The mist hung heavy and moist on every side, tendrils shifting like snakes around the horses hooves. It was not the most auspicious start to any journey and Meeka shifted unhappily in the wide saddle. As they crossed the journeyman’s bridge, more
I could always tell when Smeg was miffed at someone, or something. She’d let these tendrils of smoke escape from her nostrils, just like she’d done that day. If she had been a full sized dragon it’d be intimidating but since she was little more then the size of a mouse, it was just plain cute. Which was kinda creating this loop. The more she blew smoke, the more the kid squealed that irritating, ear bursting high pitched noise of delight which annoyed Smeg, so Smeg blew more smoke, thus more squealing, and more smoke and… yeah you get the idea.
I held my hand real steady as the kid approached, trying not to laugh outright at the way Smeg wiggled her shoulders like some cat preparing to pounce on its prey. Her feet tickled the palm of my hand a little as she shifted her weight around. I never realised how fast little kids could move when they wanted to. I thought I’d be able to pull Smeg away real quick as soon as I saw the kid reach for her, but no. That tiny pudgy hand shot forth as quick as lightning and Smeg pounced!
The squeals turned pain and fright as tiny teeth dug into soft pliable flesh. With that sound came a world of grief. I didn’t know what they were all yelping about. If you ask me, the kid just learnt himself a really valuable lesson, don’t try to touch a smoking dragonett, they bite. That’s not how they saw it though. Adults, especially those surrounding royal brats, are so ready to spring into action with reprimands and finger waving, blame thrown left and right and never at the kid, ‘cause the royal chit is never to be blamed.
The result of this display was that all of a sudden I found myself kicked down to the kitchen and some stupid bane against dragonetts in the castle was being announced.
I’d roll my eyes at the whole stupid affair except that now I was in a bit of a bind. You see, once you’ve bonded with a dragonett, just like it’s giant cousins, you were stuck with it. Most people didn’t give a hoot about the damn decree ‘cause most people don’t have dragonetts, in fact, as far as I knew, there was only two other dragonetts, aside from Smeg, in the whole city, and they lived outside the castle grounds.
I lived in the castle grounds, I worked in the castle. Smeg was too young to leave her alone all day, and she needed to eat constantly while she was growing but she couldn’t hunt on her own. None of this had mattered before, no one cared that I caught the mice and bugs lurking around the library while I worked. Most folks liked to spend at least a few minutes of their visit watching the baby dragonett learn to fly, or attempt to catch a bug or just marvel at her curled up asleep in the sunshine on the windowsill.
I’d never get away with trying to hide her in my clothes or anything, she was too curious to stay put and there was no chance I was going to put her in a cage! Damn. There was really only one choice I could make, a choice I’d been putting off for about a year now. Surrendering to fate, I tucked Smeg into the inside pocket of my vest with a fat bug to keep her quite, and crept up the servants stairs, making my way to the library.
“Master James?” The old scholar was sitting cross legged in a far corner of the library, a tomb of a book cradled in his lap.
“Its time,” I didn’t need to elaborate. He and I both knew it was past time for a journeyman of my age to have left home and seek my way in the world. It was just so hard to leave. How did you go from being an apprentice in the largest library in the kingdom, under the master of all scholarly masters, to wondering the country side seeking, what exactly? But that was tradition and you couldn’t be a journeyman if you didn’t journey.
I was going to write a post about how I really had no excuse for not having written anything this week, how I’ve totally failed my first week of Camp NaNo July and blah blah whine whine. Then, I thought, ‘no, I’ll see if I can find a random word generator and use it to get a bunch of words and actually write something’. Only to discover something even cooler, and creative procrastination fun.
It’s a website called Creativity Games.net. On Monday’s they release a new game where you play along by leaving a comment for that days game. So this week it was The Heaviest. They give you three random words and you have to explain which and why one of them is heavier then the others and you can’t use the same word as the comment before yours. The week before was A Murder Mystery.
