Fire&Ice: Sol 5/19

§ Rebekah says: Happy Friday! I’m writing you from deep in the smoke-clouds of the Pacific Northwest (USA) fires, where parts of our county have already been evacuated. My own lair is currently safe, but my prayers are with those in harm’s way and those fighting heart and soul to save them. (If only my favorite ice dragon could pay us a visit!) In the meantime, thank you so much for being here. Your words and stories, as ever, are a balm (albeit often a mischievous/disturbing/comedic/stirring balm!).

§ Foy says: Though we share continents, our environmental realities can often seem so separate. For part of this Sol, we escaped to The Away Woods, Mr. F’s childhood mountains, where we were fed heaps of Som Tum and lime-squeezed Laap, sticky rice and tangy-sweet mangos, and had not a bar of cell service (other than the occasional and unavoidable flights into town). We are plump and happy dragons! But home is home and I couldn’t be more joy-filled to share it with each of you.

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 Tamara Shoemaker and Eric Martell. Check out their bios on the Fire&Ice Judges page. Stalk their tweets to see what gets their judge hearts glowing here and 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 5/19

A Yoruba bride and mother. Photo by Fhadekhemmy

Fire & Ice PromptRequired elements:

Fire dragon option: include a mysterious blessing 

OR

Ice dragon option: include a mysterious curse

Today’s word count:  between 150-160 

218 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 5/19

  1. His Bronziness

    My people call me Lola, which is an abbreviation for Babelola. It means I come from wealth.
    That is a good thing, I think.
    You may well ask, “Lola, where is this wealth that you come from?”
    I am modest. I reach into my pockets, pull them out, reveal the sparseness of my immediate wealth, smile, say, “in good time.”
    By trade, I am an artist. A Yoruba artist. I work with metals. Copper. Bronze. And always masks.
    The masks of the Gods.
    Occasionally, those who self-deify.
    The Gods who walk amongst us.
    Like the Great God, Donald Trump.
    What a name he has.
    Donald.
    It means world-ruler.
    For a long time, I have captured his magnificent image in bronze.
    He has become my sole subject.
    Years ago, I had a vision, that someday, he will come to my unworthy studio, see his bronziness a thousand-fold, bless me with untold riches.
    How could he not love my masks?

    158 words
    Fire Dragon Option: A Mysterious Blessing (possibly a curse as well but who’s to say)
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 16 people

  2. HORIZON SETTLES DOWN

    Waif Demure stands on the beach along Lake Michigan. Her mother Empathy whispers in her ear, “Is it wise to intertwine your life with Horizon’s? He will forever remain unapproachable.”

    “Only to those with closed minds,” she replies. “He has expanded mine until it flutters like the tail of
    a comet.”

    “Those are jitters,” her sister Lithe snaps.

    Waif’s eyes engage those hazy orbs of her beloved. They crackle beneath their dissipating dampness.

    “Or are those mine?” he whispers.

    She throws her head back and laughs so winsomely a dove falls from the sky to perch on her glory. Empathy stands back out of respect and smiles. “I know a miracle when one plays out before me.”

    Waif walks on frothy whitecaps which swirl beneath every step she takes, at times blanketing the ringed toes and smooth soles of her feet with a smile that becomes less shy the closer to she gets to her Horizon…

    157 words
    Fire Dragon: mysterious blessing
    @storysmithscb

    Liked by 14 people

  3. Behind the Lens

    I capture them. Their form, in my frame. Their moment mine. Looking through the screen. Looking through this lens. I see tears in their eyes. Love in their heart. A moment between them. True. Worthy. Valuable.

    A moment that no longer belongs to them. Mine to barter. Mine to trade. To hold them back a little longer. The ones who come for me, The ones who I owe.

    I click and capture. Save and steal. The clouds change, the rains pour. Their eyes grey, the colour drains, to an unglazed dull. Like a glass that lost its shine. A doll that needs dusting.

    Their feelings. Their emotions. Mine now. The best ones are Joy. And Anger. Strong and raw. The ones that overwhelm. That flood the body. Flood the brain.

    I look at the photo. Full of life.

    Slip away. The prize in my pocket. The storm on the horizon. Brewing. Blazing. Falling down.

    @bex_spence
    154 words
    Ice Dragon – curse

    Liked by 14 people

  4. Sneaky Friday

    ____________

    ‘twas the evening of the wedding and a hurricane raged outside.
    Lightning forked the skies and punctured terra firma like a multi-headed snake. Thunder rumbled and boomed like God’s war-cry.
    Huddled in their home, mother and daughter—so different—always at odds—were fighting, again.
    What better, than popcorn, a movie? What better than trying to see life through the eyes of those you love but don’t understand?
    As they sat and watched the body swap comedy, they held hands.
    And lo, in that moment, the lighting struck, it ripped through the screen, and they were, for just a single second, held in each other’s thoughts—like they were one and not two.

    I love you mother, but he is my life now.
    I love you daughter, but I fear for your future, he is not who I would have picked.

    And when they returned, they smiled.
    Happily ever after? Maybe not, but happy for now would do.

    _________________
    @making_fiction
    158 Words
    Ice dragon, with residual fire.

    Liked by 17 people

  5. Roses wept from the end of every pew. Great, blowsy, roses, the colour of Sal’s hot-pink blushes. Sal and her brother waded through the treacly scent. She was sure she was going to be sick.

