Fire&Ice: Sol 10/19

§ Foy says: A deliciously chilly sol 10 to you all! Here in the United States, we’re well into the season of specters (not just the political kind), and as is tradition for many, we at the ice dragon crypt lair are dutifully staying up far too late and hijacking our amygdalas. Thanks to a recent Gothic horror kick (brought on by Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s latest novel Mexican Gothic [read her Flash! Future post here]), Mr. Foy and I stumbled across “The Haunting of Bly Manor“, Netflix’s loose—very, very loose—adaptation of “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. Without dropping spoilers or delving into a broader critique, what’s most striking to me about the series is how it engages with humans in and proximate to mental health crisis. As characters on screen struggle with grief and trauma, I feel my body brace for the familiar mental-health-shaming-as-conflict device only to have that tension dissipate as characters in crisis are met with unquestioning support and empathy—even grace!—from those around them. Viscerally, it’s unexpected, refreshing. I find that level of acceptance and understanding here with you all at Fire&Ice as every week we pour our words out into the world, embrace new challenges, and generally survive 2020 together. Thank 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 Voima Oy and A.J. Walker. Check out their bios on the Fire&Ice Judges page.

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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 10/19

Burmese_musicians_at_the_Shwedagon_Pagoda

“Burmese musicians performing at the Shwedagon Pagoda in 1895.” Public domain photo by Philip Adolphe Klier.  Read a description of the photo here.

Fire & Ice PromptRequired elements:

Fire dragon option: include a student

OR

Ice dragon option (inspired by this): include a roadworker

Today’s word count:  89 exactly

181 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 10/19

  1. The Apprentice

    I was but fifteen in 1890, the year I began my servitude with Klier. My father, afraid that I would be drawn into acts of political resistance, sought to ensure my future, my life.

    My country had then been in volatile disarray for five years. Burma had been demoted to a British colony, an Indian afterthought.

    Klier guaranteed my father, who once helped Klier acclimatize to the splendors of Rangoon, that I would be well positioned in my new profession.

    “He will seize the heartbeat of Burma,” Klier promised.

    Fire Dragon Option; A Student
    @billmelaterplea
    89 words

    Liked by 15 people

  2. Culture Clash

    Ba-da-Ching
    Ba-da-Ching
    “I can’t dance any more.”
    Bam-bam-bing
    “You won’t freeze if you dance.”
    Bam-bam-bing
    “No one is out this late.”
    Ba-da-Ching
    Ba-da-Ching
    “We shouldn’t have sold the violin.”
    “My arthritis, little one. It fed us for months.”
    “I’m sorry I couldn’t learn to play. And I can’t sing.”
    “You can dance. Here comes someone now.”
    Bam-bam-bing
    Bam-bam-bing
    “Look, Chris, folk dancers!”
    “Something for Instagram. Local color.”
    “Don’t you have change?”

    89 words
    Student

    Liked by 15 people

  3. The Distance

    My mum talks at me from across the aisle. She has been dead for three years. Street music drifts through the bus window, A xylophone rattles like chattering teeth. She clacks her knitting needles, talks about the day. Books to the library, bits from the shops, a swift brandy in the corner pub. She doesn’t know it’s changed. That everything has changed. Outside the man in hi vis turns his sign from red to green. Stop to go. She doesn’t know. There’s nowhere left. Nowhere left for her. Here.

    @bex_spence
    89 words
    ice dragon

    Liked by 18 people

  4. Grey River

    Grey river. Gritty grey river rushing up hill. Pushing against its banks, filling every crevice.
    The abrasive liquid pouring along its trench.
    The hypnotic churning and falling.

    All eyes on the race against time.
    Each one in their place. Almost.

    No voices can be heard against the roaring.
    No cries for help, no last gasps.
    Grey forcing itself against flesh, breaking bones with its weight, stealing breath.

    Last moments of grey fear fade into nothing.
    Life solidified into grey, into darkness.

    Dim light. Orange flashing. Blue flashing. Too late.

