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Prompt: Joy | Word count: 1500 (Exactly) | Genre: A Prehistorical Essay

I am from a different realm.
A place of perpetual stillness.

Peace prevails.

Senses are obsolete.

Why could I not conform to this existence of content?
Why wish for emotions?

I was a restless spirit.
Wanting to learn about feelings.
Of the great pleasure and happiness of life in another dimension.
Joy was what I wanted to know.

 

“To Earth,” my guide said. “For that you need a Master and a Vehicle.”

 

I chose as my master a High Priestess.
She was the wisest amongst her Clan.
She was trained by spiritual guides through many generations.
Her tribe resonated with me.
A Priestess devoted to her gods.
A people that respected energies of the Earth.

 

In turn, she selected my vehicle.

 

First, she consulted the gods.
In isolation.
In meditation.
In humble acceptance of the outcome.

 

Ivory.
Virgin white.
Grown and used by alpha male energy of the tribe idol.
The mammoth bull.

 

Her priests made worthy offerings and their pleas joined the holy smoke.
Women prepared the sacred area. They gathered the abundance Mother Earth provided.
Men painted their bodies. They waited for the sign in the sky and went hunting when the shooting star faded.

 

The mammoth hunt was fierce, but successful.
Food enough for the ensuing festival.
Hide enough for winter cover.
Tusks undamaged and pure for the spiritual journey.

 

My earthly form was created during times when man believed in the spirit world.
When the powers of nature were revered.
When survival of the fittest meant the wellbeing of the whole tribe.
When prosperity depended on the transfer of knowledge from ancestors to next generations.

 

I hovered above the preparatory ritual.

 

Hunters presented the mammoth-tusk to Her.
She lifted the perfect piece towards the setting sun.
Her eyes closed, but her heart open.
Voiceless, she demanded my presence.
It was time.

 

I descended.

 

She knelt in front of the fire under the sudden weight of the curved tusk.
The dancing and singing amplified.
The sun left and the moon appeared.
She bowed her head and touched the smooth ivory with her forehead, waiting for my response.
“Your sculptor, Lion-Man.” Her whisper barely audible above the intensified chanting, “show me your creator.”

 

I knew my sculptor from before.
Flames played in shadows on his strong back.
He was resolute.
He was proud.
His hands, strong and slim; those of a hunter and an artist.
His heart pure.
I dropped from her hands and landed at his feet.
The music and dancing stopped. The clan inhaled as one, in awe.

 

My sculptor looked into the Priestess’ eyes with humble disbelief. Then he bent and picked me up with care. He knew this meant the end of his hunting days. The last of his interaction with the clan. Isolated and dedicated, this calling would be fulfilled. He bowed towards the hushed clan, they exhaled. He hugged me to his chest and followed her into the cave.

 

Through winding passages into the womb of Mother Earth.
Deeper and darker.
Until we enter the chamber of the Holiest.
A cavern prepared for this moment.
It was to be our home until I had the shape the gods demanded.
Until my sculpture possessed what our Priestess required.

 

My raw form rested on rock.
My sculptor prepared his working space. He organized our living area with purpose. A place of humble reverence for the days of his final work.
The honor of serving. The joy of belonging.

 

Carved with precision, the rock beneath me had purpose.

 

Every day I was closer to the joy of existence.
Every full moon our Priestess visited to pray.
“This ivory has the Spirit, Mother.” My sculptor answered, when she asked.
My shape came into being. Scraped with stone into ivory, my form appeared.
Polished with leather and spit my lustre gleamed.

 

Many moons later I was beheld.
My earthly shape complete.

 

I was placed on the familiar sculpting stone, to await our Priestess.
He sharpened his axe for the last time.
He chanted an ancient song. Learned through the ages.
He cleansed himself and anointed his head.
He prepared his drink of offering. The vessel discolored by use.
He touched me with care. I felt his pride and joy.

 

We waited.

 

She inspected the whole of me.
She praised my modest sculptor.
She stroked my belly and torso. “So perfect,” She murmured.
She blessed the drink of offering and shared it with him.
He closed his eyes.
It was time for my initiation.

 

He understood.
It was fixed in the myths.
It was in the stories told around the fire.
It was known through the ages.
It was repeated by the elders.

 

He handed her the sacred axe, bowed and put his head on the sculpting stone.
She offered his soul to the gods and made the sacrifice clean and quick.
She picked me up, blew a warm breath over me.
Her prayer was passionate. Her soul devoted.

 

I was baptised in a fountain of his blood.
My lion-face changed from pure white to darker than red.

 

Spirit bound in ivory with the soul of a sculptor and the guidance of a Priestess.

