Wednesday December 4th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the monument.

It is friggin' cold out right now. At least we were able to get Max out on the deck for a few minutes this afternoon to get some fresh air:

I need to get new winter gloves, as I'm pretty sure he was warmer than I was.


The monument is a simple affair, standing just over six feet tall with four sides polished until they gleam even under a grey sky like this one. Names have been engraved on every inch of the thing, or so it seems. Maybe they could fit a few more on there if they had to. I wouldn't want that job, that's for sure.

I can sense the ghosts of those honored by this structure in the air around me. Hear their whispers like dead leaves rustling, feel their touch on my skin like an arctic wind. There are other living visitors here, I see them turn up their collars and complain about the weather.

Will any of them notice as they leave that the air will grow still before they reach the parking lot? Perhaps a fellow will glance back and be startled by a breeze a few feet away that he can no longer feel.

I scan the names on the southern face, not searching for my assignment but instead for his friends. These spirits are never interested in reading their own names. Maybe at first, when disbelief is the chief emotion clinging to what remains of them. But not now. This is an old monument, and so these are old ghosts.

They move slowly around me. They lack the speed and enthusiasm and confusion of younger spirits. Acceptance has set in.

For the majority of them anyway.

I find the names I seek and settle in to wait. The ghost I have come to see could be a while in coming - who knows what other haunts he might have? So I get comfortable, relax my body, and ready the traps secreted away in my coat.


Greg said...

Max looks very smart in his Winter gear! It doesn't look like the cold was bothering him at all, and I bet he's going to enjoy the snow when it arrives!
That's an interesting monument you've got in your story, and I like the set up you've created. It's a story that kind of demands more to be honest; I'd really like to know now why the ghost needs to be trapped, and more about the physics of these breezy ghosts in your world!

The monument
Uruk sucked air through his teeth, whistling like an express train. Blood flecked the thing in front of him as he stopped inhaling and coughed; once again he'd managed to slice his own gums with the force of his disbelief. Who put up a monument in a dungeon? Did the Lich King think that honoring those tortured to death here somehow mitigated the crime of their imprisonment? Had the Beholder Queen found it lying around the castle grounds and decided to lighten the atmosphere a little? And most importantly of all, how in seven hells did he collect this to take back and sell?
Not for the first time he regretted not having taken a chance three years ago and bought the portable hole that the goblin wizard had offered for sale. That would surely have made short work of picking this thing up.
The monument was the verdigris colour of old copper, but it was flaking and appeared that it might have been painted on over an original, darker surface. It was five-sided and the height of an Ettin. Uruk was sure of this because he dragged the body of the Ettin guard he'd just slain over and propped it up against the monument to check. There was something graven on it under the peeling green, but he didn't want to peel it off until he was sure he couldn't dismantle it and take it with him.
It was only when the monument began to sparkle that it crossed his mind that a monument in a torturer's dungeon might actually be an artifact, and most probably one activated by blood. He glared at the Ettin's corpse, still leaking onto the statue, as though it were its fault, and then retreated a safe distance and sheltered by the wall to watch.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, another thing of mine that needs continuing. Adding it to the list :P

Ah, more adventures with Uruk! Most excellent. Will the King and Queen be making appearances soon?