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Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


My first time. I'm in. And flash, please.

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Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


Snow On The Shore
1198 words
Flash rule: The Antikythera Mechanism



The boy climbed out onto the deck of the ship, scanning the overcast horizon before making his way to the prow, ducking under the low sails. Here he found the old man, as he had on many days before on their voyage across the sea, sat hunched over his box - absorbed in his work. So absorbed that he never seemed to notice the weather. The boy shrugged the cloak from his shoulders, wrapping it around the old man as he approached.

“Grandfather, do you truly not feel the chill? Or are you testing my vigilance?”

“Vigilance, my boy?” The old man cracked a smile. “Let’s say it’s that. Or both.”

The old man looked up at his grandson and shook his head.

“I know what you’re going to say - but no! It really can’t wait until we dock. I’ll only be staying a week and it’s not enough time - especially with this cloud.” The old man gave a vague gesture towards the sky.

“Can you try to explain your machine to me again? Why do you need the sun out?” The boy asked.

The old man bowed his head, turning over a tiny copper cog in his hand. Eventually he nodded and patted his lap - the boy dutifully sat. The old man began his explanation but to the boy his words quickly spiralled into an arcane gibberish as it had time and time before. Perhaps when he was older the boy would finally grasp how the tiny copper gears all fit together in the guts of the machine in the box. The old man still humoured the boy - his understanding didn’t really matter. For now they both knew that some company was better than none.

They were both so enagaged in the talk and work that neither of them noticed the dark smudge on the horizon coming into clearer and clearer focus. It wasn’t until several of the old man’s slaves stood around them, gesturing and gawping, that they both finally craned their necks up to see that they were arriving. The island of both their birth’s loomed out ahead - a pure white mass against the grey sea and sky.

“Wait, white?” The boy gawped at the island in unison with the slaves.

The old man shook his head and smiled - he had forgotten how young the boy still was.

“Snow, my boy. A tad unusual for the time of year, but we do get it on occasion on the islands. It’s not something to look so dumbly at. You’ll see; in a day or two it will melt away and it will be like it was never there.”

The boy heard the words but wasn’t really listening. To him, to see the hills and cliffs and rooftops of his home blanketed in white was a marvel. Even the beach was pure white. The only dark smudge where the snow had not settled was the old fort on the far end of the island. Most of the year the weather was mild or warm, they had rain and sleet and hail and there was an almighty chill in the winter, but he had never seen it snow like this.

Soon, the boat moored, and a little procession formed on the docks - the old man clutching his large wooden box - hung from a thick leather strap over his shoulder, the boy at his side, helping his grandfather and behind them, several slaves all carrying luggage. They shuffled out of the docks and up the winding path to the village - the route still familiar to the boy even with the fresh blanket of snow. The old man seemed to clutch at the boys arm almost as hard as he did his box - the pair trudging only as fast as the old man could go.

Halfway up the hill to their family’s villa, the old man stopped, dismissing the boy’s concerned look with a raised palm. He sat down on a crumbling low stone wall next to the path and sighed.

“I’m fine, just need a minute to rest.” The old man waved at the halted throng of slaves.

“You lot, go on! Up the hill, you know the way. Me and the boy will follow shortly.”

The slaves all nodded silently and resumed their trudge up the hill, snow crunching underfoot. The boy took a perch next to the old man.

“Grandfather? I know you haven’t seen mother and father in a long while but-” the old man cut across him:

“No, no, it’s not that.” He smiled wearily, “I’m just old my boy. These old legs, and this great lump,” he tapped the side of the box, “they weigh you down. Eventually. Nothing you can do about that.”

They sat there a while in silence before the old man turned to the boy.

“Thank you for coming with me. I know you don’t think so, but you’ve been a great help to me. I’m only sorry that I have to leave again so soon.”

They smiled at each other and the old man drew the boy into a sidelong one armed hug.

“Do you have to? You could delay a week and say there was a storm?” The boy pleaded. The old man shook his head in response.

