Fire&Ice: Sol 15/19

§ Rebekah says: Our sunset draws nearer: after today Fire&Ice has just three regular contests plus the grand finale to go! Included in that timeframe will be a focus on you, via our Flash! Future Sunday feature. [The deadline to submit for that is the same as today’s Fire&Ice: 11:59pm tonight, Washington DC time. Guidelines here.] As for the grand finale, well, we intend to go out with a roar (by which I mean prizes, of course 😀 ). Deb and I welcome you to take a deep breath and race with us to what’s sure to be an exciting finish. Thanks for being here!

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 Mark King and Stephanie Ellis. 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 15/19

Fire & Ice Prompt

Required elements:

Fire dragon option: include something/someone unseen

OR

Ice dragon option: include something/someone foreseen

Today’s word count: 180-190

120 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 15/19

  1. The End

    In empty skies birds soar. A small rabbit bounds past. Somewhere in the field a child cries, I lean on my spade. The uncomfortable sweat burning. I press on. Deep into the ground. The soil turning, the earth moving. Uncovering what lies beneath, Each shovel hurts, each inch lays me bare. Memories fall into my eyes, Obscure my view, my vision. This isn’t how it was going to be. Isn’t what we wanted. I dig, dig more. Until my shoulder aches, until my hand blisters. My hand in yours, once upon a time. In this field. When she was young. When we were more than friends. Now we can’t look at each other. Can’t even say hello. The hole is deep now. The roots of the thorny hedge show through. I look at the bag. Kick it slightly, seeping. The words won’t hurt anymore. The letters you gave me can’t cut. Can’t carve my flesh. I pour it out. Watch them flow. Watch them fall. The words you had for me. The words I had for you. Poured into the earth. Into the soil. Red, the ink flows..

    bex_spence
    188 words
    fire dragon: unseen

    Liked by 9 people

    • There’s a physicality to this piece that really drew me in, made me feel like I’m sunk in the bones and salty skin of the digger.

      Like

  2. To Sleep, Perchance, the Pestilence

    He never sleeps. There may be moments when he closes his eyes. A moment here. There.
    He needs that interlude, that brief intermezzo.
    His body craves it of course.
    In that sense, he has slept.
    But even in sleep, what passes for sleep, he remains awake. Sharp. Aware of night.
    It began quite early. He was never sung to sleep as babe. There were no lullabies, no goodnight, sweet child.
    The nights were always cold.
    There was no mother’s warmth, no mother’s breast to snuggle.
    “You will be the ONE”, his father had said. “You will need the strength of loneliness. You will always be alone. In that we are the same”
    He did not understand at first.
    How could he be alone.
    There were siblings.
    Servants.
    Friends.
    Employees.
    The world flocked to him.
    Though never actually alone, he came to understand his father’s meaning.
    Later, his father explained. “You will never be a King. Yet I give you my kingdom. You will reign supreme. I will always be there with you. You will sense my presence even from my grave.
    But you will always be alone.

    187 words
    @billmelaterplea
    ice dragon element: something foreseen with just a dollop of a fire dragon’s unseen aspect

    Liked by 7 people

  3. ‘QUITE A SURPRISE’

    Her eyes shone like lit amber. ‘You’re a Brit! I love your accent.’

    Somehow, we’d left the hostel together, her scuttling into the lead, me trailing unquestionably behind.

    ‘And there’s this place… like your Stonehenge… got to see it… quite a surprise.’

    Her energy was boundless, infectious.

    From a distance, it struck me more as a graveyard, the shadow of each headstone like a trough where a body might lie. Up close, they were like jagged ancient teeth protruding from grassy gums. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was in the mouth of nature at its most hungry.

    Ecstatic, she ran between the mounds in a frenzied pattern, an invisible ball of string binding them into a knot.

    At sundown, she threw down a thin blanket. Insisted that we sleep under the stars.

    My skin tickled in my dream.

    I woke to scrabbling.

    A faecal stench.

    She was naked, frantically clawing at the earth, spitting into the gaping throat of the ground. A mound was forming beside her. Her silhouette was stamped in the moonlight, and it was only then that I wondered how I had missed her antennae.

    @helen_laycock
    190 words
    Fire Dragon: Something unseen

    Liked by 9 people

  4. Scurrying to Survive

    Hundreds of them impaled.

    Their fingers filthy from clay ground. Their feet angled awkwardly against the surface of the earth. Skewered, red tips rise about white stakes. I run towards them, but there are quakes.

    We’re going to be terminated just like termites. I move faster, but I can’t seem to reach any of the burial mounds in time.

    You shake me awake. A hurtful hello. It’s dawn. I’ve been screaming in my sleep again. Something about infestation. You’re done with this shit. You’re going back to bed.

