Fire&Ice: Sol 4/19

§ Rebekah says: Welcome back! Today’s photo prompt takes us to the world’s 5th largest country, Brazil. In fact I sat down to wax enthusiastically to you about havaianas, samba, and Mark Wiens’ mouth-watering episode on Rio’s favelas—only to belatedly notice my coffee mug skittering off the table in anguishing slo-mo (the anguish and perceived slo-mo were mine; I presume the mug itself enjoyed the rush). Coffee spilled everywhere, and not only that, but someone had borrowed the last of the kitchen towels and I had to improvise (don’t ask). It was a mess, I tell you, and I was on the verge of hunting for someone to shout at when I saw a little red cap flitting past the window. OF COURSE!!!!!! I should have known: it was Saci-perere. Watch out, y’all, is all I’m saying. Today is going to be trouble.

§ Foy says: While we’re finishing off our rooibos & cinnamon, and before we bid a fond “til later!” to South Africa, a frost-kissed thank you to Carin Marais for the update. She’s given us several maw-watering reading recs—like Dalene Matthee’s Circles in the Forest, about an outcast woodcutter and a runaway elephant, desperate to save their home from powerful exploitersso do check them out! And speaking of forests and their protectors, if you’re ever walking in the rainforests of Brazil, keep a watchful eye and a keen ear. You just might stumble upon child-sized footprints leading off the path, or hear a strange, shrill whistle echo down from the canopy. Be careful; the Curupira is watching! 

QUESTIONS? Tweet us at @FlashFridayFic, shoot us a note here, or tap any of the judges.

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Fire&Ice Guidelines: 

Time: The Fire&Ice contest is open between exactly 12:01am to 11:59pm on Fridays, Washington DC time (check the current time here). Entries submitted outside of this window are welcome, but will be incinerated ineligible to win.

How to Play: Write and submit an original story 1) based on the photo prompt and 2) including EITHER the fire dragon or ice dragon‘s requirement. Pay attention to the 3) varying word count constraints! Story titles (optional) are not included in the word limit. At the end of your story, add your name or twitter handle, whether you chose the fire or ice dragon’s element, and word count. That’s it!

Be sure to review the contest rules here.

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JUDGES: Today’s judges are Voima Oy and A.J. Walker. Check out their bios on the Fire&Ice Judges page. Stalk their tweets on what they’re looking for here.

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AND HERE IS YOUR PROMPT:

Each Fire&Ice prompt includes 1) a photo, 2) a required element (choose between the fire dragon or ice dragon’s offering), and 3) a specific word count. Your story must include all three requirements to be eligible to win.

Photo for Sol 4/19

800px-Pescaria_no_Parque_das_Timbaúbas²

“Pescaria no Parque das Timbaúbas” Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil. CC3.0 photo by MacioFeitosa

Fire & Ice PromptRequired elements:

Fire dragon option: include a mischief-maker 

OR

Ice dragon option: include a protector

Today’s word count:  Maximum 200 (no minimum)

262 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 4/19

  1. Heart Murmur

    Swish, Swish
    What unopposable force orders you like a marionette on strings
    To stretch into my deeps?
    Swish, Swish
    What great hand uses you to stir my waters with your enchanted fingers?
    You poke and prod and pound
    Appropriately punctured pieces of me
    that freeze and curl inward
    like a withering puzzle,
    Like shivering, frosted fingers of frigid ice
    Dead in the deeps.
    Swish, Swish
    With each prod, a little of me leaks out,
    A slow eyebrow lift, and the left ventricle collapses;
    One blown kiss when you catch my eye,
    And the atrium’s walls crumble.
    Swish, Swish
    You’re proud of yourself, aren’t you?
    That you still hold my heart.
    You won’t be satisfied, will you?
    Not until I am a vast lake
    With no shore and no end
    And there is nothing but silence between your palms.

    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 146
    Fire Dragon Prompt

    Liked by 18 people

  2. Sunday Mornings with Tomás

    Tomás arrives before dawn. Even the damn rooster is sleeping. He reaches in my window, gives my shoulder a shake, whispers, “acorde pequeno dorminhoco.”

    Though I am expecting him, I resent his reference to my size.

    “I’m not so little,” I let him know.

    “Fine. You’re a giant amongst all the other little boys. Get dressed. The fish are waiting.”

    I dress quickly, grab bread and cheese, stuff them in my knapsack, snag my fishing pole and meet him outside.

    Tomás has a new bike. It is black and looks expensive. Though rich in experience, he has no money. “It’s a beauty,” I say as I grab my old Caloi 10, the bike my father rode and the bike my son, should I ever have one, will ride.

    “A loaner,” he says and winks.

    We have a thirty-minute ride to our spot. Ours and whomever else fishes there.

    As we ride, I look at the borrowed bike. Tomás is not perfect. He occasionally borrows things he likes. But he’s honest. He will return it.

    As he says, “I don’t steal. I liberate.”

    I admire that.

    It is a fine distinction.

    This morning I will liberate some fish for dinner.

    Ice Dragon Option: A Protector

    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 22 people

  3. It never rained on June 14th any more. Eight years ago, it had rained on June 14th. Great drops of sadness falling all around them, drowning them. Ever since, though, June 14th had glowed in through their windows, kissing each face awake.

    Marcelino, as a rule, hated early mornings. He liked to inhale the deep scent of his coffee, feeling it gradually lift his eyelids, until he could face the day. June 14th though, he was outside first, honking the horn on the decrepit, barely functioning, old Jeep. The driver’s seat still held the imprint. It made him feel closer.

    The brothers piled into the Jeep and chattered all the way to the lake, shouting over the roar of the engine.

    At the lake, all was calm, still. Sunlight was just beginning to gently samba across the water towards them. The boys took up position, where they’d stood every June 14th for the last seven years. Every year since they’d cast their father’s ashes into the water.

    They launched their lines into the still water, into their past. They knew they were safe here.

    @rjkinnarney
    Ice Dragon: Protector
    184 words

    Liked by 18 people

  4. Auto-Suficiente

    On Monday, the country will commemorate its independence once again. The military will march through Brasilia. The poor will cheer on tens of thousands of soldiers, but the racket of hundreds of tanks will mean their voices go unheard.

    Here in Juazeiro, there will be carnival and colour: dancing, drinking; dissipation for those who have enough to celebrate. We won’t go; we’ll do our own thing. We will come to the park, bait our hooks, and, 𝘴𝘦 𝘋𝘦𝘶𝘴 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘳, my little brother will eat. Perhaps I will eat too.

    Probably, there will be no 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘢𝘨𝘳𝘦. Who is independent really? Only the fish.

    @marshawritesit
    word count: 102
    Element: ice

    Liked by 17 people

  5. “The Yara”
    The Sanchez brothers never took their sister Maria fishing.
    “You’re too mean,” Ramon teased. “You might make friends with the Yara.”
    The Yara wrapped fishermen in her strong brown arms. Maybe Papi Sanchez. One afternoon he left with his pole and never came back.
    “I don’t want to learn to fish,” Esteban complained. “I hate fish.”
    “So you like farinata?” Ramon said, baiting his hook.
    “Why does the Yara hate men so much?”
    Ramon laughed. “She’s pissed her brothers tried to kill her, and made her kill them. Then her father drowned her. She’s pissed she grew a tail, too.”
    “What will we do if she sings to us?” Esteban whispered.
    “I can’t hear you,” Ramon said. He gestured at his ears. The older brothers wore cheap white earplugs.
    Ramon reached in his pocket and music spilled over the riverbank. A woman’s voice, low and sultry.
    Esteban dropped his pole and ran for home.
    His brothers laughed. Watching Esteban, they never saw the strong brown fingers wrap around Ramon’s ankles. They never heard the splash. The scream.