    This was all wrong.

    Sal gripped onto her brother’s arm, all muscle, sinew and bone. For a moment, she allowed herself to think how this should have been her father’s fleshier arm she was holding. She knew what that felt like. They’d practised all those months ago, in the days before the accident.

    The days before the accident. When she’d had control of all of this. When she and Dad had argued for a church filled with wild flowers. And won.

    The accident had ripped away Sal’s control.

    Tears flowed over her rose-petal cheeks.

    Sal ignored her mother’s hot-pink disc of a hat and turned to Ted, waiting patiently, a sprig of cornflowers in his button-hole.

    Dad and Sal had won.

    156 words
    Fire Dragon: blessing
    @rjkinnarney

    Liked by 14 people

  6. Ira closed Moniki’s dainty hand around the brittle structure and squeezed, feeling a slightly duller trill of snapping bones than her daughter-in-law had in her own soft palm as the baby bird skeleton was crushed.

    ‘A straying eye and your firstborn will die,’ she breathed into Moniki’s jewelled ear, tilting her weight onto the young woman’s foot in emphasis. Their beads briefly collided with a warning rattle.

    Ira knew it was merely an empty threat. Her mother-in-law had issued a similar ‘curse’ on her wedding day.

    Many times since, she’d privately smirked about her illicit time with Jacob.

    But no one would hurt her son. No one.

    She stepped back, revelling in Moniki’s distress as she uncurled her fingers to the whitewashed reedy debris, face crumpling like post-nuptial bedding. So entranced was Ira by the power of her words that she was hardly aware of the chafing of her robes, let alone the snake that was disappearing deeper into them.

    @helen_laycock
    160 words
    Ice Dragon: Curse

    Liked by 13 people

  7. Wedding Noir ‘Only the Guilty Sleep’

    It was getting late and I had some place to be.
    The room smelt of stale cigarettes and bourbon. My throat itched for a drink but I didn’t have time to scratch it. The broad beside me stirred but I wasn’t shaken. Just one more in a long line of late-night sleazy pick-me-ups.

    My head ached as I turned up the collar on my slate grey. Lighting up, I inhaled the murky streets of Downtown. Colours blurring through the acid rain that cut through my hangover—sighing as my fingers pressed papers stashed in my inside left.
    I had the goods on the bride alright.

    ‘Detective Alarina to see you.’

    Stubbing out my smoke underfoot—the smell of perfume knocked me sideways. As the walls drew back, the cosy family scene unfolded.
    Three pairs of eyes turned on me. Hers, darker than the others—deadly as a vipers.
    Which one of us was the dead man walking?

    @brittlewindowz
    [wordcount: 160]
    [Ice Dragon: Curse]

    Liked by 15 people

  8. ~Remembering the Rains~

    She remembers the rain.
    Sheets of icy waters falling from heaven, as she prepares to leave for her new home.
    She remembers the tears.
    Droplets of happiness and sadness rolling down her mother’s cheek as she whispers a thousand blessings in her ear and waves her goodbye.
    She remembers, leaving in the horse carriage, and turning back, wishing her soul would be connected with her mother’s in every single life.
    **
    She’d always known, but as the drizzle frames her daughter’s face now, she remembers it all.
    A tear rolls down her cheek, as she looks into her daughter’s eyes and showers her with a thousand blessings, wishing for her to have a wonderful marriage and a joyous life in her new home. She waves goodbye, as her daughter gets into the car.
    And as the car fades into the distance, she hopes her daughter will turn back for her, just as she did for her mother in her previous life.

    @ArvindIyer15
    Mysterious blessing
    160 Words

    Liked by 14 people

  9. The truth

    Guests were leaving. Music matched the sound of silence. Old woman approached the bride. She had tears in her eyes.

    “Why are you crying, Iya?” Bride hugged her.
    “Tears of joy, my child,” Bisi said leaning closer, “I thank you for the burden you take.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “The curse of my family, child. Thank you for taking it away from us.”
    Bride looked in Bisi’s eyes, “Why you speak like this?”
    Bisi blinked. A horror painted her face, “Gbenga hid the truth, the fool,” she hissed.
    “What truth?” Bride’s voice was a thunder.
    “Son, what have you done.” Bisi fell on her knees.

    Black clouds swallowed the blue sky draining colors of the day. Bisi wailed. Gust danced with bride’s dress. Single lighting bolt touched the ground. Sun smiled again. Bride was yelling. Am I an old fool, Bisi thought looking at the singed grass beside her.

    “Are you trying to trick the trickster?” voice chuckled.

    @raijori
    158 words
    Ice dragon

    Liked by 13 people

  10. LESSON LEARNED
    159 words
    Brian S Creek
    8
    +

    Sometimes it is not if, but when.

    She took a few days before coming to see me. Longer than I expected. For that, I commend her.

    She is weak, defeated. As she looks at me, I see her eyes are sore from the many years she has given up. Her hands shake as they come before her in prayer.

    I ask, “What is wrong, my child.”

    Her voice cracks at the effort of a reply. Gone is the strong, stern woman who bossed her way into every room, every situation. She is but a husk of her past self. Simple words bear too much weight for her to muster.

    She falls into my arms. I feel her shake as she sobs.

    Eventually she gathers herself, enough to ask me what she came here for.

