kisahawklin: 15_minute_ficlets stopwatch (15_minute_ficlets)
kisahawklin ([personal profile] kisahawklin) wrote in [community profile] 15_minute_ficlets2012-01-29 10:27 pm

Prompt #113

If you wish to do this as a spontaneous exercise, don't look at the word until you're ready to write (I recommend having Write or Die open in another tab). If you're going to mull over the word and write later, peek away.

Once you've completed your ficlet, please either comment here, or post a link to it, if you're posting on your own journal. Feel free to reference the community or number of the prompt in your outside posts, but if you use the actual word, please put it under a cut to avoid spoiling others, should they want to write spontaneously.

Today's word is: stretch

If you've missed a word or twelve and would like to catch up, please see the Master List.

[personal profile] cafe_ennui 2012-02-07 11:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Between a rock and a watery place, 537 words

Hanging off a cliff and straining for my next secure handhold, sea rising up beneath me as if eager to knock me from my precarious perch and swallow me down, was probably not what Marcus had meant three days ago when he told me to stretch myself a little.

If I told you the chain of events that lead to my being here, on this cliff, in the semi light, half naked – did I forget to mention my severe loss of clothing? – and concussed, you probably wouldn’t believe me. It would, as it were, be too much of a stretch. So it’s just as well that I’m too foggy in my own mind just now to explain properly. But as I was saying, it started with Marcus.

Oh, I’m Tenniel, by the way: Tenniel Banks.

We were in the local pub, so naturally alcohol was involved. I was moaning about how dull my job, my daily routine, my life was and Marcus was telling me to stretch myself a little, “Of course your life is dull, man! You NEVER try for anything you might fall flat on your face reaching for. You’ve got to stretch for new stuff, new experiences, see?”

He was, I think, mostly talking about how I should “grow a pair” and talk to the girl of my every waking and sleeping thought and risk rejection. I’m not sure, though, because I was at least three sheets and two pillowcases to the wind by then.

Anyway, as he went on to tell me how I should be more of an opportunist and take any slender chance that came my way, SHE stepped up to the bar to order another round for herself and her friends’ and without thinking about it I introduced myself.

“Hi! I’m Tenniel!”

“I know,” she replied, “we work in the same office.”

This is true, we do. I’d just had the impression that she hadn’t even noticed my existence, the fact that she obviously had filled me with a ridiculous sense of joy so I said, “Yeah! That’s right. Hey, let me get those for you!” And paid for her round.

“Um, thanks,” said she. Then she looked over her shoulder at her friends and indicated that she better get back with the drinks.

I was desperate for something else to say. A topic of conversation that would keep her talking to me just that bit longer and out of my mouth popped, “Would you like to come stretch me sometime?” And gave what I imagined to be a winning smile, but which on reflection was probably as terrible and wrong, wrong, wrong as what I’d said.

She muttered something about really having to go and swiftly departed back to her table and friends. Leaving me to die of embarrassment and self-hate.

Marcus was doubled over with the pain of repressing laughter at my expense, but he slapped me on the back in sympathy and bought me another drink so I let him live.

If only I’d known then that that would all ultimately lead to me be on this cliff, semi-naked and stretched between one handhold and the next, this life and the (in my case) very watery next.
Edited (formatting) 2012-02-08 00:04 (UTC)
geminianeyes: Young Miles comforting young Fran (Miles comforting young Fran)

[personal profile] geminianeyes 2012-02-12 02:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I would still like to know how Tenniel actually ended up on the cliff. XD

[personal profile] cafe_ennui 2012-02-12 05:07 pm (UTC)(link)
If only I hadn't run out of time! XD
geminianeyes: Layton and Phoenix pointing at each other (Pointing madness)

[personal profile] geminianeyes 2012-02-12 11:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Hahaha, you can keep writing beyond the time limit if you want. That's what I always do. :)
geminianeyes: Hagi Saya Side view looking out (Hagi Saya Looking out)

[personal profile] geminianeyes 2012-02-12 02:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Flowers gently fall
No longer blooming
Thus is youth's fall
Either to fruit or to be forgotten.

The wind whipped her golden hair around her face. She paid it no heed, watching instead the sky and the clouds it brought. Despite the wind and the clouds, the sun shone overhead fiercely. She could feel the rays prick her skin with sharpness, even as the wind blew and cooled her skin. It was a very odd sensation.

"Sebastian, what have you done?" she whispered to herself, even as the tears fell.

Biting her lip, she stood, watching. As the wind blew and the sun shone, passing from noon to evening, she kept her vigil. As the sun began to set, the wind began to die down. She counted that the odd combination of wind and sun had possibly been going on for the past 3 hours. It was a record by anyone's count. She had never heard of this before, though her teacher had spoken of it to her once.

"A child I was
Without a woman's blood
Thus did the Sun and Wind meet
To chill the blood of the lovers.
For Fate had decreed
As certain as the bent reed
Those who could write their names in the stars
To be alone, to carry heartbroken scars."

She thought she could hear the voice of the old crone in her mind, and blinked her eyes, clearing the tears.

"You have failed your first lesson," a familiar voice spoke and she turned her head.

