Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 21

It’s a tremendous privilege this week to introduce you to the work of master craftsman Jeffro Uitto. In his hands, rugged driftwood turns into a magical gateway. An emperor’s throne. A soaring eagle. I hope he will forgive my presumption in noting how like him you writers are: in your hands, a blank page transforms into mystery. Heartache. Peace. Laughter.

Today’s contest unites our flash fiction with Jeffro’s driftwood marvels, and it feels like a perfect marriage. Jeffro, a thousand thanks for allowing us to use this photo; I hope you love the stories. Writers — have at it!

 ♦♦♦♦♦

There’s also no better judge to welcome the magical possibilities of this photo than Alissa Leonard who loves worlds and stories bigger than the 150-word sliver permitted at FF. In 150 words, she wonders, can you capture an eternal moment? The story should feel complete and should evoke emotion of the richest, most visceral kind. 

 ♦♦♦♦♦

Awards Ceremony: Results will post Sunday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own stuff sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.”   

Now let’s get to it!

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Sunday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word unless instructed to do so, e.g. “include the name “King Arthur'”):

 

knighthood

***Today’s Prompt:

 

The Sea Horse. Photo and sculpture by Jeffro Uitto; used by permission.

The Sea Horse. Photo and sculpture by Jeffro Uitto; used by permission.

Advertisements

67 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 21

  1. Flash Fiction May 2, 2014
    DRIFTWOOD
    Alana Guy Dill
    @alanapaints

    Wizards are specialists. Fire, water, earth, air. Animals. Plants. Halbert, an accidental wizard–no, an untrained sorcerer–specialized in wood.

    As Sir Egstrom’s page, he’d gathered an armful of campfire kindling to warm the lovely, sad Duchess they escorted. Dry twigs sprouted in Halbert’s arms, exuding drifting clouds of apple blossoms. Especially odd, since the wood itself was pine… As a squire, he’d tried to repair a broken stirrup on his master’s saddle during a joust. Ivy tendrils sprouted from the wooden stirrup frame, securing the horseman in his seat. Egstrom vanquished his opponent, but knight and squire were accused of witchcraft. Stripped of his knighthood, Egstrom cast Halbert away.

    Wandering at marshes’ end, the loneliness was appalling, but there was very little wood to enchant and betray him.
    But then Halbert saw the driftwood girl, on the driftwood horse.
    On tiptoe, he breathed a kiss into her ear.

  2. The Knight & The Monster

    They fought to the ends of the land, man and monster, struggling to plant tired feet in softly shifting sands, the surging surf unbalancing them as the tides of battle flowed.

    Dominic gave his all, but all was in vain. Pinned beneath his shield, unable to parry the ceaseless blows, he felt the sting of his opponent’s blade in his breast.

    A sting, and more.

    As the cold, dark stain spread from the wound, he fell, defeated. Like a mighty oak he toppled, sprawling in the water, great limbs petrified by the taint in his heart.

    His opponent raised his sword in salute, then turned and left him to the sea.

    But he was neither alone nor forgotten, and with a thunder of wooden hooves, his great steed burst from the foam. Upon his back, the Spirit of the Green, come to take Her champion home.

    But the humans were victorious; this was no place for monsters now.

    158 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

  3. No Escape (158 words)

    Loraine always enjoyed her early-morning run along the beach. She ran as her true self. Her hood fell back, allowing her black tresses to tangle in the wind. With fog thick around her, she felt safely anonymous on the deserted beach. As she ran, water droplets clung to her skin, creating iridescent arcs against silvery scales—her webbed feet left extraordinary marks in the wet sand until the tide swept them away.

    Loraine’s thoughts were on her promotion. At only thirteen, she had been chosen to join the most noble of factions—during tonight’s ceremony she would become a member of the Royal Order of Protectors.

    “Crack!” The sound echoed against the bluffs. Loraine whirled–every muscle tensed. Twenty yards away stood a driftwood sculpture of a wild mustang. It beckoned. She stepped closer. Her hair whipped about her shoulders—a warning!

    As she dove under the waves, Loraine realized there would be no escape—she was targeted.

    @CharityPaschal2

  4. The Joust

    Sand shifted under Willow’s hooves causing Astrid to pat her anxious mount. Suddenly the Festival of Equus erupted into life, cheering spectators, trumpeting horns, fluttering flags. Caused by the morning sunlight glinting off of the burnished steed of House Alloy, her bronzed rider bearing his lance aloft.

    Bronze.

    Soft metal.

    Treacherous metal.

    Silence fell. The crowd watching the grizzled Seer whose gnarled hand held clutched aloft a red pennant, fluttering in the breeze.

    Astrid summoned her concentration, demanding the wooden form beneath her acquiesce. Slowly bark and root flowed over her, fashioning a centaur out of this knight of House Forest and her steed. Extending out her right hand, Astrid watched a branch forge outwards, transforming her arm into a lance.

    Jeers from some Alloy supporters, mocking the impudent child with the temerity to call herself a champion.

