Writing prompt #6 – Black sails of despair

france-1979547_640

Writing prompt #6 – Lovelorn

Osgar stood on the dock, watching the horizon. He heard a snort behind him. “You need to stop this, Osgar,” a rough voice said.

Osgar looked over his shoulder. His cousin Abbas was just out of arm’s reach, hands on his hips. “Why should I?” Osgar asked.

“The fleet was lost. They’re not coming back,” Abbas said. “Besides, you know she doesn’t love you.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Osgar said, feeling a stab go through his heart. “I still want her to come home safely. Not to mention my younger sister is in that fleet, as are your three sisters.”

Abbas scowled. “That’s true, and my parents and I have accepted the fact that they’re not coming back. Your parents have accepted the fact that Echo isn’t coming back. Why can’t you?”

“I can feel it in my soul,” Osgar said. “They’ll be home soon. I just know it.”

Abbas laughed. “Osgar, you traded your soul away long ago for the power to woo women. She’s the only one immune to the power you gained after that bargain.”

“There was no bargain, Abbas. You just don’t have any refinement in your interactions with women,” Osgar said, returning his focus to the horizon. He frowned. “Abbas, does that look like black sails to you?”

Abbas walked up next to his cousin. Osgar could see it in his posture that he was only there to humor him. Suddenly Abbas stiffened. “By the Sea Gods, Osgar. Those are black sails.” Abbas scratched at the scraggly beard on his chin. “But we don’t have any ships out right now.”

“Except for the lost fleet,” Osgar said pointedly.

Abbas turned and bolted back for the village. Osgar continued watching as the ships grew closer and closer. As they drew even with the docks he saw just how much of a miracle it was that they’d even made it home.

Great gaping holes showed in the worn gray wood hulls. The black sails were in tatters, and some of the masts were held together by metal bands. The women on the ships gave a ragged cheer as the men and children came running down to greet them.

Gangplanks were lowered to the docks by most ships. Those that didn’t have one anymore dropped rope ladders. The women abandoned the ships and ran into the waiting arms of their families.

Osgar bit his lip as Nadire, the object of his unrequited desire, limped off her ship. She was followed by Anara, Osgar’s younger sister. Anara saw him and flung herself into his arms, sobbing and shaking.

“It’s okay, little sister,” Osgar said, stroking her hair. “You’re home safe now.” He looked up at Nadire. “Welcome home, Captain Nadire.”

Nadire looked over at him. “Thank you.” She frowned. “Are you Anara’s husband? I don’t believe I remember seeing you before.”

Osgar’s heart broke. “No, Captain. I’m her older brother. I’ve spoken with you a number of times in the village.”

Nadire shrugged. “I speak to so many people I hardly remember any of them.” She strode through the crowd gathered towards the village and, presumably, her house.

Osgar continued smoothing Anara’s hair as his family joined them. His parents were crying, trying to pull Anara into their arms. She released Osgar and collapsed into their embrace. Osgar started crying himself. Everyone thought they were tears of joy, as theirs were. His were the bitter drops of a devastated heart.

Advertisements

Writing prompt #4 – The curse of immortality

wood-3078772_640

Writing prompt #4 – Eternity

Mysie walked through the streets of the ruined city. Around her the ghostly sounds of children’s laughter, women dickering over things in the market, and men arguing in the inns with their voices carrying even through the din of the other sounds. She instinctively moved out of the way when she heard a cart coming up behind her. She waited but nothing passed her.

She looked down at the ground. No carts would drive across these jagged stones. A mule couldn’t even cross them. She’d had to leave her beast tied to a branch in the forest that was no more that two meters from the edge of the fallen outer walls.

She lifted her head and resumed her slow and steady pace. It didn’t take long to get to her destination. It was a small building, its roof and door long gone. Even the windows had finally shattered, though the last time she’d been there they were still holding on.

She walked in, mindful of the debris scattered all over the floor. She stopped and looked around. Memories showed her a house with pale yellow walls and curtains of a darker yellow cloth. The floor was a rich amber, sanded wood with a dark red and gold rug sitting on top of it. A rocking chair sat in one corner near a well made brick fireplace. A sturdy straight backed chair sat on the other side of the fireplace.

Two happy, healthy children played with their toys on the carpet while a woman sang cheerfully as she fed the baby. The man – their father and the woman’s husband – sat in the straight backed chair whittling a boat for one of the children.

As Mysie moved farther into the house, her foot struck something. She glanced down. It was the boat. It had been painted blue and red before being given to the boy and now the paint was faded and badly chipped. Mysie sank to her knees and picked up the toy. All of the emotions she’d held in check during her progression through the city broke free. She clutched the boat to her chest and sobbed, rocking back and forth.

Her home, her friends, her family – all centuries gone. The last Emperor dead not long after. The Empire had collapsed, leaving the country in shambles and ripe for conquest. What had once been the jewel of the world was now broken up into several smaller portions, all at war with each over for more land and resources.