    “Please,” she whispers. “Forgive me.”

    That was all I needed to hear. I whisper the words to lift the curse.

    She won’t cross me again.

    Liked by 11 people

  11. The sun rose bathing the village in a rosy awakening.  Monife stretched herself and smiled despite there being lots to do but She would allow herself a few precious minutes. Ifedolaoluwa, would still be sleeping.

    Monife thought back on moments of education, work and joy. Ifedolaoluwa really was their blessing for which she felt proud. Of course, there had been small moments where Monife had had cause to chide her and the discussion about the nuptials had been a difficult conversation until Ifedolaoluwa had subsided accepting, despite believing it a curse.

    Smiling Monife looked out and beyond as the flowers were tweaked and all watched smiling. They weren’t aware yet but her Ifedolaoluwa was the blessed future and there would be magnificent changes soon. All Monife had had to do was get her to the starting point and here She waited poised to pass over the secret in a hug the all-important key and last lesson of future independence.

    Required elements:
    Fire element blessing(with the hint of ice curse!) 159 words
    @lindorfan

    Liked by 11 people

  12. The Dowry

    My beautiful daughter,

    I know you think I was too hard on your suitors and your dowry was extreme. But you are my everything and that deserves a resourceful explorer of a man; an adventurer who will part the rivers, move the clouds and shield you from the rain.

    A daughter as radiant and kind as you deserves a champion who doesn’t fall at the first hurdle.

    A few were close to the finish line but their love did not have that extra ounce of indefatigability. Their passion was not tenacious enough.

    But now you are married . The crocodile tooth from a living creature was the ‘sword in the stone’ and your ‘Arthur’ is a true knight who will protect and care for the exquisite gift with which I have entrusted him.

    As the old Yaruba blessing says – A one handed husband with a pure heart and noble intentions is worth a hundred two-handed feeble admirers.

    @Rab8241
    159 words
    Fire dragon – A mysterious blessing

    Liked by 13 people

  13. YORUBA BRIDES

    “Oh mama, don’t cry. I love Apara. I’m honoured that someone has chosen me to be the bride on this lovely day.”

    “But, Enitan, there won’t be any offspring, you cannot give me grandchildren.”

    “Today I will share a secret with you, mama.”

    “I know that nature has mysterious ways, but two girls can’t make babies.”

    “Apara is not a woman, mama. He is a transvestite. I love him, mama.”

    “So she, or he, is a blessing in disguise?”

    “No, mama. It’s not a mimicry. Maybe it is unusual, but our love is pure and honest.”

    “Can you make babies?”

    “I hope so, mama. Tonight we will unite as a couple.”

    “Good. You will produce beautiful children.”

    “Yes, mama.”

    “I’m proud of you, Enitan.”

    “Thank you, mama.”

    “So, tell me. How many children are you planning to make?”

    “Many, mama. I will make us happy.”

    “You realise making children is unique, Enitan.”

    “Yes, mama.”

    @Hills1S @esthervdheuvel1
    Word Count: 154
    Fire Dragon: mysterious blessing

    Enitan: the one whose birth inspired a story
    Apara: unique or unrivaled

    Liked by 12 people

  14. Breaking free

    Whispers in my ear, telling me I am good enough, that I am strong, that I can face anything the world has to throw at me.

    The whispers echo, tearing at my heart, telling me I will never be good enough, that I am weak and the world will roll right over me.

    I tremble, torn between the voices as I see the way he looks at me. Am I good enough? Am I strong enough? Can I be the woman my mother knows I can be, can I be the woman he needs me to be— or am I the woman she thinks I am? The woman who loathes me, who distorts everything I see?

    She is always there, taunting me when I should be happy. I want to break her, to shatter her plastic smile and break her glassy stare.

    I guess good or evil depends on the side of the mirror you face.

    I will break free.

    160 words (not including title)
    @mishmhem
    Ice Dragon – Mystical Curse

    Liked by 12 people

  15. A Mother’s Blessing, A World’s Cusre

    I stood in the corner and watched them embrace.

    Just like I’d seen Mamma embrace Walt and Emily.

    Just like Mamma had embraced me ten years earlier.

    But this was different, this was DeDe, my twin sister.

    And she looked beautiful again.

    Not like the night I found her in the morgue.

    Beaten, broken and abused.

    She was confident too.

    Not the scared shade I had to guide back to the realm of the living from the land of the dead.

    And she was powerful.

    Damn, was she powerful.

    She brought something different back from the land of the dead.

    Something I had not felt when I brought back Walt and Emily.

    She glanced at me for a second, she felt it too.

    Our connection had reignited -it was stronger than ever.

    And I could hear every word Mamma said, like she was saying them to me.

    My dear Child,
    My Deidre, My Dede.
    I bless you and I claim you.

    Back from the world of the dead.
    Brought back broken but beautiful.
    Brought back powerful and terrible.
    Brought back by your brother Plague,

    I call you Death.
    Go forth, my child, go forth.

    Join your brother
    Take my blessing,
    Take your name.
    Bring comfort to the weak and sorrow to the strong.
    Take from those who have much and give to those with little.

    Fear no more, my daughter.
    For all men will tremble before you.
    I call you Death.

