Hi! You’ve stumbled upon the page for CWWC. This is a cool challenge thingy I’m doing for the month of August, hosted by let’s be lost. Lot’s of writings/ramblings will probably appear here throughout the month. Some I’ll publish on my blog as posts, but the rest will appear here. Warning: read at your own risk. These probably haven’t been edited that well, so if you’re a grammar freak, I apologize.
Rainbow Hair (August 28)
I used two prompts for this story.
The city kids all had hair in rainbow colors. It was always awkward when I had to associate with them. The higher classes died their hair in all shades of the rainbow. Some even had designs, like sunsets and other scenes colored on the back of their locks. The lower classes didn’t have bright hair. We had plain, blond, brown, black, and gray hair. Lower class redheads were envied and, as a result, were bullied by both classes.
The only time I felt free was when I rode my skateboard. There was a closed down water park behind the slums, and I would ride there. It was shut down soon after the distinctions in class were made. Higher class people did not associate with the lower class people, and that was the way things were. The slides were the perfect size to ride, even though it was slightly dangerous. I didn’t care how dangerous it was; I liked the feeling of the wind pushing through my hair, and the feeling of flying. No one cared that I had natural red hair. The first few times I rode at the park, I stuck to the smaller defunct rides. The kiddie slides, and river. But my confidence grew, and I attempted more of the larger rides. They were harder because they continuously sloped downwards, and I had to position the board just right when jumping off at the end. After a few minor sprains and scrapes, I got the hang of most of the rides.
When I went to the waterpark that day, something felt off. The gate was open. I knew that riding in the park was illegal, but no one ever used it, and no one ever came through the slums to inspect it. I knew I had shut the gate last time I came.
I hesitated for a moment before entering the water park. I carried my skateboard down the sidewalk, to one of my favorite rides, the Twister. I climbed the stairs almost to the top of the ride, and then stopped.
There was a girl, with hair the color of rainbows, skateboarding down the water slide.
An Aromantic Fairy Tale. (August 24)
I used all three prompts for this challenge.
I laughed as I passed the warning sign. It was still funny to me, all these years later. ‘Do not go into the woods,’ it ominously said. A few months ago, I took a knife and carved marks that could’ve passed for claw marks into the wood, for added effect.
I clutched my basket tighter as I passed the sign, and entered the village. Calling on my illusion, I disguised my shredded wings as strong, and beautiful. I sold mushrooms to market-goers in the city. Dazzling purple, red, and brown and blue mushrooms they were. No one, save me, knew the edible mushrooms of the woods. Not that anyone bothered to go into the woods anyway. Tales and rumors were spun around the monsters in the forest. To be sure, there were monsters. But they never bothered me.
I set up my mushrooms on the roughly hewn table in the booth. With my wings, mushrooms, and poor clothes, I was the picture of a fairy-folk peddler. Not the captive.
Well, I wasn’t exactly a prisoner. I was condemned to live in the woods, among the monsters, until true love found me. It was the stuff of fairytales. A witch, a girl, and true love.
I sold most of my mushrooms before the hour was over. Then I saw him. He was handsome, longish gold hair, and had a quiver of arrows around his shoulder. Every girl’s true love. Except for me. I averted my eyes, and began to furiously put away my mushrooms, packing them among the folds of cloth in the basket. He’d better not come this way, I thought. I didn’t want him to find me yet.
But sure enough, Prince Charming came strode over to my meager mushroom booth, and looked at me. “You haven’t sold out yet, and the market is far from over. Why are you leaving so soon?”
I turned and answered with my back towards him. “What’s it to you? Perhaps I have other appointments.”
“I’ll buy a few mushrooms. They look exquisite.”
“Go ahead, take your pick,” I said impatiently.
“Come on, how many times does a handsome prince come traipsing along, offering to buy mushrooms from a lowly winged girl?”
“More often than you’d think,” I replied. “Princes come, offer to buy mushrooms, realize who I am, then tell me they can defeat the curse. Happens nearly every week.”