    @rjkinnarney
    89 words
    Ice Dragon: a roadworker

    Liked by 13 people

  5. Futures

    There was a time people walked barefoot here, on solid stone, and I might have been unemployed. Now there is traffic, tourists, and tarmac.

    Fresh tarmac smells like a tired lover in the morning, when neither of you have slept: an astringent, organic aroma, heavy with the memory of effort and grime. But when my work is done, that heaviness is real in me, and all I can do is shower, and eat, and go to bed alone, to dream of work.

    One day, I will be a tourist.

    @marshawritesit
    Word count: 89
    Element: ice

    Liked by 17 people

  6. ~A Fairy’s Tale~

    There’s a fairy, who lives inside the musician’s guitar. When her silver wings flutter, his guitar plays.

    The musician and his band travel everywhere, and play outside monasteries and pagodas, temples and mosques and churches. The fairy travels in the guitar case, in her own little bed.

    She was the musician’s teacher in the early days, teaching him songs of love, peace, and tranquility. But on these travels, she’s the student, learning about religion from the musician.

    And she’s found religion too, that of a sacred friendship with him.

    @ArvindIyer15
    89 Words (excluding title)
    Element – Student

    Liked by 16 people

  7. 3 Museums

    Wide-eyed, innocent, young, I wandered the museum’s galleries taking in the items made by people the world over. Music always fascinated me and my eyes fell upon a group of Burmese musicians, making my mind up.

    In Burma, the museums seemed lacklustre in comparison, so little.. and I made my mind up once more.

    Changing my major to science I set about reforming museums entirely. Now so many have a time travel room, so you can go back and see treasures plundered from around the world before being returned.

    @jamesatkinson81
    89 Words
    Fire dragon option: include a student

    Liked by 10 people

  8. Shallow Shrine

    I was a pilgrim for her, naked and blind.

    Behind me were the drippings of my heart, as it pulsated in my hand. Nobody else noticed the love-struck leper of the street since my drippings covered the faded drippings of pilgrims past.

    Once at her altar, I faltered, dropping my heart and smashing what it had to offer. More pilgrims came, stepping on the pieces.

    Love-struck lepers think themselves lone butterflies in the greenhouse, but dew has covered their eyes.

    Seeing anew, I join the roadworkers on the outskirts.

    @brett_milam
    Word Count: 89.
    Element: Ice.

    Liked by 13 people

  9. DON’T WORRY IF IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH

    They began as a four-piece – Nyan and Thet on flute, Pemala on xylophone, Mima on triangle. Their sound, like Wagner played on a jewellery box, ice-picked in your brain and maddened nearby dogs.

    They had no collection hat. There was no point.

    Then Nyan left to train as a monk and, though they tried carrying on with Thet covering Nyan’s notes, they eventually packed away their instruments, and their dreams.

    But Thet later found success in New Orleans jazz clubs, where a nickname like Two Flutes was practically obligatory.

    Liked by 12 people

  10. A FAMILY OF SOUNDS

    You were more than my teacher.

    You taught me to give myself to the music and trust that it would turn out well.

    As I learned ever more complicated rhythms and tunes , the music took me away from my reality. It didn’t matter that my family refused to acknowledge me now. I had the notes and the melody to support and nurture my soul .
    And now you’re gone. But I always told you I would make sure your music lived on . Trust me Sir.

    89 words
    Fire option : Student
    Rab8241

    Liked by 12 people

  11. Mindsweepers

    Are you haunted by unhappy memories?

    Do past moments plague your present and cloud your future?

    Then IceDragon Industries can help you LIVE!

    Thanks to our exclusive licensing agreement with the natives of Sol 10/19, we are the only Terran company with access to the unique Mindsweeper jellies of Postupak-4. Our patented non-invasive technology allows these wonderful creatures to siphon off all unwanted recollections!

    An embarrassing event on holiday in Burma?

    Student indiscretions?

    The whole of the year 2020?

    Anything is possible with IceDragon Industries!

    Call now on 0800-10-19-89!