    @WhirlwindsOf
    241 Words (Not including Title)
    Fire Dragon – A Mysterious Blessing

    Liked by 12 people

  16. THE DEEPEST LOVE

    He had said he was a European prince.

    He had played upon her kindness and her loneliness. He had slowly won her trust. He had told her she was beautiful and had spoken of marriage, if only he could move his funds somewhere safe and flee his country.

    He had not come, but her money had gone.

    So she had wept on her daughter’s shoulder. A curse be upon him, she had mumbled, through gulping, snot-burbling sobs.

    Indeed, said her daughter.

    Who was blessed with a degree in computers, a fierce protectiveness of her sweet-natured mother and a healthy ambivalence towards the ethics of hacking.

    Her mother has her money restored now, though her heart and pride will take a while yet.

    While a man in Sofia has an empty bank account, a smartwatch that is stuck on American Mountain Time, and a Netflix account that plays only old episodes of Lost. Dubbed in Japanese.

    155 words
    Fire dragon

    Liked by 12 people

  17. Sol 5/19

    A Turn
    ————–
    There, just the way the heads are turned, tilted, blue opposite mocha-like impressions of innocence. That single embrace expressing love, fear, trepidation all in the same moment. Will the future hold anything different than the past, or is it doomed to repeat in pain, agony, remorse. Only one good thing came out of it all, and now it is leaving.

    There is no knowing the future, unless it repeats over and over. From one generation to another, endless cycles with no beginning, a middle that is the here and now, with no discernible ending. Some families have other tales they tell. Most other families do. Some though, it seems ordained.

    The moment passes. Swelling music and lies told to one another. Hands clasp in each other and look away. The tableau is set for history to repeat itself. All that is left is the pain, blood, and for the next generation to have a chance.

    Ice A Mysterious Curse
    Word Count 155
    @gamerwriter
    ================

    Liked by 9 people

  18. A Benediction

    May you be swathed in Ashoke, may you wish the right wishes, may they take root and sprout into flowers, their names known only to you, may your life be a fingerprint, its mark anointing only the worthy, may you be worthy of Oyindamola, he will bring wealth and you will mix it with honey, his seeds will take root and flower into twins, their true names known only to you, Taiwo will come first, sent by Kehinde to see if the world is fit, and Oyindamola will die just as your love starts to, it’s best this way, you have many more loves waiting, may you die with your belly full of Egusi stew and pounded yam, it was always your favorite, may it taste as it did in girlhood, may you share it with your children, who will live long after you, they who have judged this world fit for them, may they be swathed in Ashoke.

    Word count 159
    Fire Dragon: A mysterious blessing
    @IpsaHerself

    Liked by 13 people

  19. Title: Tradition

    Iya* wept for days before my wedding. I assumed it was the usual sadness any mother feels before a daughter’s marriage that takes her to another village.

    She liked my prospective husband as much as I. He and I would be well-matched and loving partners. But whenever iya would see him, she would weep harder.

    The day came. The ceremony, the dancing, the food, all perfect, and my iya wept through it all. When the time came to leave for my new husband’s village, she embraced me, weeping.

    “My girl, I am sorry,” she said and whispered an incantation in the old language. I knew a curse when I heard it. My iya was of the old ways.

    Before she released me to my husband, she said, “Understand. This is why I gave you my name.”

    My mother’s name and her mother’s before her and back throughout time?

    Mantis.

    I never knew my father.

    @unspywriter
    curse
    154 words
    *Yoruba for mother

    Liked by 10 people

  20. Bride Price

    My mother embraces me and whispers “Mo yo fun e.” It means ‘I rejoice for you,’ and her words sound convincing, because she has practised them. Her eyes shine with tears of joy, or perhaps glycerine drops, because she must appear to be happy and our families must not know what she has done.

    She does not rejoice, because she disapproves of my choice; but she is happy, because she believes my marriage will be short.

    I smile, because she must not know that I know what she has done.

    I followed her when she met with the Aje. I overheard their bargain. I know my husband is cursed to die on his wedding night.

    “Mo yo fun ara mi, Mama,” I reply. It means, ‘I rejoice for myself.’

    My words are authentically convincing, because Bamidele and I are in love. I shall spend the rest of my life with him.

    @marshawritesit
    word count: 153
    Element: ice

    Liked by 10 people

  21. Jenny’s Deliverance

    Jenny girl showed up in front of Miss Debbie’s corner store when she was 8 years old. She was hungry, bedraggled, and sad.

    Miss Debbie asked her what her story was, and Jenny girl told her a story, but Miss Debbie knew it wasn’t her real story. Miss Debbie, fed her; prayed for her. She hugged her and then sent her off to school. Miss Debbie noted Jenny girl was smiling as she walked away.

    Soon Jenny girl hung out at the corner store every day. Jenny made friends in the community and her little band of hooligans was always into mischief. They never did anything harmful, and they were often entertaining. Miss Debbie loved them for it. She fed the ones that needed it. Hugged the ones were willing. And she prayed for them all.

    Soon the community would come by wanting to know what the band of sisters were up to. Jenny could always draw a crowd. Daniella knew how to organize the others. Kayla could always build whatever they needed. These and many others grew up together, learning to laugh, work, and fight for one another when it became necessary.