    Mischief Maker
    180 words

    Liked by 15 people

  6. Time. Frozen. Their bodies, still as statues. It had been this way for years. Years since they’d arrived. Since he’d invited them to stay. Invited.

    The winds whispered, the lake still. A mirror broken.

    He’d watched from the shoreline. He’d watched them come. Watched them drink, laugh, enter his water. They hadn’t asked. Hadn’t offered. Hadn’t said goodbye. He smiled. Remembered.

    As he caught them in a moment. A moment that wouldn’t pass. That wouldn’t change. Their world stopped turning.

    He reached his hand to the young boys face. Saw the tears in his eyes. The hurt caught. The pain that wouldn’t shed.

    A tear falling. Falling in slow motion.

    The years passed. The boys stood. Together. Alone.

    People came. Saw. They didn’t enter the lake. Didn’t touch the water. Didn’t touch.

    Years passed.

    A tear falling.

    He wiped them away. Wiped them from his prizes. Yet they kept coming. They kept falling.

    He was old now. He couldn’t get to them. Couldn’t keep the tears from falling.

    He wasn’t as fast, wasn’t as fit. A tear falling.

    Falling.

    Broken.

    @bex_spence
    180 words
    Fire dragon option: mischief-maker (Bit of ice in there too)

    Liked by 17 people

  7. “Teach a man to fish” constantly whispered echoed around his ears.
    He had learned to fish when he was young and now, he instructed others, mainly family friends, until the rules had suddenly changed. Today the whispers were echoing extremely strongly, especially as they were currently sat on the bank staring across the lake in the park feeling bored. Fish swam abundantly just below the surface teasing and coercing as predominately as the whispers were.
    Two sticks appeared on the bank and he pulled some string from his pockets, kept there as every boy should, and deftly made two rods. He offered them to his brother and friends yet only his brother took the opportunity. Their friends were more reserved but remained to watch. The abundance of fish vanished and the lake stilled apart from the ripples of string bouncing hopefully on the surface.
    The sun surrounding them was bliss as they mischievously hoped the fish would swim back to the shore to be snared for a second or two for a secret they alone could keep.

    (@lindorfan 177 words,
    fire element of mischief- maker
    (with a hint that he’s working against the protector ice element!))

    Liked by 15 people

  8. ~Sweet Memories of Tomorrow~

    It is beautiful, watching Luis getting married to Rita, just the way Luis had wanted– on a beach, against a tangerine sun. From the moment Luis had walked in with Rita at dinner, five years ago, both he and Maria had known, she’d be the one.
    ***
    Luis is mischievous, sewing fish onto a thread and tying it behind Uncle Filipe, and letting the neighborhood cats have their fun! Maria keeps scolding him, but he’s ok. It was just the way he himself was at the age of 11.
    ***
    It isn’t a grand wedding. Just he and Maria and Uncle Paulo, without whom, this wouldn’t have been possible. It was Uncle Paulo who’d fought for them, protecting them from an entire town that was against them.
    ***
    She has been his childhood companion, but as the tender rain frames Maria’s angelic face, he knows he’s in love.
    ***
    As a golden sun reflects off the lake, little Antonio has another one of his visions. Flashes of his memories, from his tomorrows. And knowing that Uncle Filipe and Uncle Paulo and little Maria, all sitting right next to him, are a part of these sweet memories he’s yet to make, only makes him smile.

    @ArvindIyer15
    Protector/Mischief maker
    200 Words

    Liked by 16 people

  9. Four men who missed the boat.

    There walking on the not to so famous beach ,they reached a pond that resembled the hues of fire. The ombre tints captivated ,so they thought of fishing there . One of them was sent to fetch the fishing lines . The equipment, quipped quietly to itself , ” but aren’t you trying to trying to do this all day , threading and baiting , rotating , churning and learning.” Joe heard a dull whir and asked Harry , ” why are you mumbling? ” . Harry was stupified but stayed quiet. They lowered their strings into water and waited . Petulance was engraved on the expression of the other two. They kept staring at the fiery colour of the monochrome waters . They seemed to be under a spell…

    Word count 121 words

    Liked by 15 people

  10. FATHERS

    It’d been eight months since they’d thrown clods on to their mother’s casket, finally suffocating the cancer that had eaten into all their lives.

    The boys were resilient.

    Not so their father, Joe. Never had been. The red rivers in his bloodshot eyes had always led him to the same place: the bottle. His hands were forever clawed – clamping anger, balled for the punch. Otherwise, clasping anything that would swill liquid.

    The harlots now hid when this drooling figure lurched towards their patch; Joe’s resolution was to find relief in the cabin, initially amongst sticky pages and crusty DVDs.

    The two youngest were delighted again when Elijah grabbed the fishing rods and Lawrence ushered them by their shoulders, whispering, ‘Let’s go.’

    Behind them, Joe was fumbling in his trousers, his glassy eyes fixed on Josiah.

    At the tranquil lakeside, their thoughts cleared.

    What tragic irony if, that night, a drunk were to stumble to his watery death.

    @helen_laycock
    Word Count: 157
    Ice Dragon Prompt: Protector

    Liked by 17 people

  11. ~The butterfly makers

    Another day at the camp; the sun still low and rosy on the horizon. I stretch out of my cocoon, unfold my limbs, then proceed to the ancient coffee maker. It’s the only vain thing I’ve retained from my other life.
    The dark liquid runs down my throat, through my shoulders, down my arms, filling my fingers. Rolling my shoulders I step out of my pod-cabin then shake the liquid out from my hands.
    The lake is as stagnant as time, the air as putrid. We aren’t making much progress. There’s nothing left to protect except perhaps, dwindling hope.
    I press the button by the door and the humming of the machine breaks the silence. Then one by one I hear more machines. The morning is filled with their collective hum. I then release the hatch, the butterflies fly out in a cloud of blue, joining the myriad colours from the other pods.
    One is stuck in the hatch, I gently release it. Instead of flying away it climbs up my finger. Bringing it close to my face I stare at its bulging eyes.
    We can do this…together, I say. Blue wings flutter and its off towards the crimson sky.

    @firdausp
    Words: 200 / Protector

    Liked by 15 people

  12. WHAT MUST BE DONE
    199 words
    Brian S Creek

    Terra comes down the dusty track and joins us by the water.

    “Dasian,” he says.

    I nod. Did his voice crack? I think so.

    Our other brothers, Sooli and Jaitu, are deep in conversation. When Terra joins us, they go silent.

    “Are you ready, brother,” I ask.

    He turns. “Is there no other way?”

    “I wish there were.” And I truly do. “But if this spreads beyond your world, we will all lose ours.”