“You know I can’t. This thing is not the work of one man. It needs to get to where it’s going.”

They hugged again before the old man stood, reaching for the boy’s arm. The boy quickly supported him and they made their way up the hill.

***

A week later, the boy wept on the dock as he watched his grandfather’s ship return to open water - fearful that the storm would claim it. Knowing it would. Despite the reassurances of his parents who held him, of the sailors who flitted to and fro - he still grieved for his grandfather. The clouds were too dark, the wind rising too high. They said the storm was going one way and the ship sailing the other. But looking out on the ship growing small in the distance, only the black of the roiling clouds seemed to surround it. The boy stood there long into the afternoon, long since his parents retired. As dusk settled he finally turned and followed them up the hill. He stopped at the low crumbling wall where he had sat before with his grandfather and thumbed a patch of snow along the stones that had not yet melted. The rest, the blanket of white, had all melted away as the old man had said it would - as if it were never there.

Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


Forgot to say thanks to Djeser for the crit way back on week 304. Frankly after seeing the quality of all the other entries, I was simply glad to avoid the loss. But, there's always this week!

6 am in.

Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


Wretch
1199 words
Prompt: Demiplane of Darksphere


The pain in his head dulled again but it was all Jim could do not to focus on it. The dull roar of the crowd made it hard to think. One raised voice cut through the din of jeers:

“Pick it up.”

Jim looked down at the small dark object glinting in the sand - a crude rusted dagger lay inches from where he knelt, it’s dark metal reflecting the flickering of the bonfire. He gritted his teeth and acquiesced, picking it up in a hand he had not realised was shaking until he tried to grip the handle. He looked up and around him, his tired eyes settling on the only other figure that stood apart from the crowd that surrounded them. It took him a moment to wade through his foggy, drowsy thoughts until he recognised it was Hobb, the cook. The older man stood opposite him, his tall and large figure illuminated by the fire that crackled within the circle of dark figures. His face was bowed, shrouding it in shadow. Jim blinked, trying to place the other shadowed faces - in the dark of the night he could only see a flash of teeth or a reflecting glint of sweat causing an outline in the tropical heat.

Suddenly arms gripped him from behind and hauled him to his feet, holding him for a moment as he tried to find some footing in the sand. He wobbled as the arms released him, taking a stunted step forward to steady himself and feeling the damp cloth of his trousers chafe where he had pissed himself earlier. He kept blinking, thinking it would focus the swimming blur of figures around him but all he could see was Hobb and the fire. A moaning, roiling hum of noise from the crowd seemed to urge him on, even if he couldn’t interpret their cries. Hobb had taken a step towards him but now Jim could see his face. Jim had never seen the steely determination that now gripped Hobb, nor even his frowning, set jaw. Hobb had always been so jovial and carefree. Never serious. Never possessed like this. Hobb opened his mouth to speak but his words were drowned by the crowd. Jim took another shaky step forward and cried out to other man.

“What?”

His mouth was dry and he tasted vomit as he spoke so the word came out hoarse and strangled but Hobb seemed to hear him and spoke again:

“I’m sorry lad. But I don’t see another way out of this. I’ll… I’ll make it quick, I promise.”

Though Jim heard him, Hobb’s words didn’t make any sense. He tried to parse them out but then the throbbing pain in his head returned - sharp and insistent. Jim was sure he knew where he was and why, but the answers had swum away from him until he saw the glint in Hobb’s hand. A dagger. A dagger like the one he held. He met Hobb’s eyes and understood, again. He had refused before - that’s why they had beat him. Hobb shook his head and quickened his pace, coming straight at him, dagger raised.