    About the time Jenny girl moved on to Junior High, Miss Debbie replaced the corner store with a super market. But Jenny and her friends were still welcome and continued to find their mischief. They set a world record for something silly and got Miss Debbie in Guinness. They made a run of dominoes that covered three parking places, and when it was time to let them fall the local news aired it live. Something new every week drew a crowd to Miss Debbie’s place.

    As the group of girls became young women, Miss Debbie became protective. She chased off the boys she didn’t approve of, able to see through them better than the girls did. She threatened the ones she thought were the most dangerous with her old broomstick. Some of the girls objected to her mother hen antics, but Jenny girl trusted her mentor’s instruction. Jenny and her friends took note that the girls who didn’t follow Miss Debbie’s wisdom ended up in big trouble instead of the little bits of mischief they enjoyed together.

    One day when Jenny girl was a Senior in high school, Miss Debbie helped her fill out a college application. That night Jenny girl finally told Miss Debbie her real story. Miss Debbie’s tears reflected her horror and sorrow. Jenny girl’s tears reflected gratitude.

    In the coming years Miss Debbie opened two more supermarkets. Many of the employees were Jenny’s friends. Each store had a gathering of girls kept safe in Miss Debbie’s shadow. Jenny girl worked in public relations for a firm in New York. Daniella was an officer in the Marine Corps. Kayla was a mechanical engineer.

    But today they had to gather again; today they held a forced reunion. Two of Miss Debbie’s stores have burned down. She was determined to protect the last one, the flagship. Her girls would not allow her to stand alone. So Jenny gathered the old friends, and together they planned some mischief.

    Dozens of Miss Debbie’s girls wearing bright colors dresses were lined up in battle array. Dresses that could hide Kevlar, and more. They looked harmless, but they had a plan. They had the skills. They had the media. And they had had enough.

    @CharlesWShort
    564 words (not qualified for the competition)
    Every neighborhood has its hidden, mysterious curses, but the best neighborhoods have blessings, too.

    If anyone is offended by my breaking the rules, please accept my apologies. I tried to convince the story to obey the length requirements. It just wouldn’t listen to me though. Not today, anyway.

    Liked by 10 people

  22. Wedding Day Blues.

    She’s left my mother’s necklace on the bed. I pick it up, before it’s lost in the twisted bed covers. I pop it on the dresser just moments before she shouts, ‘Where’s the necklace?’ Her temper is frayed. Nerves. I help as best as I can without interfering too much.
    She’s beautiful in her wedding dress. We both stare into the mirror. I want to twirl the loose curls of hair too short for the bun, but I know better than to fuss. My mind wanders to her as a tiny bundle wrapped in blankets and sky scent.
    My arms brim with loss. But we promised. No tears.
    “No tears,” she whispers. And breathes.
    “It’s time, Grace. The bells are ringing. Cars are here,” calls my widower from downstairs.
    She looks the room over. Pauses. Smiles. She knows! “Love you, Mum,” she says…
    And I know how the dead grieve.
    150 words
    @elaine173marie
    A mysterious blessing

    Liked by 12 people

  23. Forget Me Not

    He stood at the stern, feet spread wide for balance, and watched the land disappear. The grumbling motor, the water chopped into broken waves, the wind tearing at his clothes, were small representations of the torment ripping his heart to shreds.

    After months studying the small community, he could picture the scene as if he were still there. The women would gather around Eniyii to dress her for her wedding day. She would wear yellow, for Oshun, a necklace of precious coral draped around her neck. A mischievous aunt would stuff a small carving of Eshu in her hands. They would lead her, blushing and giggling, through the streets to her waiting groom.

    Eniyii, his beautiful, sparkling, Eniyii, was lost to him forever.

    His grief was his own fault. He’d broken the first rule of anthropology: Do no harm. It didn’t matter that his only crime had been falling in love.

    His curse was knowing he would never forget her.

    @UK_MJ
    160 Words
    Ice Dragon: a mysterious curse

    Liked by 13 people

  24. Buttercream

    Their feet were caked, and every few seconds, they sank lower. All around them, they could hear the singing and dancing. Nobody noticed them, not yet.

    But their moment would come.

    Yetunde and Alake held onto each other, looking to the other for strength, even as each passing second whittled it down.

    The street drums and colorful hats that marked the traditional festival seemed so long ago now. Yetunde had been preparing ofada rice while Alake washed the white flowing cloth for Malomo.

    Then darkness came.

    Alake wept; her resolve gone.

    Swooping in like pale white ghosts, the bride and groom pulled Yetunde and Alake out of the cake, and tossed them aside. Their bodies caked and cracked, the faint sound of Yetunde crying out for Malomo was lost to the excited murmurs of the guests.

    As cameras flashed, the bride and groom cut into the cake, and with clinched fistfuls, they smashed the cake bits into each other’s faces.

    @brett_milam
    Word count: 160 words
    Element: Ice.

    Liked by 12 people

  25. To Do What Is Best

    “You need to do what is best for our people.” My mother pulled me aside.

    The wedding guests were dancing to the frenzied drums, the groom in the centre. The gold cloth he wore glistened in the sunlight.

    “Does he really think his gold can buy my daughter and her kingdom?” A wry laugh from my mother.

    “I’ll never serve him,” The water was already calling me back to its embrace. This dry kingdom was no place for a river queen.

    “Indeed.” She slipped a small glass vial of thorn poison into the folds of golden fabric at my belt before kissing me. “A blessing upon this night.”

