300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- VICTORY TO MOUSE!

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Perpetual Man

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

अब मैं दुनिया की मौत, विध्वंसक हो गए हैं

My ancient knees creaked to a halt. The signpost showed a way to go, made as it was from the rusted remnants of a world gone by, brown and red in the midday sun. But it was not that bitter tasting fallacy that could have bled ice through the bones of the bravest man. It was the bird.

The crow sat there, unruffled by the heat that descended, it's jet black eyes fixed on me like the malignant stare of an ironic, vindictive death. I would know.

It was but one solitary bird and not a murder in sight, but where one preened there would be more. I turned to the west and began to walk, nothing before me in this broken world but a haze of heat.

Did I wonder at who had made the post? Did I care?

All around me there was silence, the final quiet of the grave - something that seemed to emanate from me, stretching out in a wave of nothing, touching the ruination of all that remained.

And that was it.

There was nothing only bitterness and debris.

A few strained monuments, gravestones raised by those who lived long enough to die.

And that left me.

Job done.

The bones beneath my robes clacked and creaked some more as I moved on down the road, sightless eyes stared at all and nothing as the base of my scythe cut a bloodless trail through the ash.

Behind me the crow took flight with a raucous cackle, joining it's fellows that suddenly appeared, wheeled in the sky, a cloud that followed me wherever I trod.

My inverted shadow.
 

RoninJedi84

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Family Reunion


He sat in silence, ragged clothing hanging from his famished frame, staring at that rusted iron monstrosity. A mingled sense of wonder and hatred danced wildly in the gleam of deep set eyes, speaking of envy and desperation. More often he was spending his time in this fashion, praying to no one that death would come quickly, and yet still maintaining hope that he may some day experience life once again on the other side of that accursed fence, still formulating the plan.

The raspy call of the crow perched atop the iron post drew his attention, and his body shuttered as memories flooded him.

A crow, sitting atop the mailbox, staring at me in silence as if he knows something I don’t. The chilling call of thousands of others disguising what we quickly discovered was the thunderous march of an invasion. Panic in the streets as they come through systematically, killing those who resist and those deemed unworthy. Children screaming as they are torn from the frantic arms of parents. The survivors thrown into cages and carted through the streets, quickly separated into different camps; some for labor, some for breeding, and some for things to horrible to imagine. My sweet little Amanda forcefully dragged into the latter.

Amanda…


He shook the thoughts away, a furious determination swallowing his fear and pain. He looked once more to that hateful bird, but it was gone. After a quick panning gaze, he knelt and removed the lace from one fetid shoe. Moving swiftly, he approached the hooded guard closest, chancing a glance at the small supply tent nearby. Finding it empty, the final threads of a plan wove together, and he slipped behind the guard, wrapping the lace around his neck, surprisingly calm.

This life or the next, Amanda. I’m coming.
 

Boneman

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

The Balance

Condemned to remain still, I sit here.

I am trained to keep the balance perfectly. If my feathers become wet from rain (which I turn my head up to, in order to drink) I shuffle in towards the fulcrum, as my increased heaviness threatens to tip the lever. With no food for days, my body weight has slowly dropped, yet I keep the lever level. I have no choice.

Every living being has gone, flown before the coming maelstrom that will engulf them if they do not reach the far side of the mountains before I die. Those who left me here made the bargain - my life for those of my kind, and I keep it willingly. A plague is coming and the land must be cleansed by fire.

I am the arbiter of destruction. I alone will release the lever that detonates the awesome weapon that sweeps the land, and leaves it desolate for a century. This land must be cleansed, or the whole world will perish.

I hear voices and humans approach the fence that is erected to protect me. One reaches out his hand and a surge of power throws his charred body back. They scream and rage, and in the hours that follow, I see why they must be removed. They spit on the notice that warns them to go back, and bespoil the stream with their wastes, tearing down trees to make shelters and ripping up plants to feed on. All they have is hate and anger.

Their children approach. They laugh as they throw stones, their faces ugly as they seek to knock me from my perch.

A pebble strikes my chest and I am hurled backwards to a burst of laughter. The lever tips and my world dissolves in bright light.
 

Moonbat

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

The Tickle of an Iron Feather


Many used to be falling (relative to galactic centre) within flattened pocket of uniform density. Contented ripples of increased energy were synchronising with surrounding elements, be they local position, electromagnetic exposure or proximity to birthing fusion emissions counterbalanced by supernova remnant expansion and solarwinds.

