The elevator stopped on the thirteenth floor with a lurch. Sarah’s heart leapt into her mouth. The doors opened. She stepped through and immediately looked from left to right hoping that there would be a sign for a bathroom. She was in luck, an arrow pointed down the corridor to her left. Nervously she tripped down the uncarpeted passageway, conscious of the unfamiliar click of her recently purchased high-heeled shoes on the polished tiles.
She checked her wristwatch, breathing a sigh of relief, finding that she was still fifteen minutes early. She had plenty of time to make final adjustments to her hair and lip gloss. Despite meticulous preparations a girl could never be sure could she. She swung the door open and found it empty. Only then did she realise that there had been no-one in the corridor either. Resting her clutch bag on the side, she stared at her reflection in the mirror, pleasantly surprised that no adjustments were necessary. In fact she was thinking that she had seldom taken this much trouble over her appearance and she hoped that it would pay off.
She heard the door open and, turning, saw a young girl enter. Smiling she stepped toward the door, which the girl was holding for her. Exiting she turned to the right and once more saw an empty corridor. She counted the doors till she found the number she required and steeling herself gave a firm double knock. From inside she heard a deep voice, “Please come in, the door is unlocked.”
Setting her face into what she imagined was a confident expression she gently pushed against the door. It swung inwards easily. Trying to look self-assured she took a step through and was astonished at the sight that greeted her.
What was Sarah doing, why was she there, what so surprised her, answers in the comments box please, just to see if anyone comes close.
Hanging his set of spare clothing on the gate, the invisible man leaned back. He braced himself as he let his soaking wet trousers and underclothes fall to the floor. Kicking them to one side he rested while he planned his next move.
This was the first day of their public courtship.
Everything was prepared to perfection.
All the servants had been dismissed.
Perfumed fragrance filled the air.
Opening the shutters she bowed, inviting him to kneel.
Their first tea ceremony was about to begin.
“I liked the rush, I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the fallout. Perhaps that was my first and probably biggest mistake. It’s a character trait that has plagued me throughout my life. Happy go lucky, no caring about the consequences of my actions, just settle for the buzz, the adrenalin high. This is beginning to sound like the words of that song, you probably know it, be it upon your own head if you don’t. It goes something like, “Lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink, and the devil take the hindmost in the morning,” sums me up spot on.
Now to get back to the point, just one backward glance and I would have noticed there was something incredibly wrong with the scene I had left behind. Instead of a mass of red and yellow flame with a sky-obscuring plume of oily smoke there was just a white glow and the crater which should have opened was rapidly filling in again. The whole expanse of earth, tarmac and brush started to flow like a river and no matter how hard I pressed my foot to the throttle, the car was still slowly moving backwards with me in it. This was more than unexpected, it was impossible, surreal and I did not want to be part of it. I surmised that the only way out was to get out and be very quick about it. With one hand I managed to release my seat-belt then I wrenched open my door and rolled out onto my side, leaving the car going away from me. By the time I finished rolling and got unsteadily to my feet I realised the error of my ways. It was like standing on a moving walkway and the sand-covered verge was slowly but surely pulling me back to the bomb-site. I didn’t have much time to figure out my next move. Wishing that I was Superman or any other of my childhood heroes I started to wonder what they would do. Then it hit me.”
It does not make me bitter
Earduk looked into the mist. It was fourteen moonbirths since his father Shardan had breathed his last and departed for the land of Ancestors. His body laid to rest in the Hall of Memory under the stones.
It was time for the final ritual. This was Earduk’s personal ceremony.
Hanging from his shoulder the jute bag felt heavy as it bounced on his right thigh with each step.
He stopped in a kind of reverie, wondering how far his father was on his journey. Today would be a great help to him, Earduk was sure.
He tapped the bag at his side and with a smile remembered how hard it had been to prepare the heavy sword within. He and two of his brother’s had strained for many fire-burnings to bend the blade exactly as required preparing for when it would be called upon to fulfil the reason for it’s making. It’s spirit was now released and it was ready to work for it’s owner.
His father would be waiting to feel it in his hand once more. A sign that he had given up battles and was happy to live in peace with all the other denizens of the realm. Only then could he continue his journey to be with his wife Lucine once more. Earduk’s beloved mother who had passed into the realms of shadows many new moons past.
He could see the grove ahead wherein lay the Pool of Souls. He slowly reached into his bag. Reverently withdrawing the blade he turned it over and over in his hands. The blade flashing in the rising sun casting shafts of light onto the placid waters which acted as a mirror to the tree-lined banks.
He raised the short, plain, iron blade above his head and with a loud cry cast the offering far into the pool.
The splash caused a stir and broke the tranquil silence. He felt he could hear the sigh of the water Gods as they accepted his gift. The ripples slowly diminished and with the ritual complete Earduk turned back to the shore.
Earduk would be able to tell the elders that Shardan’s relics could now be placed in the niche under the door of the family roundhouse.
Culloden was getting tired. For forty days he had been searching for the sacred mount. The burial place of his forefathers. He had no understanding that he was the last of his race although he realised he had met none of his kind for longer than he could remember and for a giant, memories are long. He had long ago learned how to conceal himself from the eyes of men. Although he and his kind had never meant or meaningfully done harm to these strange, to his eyes, miniature replicas of himself, whenever the two races had met his people were attacked and despite friendly overtones they had been forced to flee and hide. Hiding places were becoming scarce. Men had slowly but surely started to change the lands he had known, loved, walked and cherished since time immemorial. Fires were set across the land for reasons he could not fathom. The woodlands were shrinking, there were now vast open spaces which were left as bare earth for one half of the year and in which strange plants started to grow which were soon removed by men. The only secure hiding places were in the vast caves which time, wind and water had excavated in the deep gorges in the hills or at the edges of the sea. He was scared and slowly the thought had been building in his mind that his kind were no longer necessary. After much contemplation and with a resignation born of patient, peaceful, deliberation he had decided to return to the eternal resting place of his forefathers. There he would lie down and enjoy the sleep of the blessed which comes upon all living things. He would leave this realm in the hope that those who followed would maintain the eqilibrium thus far enjoyed by Mother Earth.
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Everyone expected this year’s race would be won by vegans.
Embrace the answer to life’s question.
At first it was the silence that disturbed me. I had always imagined that, like being blind, if sight is restricted then it heightens the other senses. This was different. All sound was deadened, vision was restricted. there weren’t many left, one of them was smell and this was unpleasant, acrid leaving a hint of a bitter taste on my lips. The air was clammy to the touch, warm, unlike most mists or fogs, usually cold and damp, this was like perspiration. From above my head large drops of water were falling at regular intervals from the motionless leaves on the trees. When one fell on my cheek I shuddered in disgust for it felt sticky to the touch. I examined the drop more closely, inside the ball of liquid was a small brown dot, it was moving. It resembled a tiny brown maggot, it’s back bending as it wriggled with what I assumed was the head bending down to the end of its body and springing back. With an involuntary, “Uggh,” I dropped the sticky, gelatinous blob to the ground. I couldn’t be certain that these were droplets of the trees’ sap or part of the fog itself. Considering the numbers that were falling I decided discretion was the better part of valour. Turning I retraced my steps with a bit more haste to wait and see if this curious fog would clear.