It was a long time since Stella had run this far or this fast,and the kid was skinny, but surprisingly heavy. Her lungs were burning and her thighs were asking questions her brain couldn’t answer, but she kept going. The tall grass around her seemed increasingly menacing, and a couple of times she flinched at what turned out to be shadows. She cleared the crest of the hill and came to a halt.
A tall woman with long greenish hair stood in front of her, surrounded by grass that seemed taller and greener than it was anywhere else. As she turned towards Stella, the grass around the Green Woman seemed to move, as if of its own volition.
Stella was panting hard, waiting for her breathing to slow down. The kid clung tightly round her neck.
The woman spoke first.
“I didn’t ask for this” – she gestured widely with her long, pale hands. Stella noticed with shock that her eyes were a solid, opaque green.
“I didn’t ask for this” the Green Woman repeated. “But here I am, trapped in this clumsy form. And now I’m here, I find I want to live. But you, I think, want to destroy me.” She shook her head, her hair moving in waves like long grass in the wind.
“I will not be destroyed”
This is for Jane Dougherty’s micro fiction challenge. I would normally do a link through at this stage, but I’m struggling with IT today.
The image is by Franz Marc, and it’s called In the Rain. Jane Dougherty is allowing us any form we like this week, and she’s given us some optional words: rain, red, relentless, river, regrets. I’ve done some minute poems. A bit of dialogue, or perhaps trialogue?
This rain falls so relentlessly
It lessens me
The world turns grey
I turn away
I wonder what I should have said,
Or done, instead,
To make her smile
And stay a while?
The dog says
Humans do make life a muddle
Jump a puddle!
Rain can be fun –
Who needs the sun?
I’m thinking of the time we took the train out through the desert – the only form of life that hot, dry day was the tin box shaking and snaking its way between the low brown hills. Not even a bird circling high in the indifferent blue sky. It was hot. Too hot to stand up, too hot to sit down, too hot to lie with your head on the seat, too hot to read, too hot to sleep, too hot to talk, too hot to open the window, too hot to close the window, and in the end all we could do was sprawl, stunned and silenced by the sun, waiting for rumours of temperatures reached to rattle down the train at every station, watching the earth burn down to its bones. And then, at one stop, a man selling ice – chiselling off shards of it from a block the size of a sink, and everyone reaching and snatching and grabbing, as if they were diamonds that melted like dreams in our hands.
Not reaching my lips
Ice melts between my fingers
Watering dry ground.
Kanzensakura has opened up the bar at Dverse after the summer break. The prompt is “hot” and she is asking for a haibun that recalls personal experience. We don’t suffer too much from heat here in the UK – though we did hit a glorious 33 degrees last week!!! – but I am lucky enough to have spent time in a few different deserts now, and this haibun recalls the hottest train ride ever, heading out of Pakistan back when I was young and off adventuring.
Stella looked down at the kid on the passenger seat. She didn’t know much about children, but she was pretty sure they weren’t supposed to be that skinny. She was pretty sure about some other stuff, too. She was pretty sure she could lose her license for this. She was pretty sure she didn’t know what to do next. But she was damn certain she couldn’t have left the kid there. That place had a stink of evil about it.
Picking up the kid had slowed her down, though, and the 2 figures she’d tracked from the ruins of the temple folly to the underground complex had got away. She shrugged. She’d have other chances to catch up with Rex Brandenburg.
Suddenly she noticed a green glow way up ahead – the woman from the folly. She DID seem to glow, lighting up the trees around her as she slipped into the woods and vanished.
Shortly after that, she spotted a strange shape in the road, and swerved to avoid it. The car skidded, spun round and stopped. She got out to look.
It was a man, wrapped so tightly in some green creeper that he’d been unable to breathe. And she recognised his face.
This is for Jane Dougherty’s Friday microfiction prompt. She’s kind of suggested we might like to continue our stories, or do stand alone pieces. I’m quite enjoying Stella’s company, so I’m sticking with her for a while – and I want to see what happens next! The image is by Else Berg. I find it rather disturbing.
When he did not return
She rode out alone,
With her hair hanging
Wild down her back
Like the kelp in the water,
And they said to her
“Where are you going?
Stay here and be patient,
The night is still young”
And she answered them, saying
“I ride North, I ride North
In search of a boy
With eyes like the moon
On the ice. A boy who declared
That nothing would keep him away.
Or perhaps I ride South,
For the love of a boy
With a star on his brow,
And skin like a peach
That is warmed by the sun,
And who promised me
Gardens of roses and lilies.