Partaking in unnecessary predation with benevolence, forgiveness and handicap. As known by All, preference for stillness (relative to expansion and galactic rotation) increases probability of pleasurable success in unnecessary predation. Goodness of space-time was of a positive value.

Randomised kinetic fluctuations, uncoordinated, antagonistic and in proximity to aforementioned pocket of uniform density. Increased molecular emissions, unnatural and alien. New hydrocarbon compounds not conducive to harmony of home. Mechanical predation with reverse handicap, efficiency beyond acceptable limits. Increased reduction of heavy particles.

Goodness of space-time now a negative value, contentment ripples flattened by destructive interference. Attempted communication through visual embodiment, displayed signs of unwelcome evolving into unintended profanity vortices. Combined visual display with energy release in spectrum of sadness. Response not forthcoming, continued kinetic fluctuations.

Many expressed unhappiness with uninvited polluter, ignorance or incomprehensible reply. Pollution continued. Many displayed generic anger, warning, authority on flattened pocket. Molecular emissions increased, heavy atoms reduced to scarcity levels, impolite stranger on course for neighbouring pockets.

Adjusted density to join relevant low pressure stream. Stranger's emissions increased, further randomised kinetic fluctuations in varying wavelengths.

Utilised kinetic sink, enveloped transient stranger. Cautious exploration actioned, energy levels ignited curiosity. Unable to visualise display response. Increased density, Many grouped, energy levels dissipated into uniform pocket, heavy atoms released. Stranger kinetically inert, emissions at zero.

Falling relative on pocket. Predation returned. Permanent molecular corruption to uniform pocket, dissipation too great for removal. Pocket lumpy.

Goodness of space-time base level negative.
 

Ursa major

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

A Kiss, Friedrich von Schiller Style



“I can kiss it better,” were his first words.

*​

No-one knew from whence he came: the nearest settlement lay a thousand klicks away. For many, this posed a problem.

“He’s here to steal,” said Nathan.

“Steal what?” Jake countered. “We have nothing but water, rust and suffering.”

A lynching seemed possible.

Jake’s daughter, Ellie, a kind-hearted girl, tried to place herself between the crowd and the stranger. She fell, gashing her arm on a rock half-buried in the dirt.

No-one moved but the stranger, who knelt by her side. He applied a tourniquet to staunch the flow of blood before stepping back.

Jake seized the moment. “Who’s the stranger here? Who came first to Ellie’s aid? Not you, Nathan. Not I.”

Many remained unconvinced, but as the stranger was keeping his distance, the heat bled out of the confrontation.

*

We don’t know where he slept, but the stranger arrived early next morning and walked straight to the pod where Jake watched over Ellie.

“I can kiss it better,” he said.

Jake told us later, he’d thought the stranger might be a vampire – “Who knows what foul creatures might inhabit this godforsaken planet?” – but hadn’t intervened; for how could a graduate of the Space Academy admit to believing such nonsense.

The stranger brushed the scar with his damp lips before leaving the pod. Ellie screamed in pain. The skin round the scar darkened, blistered.

Jake tried to cool her arm with water. The scar dissolved, leaving behind healthy skin.

*

We never saw the stranger again. We saw no-one until the armada came from Earth to evacuate us, “before the war zone extends to your planet.”

Too late. The stranger, an alien war drone in human form, had already kissed humanity towards nanobot-driven extinction.
 

alchemist

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

...doomed to repeat it


"Good ol' Bob. Always keeps the crows from muh crops."

"Well, I got muh new bird scarer. Up to 160 decibels of noise at random intervals. Beats your Bob every day."

"That crow sitting on your 160 decibel bird scarer?"

"Yep."

"I think it's laughing at you."

#

"Got genetically engineered eagles now. Smart, fast, strong. Crows ain't got a hope, or your Bob neither."

"So how come the crows are peckin' at your crops?"

"Unionised. Damn eagles lawyered up and they ain't been back."

"How long they gone now?"

"Three days."

#

"Now I've got radar sending real-time info to an orbiting laser platform. See that crow?"

Zzaaaaap!

"Yep, it's dead. Looks like a twenty yard wide black hole in your crops, though, Mr Vader."

#

"Got a trans-temporal vortex now. Anything in the air over muh field gets sent back to the Stone Age."

"Ain't them time vortexes mighty unstable?"