    He breathes deep, knowing the futility of his situation. For millennia we have shared this space between worlds. Now, one of us is leaving, never to return.

    Sooli stands and hugs his brother. He fails to hide the tears. “If I could switch with you-”

    “I know,” says Terra.

    Jaitu places a firm hand on his siblings’ shoulder. “Show them no mercy, brother. This is their failure, not yours.”

    Terra just nods.

    He turns and begins his walk into the lake, the bridge between all worlds. The water begins to churn and glow brightly. He wades father out until he finally disappears below the surface.

    I feel sick at our loss. But my world will now be safe.

    And perhaps now, Earth will be too.

    Liked by 15 people

  13. A RAT

    It was inevitable he’d get killed. The quick steamy thrill in the dark alley, the guy’s teeth biting his shoulder made him shiver. Then, shot through the chest, lukewarm blood dripped onto the tarmac. Juan blinked. From the corner of his eye he watched traffic whizz by like it was just another ordinary day.

    He thought he’d escaped the gangs, the drug lords and cartels. But once you’re in, you never get out. A twenty-year-old photograph had turned up. Evidence. It was him, no doubt. He’d changed the tattoos. They erased the last ‘E’ so it read, ‘INDEPENDENT’. They altered the gang tag underneath into a dragon, spreading its wings. A delightful piece of art.

    The rat sniffing around him had put out a lure, and like a hungry fish he bit the bait on the hook.

    So, what was his mistake? A silly one, for sure.

    Juan sighed. What on earth made him so stupid to wear the same brand of underwear for decades? A pair of designer’s shorts turned out to be the signature under his death warrant. A tear escaped his eye.

    The vermin, the gorgeous cunning rat, seduced him before murdering him with his Ruger.

    @Hills1S @esthervdheuvel1
    Word Count: 199
    Fire Dragon: mischief-maker

    Liked by 16 people

  14. The Brambles

    Holly’s body was in the brambles at the other end of the lake.

    A near daily spot, one of the boys seemed to notice something amiss at first, but the lure of the capture grabbed his attention again. They were trying to reel in the oscar for that night’s dinner.

    With two days of sun drying her out, Holly’s skin had turned ashy, like she still had leftover embers inside her.

    She was another creature of the streets, as customary as the dumpsters and streetlights, who was hooked by the promise of money to get to the States. Her friend was there already, and told her about skylines of a different kind. There, the friend said, she could be born again.

    But one pickup had a different idea of a fun night, and Holly, 90 pounds soaking wet, could only wiggle until the wiggle was snuffed out. Half-a-dozen fisherman had already come near the spot, not noticing her becoming the elements. As in life, she had a way of blending in.

    With whoops and hollers, one of the boys had the oscar in his hands, holding tight before it could squirm back to its watery home.

    They’d eat well tonight.

    @brett_milam
    Word Count: 200 words.
    Element: Fire.

    Liked by 15 people

  15. Iemanjá (Goddess of the Sea)
     
    Goddess of the Seas,’ they once cried.
    In humble reverence, they still worship me, in a festival in Rio Vermelho.
    Most of the world is water, as are you, my brother, my sister.
    But I am no longer who they think I am.
    No longer protector.
    I’ve rescued enough children from the water’s edge, and salvaged seafarers from the raging storms that swallowed their patinaed rust-infested trawlers.
    My reward?
    My bowels are clogged with human effluent. My veins spiked with the shards of microplastics. Now my trachea chokes on discarded PPE.
    The children no longer visit my shores to skim stones. No, they smoke, they litter, they fight.
    But… do not weep for me.
    I have taken your oceanic cables, your methods of communication, and I sit, waiting for my time to come.
    I am protector turned mischief-maker.
    I am Iemanjá, now Oixá of the Digital Seas.
    And I can stand by no longer as you elevate jesters with orange skin into charlatan leaders. Where you care more for weapons than people. Where BLM is a marketing strategy.
    No.
    I see you with your beauty-filtered monochrome selfies, and your leaders of division. And I rise.
    Mischief is coming.
     
     
    198 words
    Ice to Fire. Protector turned mischief-maker.
    @making_fiction

    Liked by 13 people

  16. I’ve always admired your ability, at the drop of a hat and in just a handful of words, to craft a story, populated by three-dimensional characters.
    “Fine. You’re a giant amongst all the other little boys.” had me chuckling.
    Great to see you are still in top form, Bill.

    Like

  17. Rambla

    She raised her children to be independent and hard working. That’s what she said.

    He said, spitting on his sleeve ‘That’s just a line she dangles… so she don’t have to do nothin’ for ‘em.’

    I’d see them down by the rambla.
    All sharp angles and hollowed out eyes. The colours of them, long since faded, into meandering waters that slipped mischievously through needful fingers.
    Fish playing that little old game of cat and mouse.
    Mouths flapping.
    Throats bobbing up and down as they swallowed half-baited truths—jiggling at the end of guileless lines.

    Not him though.
    Skin emblazoned.
    Her lies—his metaphor.
    She wouldn’t wriggle out of this game.
    He’d see to it that those sisters of shame and neglect would lie—gutted—on the river bed.

    I said, ‘Heard they came for her, after they found those poor kids, nearly half-dead.’
    He said, bones cracking, stained sleeves gaping ‘Oh! They came a lookin’ for her.’ Then: snickering. ‘She was caught alright. Hook, line and sinker.’

    @brittlewindowz
    [wordcount; 170] [element: protector]

    Liked by 12 people

  18. The Lake of Life

    ‘Gerald, will you shush.’
    ‘I can’t believe…’
    The tattooed bruiser who had terrified Gerald when collecting them at the airport made a slicing motion, not across his throat, but somewhere more sensitive.
    ‘Did you see that? He wants to cut off my…’
    ‘Gerald Pelmet, I’ll do it for him if you don’t…’ Daphne stopped.
    The scrawny boy held out his hand. ‘The gifts for Our Lady?’
    ‘Gerald, give him your… stuff.’
    ‘Do you think it’ll still be okay? It’s pretty humid.’
    ‘What are you suggesting? You go and polish Percy behind the rushes? Just give him the jar.’
    ‘I hope it was clean. A random chilli flake might affect the personality.’
    ‘Now you believe.’ Daphne handed over her jar with the studied reverence usually afforded a religious relic.
    The boy intoned as he emptied the contents. ‘Lady of Life, Protector of the Seed accept these gifts!’
    ‘It’s mumbo-jumbo, but if believing in this charade means no more IVF then I for one…’ Gerald’s voice tailed off.
    The waters bubbled and roiled; a basket bobbed to the surface.
    The Pelmets stared inside: Daphne cooed, ‘We’re parents,’ while Gerald closed his eyes and said, ‘Bloody hell, twins.’
    196 words
    Fire: protector
    @geofflepard

    Liked by 11 people

  19. Ha! Nice one, Geoff. It needed a second reading to understand what was in the jar and the other related quips, but well worth it!
    [Protector is an ICE dragon element though.]
    (I was just perusing the latest offering on your blog, and wondered if you were aware that Flash!Friday had risen from the ashes.)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The Last Barricade

    The water was receding. The slow process had been happening for generations but now, with tall reeds sticking up and the outline of bones and rocks visible in the mud, the youngsters played at the edges without fear of the treacherous barrier.