    I clenched my hand and called the clouds to me. “He wants to take me from the river? Ha! I’ll bring the river to him.”

    High in the mountains the water poured forth from fountains and clouds.

    “I will call my kingdom and his name will be cursed forever.”

    Words: 157
    Chosen element: a blessing
    Twitter: @CarinMarais

    Liked by 8 people

  26. Daughters of the Moon

    You asked me about my world, our people, so let me tell you. We are a tribe of women, young and old. There are no men living here. They live beyond the hill.

    It works better this way. There is no fighting, no heartbreaks. Only love. On the night of the full moon, we meet. The men come, how beautiful they are! How good it is to see them, walking over the hill.

    It is a blessing to be with them, for one night. It is a blessing as well, when they leave at dawn.

    So you ask, why is it this way? It has always been, from the beginning. Look at the sun and the moon! They share the sky. They chase each other. Always elusive, just out of reach. We are the daughters of the moon, ever changing. Young as the crescent in the evening, old as the crescent in the morning sky.

    @voimaoy
    154 words
    blessing

    Liked by 14 people

  27. A Blessing in Disguise

    Little baby, Marajo, was doing what was expected of her: looking cute – if overdressed – in her flouncy, white Christening gown: and she was screaming the house down. The vicar did his practiced best to look unfazed. Kiki watched with studied indifference, which was difficult with the racket, but her focus was Lola – just two rows ahead of her.

    Kiki though Lola looked ridiculous in her dark blue concoction – and she was sure she’d worn that at the Achebe wedding, which was only three weeks ago. She must be struggling if she hadn’t bought a new dress for the Christening. It probably explained Kiki’s commission. Bimpe had told her to arrange the blessing as soon as possible, but not to let Lola know about it. It wasn’t uncommon these days. Lola wasn’t a believer in ‘such mumbo jumbo’ and wouldn’t appreciate it – but Bimpe loved her from afar and was.

    Kiki didn’t believe in it either. But hell, it paid well.

    ____________________
    WC: 160
    Fire Dragon Option: A mysterious blessing

    Liked by 9 people

  28. Time Blur

    Time stands still around them, and she knows that something is about to happen that will change her life forever. This is what always happens. Time slows and everything around her blurs. Everything except herself and those involved most in the change.

    Only she and her mother exist. Arms wrapped closely around one another, she squeezes tighter, trying to make the moment last even longer. Her heart aches. She does everything she can to savor it, memorizing the moment and the feelings.

    The cards could fall either way after this. Will it be a good change? Or a bad change?

    Hugging her mother, she hopes for the best, but even as time slows, she knows time is against them. Everyone ages. Everyone dies. Each time time slows with her mother, she grasps it closer, never knowing if it will be the last time.

    She wants to keep every memory and hold it close forever.

    @UntanglingWords
    Wordcount: 154
    Element: Fire

    Liked by 7 people

  29. For Better Or For Worse

    From when he was a small child, I used to pray and pray, wishing away everything I knew was going to make our lives very complicated. Not because I was not prepared to accept what some said was a mysterious curse, but because I was afraid. I saw danger, on every street corner, in every shop, everywhere we went. I saw it in people’s eyes, their stares brimming with confusion, not-understanding. What if, one day, if I wasn’t around, it wouldn’t end with barely concealed whispers? Maybe I became too protective. But I was always supportive, giving as much freedom as I thought was acceptable, for myself, for him, for the world. Realising, eventually, his transformation was bound to happen, sooner or later. Today she stands in front of the altar, ready to start a life that will finally be hers. I feel as proud as a mother can be.

    @bartvangoethem
    150 words
    Ice dragon: mysterious curse

    Liked by 9 people

  30. The Pause

    She leaned in and said, “Come here, Blessings, my child. The Orisa are all with you this day. None more so than Eshu.” She pulled back and fixed me with an unknowable stare.

    My mother has always been known as the trickster in our family and it’s just like her to offer such a mysterious blessing. Eshu, often mistranslated as satan for so long, is himself a trickster, but also a teacher, instructor, leader. He has positive and negative energies.

    Knowing my mother didn’t entirely approve of Tzain, I worried that she meant to curse us, to send me to his home full of concern. That pause consumed me whole and took me so far from the bliss I’d been feeling that, before she broke it, I could see how both sides of the coin could benefit.

    “But only the good parts,” she concluded as her face broke in the biggest, cheekiest, smile, and I returned to the bliss renewed.

    @jamesatkinson81
    Fire dragon option: include a mysterious blessing
    160 Words

    Liked by 8 people

  31. Uninvited Guests.

    A moment of joy; a hug, a kiss and a hearty laugh as Ama welcomed her new daughter to the family, blessing her to high Heaven.

    Then the gunmen burst in and the bullets tore through the party.

    The groom fell across the high table, spoiling the artfully arranged place settings, impact points streaking across his white shirtfront like a crimson sash.

    The bride twirled on the dancefloor, a gay pirouette powered by high-velocity rounds, tearing lace and shattering bone.

    The wedding cake was obliterated, as was the paige boy standing beside it and the tiny figures on the top.

    The bride’s mother survived, but shards of glass from a shattering champagne bottle left permanent teardrop scars on her cheeks.

    The photographer died, finger twitching the shutter, taking blurry shots that would later prove that, yes, these were just men.