    @Karl_A_Russell
    89 words
    Glancing mention of students

    Liked by 17 people

  12. Ten unsolved murders in two weeks. Dachen wandered the street, watching. Any one of the many crowding the market could be the killer. The bookish young man throwing the wilted bok choy, glaring daggers. The old woman haggling over rice, spitting words like poisonous seeds.

    A large crowd encircled three street musicians, mesmerized. The musicians themselves seemed entranced. The music hooked Dachen’s brain, drawing him like a fish. He couldn’t look away. Neither he nor the crowd noticed three ethereal figures ascend from the players, bloodied knives in hand…

    @colin_d_smith
    Fire Dragon: A Student
    89 words on the dragon’s nose 😉

    Liked by 13 people

  13. ITINERARY

    I stood at a distance, shimmying off my backpack; it would be rude to pass.

    The stupa, wearing a crown of thorns, winked at me with golden eyes; I forked my fingers into the kyat in my pocket… enough for a donation. For a candle and flowers.

    Underlying the melody, a low hum throbbed.

    The flock of sweet notes, musicians, and onlookers dissolved.

    A dark line scribbled itself in the ground. Ants?

    The scaffolding lurched. Clanged down the pagoda, tumbling, bouncing.

    Disappearing into the gaping mouth of the earth.

    @helen_laycock
    Word count: 89
    Fire Dragon prompt: Student

    Liked by 12 people

  14. The musicians were often praised with smiles as they played their compositions in a peaceful, contented stupor.  The road sweeper swept around them daily and greeted other villagers kindly until they saw a masked couple run through the village and the music paused.

    On the run, in masks and wedding attire, after their heist went slightly askew the couple stopped for a breather and to plan their next move.  The music resumed and it calmed their souls enough to forgive the best man for the plans being drawn incorrectly.

    (@lindorfan, ice: roadworker/sweeper
    89 exactly)

    Liked by 10 people

  15. Where? There!

    He’s in every photo. Crowds, anyway. The boy with the sad eyes. Ever since… well, you know.
    Even John looks for him now. It hurt, at the start when he said he was ‘just some student’ but even he couldn’t deny how odd it was, him in every crowd scene. Sometimes it takes while to find him, but I do.
    Today he began to fade. I knew he would. When he became a man. Thirteen. I’m glad.
    I’m not sure how John will take it. Best not to say….

    89 words
    Dragon requirement: student
    @geofflepard

    Liked by 13 people

  16. Discordance

    Stopping, he tilted his head towards a melodic four, four signature. Walking towards the music, bricks he’d laid tesselated perfectly beneath him – four by four, squares in the square.
    Three played four instruments – unacceptable – four by four. Snatching the second pipe from an incredulous musician, he blew discordant notes, ruining time.
    As police wrestled him away, a faded photograph fell from his pocket. A family of four smiled back. One recognised the woman and children as those recently killed when a cart overturned on an unfinished patch of road.

    David Shakes
    @theshakes72
    89 words
    Ice Dragon – Roadworker

    Liked by 11 people

  17. An Ear to Hear, A Heart to Understand

    In my head, she is still alive. My grandmother, tough and demanding as she taught me the special things that can only be heard in music. She reminds me of the days we played on the streets for free. Free for the tourists, the roadworkers, the students passing by. Our entire lives were a concert, beating out the secret truths so that anyone with an ear could hear them.

    When she died, the music grew hollow.

    I still play. For multitudes now. But nobody hears anymore.

    Not even me.

    @Jay_Tay_13
    89 words
    Ice/Fire – Roadworker/Student

    Liked by 14 people

  18. “No.”

    The boy frowned, gestured to his googled photograph. “But, professor, I’ve surveyed the literature–”

    “It’s not thesis material.” Only for this kid: smug, naïve, convinced free wifi meant he’d comprehended something felt in the bones.

    The student left.

    He went out, but even in Starbucks that photograph accused him.

    Can a man run so far, leave so much, and still be whole?

    His bones knew, groaned for home.

    But he couldn’t go back. Instead, he returned to the campus and its concrete discord, collar up against the cold.