Jim stumbled back, away from the advancing man and into the mass of shouting figures. As he came into contact with the stinking, boisterous mass and was almost immediately shoved back he managed to make out some of the murmuring. They were taking bets. He spun again in the sand to find the old cook towering over him. He looked up into Hobb’s black eyes and saw none of his promised sympathy. Hobb lashed out with his dagger, catching Jim across the arm as he belatedly tried to dodge out of the way. Jim was sluggish, reacting too slow. The slash on his arm stung but it hardly compared to the pounding in his head. He staggered towards the fire but Hobb followed. Jim tried to dodge again but was still too slow. Hobb caught him with a meaty hand, holding Jim’s arm as he raised his dagger to strike. Jim tried to shrug the painful grip away and to his surprise, Hobb recoiled - crying out. Sticking out of Hobb’s upper arm was the dagger Jim had been holding - had he done that?

Hobb left the dagger in his arm and came at Jim again, his stern gaze now alight with anger. The crowd egged him on, eager for more blood. Disarmed, Jim couldn’t do much but stumble back and then be caught by the neck - a fat hand crushing his throat. It was only then, as he struggled for oxygen that the haze began to clear. The sheer rising panic of being slowly choked of breath gave rise to a desperate mania. Jim didn’t want to die, not here, not like this. Why had he refused to fight? Suddenly his quibbles seemed so inconsequential and the path to life so clear. He had clawed and kicked but not released Hobb’s grip as those were just the feeble, involuntary thrashes of an addled, dying mind. As his vision began to fade and the haze began to creep over him again, paradoxically, everything was finally clear. Jim ignored the dull pain of the dagger suddenly thrust into his ribs - it was nothing, had to be nothing if he was to survive. He knew he only had a few precious seconds of energy, of clarity before he faded and so he grabbed the hilt of his dagger still stuck in Hobb’s arm and pulled it out and then straight and hard into the jutting, quivering side of Hobb’s neck. He drove it in as deep as his strength would allow, fingers slipping as the hot blood poured out.

Hobb met Jim’s eyes, blinking as tears began to well up. He looked dumbstruck, mouth held agape in surprise as he gurgled, blood draining from of his neck. Jim spluttered as Hobb released him, trying to fill his lungs as Hobb swayed, unsteady. He tried to pull the dagger from Hobb’s neck but only sent the large, dying man teetering down over him, sending Jim sprawling into the cold sand, Hobb’s body crushing down on top of him. If the crowd was making any noise, Jim didn’t hear it. He could only hear the gentle flowing sound of blood gushing, drenching him. He gagged, retching.

Eventually, Hobb’s dead body was heaved off of him and with hands slipping over his blood-drenched torso, Jim was brought to his feet. One of the figures around him grabbed his arm and raised it into the air. The crowd cheered. Someone wiped the blood from his eyes. He blinked, the foggy pain returning. He made out a dimpled smile of someone in front of him. The smile moved, words forming.

“Welcome to the crew, lad.”

Jim retched again.

Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


She in, she flash.

Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


If you got time, full crit would be great.

Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


A Gospel
1129 words
Prompt: She
Flash: Song and Genre: Southern Gothic



Visions are hard, dangerous loving things. First, you’re convinced you’ve taken a plunge off the deep-end but the details stick with you into the waking hours. The feeling you get, that creeping, gnawing urge to just loving figure it out - go where you’re meant to go - becomes overwhelming. It did for me, only took a few years of denial but it got to me in the end. Giving in ain’t so hard when you’re giving in to truth; that’s how I came to the town in the valley.

The mine had closed near to fifteen years back but even that gaping empty wound left in the side of the mountain had only started the town’s slow bleed-out; it was the vampires in City Hall that were the ones draining it to death. Or, at least, that’s what most folks would tell me. It was the same story up and down the valley - explanations too rational and consistent for them to be the whole truth. That’s how I saw it, anyway.

The town was dying, sure enough - it had limped along until now, reduced to a reliance on the local curiosities the odd curious tourist would stop by on occasion to buy t-shirts at. ‘The Purple Cow’ was my favourite - a gaudy ten-foot monstrosity that some rear end-hole lucky enough to escape the grip of this place had erected just off of Mainstreet as a loving ‘gift’ from the town’s “favourite son”. Folks told me he was famous now, somewhere that wasn’t here. Crisp tourist dollars, however, weren’t much but a loose tourniquet against the exodus. Turns out, people need money to live and when there’s no work, folk leave. A real loving apt observation, I know - but it wasn’t enough to deter me, I was sure this was the place.

