Wednesday February 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Let us return to the list prompt. In our writing today, we have to use each of the following words: stars, circle, smoke, age.

Went to Mother Goose with Max again this morning and... I wasn't the only dad! Exciting times.

Mine:

Sit down and be still child. I have much to tell you and little breath left in my body with which to do so. This is important. Vital.

I speak to you of the Age of Wonders.

There was a man who walked these very woods in those days, a great man. A magician - a real one, not like those charlatans you see on your televisions and computers and such things. He needed no smoke, no mirrors. Just the right ingredients for a particular spell and a moment of concentration.

He could have ruled us all, if he so wished. We were lucky that he had other desires. I have always thought so, at least.

Quiet child! I will not be interrupted. No time for that, not much time at all...

I met this man only twice. It would have only been once had I any say in the matter, but I did not. It is that second meeting that I must speak of now. Pay very careful attention. Pretend that your life depends on absorbing all that follows.

Do not look at me like that. You are in no danger at this moment. Be at ease, for now.

On the night of my second encounter with this master of magic, the stars seemed brighter than usual. As though they had slipped closer to our planet in order to get a better view of what would pass before the sun rose to chase them back to their rightful places.

I had received my instructions a week previous, delivered by a messenger with a ghastly scar on his face. It did not take me long to find the circle I was directed to stand within. The magician described its position well and the trees surrounding it seemed to lean away from it, as though in horror.

Can't you see how they shrink back, all around us? Especially, to my eye, the one you are sitting against now...

6 Comments:

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Two things.
1) My friend, your bit today is insane. It's fantastic. I'd go so far as to say it's almost criminal not to continue it.
2) I started a thing, and I thought I saved it, but my computer ate it. I'll see if I can't put something up tomorrow!

Marc said...

g2 - aw, thank you! I will try to stretch it out at some point, though honestly I stopped there because I had no idea what else to do with it. Perhaps inspiration will come along at a later time :)

And I look forward to reading your thing!

Greg said...

@g2: I hate it when the computer just destroys things like that. I hope you find it again!

@Marc: heh, I wonder if you're setting a trend? In a month's time you'll be telling us that it's all Dads at Mother Goose and the stories have moved from nursery rhymes to readings from Haines Manuals... ;-)
Heh, your punchline is rather good and very sinister today! Such an interesting scene you've put together from just four words, too!

Smoke circle, age stars
Isabella Bonfontaine was running. This wasn't something she chose to do, and for preference she wouldn't be doing it now either, but somewhere behind her Stabitha was limping along, regenerating limbs and bones and generally slewing off the dust of ages. Somewhere off to her left, probably running in circles and whimpering like a kicked dog was her erstwhile partner, as useless as he was pretty. Which was why Isabella was running for once, and drawing Stabitha away.
The iron-paling fence of the graveyard emerged from the mist and Isabella sighed and veered right. The mist swirled and coiled like smoke rising from an autumn bonfire, and the wet grass underneath smelled almost mown even as it threatened to pitch her forwards onto her face by slipping her feet away. Something cackled, a high-pitched girlish tone, and as Isabella moved ever closer to the railings Stabitha lunged from the mists and clawed at her.
Broken fingernails – Isabella noted with shocking clarity that even the nailpolish was regenerating – raked the air in front of her nose. She halted, swaying as she fought to keep her balance. Stabitha's eyes lit up and she stepped forwards, just as a shadow behind her swung something....
Stabitha collapsed in a heap, the broken half-gravestone she'd been hit with dropping on her head.
"That'll have her seeing stars," said Isabella, fighting to hide how out of breath she was. "I thought you were off running away?"
Peter smiled, and kicked Stabitha in the kidneys.
"Not just yet," he replied.

Marc said...

Greg - hah, hopefully not :P

Lots of fantastic imagery in your piece. I think my favorite bit was the line starting with 'The mist swirled and coiled...'

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

I had something in mind for this, but I'm not particularly pleased with it, things weren't working quite the way I wanted. This is practice, though, so I'm compelled to share.
- - - - - - - - - -
"So what brings you out this way?"

It was a question asked much less frequently than one expected. Folks answered even less frequently, but in my experience it was usually worth a shot to ask.

This Zee's face clouded over. "I've done some things," he answered quietly. "Needed some distance."

"We've all done things," I said, but Zee shook his head.

"I blew something up. I blew it up, broke it irreparably, and didn't know how much got leveled until the smoke started to clear and people saw the lighter in my hand."

"We talking actual explosions, or are we talking metaphors?"

He shrugged. "Might as well be talking actual explosions as far as damage's concerned." He shook his head again and sighed. I had only known him all of two or three hours, but I had the feeling his worry had aged him. "Folks hitch the stars to lose themselves, right? Restart some part of them?"

"They can," I admitted. "But you tend to find something of yourself as well. Or you find something, at any rate."

"I guess."

"I mean it. Who knows? You might find something that'll help you circle back and fix whatever blew up."

He sniffed in disbelief, but a tiny smile flickered, if just for a moment. "That might take a while."

"Not a bad thing if it does."

We sat in silence a bit, our thoughts muffling the hum of the port behind and the city below. Zee turned and peered at me with curiosity.
"You're an odd sort, you little chiquisa."

"Right back at you, sir."

He laughed. "You don't know the half of it."

"Nor you."

"I don't, and at the moment I can't." He stood, and offered a hand to help me up. "But when I can, I think I'd like to."

"I'd like to help."

Marc said...

g2 - I'm glad you found time to share this :)

Very intriguing scene. Loads of potential for expansion and continuation, I reckon.