    @nicola_liu_

    89 words

    fire dragon requirement: student

    Liked by 14 people

  19. The Spark of the Immortal

    The distraction worked perfectly. Two flutes mingled our anthem. “It’s our country, our land!!

    The crowds bled across the dusty street. Soon the monks would ascend their balconies. Hear the voices below, a show of unity.

    Bricks bonded together by force; note bonded together by will.

    The Golden Pagoda evacuated, I snagged a hair of the Buddha, leaving behind my own strand.

    “Backs crumbled to clay,” I lift three sections of my daughter’s hair.

    “The spark of the immortal now passes between our hands,” I recall, and I weave.

    Ice Dragon: streetworker
    89 Words Exactly
    @hartless_k

    Liked by 10 people

    • Ooo, what a spine-tingling opening! Love the blending of history and your own unique magic here. There’s clearly so much going on here with these mysterious immortals, and I’m enraptured!

      Like

      • Thank you, kindly. I like the idea of a stolen strand of Buddha’s hair and what magic it may possess for the disenfranchised women streetworkers of Myanmar past.

        Like

    • I would love to know more about this parent/daughter and the magic they’re weaving together! Also the juxtaposition of “Bricks bonded together by force” and “notes bonded together by will” is just gorgeous.

      (p.s. Your slight correction made before being passed on to the judges. <3)

      Like

      • Thank you. I still want to write more about the magic of a stolen strand of sacred hair. 89 words was a great challenge for me. Cheers!

        Like

  20. Marco not Polo

    Marco pushed through the cheering crowd. Fell in front of musicians. He was exhausted. Bruised. Music stopped.

    “Please, help me,” he raised his head, “I’m a student. From Europe.”

    Musicians smiled at him. Nodded. Began playing again.

    “Will you help me?” Marco pleaded.

    Musicians smiled. Marco, on his knees, turned to the crowd. Crowd watched him. Smiled.

    “Please, student from Europe.”

    Behind the crowd he heard familiar voices.

    “Please.”

    Voices came closer. Became louder. He can’t go back. Not again. Music stopped.

    Everyone in the crowd pointed at Marco.

    @raijori
    89 words
    Fire dragon

    Liked by 9 people

  21. Breakthrough

    Tonight’s rehearsal did not go well. Rami was his usual experimental self. At some point he started playing two flutes at the same time. Can you believe that? I looked at him and said, What, you think you’re a master? He replied with a fleeting smile, There are no masters, only students. What a pretentious prick! All those flute players really are the same. In the meantime we have a gig coming up on Saturday. I hope it goes well. We need a breakthrough or I’m quitting this band.

    @bartvangoethem
    89 words
    Fire Dragon: student

    Liked by 6 people

  22. Sol 10/19

    Endings and Beginnings (Title)

    “Ten hands clasped fast.”
    “Five candles in a circle”
    “The dead speaker to facilitate. Let us communicate with the Spirits”

    Prolonged silence

    “Where are my babies. I was sick, the weight crushed the air out of my body, so heavy, felt bones breaking. So dark, where are my babies. The barking and howling wants out. “
    “Where are my babies.” (fading on ethereal repeat

    The long drawn out howling comes from the corners
    The long drawn out howling comes from four mouths
    A fifth joins in

    Violin String Snaps

    @gamerwriter
    Ice Dragon: Roadworker
    Word Count is 89

    Liked by 9 people

    • Spellbindingly dark and eerie. Even without the last line’s violent notation, I can almost hear the haunting strings intertwining with shadow. Chilling.

      Like

  23. The Mist of Myanmar

    “Burma”, you say? And you think of war, genocide, opium, and human rights.
    I smile, for you do not know me. How can you?
    My heart is the golden sunrise at Shwedagon Pagoda.
    My voice the melodic roadworkers of Bagan.
    My skin the verdant furrows of Kyaing Tong.
    My eyes the crystal waters of the Mergui Archipelago.
    If I am a story, then my birth is forgotten, my life misunderstood, my ending yet to come.
    My soul, well, this is my children, born in the swirling mists of Myanmar.

