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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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SS#5

Prompt : Going Home     Word count : 500     Genre : Drama/Memoir

“I’m going home” I say, slightly irritated with the young woman standing in my way.
“Look at the time already.”

She says something, then calls back into the house. I see the gap and slip out. I wish I knew why I fumble so much these days? Just then the padlock bolts the gate shut. There. That will sort them out. I smile.

Suddenly I feel lost. Everything looks different.
But it is time.
I have to go.
I pretend I don’t hear them calling after me.
I don’t understand them most of the time anyway.
I wonder if they are from another country?

I choose the sidewalk where the sun is not in my face.
It’s bright.
I touch my head; then nod.
Good thing I remembered to bring my hat; I forget it; often.

The trees are changing color.
Is it already that reason… um treason… er, season?
What is that word again?
I lift my head and breathe the musty leaves.
Oh, the very lightness of being.
I try to remember the line.
Was it from a book or a movie?
Whatever it was, it still is a good one.
And it doesn’t matter that I can’t recall it now.
It will come to me later, when I’m home.
It usually does.
But now I must get going.
Otherwise I will be late getting home.

I turn the next corner.
Then I see her.
The old girl is going for a swim.
My, my she is brave.
There’s a chill in the air.
I hope she has a towel close by.
If not, she can borrow mine.
Gentleman, me.
I giggle. Yes, I will wait, she can use mine.

I find a nice spot on a rock. I sit down where I can see her splashing in the waves. She doesn’t mind the cold then? There are more people gathering on the beach now; putting their towels out. What if she finds someone else with a towel? I better get to her first.

I wave at her.
She sees me.
It’s so exciting.
Here she comes towards me.
There is concern on her face.
But I smile to reassure her.
I’m here to rescue her.

She splashes through the shallow water.
She likes me.
She is with me now.
I take my towel and hold it out to her.
“I’m going home. Here, you use my towel now. Don’t be cold”.
She folds the towel around me instead.
I don’t understand.
She hug-pulls me away from the sea.

“Come,” my girlfriend says. “I will take you home, then we can
put some clothes on. Both of us. And then we won’t be cold”.

“Dad!” a young woman calls. My girlfriend walks me towards a car.
She helps me in. “Thank you again Mrs Morris and sorry, we are changing medication” says the young one. “At least yesterday he had clothes on,” my girl says.

“Am I going home?” I ask. “Is it time?”

They nod.

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IMG_7056

Prompt:- A Conversation with my spouse    Word Count:- 1200 words      Genre:- Horror

—————————————————————

MESSY                                                                                                             by Annalie Kleinloog

Apprehension thickens the already tense atmosphere in the room. I look around. I’m not alone – as usual. But somehow, I feel desolate.

There is a their side and our side. Our side is hushed with an occasional fumble in a handbag. Both sides have monitor screens and cameras and I know somewhere out there is someone observing every move in here. I’m not sure if that is a consolation or a concern.

The other side is empty now, but muffled voices behind closed doors belie the quiet scene. Footsteps echo from bare passages. Although I know the rules, my palms are sweaty. I also know today will be the last I ever set foot here.

My mind chooses an escape to another time.

Everyone was happy then, I thought. Our journey together started the proper way. We followed the pattern. We met, courted, fell in love and got married. I worked as the provider and every day when I arrived home, she was there. It was all so orderly and normal. The house was spotless, nothing out of place.

Every day she waited for me with the same smile and the same kiss and the same

“How was your day, Sweety?” I was content.

Why wasn’t she? What went wrong? Or was it always there and I never noticed?

Maybe the towels didn’t have to be folded exactly that way, but it was a small effort to keep her happy. Or maybe the magazines could have looked as nice without being arranged alphabetically; later it was just easier for me not to read. That was also why I had my own coffee mug hidden under the sink, so as not to disturb the rows of mugs – ears all pointing in the same direction like soldiers on parade. Yes, I managed to make it easier for her.

Until the day they came to fetch me from work. Two stern men in suits. I thought something had happened to her. I was wrong. Everything changed that day, most of all – her.