    “Can’t you see it?” My tone begs you to be with me. But, I am alone in the pink stained pathway of daylight where only wetness remains. A deep dew as if the dawn forgot to wipe itself. And the noisy miner bird that won’t desist with its chuckling song of regret still lingers nearby.

    I look out at the raw clay fields. The craggy stakes like tombstones. The magnetic vision that I saw as unshakeable as true north. And somehow, now, I see our invasion clearly. We are truly the unwanted insects scurrying to survive.

    @hartless_k
    184 words
    Ice Dragon-Something foreseen

    Liked by 10 people

  5. It was years since she’d first seen that flower of iron filings sitting on the stranger’s handkerchief, wondered at the symmetry of it, the way the iron moved, the magic force she couldn’t see and barely understood.

    “Remember the pattern?” the stranger had asked.

    She’d nodded, eager. He had a bag of money and a voice of steel, but the pattern itself was what she promised on. That lucky pattern, life.

    It had been a month before They arrived.

    She’d buried the magnet the stranger gave her, but They’d found it and taken it anyway. It was lucky it wasn’t pinned on her.

    But no one could take her pattern.

    And now, sent nowhere to clear fields for Them, she’d wandered in the bush, sickly, outcast, dazed and lost. Until she saw the termite mounds.

    Magnetic termites.

    Their mounds were meant to point North-South.

    The ones in this field did, but she kept walking, walking, like she knew at last — and she saw it.

    The pattern.

    Weeping, hope tearing holes in her heart, she ran towards the centre, and began to dig.

    @nicola_liu_

    182 words, ice dragon option

    Liked by 10 people

  6. King of the Hill

    The view from the penthouse suite is…’ and here Tim would pause for dramatic effect, ‘quite literally jaw dropping.’

    Most of the brood hung off his every word. It was a good feeling. He’d made it.

    ‘I’m king of the mound!’ He could be heard boasting to anyone that would give him air time.

    But then, you know? Word got around and sure enough, there was talk.

    ‘Don’t have to be no rocket scientist to know gossip flies around this colony like wildfire,’ Sid would often parrot.
    ‘Chinese whispers got nothin’ on us,’ grumbled Dave, already in a foul mood after shedding his wings. ‘I suppose I’ll have to walk everywhere now,’ he grumbled.
    ‘Tim won’t be walking NOR flying anywhere—dats for sure,’ piped up Jeff spitting out a piece of wood. ‘Heard he threw himself off da top of the mound.’
    ‘Do you have to do that?’ Daisy drawled, wiping down her thorax. ‘Disgusting habit.’
    ‘Could’ve told you that would happen. He ain’t no king of the hill,’ Dave sniggered smugly, bumping into Daisy. ‘Oops, didn’t see you there girl,’
    ‘Well he dust now,’ choked Jeff. ‘Damn wood!’

    @brittlewindowz
    190 words
    Something foreseen

    Liked by 8 people

  7. Hollow

    I swallowed hundreds of the termites to see if they would feed on the dead flower inside of me — a flower that stopped blossoming when I was a teenager. But they didn’t take to it, as if that sort of dead taste were disagreeable.

    My finger down my throat, and with a gagging heave, they spilled out of my mouth as colorless and blind soldiers on a clear river of vomit. Like grains of spilled rice in the grass, they were defenseless against the elements, and my feet.

    I brought a wooden baseball bat for the irony and attacked the mounds. The soldiers inside snapped their mandibles to no avail. Termite soil, spit and dung flung every which way, like setting a grenade into a sewer haystack.

    At the largest mound, I lopped off the top, and a queen crumpled out with a crown upon her head, and the most green, dead eyes. Her white dress was made up of the worker termites, and they vibrated on the grass, making it seem like she was still alive.

    So, I swallowed her, too, to see if she would take to me.

    @brett_milam
    Word Count: 190 words.
    Element: Fire.

    Liked by 12 people

  8. Be Careful What You Wish For

    Terrance stopped, breathless.
    ‘You’re not going to wet yourself, are you?”
    Of course Susan grinned, disarming any passive aggressive overtones.
    He’d ignore her. ‘It’s unique.’
    ‘When were termites unique?’
    ‘These mounds…’
    ‘Yeah, yeah.’ She walked past, leaving him to follow. ‘What’s first? Break one open and see what the little critters are doing?’
    It was his consuming obsession, understanding termites; she was delighted to see his desire and panic compete for space on his forehead. ‘Joking,’ she added and stroked the mound.
    BANG!
    When the smoke cleared they were no longer alone. A large pink termite floated above them. ‘Hi! I’m your genie du jour. What’s the wish going to be today?’
    ‘Wish?’
    Susan grasped the absurdity first. ‘We want to see inside.’
    ‘You sure? Okay!’
    Another, bang, more smoke and they were looking at a rough hewn corridor. Coming towards them were two termites, only these were the same size as Terrance and Susan.
    The first termite, oddly speaking English, said, ‘What do we have here?’
    The second replied, ‘Lunch?’
    And one of Terrance’s questions was answered. Termites laugh.