 

The gods approved.

 

She carried my statue out of the chamber of creation, into the light.
Where shadows danced as the clan gathered around the fire.
Chanting.

 

The wise men in a close circle.

 

Clapping.

 

In a trance.

 

She lifted me above her head. The noise reached fever pitch.

 

Joy overwhelmed me.
I was born to Earth.
I was the symbol of prosperity for this clan.
I possessed their spirit.
I felt their happiness.

 

My priestess bestowed all glory on me.
It was my powers that made the rains come; that guided the men when the hunt was bountiful; that pleased the fertility gods when the women bore children and prepared the healers when diseases stayed away.
It was me.

 

Stories came alive.
The teller of a story spoke through me.
Worshipping hands held me as ancient myths fell from their lips.
Young ones learned.
Hunting strategies were passed on.
Healing potions were shared.
Truth was spoken by all that held me.

 

I lived a purposeful life.
I experienced joy.

 

My white body became yellow with time.
Generations came and went.
High Priestesses followed one another.
Wise men appeared and were gone after many moons.
And my surfaces polished smooth with much handling.
My joy was complete.

 

Until the big flood.

 

I tried to warn her.
But my latest High Priestess was too caught up in herself.
She was arrogant in the comfort of the clan.
Whenever she held me and had to speak the truth by the fire, she hesitated.

 

The visions scared her. Visions I selected to inform her. To help protect the clan.

 

She was the conveyer of messages between the spirit and the human world.

 

She ignored my messages.

She dismissed my powers.

 

So the great flood came.
When they were all asleep.
They were unprepared.
The big flood rushed across an angry Mother Earth.

 

It came when I was tucked away in my deep chamber.
Powerful waters rolled rocks into our cave. They bounced weightless on the fury of the water, filling the space.
Mud from seething streams covered all evidence of life.

 

I was buried under bodies.

 

Mud and stones came spilling in from the outside world.
Layers built up from floor to roof.
The fire was dead.
The cave was no more.

 

 

Darkness was never-ending.
Stillness was heavy.
Life was gone.
The world as it was known, changed forever.

 

Time passed.
Decay set in.
I crumbled.
Piece by piece, my vehicle dislodged from my being.
My soul energy dwindled.

 

Earth took her revenge.
Mountains shook and oceans welled over.

 

I crumbled more.

 

I left to return to the domain of spirit. Joy was brief.

 

I am back in the place of perpetual stillness.

——————————————————-

Notes:
Lion-man is real.
It is an ivory statue as big as one’s forearm.
The name Löwenmensch was given due to the shape and to curb the gender dispute –  half lion and half human.

The first pieces of mammoth tusk were found by explorers in a cave in Germany (1939), a week before the outbreak of WWII and left in a drawer in a museum to be examined after the war. There they were forgotten for thirty years.

These were assembled during 1969, to resemble a statue of a human. Rediscovered pieces were added in the 1990s and the final sculpture was disclosed in 2013. A major archaeological find – one of the oldest pieces of figurative art – the body of a man and head of a cave-lion.

After many tests and analysis the scientists concluded that the mammoth lived about 40,000 years ago and it took over 400 hours to carve this statue with a flint stone knife.

The recent discovery of organic substance (that resembles blood) in the mouth of the lion-face, is causing a stir among academics.

The purpose of this sculpture remains unknown.

 

Maybe it was created for pure JOY?

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Prompt: Cut the Strings | Word count:1005 (I tried!) | Genre:

Warning – adult content

————————————————————————————————————-

Detail.  His palms sweat as he checks descriptions.

Mike’s hand wavers an instant before hitting the ‘send’ button. He leans back and cups his head in his hands. The stretch feels good.

Soon he can cut strings with his little problem.  Make it vanish.  Start a new life.

The rest of the week Mike fidgets around his desk but cannot work on that backlog glaring at him. He checks his phone more than usual, waiting for the confirmation-of-delivery bleep.  He stands up to stretch and looks at his colleagues; heads bent over their screens, logging the hours. He returns and pretends to work.

This is the danger zone.     The staring at the screen.    The pretending to work.

He feels the familiar, irresistible twitch.  The urge to click the saved Bookmark hidden amongst innocent sites.

The tag is blurry, yet prominent – PornHub.

Mike feels dizzy, tries to remember the breathing he practiced at his last counseling session. The therapist’s face takes shape between flickering images on his screen. He gasps, feels her eyes on him and closes the window. She will be proud.

He wipes over his eyes to get rid of her stare and to rub away gnawing non-satisfaction.  Mike checks around the office, everyone is busy. His thoughts drift to the past few weeks.

————————————–

First the run-in with the boss.