    A moment.

    Then scarlet fell.

    The world around Astrid disappeared, consumed by the rhythm of hooves and the beating of her heart.

    @imageronin

    160 words

  5. Single Combat

    I had not yet earned my sword, but I used my dagger to carve her a gift. A tiny horse, rearing, its wooden mane like a wave. She wore it around her neck, and loved it as she loved me.

    One day, she vanished without trace.

    She was gathering driftwood, they said, when a creature – a giant charger with flesh of palest wood and teeth of bone – swept her away.

    I hurried, dagger bared, to the shoreline.

    ‘I am not yet a knight,’ I cried. ‘But I am armed. I beg single combat!’

    The waves hissed, laughing.

    ‘She is mine,’ they whispered. ‘She wears my likeness.’

    ‘That is my doing,’ I said.

    ‘Nevertheless,’ came the reply.

    In desperation, I strode into the sea; roaring, the horse burst from the sand. I stumbled, her wide eyes burning mine. They galloped over the waves, gone before I could use my blade.

    I have not yet earned my sword, but I will.

    @SJOHart
    159 words

  6. Drifting

    ***

    Basil pulled a leg from the bird carcass which had been cooking on a spit over the smouldering camp fire, blew on his fingers before biting into the flesh, juice running down his chin and into his beard as he slowly masticated, watching Circe mount a driftwood horse.

    He paused for a moment, letting his eyes follow the supple curve of her calves and thighs, then up over the thin fabric of the shift which clung to her firm body, up yet further to glimpse the side of a naked breast, a tantalising peak at a dark nipple as she leaned forward over the equine sculpture, whispering arcane words into its ear.

    Not for the first time, he thought about how he’d like to mount her.

    Suddenly he was startled from his reverie and jumped to his feet as his mistress approached, riding the horse, now transformed into a flesh and blood animal.

    “Basil! Come! We have work to do!”

    ***

    @theimaginator20
    160 words

  7. Call of duty

    “Wake up, Gwendolyn! They are coming! They will kill them all!”

    “Christopher, please! Leave me be!”

    “Gwendolyn…”

    Gwen looked at her brother, standing there in his shining armour. His visor was up and she realised how serious this had to be. He hadn’t visited her in more than 500 years. She jumped out of bed.

    “Go, Gwendolyn! You need to save them! Mount Roderick and lead our brothers to war!”

    Christopher had become more and more translucent – now he was gone. Gwen rushed to the beach in her nightdress, mounted Roderick – and just for a second Roderick and Gwen were visible in their true forms: a black stallion and a knight in full armour, setting off into the past.

    The next morning, Gwen’s cleaning lady found the cottage door open and immediately reported the artist and her famous horse sculpture on the beach missing.

    @okiewashere
    150 words

  8. Kindred Spirits
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke or margaretlocke.com)
    159 words

    She didn’t know how he’d gotten here, out in the middle of nowhere. She didn’t care. She’d loved him at first sight.

    She imagined him a magnificent medieval destrier, bequeathed on a valiant knight in honor of his service to the king. A great beast of a war horse, wearing armor of his own as he charged across the battlefields of Europe.

    Or a wild mustang racing across the plains of Wyoming, cowboy on his back and freedom in his nostrils, the mountains of the West framing his flowing mane as he hurled himself forward, ever forward.

    What he wasn’t supposed to be was still. Trapped. Frightened. Decaying. Not like her.

    Every day she climbed onto his back, closed her eyes, and willed him to break free, to run, to carry her away. Every night she returned home, broken, bridled, chomping at the bit.

    They were kindred spirits, she and this horse. Wild animals encased in a permanent prison.

  9. Let Me Save You
    @CaseyCaseRose
    159 words

    “There’s no beauty left in the world,” she says facing the wall. The tangled sheets a self made prison.
    “You’re just having a hard time seeing it right now,” he tells her from the doorway.
    “I have to go.”
    She does not turn to say goodbye.
    Days continue on, each so similar as to be the same.
    She says she her imagination has the flu, her spirit has cancer.
    She used to be build him worlds with words and kept him upright when he struggled with his own art.
    He knows his absences weigh on her but he is trying to be her knight, rescuing her.
    One morning he makes her dress, and brings her to the beach.
    “I built this for you so that you might again see beauty in the world.”
    She runs her hands along smooth tendons of wood. She tests the strength of the piece, climbs on top of the driftwood horse and holds on.

  10. The Wooden Horse (159 Words)

    Her parents said she was mad because she heard voices.

    The sea called her to the beach where the ruins of castle rose out of the granite rocks and a magnificent wooden horse kept guard. She would scrub and polish him every morning, talking to him as if he were alive.

    “You’re a horse for a great knight,” she always said. Some days when she finished, she thought the horse would bow his head as if thanking her.

    Early one morning, she rose and ran to the beach, feeling a tremor as the horse bowed his neck.
    “Come now or perish.”