    “What will happen when the waters are gone?” asked one youth, poking a stick into the current to watch the end melt away.

    The shadow of the dragon rose behind them.

    “Then,” came the rumbling, soot-filled reply, “we feast.”

    @UK_MJ
    81 words
    Ice Dragon: a protector

    Liked by 12 people

  21. Independent

    “One day, meu filho , you will be free from all this.”

    My father swept his arm over his crops – the crops my parents told me never to touch with my fingers. The crops that so many neighbors would demand as they arrived in rumbling trucks with long rifles. The crops my family would defend as they sent me to fetch water without looking back or worrying about the thunderous pops behind me.

    “Why do you do this?” I would ask my father as he labored over the fields he hated.

    “Freedom.”

    My answer was always the same. “ Ah meu!

    “Why do you do this?” I would ask my mother as she worked her fingers to the bone weaving blankets for customers we would never see.

    She would smile wearily. “Freedom.”

    Ah meu!

    “Why do we do this?” I cried when I was told that my brother, Miguel, would never come home again. For years, the answer was the same.

    Until my father gave me a packet and said, “New papers, new life.”

    I opened it. Froze. “Only one ticket?”

    My parents beamed at me through hot tears.

    Then I saw Lady Liberty as I stepped onto Ilha Independente .

    Ah meu .

    @johnmarkmiller
    theartisticchristianwordpress.com
    200 words
    Ice Dragon: Protector

    Liked by 10 people

  22. “There are times when we can catch something…”
    “What you mean Ebola, Typhus….” – the list goes on and on not to mention the Teflon coat that clings to everything – shee! . Catching things never was so simple its just their nature that has changed… oh so much the philosopher, never short of fucking verbiage when given a chance. Smiles reverberated amongst the gathering – ignoring the echoing silence. It threatens to engulf all – stifling wordless screams.
    Words 75
    @Skowtura_Ini
    Fire dragon option: include a mischief-maker

    Liked by 9 people

  23. Friends

    Pablo was counting flying beasts. One day I will fly with you too, he thought. A shadow veiled his eyes. Pablo turned his head. Juan, his little brother, was standing above him.
    “They are here.” Juan pointed to the lake.
    Pablo rose up. Squinted eyes. In the middle of the lake he saw little boat. Someone was watching him too.
    A heartbeat later this boat approached Pablo and his little friends.
    “Don’t run.” Pablo whispered.
    Boys nodded taking few steps behind him.
    A man, not much older than him, eyed Pablo. He cocked his head. Smiled.
    “Pablo.” Man spread his arms.
    “Do I know you?”
    “It’s me, Luigi.”
    “Luigi? Is that really you? What are you doing on this lake?”
    “I’m saying goodbye to friends. Why are you here?”
    “Boys said your boat does suspicious things. Every week drops something in the lake.”
    “Yes, my friends. We need to catch up sometime. Tomorrow. Restaurant Pancho, ten o clock.”
    “It’s a deal.” Pablo said.
    Luigi waved another man with a gun away. “Tomorrow,” he smiled at Pablo.

    @raijori
    176 words
    Fire dragon

    Liked by 9 people

  24. The Invisible Fish

    One day the trickster rendered all the fish in the river invisible.

    She took the form of a small boy, running through the streets: “The fish are gone! There are no fish!” Then she sat by the river, arms around her knees, waiting to see what would happen.

    The Big Man strode to the banks. “Balderdash,” he said. Just needs bigger nets, is all.” He set to building enormous fisheries, fenced off with barbed wire, for no one but himself.

    The Medium Man said, “Eh, I’ve no idea.” He went back to watching his shows. But he eyed the river nervously.

    The Smallest Man said, “We must have mis-used the river. We must change our ways, and let the river heal.”

    The Smallest Man was found later at the bottom of the river, tied up in barbed wire.

    The Medium Man slowly starved to death, eyes glazed over, watching his shows.

    The Big Man caught the invisible fish and gorged himself. But then the fish died out and so did he.

    The trickster pulled from her pocket a jar of fish eggs, and poured them in the river.

    ——-
    @betsystreeter
    188 words plus title
    Trickster

    Liked by 9 people

  25. “Can you hear that?”

    “The only thing I can hear are your gums flapping.”

    “Seriously, man. You can’t hear THAT?”

    “Look, we’re here to fish, not conduct experiments in your auditory acuity. Now shut up, you’re scaring the fish.”

    “But…”

    “Dude. Shut UP.”

    Pebbles skitter across the hard packed dirt.

    A grunt of effort, a gasp of surprise, and a great wet splash.

    On the shore, perfectly framed on either side by two crisp footprints, an arrow, embedded in the soil, still swaying slightly from the sudden arrest of its trajectory.

    “I told you I heard something.”

    @p_stueber
    97 words
    Ice Dragon Option

    Liked by 6 people

  26. Fishing For Piranhas

    The first time I fished for piranhas, I was 19. Backpacking. I did all the countries of South America (apart from the rubbish ones at the top), but my favourite, easy, was right here – Brazil.

    Ha, no, I liked the beaches, and the women, sure. But the best bit for me was the Pantanal – these swamps, where caiman hunt capybara, parrots perch upon the treetops, and guides take you fishing.

    Easiest fishing you’ll ever do – may as well be in a barrel, and you with a shotgun. Cow heart was the lure. Just slice a chunk of that firm flesh and slip it over a hook, dangle it from a line on the end of a bamboo rod.

    Plop! In goes the meat. Whoosh! A bubbling frenzy. Seconds later, there’s a thrashing, manic fish with teeth jutting out its jaw like some sci-fi nightmare. I caught twelve that time. Most in the group.

    Always wanted to come back. I’ve been imagining this moment for thirty years – the writhing mania, only bigger! Dangling flesh into the swamp, from a rope this time – watching someone’s face contort as their legs get shredded to the bone.

    Shame you won’t get to see it.

    @Tim_kimber
    200 words
    Fire prompt: a mischief-maker

    Liked by 8 people

  27. THROUGH THE BOTTOMLESS APHOTIC

    When Abal falls into the water, Hayle wishes they had gone to the prairie instead. The surface of the water ripples like the muscles across Faron’s heavily tattooed shoulder blades.

    His question “Should we go after him?” goes unanswered.

    * * *

    Abal regrets never having learned to swim. His diminutive form drifts below the point of logic.Just when he’s about to succumb to the unknown, his fading eyes come into focus. A yellow-haired mermaid with a Technicolor tail holds out her arms to keep him from sinking further into the aphotic from which she arrived with her paramour, a handsome, fair-haired, World War I soldier who is free of flesh and has hollowed-out, sunken onyx eye sockets.

    Without a word, they carry him to safety and vanish without being discovered by the others.

    * * *

    “What happened?” his cousins inquire. They lie him down on the sand where he continuously sputters water up from his lungs.

    “Nothing,” he says.

    But thinks of Delmo, and the golden life he swims beside from the aphotic to the surface in every body of water.

    Upon recovery, he tempts fate again, dragging a stick through the potent waves.

