Category: Short Tales


Blood Suckers

I wrote this flash fiction a little over three years ago. It’s still relevant today, so I share it once again. My writing has grown since then (hopefully), so be gracious. I haven’t done anything but add this little intro.

 

Eezzz surveyed the young. Mothers shamed by the birth of sons ushered the boys away. Eezz made a mental note to personally give her condolences to each of them later. Males were, after all, necessary to produce more females, like it or not. When all the males were gone, she spread her wings and flew into the air.

“Daughters!”

Every female within hearing distance snapped to attention. Eezz smiled down on them. A swell of pride filled her. As the longest surviving of all females, she recognized greatness when she saw it. These ones, she thought, they are all survivors. They will all fulfill their destinies. But they needed instruction. And inspiration.

“HUNTERS!”

The girls roared lustily, the hizz of their voices startling nearby prey.

Eezz let the excitement of the moment boil its way through their exoskeletons and settle into expectant silence before she went on.

“Today you go out on your first hunt!”

Another roar.

“You will stalk! Your prey will not see you coming and you will bathe in their blood!”

The girls grew over-excited, anticipating the feeding frenzy. A few lifted into the air, raw and overzealous. Their empty stomachs roiled and burned inside them. Good. That will help. But they will need more.

“Not all of you will be coming back to us.”  Eezz waited while her words sank in. The hovering girls floated down. Silence captured all. Even the birds in the nearby tree held the chirping beaks for once.

“You hunt our most fearsome prey. Their blood is rich and wholesome. They feast on plants and animals, filling their fat stomachs with delicacies to sweeten their serum. You will bear strong young if you feed on their blood.”

Proboscises flicked in anticipation.

“But beware! They are not like our other prey. If they hear or see you coming, you will be in great danger.”

A few of the girls scoffed.

“Yes. They can hear you. And we are not so small that their eyes cannot see us. A few among them…” Eezz paused until every girl snapped to attention once more, “can even feel our bite.”

Laughter. Eezz expected it and knew what to do about it. She waited. It took several long seconds, but the laughter turned to uncomfortable shifting. Faces, wild with ignorant glee a moment ago, grew serious. Frightened even. Exactly what Eezz wanted from them. They needed it. Hunger to fuel their flight. Fear to teach them caution.

“Beware of them, daughters. Feed deeply. Produce strong young. But! Take. No. Chances.” That would do it. They needed nothing more from her. Eezz turned toward the breeding pond. Behind her, the buzz of an army of hunters filled the air. They would be okay. She was sure of it. She turned her attention to finding a mate.

What is that? Something beautiful hung in the tree above the breeding pond. It beckoned her. The sweet hum of air vibrating with the wash of blue waves of light called her closer. Oh, how beautiful it is. A part of her mind struggled against it. It couldn’t be real. It just couldn’t! But there it was. She flew closer, telling herself she just wanted a better look. She felt it draw her in. She caught her breath as a feeling of calm washed over her. Could it be possible? Could such a thing exist in this cruel world? It didn’t matter. She shut her eyes and let it pull her in.

Photo credit: Malcolm Koo used under license CC-BY-SA 3.0

Photo credit: Malcolm Koo
used under license CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

15-minute Free-write Friday

Action_painting_1Hi there!

Bet you didn’t expect to see me on a Friday. I didn’t either. At least, not for a time. After a year of not posting any flash fiction, however, I decided I should at least do something.

I could regale you with a tale of how I came to decide upon 15-minute Free-write Friday, but, as Inigo Montoya put it: “That will take too long. I will sum up.”

I set a timer for 15 minutes and spewed words. Tada! I ran a spellcheck, but that’s it, my friends. I’m about to throw the rawest of the raw at you. I may use prompts in the future, but today’s word-vomit was promptless.

So, without further ado, an intimate look into the way my poor brain behaves.

Alright. let’s see what I get here. Once upon a time there was a little girl who spent her free time in the meadow near her home. It was a bright sunny meadow, with lovely tall grass, where one occasionally saw moose. But there were dangers lurking in the grass. Unbeknownst to the little girl or her mother, one of the nearby businesses used the field, as yet undeveloped land, as a dumping place for their scrap metal. Sharp pieces hid in the tall grass, waiting for their unsuspecting victims. The little girl was running about one day when she tripped and impaled herself on one of these sharp pieces. Ouch. Okay. New story.

Apparently this mama is in an anxious mood, though I’m not sure why. Um, um, um… Let’s see.

Dagger,_c._1700,_Safavid_dynasty,_Iran,_chiseled_steel_blade_with_silver-washed_steel_hilt_-_Sackler_Museum_-_DSC02542Lulubelle picked up her sword and swung it at the werewolf’s throat, hoping to chop off its head. Her blow, strong enough to fell an ordinary man bounced back. The force of the impact threw Lulubelle off balance. She stumbled backwards, missing having her throat torn out by an inch. Rolling to her side she scrambled to get at the silver dagger her boyfriend forged for her out of the silver she found while mining the week before. The werewolf’s sharp teeth delved into her shoulder.

