Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Chronos, what year was this anyway? Sometime after trains, but before air conditioning. So... Twentieth Century somewhere? Sometimes Celia really regretted not paying more attention in history class. If she'd known back in school that she'd be stuck paying off the student loans on her Chronological Engineering degree delivering dumplings to Time Travelers with the munchies, she would have.
It wouldn't be so bad if she was at least in Coordination, making sure the machines were properly calibrated and would dump you in the right time and place, rather than on the other side of the planet during the wrong war, as had happened to many an early Traveler. She was still at least two years and three promotions from that though, and for now her job consisted entirely of stepping through portals to strange places with weird smells. And never anywhere she'd want to go, of course, because all of those time periods occurred after the invention of fast food delivery and very few people were stupid enough to pay Speedy Snacks' delivery fees when there were local alternatives.
At least this drop-off wasn't in the Middle Ages. She'd been back and forth from there all week and her hair absolutely reeked of the time period when she got home every night.
Dripping sweat, she followed the directions of her customer-locater app across a train platform and up a small set of stairs that looks to be made out of pure rust. Why in time would anyone vacation here?
It took a few moments to spot her target, but once she did there was no mistaking the couple. They were the only people on the train with white sneakers and top hats. Bloody tourists.
Celia handed them their order and shifted from foot to foot waiting for payment. Outside the train, people were rushing around and Celia had a bad feeling about the whistles that were being blown.
“Honey,” said one of the customers, “do you have a ten? I'm a little short.”
“What? You said you had enough.”
The train made an ominous creaking sound and yet more whistles sounded.
“I do, but I don't think she can break a hundred. Can you break a hundred, dear?”
Celia shook her head. “No. You can send credit through your phone though.”
The male tourist snorted. “Don't trust those things. I'm sure we've got cash somewhere.”
The train shuddered and started ever so slowly to move.
Ugh. Celia was going to be stuck on the thing, speeding away from her portal home. It was a million degrees here and she was supposed to get off in half an hour!
She grabbed the money the woman was holding in her hand. “I've got ten I'll spot you. Have a good trip!”
She took a running leap, landing on the platform just as the end of the train car accelerated past it.
Prompt taken from The Flash Fiction Project on G+.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
First, the ghost started with small threats. A skate on the palace stairs was followed by a light shove into the moat. It seemed more funny to the castle's occupants than anything. But then the actions got worse. There came a falling chandelier, a broken suit of armor that just happened to let fall its sword as His Majesty passed, and an arrow flying toward the king's heart in the middle of breakfast. But the king remained unconcerned until one night he was awoken by the sound of his first-born child's cradle cracking apart, split asunder as if struck by lightening.
“A threat to my person, is cause for concern,” the king told his people. “But a threat to the princess is something we must take action on. I offer a cart full of treasure to who ever can banish this ghost from my land!”
Most people in the kingdom weren't too keen to take on a homicidal ghost, but an entire cart full of treasure wasn't something to be ignored and many came forward to defend the princess.
There came priests and wizards and knights. Demon-tamers, vampire slayers, and exorcists. But though they were all brave and mostly competent, they made no progress in ridding the palace of its unwanted occupant. On the morning the last of the specialists left, the ghost threw a tapestry into a fire and nearly burned the audience chamber down.
The king was strongly considering move to another palace when a shy young shepherdess approached him in his garden and announced that she had a plan. He wasn't optimistic about her chances, but with all the sane options failed, surely whatever she wanted to do was worth a shot.
First she ordered the king to bring her fine clothes, then bade his servants to bathe her and arrange her hair like that of a noble lady.
That evening, the king held a grand dinner where he introduced her to court as a princess from a neighboring land.
After everyone else has gone to bed, the shepherdess grabbed a lantern and stole through the corridors softly singing a melody her sheep were particularly fond of. As she walked, she became aware of a cool presence trailing after her, and she smiled to herself.
Certain she had the ghost's attention, she led him out onto the walls and stood looking down at the fields and forests bellow. Gently, she started to talk about her life with her sheep, about how sweetly the grass whispers through a meadow, about how beautifully a brook can sing, and about the great wonders to be found outside the palace.
And finally, she spoke of how she yearned for someone other than sheep to share her life with.
Hearing this, the ghost placed his hand on her shoulder and though she could not see him, the shepherdess could feel the love he felt for her.
In the morning, the shepherdess was able to assure the king that the ghost would bother him no more. She took her cart full of treasure and bought a cabin on the edge of a forest meadow with a brook cutting just feet from the back door. And there she stayed with her sheep and her ghost, and everyone was very happy.
Monday, March 5, 2012
The ball sailed through a gap in the balcony rail and Trey said a word his mother wouldn't approve of. Well, that was that. The ball was in the Undercity now and Trey would never see it again.
Veronica saw the ball crash down from the pristine world lurking above her own. She nudged her cousins and they rushed over to hunt for it in the field of rubbish. An undamaged Uppercity object could be worth some serious money.
The others searched for the ball, but Nica was distracted by a swirl of magic coming from a spot under the nearest Uppercity bridge. Her oldest cousin swatted her shoulder and told her to pay attention, but she ignored him to follow her new lead.
A wooden stirrer lay half-burried beneath a broken doll. It hummed with energy as Nica grabbed it and a vortex of water began to swirl above it.
Shocked, Nica dropped the stirrer and stumbled backwards. Her leg caught on a rusty support beam, opening a gash on her calf. But she felt no pain because she was too busy being stunned by the wet water genie bowing before her.
The genie smiled. “What is your wish?”
This is in response Rachel Harrie's Second Campaigner Challenge of her fourth campaign. The exact prompt was kinda long, so check it out there if you're curious. :) It involved four unconnected images (the above being my favorite) and a brief written description of a situation.