    ICE DRAGON: protector (Delmo)
    WC: 193

    Liked by 6 people

  28. Wood and Water

    In the forest, they found a forgotten city. Papa said it was a trick the forest played on us, because once you knew where the city was, it was impossible not to see it. Papa said the forest liked to protect its secrets. Mama said there were many cities under our feet, we just needed to dig for them. My little brother liked to dig and thought this was an invitation to scoop his square-palmed hands into shovels and get to work in the back yard. Mama grabbed him by his collar and shoved him my way. ‘Take him down to the flood waters,’ she said, ‘He can dig there.’

    We curled our toes into the sewer-stink silt and waited for something worth saving to float by. My brother asked: ‘Does the water protect its secrets, like the forest?’. The older boys laughed but I didn’t. Papa said the water was diverted to us to protect the city further downstream. I thought about the city in the forest. It belonged to our ancestors, Papa said. It was ours. I led my brother away from the water and asked him if he was ready to do some digging.

    197 words, ice element (protector)
    @RachaelDunlop

    Liked by 12 people

  29. Joe kept the kids dangling. And then with a sleight of voice defter than his magician’s hand he produced a “Boo” that sent squeals flying through the air. He imagined chasing the bubbles of excited laughter with his net, catching them, holding the net to his ear while its contents squeaked. He had other thoughts too.

    The boys had come down to the river’s edge.
    A child catcher didn’t always have to hunt. They might come to him. Stay a while. Leave one by one. Until the most enthralled remains alone. The one they don’t really care about.

    Tommy says he has to go. Michael, too. Brothers. David’ll wait for one last story. Jamie hasn’t said a peep. He’ll stay with Old Joey. Old Joey sees it in those eyes.

    He makes the one-last-story quick. David is already halfway up the steep bank. The colour of worry paints itself on Jamie’s face until a magic coin appears from behind his ear.
    And, Boo. Joe’s hands are tight on Jaimie’s shoulders. Boo. His face is cruel. Boo. His breath is hot and grim-
    “Hey, Jaimie, why weren’t you behind me? Come on!”

    Boo. David must’ve cared about him, afterall.
    @elaine173marie
    200 words
    Protector

    Liked by 8 people

  30. Joao

    The latte-colored waters cooled the air, and the hill’s shadows protected me as a parent might shield their infant from the hot sun. My brother Joao stood near be, pretending to fish. He was ferocious looking, with broad shoulders and gang tattoos, but to me he’d always been kind, and there for me. Even when he was tossed out by Papa, I could see him in the alley’s blackness, deliberately giving himself away by lighting a precious cigarette when I looked out my window.

    My bruises were getting lighter, turning to yellow and even green. Joao said nothing about the bruises. He’d seen them before, and his own body had been marred long before the tattoos.

    As I fished a human faced seemingly formed from the smoky waters, becoming firm for just a moment, before the currents softly pushed it deeper into the swirling dark water.

    “Did you see that?” I asked Joao. He said nothing, but nudged me over a bit so my lure and attention were placed elsewhere.

    We later walked home to an empty house, both of us free from that face, and those fists.

    C. Centner (No Twitter handle)
    Word count: 188 words.
    Option: Protector

    Liked by 4 people

  31. The witch watched from the bushes. Evaluating the skin and bones as they cast their nets. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, give him a rod and he stands around wondering what he came here to do. They knew not that their hopes and dreams were fish food. That the dimensions below digested philosophy for breakfast.
    There would be one water talker though. There was one every century. So she waited, squatted in the bushes. Munching on frogs legs and twigs. Until he, or she came.
    She winced as one bag of skin reeled in a scaly chief. She made eye contact and heard the whisper of magic words. Just as the boned fingers reached for their prey, chief slipped off the hook. Flipped his tail as he slid back into the pool.
    The bones would never know that his capacity for hope had slipped off the hook too. He would likely never miss it. Not many of them do, she mused.
    Only a decade or two left to wait.

    Ice option
    177 words
    @sam_c4rr

    Liked by 6 people

  32. DEVOUR

    Sticks poised with purpose, trembling hands disturbing surface tension. Hearts rippling alongside the water. Fear and excitement create an obscure solution as it sloshes around inside, pushing hairs up on end and pulling the ribcage inwards.

    But the Garotos do Lago grow fast – they have no choice – bravery is survival, and they will all earn their ink today.

    João’s eyes, constantly darting between reeds and bulrushes, scanning for movement. Pepe sweeping his stick in a wide arc as Rafa mixes the powders, a cool façade cloaking them all. Any clues as to their intent and the beast will stay submerged, reap its havoc after dusk.

    One more sweep and the Garotos spin, synchronised. Jaws dropping, eyes widening, hands flying up in futile desperation.

    The beast switched lakes – the first time in centuries.

    One by one they fall to its gaping maw and jagged teeth. The flame of Rafa’s lighter the last remnant lost to the gloom.

    For a moment, the beast lay contented on the muddy shore. Man had destroyed so many of his kin, given so few in return.

    Thanks to his protection, the migration will come; home is finally within reach.

    But first
    .
    The great devour.

    @WeymanWrites
    Word Count: 198
    Option: Ice Dragon – Protector

    Liked by 6 people

  33. Title: At Each Other’s Throats for All Time

    With the mark of The Protector newly seared into my back, I watch, close enough to act; far enough away not to be sensed.

    This boy will never fall into the water. He will never walk in the path of a car. He will never come to harm because I’m with him always, silent, invisible, protecting.

    “You can’t be everywhere all the time,” said my companion.

    Whenever there is a Protector, there is also a Destroyer.

    “This boy is destined for greatness,” I reply.

    “I know, and you know it’s my job to keep that from happening.”

    “You can try.”

    With a smile, The Destroyer lifted a hand. The water in the center of the lake began to burble, and a great wave built. I lowered my hand, and the water calmed, barely a ripple disturbing its surface.

    The Destroyer’s smile broadened to a grin. “Eternity with you is going to be fun.”

    “Indeed. We might as well get started. And let’s dispense with the parlor tricks.”

    “No problem. You ready?”

    “As I’ll ever be. Bring it.”

    “Hmmm. I wonder if sharks ever come this far inland?”

    And so it began.

    @unspywriter
    Ice Dragon
    191 words
    P.S. Who knows what inspired the title?

    Liked by 8 people

  34. Old Wives Tales

    Ethel picked up the photo she’d found on Doris’s kitchen table, two men, one shirtless with a huge tattoo on his back, rippling muscles, one crouching rolling a cigarette, two boys’ one fishing, one sitting on the river bank. Doris could see her best friend was itching to ask who they were. She waited a few minutes whilst she poured Ethel her third cup of tea.

    “It’s Sebastian’s homework”.

    Ethel always had to stifle a laugh, ridiculous name for a child especially with a mother like Carole with an e.

    “He has to write two hundred words with a protector or a mischief maker in the story.

    “Easy” said Ethel, “the tattooed one is in a drug cartel he pushes the young lads in the river so they’re not forced into gang culture”

    “What about piranhas and they might not be able to swim?”

    Ethel rolled her eyes. All kids could swim. They teach them at school.

    “I know they find a stash of money. The all run away and live happily ever after.”

    Doris rolled her eyes. Sebastian would be writing something fantastic. He’d won an award for handwriting when he was eight. He was no fool.