    She heard the voice and trembled. “But I am not a great knight.”

    “A knight you will be.” The horse bowed, and she took a step closer. “Come now.” She swung herself onto his back.

    Later that morning, a local found her perched on the horse, her heart pieced by a shard of wood. There was no blood.

  11. Fire ‘neath the bark
    @dieterrogiers – 160 words

    His magnificent form started cracking the moment the sun raced its first rays across the bay, towards the beach. Weathered bark broke his velvety black skin. Living, breathing pores clotted into wooden knots. And the sound of snapping twigs reverberated throughout his body.

    The animal fought the curse with vigour, striking at his invisible enemy with his front legs, but there was no stopping the transformation. As the mage had foretold, the first light of day stifled his strength and supplanted it with a dead, deformed stem.

    The princess clung crying to his neck. The noble beast had carried her within sight of the citadel perched atop the cliff across the bay. So close and yet so far.

    In a hundred years the curse would momentarily lift. Perhaps her prince could break the spell then.

    He would, the princess convinced herself, as her ear against the wooden chest assured her that inside the heart of a valiant knight still beat.

  12. Maid of Heaven
    (150 words)

    Illiterate yet eloquent, she knew the words to remedy a broken people.
    Peasant yet politick, she found the words to convince a ruler.

    But there were no words to bring justice to a corrupt court.
    Her final battle commenced. She knew the ending, and the ending was near.

    In only a short time, she had won her countrymen over. God knows how. Knights and soldiers believing that Woman could only be maid or prostitute, rode with more speed, more courage, more tenacity under a peasant girl’s banner.
    This Maid roused more than men’s appetites or loins.
    The enemy scoffed at her ’emasculated’ army until they saw how more swift and sanguinary their campaigns were from her direction.

    When politicians and churchmen connived: ‘Lord, send for me, when this has ended. Let my soul rise from the ashes. Let me charge to your kingdom on a heavenly steed,’ was her reply.

    • Gosh, this is beautiful. Your language is poetic – and it doesn’t hurt that you’re writing about one of my all-time heroines. 🙂 I love this.

      • Thank you, I really appreciate that. It’s not my usual thing, but I wanted to give it a try. She was an amazing person, one of my all-time heroines, too.

  13. The Guinevere Complex

    “Uhm… Guinevere?”

    She turned her head. The wind caught her long black hair.

    “Yes, my knight?”

    “I… it’s me, Brian.”

    “You are not a knight?” She pouted her lips.

    “No.”

    “Then leave me alone with my horse.”

    “It’s not a horse.”

    “Liar!”

    “I think you had one too many Banana Monkeys, Guinevere.”

    A Banana Monkey was the speciality of their favourite bar: vodka, Bailey’s, whipped cream and half a banana, all mixed into a killer smoothie cocktail.

    “You’re sitting on a statue. A wooden horse. On a beach in Thailand.”

    Guinevere erupted.

    “I need a knight who can save me! Rescue me from the monster that stares me in the eye every time I gaze into a mirror.”

    Brian just stood there. Something snapped in him.

    “It’s 6 AM. It’s been a long night. I’m going back to the hotel.”

    Soon after their return home, she broke up with him.

    150 words
    @bartvangoethem

  14. “Memory”
    160 words

    Rain pounded the torn battlefield. He felt his steed shudder and lay still. He began to keen in grief, but blood choked off his throat. The memory of lilies rose in his mind. If he could choose again, he thought dimly, he would not be a knight. Perhaps a simple scribe, a carpenter…

    Sam broke out of his reverie as a camera flashed at him. He smiled at the journalist in the sun. Nearby, the horse sculpture rose magnificently amidst the admiring crowds.

    Sam gazed at the horse wistfully.

    An arm slipped around his waist. “How’s our famous sculptor feeling today?” The scent of lilies surrounded him.

    “I’ll miss him.” he said lightly.

    She looked up at him seriously, “We’ll visit him often.”

    Sam laughed and bent to kiss his wife.

    His daughter wriggled off the horse and ran to them. Sam heaved her up in his arms in delight.

    “Daddy!” she giggled, “It knows your name!”

  15. The Foreigner
    (160 words)

    I felt a searing pain. The ringing of steel on steel and shouts, galloping horses; these sounds fled my ears. Just a beach, dotted by tidal pools, and I was alone. There were no signs of the battle I had woken amongst.

    Sitting up with a throbbing head, I wished I had clothes. There was nothing but driftwood and grass so I walked the coast naked.

    “Which way to Omaha?” I called to a woman among the reeds. She smoothed her skirts, trying to ignore my groin.

    “This is Kontsford,” she said, pointing.

    I muttered, “Never heard of it,” and followed her into the village. There weren’t any cars.

    A man wearing a cap and hauberk told me I was a knight—he knew one by his stature. “We’re fighting outlaws up north. You appear in need of service.”

    I accepted. Later, while riding beside him on a loaned stallion, he asked where I “hailed” from.