They do actually have a random word generator too, with some cool features I’m yet to fully explore, I kind got distracted with the rest of the site.
On Wednesday’s they post resources for honing your creative skills. The last one was using CodeBreaker to predict ability. Now, this brings us to Fridays on their blog, Creative Challenges day. They use hieroglyphs and you have to guess what the object is. This week it was an animal you might find at the zoo. I’m not sure that I’m so interested in this part of the site, but the rest is awesome and I think I might dedicate the rest of July (shhh, don’t mention Camp NaNo) to Creativity Games.net.
I’ll try to do their Monday and Wednesday challenges but Friday I might use the generator or their prompts tool instead of the hieroglyphs. That’s if I can manage to organise my life so that I can fit in all my current projects. Meep!
Anyways, go check out the website and have some creative writing fun.
I stared at the heart in the wall and began to remember. The first look, first smile, first kiss. The first time we made love. All those happy firsts rolled out of mind and towards the wall, like a stream. The heart inside the wall began to warm, taking on a brighter crimson tone as my happy memories flowed forth. The first time I held her hand. The first time she brought me flowers. The first time I met her parents. The memories felt like the heat of the sun on naked flesh after endless days of grey.
It didn’t last.
I began to remember other things, the second time we fought. The second time she hit me. The second time I cheated. The colour drained rapidly from the heart in the wall, now matching the world around me. Faster then it had blossomed with renewed life, the heart began to dim. Memories kept pouring out like an endless tide.
The second time I left, but came back. The second time she broke my nose. The second time I thought about killing myself to escape. The second anniversary of me finally getting the strength to ask for help. The wall began to crack, until a gaping wound split the heart in half. It’s once scarlet pigment now barley a smudge on the flat, broken surface.
I don’t know why I did it, but I reached out towards the crack. A hand on either side of the opening I, pulled. It gave way easily and I stepped into the fissure, and walked into a new world. Everything was saturated with colour.
For the first time in too long, I smiled.
It was one of those rare lazy days in Wolkin city, where everyone was at a loss for anything substantial to do. On a small floating island at the very outskirts of the city, the Bridisle family were feeling a little glum on this particularly nothing kind of day.
Melony found herself on the hillside blowing bubbles into the powder blue morning, thinking maudlin thoughts about the insubstantial nature of all things, as each bubble blossomed and popped before her.
Milly, lounged on the grass at the edge of the vegetable garden daydreaming, while Smudge smudged her face. Milly was also thinking emotional thoughts, although hers were more focussed on wishing the scarecrow she had made the previous day would come to life and be everything she had dreamed he could be, while stuffing further handfuls of straw into his puffy shirt, and that the smooches on her check came from him, and not her rotund ginger cat.
It seemed to be a day for sentimental daydreaming, Lilly sat, unmoving, in her favourite swing halfway up the Umbra tree that shaded their island home. While Linal sulked above her on the ladder to the bird houses. Both were consumed with their own perceived injustices delivered onto them by the other.
Ma had managed to find some ‘make work’, chores that didn’t really need to be done but could be done if one was that desperate. She had pulled out an old chest of oddments that had once belonged to her grandmother and had dedicated her morning to the washing and airing of the various items she’d found. The work was neither satisfying nor interesting and thus Ma found her own thoughts wondering along paths she would rather leave unexplored.
Even the dog had decided the day would be better spent curled in upon himself rather then chasing the cat, the birds or the unsuspecting sheep.
You can see then, how the unexpected arrival of a sailing ship, flying towards Brid island, their home, might elicit a great deal more excitement then it really warranted at first glance.
Linal slid through the small chilly clouds as he scampered down the umbra ahead of Lilly who had to stand on the swing and a climb hand-over-hand to the trunk, before she could slither down the wooden steps. Milly and Melony bounced beside each other at the hitching post, waiting for someone aboard the small vessel to throw them a line. Ma gave the shawl in her hands a final flick, before she pulled herself back in through the window and, now nobody could see her, skipped quickly down the internal stairs two-at-a-time, she was just as excited as the children to see who had come to call.
