Category Archives: experimental

Friday Flash: Mangrove

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Mangrove

 

 

Her roots reached down through the water into the dark, soft mud. It felt good to stretch and feel the coolness of the earth in the clinging tendrils that shot from her body. Though she enjoyed the company of the water’s other animals – the long, lean birds that would search for food between her roots, the shelled creatures that used her for shelter – more than all, she loved the sleek rocky lizard that preyed on smaller living things. Perhaps it was his cratered body that appealed to her, a rock that waited with large golden eyes. She was earth, and he was stone.

“He’ll never return your love,” said the soft creature with the hard shell. “He can only have happiness with his own kind.” But the tree stretched her roots farther yet into the flowing water, offering more in the hopes of greater return. But the craggy beast visited, neither more nor less, as he searched the cool water for his next meal or mate. Sometimes he waited in the shadow of her branches.

Her sisters crowded together along the shoreline, their roots mingling as they whispered to each other. They pulled away from her, though they themselves harbored similar creatures within their sheltered roots. None of them loved though, like she loved the dark brooding predator. His bellows sent shivers through her as her roots vibrated in the water.

Soon the lonely call of a water bird disturbed the stillness, and she remembered her loneliness. His company did not alleviate her solitude; it amplified it. It accentuated her inability to connect to him and to others of her kind. Her sisters presence did not console her.

The moon shone through her branches, dying them silver with its touch as she cast dark shadows on the water. The lizard took shelter in her presence, and she realized that the moonlight had changed him too. It changed the water, her sister trees, even the distant hills. How could she have been so blind?

Penetrated and penetrating, she breathed the air that blew through her branches and transformed it into oxygen, giving life to many creatures – including herself. The wind slowed as it rustled her leaves, carrying the sound far away into the evening stillness. All occurred beneath the lovely sky of this world, the celestial orb spinning slowly through space and time, giving shape to the universe.

How could she be alone? She was one with them all, as the drop was one with the river.

She stretched her roots down through the water into the dark, soft mud.

 

 

 

*image courtesy of tonynetone via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

 

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Filed under experimental, Fairy Tales, Flash Fiction

Friday Flash: The Sun Shone

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The Sun Shone

 

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. The grass was the same grass, the buildings were the same buildings, and the people were the same people it had shone on for the last thousand years. Ice had accumulated around them, snow had frozen in patches on the still ground. The Earth had become a Winter Wonderland for no one to wonder at, as the planet slowly spun in the vast loneliness of space.

 

*I’ve decided to write several flash stories that are inspired by famous first lines. This one is inspired by the first line in Samuel Beckett’s Murphy.

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*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Filed under experimental, Flash Fiction

Friday Flash: Pumpkin

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Pumpkin

The pumpkin sat there, so orange, so bright, so cheerful looking, but the man knew that inside was only a pulpy mess of strings, seeds, and bits of uncooked flesh. It’s sanguine exterior mocked him. He drew eye-holes for the face into its side, imagining hitting it full on with the roaring, rotating blade of his chainsaw, its teeth slicing into the thick skin, spraying the contents along the ground to soak into the earth and slowly decay. All things considered, there were worse things than messy pumpkin.

The wind screamed through the trees.

He remembered how the girl had screamed when she tripped. When her skull hit rock, her blood had mingled with the dirt the same way he imagined the pumpkin pulp rotting into the ground. He thought of what she must look like now, now that so much time had passed since her tragic accident: the red grin of her decaying mouth, the sunken black holes of her eyes, her chalk-white skin against decaying leaves. The grisly image reminded him of a clown, though he wasn’t laughing.

Neither his memories nor the gourd’s brilliant hue brought him cheer. He slashed and hacked at the mockingly bright colors, weeping at the loss of his innocence.

 

*I know pumpkin is out of season, but I couldn’t resist this prompt, taken partly from the intro to Jon Jefferson’s #FridayFlash story, Clearing the Yard., and partly from a conversation with Helen Howell on Twitter about clowns.

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Flash Mob 2013: Hey, Diddle Diddle

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Hey, Diddle Diddle

She’d been a dish her whole life, porcelain features that shined in the moonlight that streamed through the farmer’s window. She had never had companions like herself, but rather was singled out for her beauty and displayed on a shelf. Loneliness made her wretched and desperately she reached out to those closest to her – in proximity if not station. “What do you see?” she asked the egg, a gaudy oval painted the colors of spring by the farmer’s son, but he sat next to her on the high shelf and sulked that he hadn’t been allowed in the basket with his brothers and sisters. Silence was his only answer.