    “Nebraska,” I said, unsure.

  16. JUBILEE (159 words)
    John Mark Miller
    @JohnMark_Miller

    With a painful sob, her frail body crumpled onto the beach in a broken heap. The cancer had eaten away at her for months, and now this was the end. She could feel it.

    She had willed herself to limp outside without a tear, but lost it upon seeing the dying animal. Once a mighty stallion, he now lay crippled in the blazing sand, head bowed with grief.

    King Arthur, she had named him. Because in a moment, he’d find new life – they both would.

    “Why, God?” Mara sobbed. “Must we die alone?”

    My child, the waves seemed to answer. You have never been alone.

    With that, the anemic blue sky exploded into brilliant new colors, and beyond that…paradise.

    The stallion leapt to his feet, ivory muscles rippling. Mara gripped his mane, and together they soared to the heavens.

    The serene tide lapped at the frail bodies they’d left behind, and the ocean’s spray still carried hints of laughter.

  17. Dreaming
    (149 words)

    It is a speck in the distance, a shadow against the dunes. Every footstep, sinking and struggling into wet sand, brings her closer. It is a mirage, then a sandcastle, now a traveler’s shelter, and finally, with the sun blazing against the cusp of the horizon, blinding, she presses her fingers against the salty splinters of wood. A horse.

    Frozen in terror, eyes rolled back, haunches quivering, spindle legs rearing, its shadow stretches out across the tide. She grips the mane, wild, splayed out towards the sky like a jellyfish, a sea-anemone reaching towards the surface, and climbs.

    “Shh, shh,” she whispers. “I am here. We can dream into another world together.”

    She closes her eyes. She is off. A screaming dragon, slaying knights. A seeking shark, prowling the depths. A hawk riding the wind, an avalanche roaring, a storm.

    Beneath her, the horse is dreaming of a heartbeat.

    @stephpostauthor

  18. Embers In The Dirt

    The farm was dying. The drought had enveloped Lancaster County months ago, refusing to unclench its grasp on the land. The sun hammered away at the soil, searing and cracking, until it mirrored the look and texture of fractured granite. Infertile.

    Isabelle sat in a wicker chair on her shaded porch, her truckers cap pulled down low. She watched Percival trot along the fence line, his peckish eyes craving a solitary blade of undead grass.

    Her father used to regale her with tales of chivalrous knights when she was a child, the name was a tribute to him. With his passing, she was left with six acres of barren ground and a sole companion.

    She was straw-thin. Melted by a savage and unapologetic cloudless sky. She took a sip of whiskey to strengthen her resolve. Winced. Percival glanced up at her, imperceptibly granting approval with a slight nod of his emaciated head. Isabelle quietly loaded the Winchester. Refilled her glass.

    Chris Milam @Blukris
    (160 words)

  19. Fight or Flight
    @Dreampunkgeek – 160 Words

    “I heard you make golems.”

    “I’m not for hire.” Said Jessie. “That’s not something you should have heard. Who told you?”

    “A ghost.” She said.

    He rolled his eyes with a sigh. “What are you doing talking to ghosts? It not safe business.”

    “I know. That’s why I want you to make me a golem. The ghosts won’t leave me alone.”

    He studied her plain freckled face. Looked for lies but found only a timid flighty girl. “You couldn’t control a golem. They’re violent.”

    “That’s why I want a horse. Something fast to escape on. Not a fighter.”

    He couldn’t fault her logic and tossed his hands up in the air. “Fine. You win. Find me a horse made of wood or stone and I’ll breathe life into it.“

    “Thank you!” She burst out and ran off.

    “You’ll still have to learn to fight the ghosts and demons. You’ll become a knight on your golem steed.” He called after her.

  20. LUZ

    Once, twice, thrice with the fission sword: I am knighted into light matter, able to bedazzle with pre-emtive strikes . My nickering steed shifts restlessly in the event horizon. He and I await official placement in twelve dimensional chess, our calculated moves determining ultimate creation of Goldilocks planets in a single string’s universe.

    Sinews straining, my equine friend champs at his bit. Our light matter team faces oblivion if our strategies do not overpower the dark matter. Quarks and gamma rays stream out over the space fabric, fashioning the multi-level sea of squares: our playing field within the google Mobius string.

    Final play time arrives. Two up and one over, capturing the queen of dark matter. She succumbs to the time warping by hooves driven into the space-time fabric. The win gives rise to a new planet imbued with perfect elements and circumstances, all due to knight-lightning horsemanship.

    WC 153 exclusive of title

  21. Let The Only Sound (Be The Overflow)
    160 words

    Elena tangled her fingers in the stallion’s mane, gripping tightly as the dawn air nipped at her skin.

    It had not always been a beast of burden. Once it had been a knight, clad in shining armour as it stood before its king.

    The stallion swerved and Elena laughed as the move rocked her.

    It had a name once, something it had lost in the murky depths to which it had been cast upon its death.