His lordly eyebrows raised, but he didn’t reply to my sharp answer. It probably wasn’t the answer he was expecting. The first time a prince came along, hoping to try his luck and break the spell, I was excited. I thought I’d be easily freed of the curse, and have found true love. But that prince failed dismally, and never returned. I had clung onto hope for the second prince, then the third, and so on. Eventually, I stopped believing anyone could rescue me.
I sighed. “Would you like to try and defeat the curse, and rescue me? There must have been dozens of others who’ve tried before you. And as you can see, I’m still cursed, and selling mushrooms.”
His jaw was set, and determination was written all over his face. “Lead me to the challenge.”
“No one has ever returned successful,” I warned. “Think twice before you agree.”
There was no hesitation as he said, “Lead me to it.”
I raised my own eyebrows, and did a quick survey. A bow and arrows, a short dagger, and probably a few knives were on his body.
I silently put the last of the mushrooms into the box, and walked towards the woods, not checking to see if he would follow. I led him down the path, passing the Do Not Enter sign. I knew he saw it, but there was no reaction from Prince Charming.
We walked for fifteen minutes, until I reached the clearing. It about fifty feet long, and five feet wide. It was perfectly cleared. I stood at one end and rattled off the rules.
“To save the maiden from the spell, you must save her from the monster. To fail is to perish, and to win is to your downfall. If you believe you can rescue the maiden, then you may accept the challenge, and commence fighting. You may do so now.”
“I accept your challenge,” he declared. “Bring forth the monster.” He pulled an arrow from his quiver and knocked it on the string.
I sighed. I was hoping this one would be different, but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t so. I closed my eyes and spoke. “I am the monster.” As I said it, I felt my illusion fall away from the shredded wings, and felt coolness spread across my body as the scales started to appear. Fire licked the back of my throat.
I can never remember the battle. I’ve always woken up in the forest, a normal human, with shredded wings. Sometimes I’ll find the prince, dead, or sometimes I’ll find a pile of weapons from when the prince dropped them and fled. No one ever won.
To win would be to kill me, and no one wanted to be the one to kill me. The witch was clever, she knew that a Prince could never kill me as a dragon, so the curse depended all on the words the prince said. I was physically unable from telling my secrets to potential the Princes.
As the years passed, fewer and fewer nobles came to try their luck. No one ever succeeded. There came a month where none came at all. It was rather pleasant, and I liked picking my mushrooms and selling things at the market in the village. And I lived happily ever after.
(Note: sorry for that abrupt ending. I’ll probably edit it later, but the deadline was approaching and I had to post it.)
Immortals. (August 18)
“…and then there’s you. Immortal, highly dangerous, and crafty.”
I nodded. “I think you may be missing a few descriptors, but that’s pretty close for your first try.”
The police officer rolled her eyes. “Please don’t be sassy, sarcastic, or otherwise intolerable while you’re being questioned. You’re already in enough trouble already.”
“I have to find some way to be positive.”
“Miss, you’re in a high security prison right now. Staying positive is the least of your worries.”
I smiled wryly. “I’m several hundred years old. I think I’m past ‘miss’ by now.”
The officer huffed, and didn’t say anything else. She left me in the room with the other guards. My hands were shackled behind my back, and my legs were cuffed. It wasn’t the worst that I’ve faced.
The door opened again, and three officers came in. One sat across the table from me, and the others stood near the door. As if five guards wasn’t already enough.
“Your charges were already told to you, and I’m sure you know them, but I’ll say them again.”
“I know, I know,” I said. “Hacking into government computers, spreading lies that something called the Holocaust and the Polish invasions were actually real, and they’re what’s happening today. But it’s true! I was there.”
“It’s ancient history, and even if you do claim to be immortal, you are still making it up. Everyone knows that those are just myths.”
“Then why do you want to cover them up if they’re just myths?” I demanded.
“They’re myths.” He said.
“They’re real events that happened, and it’s what’s happening again? Do you not see? All immortals are disappearing. Do you hear me? Disappearing. It’s not a coincidence. They’re the only ones who know the truth and are capable of getting it out there!”
“Silence. You are being recorded, and I recommend you use your right to remain silent so what you’re saying cannot be used against you.”
I looked at him. “You’re making a great mistake. Let me go, before millions die.”
The officer looked at his reinforcements, and tilted his head towards me. They came up behind me, and forced me from the chair.