Crunching keys in overused locks startle me back to the present. Chains scrape in rhythmic unison with shuffling feet on shiny floors. A wordless prayer sprouts from my heart to any entity listening, “Please let her be reasonable today.”

I breathe deep with her every approaching step. It seems to work, because by the time she sits down, I’m calm. Almost indifferent, I observe surprised. Relieved. Indifference is painless.

“Have you missed me?” the sneer comes from behind cracked lips. Pain jumps back at the memory of once kissing those lips, alluring then. She wisps the once sun-kissed hair over her shoulder. Her cold eyes focus on my face; her voice is husky. Cigarette smoke hangs between us, swirling around the metal bars and gratefully diluting other bodily odors. I cannot muster the smile I was planning and merely wipe my eyes. “I used to,” I say instead.

I used to believe she was innocent too.

I used to love her.

I used to think she was beautiful.

I used to hope it was all a misunderstanding.

I used to think the nightmare would end.

“What can I entertain you with today, Sweety?” She cups a breast buried in heavy uniform fabric, suggestively shrugging her shoulders. She laughs roughly at my wince. I look away, finding the pen and open the document I have on my lap.

Her eyes narrow. She leans back and put her feet on the bars between us, dismissing me. I see the guard approaching, baton ready. So does she. She drops down and hisses, “You can go fuck yourself!” I pretend not to hear and surprise myself with a calm and collected appeal, “I can’t come back again for this. Ever. Please just sign it.

“Don’t you first want to know WHY I did it?” she asks, almost coquettishly.

The guard taps the baton on his folded arms. “We are running out of time” I sigh.

“Just sign the divorce papers. And NO! I don’t want to know. It‘s bad enough to know you actually did it. It’s unthinkable that innocent children had to suffer. It is absurd to know I NEVER knew…” my voice trails off. I feel the familiar strangling choke I experience every day and every night since she was arrested.

I feel my stomach heaving. I know sooner or later I’m going to vomit, but I can’t stop my outburst. “They are still digging up bodies.” I manage to get out, barely audible. “It has been months and still distressed parents must identify little mangled corpses!”

I swallow. Bile sits between my voice and my guts. Bitterness is hard to control, whether physical or emotional. My emotions are now unstoppable, the revulsion pours out, “Innocent children on their way back from school … you lured them into OUR kitchen! Then you processed and packed them as if they were chicken pieces, ready to be packed for consumption.” My head jerks up at the thought.

My eyes meet hers with equal chill. But horror replaces mine when she averts her stare to inspect her short nails casually. “Yes”, she says conversationally, like it is a matter of sunshine or rain. “And then I buried them in the park across the road! Teeheehee.”

I recoil at her giggle. “You are sick!” I managed through gritted teeth.

She shook her head in disbelief, “No, I didn’t bury them myself, Silly! It was soooooo easy to find helpers. You know the municipal gardeners come every Tuesday and every Thursday? Two days a week. So convenient.”

She is done studying her nails and leans closer, nose almost touching the bar. As if confiding in me. “They believed me when I told them it was a biodegradable bag full of lovely compost. So every Tuesday and Thursday they would nourish their precious plants by burying my donation amongst the shrubs.”

The casualness overrides all my willpower. The envelope is still on my lap and I reach it just in time. With my stomach settled, I wipe my mouth on my sleeve and put the envelope carefully in the bin meant for tissues. “And at the time we discussed the horrors of serial killers and the incompetence of the police!”

The document gains a few more marks as I sob.

“All I want is to have nothing to do with you, forever – sign this NOW!”

She makes a small sucking sound between her teeth, smiles and grabs the pen. The guard steps closer. She scribbles dutifully and flicks each page to me glancing innocently at the guard.

I’m exhausted, but feel relief wash over me as the guard taps the clock on the wall and announces solemnly, “Time.”

I gather myself and the messed up pages. In a very calm almost serene voice, she says: “Get a grip on yourself, Sweety. It is very untidy for a man to weep. Or to throw up in public. Oh, and have your shirt dry-cleaned before your next visit.”

I look at her in disbelief. “There is not a next time.” I turn as I say it.

“You can get killed for being messy!” she sing-songs.

A shiver runs down my spine.

THE END

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