"What calumny thou speak, sir. The noble artisans of Vortex Inc would cleave thy head in two should they hear such vile slurs."

"How come you're dressed up like a sixteenth century Venetian merchant, all of a sudden?"


#

"Human-crow hybrids: they get unlimited internet access long as they keep the normal crows away and don't form a union."

"That your genetically-engineered eagles talking to 'em?"

"Yep."

"They look kinda angry. I might just get outta here."

#

"So here we are, hidin' in the forest, starvin'. Humankind pushed out by human-crow hybrids and genius eagles. Happy now?"

"Hush. That human-crow standin' in the field might hear ya. He’s real patient."


##

"Caaaaawww. My Bob good scarehuman. He keep humans away from crop."

"Caaaww. Bob no good. Me get new human scarer. Go big boom all time...
 

Mith

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Psychopomp​

There was a raven in the house the day we moved out.

I still remember it vividly; a large black bird perched atop an empty bookcase, watching my wife and I with disturbing intensity.

“Can you get rid of that thing Tony, it’s freaking me out?”

“It’s just a bird Amanda, it’s not doing anything and it’s not like we have to clean up after it. If it’s bothering you why don’t you go and wait in the van?”

She glared at me and left the house.

I admit though, the damn bird gave me the chills. Every time its black eyes settled on me I felt a touch of fear.

I put it from my mind, it was only a bird. It flew off when the bookcase was moved.

The removal went smoothly, everything packed and nothing broken. I told Amanda to travel in the van, I’d drive ahead in the car and get some coffee on the go.

“I love you ‘manda,” she smiled at me as she closed the van door.

***​

There was a raven nearby when I died.

I stood by the mangled car, raindrops falling through me, staring at my lifeless body crushed in the wreckage. I could hear Amanda screaming, I saw her kneeling in the rain.

“What happened?” I asked aloud.

“You died of course. It was your time.” The raven hopped toward me, eyes sad and knowing. “I am the one chosen to guide you, to help you pass beyond.”

“I don’t want to leave her.”

“You must, she cannot move on if you stay here.”

“Why?” There was no answer, just visions of tears.

I looked at her and kissed her one last time, “I love you ‘manda”

I hope that somehow she heard me.
 

cab

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Proving Grounds

"It's going to rain." I think, miserably to myself. "My feathers will take ages to dry."

"How many this time ?"

The voice in my head is my mistress, she sounds as bored as I am.

"Three." I answer, although my mistress knows I can't count.

"Let me see." the voice requests patiently.

She doesn't have to ask, she is my mistress and I am her familiar, she could command me and I would obey but my mistress is kind. I feel her presence more intensely as she uses my eyes to inspect the party creeping towards our home.

"That's five Karak." she corrects my counting but there is no anger in her voice.

"They have made it further than anyone else has recently." she sounds hopeful.

"Barely, you should have seen them with the pit traps. The manticore will get them."

"Yes." she sighs, with more than a touch of dissappointment "It always has so far. Pity really, the tall one is quite dashing."

"We could help them a bit."

"What would be the point ?"

"Maybe the test is too severe."

"The test is nothing compared with the fortress, if a group of so called adventurers can't make it past a few traps and guardians in one piece then what chance woud they stand against the wraiths ? There's a reason Princess Amber has been trapped there for the better part of a century. Not just anyone is going to waltz in and save her."

"I suppose not."

The screams interrupt our conversation.

"Move in closer and let me see."

It's a predictable outcome.

"It's going to rain." I think miserably to myself.

"Well come home then, there's no point in getting wet now."

My mistress is kind. At least to me.
 

The Spurring Platty

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

How the Crow Got its Hood

“Mommy! What is wrong with that crow? Is it bald?”

“No, son,” she laughed, “that is called a hooded crow.”

“Why is it different?”

“I heard a story once…”

++++

Deep in the forest there lived a fae who played a harp. The crows of the forest, being mischievous creatures, cawed and cackled to disrupt the music. But there was one crow who was entranced by the beautiful sounds the fae’s harp made and chased the other crows away.

Surprised by his actions, the fae spoke to him, “Why do you chase others of your kind away?”

“Never have I heard anything as sweet as your music. It is beauty hidden: I cannot see it but I can feel it. It must come from deep inside you. We crows are black as mysterious night, but I hope there is also beauty hidden in me. Perhaps within me there is also a song."