    Ama felt a searing in her chest, saw roses blossoming there, then crumpled to the floor like an un-caught bouquet.

    @Karl_A_Russell
    160 words
    A blessing.

    Liked by 10 people

  32. Reforged

    Mama’s smile has always been fraught: lips pushing up cheeks while remorse creases her eyes. She wears it before she sends me off with my new husband. She whispers some ancestral benediction, perhaps that a wife’s obedience be rewarded with kindness, but we both know how that worked out for her.

    The first unkindness comes over too-lumpy akara beans. Then one for tracking gravel inside, another for lingering at the window overlong. I have practice swallowing outrage, but it feels different when it’s for myself. The heat hardens my belly. The bruises are different too: purling the skin, hot to the touch.

    One night, I stray outside. His rough hands on my neck ignite a furnace. Fire erupts from my gut. Scales ripple out from my bruises. Welts on my shoulders burst into wings, launching me away from the pyre of my husband.

    I soar over Mama’s house. She’s on the portico, face upturned. Moonlight falls on her serene smile.

    @ncscrawls
    160 words
    Fire: mysterious blessing

    Liked by 8 people

  33. Promise Kept

    I’ll never forget that moment. Mother leaning into me; my cheek wet with her tears; her breath warm upon my neck as she prayed. Her words never left me.

    “May the Lord bring you peace one day. Peace and justice. Somehow.”

    I didn’t say anything. She had spoken my words. I held her close, my tears mixed with hers.

    Today, I stand looking down at the box lying six feet below me. I am one of only a few dressed in black to pay respects. His sister throws dirt. His mother drops a tulip. I watch them pass by without a sound.

    I step forward. From my purse I pull out the dress I wore that day. Torn. Stained. I held it all this time like a promise. Now I drop it onto the box.

    It was his heart that killed him. But I believe it was a promise kept.

    @colin_d_smith
    150 words
    Fire Dragon: A mysterious blessing… or is it the Ice Dragon: A mysterious curse? You decide. 😉

    Liked by 6 people

  34. The Waters Flow

    On the morning of my wedding day, I wonder: who is this man I am marrying?

    Mother embraces me tearfully. She, too, had the blessing, like all our foremothers, back to when Earth was boundless and men drew sharp lines across the land.

    Will the man treat me well? The blessing never reveals all. Droplets of insight.

    Windows facing the sunset.
    A glimpse of a baby girl. Is she crying?
    The aroma of soup from the kitchen.
    Snatches of drumbeats, a manic rhythm.
    Will ours be a house of music and laughter?

    I fell instantly, as though the blessing had drawn a line from his heart to mine. From that moment, the joy and sorrow of both our lives was sealed. No surprise, no mystery, no question: he was mine, and I his. What more could anyone ask than to have all doubts removed?

    But who draws the lines on the maps of our destiny?

    155 words
    @pmcolt
    Fire Dragon

    Liked by 7 people

    • The feeling of being transported to another time and place with the “droplets of insight” is powerful, and I love how you’ve built tension with a line as simple as “is she crying?”

      Like

    • Oh I love this, of course the fantastical element of the wedding day “blessing,” but also the way you’ve encapsulated the quiet beats of our own lives against the backdrop of the tension (battle?) between fate and free will.

      Like

  35. The Theft

    I see her carving through the crowd. I freeze, like a deer in the headlights, aware that I am on a collision course with fate. There is no escaping her.

    I have stolen her son from her. Her darling boy, the apple of her eye, her first born. Now he is mine. I fight the urge to hide in the shadows until the party is over. The theft is so blatant, so brazen, yet the people around us cheer.

    I have not stolen from them.

    They say that love conquers all, but her love for him is lifelong, and as deep as the ocean.

    She finally reaches me. I put on my best smile, in the hopes it will protect me. She leans over and whispers in my ear. “I hope he treats you like he has treated me.” Then she is gone.

    I don’t know what to make of it. Was that a blessing, or a curse?

    @todayschapter
    158 words

    Liked by 9 people

  36. The Legacy of Curse
    She stepped on to the altar where the mural of Oba overlooked the crowd. Tatiha had tears in her eyes. She prayed to Yewa the river Goddess to save her. Once she was tied to the promise of Oba the goddess of marriage there was no escape. No Yoruba woman could defy Oba for it would bring calamity on her tribe for a hundred years.
    “Fly away my little bird,” her mother whispered. Tatiha hugged her, as her mother shed tears of happiness. Once the ceremony was over, she would be given away in marriage to the highest bidder. And the money would go to her mother.
    Tatiha knew her mother had received offers for hundred pieces of gold.
    Tatiha gave one last look to her with cold eyes as she received her mother’s curse.
    She now understood why her mother never returned to her Nana, even when she was dying. Now, Tatiha will never return to her mother.
    @vibhalohani3
    160 words
    Ice Dragon
    P. S. I hope somewhere in the world deadline of 24 hrs still remains 😊

    Liked by 9 people

  37. Dear dragons please delete my first entry. I’d like to submit this edited version instead. Thank you.
    —————
    ~ The wedding

    She puts on a smile, her heart filled with the scent of wilted flowers trampled by the feet of anxious days and nights. She gathers herself with a sigh, trying to keep her balance in a heavily embellished gown. Henna tattoos run up to her elbows, drinking in her skin, temporary birthmarks of a false life ahead, a labyrinth of destiny cited in her horoscope.