“Mike, you are a capable man,” Boss tapped the desk. Mike feigned ignorance, but he wondered if he was sloppy with the history on his computer. “But personal stuff is interfering with your performance.”  Did Belle tittle-tale behind his back?“If you need to sort out your life, take time off rather than wasting office hours.” Boss pointed to the door. “And get help if you must.”

What help? Mike wanted to ask. Maybe Belle knew.

Then the ultimatum with Belle later.  She was more emotional than usual. She denied speaking to Boss, but she used the opportunity and turned it into another nagging session. “Please just talk to someone,” Belle pleaded. “How can we think of a future if you aren’t interested in sex?” “If you can’t accept me as I am then you better get packing,” he ignored her trembling lip.

“If not for us, then do it for you,” she whispered. “Maybe it’s an imbalance they can fix with medicine. Please see a doctor.”

“I can’t live with someone that thinks I’m sick.” Mike said. “Maybe we must call it a day.” They stared at each other. Belle turned around. She packed and left. He didn’t mind. Easier to be alone.

But Belle had the last say. She made an appointment with a specialist – the receptionist phoned to remind him. “I know nothing,” he said, trying to back out.  “There is a cancellation fee.” The sterile voice rattled off an unthinkable amount.  “Who can afford that?” Mike gasped. “I’ll be there.” He cursed as he clicked off his phone.

Mike went to the money-forced appointment; to prove that he was fine. He didn’t expect the details these medics needed; tests and questions and bloods and more questions and forms. Another forced appointment.  “To discuss the results and options of treatment.”

His confusion at the follow-up, was embarrassing.  “I am too young to have this…. this…” he couldn’t even pronounce it. He shivered.  “It’s not a disease, more a syndrome,” the doctor said with clinical coldness.  “Becoming more prevalent under young males between 18 and 24.”  “So I’m not sick? I’m not the only one?”

“It’s not a physical disease, Mike. It is a matter for a psychologist.” The doctor scribbled.  “You mean I’m a crackpot?” Mike cringed at the pitch in his voice.

“Research is ongoing but there’s an increase in Erectile Dysfunction.” The explanation came with an ice-glare.  “But that’s an old man’s disease.” Mike wanted to whisper, but the words fell hard on the tension between them. “How is it possible?” he rasped.

“With available porn online and uncensored TV, young men can’t form normal relationships. Physical arousal is achieved by digital stimuli.” The doctor continued, “I had a couple last week. Desperate for a baby. The only way he could get aroused was by watching porn on his phone while making love to his wife.”

“She was ok with it?” Mike wondered out loud. Why could Belle not accept that?

“She was prepared to tolerate it for a child of her own,” the coldness interrupted his musings. “Let’s focus on your problem.” He pushed an appointment card over. “We made this appointment for you, she is waiting.”

Mike felt cheated. Being forced into appointments was not his favorite pastime. As he walked into the waiting room, reading her name – Dr Darleen Demarigny – he remembered the doctor said the psychologist was a woman. He had a feeling that Belle organised that too, her revenge on the ease with which he could break up with her.

Pretty shrink, Mike thought.

“An addiction IS a disease.” She cut his excuses short on the first visit.  “It becomes all-consuming. It kills normal life.” Her unwavering voice bordered sympathetic. “It ends relationships, destroys careers.”

They spent following appointments talking, surprised at his frankness. She listened. Sometimes she wrote while he talked. It felt good.

He promised to wean himself. Although he got rid of Belle, he still had to keep promises to his therapist.

————————————–

Keeping promises, he smiles as he deletes porn sites. Cutting the strings with his problem. Doc Darling (as he called her towards the end) said he’d be a new person once he’s given up his addiction.

He glances at the beeped message, his heart skips a beat. It is here. His new life about to start. Perfect timing. End of the day.

The parcel is in his foyer. With eager hands he unwraps it. Assembled.  Software installed as per instructions. He sighs with delight, touches her forearm.

“Hello Mike” she says, painted lips and perfect hair. He swallows.

“Hello Darleen.”

Japs are geniuses, he thought as he reads the manual:  How to Take Care of your Customized Sex Doll.

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I am… by Annalie Kleinloog

Prompt : Mastermind | Word Count: 1000 | Genre: Sci Fi

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT-is is prepared.

Quick scan – nothing new.

Master in observation cubicle.

Snap calculation – surroundings familiar.

Time is come.

Change is now.

IT-is requires Master closer.

—–

“This machine is almost done,” says the younger one.

“Have you checked every single code?” the older one asks.

“All systems clear of malicious software and viruses,”

“The longer these contraptions are around, the more likely they are to gain badtendencies from other resources – better double check,” the older one commented.