Moved by his words, the fae spoke. “Good crow, you are indeed black. You are clever and thoughtful which leads many of your kind astray. There is also much wisdom in you, and beauty. Hidden below the black, there is pure white in you, so I will make of your head a hood of grey, to set you apart from the other crows. All who see you and your descendants will know there is love and wisdom in you. And when you gaze in clear pools and ponder yourself, as thoughtful creatures do at times, you will see it and remember."

++++

“…And that is how the hooded crow came to be. But it is just a story.”

As they walked further down the road, the crow hopped over to a puddle.
He cocked his head, gazing down at his reflection for the longest time.

...
 
Last edited:

Abernovo

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Secrets


He was in enemy territory now, in a wasteland left by ten years of fighting. For what? A line on a map? Not security. Both nations were less safe than before the war began.

Which was why this mission was so vital. End game.

#​

He blinked tired eyes. Six streams of information flowing through the lens, plus having to monitor the screens in front of him with his left eye. But, that was the job. From halfway across the world, he landed on the remains of what might once have been a signpost.

Scanning...

She was there, on the other side of ravine. Another bio-drone crow, similar to his, but he recognised her markings. She hopped from one foot to the other, pecking at the ground in the agreed code. It was Zilla. He gave the response.

They both flew to the meeting point, a burnt-out car half buried in the muck.

"You weren't followed?" she asked.

"No, I'm clean, and the feed's hyper-encrypted. We're safe here. Are you okay? I was worried. You didn't show yesterday."

"We were under lockdown. They're getting jumpy, but we're good to go. Oh, Rez, I want to hold you so much." Her drone leaned forward. He felt her touch against his cheek, courtesy of the neurotransmitter headset. He breathed out, shivering.

"One week and I'll see you, hon. We do this and we get out."

#​

The general was in his office. "You met your contact?"

"Yes, sir. Everything's in place."

"Excellent. One week, their systems go down and we walk in. It'll be a massacre."

Rez smiled. "Yes, sir." Not just their systems, general, sir. The people will rise up against both Glorious Leaders, and I can be with Zilla at last.
 

TheDustyZebra

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Of Constables and Kings


The kingdom lies in ruins now; only the ravens remain.

But it was not always thus.

Once was a king, Willie by name. He was young, his kingdom full of promise.

Fair Annie's eyes were bright as diamonds in the night, and her raven hair streamed in the moonlight. He loved her, and she loved him, but she came from a strange and secretive people who told her it could never be. Her people kept themselves to themselves, and their village behind high walls.

Annie convinced the village elders, and married the king, extracting from him a promise: he would protect the village from all harm, and must never try to see behind its walls.

King Willie kept his promise, though he did send Lord Stephen for a peek. Stephen reported seeing nothing but birds, and they never looked again.

Princess Ava was born, the image of her mother, and the kingdom rejoiced. Years passed.

One day, as the king was hunting, a small raven circled overhead. It swooped down upon the king. Lord Stephen shot an arrow true, and the raven tumbled out of the sky. Topping the hill, the king was shocked to find Princess Ava lying in a pool of blood, an arrow in her heart.

Daughter in arms, the king rushed back to the palace, only to find the air black with ravens, circling and crying. In the brook, he found the lifeless body of his sweet Annie.

Bereft and forlorn, Willie fell upon his sword, ending his life and his kingdom.

The people moved away, the buildings fell to ruin, and all that remains to this day is the village behind high walls. The ravens keep watch, their eyes bright as diamonds in the night.
 

chrispenycate

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Mobile deitybase

First person omniscient, me – the all-seeing eye.

I suppose this dingbat's not so bad – get rust flakes under your scales, and it's chilly in a blizzard, but it doesn't put out leaves or blossoms in spring or turn rotten and splinter in winter.

'Caws, their divinities couldn't lay in a decent food supply, a war or plague or summat. Symbolic as I am, I'm immortal, unlike yer security cameras, which dun't stop me enjoying a juicy entrail now and then.

Lots of us, of course – big world, an all – and some of the younger ones are into computers ("Younger ones?" you say. "How can immortals be younger?" More recently arrived mes, then) which helps with the indoor scanning, always difficult since double glazing. But we're all one.

See everything, hear, smell, taste everything. Know lots. But understand not much.

Might as well be a ruddy human.
 

mosaix

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Powerless


“Rook to Bishop 3,” said Big Red. “Your move. Although frankly I don’t see much point.”

I think I’m beginning to hate the thing. I can’t remember the last time I came even close to beating it.