    180 words
    Fire dragon option
    @geofflepard

    Liked by 8 people

  9. Inside the Palace

    “Is it on tightly?”

    Rosie adjusts the band at the back of her head. “Yep. It’s already making me sweat, though.”

    “It’ll be fine in a minute. I’m just going to switch it on now. Keep your eyes closed for a second and I’ll tell you when to open them.”

    Rosie does as her Dad tells her. She feels him messing with the device over her eyes.

    “You can look now.”

    Rosie stares into the darkness, waiting for her eyes to become accustomed. She gazes up at the huge chimney, the galleries. “It’s a palace.”

    “With its very own queen.”

    A huge insect hurries around her. Rosie shudders.

    “It’s fine. They’re not interested in you. They’ve got work to do.”

    “I can see that.” Everywhere there are great termites, building, repairing, carrying stocks of wood to the store. “I’ve gone really cold. This device is playing tricks on me.” Rosie pulls at the band round her head.

    “Leave it on for a bit, love. Let’s go a bit further in, shall we.”

    Rosie hesitates. She reaches for her father’s reassuring hand. Her fingers close around a giant insect leg.

    Fire dragon: something unseen
    189 words
    @rjkinnarney

    Liked by 10 people

  10. Pingback: Be Careful What You Wish For #flashfiction #flashfriday #humour | TanGental

  11. The Delivery
    The map clutched in her hand, she stood looking out over the clearing, at least it was indicated as a clearing on the map. Grunting, she squatted down and spread the map out on the ground. The pack she carried weighed on her back and shoulders, but she didn’t dare take it off; she didn’t dare put it down; the risk was too great.
    “Yep. This is the place,” she muttered to herself. “Some clearing. Should have known there would be sentinels here.”
    She stood, and the heavy pack shifted, throwing her off balance and back down onto her knees. Panting, she pushed herself back up, moving more slowly, careful not to jostle the pack any more than she already had.
    “Not too sure I like the idea of walking through sentinels, but I guess I don’t have a choice.” She hoisted the pack higher on her back, pulling the straps tight, hoping that the sentinels would let them pass unmolested.
    Stepping on the map she no longer needed, she moved into the clearing.
    “Almost there,” she smiled and whispered to the whimpering backpack.

    @eldarcj
    184 words
    Fire Dragon Option: Something/someone unseen

    Liked by 7 people

  12. “It’s coming any day now it’s really coming!”
    “What are you talking about now?”
    “The termite mounds aren’t what you think they are.”
    “Stop that, you’re always making up tales.”
    Sighing, they parted ways. None of his friends believed him but they would one day if they could give the park a chance. The wind whistled in agreement across the field repeating the message Tim heard every time he passed or came and sat alone in the trees. ‘They’re wrong, it’s warm when you care’.

    ***
    Years passed and the mounds continued to grow uwatched. One grey day he stared out the office window and he heard a faint whistle. His whole life flashed before his eyes fleetingly but he shook it off as he walked to his car and drove back to his hometown.

    Near the park he took a phone call. Locking the car he walked to the trees and stared across at the mounds and listened happily in his sadness that he could hear the whistling in the wind once more and another voice close by whispered “I believed”.

    (Ice element, 182 words, @lindorfan)

    Liked by 8 people

  13. Cursed

    He stands at the centre of the labyrinth, they say, his dragonheart burning with hate. But find him you never will, no matter how hard you search.

    Cursed to live forever and never be seen or heard, he screams at intruders while involuntarily moving away from them, always ensuring he is out of sight.

    Stuck in a place he once loved, the frustration gnaws at him like an infected wound. But he can only half remember that time. Since first he found this place his life had started to change. And though he knew there was pain to be found, he was fatefully attracted to the termite trees. It did something to his mind, constantly twisting it. While also planting the seed of thought that would make him return for more.

    Slowly his anger grew, his heart became that of a dragon, burning inside him and stealing his mind. He sees the body always at the edge of his vision but knows not what he did. He remembers the cursing that bound him there but did not understand it even then.

    Somewhere deep inside, a small child remembers and cries.

    @jamesatkinson81
    190 Words
    Fire dragon option: include something/someone unseen

    Liked by 8 people

  14. Breathing rocks

    As I sneezed my GPS died. That’s for sure was a bad luck.

    It was my birthday and I decided to hike across the Green Murder’s plateau. You might laugh, but I heard an invitation in my dream. Not just once. Every birthday since I was ten years old. Today I turn fifty. Exactly in five minutes. A half century.