    Elena yanked on the stallion’s mane when the animal began thundering towards the ebbing tides of the sea but the horse didn’t pause.

    The very hand that had secured its knighthood was the one that had slit its throat.

    Elena screamed as the horse reared, the once soft heaving sides turning to rock between her thighs.

    Once it had been a protector of the innocent but that time was gone. The only comfort it could give now was the wet embrace of its grave.

  22. In the Name of a King
    by A J Walker

    We celebrated our good fortune and happiness joyously for many days when Stephen was Knighted. But looking back I know that he was being bought.

    The price was Sir Stephen’s fealty.  

    Inevitably that debt was called in.

    Now, each morning at dawn I walk alone along the beach feeling hollow, looking eastwards for some sign of Stephen’s return.

    I always stop at the gnarled tree, which stands defiant against the tides. Some dim spark of life keeps it holding on to its meagre existence, challenging inevitability. It gives me courage and hope. When I touch it I feel a pulse of life, the tree becomes Stephen’s regal steed, the pulse becomes its heartbeat. I then sense closeness to my one true love.

    I believe life, however weak and tenuous, is worth holding on to. But I worry.

    What will come back to me? What atrocities has he seen, how many lives he’s scythed down in the name of a King?

    (160 words)
    @ zevonesque

  23. The After-wrath
    (156 words)

    Erdmund’s world blurred. Lines bent, curved, warped, melted and dissolved. Then he burst, his eyes unable to bear gazing upon his beloved horse, forever petrified.

    “She’s still full of wonder. Even in death.” The mare reared before them in her final act of loyalty and defiance, facing the deep inevitable. “Maybe she knew I was in danger,” Erdmund wondered aloud to Robert. When the Enchanter came, she threw me off her saddle and died. For me.”

    Robert’s lips quivered, the right words caught somewhere in his throat, nothing but platitudes making it through. Finally he spoke, with the voice of a confessor, confidant, and consecrator of last rites. “She should run, and graze, in peace — for her and for you.”

    Erdmund nodded, knowing what he needed to do. He took Robert’s staff, a few old rags, his steel and flint. The rags ignited, and a solemn blaze released the mare, smoke calling to the heavens.

  24. Sorry. I noticed a typo.

    The After-wrath
    (156 words)

    Erdmund’s world blurred. Lines bent, curved, warped, melted and dissolved. Then he burst, his eyes unable to bear gazing upon his beloved horse, forever petrified.

    “She’s still full of wonder. Even in death.” The mare reared before them in her final act of loyalty and defiance, facing the deep inevitable. “Maybe she knew I was in danger,” Erdmund wondered aloud to Robert. “When the Enchanter came, she threw me off her saddle and died. For me.”

    Robert’s lips quivered, the right words caught somewhere in his throat, nothing but platitudes making it through. Finally he spoke, with the voice of a confessor, confidant, and consecrator of last rites. “She should run, and graze, in peace — for her and for you.”

    Erdmund nodded, knowing what he needed to do. He took Robert’s staff, a few old rags, his steel and flint. The rags ignited, and a solemn blaze released the mare, smoke calling to the heavens.

  25. The Shiloh (160 words)
    @brett_milam

    In Chicago, they’s always measurin’ you for a coffin. Out here, on the South Side, war seeped into the cracks of the sidewalk, hung like acidic moisture in the air.

    Diggin’ graves somethin’ of a lost art among the trade. Nowadays, a rival gang’s body was meant as a message, a message splattered on walls and hangin’ from street alleys. Ain’t no message to send with the body suckin’ dirt six feet.

    But I done that now, for Jamar. He gained Knighthood in The Shiloh. Wasted a five-O. I liked numbers, already memorized his badge number, 4-5-20-8, as I piled more dirt on. Maybe useful later. Doubt it.

    Jamar’s still been dryin’. New tat of a woman ridin’ a horse. The five-O’s woman. Meant Jamar done conquered him.

    I was still a nothin’, a squib, a foot soldier with no soles. Diggin’ a hole was my keep. Kept’s me breathin’.

    If I hung with Jamar long’nough, maybe they’s stop measurin’.

  26. The Inspiration of Chocolate Mousse (146 words)
    @meowclank

    “Cumm owt vial Beest. Cumm owt & meet yorr doom. Sit Nat of Broom demandes yu pay for yor crymmes”. Standing hiy in the styrrupps, sorrd liffted to emfasize the poynt.
    Suddenllie, thare woz a bangin noyz cummin from beneethe theya feets. The vibrayshuns mayd thare hare stannd up. Theya woz a hummin in the Aire. A straynje smelle reechet thare nostrills.
    The trusstie Steede stamped in antisypashun of cumming battell.
    Harts beet farster and lowder.
    Swett ran dowen fases ant parms.
    leening forwudd, the hors wuz errjed onwudz.
    Agayn, a bangin. Lowder and morr erjent.
    A creeking. Wate shiftin. A hewj boddie lumberine to the entranz. breth hevvy from the effott.
    A hewj maor opens to speeke
    “Natalie Broom, I’ve been calling for half an hour. Get off that rocking horse and come and get your tea”.