Mysie cried for several minutes until she had no more tears. When the grief was once again under control she found her eyes and chest hurt. She wiped her eyes on her sleeve. She stood and looked at the boat. She started to set it on an exposed beam. She stopped, looked at it again, and then put it in a pouch on her belt.

Once before, she’d told people the gods had cursed her with immortality. They’d scoffed when she said it was a curse. They could only see the possibility of gaining unimaginable wealth, having as many spouses as they wanted over the years, leaving a large family line behind them, or watching their enemies die. They didn’t know the pain and sorrow she endured as she watched those she loved die while she remained forever young. They didn’t realize the horror of watching endless wars, and the bodies that piled up because of them.

Immortality was no gift. It was a curse. She screamed to the gods daily to take it away from her. They ignored her and left Mysie to wander the world in misery for eternity.

A hero’s flame

lamp-flame-yellow-room-fragrance-air-improvement

Photo via Visual hunt

It was eerily quiet. The sirens had stopped some time ago, and the bombs no longer shook the bunker. Brava clung to her daughter as the toddler whimpered in the dark.

“Brava, hush that brat before she gets us captured,” someone hissed. Brava couldn’t tell who it was.

“Have you ever tried to quiet a frightened child this young?” Brava snapped back, her voice a mere whisper. “It’s nearly impossible.”

“She’s not loud enough for the sniffers to find us anyway,” someone else whispered. “Leave Kayin alone.”

Someone grumbled but no one spoke again. Kayin soon went limp, a sign she’d cried herself to sleep. Brava pulled her closer, resting her chin on the top of Kayin’s head. A few people shifted in the dark, easing the awkwardness and pain of the positions they’d held for the past 24 hours.

Finally, Brava heard a peculiar sound and then the snap of a match striking something. Two lamps flashed into light. People cried out softly as their eyes, accustomed to the dark, were burned by the dim light.

Durai, the old man who’d hustled the townies into the bunker, looked solemnly at the group. “I think we can all accept the fact that our homes have been destroyed.” He paused. “I also think the bombs have stopped because there is no one left to drop them.”

“What do you mean?” someone asked. It was still dark enough Brava couldn’t see the speaker.

“I recognized the sound of the final bomb. It was the same type that destroyed my homeworld when I was a young man,” Durai said. “It is what drove me to this land. Now I feel it too has been devastated.”

“What do we do now?” someone else asked. Brava recognized this person. It was Rin, a young man who’d made several passes at Brava in the past. She didn’t like him but had to admit he’d been a brave soldier until a mine took out his leg.

“We check the air scan and then, if it is as I fear, we work on turning this network of rooms and tunnels into our new home. We will be here – not for a few years – but for a few generations,” Durai said.

“So long?” This was Leilani, a young woman who was in the early months of an unexpected pregnancy. She’d gotten pregnant just before her husband left to fight the Kilkani. He’d been killed and she’d never gotten a chance to tell him.

“Only if the air is as I suspect,” Durai said.

Borivoj, another soldier who’d returned too injured to continue fighting, went to the device next to the door. He started swearing. “The air is one thousand parts calinaris radiation.”

“That would be lethal within three seconds if we opened the door even half an inch,” Rin said. He looked ill.

Durai sighed. “It is as I thought. Riya, Gili, bring your soft lights. We need to map out these tunnels and bunkers. Brava, lay Kayin on my pallet and start cataloging how much food we have. Laird, check the seed collection. See what’s food and what’s ornamental.”

Brava set her daughter down and got to work. She wiped tears from her cheeks. Dieter, Kayin’s father and the man Brava planned to marry though she wasn’t sure she loved him, was dead. With the kind of radiation in the air outside there was no way he could have survived. Kayin would be devastated to learn her beloved “dada” was gone for good.

She closed her eyes for a moment before diving into the sorting. She wouldn’t betray his memory by being weak. She would be strong for Dieter, be strong for Kayin. She would be a hero for those she loved and those she now stood beside. It was the least she could do for all of them.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

The Lily Cafe

Tea, cookies, and a story or two

mathias sager - Happy Colorful Growth

Writing for Happiness, Colorful Painting, and Personal Growth for All

word and silence

Poetry, History, Mythology

Daily Doodle

by PMu Ink

Creativity against the World

Where imagination becomes reality.

Insomnia Girl

and the Very Important Thoughts keeping her awake

Lucid Being

Ash D Solomon

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

A Tasty Life

live.laugh.love.eat.and drink champagne.

My Books-My World

A Journey through Life & Imagination with Books

authorsinterviews

My interviews with many authors

Good Enough

An ordinary girl's invitation to live fearlessly ... just as we are

bexcapades

travelling with anxiety

A Peony For My Thoughts

A little of no importance

Learning Freely

Learn Outside the Box

MindforBooks

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

Linda W. Yezak

777 Peppermint Place