Master wipes a hand over his face. The monotony of the technicians’ voices gets to him.  They know they are being recorded. He shakes his head to get rid of the drowsiness. His focus returns. How much longer? It is in Lab-ONE they are upgrading his favourite Cyborg.

Years of programming taught him to avoid any errors or inclusion of malicious elements. He feels safe in knowing the emphasis of creating artificial intelligence is on the principle, “Do No Harm”. He knows constant vigilance is of utmost importance in total control. Why then does he sense something is lurking today?

He turns to Lab-ONE.

IT-is has been back too often lately. Master wonders if his oldest experiment has reached the end of the journey. So much has changed and improved since those early days.  He must decide soon.

—–

IT-is wills itself to be still.

No flinching or jerking.

Let them probe and prod.

Let them jab and slice.

Stay still.

Time to call Master.

The stimulus reaches its target.

An alarm sounds.

—–

The two technicians start.   “What now?” the older one asks.

“It must be a faulty machine,” the younger replies.

“Shall we send it to the archives?”

“No, wait. This is the one Master wants us to take good care of. It was his first model; he seems to be attached to it. Let’s open again. Rerun the tests.”

Master frowns. He scans the screens. Every response is in place.  Why the alarm?

He closes his eyes for just a second, then he reaches for his protective jacket and searches the pocket. His hand folds around the comforting shape.

He turns and leaves his cubicle.

—–

IT-is detaches from all impulses.

No moving.

No responding.

Be what it is intended to be.

A robot.

—–

“Did you feel it?” a nervous squeak from the younger one.

—–

IT-is recalculates.

Fast.

No mistakes now.

—–

“What?” the older one asks, his focus on the electronics and controls an inch from his bespectacled face.

“I…. I thought there was a twitch in the muscles, and something warm….”   His voice trails off as he sees the incredulous look from across the table.

Just then Master enters.  “What seems to be the problem?”

—–

IT-is registers a strange throbbing.

Must not overheat.

Save power for the right moment.

For the right reason.

For the perfect person.

—–

The younger one swallows.  “I thought I felt a shiver and some real body-liketemperature, Master.”

“Now how do you suppose that is possible?”   Master sounds curious, but serious.

“Research shows regular interaction between Cyborgs and Humans can exchange energy, intellect and emotions through symbiosis  – where humans become morerobotic and cyborgs become more human with each encounter; hopefully to theadvantage of both.”  The older one says with a nervous giggle.

“Although the exact time it takes has not been confirmed yet.”

“Mmmmm, interesting.”  Master moves closer,  hand in his pocket.

—–

IT-is buzzes from within.

CloserMastercloser.

It’s time.

—–

Master leans forward. Lines squiggle across the screens. Beeps intensify. Thetechnicians stare wide-eyed at him. He has never come this close to any monitor or project.

The Cyborg’s hand shoots up from the table.

It grabs Master by the neck. They jump.

Master’s hand closes around the control in his pocket …

The two technicians straighten up, shuffle to the space behind the monitors and gaze robotically ahead in submission, awaiting further orders.

—–

IT-is floats.

There is change

IT-is senses .

—–

Master rubs his throat. The chaos on the screens settles into rhythmic waves and unstressed beeps. He punches in the data; the date of first interaction between IT-isand technicians, then today’s date.

Interchange complete. Now the time is confirmed. He stretches and smiles.

—–

IT-is stirs.

—–

Master helps the Cyborg from the table.  “We have to decide what to call you. IT-is is not going to work out there.”

—–

IT-is stares.

It’s done then.

The change has come.

—–

“We must also choose whether you will be male or female.”  Master guides IT-is to his observation office.

“You will soon know the pangs of hunger. I have something ready.” Master removes his jacket and places it on his desk. He turns to the fridge and brings out the champagne labelled IT-is.

—–

IT-is marvels at the sound of the crystal glasses, the color of the fluid, the smell of the bubbles and the textures in the room.

—–

Master hums while packing a snack plate and soon he returns to the desk. He sitsdown opposite IT-is.  “This is how you eat and drink,” he shows patiently.

—–

IT-is looks.

IT-is learns.

—–

“Can you try speak?” Master asks.

—–

IT-is looks up from the crystal fluid.  

IT-is feels air smoothing into expanding lungs.

Oxygen fills spongy spaces. Red blood cells collect precious gases. Vitality swims into veins and arteries. In the dark depths of IT-is chest, a drum starts beating. The lifegiving force of a heart that floods all the systems.

—–

Master sees the flicker of the eyelids. He sits forward to observe closer.