“I won’t go down without a fight,” I promised. I walked out of the room, escorted by the guards.
Wings (August 18)
(This is darker/deeper depending on how you look at it than I normally write, so be warned.)
I looked out the window. I didn’t want to go outside. Not again. Hadn’t I just gone outside last week? It was better to stay in the shelter of my house, out of the sight of the public. I stretched the shell of my wings. How many months had it been since I lost them?
But I needed to eat something, and there wasn’t much left in my small shack at the edge of the village. I grabbed my jacket and tried to stuff my wings under the back.
I took a deep breath, then opened my door. The heat hit me. It was the middle of summer, but I didn’t really care. As long as people couldn’t see them. I walked to the butcher, down through the village, and the different shops. As I passed, I heard the whispers.
“He’s wearing a jacket in the middle of summer.”
“His wings must be really ugly if they’re hidden like that.”
I ignored them, staring straight ahead. When I finally reached the butcher, I pointed to what I wanted, and placed the money on the table.
“Will that be all for you?” He asked. His wings were large, and strong. They were dark gray, and they seemed to radiate power. Like mine used to.
I nodded, and turned away with my purchases. I walked to the old vegetable seller. She was hunched over, sitting on a barrel. Her wings were withered and atrophied, and they were a dirty yellow. No one cared what her wings looked like. I was at the peak of my time, everyone wanted to know what mine looked like behind my jacket. In a society where all anyone cared about was wings, I felt shunned.
“Poor child, embarrassed about his wings, is he? So sad.”
I bit my lip, and turned away. I could do without vegetables for a little while, at least until Old Sue came back to the village. That might be several months from now, but at least she understood.
I trudged back to my shack, and opened the door. The bundles slid out of my arms. “You,” I hissed. “What are you doing here?”
My father smiled. It wasn’t a pretty smile. “Still not over what you did, I see,” he said looking at my jacket.
I pulled the fabric closer around my shoulders. “What you did, you mean.”
He shook his head. “It was you. All your fault. I never forced you over that cliff.”
“You tied me so I couldn’t fly, then I fell.” I started quivering with rage. “I never came back, so why did you think you could find me? You hated me. I hate you! Never come back here!” I ran out of the building, leaving him inside.
I ripped off my jacket, and unfurled my wings. Where thick, beautiful scales used to be, it was all bone, and empty spaces. I was hideous. I knew real men didn’t cry. But I wasn’t a real man, was I? I was broken, worthless. A skeleton.
I woke up in bed, clutching the covers and drenched in sweat. I lived in America. It was six in the morning. I probably wouldn’t get anymore sleep today, so I climbed out of bed. There were no wings. But it was still summer. And I still put on my jacket.
Song Siren (August 8)
The shackles around my feet rattled. How long had I been confined to the small prison cell? I couldn’t remember. It felt like years, though I knew it wasn’t. I was found in the woods, alone, a devil child. Some servant of the castle found me, asleep in a basket. They took me inside, and someone raised me until I was three or four. That’s when they learned.
I opened my mouth to sing, and enchanted everyone. People came from all edges of the kingdom to listen to my voice.
So why the chains?
My songs were deadly. People fell over themselves to do as I bid. I couldn’t explain it and neither could they. But as I grew, I learned how to use my power. People could choose to disobey my sung instructions, but it was difficult.
Eventually, they had me locked up. It was a lavish room to be sure, but the shackles around my feet reminded me that I wasn’t a princess in a tower; I was a prisoner in a cell.
I was delivered my meals twice a day, but the servants who brought them stuffed their ears so they couldn’t listen to my song. After a while, I gave up trying to sing my way to escape.
Then a knock came from the door. No one had ever knocked because the door was locked and I didn’t have the key.
The door opened, and I saw an older man standing at the top of the stairs.
“Why are you here?” I sang, relishing the way the notes rolled off of my tongue.
“Don’t use your siren song on me, it doesn’t work,” the man said. He wore a rich green robe. His ears were pointy, and they stuck out under his white hair.
“Why ever not?” I sang. Sometimes it took them a while to get used to my voice, but his ears weren’t stopped up.
He waved his hand. “Doesn’t matter right now.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Then why are you here?” I continued to sing.
