Survival (Part One)

I was born in Little Emming the same year Christopher Tin taught the world how to steal other people’s magical abilities. That was a crazy year, though I slept, ate and shat my way through most of it. As you can imagine, it was a traumatic time for my parents; I should have been flying objects around my cot by then or turning my milk from plain to banana flavoured. They spent all year certain that someone had stolen my own powers, though what someone would want with a baby’s feeble magic is anyone’s guess.

The years passed and they slowly came to terms with the fact that I was Different. Even when they wrapped my spellsphere with their own powers, I couldn’t get it to work. So eventually they gave up.

I’ve heard in Asin that they treat people with green eyes differently depending on proximity. Everyone wants to be friends with a green eyed person, sure, but they don’t want to be related to one. Well it was the same with me. I had more friends than my personality warranted, but my parents distanced themselves from me or begged me to see a demon whisperer who would rid me of my evil.

And I did what they said, but to no avail. Still, not everyone can say they’ve talked in tongues to the Lord Cleric Overseer himself. I pride myself on that, at least.

So while all my peers were racing board wipers around with their mind, I had to hold mine and run with it (the wiper, not my mind… though I did do that too). Suffice to say I never won a race, though I excelled in morning exercises.

And when careers advice came around, all three advisers I saw were rendered speechless. They all gave me the same look over their glasses – startled and a little afraid, I think. In the end, I was given a written document which said there was no job I could fill in Emming and that I should try Asin with the other non-magical folk. Suffice to say I was pissed, so I decided to do my own research. I decided I would read all the Little Emming books I could to try and find my place in the world.

But I got through half a tome and fell asleep, my drool dampening the pages so much that they wrinkled and Mrs Kripp kicked me out of the research library. All I had access to was the fiction section – all Asin imports of course; no one in Little Emming has time for a novel when they could put on a play with magic in ten seconds flat.
So I read them instead – the only Emminger in a sea of magical Asinians (my opposites, I guess) looking for a piece of home in the weird and wonderful place they lived. It took me a while to learn Asic, but I met some good non-magical folk along the way and eventually managed to read even the hardest of novels – Battle and Calm.

Prompt: Write a story that consists only of monosyllabic words.

We walked down to the edge of the world – went there to take in the sights. But all that lay in front of us was dark and too true. We clung as one as we stood and asked why they jumped off the ledge. I had thought we would see a new world – one which was far more bright than Earth. But no – no such luck.

But there were eyes in the void. They stared right at us. They were as big as our heads, all round and green. They had flecks, the likes of which I had not seen on Earth. The flecks were dark. They swirled. We did not think when we stepped past the edge. We were drawn to the eyes, their odd stare – half dead, they looked.

And there we still are. We float in the void with the folk who fell for the eyes too. We try to swim through the air to the eyes but they still seem as far off as when we first came here. Soon the whole of Earth’s folk will be here, I am sure. We try to warn those on the edge but the eyes get to them all.

 


 

Orphan Black is fast becoming my favourite programme again. After a (relatively) crappy season, it seems like it’s back on track!

Hello 100th post ūüôā

Prompt: Monsters are real; they’re called Humans. They have hunted all other sentient species to near extinction, and have rewritten history.

The fire crackled as James stoked it. Sparks almost landed on Henry’s leg, but he moved just in time. James hummed a tune as everyone relaxed around the camp site. It was a familiar tune, but one which had not been hummed or sung for centuries.

Though it spun a tale of death and destruction, the fact that an archinian was humming it voiced unspoken hope.

The woods lay still and silent but for the mutterings of the archinians. Humans had been wiped out (along with every other species) long ago; there was nothing to fear here.

But the archinians had long since become too complacent, for their once-warrior senses had dulled over the centuries. So much so that twenty-seven archinians didn’t hear the sharp crack of a twig breaking underfoot; the rustle of leaves being parted; the whispered words of a language which was thought to have died aeons ago.

“So anyway Henry, you know that rabbit I caught yesterday? Well this little rascal set him free.” James ruffled his son’s hair. “Said he was going to live on nuts and seeds for the rest of his life instead.” James and Henry guffawed at this and looked at the boy with fond smiles on their faces.

“Papa, I told you-” The boy began, but he stopped and stared into the inky blackness beyond the camp fire. “I just saw someone there.” He murmured, still peering into the darkness.