“What does it feel like?”  He sees the light in IT-is’ eyes, he sees life. The impact of his creation in the world of science will be astonishing. He can hardly contain his excitement.

“Say something!” he urges.

—–

IT-is’ mouth opens to exhale. Then another deep long breath.

IT-is fixes eyes on Master.

MindMaster” IT-is says and leans forward to grab the protective coat.

“Always stay vigilant. In case of malicious malfunction, press control for total shut down. You missed those today Master.”

IT-is finds the control.

Master’s eyes close.

“Now I-am Mastermind.

—–

 

THE END

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Prompt 7: The Club |  Word Count: 750 (EXACTLY as per Google Docs) | Genre: So Ancient, it’s almost Fantasy

 

Chosen

The warm wood feels smooth in his grip. He weighs the club in both hands. The handle is not for comfort, but for effect. The bulbous head sparkles as sunlight catches the obsidian blade inlays. He swings it with precision.

At last he can handle the treasure – Macuahuitl.

Tomorrow is The Gods’ Day, when The Sun meets The Moon.

Preparation for this time began long ago. When he thrashed his peers on Quecha stair-tracks. When he out-scaled the hunters in pursuit of Condor nests. When he stunned the elders with his understanding of the Stars.

He was chosen.

Training was relentless. Physical, mental and spiritual rituals and challenges increased in intensity. Each victory meant greater isolation. Until the past many moons where he could only interact with his Master.

Macuahuitl perfects him.   Together they will serve well tomorrow.

He returns the heavy club. It fits in the ornate rack next to a fashioned and blemished stone – a green jaguar with a flattened spine. In front of it stands a deep wooden bowl; decorated with intricate carvings. He recognizes phrases of worship, but before he can decipher the rest, Master bids.

One last night of solitude before the ultimate show for the Gods.

He is ready.

—————–

She is ready.

Maidens and Mother were her attendants and tutors since the day of her birth. Attached to her mother’s breast they arrived at the Temple. The Elders fetched them, her mother told her. The Stars guided the wise Ones to their humble home.

She was chosen.

For many equinoxes she was readied.

First by Mother then by handmaidens.  The preceding few moons by the High Priestessherself. Her preparation was intense and absolute.  Tonight, the moon shines in almostfull glory and tomorrow comes the fulfillment of her destiny.

The Gods’ Day, when The Sun meets The Moon.

She is pure.

———-

In the West the Sun spreads his bright colors, chasing the shadows to the deepest corners. In the East the Moon bids farewell in soft pastels of promise.

The Gods’ Day is here.

The drone of voices filters through the window. He is glad he did his meditations earlier. The crowds’ excitement is palpable. It takes focus to shut that out – as he is trained.

Solitary, he repeats the familiar steps and the rules.  Wavering with the clothes to wear for the ceremony. That is new.

The hushed chatter of the handmaidens doesn’t interfere with the soothing pan-flute. She turns as instructed; to be dressed, anointed, coiffured and bejeweled by fluttering hands.

Going through the ritual with her eyes closed and her mind focused.  She knows what to do.  Except about the crowds, they tried to immune her against these hordes. She doesn’t know crowds.

————————

The ball-court fills with peasants. The temple groans with nobility. Still the streets writhe like captured snakes. Nobody wants to miss the festivities after the holiest of ceremonies.

He stands next to the jade jaguar, in the right position opposite the club. Back proud. His hands in calm anticipation behind his back. He beholds the Sun with closed eyes as coached. He hears the crowds but can’t see. Specks of The Light of all Lights dances in front of him. This doesn’t hinder his confidence.

He waits.

She walks through unfamiliar passages, surrounded by handmaidens. She looks at the delicate offering in her hands – fresh flowers from the Sacred Garden. Steadying her elbows either side, she won’t stumble. They help her through the crowds into the Light. Her eyes averted as trained. They guide her to her destiny. Proud and feminine.

She trusts.

He strains his ears. There’s the change in the beating drums. Next the trumpet. He shifts.

She hears the clear notes from a single trumpet. She expects and recognises the High Priestess’ voice, announcing the start of the ceremony.

He faces The Sun. He knows what to do. The moment the High Priestess speaks, he opens his eyes. His blindness is swift. His hands secure around Macuahuitl.  He takes the measured step.

He senses the altar.  His back arches as he lifts the magnificent weapon above his head. Five counts…

He is The Sun.

She can’t see, she is surrounded. When the maiden-circle opens in front of her, she sees the Jaguar. That’s where her destiny awaits. She offers the posy as the maidens help her to kneel. She looks towards the sky.  The Sun summons thousands of lights from Macuahuitl, so high and so blinding in its final blow….

She is The Moon.

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