    _________________

    @making_fiction
    89 words
    Ice

    Liked by 13 people

    • We wondered if anyone would dare take on Burma/Myanmar! “I smile, for you do not know me.” How true (I say this to my shame). Thank you for this poetic tribute to some of its wonders.

      Like

    • Oh, just beautiful, beautiful! I love the bookends of “Burma” & “Myanmar”, and the joy of seeing her wonders praised line-by-line. ❤

      Like

  24. Palimpsest

    He’s preserved the course since it was a path twining from stupa to stupa and dusting the feet of monks. He filled potholes with mud and mala beads.

    Then, a pebbled track connecting villages and smoothed by the tread of bards. He laid lute strings in the ruts.

    Even the paved lane tying harvest to town and worn by the plod of carthorses. He mixed the mortar with barley.

    Now, this arrogant highway slashes through, destruction linked to destruction. He runs wire about the struts and sets the timer.

    @ncscrawls
    89 words
    Ice Dragon Element: Roadworker

    Liked by 8 people

    • You had me sold from the title. What a wonderful image, the path to the track to the paved lane… to the deadly (in more than one way) highway. I’d love to know more about this (immortal?? at the least long-lived) character who dedicated his life to the caretaking of this path. Would that we were all such committed caretakers of the land we live on!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Burma, On My Mind
    Grandma’s witch broomstick had taken me to Burma. I’d inherited it from her and it had magical powers to travel back in time, turning me into an History student, lapping up various cultures voraciously.
    Looking around curiously, the amazing architecture captured my gaze, then was instantly distracted by the most alluring music I’d ever heard. Watched the musicians in awe for a long while before the tantalizing smell of food wafted up, luring me into the shrine where I had dinner, the most exquisite meal of my considerable travels yet.
    @spicydicedwatermelon
    89 words

    Liked by 8 people

    • I WANT THAT BROOMSTICK!!!! What a glorious gift, enabling the grandchild to experience so tangibly the riches of the past. (Of course, then my conscience whispers, OK, but how much have you bothered to respect the cultural riches of the present?) A lovely picture, and a good reminder to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Her hands were steady as she wove the reeds together to make the future. Behind her were a million paths converging on this moment. In front of her, a billion realities not yet realized. With each weaving, her creation became What Is, and as that moment passed, it became What Was. She did not know where the roads would lead, only that it was her job to build them. We humans tread ever upon her roads each day lost in our own lives, her labor never-ending but never seen.

    @drmag00
    Ice dragon: Roadworker

    Liked by 8 people

  27. Pingback: #FireIceFlash, week 10 – Project Gemini

  28. Title: Importance is in the Eye of the Beholder

    The men stand around the pagoda looking important, talking important. Their serious faces stress the importance of what they do.

    The women lay stones to form roads, selecting carefully for smoothness and fit.
    The men do not consider this important.

    After a day of doing their important things, the men return home and demand dinner and…other things to prove how important they are.

    The women make the dinner, service the husband, acknowledge his importance. Silently.

    But, perhaps, one day, by mutual agreement, the women will lay sharp stones.

    @unspywriter
    Ice dragon option
    89 words

    Liked by 9 people

    • I love how thoughtful you always are with your titles, in this case how you’re challenging the reader to think twice about what the photo shows. Love this story’s timelessness (timeliness?) in confronting the sharp dissonance between oppressor and oppressed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Who defines what’s important is such a necessary question. How often it seems what we’re told is important ignores the quiet labor of those who have no say in that definition. Thought-provoking.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Street kids ran in rhythmic rivulets—forged of Mama Gita’s tears when the ‘Great Song’ burst from her belly.

    ‘Come little mouse!’ They chanted—clapping hands and stamping feet—but he could only pluck at their chords with dissonant fingers.

    ‘Come little mouse!’ They chorused—drenching him—as they sailed away on Mama Gita’s melodies.

    He remembered them now. Practised fingers told their stories—sang their songs of hopelessness—unseeing eyes weaving their harmonies into Mama Gita’s aria.

    ‘I’m coming!’ He sung in sweet refrain—laying down his violin.

