It was under the bridge that I found it again.
I’d left it there so long ago. I thought time would bury it, or destroy it. But there it was, undamaged – the ancient scroll I’d wished never to see again.
I was a young archaeologist eager to discover the secrets of the world. I discovered this one in the ruins of an old cemetery. The scroll was yellow, the ink smudged, but I could still read it.
It told the story of a young maiden whose heart burned with love for a demon. But she was mortal, and her love for him would die with her. The demon eventually killed the maiden and devoured her heart so her love could be with him forever.
I took the scroll home to study.
It was the worst decision I’d ever made.
Its pages haunted me. Every dream turned into a nightmare. The maiden’s howls tore through my very bones: Was it love or betrayal? Love or betrayal?
I could no longer sleep.
I tried to burn the scroll, but it wouldn’t burn. I tried tearing it into pieces. The pieces always became one again. So I sealed it in a small chest, inscribed a warning above the lock, and buried it next to an old bridge that no one used anymore.
The years passed. Now I, an old man, kneel under that bridge again. I hold that same scroll between my weathered fingers. I hear the maiden’s whisper rise from its yellowed pages:
Was it love or betrayal?
Love or betrayal?
(Image courtesy of Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo)
Written for Sue Vincent’s Writephoto challenge: Bridge
I bit into the fruit. Its juice burned like sweet fire and I coughed.
Was I immortal now?
I touched a palm to my cheek. I didn’t feel any different. This was the forbidden fruit, no? The fruit from the cursed persimmon tree?
I took another bite.
The juice felt warm in my veins, and my whole body became warm with it. I began to feel sleepy.
I lay down under the tree. Its leaves fell into a gentle dance above me, each one a tiny hypnotic flame.
I felt myself slipping into a dream…
I still sleep under that persimmon tree.
I don’t know if it’s been decades or centuries. I long to feel the wind in my hair again, but I know that if I wake I’ll die.
Every so often someone comes to visit me. A young girl with hair like flames. She waters the tree. She caresses my cheek and whispers “thank you”.
Her breath burns like sweet fire.
Daily Prompt: Juicy
For more of my dark fantasy flash:
I sealed her in a prison of glass. It is the only element that can withstand her evil.
She stalked these lands as a human once, killing the man who thought he was her father and vilifying her step-family.
So if you are wandering the forests of Western Europe, and should happen upon a glass slipper – do not touch it. Do not listen to any voices that may come from within it.
Treat it with the utmost fear, for it holds the demon known as Cinderella.
Her lemon-sugar smile was my sweetest memory. It’s what made me fall in love with her. That stinging presence, sharp and intoxicating.
Every now and then I peer into the mirror to catch a glimpse of her, to taste her smile – the woman I used to be.
She lulled him with her watery smile. He fell asleep in her arms, dreaming of water lilies. And when the blade found his neck, he felt no pain at all.
On a hot summer’s night the roasted insides of the last angel screamed with hunger. Fists of hot pain pounded his stomach in, their claws tearing, ripping, gouging, until tears were wrenched from his eyes. His guts, so petrifyingly empty, convulsed.
He couldn’t stop himself.
Oh god, he couldn’t stop himself.
She lay there, a vision of silver wisps and dove-white skin. She lay still. Her breath came in little clouds of wintry bliss that reminded him of home.
A child to be protected.
Her blood sang to him.
“Forgive me,” he croaked.
The fire in his belly laughed.
(Image credit: Zeynel Cebeci)
The shimmering balloons of light don’t fool me. They come in all shades of intrigue – defiant reds, giggling yellows and violent purples. They appear to be hanging in the sky, suspended in flight by it endless black embrace. All around me people are sighing at their beauty. What are they? they ask. Where did they come from?
But nothing can unfasten the knot that has formed in my stomach. There is something sombre about them, something no one else sees. A small boy near me gasps as the lights grow brighter, stronger.
The knot in my stomach tightens. A new age of darkness is coming.
The light is painful from where I float in the darkness. There’s been a terrible accident. My mind is a mash of screeching tyres and the silent smell of burning metal.
Elaine? Elaine, can you hear me?
I hurt badly but the light soothes me. It is hot, white, but warm like melting butter, too fluid for the hard sting of pain, too intense for the dull ache of sorrow. Voices drift from behind its veil, voices I thought I’d forgotten. The light wants me and I want it, but there’s a whisper at the back of my mind, and it hisses at me to stay away.
Elaine, can you hear me?
Let me go, I tell it. I drift closer to the light. The grief, the anger, the shock…they fade into a dreamless nothing. I see the faces of those I love the most, and they are smiling, warm. For the first time in my life I feel true peace.
Suddenly something tugs me back.
“Elaine, can you hear me?”
The light gets smaller and smaller. The ache in my chest returns. Once again, they pull me back.
The monastery’s stone walls glistened in the morning dew. Its stained glass windows came alive in great pops of colour – pop!-cherry-apple-pop!-aubergine-poppop! – like a tree bursting with new fruit. And were those vines – yes yes grapevines – with purple grapes bouncing in the sun, bouncing and laughing and popping and bouncing…
Ellen was tired of summer. Her dreams were awash with raindrops. “I can’t wait for the mosquitoes to stop biting,” she said, “My skin’s burning up and my head aches. And I’ll have no trouble sleeping when winter comes.”
Winter finally came, but Ellen’s dreams tasted of sunshine.