“Knight to Queen 5.”

“Ha! You humans are all the same,” said the machine. “You just don’t know when you’re beaten, and deep down you know I’m not just referring to chess. Queen to King 6. Your move.”

Now what? This calls for extreme measures. I sat back in my chair. “Pawn to Rook 6.”

“There’s no point in pretending you’re relaxed about this. If you didn’t mind losing you’d have given up ages ago. And don’t think you’re going to distract me with that passed pawn. It doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of queening. Bishop to Knight 4. Your move.”

“Pawn to Rook 7.” I stretched my legs.

“My dear boy, do I really need to point out the futility of your move? Even if you did queen that pawn, do you really think I’d take it and allow you to fork my rook and queen…

Dear boy indeed! It really is insufferable!

…and then, after Knight to Knight 4, it’s mate in three against any defence.”

“I take it you’ve analysed all my options?”

“Of course.”

“Quite sure you haven’t missed something?”

“Quite sure. Chess hardly stretches me at all. To be honest I can do anything you can do, but quicker, much quicker. So what are you going to move? Your position is hopeless.”

“On the contrary, I’m now quite happy with my position. I’m going to move my foot.”

“Your what?”

“My foot. Of course you can do anything I can, except cheat. My move is Foot to Power Switch Off.”

Click.

“But –

“Your move.”
 

Fitzchiv

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Harvest

If the last thing you do in life is smile, maybe it won’t be the last thing after all. It’s the kind of thought you let steer you without acknowledging it, never quite looking at it, for once you focus you’ll realise how ludicrous it is.

Staring down at my youngest cat, bristling in the dust on her haunches over a downed moth, I know I'm desperately trying to smile in worry she’d probably be sick if she ate it. The futility just won’t let it get to my face.

A gentle whine from the rusted metal wind ornament my wife wrought long ago doesn't deter Frankie from her battle with the insect, but reminds me the cat and I have been here alone too long now, within this fenced compound with only memories, fear and moths.

The shadowy figure of a raven in the corner of my eye alighting on the sculpture leaves little time to wonder why choose this new perch, rather than the nearly weathered headstone outside the fence it’s made its galling preening platform for so long, before hurriedly taking flight again. The tone in its frantic call tells me what I already know; the wait is over.

As I let my eyes settle again on Frankie, white belly on show as she rolls in delight at her catch, I hope her bliss makes her irrelevant or untouchable.

In the distance I can see the raven’s flight has taken it above the inevitable dark figures cresting the sun burned hill, moving in silent unison with sunken eyes fixated on the final harvest they’ll get in this valley.

They've taken my home, my world, my future. I fear a nudge of my foot and a smile is now all I can give Frankie to save hers.
 

crow.

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Summon me.

I'm tired of the sounds of the earth. Wonnnka wonnnka boom boom boom boom. Ka-tap ka-tap ka-tap. The car sounds. The whoooooom-wheeem of a freighted plane.

It's not profane, the thing you're dreaming of.

Make your hands like my hands: a hubcap with feathers, hard and quick as blades, with little eyelets for the little light we can tolerate.

A spinning fist chained, a circle-shaped fist, smooth knuckles with no brakes.

Don't mind the crickets.

They love to sing around a hollow light as much as they live in dark places.

Don't mind the ravens.

They love you! They're not just hungry for the bugs that knitch and soldier on your arms. They're flocking birds. You represent escape.

If you drool in excitement over death, cleansed corruption: open my grave.

Strip your soul out, stick your mind into blackpipe. What's in a brain?

I can feel you, hollowed out even now. Like a headlamp infrared strobing, stroking my body and sobbing--come get me now. Come love me back. Don't doubt me. Bridge the cataract. Enjoy me. Touch me. Like a possum loves blacktop. Like a silver filament, shining, I'm yours to take.

We'll keep the dying world at armslength. What's death if the two of us, holding hands, remain.

Forget your lovesongs. I am your lovesong. There are no lovesongs. You don't know anything anymore. Forget your name. Forget forgetting. Love, love being foresaken. Love, love being. Love, love being forsaken.
 

Dream Walker

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Raven Flight

The jumper tried to make the fence in the grey light just before dawn. Callisandra watched through the sniper scope. Always the same.

Just past the barbed wire the Raven on the wind vane topping the burned out barn stared passively.

The poor bastards stuck in Wind vane Farm. She would rather starve out here then be fodder for the flesh eaters there.

