Monday, November 14, 2011


Well, either this is going to be a lot of fun, or there will be plenty of cricketsong in Heroines of Fantasy this week. I'm hoping for fun.

Back in the before-times, when I was a Girl Scout leader, I naturally had my girls do the writing badge. Ok, there were several writing-related badges, and we did them all. We were an artsy group. An activity I came up with to satisfy one of the requirements was writing a collective story. We started with a picture, and five lines. Each girl had to add another five lines before passing it on to the next. In the end, we had a story, and a lot of laughs because, inevitably, the girls got a little naughty with their storytelling--poop-jokes when they were little, and a bit bawdier once they hit middle school.

We have so many heavy conversations in HoF, I thought, given the festive time of year, we could use a bit of a revel. Let's have at it, shall we?
Light, the final ingredient, and the most elusive. Maia gathered up the ribbons she found in the crusty trunk her grandfather kept under his bed. "From older days, when I was young and full of spice," he told her, and winked, and tucked the ribbons back into the trunk. Maia knew better; these were no bobbies passed by poxy-doxy-girls to favor young men just in from the sea. They were light, trapped and coveted; and her grandfather was nothing of the kind.
(pic removed)

Here are the rules--FIVE LINES ONLY! No cheating. And the only thing I ask is that you not be offensive. Sex and/or violence is allowed, but please don't get too graphic. Posting ends midnight on Saturday, November 19th. I'll conclude with the last five lines, and post the whole collective story on Sunday, November 20th. Sound like fun? Join in!


Kim Vandervort said...

She twisted the ribbons around her wrist, watched the play of light and shadow, delighted in the slip of silk and satin against the warmth of her skin. What she could do with these tools! She could work the magic of these little slips of light in ways her grandfather only dreamed. What he had never understood, she knew: it took a woman's touch to unlock the secrets of light and shadow, to find the grey areas trapped within.

Eric T Reynolds said...

If only her grandfather could see the complex tangle of ribbons now. But would he understand? That was something she'd never know, but his perspective on the world was quite different and rigid. But Grandmother, she would have understood. And she would appreciate the new way.

pjthompson said...

Maia ran a strand of green silk between her thumb and forefinger. Green, the light of life. Could she use it to give temporary life and a temporary voice to Grandmother? She knew she couldn't bring back the dead, but what if she could allow Grandmother to speak for a short time? What secrets, what magics would she reveal?

kimberly wade said...

She knew fire would be necessary. She searched for matches and the tiny brass burner her mother used for incense. She set the burner on the windowsill, coiled the green ribbon in its cup. The first match fizzled, but the second caught. She touched its bright orange flame to the frayed tip of the ribbon. A tendril of smoke spiraled up.

wendigomountain said...

A soft knock at the door caught her attention for a moment. Then faded away again. The words tripped off her tongue, slipped from her teeth and into the shadows like bats into the haze of dusk.
"Maia," the voice said. Your dinner's getting cold." Then the door opened, revealing in the glow of lamplight, the terror on her grandfather's face.

Kim Vandervort said...

"What are you doing?" he hissed.
Maia paled. "I was just-- I thought--"
Grandfather spied the tiny wisp of smoke and shoved past her, intent on snuffing it out.
Maia hesitated, the words of the spell pregnant on her tongue. Now was her moment, if she would speak, and reverse the damage Grandfather had done, so long ago.

Amanda said...

“No!” she cried and snatched the cup from grandfather’s hand. Off her tongue fell words bright and fierce. They strengthened the orange spark. Green light wound its way through the stand of silk and exploded into joyously into the air.

“Oh, child, you don't know what you've done,” said grandfather, a look of incredible sadness on his face.

Karin Rita Gastreich said...

Light danced in shades of jade, mandarin, vermilion, cerulean; flames twisting around each other in an ever more frenzied rhythm. The center of the vortex rumbled and writhed, then expanded outward, forcing the walls to bend and groan. Without warning, the magic imploded. All color, all light was sucked into darkness. In the black silence that ensued, Maia drew a frightened breath and reached for her grandfather's hand.

kimberly wade said...

"Maia, is that you?"
"Grandmama? I can't see you."
"No!" shouted grandfather, squeezing her hand tight. "You don't know what you've done."

pjthompson said...