  27. The Warhorse
    144 words
    @jujitsuelf

    She’s a beauty, my latest creation. I’m allowed to say that because I’m a famous artist. Lesser beings would be accused of egotism but I can get away with it. Why, I hear you ask?

    Well, maybe it’s because I don’t just create art, don’t just take a medium and twist it to make something pleasing to the eye. I stopped trying make ‘pretty’ things years ago when it became plain I was no good at it. No, I don’t create art anymore. I create life.

    The wood speaks to me, tells me tales of its wanderings, breathes and sighs and shares secrets I’ll keep forever. Emotive and interesting, it’s never cold, never dead no matter its age. It is, at its core, magic.

    My mare stands proudly, gazing out to sea. She’s a warhorse waiting for her knight. Maybe I’ll make him next.

  28. ‘Totem’
    160 words
    David Shakes
    @theshakes72

    She’s always had an equine quality- sleek beauty, the same grace and strength as her beloved horses.
    Even now as she clings desperately (insanely) to the effigy wrought on the banks of this once proud river.
    All the horses are dead.
    Medical journals called it ‘contagious equine encephalomyelitis’; the masses – ‘Kansas Horse Plague.’
    They died.
    She was broken. Accusatory. Blamed me.
    She’d wander our ranch and soothe the restless ghosts of her stud.
    One night I awoke to find her at the open French window. For a moment I heard the thunder of hooves, then saw lightning flash away over the plains.
    “Will you be my knight?” she asked, but not of me. She spoke to the wind. It answered with a roar.
    When the tornado passed she worked with the wood it left behind.
    Now, as she hugs the simulacrum, the wind returns. Hungry.
    “Tonight we ride!” she cries to the gathering storm.
    Somehow, I believe her.

  29. Gift Horse
    159 words
    @TinmanDoneBadly

    Her rocking-horse had been called Primrose.

    Her twin brother’s was Thunderbolt, and they would play at knights jousting, each rocking forward and trying to poke the other off with a plastic cricket-bat.

    They’d been five then. They were thirty today. She’d given him a book on sculpture, his great love, as his present, and now he led her outside, eyes closed, to hers. She shrieked when she saw it and raced to climb on. There was no saddle carved onto it but she had always dreamt of riding bareback, and in the dress she was wearing she very nearly was.

    She snuggled her head against its mane, then made a mental note never to try that again.

    She turned to her brother, eyes bright with joy, love and the glisten of tears. “Thank you,” she whispered.

    He smiled. “I’m only sorry,” he said, “that it doesn’t rock.”

    She hugged its neck. “Oh believe me,” she said, “this horse rocks.”

  30. Calliope’s Lovers.
    The witch stepped down on the sand and walked toward her creation. Nimble, she mounted the magnificent driftwood horse as it reared up, its front hooves clawing the breeze. She rested her head on its flowing mane and caressed its smooth neck.
    You were my first, Gregory. I won’t forget you.
    The horse faced the direction Mark would come. And he did, his distant figure growing larger as he walked, then ran toward her. Calliope dismounted. Mark stopped and gaped up at the horse.
    “You did this? It’s wonderful. I’ve never seen anything like it.” He came toward her, his arms wide.
    Calliope stepped back. “Mark, our time is over. I’ve met someone”
    “No!” he shouted.”
    “I’m sorry Mark, you were my Knight, but it’s done.” She raised her hands and a thunderclap rang in her ears.
    Calliope stroked the new driftwood horse’s flank. You were my second, Mark. I won’t forget you.

    153 Words
    @rfmaraz

  31. My Horse For A Kingdom

    The Kingdom of Viendra was rich and bountiful. The marble palace was grand and graceful, filled with wonderous artwork. Princess Sharia ruled there. She had a closet full of gorgeous clothing and lots of sparkling jewelry. A multitude of servants eagerly catered to her every whim. The days slid by peacefully with no more taxing decision than choosing what to wear each morning. Bards composed ballads praising her beauty, kindness, and wisdom. She was courted by the flower of its knighthood. Quests were set out upon and noble deeds were preformed in her name and for her honor. Everything moved at a slow and steady pace, there was always time for romance and love. It was perfect.

    “C’mon Sharia, let’s go already!” Her boyfriend Steve yelled loudly from the beach, breaking up her lovely vision.

    She swore silently, rudely returned to a hectic, frantic, high-tech world. She slid down from the back of the driftwood horse sculpture.

    155 Words
    karnemily@yahoo.com

  32. The Dragon
    160 words
    @MSeeseTweets

    Valentina mounted Moonbeam and dug her spurs into his sides. He reared back, then raced across the field. She clutched the reins tightly. He was stronger, more furious than her own horse. Valentina ignored the pain as she rattled around inside the too-large suit of armor, which had belonged to Charles.

    She had but one thought: find the dragon that killed her brother.