A lone figure stood at the helm, there was no way to tell if the captain was male or female as all distinguishing features were covered up with a thick leather jacket, a large flying hat and goggles.
You could see the wall was wet, see the way the paint shimmered slightly in the afternoon light. A sign declared the fact that it was wet, and thus implied you should keep clear and not touch it. But, I couldn’t resist. My fingers ached to press against that cool wet surface. I needed to feel the silky, sticky pigment against my skin. I stood there, in the middle of the path, staring at the wall as other pedestrians gave me dirty or confused looks as they were forced to walk around me. The strait line of the path interrupted momentarily by the human shaped bump in the road.
You could almost see the reflections of people as the walked passed the glistening wall, their shadows helping to cast interesting patterns on the surface of the paint. My right hand raised slowly of its own volition, stretching out towards the wall before I forced it back down to my side as another passerby grumbled and glared at me.
I wondered if the paint was wet enough to leave a permanent palm print in the surface if I pressed my hand against it now. Would it dry with my imprint forever trapped in its otherwise smooth finish? Would someone else notice my hand print and wonder who had made it? Who had dared to press their naked flesh into the wet paint?
“Irresistible, isn’t it?” I jumped at the sound of her voice, at the presence of someone standing right beside me and looking at the object of my obsession, instead of walking on by like the paint wasn’t even there.
“Like a siren’s song.” I whispered.
“Putting up a sign that just says ‘Wet Paint’ feels to me like an announcement, and invitation, don’t you think.” I nod, not taking my eyes off the wall, I’m beginning to feel a little sad now. Time is passing, the paint is drying, who knows how long it has left, how long before that enticing, beaconing call ends and the wall is returned to being just a wall. “Shall we?”
I look away from the wall now, her face is infused with childish whimsy, her eyes shining like they too are covered with wet paint, glittering in the sunlight. She raises her hand and waits for me, expectantly. I can feel my face break into an echoing smile of delight as, together, we press our hands into the wall, out pinky fingers just touching. Our hands look like butterfly wings against the matt surface of the wall.
It’s everything I thought it would be and more.
“But what do you have there young one?” Tai raised her hand to towards her necklace, the only piece of her family, her home, her past that remained to her.
“It’s nothing, just a piece of jewellery that belonged to my mother.”
“That child, is anything but simple jewellery.” He reached a wizened hand out towards her chest and the necklace, Tai took a step backwards further out of the old mans reach. He mad no move to follow her, simply held his hand in front of the charm and closed his eyes. A warm glow filled her chest where the charm sat, Tai gasped.
“Blood charm.” All heads turned to Tai and the charm. “A powerful one at that. The wearer of that stone could become a great warrior, virtually unstoppable in battle.”
“It’s not, it’s just a trinket my mother wore. Stop it, stop starring at me. It’s not a blood charm, its not.” Tai turned from the intense eyes locked on her and the charm, and ran into the woods behind them.
It wasn’t a blood charm, it was just a necklace, a simple piece of jewellery her mother had given her. Given her while a battle raged around them and their home burnt to the ground. Her mother had placed the charm into her small hands, it had seemed so large back then, everything was so confusing. Tai remembered her mother cutting her finger, she had cried out at the sudden pain, already terrified from the fighting and heat surrounding them.
“Blood to blood, I give this charm to my daughter, Tai, freely. Protect her from harm as you have protected me.” Tai remembered her finger being pressed to the face of the charm, the red glass beads had pulsed with the light of the fire as her blood smeared across the charms surface.
Then her mother had slipped the chain around her neck. The last thing Tai remembered from that night was her mother raising her in her arms and hugging her fiercely, then she threw her across the small stream into the arms of Faluk, the leader of the traveling folk. He had pressed her face into his chest and ran.
That was the last she had seen of her family. Faluk had sent people back several days later, but all that remained was ashes.
More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
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