Monday, 20 September 2010

Seaweed, Seaglass

Brought to you by Nishatalitha and the word 'paperweight', way over 200 words.

Seaweed, Seaglass
There are parts of ourselves that we don’t share. We all know it. Everyone has felt the walls go up at some time or another. This is mine, and hers. Or it was.

The paperweight accuses me from its position on the half-finished draft of a new law on my desk. It’s a big piece of bottle-green glass threaded through with olive and blue, like slimy, grasping fronds in dark water. Of course her blood would dry differently to us. She wasn’t like us, for all her protestations.

She was barely out of her teens, when we first saw her, walking naked along the shore. We took pity on her- a mistake. Took her in, gave her clothes, tried to find out where she came from. But she was far, far more beautiful than her years. And she wanted the same man as me. She sang to him and that was it.

When I lost him, I was resigned. I told her one day- one day- there would be a man she wanted and couldn’t have. On that day, she would understand what it was to be me. But then I saw her for what she really was. I had read the old stories, I knew that she didn’t want him the way I did- knew what it would cost him to love her. I could handle her stealing his heart- with effort- but not this.

I followed them to the beach one night. I was very nearly too late. She was lying in the shallows, holding his head under the water, and there were only a few bubbles. I tried to grab her around the waist, but her scales slipped through my fingers. Fewer bubbles. I struck at her- I had not realised I had picked up the piece of sea-glass in my blind panic. I heard the crunch of bone, saw her sink- grabbed him and pulled him to the shore. Tried the kiss of life, willing him back to me. He coughed and spluttered his return, and I held him, watching the shimmer of a silver fish tail, and the cloud of red hair as it was washed away by the tide.

I never told him what happened, and he forgot about her, after a while. We’re happy enough. The paperweight is there to make sure I know my own strength. But you know, on our wedding night I could have sworn I heard her singing.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

We Need More Ladies

Brought to you by Hownowbrowntao and the word 'rhinoceros'.

We Need More Ladies

Captain K’mss-qa looked displeased. Tr8’jaq shifted nervously from foot to foot. When the Captain looked displeased, it generally involved pain of some description. Va’13, still in her coat, on the other hand, looked surprised, and not at all worried. Well, she was new. She would learn.

"You told us to bring back more females from the planet," she was saying.

Captain K’mss-qa hissed, and turned green, a sure sign his anger was barely contained.

"It doesn’t look like the others," he said.

"Well, it’s definitely female."

A lieutenant, who brought out the cage with the pink-and-yellow creature. He turned on the translator.

"You!" K'mss-qa barked, "Is this one of your females?"

The creature in the cage cowered.

"I don’t know." It said. "It might be female, but it’s not one of us."

The Captain turned back to Va’13 and Tr8’jaq, who was at least ready for the sting from the tentacle that slapped across their faces.

"Idiots!" He snapped. "I’m working with idiots! Did you even check the computer banks? It’s female, alright, but according to this, it’s a female rhinoceros, not a female human!"

"To be fair, sir," said Tr8’jaq, "you did say that they came in different colours."

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

More Loved Than Sane

Story in a minute, but first news! 365 Tomorrows, which is a brilliant Sci Fi burst culture, have published another of my stories- it's up now, soon it will be available in their archive, get it while it's hot! And before you ask, yes, I would say they're brilliant even if they hadn't published me.

And now, without further ado (because let's face it, there's been quite enough ado already), 200 words long, and courtesy of Anord, Morbane and the word 'arrow':

More Loved Than Sane

As the orderly hands me the clipboard to sign in, I wonder who I will meet today. Last week he threw a chair across the room and had to be restrained. The doctors say he is getting better.
He is subdued when I come in, sitting on a plastic chair that glows hideously orange amidst the soothing beige. I wonder if he feels lonely- most of the time they keep him in a cell by himself. I wonder if the people in his head keep him company.

He’s put on weight again. Strange how someone his size can still seem as fragile as the day the doctor handed him to me- an arrow through my heart; utter, irrevocable love. When he is himself he is changeable as a butterfly, flitting between subjects, restless, gentle, and slow. I think he is too big for his body, has always been. He takes my hands in his, and I marvel at the size of them.

He looks at me and smiles in recognition. For a moment, he is my son. But then I see it is not him there, though it is one of the kind ones.

"Good morning, your majesty," he says.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Lord Knave, Virgin Bride

From a challenge by Maudlinrose, featuring the word 'stallion'.

Lord Knave, Virgin Bride
The new Lady Montjoy drummed her fingers on the coverlet. She looked over at the chair over which her wedding gown was draped, a cascade of gold embroidery over ivory silk. It was a beautiful wedding- their mothers both in tears, her best girlfriends supportive, then excited, then spectacularly drunk. There had been a few reporters outside the church, there to write about the woman who had finally tied down the ‘wild stallion’ of the aristocracy.

She knew about his past. It hadn’t much bothered her, because she had not understood, until now, what it meant.

When the last of the groomsmen had left (with… was that one or two of her bridesmaids?), Lord Montjoy told her how privileged he felt as her husband and how much he loved her. Then he had dropped the bombshell. One of his previous partners had, as he put it, left an unpleasant reminder of their time together. Until it was cleared up- which it would be, the doctors said, after another course of antibiotics- they couldn’t consummate the marriage.

She had been very understanding, after all, she loved him, and he didn’t want to hurt her. But this whole abstinence thing really sucked.