    And slay it.

    So many men—good men—had fallen victim to the vile reptile. Valentina knew that she, too, likely would…

    A distant flame caught her attention.

    “How long has she been like that, Mrs. Stanhope?”

    “Two days. Ever since she heard that Charlie passed. I think she still blames herself.”

    Dr. Stone lit his pipe—which always helped him relax—and approached.

    “Valentina? Can you hear me?”

    She turned her head and locked eyes with the fire-breathing beast.

    “At last, revenge will be mine,” she thought as she surreptitiously withdrew the dagger concealed beneath the saddle.

  33. Here Be Dragons

    Smoke crept from the cave as Jon approached it, accompanied by growls and grumbles loud enough to shake the ground. He was glad he had left his horse in the clearing now, though he had carried on on foot for possibly miles and they hurt. A lot.

    The stone mouth was black; no way of knowing the beast’s size, unless it came out or he went in. This time, Jon thought the tremor might be his knee. Something was definitely shifting – a quiver and quake, beyond than the previous rumble, grumble, growl!

    Jon felt for his sword. Ask, he thought Chris had called it, though he wasn’t sure why or whether to believe him. Chris was such a know it all! Still, Jon hoped it would win him the treasure this time. He didn’t want the princess.

    The noise was an unwelcome jolt. Sighing, Sir Jon – stature reduced just to Jon – went inside. Bedtime. Battle would wait for another day.

    (160 words)

    @FallIntoFiction

  34. Title: Powerful
    Twitter: @2020hines_sight

    This is all Jess has left of her husband, father, and brother, her boys as she called them.

    They worked on the sculpture of her favorite childhood horse for nearly a year. Her father would inevitably find something wrong with it. And in the beginning Alex, Jess’s husband, never saw the problem.

    “It’s gotta be perfect,” her father would say. “A horse is powerful. Lots of muscle. Lots of power. And this has to reflect that

    When the day finally arrived for the unveiling, her father gave a speech about how they wanted to give her something to remember them by.

    Her brother, Jordon died of leukemia two months later. A year later her father passed away quietly in his sleep. Two years ago Alex went missing in Afghanistan and is presumed dead.

    From time-to-time she mounts that perfect wooden sculpture and feels their power pulse through her, which she says gives her the power to live another day.

    Word Count:157

  35. Caissa
    (146)

    “Check Mate.”

    Chess pieces were swept back into their box, all save the white knight which proudly stood in the center of the board.

    A shift. A twitch.

    Astonished eyes watched as color rippled through the transforming piece. The beast’s musculature now highlighted in twisted ropes of polished wood. The knight’s armour melting away to reveal tan flesh, lithe limbs, and an apple-cheeked smile. Black hair cascaded down a slender back and dark eyes twinkled merrily as the Dame touched naked heels to her mount’s sun-warmed flanks.

    The stallion tossed its head as it screamed a challenge and raced the length of the the table, adroitly evading grasping fingers, and leaping through the air toward a lithograph of an inlet beach.

    Sand and surf sprayed beneath powerful hooves, joyous laughter dancing on the wind, as knight and horse escaped the confines of their given purpose.

  36. Selkie

    “You’re too stiff. Relax.”

    “If I relax, I’ll end up on my butt.”

    Miss International Super Model had no adipose tissue on that much-photographed derriere. She’d probably break her pelvis and delay us again. Stomach flu (bulimia) and exhaustion (rehab) had already set us back several weeks, so I didn’t need a workman’s comp break (bruised tushie). Forget sainthood; all the jousting I’d been doing with her ego should have made me Sir Kevin by now.

    “Take ten,” I said.

    Naturally, I was losing the light and moved the camera to compensate. When I turned back, I saw another woman on the horse’s back, posed exactly the way I’d been trying to get Miss Attitude to achieve. I took the shot; then checked the preview. Perfection. Who needed super models?

    I raised my head to thank the stranger, but she was gone. At the shoreline I saw the splash of a seal, accompanied by the echo of a laugh.

    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    160 words
    (Note: According to Celtic legend, a selkie is a seal who takes human form and seduces humans, though they make faithful spouses when they fall in love. If they go back into the water, they lose their human form forever.)

  37. Timber
    @SVBookman 159 words

    Timber was nearly as special as its rider: Talymara. Long dark tresses, deep languid blue eyes, a beauty eternal, Talymara found Timber at death’s door, having turned a hoof and lying in the ditch near the enchanted woods. She stayed with the mare, healing it with the energy of love and life, restoring the hoof, and walking it daily until it could support, first its own weight, then that of its beauteous new owner.

    The two rode, nearly inseparable, for two years before riding into Bonebrook after learning a Necromancer had taken over the village. Talymara’s use of her enchanted blade, “Forevermore”, resulted in the real death of the Necromancer and freedom for the village. For this reason, King Narmony knighted her as the first female member of the King’s guard.