Irritated by his inattention, she addressed herself to the utensils in the wooden box below. “Hey, what do YOU see?” she asked again. She despaired of an answer from ones so far below her, but, to her delight, a gleaming silver spoon sung out, “A cow!” Sure enough, a bovine-shaped cloud passed before the moon. Enchanted by his answer, as well as the spell of the fairy Queen, she ran away with him. A yellow tabby played the fiddle at their wedding. He donned black leather boots for the occasion, so polished that they gleamed. At least, he played until the neighborhood mongrel pointed at him with one mangy paw and hooted with laughter. The enraged feline threw his instrument at the offending mutt and tore after him, claws extended.

Mab’s laughter filled the dark Meadow; she was delighted with the chaos she had caused. The dish and spoon enjoyed an extended honeymoon, and the poor farmer, whose home had been the scene of such revelry and violence, resolved never to eat mushrooms again.

 

*The above flash is my entry for Flash Mob 2013, the International Flash Fiction Day competition. Though the actual day isn’t until June 22nd, my story needed to be posted before June 10th so that I could include a link with my submission. I hope you enjoyed my literal fantasy (oxymoron?) take on a nonsense poem.

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Friday Flash: Woman

Woman

The three fates are women that reflect all aspects of womanhood. The maiden spins the thread of life, the matron measures out its length, and lastly the crone clips it with her shears. Every woman contains all three within the confines of her psyche, from the bloom and innocence of youth, through the years she guides those younger than herself, to end her days as the crone – experienced enough to know that nothing lasts forever and wise enough not to fear it.

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The woman grips the twisted branch with one gnarled hand, thick nails scraping against her own wrist as she leans upon her walking stick. The years have increased her troubles, whitening her hair which has fallen out in patches, leaving other pieces of scalp covered by long stringy locks. The flesh of her youth now sags about her body, her breasts hang like deflated water-skins from her shriveled frame. No more would men beg to be loved by one such as she. Youth changed places with experience, and what she lacks in beauty she makes up for in wisdom. The men of the land still flock to her, not for the fleeting facade of her body, decaying even its younger days, but for her counsel. The mind is more permanent and powerful. We are born to die, but not all are born to truly live. She has done so, throwing aside the restrictions laid upon her by a society that does not understand and now she is ready to rest.

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The woman grips her belly, already she senses its swollen distended shape shrinking with the absence of its precious cargo, but experience has taught her feelings do not mirror truth. She cradles the child, squalling and protesting against the trauma of its sudden change. He finds her breast, quieting his outrage and fear by suckling greedily from her body’s provision. The first bloom of her youth changed places with the grace and the glow of new motherhood. The act of creation, performed by two but carried to fruition by one, finds its culmination in the new life that now nuzzles at her breast, seeking sustenance from the one who bore him. For now, the woman is content to hold the babe and comfort him with song. Her past has taught her patience. The years stretch before her like a great road, and she is anxious to guide this new life along its path.

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The woman grips the floral wreath, the white veil billowing out as she wraps it around the edges. She pricks one thin, delicate finger on a thorn and sucks the blood, tasting the salt upon her tongue. The men she has known have not known her, not until this one man stole her heart along with her promise to live by his side always. She knows not what the years before her hold, she has not experienced the pain of a love lost or a body broken, but the strength she carries within will carry her through. She is not protected from life’s twists and turns, she knows not where she is going, but whatever challenges life puts in her path she knows she has the strength to face them. Wisdom will come with experience, and she turns her face to the sun. The dawning of the new day warms her, and she steps out to meet it.

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Certainly all women do not realize the fateful power they hold within themselves. Too often they allow others to rule over them, victims of an unholy union or their own bad judgment. But the potential lives inside every woman – from the foolish maid who lusts and thinks not of the consequences to the old woman who regrets too much the life she failed to live. Kindness and foresight live side by side with the fickleness and cruelty of the Fates. For every good there is a corresponding evil, but it lies in woman to cultivate her own higher qualities.

Zeus himself dares not cross the Fates, could not even if he wished, and begs of them for favors.

The maid, the matron, and the crone live in all women, who overrule the will of men and gods.

THE END

*The above is a bit experimental for me. I just got to thinking about the commons themes of different mythologies, and this is what came out. I actually looked up the term ‘Experimental fiction’ recently, which (boiled down) said that it’s usually more about word choice and as a result will have little or no discernible plot. I think this may fit that. And even if it doesn’t, it’s my experiment since I don’t usually write this sort of thing. I hope you enjoyed it.

In other news, my newest 52/250 story, Brothers, is up today also. I almost posted it as my #FridayFlash instead, because I really liked how it came out. I’d be thrilled if you read that as well. The theme for this week is The Brutality of Friends.

Last, but not least, I plan to post another episode of my new podcast, My Writing Niche, before Midnight on Sunday in time for Spoken Sunday. After reading my short story, the rest of the podcast I’ll be talking more about preparing for Nanowrimo. I hope you tune in.

As always, feedback is begged for welcome. Thank you for your time!

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Filed under 52/250 Challenge, Current events, experimental, Flash Fiction, mythology, vampires/undead, Writing Corner