It may be I ride East,
Where the sun is a gift
To the world every day,
To find for myself
The boy with the hair
Like the wing of a raven,
And diamonds and pearls
In his hands,
Or I may go to the West,
To wander the highways
Where road traffic roars its own song
And the night world is lit
In cobalt and crimson and chrome,
For the sake of the boy
Who promised me nothing
This is a poem for Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge. This week it’s a free form poem. The words Jane has suggested are: star, gift, wander, soaring, cobalt. The picture is by John Bauer. Apparently it’s a prince, but I thought it looked more princess-y.
As Stella opened the modest gate, the scent of smoke hit her. She was looking for Rex Brandenburg – she had his photo in her top pocket, along with the tarot card his grandmother had given her. She’d been told he’d definitely be here. This was his crowd, and this was the biggest party of the year.
Down by the lake she spotted a folly built to look like a temple. It was ablaze with candlelight and she could see a group of slim figures moving backwards and forwards, silhouettes against the light.
Stella’s irritation with the bright young things around her was growing. Identical twin brothers were handing out pale yellow pills, champagne was sloshing into glasses, and a couple were tangoing on the terrace. The party was hotting up.
She pushed through the crowd, trying to make her way towards the folly. Call it intuition, call it a sixth sense – she called it her inner cop – whatever you call it, it was telling her that something important was happening down there.
She was still a couple of hundred yards away when the explosion happened. A pillar of green fire shot 60 feet into the air, in deathly silence.
This is a microfiction for Jane Dougherty’s challenge. Like Stella, I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m hoping that together we will be able to make some sense of these strange events, eventually.
The watcher says
Don’t go outside
Under the crazy moon,
Stay here with me, be warm, be soft,
The walker says
Always calls me
Lifts me above the world
To dance among the stars until
The moon says
Cool hands, and dance
With me, my witch child, dance
An endless paso doble through
This is a cinquain, which is a pattern of syllables : 2, 4, 6, 8, 2. Jane Dougherty has given us another lovely prompt. You can find it here.
And as it’s such a tiny form, I feel justified in putting up a cinquain butterfly, completely off prompt:
Sounds around us
But it is not as loud
As the beating blood of our hearts.
Must be braver than a gun shot,
Our hearts keep open wide
Our hands reach out
This is for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge. I’ve gone a tiny bit over the 200 words. She has suggested we do this as part of an on-going story (if we want to). I’m going to try it out, see where we go. The painting is by Munch – The kiss at the window.
The night air was hot and heavy on Stella’s skin, but she shivered as she slipped inside the darkened hallway. She shook her head. Rich people always turned the aircon up to high.It grew colder as she headed up the stairs, towards the bedroom.
Mr Locatelli had been very clear:
“You go in, you take pictures, you come out. Something that will stand up in court.”
He’d provided a plan of the house and snapshots of his wife. Stella had taken the job. The rent was due: she needed the money or she’d be sleeping in her office again.
The door handle was ice cold – she was glad of her leather gloves. As she pushed it open there was a rumble of thunder, and as she stepped into the room a flash of lightning illuminated the couple by the window. The man raised his lips from the woman’s neck, but then the light was gone as quickly as it had come.
She heard an almighty smash and fumbled to switch on the lights. She instinctively looked towards the window, but it was open wide. The man was gone, and where the couple had been were only scattered shards of what had once been Mrs Locatelli.
This is a minute poem, a 60 syllable form, for a prompt from Jane Dougherty. The theme is “Daybreak”.
The music stopped an hour ago
We didn’t know,
By the first flare
Of the cold light, slowly seeping,
Across the lawn –
The dancing dawn!
So wrap it up in pink and gold –
I’d like to hold
This moment safe
‘Til all time fades.
I rolled my eyes. The first humans to make footfall on E3137 and Jed was already planning to dissect the local life forms. We’d wrecked Earth and now we were starting again somewhere else. I had kind of hoped we’d be coming in peace.
“I’m going in”, his voice came clearly over the intercom. “I think I can get a clear shot with the tranq gun”.
As he wriggled, commando style, towards the – birds? Pterosaurs? What were they? – a fine mist began to drift towards us. They looked so peaceful, weaving a gentle dance, their outlines blurred by the cloud around them.
“It’s coming from them!” – he sounded excited – “A defence mechanism, I think? To hide them from predators? How do they do that?”
The mist grew thicker. I heard a choking sound from Jed – I couldn’t see him. I shouted his name. Radio silence.
I looked down at my suit. It looked strange – it was melting! Acid, I realized, in aerosol form. A cloud of acid – one hell of a defence.
I turned and started to run.
This is for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge. The words this week are unchartered waters.