Saturday, June 24, 2017

[Saturday Shorts] 6-24-17

Travel is something that's generally encouraged: gap years, collegiate exchange programs, business trips, vacations. Travel expands our boundaries, provides us with new experiences. And that's good. At least, within reason.

Once you move from tourist-vacationer to nomad, people start getting a little suspicious. There's a long running trope, in life and in art, that travelers are running from something. Maybe a bad childhood, a love affair gone sour, a shady job.

I grew up a military brat, so travel was part of my life. During one stretch, I lived in three different states and one different country in a five year period. It didn't seem like anything at the time. It still doesn't. But to a lot of people, that's a strange existence. If I'd been an adult, on my own, I've no doubt some people would have been wondering what my deal was.

I'm not as nomadic these days (it's easier when your parents are shuffling you around or when you're being sponsored by an employer) but I like to travel.

I like visiting places I've never been before, revisiting places that speak to me. I rent, I don't buy. I'm not really interested in putting down roots; if the opportunity presents itself, I want few obstructions to keep me from packing up everything I own and leaving. (If I owned less, that'd be easier...but that's another post entirely. See also: George Carlin's bit on "Stuff.")


Write a 1,000 word story about travel. Nomadism. Is your character running away from something? Or are they running toward something? Maybe both?

Need some extra oomph? Try this song.

I look back then I look away
Way that that blue sky fades
Feels like I'm runnin' away
And I'm headin' out to Santa Fe

Saturday, May 27, 2017

[Saturday Shorts] 5-27-17

Doors are such a common, everyday sight that we pass them and pass through them without giving thought to the role they play in our lives, our mythology, our fiction.

They act as barriers and gateways.

The doors to our home keep us safe from the things that go bump in the night. They keep us safe from the world. Sometimes, they keep the world safe from us.

They are entrances. And exits.

They are in-between places. Stand in the middle of a doorway and you're neither in the place you've just left nor in the place you're going.

Write a 500 word story about doorways.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

[Saturday Shorts] 4-29-17

Write a six word story about loss. 

Losing someone to death, to a new relationship, to a move. Losing a treasured item. Whatever it is that they've lost, tell the story in six words.

Come back by Sunday to link up in the comments. I'll tweet about it.  If you don't have a blog, post your story in the comments.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

[Saturday Shorts] 3-25-17

Write a 100 word story based on this quote from Nietzsche:

"I tell you: one must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

[Saturday Shorts] 2-25-17

Write a 100 word story that includes the following: a cubicle, a gnome, and Xanax.

Link up in the comments by Sunday night. Read. Comment. Spread the word about the Saturday Shorts challenge. (Make it grow.)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

[Saturday Shorts] 1-28-17

Write a 100 word story about wings. 

Tell a friend about the challenge. Come back by Sunday night to link up in the comments. If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave your story in the comments. I'll tweet about it.

Friday, January 27, 2017

[Fiction Friday] A Woman and a Blackbird Are One

"My darling," he greeted, stepping inside and pulling off his cloak so fast that a flurry of rain water went dancing through the air, shining like diamonds. "Did you have a pleasant day?"

He moved nearer the large cage. Its iron bars, painted gold in hue, gave off a pleasant hum when he touched them.  Every movement in and around the cage was recorded, in his absence, by the simplest of spells and fed back to him through the tips of his fingers.

He closed his dark eyes, a smile pulling at his mouth. "You'll only hurt yourself if you keep rushing the bars like that, my darling. This cage was built to withstand even your powers." He opened his eyes, gazed at the wonder of the prize within. A bird of the rarest kind, thought to be extinct for centuries. Truly, you had only to know where to look. And, of course, how to hold.

She was large as a raven; legs pale as birch and lean with four toes that curled into smooth, opalescent claws. Her feathers reflected light with every move, glossy black throwing off an array of violet, green, blue, and red. She was stunning in daylight and he was sad that he could not take her outside more often. But after that last, almost disastrous, outing....

He shook his head, looked at the black, black eyes and the pale curved beak that managed so much contempt for features that weren't meant to hold such an expression.

"Sing," he said, moving to the kitchen, taking the bread from the shelf, the cheese and smoked meat from the larder. At her silence he turned, one finger raised speculatively to his mouth. "Sing. And I'll let you out of that cage." He paused, poured wine into a cup and sipped. "Sing for me and you may stay out for the night."

The bird shuffled on her perch, head twisting to and fro before she stilled, ruffled the feathers along her throat and opened her mouth to emit a sound that was too pure for this side of the veil. It was spring rain and autumn sunshine filtered through the boughs of oaks in winter.

He closed his eyes, let the music wash over him, through him until the last notes crested and faded.

"My darling," was barely a whisper across his lips. He went to the cage, sliding a key from his pocket and into the lock. "Come," he said, one hand sliding through the door and the bird stepped gingerly onto his palm, allowed him to guide her out.

As soon as he set her on the floor, she shivered, feathers spreading. Her small body bowed, bent, arched under the pressure of leaving the form in which she was never meant to spend her life. The feathers shrank away from her pale legs, rose over her belly, revealing soft, white flesh beneath. The legs themselves lengthened, filled, took on curves and contours, human feet.

Wings splayed, became human arms, hands with delicate nails tipping the fingers. Feathers receded along her skin like tides ebbing, except for a strip along her head that merged into a long black mass, reflecting jewel tones in the firelight.

Her face was the last to change. Beak sliding back to form a narrow nose, with a delicate arch. Her face lengthened, revealed high cheekbones, large dark eyes surrounded by thick lashes and heavy black brows that gave her an innocently vicious appearance.

Black hair, like a silken ribbon, streamed over her shoulders and down her back, stark against her paleness, parting to give teasing glances of her breasts, the soft curve of her belly, the slope of her hips.

Mouth curving at the corners, he held out his hand once more, "Come. It's time for bed."

Title from Wallace Stevens's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

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