    She watches a woman detach herself from the shadows, her dress like stardust.

    I can’t do this, she tells her.
    For us, the woman whispers.
    What if it isn’t true. What if he doesn’t…die.
    The women’s eyes are the colour of a thunderous cloud.
    Then I shall.
    Mother!

    She crawls into the palanquin, knot of her treachery stuck in her throat. Jingle of glass bangles protest. A tear finds a path close to her lips, she licks it away. Eyes shut in prayer then, seek out her groom.

    His smile she wants to remember.

    @firdausp
    Words: 160 / curse

    Liked by 6 people

  38. Sol 5 is now closed! thanks to all who battled today’s fires to write with us. Stories are always welcome here, but from this point will no longer be eligible to win.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. “Well,” she said.

    “Well.”

    “You have everything you need?”

    “Yes. Thank you.”

    “Bouquet? Rings? That ridiculous so-called love poem?”

    “Yes, yes, and absolutely.”

    “Well then.”

    “Well then!”

    “Of course, if I were being honest—”

    “Oh please.”

    “I should have asked, Do you have everything you need again?”

    “I—”

    “Bouquet again, rings again, and yet another ridiculous poem?”

    “This is your honesty?”

    Her black eyes pierce mine. “Tell me, sister. Are you ready again?”

    “Women often remarry. Why not I?”

    “Women often remarry. Once, perhaps twice.”

    “So?”

    “What number husband is this for you?”

    I look away. “Who can count true love?”

    “I have counted, sister. This one is fifty. Fifty.

    “So?”

    She whispers, “Are you so afraid of facing the long centuries of our lives alone?”

    I press my face into her shoulder. I do not ask, After a thousand years, are you so afraid to ever love again?

    Our tears on each other’s shoulders sparkle like diamonds.

    160 words
    ice dragon: curse

    Liked by 10 people

  40. ESSENTIAL TO YOUR HAPPINESS LIST

    Bag of sugar—which brand, St. Louis? Dangote?? Olusola says Iya won’t eat one. Find. out. which

    Bag of rice—Bazaar’s only had Jasmine. Check again for Basmati tomorrow

    Alligator pepper—ask for “atare” x 42. Black cardamom ok sub?

    Bitter kola—“orogbo.” LOTS.

    Bag of salt—table ok? (Iya says fine)

    Umbrella—ask Olusola what our colors are WITHOUT letting her know you forgot again, dumbass

    Palm oil—25 liters

    Corn cake—“aadun” (not like wedding cake. Mom wants American cake, too)

    Kola nut—“obi” x 25 nuts

    a bible?—Olusola says yes, Iya will insist

    Keg of honey—remember to ask Dad to pick up the palm wine, too. Star Lager, ok for afterparty?

    Yams—(basically sweet potatoes) x 40. LARGE.

    Fruit—arranged in tower or fountain?

    “She-Goat”—Michael has a goat guy? Where to keep it??

    “Aso-Oke”—traditional Yoruba fabric. Isioma says she can get this for me

    Gold ring—top drawer of dresser. DO NOT FORGET

    151 ineligible words
    @deborah_the_foy

    Liked by 6 people

  41. *weeping* Please forgive me!

    No, Mama! You were a wonderful mother. You are a wonderful mother!

    No, my dear. No, no, no. Forgive me.

    What are you saying? You worked and struggled. You did everything for us. You sacrificed your dreams for your family. You put all of us before yourself. Everything I am is because of you. You showed me how to be a perfect wife and mother.

    But what about your hopes and dreams? Promise me you will not give them up.

    This is my dream, Mama. I’m happy today!

    Yes, he is a wonderful man. But I know you have dreams. You have a brilliant mind. Promise me you will use it.

    Of course, Mama. Now no more crying.

    And, I have something for you.

    What is it?

    I’ll give it to you when you come back from your honeymoon. Something to help you keep your promise.

    @ordinaryletters
    150 words
    mysterious blessing

    Liked by 7 people

  42. Pingback: Promise Kept | Colin D Smith

  43. ‘Ade, you know the blessings of a mother is important, I pray that you will be happy in your new home. You will not bury your husband early as I did, God will bless you with beautiful kids…’
    As Ade’s mum prayed for her daughter who just got married, they both wept, hugging each other. She had been brought up by her mother as her father died while her mum was pregnant with her.
    The wedding was filled with the usual pomp and pageantry of a Yoruba wedding. The drummers thrilled the guests with pulsating beats, there was enough jollof rice and fried chicken and palmwine flowed.
    Too soon, it was time to leave for her new home. Ade’s luggage was put in a hired bus, the groom’s family piling themselves in another, while Ade and Ola snuggled together at the back of a salon car.
    Suddenly, Ade’s step mother shouted at the convoy about to move away.
    ‘Not yet, don’t move,’ she commanded.
    ‘I haven’t prayed for the bride as custom dictates as her father’s first wife.’
    Swiftly moving to the salon car, she leaned through the window, whispering into Ade’s ear.
    ‘I decree that all your mother’s blessings is immediately terminated and replaced with my pronouncements. You will surely bury your husband soon, your marriage will be shortlived, just as your mother disrupted my lovely marriage by coming in as a second wife.’

    Liked by 4 people

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