I'm not going to lie - I was a bit disappointed with my showing in this month's 300 worder. That said, I wasn't really surprised. As I mentioned after posting it originally I feared I'd written something that, by the end, required the reader to infer too much from far too little. In order to test this hypothesis, I've created a little quiz... 'thing' to see how many of the things I'd intended to be in my story actually made it to the readers. It doesn't matter how you got it - if you had to look it up at the time of reading, that's cool. I often end up having to look up stuff to understand other folks' stories so I'm interested to know how many others do the same.
Herdy gagged as the stench of dead flesh and vegetable matter hit her. The Supervisor laughed.
“Not hungry?” He reached for the bowl with a withered arm. The Supervisor was ancient, like all humans. His patinated, leather-brown skin reminded her of the pump-bladders she’d repaired as a child in the still sumps. They had smelt better.
“Expect you’d rather have this, mm?”He dangled an ornate syringe in front of her, grinning toothily. Yearning blossomed in her gut. Without thinking, she reached for it.
“Ah ah,” he chided, pulling it back. “That’s not for the likes of you.” His arm snaked around her waist and hauled her close. She squirmed briefly then went limp – bitter experience had taught her it was better not to fight. She closed her eyes and tried to think of Remy.
Herdy gripped the syringe, heart pounding. Why had she taken it? The humans would surely notice it was missing. The vision of Remy returned, of her brother’s form, bloodied and broken, cast down by the Foremen for daring to demand ambrosia. All he’d wanted was their fair share.
Her grip tightened. The needle pressed against her flesh, mimicking the humans’ own blasphemy. She pushed.
Herdy’s world exploded in pain.
Ambrosia sang in her veins like a hymn. With one beat, she soared high, shells from the panicked Foremens’ flintlocks rattling uselessly past her. She dived again, smashing them aside like ninepins. She drew up before her huddled compatriots, pinions flaring.
“Brothers and sisters!” she cried, her voice echoing around, the power of ambrosia flooding her being. It felt divine. “The humans and their great machine have taken much from us. For too long we have been denied. Today we take back what is rightfully ours!”
“Today we take our share!”
Uisce Beatha is Irish for "Water of Life", the name given to Whiskey.
Herdy and her race can't eat human food (they lived off ambrosia before the humans came)
The humans invaded and enslaved Herdy's people.
The humans built the great machine to distill ambrosia.
The humans live forever, thanks to the ambrosia.
The humans controlled the distilled ambrosia, knowing what it does to Herdy's kind.
Herdy's brother Remy was killed for demanding ambrosia for his fellow slaves.
After Herdy takes the ambrosia she's returned to her 'angelic' be-winged state and can fly again.
The Foremen are the human's enforcers.
'Tonight we take our share!' is a reference to 'The Angels Share', a whiskey-related term.
Given its showing, I'm not really expecting anyone to have got all of these! Please Feel free to give any further feedback. It's all grist to the mill.