“To give you a warning. The king has heard of your powers and he seeks to use you to control his subjects. You need to find a way to escape before he can find you.”
“I’ve tried and the servants can’t hear me. There is no way to escape this prison.”
He harrumphed. “Try using your head, and not your voice. You’ll think of something. That is all I can tell you. Goodbye.” He snapped, and disappeared, leaving me alone in the prison cell, still as much of a prisoner as ever.
If he could disappear by snapping his fingers, he could surely figure out a way to take me with him, out of this forsaken prison, I thought bitterly.
I rubbed the skin beneath the metal on my ankle.
If I pretended to be sick, they would have to take me out of the room. I could pretend to have the plague. I could smear color on my body to look like the lumps. They would have to take me out, and then I could use my voice and run.
Even if a king wanted me, he’d have to find me first.
Memory Lane. (August 4, 2017)
I climb onto the crowded bus. All the buses in the Magical State were in bad need of repair. This one was the worst one I rode on. It is cramped, and the original blue paint was dingy and faded. I take a seat towards the back, and inhale a deep breath. It is my eighteenth birthday, and that meant my mandatory bus ride down Memory Lane.
They say that it can be either a sweet place, a dark place, a sad place, or a happy place. No one really knows how it works, but everyone on the bus sees the most important pieces of their past life on the bus ride. The law states that every person must ride the bus on their eighteenth birthday, and their thirtieth birthday, their fortieth birthday, and so on. I look around me at the other passengers. Most don’t want to be here, but some odd people like the bus ride, and come here as often as they want. A girl about ten stands in the middle of the bus, gripping a poll and eagerly looking around, even though we’re nowhere near starting.
A few people have already filled the first few rows, sitting two across. But I sat in the back. I hadn’t been looking forward to this.
Eventually, the bus coughs, and a cloud of exhaust rises from the back. I clench my hands tightly together on my lap. I look out the window as we start moving, knowing that I’ll have to look out sometime. I see outside, which surprises me. People are shuffling past on the sidewalks, and magicians call out for money. But alongside them, I see me as a child. My brown hair flying wildly in the wind as I run down the street, dodging performers. Soon I see what I don’t want to see. An older boy, hot in pursuit of the little me. As we move along the road, I see him catch up to me, and throw a snowball in my face. I bring my hand to my face, trying to wipe off the snowball from so long ago. They say the bus ride is so we can reflect on our past. But I already do that enough on my own.
The bus turns onto a different street, and the two figures disappear for a moment. Then they reappear, older. I must be fourteen then. I sigh, quietly. The girl has matured more. She is prettier, and shyer. She prefers to keep to herself. But there is one boy who she shares all her dreams and secrets with. The boy laughs with her at something she says, and I hear the turn signal.
I’m sixteen. I know it for a fact because I’m old enough to drive. I drive with him for the first time after getting my license. It was before I knew what was going to happen. I watch as I pull into the parking lot, and he beckons me to get out of the car. We walk through the gravel. I can almost hear the grinding crunching noise again. Almost. We walk to the river, and onto the bridge.
His mouth opens, and he whispers to me. I know the words. I’ve heard them every day of my life, ever repeating themselves in my mind, never stopping.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper at the same time he does.
He pulls a gun out of his jacket, and with a sad smile, he shoots himself. I see myself fall to the ground, and try to do something. I see his lips move, and I remember the words he says.
“I couldn’t give you up, so I’ll give them me.”
I see myself scream. It was like a nightmare, except I couldn’t wake up. He had bought me time. A few years maybe, to come up with a new identity, move to a new city, find someone else… But only a few years. The men who hunted me wouldn’t be appeased for long. It was hard being the assassin’s daughter.
I am weeping when I step off of the bus. It was cruel torture being made to watch those tender moments over again. He knew the cost of being my friend, and he ultimately died for me. As I step off of the bus, I see the ten year old girl. Why she rode the bus, I don’t know. But I rode the bus, and I know what to do.
He bought me the time. The hunters would be appeased for now. But I would put a stop to this. I would defeat them myself.
(This was going to be happy, but then it got really dark, and I didn’t know how to change it. My life story.)