Next to her, the faded image of her old teacher stood. The half-bent woman looked disappointed in her, yet there was still the hints of the wide smile she kept only for her students and her grandchildren. In this form, the young woman took immediate note of how the old woman appeared to her.

Still an old lady, but she had a much stronger personality here, one that did not have the ravages of the infantile disease that so afflicted the old. She recognised this lady, and inclined her head. Even if this was a hallucination, her teacher's words were right. She had failed her first lesson, the very first lesson all children learnt in their tribe.

"I have not listened to my senses," she whispered to the shade.

"You have not. And thus you deny yourself the world. Tell me child, is that ever worth it?" the shade questioned her.

"Never, my teacher," the woman replied, genuine regret in her voice.

"Look at me, child," the young woman looked up at her teacher, and took an involuntary step back.

In place of the old woman, stood a beauty who was not much older than the young woman. Or perhaps slightly younger. Gone were the white hair. The teacher now had waist-length locks of black hair, gathered into loose plaits and strung together and woven with loose turquoise chains and feathers. Unlike their people, this woman was almost naked, with only a short loincloth covering her. What was not covered by the long hair was covered in tattoos, and the woman recognised most of them. She had been taught their language, after all.

"This is the price we pay for the knowledge we seek. This is the price of protection we pay for the tribe. This is the body price we pay," the older woman's voice was no longer raspy and rough, but sweet and musical.

"The physical price," the young woman repeated her words, both in awe and fear.

"Yes. You think we pay only with our hearts? The magic we carry demands both. Body, mind, and soul. None of this belong to us, once we cast this magic," the old woman said.

She took a step forward towards the young woman and laid a hand on her chest.

"I'm sorry daughter. But as it passed to me, so do I pass on to you," pain erupted from the spot where the older woman put her shade hands on the younger woman.

She collapsed to the ground with nary a sound.

[personal profile] cafe_ennui 2012-02-12 06:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Intriguing! :-)
geminianeyes: Ready, set, write! (Ready set write!)

[personal profile] geminianeyes 2012-02-13 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I've done other prompts in a similar vein; they seem to be shaping nicely into a proper story. :d
geminianeyes: Hagi Saya Side view looking out (Hagi Saya Looking out)

[personal profile] geminianeyes 2012-02-20 04:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Another for this prompt.

When the music plays
Thus all is ended
Thus is the play closed
And thus the world ends

The violin strings were stretched taut.

The players themselves were tense.

Yet no one could move from their seat.

The music flowed from the violin. The player put her soul into the song, into the music. It entranced everyone in the audience, for the music did not sing. It did not speak.

It showed.

Through the young girl's deft fingers, they were transported to a different world. A world of colour, of smells, of sights and sounds unknown before. It was a world filled with possibilities, it was a world filled with magic. As the girl played, they caught glimpses of the world, of the fate that awaited it.

The young woman spun a tale.

Her violin told the story of how once, many moons ago, a couple met and parted because of God. They loved and argued because of magic. And they killed and died because of love. It was a bittersweet story, the more so because the actions of these lovers doomed the world around them.

Their story did not begin with their meeting, or even their birth, as told by the violin and the musician. No, the violin sang, their story, their destiny, their fate, was all premeditated long before they were born. Long before their parents were born. Long before, indeed, their ancestors had been conceived. It began from when the magic was discovered and then used.

The magic that could only be called forth into balance by a male and female. The magic that was both the defining piece of each child and the ultimate destroyer. For when the lovers were born, a terrible destiny was foretold. The magic that had held the world in balance was in peril. The boy and girl must love, and then leave, and then to break their own hearts for the magic to survive.

For the magic worked by deepest emotion. It worked by love, be it love of one another, love of a parent, or even love of self. As long as it was love, the magic would work. Yet there had to be balance. And always, always, it was love of self against the love of all.

To open one's heart, the music said, was to open the love within. It was to share and receive, to give and to care, for everything that had given the magic meaning. And it was this meaning that allowed magic to exist.

Yet these two lovers could not understand that. They were neither consumed by love of self, nor were they consumed by love for others. She was consumed by duty, and he by obsession. Thus their promise under the stars, to be lovers, equals, and rivals, were destroyed by the lack of love. It was destroyed by fear.

The woman had her duty. The man has his freedom. And deep in the desert, the music sang, there were three children who knew how to put this to rights. Yet they did not reach the couple in time. The moon, the eclipse, was high in the sky when the woman sang her song of a spell to remove herself from the world, to remove all traces of her existence.

When the youngest daughter heard the first cry of the note, she fell to the ground and began to cry. Then her brother heard the scream of the man, and he too fell. Their eldest sister gathered them both up, and they raced.

They raced across the sky, across the desert, across the seas to reach the lover before his beloved's cry could reach him. They raced to find him and his memories. They raced to save the world.

But they were too late. For the man had heard the woman's cry, and though the spell took hold of him as it did of everyone else, he was left with loss.

With despair.

With darkness.

It drove him mad. What else, of course?

The man himself began to draw. He began to whisper. He began to cry.

The tears flowed down his cheeks, yet he did not know why.

His heart ached, and he did not know why.

His hand shook, and still he was ignorant.

Yet as his fingers flew and his lips moved, the spell took place. The spell came into existence. And when the man completed it, the siblings were too late.

The world was ended.

Thus did the violinist's song.