"You said that already, Grandfather," said Maia, "and you're hurting my hand!"
A tendril of smoke curled up from the bowl and stroked Maia's cheek. She shivered, for the smoke wasn't warm, it was cold and slick as a newly-caught fish.
"Edmar always did have an exaggerated sense of drama, didn't you, Edmar?" said Grandmother's voice, as cold as the smoke.
Grandfather squeaked and dropped Maia's hand, backing away from the smoke. "Ediris, forgive me!"

Eric T Reynolds said...

Maia felt a cold chill as the draft wafting around her legs and arms subsided. Grandfather? Grandmama? All was still. And black.

Three With Eyes That See said...

"I forgave you long ago." Grandmama curled around her husband, like the cold, like the smoke. "It is forgetting I will not do." Light burst from grandfather's eye sockets, his ears, his nostrils. Grandmama sucked him in, sucked in his life, his light; and when grandfather was a husk drifting soundlessly to the ground, Grandmama turned to Maia.

Kim Vandervort said...

"How do you follow that up?" asked the Narrator. "I mean, really. That's pretty exciting stuff."

"Shut up," snapped the reader. "Tell the story."

Amanda said...

Grandmother looked at Maia, the dribble of grandfather's light wet around her mouth. A long, black tongue snaked out licking the room to darkness again. "Come here my pretty," the fish belly voice said.

Maia slipped shaking hands under her apron and pulled the rest of the ribbons,still in their complicated knots, from the waistband of her skirt. Did she have enough time?

Terri-Lynne said...

"You are not my grandmama," Maia said, bunching the ribbons in her fist. "She was wise and brave and kind."

"And tasty." The thing-not-grandmama moved closer. "Edmar did not believe his playthings would bite back, but he learned," she licked her lips, "and so did his beloved Ediris."

Karin Gastreich said...

"Grandma, what big teeth you have!" said Maya.

"Oh no, no, NO!" said the reader. "That has been soooo done already!"

The Narrator cleared her throat in embarassment. "Sorry. Let me try again..."

wendigomountain said...

The thing took another step, and Maia could see that it drifted, rather than walked, as though it was woven together from smoke and fog. The scent of burned hair and sulfur hung heavy in the air.

"It won't hurt very long, unfortunately," the summoning said.

In the hall, the grandfather clock tolled the hour, its song filling the room with dulcet tones. The creature turned towards the sound, its head cocked, transfixed by the melody it played.

kimberly wade said...

Maia felt the ribbons in her fist. If only she could see their colors in the dark. Wait, what was that? A little flash of red sailed up her fingertip. Which ribbon had it come from?

pjthompson said...

"Red for fire," whispered a voice close beside her ear. "To burn away the darkness and dark creatures."
Not-grandmother didn't appear to hear the voice, but could Maia trust it? She'd already stumbled into one curse calling-forth and feared another. But the-thing-not-her-grandmother was already turning back towards her, and she had no choice. She played her fingers rapidly against the ribbons until red sparked again and spit out the words.

wendigomountain said...

"Red is not for fire," Maia thought. "Red is for blood. For life!" The ribbon twisted, slowly smoldering down to ash. The chimes of the clock continued to ring, 12, 13, 14, 15, eventually she stopped counting. She ran.

Terri-Lynne said...

The thing not her grandmother gave chase, cold flicking at Maia's heels. It's fishy breath chilled the back of her neck.

"Yes, yes, run. The light tastes better when young and heated."

"Follow me to your doom," Maia whispered betwen panted breaths, ribbons clutched tightly in her hand.

pjthompson said...

Down the hill, over the tops of the trees, Maia saw the pennant flying from the top of the town's abattoir, a place she usually avoided at all costs, but today the place she most needed. The twists and turns of the forest trail swallowed her up, but didn't throw Not-Grandmother off her trail.

Maia burst through the last stand of trees into the clearing which held the abattoir, into a wall of sound composed of lowering and panicked beasts. Red ash rose from her fingers, spreading and transforming the blood this place was soaked in into a glowing web of red light, scintillating drops of red as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach, fascinating Not-Grandmother as Maia hoped they would.

That which was not Grandmother ground to a halt, mouth opening and closing with desire. "Beautiful! I must count them all."

slweippert said...

Greed twisted it's features into a parody of happiness. Sobs of mind-numbing fear shuddered Maia's little body, and she curled up on the ground, her fingers still open, the red ribbon continued to turn to red ash, the blood into red light.
The creature sucked eagerly at the red light, and grew. Maia, past the hope of her life continuing, watched through her salty tears as the not grandma blew up like a pig bladder in it's greed.