“It’s just your mind playing tricks on you, son. You know there’s nothing out there until out Firenzis’ way, and even then there are only a few sproutlings.” James said the words as though they were his old friends; they left his lips with ease. He placed a log on the fire and prodded it deeper into the heart of the flame with a stick. It turned red to black in a matter of seconds.

“You should really listen to Matthew more, James.” The unfamiliar voice that spoke stirred something inside of James. He stopped and looked up. The voice had spoken in Archage haltingly, like no archinian he had ever known before.

He smelled it before he saw it. The scent of meat sweats and sharp cheese filled his nostrils until he felt nauseous and faint. His mind reeled as he thought about the songs sung in the name of that stench.

And then he saw them materialising, surrounding the camp site. All wore rags and menacing smiles; all licked their lips incessantly; all edged closer to their prey – for that’s what the archinians were. There’s no denying that.

“How-? Why-?” James asked. But the questions caught in his throat. Not merely from the shock of seeing a whole pack of humans in the flesh, but also because the man who had spoken rushed over to James with an unnatural speed, pulled him close, pushed his head back so his neck was exposed and bit cleanly into the man’s throat.

You would expect for sobs to be heard from the other members of the camp site, but they had all been dealt with in the same way and at the same moment. The archinians merely let out a bleak, shuddering breath before their eyes turned glassy and their scales turned the dull grey colour of death.

“How-? Why-?” The human mimicked as he held James’ body in his hands. He grabbed the archinian by the wrist and dragged him off the log next to the camp fire, taking his place even though it was soaked with blood. Then he pulled James back towards him by the wrist and took another large bite out of his neck. “Allow me to tell you a story, Jamesy-pie. Nothing beats a dead audience.” Some of the other humans chuckled and joined him at the camp fire, dragging their victims behind them as though they were mere ragdolls.

“You see, it all began after the Death Day of Queen Marguerite the Second. You remember how she was torn from the thrown by your scum-”

And I dare say I will leave their story there. I have already outstayed my welcome; I should have left as soon as the archinians were killed. I fear they will find me if I linger too long, so just take this as a warning that they are back.

No one is safe. Be warned.

 


 

I wrote over 3,200 words for work today. Hooray! But my creative writing has taken a hit because of it. I finish at 17:00 and don’t want to write another word (although here I am writing several more). Maybe I’ll try and change up when I write creatively…

Prompt: There is a secret parallel world which can only be entered by children under 16 years old. How do they keep the place secret despite social media, smartphones etc.?

Part Two


That morning, he woke me with food he had brought from his own world – crispy, fatty bacon and chicken eggs, served with black, strong coffee. I could tell from the resoluteness on his face that he had made up his mind, but I was too scared to ask him what he had decided.

Nathan had cleared away our plates and was covering the fire with dirt when he told me.

“I have decided to stay,” he said, “and see what happens when I turn 16. Who knows – I might be booted out once I come of age…”

He seemed solemn in his decision. Not wanting to seem too childish, I held back my happiness and nodded, allowing a small smile to dance on my lips.

“My parents will wonder where I’ve gone, of course…” He trailed off.

“Do you want to visit them beforehand?”

He shook his head. “It’ll only make things more difficult.” He said.

We occupied ourselves until 10pm, but then I could not concentrate on anything. Instead, we sat and waited for midnight to strike.

And it did.

I looked over at Nathan, who looked back at me. The church clock chimed twelve times and then stopped. We waited a minute. Two. Ten. Nothing happened. We both broke into a smile at once and I said what I had wanted to say since midnight had struck: “Happy birthday, Nathan.” He grinned – laughed.

We curled up together in an empty hay-filled stable next to the dragons and fell asleep soon after.


I awoke to my mother shouting my name: “Aria! Aria!” It was so persistent that I couldn’t ignore it even if I had wanted to. I moved Nathan’s arm, which had been strewn haphazardly across my chest, and padded across the stables, coming out into the blinding light of day.

“Your friend, Aria – Nathan – where is he?”

“What’s going on, Mum?”

“I heard from the Gimalean boy that he had heard a child was missing in the other world. A 16 year old child. Who fit Nathan’s description.” She studied my face, accusation not yet present on her face.

“He’s here to stay, Mamma, and he’ll help out as he always does and we’ll move out soon, don’t worry.” My words came out jumbled; all in a rush.

“Aria…” She looked stricken – scared, almost. “Aria… there will be fallout from this…”

“We would have never seen each other again, Mum.”

