Thursday March 16th, 2017

The exercise:

Write something which takes place in: the canyon.

Similar day to yesterday at the bakery, just with nicer weather outside. No complaints with that.

Pretty sure I was going to say something else here but can't remember what that was. Like, not even the slightest of clues as to what I was thinking.

Ah well. On with the writing then.


"I think we're lost."

"What? How would that even be possible? There's only one direction we can go in!"

"I don't know. I'm just pretty sure we're not where we're supposed to be, that's all."

"Well, yeah. We're stuck in a canyon with hundred foot cliffs on both sides of us and we're running out of water. I'd say we should probably be somewhere else too."

"That's not what I meant. I'm just getting this... feeling... that we're not welcome here."

"That's fine by me. I wouldn't want this place to decide that I'm a pleasant guest who should never leave. Now come on, we need to find shelter before the damned sun roasts us in our boots."

"Or before we're eaten."

"Eaten? By what, you lunatic? The boogeyman?"

"No... those wolves over there."


Greg said...

Sorry about getting to this prompt late! Though you say so little at the top I wonder if I actually missed anything... :)
Hah, I was wondering where the conversation was going, and the wolves are a nice terminal point. Probably for the travellers too, based on what you've said. The back-and-forth is nicely done, and the description is terse but satisfying. Nice work!

The canyon
Snow was falling, feather-light flakes that were large and wet when they landed. Despite that the ground was rapidly disappearing under a white layer and when Joaquin looked back he could see partial footprints behind him. He sighed, his breath puffing out into a white cloud in front of him, and looked around.
He'd entered the ravine three hours ago; according to the maps it narrowed to a gorge before finally emerging into the Grand Canyon of the Stiktine -- all words for the same kind of geogological feature. The river here was frozen over already, for which he was grateful: the narrow trails that ran along side it were barely bigger than for animals and they were often steeply cambered. Walking on the ice might be a little more dangerous in some ways, but was much safer in others.
But now that the snow was falling, and he was sure it was getting heavier, he should pitch his tent and wait it out. He looked around, hoping against experience for a patch of flat ground that wasn't ice.
It was ten minutes later, and the wind had now picked up and was hurling snow into his face. It didn't hurt exactly, but the chill was numbing him and he felt like he'd been to the dentist all too recently. Something clicked or skitched off to the side of him and he looked reflexively -- any kind of landslip would be bad here and now -- and a black patch caught his attention.
The clamber up the side of the ravine was surprisingly easy; there was almost a trail there, and when he reached the mouth of the cave he realised why: animals would certainly shelter here during storms. There were frozen droppings and a couple of small bones -- rabbits most likely. The cave was big enough to pitch his tent in, and there was enough undergrowth near the cave he could probably even have a fire for a while.
He pulled out his pocket-torch and walked into the cave slowly, cautiously, playing the light ahead of him. Finding a bear in here wouldn't be the best thing. But ahead everything stayed animal-free, and the cave seemed to become a tunnel. Having nothing else to do he moved on, one cautious step after another.
He stopped at the head of a flight of stairs, looking down onto an underground town; stone houses of odd shape and strange twists of architecture; flickers of light here and there, streets, a plaza, and even a river running through reflecting torch light back randomly in glints and shards. He stared, wondering that this could even exist, and when something skittered and skritched behind him he turned without thinking.
An egg-shaped head, devoid of features, so polished it reflected his own face back at him sat atop the daddy-long-legs-like body of an Ilmatu, and it closed in for a kiss.

Marc said...

Greg - late to the prompt? How dare y... hmm. Yes, well, I suppose being a little late to things can be forgiven. On occasion... :P

You bastard, I knew this was an Ilmatu piece but I was still trying to convince myself that it wasn't right up until the end.

The discovery of the underground town is a wonderful detail (is it new to the Ilmatu?) and I'm almost tempted to ask you to explore it in greater detail.

But then I would also like to sleep, so forget that nonsense :P