    @brittlewindowz
    Wordcount: 89
    Fire Dragon Element: student

    Liked by 7 people

  30. Pavement

    The Godsroad is a bricolage of stones and sea glass, buttons and foreign coins, bound with words torn from the pages of Bird’s favorite books. She’s been building it since she was six, and when Oopaka came to her in a dream, depositing into her hand a star that fluttered as fast as a heart in love. Its stability derives the strength of her faith. It doesn’t matter that the shrine at its origin is a dollhouse, that Bird is only one person. She visits Oopaka all the time.

    @IpsaHerself
    Wordcount: 89
    Ice Dragon Element: a roadworker

    Liked by 9 people

  31. “Con Dolore”

    I’d paused to wipe the sweat from my brow when a chill, defying the heat, traversed my spine. A siren song—close in distance, distant in memory—bade me to drop my pick-axe and pursue the fluid notes to their fountainhead, despite the entreaties behind me, begging me not to wander.

    In a clearing sat a group of musicians, playing as one. Their faces conveyed the serenity I lost the day the soldiers came.
    I sang, momentarily happy.

    A sharp rifle retort punctuated the final note of our symphony.

    Liked by 7 people

    • “A siren song—close in distance, distant in memory” <— oh how I love all the layering in this line! This story reminds me of the WWI Christmas Truce story. What a beautiful vision of a moment's respite in the midst of war.

      Like

    • “when a chill, defying the heat, traversed my spine” <– I love how you ground us so fully in the MC's body with this line. And what a spin on the siren's call!

      Like

  32. The Great Song
    by Arthur Unk

    The students sat down with instruments in hand and waited. Each sat poised waiting for the last member of their group to join them. The Shwedagon stirred, opened its maw, and released the muse. A new addition to the Maha Gita began with wild inspiration dancing between each player. Victor Bruce, the Earl of Elgin, stood mouth agape, weeping. He silently commanded his servant to photograph the scene. The picture captured the moment of the last note as the muse retreated back into the mouth of the Great Dragon.

    Liked by 5 people

    • What a moment to witness!!! I love this blending of history and legend, and how you’ve deftly woven these together with threads of your own magic. Weeping sounds like a very understandable response to hearing a new song for the Mahagita. I wonder how much the earl truly grasped what he was hearing–and I would love to know the students’ (and his servant’s) thoughts. Such a vivid scene.

      Like

    • How breath-taking and humbling this experience would be! For only having 89 words you capture the totality of this scene impressively well.

      Like

  33. Cuckoo

    My stepfather’s power had given me everything, education, money even notoriety. I was adopted when his wife died suddenly. The nation plunged into mourning as he addressed the cameras, urging them to join him in his noble crusade.

    He had me mentored by Sullivan, a pompous foreigner whose research had condoned father’s righteous fury. A rage that had cleansed twenty thousand insurgents from our lands.

    Souls of music, laughter and joy.

    Like my parents, killed by Sullivan’s theories.

    Now I patiently wait in his study.

    Knife in hand.

    @ArcaneEdison
    89 Words
    Student

    Liked by 7 people

    • I like how you’ve paralleled national anguish with personal. At the end of the day, isn’t that how it always is? or should be. So much pain bound deeply in politics: when regents play, lives are on the line. Your story provides a vivid reminder of this. I also love the perfect contrast between the stepfather’s soulless world (education, money, notoriety) v that of the people he’s destroyed (“souls of music, laughter and joy”).

      Like

  34. Different Beat

    I’ve hunched here innumerable days, waiting my turn as they play. The beat thuds beneath my paws; I wish to dance, but no one pities me. Not one friendly eye roves my way. No one lifts a shoulder or an open palm.

    They won’t teach me their rhythm.

    My nose drips with acid rain; whitewashed tears trek across my scarred cheeks. The children frolic before me, but when they catch my gaze, they hide behind their mothers’ skirts.

    Dance with me, I cry.
    But they run away.

    @Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 89 Exactly
    Prompt: Fire Dragon (Student of Rhythm)

    Liked by 9 people

  35. Owen and Layla

    Ask and he’ll claim he’s a tenured student of the music of life. Only knows one song: he calls it “Owen and Layla,” but he never plays it the same way twice.