    Timber rode with her for many adventures. When the animal died, Talymara had the local enchantress entomb the mare in wood, an eternal shrine to a devoted animal.

  38. Reflections of Battle

    Sir Harold bellowed as his squire frantically polished, “Enough, I can see myself in that shield, go sharpen my sword.”
    The squire continued scrubbing. Harold had been warned the boy was not quite all there.
    “The battle is imminent and my blade is duller than you!”
    The squire mumbled, “Must shine, must shine.”
    Harold gave up and grabbed his armour.

    The battle against the wood folk was fierce. All manner of creatures attacked. Victory was within his grasp until the Elven Queen arrived riding a giant steed. She squared off against Harold and his men. With the flick of her wrist she turned his soldiers into shrubs. Harold cowered behind his shield, waiting for the curse to take effect, but instead there was screaming. He peeked over to find the Queen wailing as her steed turned to wood, the curse reflected. She was easily slain in her distraught state, and not long after a lowly squire became a knight.

    159 words
    @todayschapter

  39. Mina Ibrahim: Seeking the World Between Extremes

    The wood was old, and might have been full of splinters, but was worn smooth instead. She wondered who else had straddled this horse. Had it come from some ancient order of knights?

    She was glad the wood wasn’t attacking her with slivers. To her way of thinking, the eyes of every man who ever saw the photos, would be prickling over her exposed skin. No need to add injury to her shame.

    Men had told her she was beautiful. In return for the attention, and as a means of escaping the confining traditions of her past, she had run away with them.

    But their attention had turned demanding. They dressed and photographed her in this flimsy, humiliating gown. So, she hid her embarrassment, only letting a slight profile show to the camera.

    She didn’t want the burka back, but she disliked this even more. Surely, the world had better options for a young woman.

    @Charles W Short – 155 words

    • To paraphrase something I heard said quite recently: you know men rule the world as long as women are wearing burkas or hot pants. I think your story gives us a lot to think about. I like what you did here. (I wrote about Joan of Arc this week.I think I still had something in my system from last week.)

  40. Hailee Eddinger Loves Errant Nights
    [158 words]

    As nightfall approached, music from lyre and aulos filled the citadel. Their long war was over; the besieging army driven away.

    A captive of the city-state’s king, Hailee wept into her anachronistic Guinevere dress. Sir Aodhán had failed her. Soon Hailee’s camouflaged chronocar would automatically return to her far future home — without her. Her dad would be furious.

    Sir Aodhán had been so charming. A backseat mishap landed them nearly three millennia on the wrong side of medieval Britain. Fascinated by his steel armor and tales of chivalry, these Bronze Age warriors had hailed Aodhán as a hero.

    Outside, celebration instantly became panic. Swordplay? A familiar face appeared at her window. “Aodhán?!”

    “Fairest maiden! Your magical steed awaits. Let us be off!”

    Greek soldiers poured through the city gates, chanting their hero’s name. “Ajax! Ajax! Ajax!”

    “So they mangled your name, too.” She embraced her knight. Together they mounted the wooden horse and vanished into misty legend.

  41. King Arthur

    The wind whipped through her hair as heavy hooves pounded across the sand. The spray from the ocean caused her dress to stick to her aching legs. She laid across the hard neck of the beast beneath her and closed her eyes.

    His name was King Arthur and he would take her away from her crazy life. He would help her escape her misery. Together they galloped across the damp beach towards the peach colored sunset. She would be free of unhappiness, free of heartbreak.

    The horse beneath her stiffened. His muscles tightened in sudden fear. She shrieked as he came to a halt, jolting her upright on his back.

    King Arthur reared up on his back legs, almost unseating his rider, as the men in white circled the bewildered woman atop the wooden horse. Tears rolled down her face, as they helped her down and across the beach to the white van marked, “Mental Institution.”

    Word Count: 156
    Blog Entry link: http://madcowmobcontender.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/flash-friday-entry-vol-2-21king-arthur/

    **My first ever entry! I hope I do not offend the woman in the photo by portraying her as a mental patient. 🙂 This was so much fun! What an absolutely beautiful piece of art! Thank you for reading! Mad Cow Love!~MCMB

  42. Ellen Staley

    Petrified
    156 word count

    She looked as vibrant as the day he’d yielded his mount to her.

    The knight studied her cheek with its single petrified tear. Drops of gratitude rolled down his face. He did not rub them away, but saluted with gnarled hands, battle aged.

    Oh, to take her in his arms again, thank her for his chance at life and more, victory! The kingdom now existed forever secure. He returned to his steed, gathered a queen’s finery, the value of her sacrifice, and lovingly arranged them, an offering. He remembered the moment she’d forced him from his charger’s back, and cursed to sculpture, she’d bravely smiled.

    He climbed up the petrified stallion, wrapped one arm around her waist. His tears flowed. He wiped them with his fingers, impulsively touched her lone tear.

    She stood on the sand, startled by the statue and knight that rode it. Was it…? Richly appointed raiment caught her eye. And she knew.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s