    198 words
    @stellakateT
    Ice dragon: Protector (Doris) and Fire Dragon: Mischief maker (Ethel)

    Liked by 8 people

  35. Forestry

    He watched. A small group had gathered on the lakeside as the water receded, exposing skeletal limbs and boughs of bone.

    “This is why the fish have gone,” said one, looking at the boy. “Locals call it the Forest of the Dead. Everything in there dies.”

    “We need to dredge the floor, clear this away,” said another. “The authorities were supposed to have stopped waste being dumped here, weren’t they? They need to be reminded.”

    He couldn’t allow that, sent a ripple across the surface. He splashed the boy who jumped back, then curious, returned to peer into the water. “A fish! You said there weren’t any!”

    The others moved to his side. “We’ve never seen any. Perhaps we should catch it, see what monsters breed here.”

    Before they could stop him, the boy had plunged in, forcing them to follow. Beneath the shimmering water, a shadow flickered, leading them on along the sunken forest path.

    Deeper now, knee-high, waist-high, an incline down into his woods. Submerged. Shouts of laughter turning to panic.

    A brief struggle before roots searched them out and anchored each in place, saplings in ancient woodland. A new generation of bark to be tended and protected.

    @el_Stevie
    200 words
    Element: ice/protector

    Liked by 8 people

  36. Payback

    Tristao was tired of his older brothers frightening him, telling tales about the lake and forest spirits and reveling in his fear.
    Yesterday Tristao turned ten, almost a man now, and it was time for payback. His brothers fished in the mornings, so he hid alongside the lake, his floating papier maché snake ready to be set on fire like Boi Tatá, legendary fire serpent.
    He smiled to himself, gripping his father’s lighter, and practiced floating his snake, to ensure it wouldn’t sink and ruin the fun.
    He gasped. Something slithered by his feet in the knee-deep water. His heartbeat quickened as a line moved away from him in the water and curved back. A blinding fiery light arose from the water. Without thinking, he pushed his replica at its namesake and leapt out of the lake.
    Over his shoulder, he watched Boi Tatá sink its teeth into his creation and drag it to the depths.
    His brothers arrived a moment later with their fishing rods.
    “See a spirit?” Ulisses joked.
    “Yes, Boi Tatá.”
    Afonso snickered. “Always imagining things.”
    Tristao pointed to his hiding spot. “I saw fish jumping over there.”
    “Valeu, brother.”
    “My pleasure.” Tristao grinned and walked away.

    @athewriter
    Element: Fire (mischief maker)
    200 words

    Liked by 8 people

  37. Camiral

    “Mentiroso.” Mateo likes to say Valter lies so good his words come out true sometimes.

    Afonso scoffs and gestures at the basin. “There’s not enough water to cover a whole town.”

    Valter stands with his back bowed like it’s strung, hand perched on hip like a preening bird. “It was a small town. Papai said they had to divert the Rio Branco for irrigation or some shit. Called it Camiral before they flooded it.”

    “Then prove it,” says Afonso. “Swim down and bring some treasure back up.”

    Valter’s crest-white smile says he’s been waiting for just such a suggestion. He strips off his shirt, toes off his sneakers, and dives. His body curls into the water like it’s ice cream, like he’s a mouth-warmed spoon.

    The water is bath-warm and sediment-murked, but Valter can see a distant pulse of light. He kicks towards it, wings forward into the greater pressure of greater depth, enveloped by the peristaltic pump of the reservoir’s sluggish circulation. From a below comes the water-strangled sound of a door closing, and closer, a porch light, just strong enough to paint a carpet down the stairs—he’s home.

    Above, Afonso and Mateo wait for Valter to surface.

    @IpsaHerself
    Element: Fire (mischief maker)
    200 words (not including title)

    Liked by 8 people

  38. The Burning

    Ever-Night was coming.

    It had been over a hundred years since the last Anu had passed, and for a hundred years young men and women had made the trek to the top of Mt. Anayki to brandish their stick, snapped from the Tree at the moment of their birth. Yet, each year the water remained as still as the year before.

    Crops were wilting. Livestock grew ill. Sickness once healed with herbs now resulted in funeral pyres.
    Sansi, the youngest in the village, stood at the edge of the water. The crowd gathered behind him was large, but not as large as in years before. Many had succumbed to the Wasting, and many would if the water refused to move.

    His small hand barely held the stick steady, but he held it as bravely as any of the thousands who had come before him to this sacred spot. His eyes, so dark and wide as to mirror the still waters, filled with tears as his arm started to burn with the weight of not only the limb of the Tree, but with the silence of his people.

    At the first ripple there was a gasp.

    At the second, a cry.

    @iwrites
    Words: 200
    Ice Dragon – Protector

    Liked by 7 people

  39. Raven Craft

    The drowned ones loiter on the shore, lulled by lakesong. Scarred longing binds them to her banks, the only mother to ever take them in.

    Tia is new here, all scowls and obsidian. She hurls rocks to break the lullabies their infant ears never got to hear. They break her with rocks.

    But she comes back.

    “Why stay?” She spits a loogie into the glassy face. Their hands curl around stones.

    “She loves us,” they murmur. A wet embrace is better than none at all.

    “Loves you like farofa!” Tia crows. “She swallowed you whole and crapped you out here!”

    They stone her again.

    Third time, Tia doesn’t spit or scoff. She sits. She jingles trinkets in her palms.

    To one boy, she gives a key. “Skinny Lucio can slide through keyholes.” He drops his rock.
    To another, a bean. “Fabian forever has candy in his pockets.”
    To the last boy, a watch. “Gasper hypnotizes toads by talking backwards.”

    Clutching their new identities, they sidle away from the water and into the woods.

    Lake heaves herself upward in a shower of scales. “Is it still a trick if it helps them?” she gurgles.

    Tia shakes herself into ebony feathers. “Always.”

    200 words
    Fire element: Mischief-maker (Protector in disguise?)
    Nancy Chenier
    @ncscrawls

    Liked by 10 people

  40. Duarte

    Where did you dump the bags? Duarte asked.

    Joao pointed with a stick to a spot on the still surface.

    And did you put enough stones in them?

    Joao knodded.

    Good. You’ve earned your place in the gang. I will protect you from now on.

    Joao smiled. He knew the name Duarte meant “guardian of prosperity”. He had already seen enough to not cherish any illusions about his life, but now maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t have to become that bleak. A gun and a guardian, that’s all you need in a favela. And guardians don’t come along every day.

    A week later Duarte was watching from a safe distance how Joao stepped into an ambush in a Sante Teresa back alley. He was glad it wasn’t him.

    @bartvangoethem
    128 words
    Ice dragon: protector

    Liked by 8 people

  41. Mateus knew no matter how hot the sun, the boys couldn’t go home empty-handed. His mother had only a few grains of rice to feed all four brothers.
    “Over here, I see one!” Thiago pointed his bony stick at a shadow slightly submerged below the wrinkled lake.
    “Careful, Thiago. We want to find food not become food.” Mateus had special feelings for his youngest brother, the only other person he knew that could take.
    Rising from the water with a bulging belly of white alabaster and the whiskers of a warlock was the most enormous catfish ever to surface in Cabo Frio. Thiago fell back paddling the sand, but the massive mouth of the catfish was quick to take a taste of toes before vanishing from view.
    Mateus crouched by his brother. He let the warmth of the sun sink in his shoulders and travel the length of his spine into his being. “Breath, brother,” and he squeezed the foot, ready to take pain and in the next life a promise to endure the same again. Slicing sensations as Mateus’ blood-filled flipflop dropped into the sand. Looking into Thiago’s eyes he saw the ultimate truth: suffering was a gift.

