scrivener’s Forge exercise on Plot and Endings.

Proposed last line: When she woke up, it was just as grey and gloomy as it had been all month. But for the first time she didn’t mind.

Thank you Neil for the exercise.
So here’s how I did it. First I decided on a last line, then my character and how I would like her story to end, and finally the sequence of events that could possibly lead up to it.

    Across The Puddle

Hiking up her skirt, she stepped over the puddle, and just as she was about to rejoice a successful crossing, a SUV sped by. Splash! Bloody hell. Now her shoes and skirt were splattered with muck. As if she did not have enough to do, she would have to go back and wash both. Gawd…She hated the monsoons. She hated the gloomy sky and slushy roads. She hated the way her hair and clothes plastered themselves to her sweaty body. She hated the inconsiderate vehicles who cared not for the inconvenience faces by pedestrians. Actually she just hated everyone who got to drive. She on the other hand would have to trudge through the muck to reach the bus stand, then stand in the shivering cold until the bus decided to grace her with its arrival, finish all the bloody shopping and once again come back the same way carry all those heavy bags.
She hated her life.

Why couldn’t he just get her a car? It’s not like he couldn’t afford it. Damn, he owed her a car. All those years she had cycled up and down the hill through rain and snow, working her ass off, supporting him financially until he finished school. And now that he was a successful orthodontist, he acted like she did nothing. “All you do is sit at home, why do you need a car?” he says. Really? So she just sat around and everything happened magically. The house ran itself. His clothes laundered themselves. The kids took care of themselves.

The bus reached its destination jolting her out of her misery. She stepped out, took out her list, and started working through it. It was on her way to the bakery that she saw them. Outside the Louis Vuitton store, she in her short hot pink skirt riding itself up till her butt was almost visible, shopping bags resting at her feet like offerings to a diva, he in his unmistakable green shirt that she had ironed just yesterday, she remembered cause she had to really scrub the scruff on that one, as they stood devouring each other like horny teenagers.

On retrospect she should have felt angry, betrayed, she should have felt something. She should have crossed the road, pried them apart, screamed, cried, threatened. Instead she proceeded to the bakery to finish her shopping. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last.
There was dinner to be made.

It was only after she had put everything in the pantry that she grabbed a few garbage bags. His clothes, his files, his precious music collection, the damn magazines that he valued more than the bible, everything went in. Once done, she hauled them out, left them by the road, bolted the doors from inside, and went up to sleep.
So tired.

The door rattled, the phone rang, the answering machine recorded message after message, but despite it all she slept like a baby.

When she woke up, it was just as grey and gloomy as it had been all month. But for the first time she didn’t mind.

Under the stillness

It was a picture prefect lake; its cloudy blue surface mirroring the sky above, with ripples so smooth that a stone would probably skip over it like a ballerina doing a petit allegro.

With its serene ambience and abundant catch, it was the town’s perfect retreat. Families relaxed as the waterfowls sailed by, or fished on the jetty while all their burdens sank into the idyllic waters.

To ensure that the marine life was not disturbed, the town had banned swimming and boating. Even dredging was done only after the waterfowl season.

It was the warning sign that gave him the idea. No one goes in, and fishes eat everything.
Perfect disposal.

100WW-2

Written for the 100 Word Wednesday challenge with photo prompt by Bikurgurl