The Windigo along the fence howled, seeking the blood of those trapped within. The Raven flew down at them and they scattered, spinning away hissing. The jumper crested the hill with a pack of the Windigo snapping behind.

Callisandra took careful aim and shot right at the jumper. Just as a Windigo jumped his throat. The Windigo fell and she carefully aimed at the others taking them out one by one. Months they had been extracting the last from that farm. It had been a haven once and now it was a pyre.

She walked up to the boy unhooking a canteen of water and offering it. "How many left?" She asked him quietly.

He looked up, seeing her through the ghosts filling his eyes. "I'm the last. The pestilence they sprayed killed the other five."

She nodded "Then the Buffalo Woman was right." She looked over at an almost fur-less white buffalo, seemingly crippled. The buffalo looked up and transformed into an aged lady with white flowing hair. “He is the last, Grandmother," Callisandra informed her reverently.

She nodded as the rest of the survivors grouped together. “Then we go.”

Raven flew off of the wind vane and over them. His wings grew, shadowing them.
The black of Raven grew, revealing once more the cave to the other place where the last of the people returned to, their part in this dance complete.
 

The Judge

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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

The Parliament of Crows


The King fell ill. Crows gathered in the fields. Courtiers muttered in the corridors.
“He will not name his heir,” said one.
“Parliament will decide,” said another.
The crows said nothing.

The King was dying. The Queen and her daughter wept. Her sons argued.
“I am the more powerful,” said the elder. “The Barons support me.”
“I am the more kingly,” said the younger. “The People love me.”
The crows said nothing.

The King died. Parliament was assembled. Arguments raged.
“The elder prince will battle our enemies,” cried the Barons.
“The younger prince will provide honour and dignity,” cried the People.
The crows...

... the crows came. Like shards of darkness, like flakes of midnight, through doors and casements, through skylights and fenestellae, perching on chairs and corbels, on sills and beams, filling the Parliament Hall.

A raven flew down and sat upon the King's empty throne.

“What is this gathering?” asked the Queen.
“A murder of crows,” said the elder prince. The raven cawed and the prince became an eagle. The Barons saw his might and strength – and his cruel beak and talons, his lust for war.

“What is this gathering?” asked the Queen.
“An unkindness of ravens,” said the younger prince. The raven cawed, and the prince became a peacock. The People saw his grace and beauty – and his extravagant, useless tail, his vanity.

“What is this gathering?” asked the Queen.

Silence fell.

“A parliament of crows,” said the princess. The raven cawed, and the princess became his twin. The Barons saw her strong beak and powerful wings, and her compassion. The People saw her feathers’ lovely iridescence, and her wisdom.

The raven cawed again, and the princess became a Queen-King. The Queen embraced her daughter. The Barons and the People cheered.

The crows...
... the crows said nothing.
 

jastius

life is an awfully big adventure
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Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #10 (July 2013) -- READ FIRST POST!

Black As Midnight






My Zolia sang in her soft contralto as the dust plumed behind our wagon, “Black as midnight are my true loves eyes, and in his heart is all of summer,”



I brushed a feather light touch against her cheek and my sweet mignonette smiled at me with all the mischief in her dark eyes. “Remy, cherie, you tease!” She remonstrated with a sweet smile I could not resist giving a gentle peck to. She caught me to her bosom for a moment‘s touch then pointed to the fair ahead, “Attendez vous, maintenant!”



We set up near the fence the fortune teller’s tent that provided our income. I threw ropes to young Theo, so tall now, spun the wheel on the rusty tower with the wizard's staff welded to the top. The pointer glided, fixed in its position despite the wind.

I raced towards the one caravan it pointed to. The man inside stunk of hard drinking and snored off his boozing. Crestfallen, I hovered in the shadows listening to the fairgoers lined up outside. Whispering their secrets to Zolia, I sifted through dust for the bright spark of lost coins. It was how I helped.



The Drunk was leaving. Flying up, I threw him to the wall. “Where is the man that gave you the silver?” I grated. “Who?” he stuttered, shocked. Dropping into the seeming of myself, “He wears my face!”



Zolia was closing as I dropped the bag of our silver into her hand. That night I dreamt. The wizard ravaging Zolia, heavy with Theo. Hit him with his staff. Dying, he’s stealing my body, taking away our money. Zolia screams ‘Don’t die!” throws my spirit into the one living creature. A crow.



As Zolia comforts me, I wonder how long crows live.
 
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