Thursday, March 31, 2011

#FridayFlash: Fire!

Do you know how to deal with witches? I’m talking about the traditional looking ones, like in fairy tales, with pointed hats, crooked teeth – probably bad breath, but I haven’t been in her mouth’s reach, so I can’t really tell – and scary as hell.

Don’t you snort at me, I’m not mocking. I’m serious as a heart attack, like the one I almost had when it all happened. Thank you. I appreciate your willingness to listen. I was as incredulous as you when I saw her, you know? I kept thinking that it was a bad dream, but my gut told me otherwise, and the facts that followed are undeniable.

It was late spring so the nights were still cold. The flowers seemed to refuse to bud that year. C’mon, a little patience here? The house was warmed enough but I woke up with a cold weight in my chest. I felt my heart was churning like when you’re so hungry that your stomach hurts. Have you ever felt like that? Yeah, it’s a horrible feeling.

So I got up to see if everything was okay. The clock alarm told me it was 5 a.m. as I shuddered in the dark. My feet were cold from the contact with the floor but I didn’t notice it until much later. I patted the walls to find my way to the baby’s room, not wanting to wake the family up.
I opened Jake’s door gingerly and slipped inside, closing it behind me. I found so very odd that outside was darker but I blamed the early hour. By then, a deep sense of dread had taken me and I was fully awake. As I turned in the cradle’s direction I realized where the light was coming from.

Yes, yes, I know you’ve guessed it already. There she was, humming something over Jake, her broom leaned against his cradle at her hand’s reach. You think I’ve reacted immediately? I’m no movie character that in face of danger reacts heroically and saves the day; I’m only human. I stopped dead and listened, her humming swirling in my head. I was dazed for what it felt like a long time.

Then I saw the knife emitting a gray light like twilight. It didn’t properly shine but was enough to reveal her wicked grin. This is when my heart jumped inside my chest and I shouted by sheer instinct, “Put that down!”

She paused mid-movement, noticing me for the first time. When she diverted her eyes in my direction I thought I was dead. Or worse, I’d be transformed in a rat or a goat and never see my family again. Would she mount me? That would be even worse. I gulped down and her smile broadened until it covered most of her face. She opened her hand finger by finger, letting the knife fall to the floor with a thud. She turned deliberately slowly towards me and said with a rasped voice and a mouth full of tiny sharped teeth, “You fool man.” Then she started chanting something different, but it felt similar to the first chant. I was there, gaping at her with a blank mind. What was I to do? I could feel in my bones her curse taking hold, and although I couldn’t understand her words I somehow knew what it meant. I’m to kill my own son with that knife, and when that happens we’ll be hers forever.

The knife doesn’t shine anymore, and I feel nothing as I hold it in my hand. But I can’t make myself throw it away or destroy it. Is it part of the spell?

People say that if you shout for help no one will listen. So if you are in distress, you’ll only get people’s attention if you shout fire. Fire… Fire! Huge undying fire!



!sdrawkcab ... hsalFyadirF s'tI
April Fool! The story you just read here is a part of the Great April Fool's Day FridayFlash Blog Swap, organized by Tony Noland. You can find my story for today at Mari Juniper’s website, Mari’s Randomities. To read all the dozens of stories swapping around as a part of the GAFDFFBS, check out the GAFDFFBS index over at Tony's blog: Landless. For hundreds of thousands of words of fantastic flash fiction stories, check out the FridayFlash hashtag on Twitter. It happens every Friday!

Read more: http://www.tonynoland.com/2011/03/great-april-fools-day-fridayflash-blog_9145.html#ixzz1ICt6m7cc



This was fun. A bunch of us volunteered, and Tony assigned us partners and a brief writing prompt — ours was “Put that down!” which happens to be the title of my story on Mari’s blog. We carried it a little further, specifying five elements common to both our stories.

Mari’s bio: Mari Juniper is a former attorney who got bored of making money (yeah, right), deciding for the writing venture instead. She has a blog -- mari's randomities -- where she shares short stories, poems, reflections and pretty things that fancy her and her visitors. She can also be found on twitter and on facebook.

22 comments:

  1. OH WOW! Not a typical Mari Story! I LOVED the voice in this, and the ending was quite unexpected. Well done you two!

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  2. Mari's story is the bomb! A'scared of you, Mari! *shudders* Off to read Far's story now.

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  3. So that's Mari's writing? I bought that it was you to start. Was going to tease you about the "Fire!" title. But I do know how to handle witches. "Water!" A bucket of it will do.

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  4. Wow, super creepy. Great scary story! *shiver*

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  5. Excellent story, Mari. I liked the conversational tone as it started, then you took it deep into scary.

    I guess if you shoult "fire" someone will come running with water...

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  6. Thanks guys! I didn't change the tone of the story just to fool you, but I'm glad I achieved this effect anyway. It suits the whole event thing, heh. :P

    --John: I'll have to keep that advice in mind for the future. ;)

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  7. Oh, thanks FAR, for hosting my story. It was fun working with you! I hope we'll repeat it soon. :)

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  8. Chilling, particularly because it feels so much like there is no choice and the course of action is now determined.

    I also liked how the pov seemed to zoom in as the story progressed.

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  9. Add me to the growing number who wouldn't have thought this was Mari's writing. Wow! So different for you Mari, and you need to do these more often, this was an outstanding chill!

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  10. Interesting! Guessing what the common elements were, now that I've read both: a man, a baby, a broom, a strange light, and pitch dark? Am I close?

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  11. … and fire, Angela. Pretty good!

    Off to respond to comments on my story now!

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  12. Wow, nice job Mari. I really enjoyed this one. Very unique, great voice, and loved the ending.

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  13. Well done, Mari - the voice is quite a departure for you. Very high creepy factor in this one!

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  14. I liked the POV in this one, it made the witch feel all the more sinister.

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  15. I agree with Monica - that was a really good use of voice! Very good story!

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  16. I'm not usually a big first person narrative fan but here it works. Great job.

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  17. Oh excellent, what a good idea, i enjoyed the story too!

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  18. Mari~ awesome story, girl! Really, really good! Way to rock April Fool's!

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  19. I like the way the lighthearted chatter at the beginning stands in contrast to the horror at the end. Great job!

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  20. Chilling read, being made to kill your own child would be unthinkably horrible.

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  21. This does a great job of capturing horror and building tension.

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  22. Thanks everyone! I'm happy you enjoyed the change as much as I did. :D

    --antisocialbutterflie: I'm not a fan of first person either. This was an experiment with which result I'm very happy. I'm glad it worked out for you too, who's resistant of first person. It means it worked well enough. :)

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Comments are welcome, and they don't have to be complimentary. I delete spam on sight, but that's pretty much it for moderation. Long off-topic rants or unconstructive flamage are also candidates for deletion but I haven’t seen any of that so far.

I have comment moderation on for posts over a week old, but that’s so I’ll see them.

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