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Thursday, January 05, 2012

#FridayFlash: Three Sprites, One Silent

I set myself a challenge: write three different stories, each of a different genre, based on the same photo. The first one is a fantasy.

Three Sprites, One Silent

Photo: Larry Kollar, March 2009
Morning Mist, true to her name, came a-knocking in the first light of dawn as she did every sunrise.

“Urrf,” came the response from the stump.

“Morning has broken!”


Morning Mist said nothing, and Gnarlbark soon poked her hoary head out of the hollow. Like the stump she lived in, she looked sodden and worn. “Every morning the same thing,” she grumbled. “And my answer is the same as it is every morning. I will not leave my tree.”

“And I will ask the same question I ask every morning: why? It is but a lifeless stump, surrounded by water. My water.”

“I will not leave. I will not give in to the humans. Or you.”

The naiad grinned. “Oh, pish. You speak of humans as if they are Evil Made Flesh.”

“Humans cut down my tree and drowned its roots. I have good reason to think such.”

“And the same humans dammed my creek, making this lovely pond. Have I not done well with what they gave me?”

Gnarlbark scowled. “Oh, yes. The humans are wonderful. They keep your pond so clean.” She glared at a can floating silent in the water nearby, an empty container for one of their horrid beverages. The can was green as a spring leaf, the greenest thing to be seen this winter morning. It was adorned with white spots and the human script that neither naiad nor dryad had bothered to learn.

“At least it’s aluminum.” Morning Mist gave it a playful slap, and the can flipped onto the weedy shore before slowly rolling back into the water. “Remember when they were iron?”

“All too well. I have felt their iron nails pierce bark and living wood. Their iron fencing…” She shuddered. “Humans bring pain to trees.”

“As do squirrels and birds. Humans are a force of nature, no matter how they may deny it. As are we. And they left plenty of trees just up the bank.” The naiad waved a dainty hand at the woods above them. “There stand many suitable oak trees that would welcome a dryad’s loving care.”

“Until a human cuts them down.”

“Or storm or beetle does the same. At least humans make use of what they cut.”

“And what use do they make of their aluminum containers, when they have drank their fill?” Gnarlbark gave the can a dark look as it floated toward them, rocking with the ripples and turning itself slowly. “Human refuse, have you any wisdom to impart in this matter?”

The green can said nothing, but fetched up against the tree in a gentle caress.

“It seems as if the can likes your tree,” Morning Mist’s laugh was the sound of a creek running over rocks. “Perhaps it is advising you to stay.”

“Then it indeed has some wisdom to impart.” Gnarlbark reached down and lifted the human thing from the water, holding it so the pond water could drain away. “As for us, naiad, we have our charges to attend to.”

“Indeed we do,” Morning Mist swam away, rippling the cattails along the shore as she went. “I will speak to you again with tomorrow’s sunrise.”

“We will be waiting for you here.”


  1. Oh I loved that piece of fanstasy. I liked how they discussed the pros and cons of humans and yet compared what they do to what nature does as well.

    A great piece of imagination here that weaved a visual picture for me.

    Nice Story!

  2. You always make your fantasy so thoughtul, yet fun. Nice one!

  3. Some very nice work in here, Larry. Even the intro with her being "true to her name" was smile-worthy.

  4. I love your challenge idea!

    Nice flash piece! I wonder what you'll do with the same picture and other genres. :D

  5. It's a good thing I don't drink a lot of soda otherwise I would be feeling really guilty right now. Great story Larry. You really brought the picture to life.

  6. Thanks, Helen. I stumbled across this pic when poking through my blog last week & got to thinking. Always a dangerous (but fun) thing for a writer.

    Ganymeder, that's wonderful — I think fantasy should be both fun & thoughtful!

    Thanks much John !

    Cherie, I'm not sure which genre will go up next week. Stay tuned!

    Thanks much, Craig. Our silent third Sprite thanks you too.

  7. I'm on Gnarlbark's side, humans can be assholes.

    Beautiful slice of fantasy.

  8. Nicely done. Sounds like a fun challenge. And that's a cool photo.

  9. Ditto all the comments above. Neat story. I think this might be my fave that I've read of yours so far.

  10. This was great. I loved Morning Mist's optimism and Gnarlbark's grumpiness. You really made them come alive and the dialogue was really well written. Loved it. And look forward to your other stories on this pic.

  11. These were wonderfully true to life. Great dialogue.

  12. Icy, there are some days I agree 100%. Others, I'm with Morning Mist.

    Thanks, Tim — it's been fun so far!

    Wow, thanks Peter!

    Virginia, the distinct personalities started coming out almost as soon as I started writing. I just had to go with it.

    Thanks much, Tony! I felt pretty good about this when I finished, nice to get some confirmation.

  13. I just had some soda! From a bottle though, not a can and anyway those things are usually recycled. But a very pretty bit of fantasy!

  14. Excellent use of the photo. The story matched up well. I loved the comparison of the destruction brought on by both humans and nature. Well done!

  15. "“Human refuse, have you any wisdom to impart in this matter?”

    The green can said nothing, but fetched up against the tree in a gentle caress."

    Loved this section, esp. the fact that Gnarlbark (great name) ironically tries to talk to the can!
    This really grounded the story with a human reality which made it very satisfying.

  16. Doh! When I read this the first time I recognized your description of the aluminum can as being a Sprite can, but my brain did not make the connection back to the title till later. Nice one!

  17. Sonia, usually recycled but not always. I have seen cans (soda and otherwise) floating along.

    Thanks, Eric!

    Flyingscribber, thanks much. Gnarlbark's name was a little harder to come up with, perhaps because she didn't want to talk to a human. ;-)

    Tim, that's happened to me a few times — glad you figured it out!

  18. Wonderful story Larry..some great exchanges of dialogue and imaginative use of language..It's deep, funny, sad, educational, poetic, wistful and magical.. not bad at all for under 1000 words..
    Good work, my man

  19. Neat story. There are a lot of ideas bouncing around in it. I liked the way it ends with the promise that it will be replayed tomorrow.

  20. Thanks, Tom! I think I'll quote you on that come my next plug on Twitter.

    Jim, I think at this point the argument is for the sake of social interaction. I would suspect that different sprites don't often come together except in situations similar to this one.

  21. Superbly done! Very imaginative and descriptive - another great piece Sir!

  22. "The green can said nothing..."

    That's been my experience, too. Cans, once they've spilled their guts, don't have much else to offer and are better left alone.

    A good piece of fantasy. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Thanks Brainhaze!

    Stephen, just don't leave the can where another sprite might find it and take offense. Recycle, and thanks much!


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