I think I was sure because of the way the people of the town described the aforementioned vampires. I mean, what politician ain’t talked about as a fat leech in a nice suit with nice words? But when people described them, it was the same dejected, dull ramble. A resigned pitiful shrug where there should have been a righteous anger. People get beat down, of course they do. But the whole town?

I don’t think it was because I wasn’t local, I think it was because I was asking questions. Maybe you had to hear them for yourself; it was the kind of rote, lazy observation you might hear at a lovely open-mic. You can only get dismissed and waved away with the same spiel a couple dozen times before you might just begin to suspect something was up. I know I loving did.

So I retreated to hole up in my room at the motel and drew the blinds. I’d always found it easier to drift off to the dream in darkness but turns out I didn’t need it that time; two days and nights without sleep were requirement enough. I hadn’t wanted to return to the vision, you see, not until I’d conducted my investigation - made sure this was where I needed to be. And so, convinced as I was, I took a bump, lay down and found myself flying again.

Soaring down into the valley, an endless sea of green opened up to curl and slope down. And there at the valley floor, the abyss awaited me again. A perfect loving circle of black void where the town should be, a straight drop down into black, a bottomless pit, a miles wide absence of land and people. This was the valley. This was the place. I landed on the lip of the pit and inched forward to the edge as I always had and peered down into infinity as I had so many times before - but instead of only sheer aching blackness I finally saw it, what I had been chasing for weeks - the tiny glimmer of light in the centre had become a raging, shimmering comet rushing straight towards me. He was here. Finally, the work could begin. The abyss would get it’s reckoning.


***


I woke in a shaking sweat - my phone buzzing against my face. It took a moment for the blinding white of the screen to materialise into the shape of a face. It was Him, finally. The phone buzzed again with a meeting place - the town square. I’m not ashamed to admit I couldn’t contain myself, I shot outta that loving place like a rocket - full sprint out down the street. I guess I had slept as well as dreamed because night had fallen but it didn’t matter - I knew He would be there.

Stone benches and trimmed hedges surrounded the central pedestal of the town square - bathed in the light from the only streetlights in town that didn’t flicker. The pristine heart pumping sand around the desiccated corpse of the town - you only had to turn around to see the empty lots. He, like the square was the only light in this loving place. He sat in the middle of the square on a stone bench, directly below the pedestal which held the statue of some long dead losing general. He didn’t seem to notice me until I sat down next to Him but even then He was slow to meet my eye. gently caress, was I nervous. You spend years, months, weeks, days in a delirium - so loving sure of what you’re meant to do, just not knowing exactly where to do it but finally I had found it, found Him. I guess excitement can’t come without a little terror.

“Hi”, I said.

I was never eloquent but gently caress, I really could have come up something a little more inspired than that, especially for such an auspicious moment. He didn’t seem to mind though - just kept studying my face - His gaze finding every detail of my face but my eyes.

Just as I was about to raise the impossible idea that He might be just as nervous as me, He kissed me. Leaned in quick and just loving planted one on me, right on the mouth. I’d never kissed anyone before, let alone another man so I suppose it was fitting He was the first to, here after all my trials. Succour in the storm of my doubt. He took my hand in His as the kiss deepened and squeezed it gently. He had my heart too then in that moment.

This was the start of my judgement and the end of my haunting.

I loved Him, instantly, truthfully.

He broke the kiss and drew me close, His mouth next to my ear.

“Hi”, he whispered.

We both laughed. I began to cry.

Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


Thanks for all the crits! :)

Also I'm in.

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Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


Sorry I will fail I am scum. Hoped for any time at all and then didn't have it :(

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