    Liked by 8 people

    • I love how you’ve set up conflict in the opening paragraph, and given us a glimpse into their world.

      Also the imagery here—“Mateus crouched by his brother. He let the warmth of the sun sink in his shoulders and travel the length of his spine into his being”—is just gorgeous!

      Like

  42. Young Moses

    The boys were bored, as bored as you can be on a late summer afternoon beside a lake so stagnant that it was growing stubble.

    So when young Moses claimed that he could part the waters of the lake they sat patiently while he gave it a go.

    Only Aaron looked concerned. He worried about his younger brother, who was bullied in the village because he was different.

    “Why the stick?” asked Ezekiel.

    “I’m not sure,” admitted Moses. “I just have a feeling it makes magic easier.”

    Aaron shook his head.

    After an hour of Moses shouting and pointing, like a shepherd at a shambling sheepdog, Joshua looked over his shoulder.

    “This is stupid,” he said. “I’m going home.”

    “You’re right,” sighed Moses. He held the stick between his palms and tossed it out onto the lake, his hands parting as if releasing a dove.

    The surface split, silently, either side of a path littered with stones, gasping frogs and, because all bodies of water contain one, a supermarket trolley.

    Moses gently brought his palms together, and the waters closed.

    Aaron smiled. “That’s going to come in really handy,” he said, “if you’re ever chased by bullies.”

    197 words
    Ice dragon element

    Liked by 9 people

  43. “Are there really mermaids here?” Luiz stared out at the river. Reeds and muddy water could have been hiding anything.

    “Of course.” Francisco’s back muscles rippled beneath his tattoo as he dragged the last of the rope nets to the water. “Get to it.”

    Alex and Rual laughed as Luiz made his way to the shore and held the dead fish he’d speared on a stick out over the water.

    “Farther out,” Rual called.

    Luiz stretched out until his toes sunk into the mud at the shore. Then strong hands hit his back and he was sailing into the river.

    Muddy water closed over his head. He kicked to the surface to gasp in air but something grabbed his foot and dragged him back under.

    His eyes stung when they opened. There was a face coming towards him with stringy hair flowing behind it and a grin with too many teeth.

    A net splashed into the water and the smile turned to a silent shriek as the creature thrashed. Luiz burst through the surface, coughing out water and fear.

    “I told you two we’d get one.” Francisco laughed as he hauled the net to shore.

    @CommonHeresy
    195 words
    Fire dragon(mischief-maker)

    Liked by 7 people

  44. The boy pointed his stick at the spot in the water where they’d find my body one year and one day from now. I didn’t know how I’d end up there – would I stumble drunkenly down the slope and pitch headfirst, hitting my head on a rock? Would I be shot in a drug deal gone bad, brought down by the coronavirus, felled by the randomness of fate? Not that it really mattered. I’d signed the contract in blood and my soul was destined to be in the hands of The Trickster.

    He smirked. “Now that that’s out of the way, are you ready to see her?”

    Of course I was. Bringing Lyndsay back to life was the reason behind everything I’d done – the incantations, the hunts for the right compounds, the search for the thin place between this world and the others.

    And now she was here. I could smell her perfume. I turned toward the wind and saw her face for the first time since they’d closed her casket. But instead of a smile, all I could see was a feral snarl. With a roar, my daughter charged at me.

    The Trickster roared with laughter.

    198 words
    @drmag00
    Mischief-maker

    Liked by 7 people

  45. Pingback: #FireIceFlash, week 4 – Project Gemini

  46. Go into the light . This house is clean. I’ve seen this on the tv. Go into the light ! You’ve built it on a graveyard ? You’ve built it on a graveyard!
    The gravestones are coming up . I can see the cross. Gravestones are coming up . I can see the cross. It’s facing away from me .
    “He’s gone.”“Too much water.”
    You always looked out for me . Turn around . I haven’t drowned . I’m alive. Just check . I’m alive .
    Your tattoo always made me feel safe. Not your fault I fell in.
    Turn around . Check. I’m still alive .
    You looked out for me all your life . Don’t stop now . I don’t want to go to the light . There’s water everywhere . Not your fault I fell in . Turn around . Turn the cross away from me . I love you . The light is shining .I don’t want to go .

    Liked by 8 people

  47. Ripples

    Billy tossed a rock into the pool and watched the steely surface ripple.

    “You home for good?”

    Josh skimmed a stone with practiced ease.

    “I don’t think so. Mom wasn’t too happy to see me.”

    Curtis struggled with an oversized rock. He fumbled it into the shallow water, barely missing the toes of his sneakers.

    “Mommy cries about you.”

    Josh looked down at his youngest brother.

    “Mom cries a lot. That’s why you’ve got to look after her.”

    Curtis frowned at this suggested role reversal, but Billy nodded.

    “We can do that.”

    He threw another stone, aiming for the last place he’d seen bubbles rising. It shattered the face of the water.

    “That’s what I wanted to hear.”

    Josh gave the boy a thumbs-up, then effortlessly launched another rock. It hit dead centre and a red slick bloomed. Billy watched it spread and deflated slightly.

    “Will you still be in town though?”

    Josh crouched low, looking gravely at his brothers.

    “I promise you, she brings home any more trash like him, I’m only a phone call away. Okay?”

    Billy nodded, fighting to keep his eyes dry. Curtis just turned away and scattered a handful of pebbles over the still waters.

    @Karl_A_Russell

    200 words dead.

    A protector.

    Liked by 11 people

  48. Freedom’s Applications

    Independence! he would say, proudly, pointing at his back, where the word was emblazoned. False proof that no one, not on earth, and not in heaven, would tell him what to do.

    I agreed with him about freedom. I disagreed with him about everything else.
    Freedom gave me choices, too.

    He is oldest and wants to look out for us. Especially me, the youngest, he wants to toughen me up and prepare me to fight the world. But he was what I chose to fight. We didn’t fight like brothers; we fought like two third world countries claiming a gold mine.

    He demanded we all get a tattoo, the word independence. He wanted it to be just like his. He wanted us to be just like him. I refused.

    When I see him now, he still tells me. I still don’t listen. He points to the ink, old and new, proclaiming powers he doesn’t have.

    Last visit he grabbed my shirt and noticed ink on my chest. The words, Christ follower enraged him. He screamed at me and tore my shirt.

    The guards pinned him down. He wasn’t allowed to touch visitors. He wasn’t allowed to yell. He wasn’t allowed.

    @CharlesWShort
    200 words
    Fire or ice, fire or ice? Well probably both a protector and a mischief maker

    Liked by 8 people

  49. Lake Mystc

    Some of us gather afternoons at Lake Mystc. We search these ripples for the missing letter and the dancing water maid who coerced it under the moon to follow her past the bridge and down into the depths.