    Sunny days find him busking in the quad, pouring his soul into music on any of a dozen instruments.

    Campus security hassles him. Students pass him by. A few toss coins his way. Only one stops to listen, sometimes, but she never stays long.

    The truest human emotion, he says, is not love, nor hate, but longing.

    @pmcolt
    89 words, student

    Liked by 9 people

    • What a raw, powerful portrait of this composer, playing his soul-song countless ways on countless instruments. I’d love to know more of his story: how he got to this point, how he survives from day to day, whatever happened to Layla. But that’s rather not the point, is it? this is an achingly beautiful etude.

      Like

    • There’s so much that music can convey, and yet, not enough on its own as the girl moves on again and again. Lovely and bittersweet.

      Like

  36. “Decades ago,” Aung Kaka’d say, with a faraway look, “my father arrived from Rangoon.”
    I’d sit cross-legged on the grass, mesmerised by his tales. Then he’d play his violin.
    “My father’s,” a proud smile deepening his wrinkles.
    Kaka did everything around the house; grocery shopping, driving, cooking. He was family.
    One year, returning from boarding school, I rushed to show him my new violin. He wasn’t anywhere.
    “He fell ill.” All mother said.
    That evening, under the stars, I put his violin to my shoulder, and let it weep.

    @firdausp
    Words: 89/student

    Liked by 10 people

  37. Fire&Ice Sol 10 is now CLOSED. Thank you so much, brave ones, for taking on the draconian restraints of 89 words. Stories from this point are always welcome, but no longer eligible to win. We’ll see you back Sunday with another Flash! Future!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Monuments

    The sun beat the back of her head as she collected stones for the next stretch of road. But to her, they were more than stones. They were memorials. Whenever she dropped a piece of petrified earth into her bucket, she remembered the waves that washed away her home and everything in it. With each clink of falling rock, she whispered a prayer of gratitude for her deliverance. Her husband’s. Their son’s and daughter’s. No longer lush and green, their surroundings were hard and gray. But they were alive.

    @ordinaryletters
    89 words
    ice dragon element

    Liked by 8 people

    • YOU KNOW all the things I’m thinking and feeling, reading this. What treasured memorials indeed that she’s laying down here. Her choice to breathe out gratitude despite her horrifying loss is deeply stirring, almost palpable, as is her unshakable love for her family. Just beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Matriculation

    Inzali can’t breathe.

    The Sentients’ letter chirps above them:

    …requests an envoy from the Southeast Asian Alliance for the next planetary summit. You’ve been selected based on linguistic capability.

    Cyber-botanical code would’ve been Inzali’s first language, if May-may could’ve taught her.

    “She can’t go,” Pah-k says, ladling giant spoonfuls of mohinga into the mouth of her bowl. Concern brims his eyes.

    Do you wish to accept?

    Accept the chance to speak new ecological futures into existence, and preserve the old.

    May-may’s will is stone-strong.

    “She goes.”

    Inzali can breathe.

    @deborah_the_foy
    89 ineligible words
    Fire

    Liked by 8 people

  40. Would you move that lady over, please? Boss’ll want her xylophone-thingie centered against those gorgeous temples for the picture.

    Perfect.

    Now tell her to play something holy-sounding. Haha, don’t hurt anybody with those sticks, lady! You people kill me.

    Have the violinist scoot right. Wait, she’s blind? AWESOME!! Don’t suppose she’s got a sign in English—? Oh well. Is there a hungry-looking kid around maybe? Fantastic. Yeah, stick him right behind her.

    Thanks, everybody. Boss’ll be along soon; just sit tight. The things we do for greatness, eh?

    -89 words, fire dragon: student
    @postupak

    Liked by 4 people

    • “Now tell her to play something holy-sounding.” this line, for me, encapsulated the entire piece. The insincere-masked-as-holy just makes this whole scene so profane. Angering in the necessary call-to-action sort of way.

      Like

  41. Pingback: Where? There! #flash #flash!friday | TanGental

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