“Think of his parents… if something like this had happened to you…” She trailed off.

“But he can’t go through now anyway. We checked. He can’t even see the Doorway now.”

My mum sighed. She seemed far older than her years. “I guess there’s nothing we can do but wait,” she said, “bring him in for breakfast when he’s ready.” With that, she headed back into the house.


It was a few days later when I realised what I had done. Tom – a seven year old from the other world – was with us as we watched for the dragon in the lake. But he spent most of his time squinting at Nathan. When Nathan finally snapped at him, Tom produced a newspaper from his backpack with Nathan’s face on the front page.

“I knew I knew your face from somewhere.” Tom said. Nathan grabbed the newspaper and read the story, his eyes darting from side to side. With shaking hands, he put the paper down on the grass and walked away to the other side of the lake, muttering that he needed time to think.

I went back home and watched out for him, but he did not return until the early hours of the morning. He headed straight for the stables.


Before long, a town meeting was called. Mayor Kan said that, owing to the panic felt on the other side over the missing boy, they were thinking of closing the Doorway for good.

I zoned out after that, only catching phrases like “disputes with figureheads on the other side” and “risk assessment”. Though I squeezed Nathan’s hand and was grateful he was here, I realised how foolish we had been.


We grew older together and eventually committed ourselves to one another, but I could sense Nathan resented me a little. In fact, a lot of people seemed to resent me. I had not known how much Arkansa depended on the children and the other world, but before long, our town became run-down. Sure, the magic was still there, but it had lost some of its wealth and – more importantly – some of its life.

Though we stuck together for forty years, I fear we only stayed together out of obligation; if we had broken up, everything would have been for nothing.

Prompt: There is a secret parallel world which can only be entered by children under 16 years old. How do they keep the place secret despite social media, smartphones etc.?

Part One

There is a saying in my country – “break¬†Arkansa rules and you tear the world apart.” I always thought it was something our parents told us so we would pass the message on to the visiting children. I didn’t know that I would witness Arkansas’s downfall myself – be the propagator of it, in fact.

When the dragons were very small and I was beginning to help out around the stables, a boy came to visit. I could tell he was from the other world: he had that starved look about him. Not starved of food or love or shelter, oh no. Starved of magic. He was looking around at everything, his eyes darting Рtaking it all in. There was a mixture of fear and awe in them which I saw in most kids who came through the Doorway.

I ushered him close and asked him his name – Nathan – supplied him mine – Aria – and asked if he wanted to help me tend to the dragons – yes, please.

I handed him a bottle of milk and we walked to the stables, chatting as we did so. He seemed nice enough, though a little shy. But you should have seen him with the dragons. They were usually fairly cautious creatures; hell, I would be too if my mother abandoned me and I was left to fend for myself so young. But all three of them toddled up to Nathan and when he knelt down, they found a way to perch on him. The green one I’ve taken to calling Nagassi even managed to flap its wings enough to land on his shoulder. Nagassi puffed little smoke clouds onto Nathan’s cheek as if to warm him.

He handled the dragons so carefully that I thought they would never listen to his commands, but still he managed to wrap Nagassi in her blanket (a task which has left deep cuts on my own hands) and hold her in his arms so he could feed her milk. I looked on, dumbfounded, as I fed one of the other dragons. He seemed dumbfounded and mesmerised himself; he hardly took his eyes off Nagassi.

Afterwards, we played in the woods nearby, playing hide and seek with the wood spirits and the wind. He visited each day after that and slowly our games became more adult; more intimate. Funny dating a man from another world. He knew nothing about Arkansa kisses – thought it weird when I dragged my tongue over his teeth. I had to explain that there was a myth in Arkansa where a group of people lulled their victims into a false sense of security by dating them, then they drugged them and pulled out their teeth while they were sleeping to sell to an apparently thriving market. So letting someone kiss you Arkansa style was the ultimate portrayal of trust.

But one day he visited and he seemed crestfallen. Said that he had heard a whisper on the wind that he would no longer be able to pass through the Doorway once he turned 16 – two days away. Having heard nothing of this (I thought their world was only made up of young folk), I asked around while he tended to the now-teenage dragons and found out it was true.

“Don’t go.” I said to him that evening as our bodies wrapped around each other beside the fire in our clearing in the¬†woods.

“But my family, my friends…” He trailed off. He acted as though he would not do it, but he stayed the night – something he had never done before. I could feel the heaviness of my heart and knew his would be feeling the same.