Three Colours

A shadow formed in the smoke. Then a snout, covered in scales, green as emeralds on grass, gave way to intelligent eyes the colour of gold. The dragon coiled in on itself, stared down at them and ran its tongue lazily across its fangs.

“Brave warriors,” it hissed in a feigned tremble, tail batting slow and sly. “Have you come to slay this poor beast and steal its treasure?”

Owl dropped his sword and urged Raccoon to do the same.

“No, dragon,” Owl said, stepping forward. “We’ve traveled all this way, across desolate brown fields because we need your help.”

 

Prompt courtesy of the Friday Fictioneers. Read more stories here.

Burdocks

Lamb was out picking wildflowers when she found the bird lying on the ground. Burdocks clung in clusters to its wings. Its feathers were damp, likely from both the morning dew and exhaustion. She pushed a finger against the fragile chest and felt a faint heartbeat

Sitting cross-legged, Lamb lifted the little bird and set it down in the hammock of her dress. Gently, gingerly, she set to pulling the prickly heads from the feathers.

Her momma found her later that afternoon, kneeling by a small mound of dirt, wiping away tears with fingers covered in burs, feathers and blood.

 

Prompt courtesy of the Friday Fictioneers. Read more stories here.

A Certain Rhythm, Interrupted

Sometimes all you needed to do was keep your legs moving and your head up and breathe deep, and if you did it right, everything else fell away, the anger, the resentment, the embarrassment, all the negative feelings clinging to your soul like burdocks.

There were certain moments like that, when the bicycle is part of you, feet weren’t strapped in, but actually a part of the machine, a unit, moving forward, pushing uphill, and weaving through obstacles. At this point, nothing can stop you, nothing else exists but you.

And then the light turns red and you lose it.

 

 

 

 

Gatherers & Hunters

Surrounded by invisible enemies, Lamb gathers the blankets and tucks herself in tightly.

They are just hunters, she tells herself, setting up camp for the night. They will eat and talk and sleep and in the morning, they will be gone. It has happened before. She knows if she stays quiet and hidden they will ignore her. They will consider it the toll for resting in her territory. They will respect her boundaries, as long as she respects theirs.

It’s hot and hard to breath under the blankets, but she must remain. Lamb closes her eyes and tries to sleep.

Haves and Have Nots

Owl and Raccoon hunkered at the fence and watched the tower.

A procession of knights, all polished armour, sharpened steel and coloured silks rode out on their similarly decorated warhorses. Their backs as straight as the lances they carried.

Raccoon picked at the dirt under his fingernails. Owl scratched at the scab on his elbow.

The column of knights urged their mounts, disappearing in a cloud of heavy dust that continued over the horizon.

They clambered over the fence and hurried to the tower. Climbing in through a window, they circled the table of half-eaten breakfasts, feasting like victorious kings.

 

Prompt courtesy of the Friday Fictioneers. Read more stories here.

It’s What You Believe

It was good luck to break a window within the first week of living in a new house. Grandma Sue said so. She also left plates of strawberries on the back porch during the summer’s crescent moons. To appease the fairy folk, she’d tell me.

I’d stay at window all night, watching, hoping to see one.

Grandma would laugh when I complained about missing them, again, and send me out to collect the empty plate.

When we moved, I convinced my wife to let me break one of the basement windows. The breeze came in, carrying the scent of strawberries.

Silence Isn’t Always Silent

The crutch struck the cobble stones along with his left foot, the right dragging behind, and the sounds echoed strangely off the closed-in buildings.

The quiet was the hardest thing to get used to. In camp, there was always some kind of noise, the other boys talking, or the sergeant yelling, trucks driving past the tents, radio’s squawking, and on the bad days, people shouting as they came off the ambulances, gunshot, one hundred boots moving in the same direction, the whistling of mortars –

Leaning against a lamppost, breathing hard, he watched as his last cigarette fell from his fingers.

But Not Quite

The power went out, the third time this week, as Skunk spread the whitened coals, and was about to throw a couple of steaks on the grill. He’d gotten stuck at work, again, only getting home as the sun set on the other side of the house, so the backyard was pitch black.

He moved to the kitchen, and found, in the fourth cupboard he searched, a couple of packs of birthday candles. They fit snug in a couple of cups, and once lit, gave off a peculiar smell as they burned, searing his late meal with something like nostalgia.

An Apprenticeship

The Butcher’s Apprentice strode down the street, a bucket dragging heavy at his right arm. Every second step he took, it would bump his thigh, the contents slopping against the side. His little sister behind him.

“Then he said girls are made from squirrels, because the words rhymed,  then Sally said they didn’t rhyme, not quite rightly, anyhow, and she would -“

He turned to tell her to quiet down, but too quick, and lost his balance as the bucket came round. The apprentice’s feet tripped him, up, and he fell, backwards. The offal and blood, covering him as he landed.