Doomed. She was doomed. If she survived the attack, she would only turn to a werewolf herself the next time the full moon rose. She shoved the thought aside. Finish the task at hand, she told herself. Worry about the future later.

The werewolf’s weight on her back kept her from turning to get a better angle for her stab. Instead, she jabbed at it with flapping motions, like a bird trying to beat a cat off its back. Six times she jabbed before the beast let go. She rolled out from under it. It lunged before she got to her feet. Knife at the ready, she let the creature’s momentum drive the blade into its eye.

The monster’s claws scrabbled to get a grip on her tunic, shredding fabric and flesh with ease, but failing to keep  the dying creature upright. It fell at her feet, twitching, and succumbed to its death throws with an ear-piercing howl.

Lulubelle stared down at the creature. Her shoulder and chest burned where the teeth and claws dragged chunks of her away. It didn’t matter. It bit her. If she survived the night, which seemed unlikely without magical aid, she would wander these forests herself, killing whatever unfortunate creature stumbled across her path, hunting old friends when she caught their scents.

Her chest heaved in spite of the searing pain. With her foot on the werewolf’s head to brace herself, she yanked the dagger from its eye. She stared at the blade. Pure silver. The finest workmanship. Crafted by her lover, so she could kill him.

JimmyBob’s wolfish form faded away, leaving behind the man Lulubelle adored. With a quiet sob, she sunk to her knees beside him. Somehow, she needed to join him. She wrapped his hand around the handle of the dagger and held it with both her own hands. Closing her eyes, she slammed her heart onto the sharp point.

I Love You Only

Neuth stared down at the red streak marring Geb’s perfect form. She longed to wipe the stain from her brother-husband, but her father, Shu, stood firmly between them, keeping his children eternally apart at the command of Ra. Now another of Ra’s tantrums raged across Geb in the form Sekhmet. The blood-thirsty lioness devoured human after human, innocent along with the guilty, young along with the old, reveling in their pain.

Neuth sighed. Shu stirred under her. “Longing for Geb again, my daughter?”

“I long for him always, Shu. One day you will grow tired and I will return to him.”

Shu shifted uncomfortably. He shifted often. “You would destroy all the people and many of our own kind? Your own children?”

Neuth laughed silently. “Our children need not come between us. As for the humans-” The putrid scent of blood and rotting flesh wafted across her nostrils. Neuth recognized Shu’s manipulation for what it was. Opportunity teased an idea into her mind. “-it is a shame so many of them are dying simply because Ra is an egomaniacal control-freak.”

Shu shifted again. Neuth hid her smile. Uncomfortable is he? Afraid Ra might hear? Let him hear. He’s already separated me from Geb. What more can he do to me? Still, inciting his temper wouldn’t help with her plan. “Send Thoth to me. I wish to speak with him.”

Shu breathed out a slow sigh of relief, rustling the reeds on Geb’s body. Thoth flew into view, his large wings arched gracefully. Neuth smiled back at her one friend. The clever ibis twitched his head, turning one of his bright eyes to stare into hers. “Another trick?”

“Do you see the blood Sekhmet spills? She is destroying all the humans. We must stop her.”

Thoth glanced down at the stain smeared across Geb. When he looked back to Neuth, a knowing light shone in his eye, but he nodded in agreement. “We must certainly help the humans. Not even Ra can stop Sekhmet, though he doesn’t know it yet.”

“He will soon enough. There is a red ochre plant growing on Geb. Make a dye from its fruit and mix it with beer.  When Sekhmet drinks it, she will fall asleep. I’ll send my daughter Isis to whisper in her ear while she dreams.”

Thoth’s eye glittered. “And my part?”

“Make Ra believe it is his idea.”

With powerful flaps, Thoth flew away to find Ra and carry out their plan. When Sekhmet fell asleep, drunk on the false blood, Isis bent over the sleeping lioness, whispering tales of love and separation, desire and pain. Slowly, Sekhmet’s claws transformed to hooves. Red fangs shrank away while the snarling maw grew wide and soft. In place of the vicious lioness, a gentle cow lay in the grass. There was only one thing left to do.

“Shu?”

“Yes?”

“Send Tefnut to cleanse Geb. Otherwise, the filth of the humans’ blood will breed disease and bring more death than Sekhmet.”

“You grow wise, daughter.”

Wiser than you think, Shu. Neuth smiled down at Geb. He winked and mouthed, “Thank you.” Neuth wrote, “I love you only,” across her belly and drew pictures on herself to amuse him. Soon enough Shu would grow weary and she would return to Geb’s arms, crushing all who dared to stand between them. In the meantime, there was no stain to hide his beauty from her.

Geb and Nut Colour Plate from The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. II by E. A. Wallis Budge, 1904

Geb and Nut Colour Plate from The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. II by E. A. Wallis Budge, 1904

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