    None of us can swim. Well I can but I must not disclose this information to anyone lest I become Keeper of Sacred Waters. It is an appointment with benefits but also with a curse. The lifetime commitment has lured many and many have been lost to the stir beneath these calm waters.

    So I cannot swim. I sit with the others and paint scenes of festivals with my water stick. Our work is swift and our scenes swirl into oblivion almost as soon as they are completed yet we know the maid sees. One day one of us will conjure the scene she cannot resist. She will rise and in her left hand will be the sack where she holds our letter captive. The swiftest among us will steal it back, thus returning our lake to a jewel of safety again.

    Until then we gather afternoons at Lake Mystc to paint our scenes in silence and dream we are the one.

    @fhaedra
    Fire Dragon
    200 words

    Liked by 8 people

  50. Night Swim

    In daylight the children come round the lake to play and fish. Sometimes they dare each other to jump in — but none ever do. Not that they believe the legends. Ghost stories, told by their grandparents. They scoff, for what pathetic creature would protect this worthless old lake?

    Sometimes the more mischievous imps among them will creep through the bushes, rustle leaves, bang a stick against the branches, and shout, «A Caipora vem! Corre! Corre!» Then laugh as os pequenos run screaming from the demon Caipora.

    But when the sun sets, and even the teenagers have left, the world turns upside-down in reflection. The waters are encircled by land, yet infinitely deep. And the lake’s surface — strewn with stars like diamonds — ripples.

    @pmcolt
    125 words
    A mischief maker

    Liked by 9 people

  51. Inkfish

    ”How’s it work?” Theo asked.

    “Every weekend, we came out here to fish.” Cam answered. “No matter how small, we ate anything we caught – no sharing.” He emphasized that part; he definitely didn’t want another. “If you’re lucky, one of them will eventually be an inkfish like I caught. Once you’ve swallowed it, it’ll swim around in your body near the skin and leave a mark that reveals your soul.”

    “How’s it swim after you cook it?”

    Cam gave Theo a puzzled look. “No one mentioned anything ‘bout cooking.”

    Theo swallowed hard and turned back to the water and his makeshift fishing pole. He was torn between wanting to never catch anything and his desire to snag an inkfish who would hopefully ink something wicked cool like a dragon into his skin.

    Cam barely managed to contain his smirk until his little brother turned back towards his task. Their dad had played the trick on him too when he was that age. It was only fair that Theo experienced the family legends too.

    @UntanglingWords
    Word Count: 173
    Fire Element

    Liked by 9 people

  52. Gone Fishin

    There is an invisible line, under the hastily built lake in our town. On one side of the lake, the houses are large, and well maintained. We know, because we are the ones that maintain them. My brother spends all day pruning someone else’s hedges, and we don’t even have a garden. Our house is a tiny basement apartment. The only thing growing in it is despair. And mold.

    We see the line, but so do the rich folks. The difference is, they are looking down. They don’t have the sun in their eyes, blinding them, making it hard to move. They think they see us clearly. To them we are lazy and stupid.

    Works for me.

    I bring three of the boys with me to ‘fish’.

    The rich folks laugh at us. Stupid locals. Don’t they know the lake is empty.

    We laugh too. We aren’t looking to eat for one night. We are the lookouts, our job is to spot the servants with the suitcases, to know who is heading back to their third home. Those are the big fish, the lunkers. When we see that, we know we will eat well for a month.

    197 words
    @todayschapter
    Mischief makers!

    Liked by 10 people

  53. A Mother’s Worst Nightmare

    The mother watched as her family played happily by the lake, keeping a close eye on her youngest. He seemed normal to the rest of them, but she could tell something was off. Call it a mother’s intuition, but she knew that wasn’t her boy. The eyes were half a shade too dark, the smile a little too wide, and the boy carried himself in a way she didn’t recognize.

    The small child looked around and the mother quickly looked back down at her book, praying she hadn’t just been caught staring.

    A strange yelp had her eyes snapping back up, and her heart sunk. For all that she could see was a trail of blood that led into the lake, and impish footprints embedded in the mud.

    @lucianvin
    Word count 132
    Fire

    Liked by 8 people

    • A two-sided nightmare – one not believing the child is yours, the second losing it to the water. By not looking down she could’ve saved him.

      Like

    • Oh such a fascinating tension between the disquieting whisper that this isn’t her baby, and the instinctual drive to safeguard the life of a child…

      Like

  54. Tchau

    It has been a good day. Backflips into the lake. Skipping rocks. Reminiscing about the practical jokes they’d played on their tias and tios. Of course they would still do all those things. But it wouldn’t be the same with only três. Martim always had the good ideas. He made fun out of everything and out of nothing. And he had always looked out for them. Made sure the mischief never turned into real trouble. His reward for being so clever was a four-year scholarship from universidade. And their reward for encouraging him, looking up to him, was saying goodbye.

    @ordinaryletters
    Word count: 100
    Ice Element (mostly)

    Liked by 9 people

  55. Moqueca for the Saudades

    Her teeth are gone, but she makes moqueca for the memories.

    In the clay dish, coconut milk and dendê oil swirl around each other; polar and non-polar, they brawl, embrace, and brawl, again.

    —Be gentle. He looks up to you.

    Meanwhile, sweet pepper bleeds red alongside tomato, revolutionaries bruised and crushed.

    —You’ve a sharp mind; there are other ways to defend.

    Lime drips down her fingers, and seeps into imperceptible cuts, a familiar sting.

    —Child! Switch the sugar one. more. time, and I’ll make you eat salt!

    Now, even cut four ways, the rind resists her grip. Maybe this will be her last moqueca.

    She stirs and stirs.

    @deborah_the_foy
    WC: 108 “do not pass on” words
    Ice & Fire

    Liked by 10 people

  56. He’s there; he said he would be.

    I see his shadow–though he’s not currently attached to it—dancing a jig in the sun, while we stand here, sit here, doze here, fishing lines dangling in the clouds below. The shadow’s pointing at something. It could be at himself, though that’s not likely. More likely it’s a bird, or a discarded dragonskin, or a thimble.

    “Haha!” he loves crowing at seeing that sort of thing. “Another jewel for the treasure chest!”

    Nobody dares say we’d been hoping for an apple or a peanut butter sandwich. No; we just lay down our lines and jig-jag after him, trumpeting all the way. Just as well; by the time we get there, all my brothers’ eyes gleam like his. I’m the only one not squabbling over who gets to plink the jewel on the pile.

    “Maybe he’s at her house,” says a brother after a while. “You know how he forgets time there.”

    Now, still pointing, the shadow’s shaking with laughter.

    “What?” I ask. “Where??”

    Giggling, the shadow somersaults three times in a row.

    Closing my eyes, I cast my line again. He’s coming, he’s there, anytime now.

    He said he would be.

    @postupak
    200 words
    fire dragon: mischief

    Liked by 3 people

    • “More likely it’s a bird, or a discarded dragonskin, or a thimble.“

      I just had this vision of an absolutely massive basilisk skin lying there, and the melancholy desire to be able to step into this world and climb all through its coils.

      Like

  57. Pingback: Gone fishin | Today's Chapter

  58. Pingback: The Lake of Life #flash!friday #creativewriting | TanGental

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