    I had a hunch that GPS led me in the wrong direction. However it felt so right. The previous path was a recommendation from every travel agency I could find on the internet. Even personal blogs advised not stray away from it. And here I was standing and wondering. Did they knew about these breathing rocks?

    Their texture was surely rock-like. Yet the pulsating movement was so soft. Two more minutes. There wasn’t enough time to reach my birthday place. Up there. Maybe this was meant to be.

    One more minute.

    You know, that last minute never came. I sneezed again. As a habit I tried to lift my arm. I couldn’t. Two centuries later another me put his hand on my pulsating chest.

    Artie
    @raijori
    184 words
    Fire dragon

    Liked by 6 people

  15. These Days

    I was one of the first to go. Freed from pain. From life itself.

    But I’d promised to stay with you forever, so I did.

    Wishing to hold you.

    Wanting to take your pain away.

    Wondering if we’d be together again, when it was all over for you.

    But we aren’t.

    I searched for you, going everywhere we’d been, where we wanted to go, but the world emptied out and I never found you.

    So these days, I just drift. London burned a while back. Tokyo held out longest. Manhattan’s towers crumble like abandoned termite mounds, full of empty corridors and silent lift shafts that I sometimes throw myself down.

    You know, for fun.

    But mostly I drift, swooping through deserted streets, soaring over the wreckage like a Scorsese dolly shot, Layla playing in the back of whatever’s left of my mind.

    And I wonder, still, are you out there? Do you wander unseen too? Could I reach out and touch you if I just knew the right time and place?

    Or is this it?

    These endless days?

    This forgotten planet?

    This last lonely ghost, drifting with no-one to haunt?

    @Karl_A_Russell
    190 words
    Something unseen

    Liked by 10 people

    • Felt this one all the way in. Beautiful in its back and forth between hope and hopelessness, but not quite hopelessness because it’s phrased as a question–and that makes it all the more agonizing, as does the little trickle of humor. It reminds me that a static hell is more bearable than a hell that teases relief from time to time.

      Like

  16. My beat-up sneakers slide in the dirt.

    “Faster! In, out! To the end and back! Don’t get lazy, you missed that turn! C’mon, gimme more speed, let’s go let’s GO!”

    I’m all pre-teen knees and ankles, like a grasshopper in a hurry. Careful not to snap an ankle in the loose soil.

    “You need strength, speed, footwork to win. Don’t bump the termites, they’ll eat you. C’mon!”

    Thumb clicks stopwatch. “That’s your best time yet.”

    “Is it good?”

    “It’s a very good time.”

    “Good enough?”

    “It’s in there. You gotta be fast over and over, though. The heats, then the finals.”

    I wonder what the real track will feel like.

    “Let’s go again. This time straight up this row, back down the next. Got it? Stay alert, don’t miss a row. You miss, you start over. Go!”

    Dad says athletes think on their feet. That’s why he picked this for a training field. Stay alert, don’t miss. Mind is as important as body.

    We quit when the sun starts to dip.

    “Soon,” he smiles, “we go into town for a meet. But now, food. And water.”

    ——-

    @betsystreeter
    186 words
    Foreseen

    Liked by 7 people

    • I love the insectile imagery: of the literal termite mounds with the way the MC feels like a grasshopper–fantastic image and alluding perhaps to a grasshopper that doesn’t work quite as hard as this teen does. I’m cheering for him.

      Like

  17. ~ The Museum of Nobodies ~

    There he is. Juan Ramirez.

    A small-town thief from Guadalajara, Mexico. A nice kid brought up in a shitty neighborhood. Never went to school. Started robbing chickens from the butcher nearby, moved on to stealing cars. Had a couple of girlfriends. Never married. Lived alone till fifty, till he volunteered to come to us.

    Next to Juan, can you see Miko Tanaka?

    A schoolgirl from Tokyo, Japan. Wouldn’t be more than sixteen now. Too young to volunteer? We thought so initially, but she’s turned out to be a good fit.

    Had parents who didn’t see eye to eye. With their fights, came bitterness and neglect. Ran away from home at age five, was adopted by a farmer from Osaka, who tried giving her a normal life. But, with the past lost and no footing in the present, Miko ultimately found us.

    These are just two stories from our museum.

    Who are we? Well, we’re a place for faceless, nameless nobodies, who’ve led a life just like a thousand others.

    This isn’t a place for special people.

    Ordinary people who struggle to be seen in life, find a place here.

    ***
    @ArvindIyer15
    189 Words
    someone unseen

    Liked by 8 people

    • The irony here being that the scraps of life this story provides makes the reader WANT to see more of the two “nobodies”. Like a real museum that causes us to focus on wonders we might overlook, your tale brings focus to lives that are worth seeing, a museum made of words. Wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. TITLE: Taken Shelter

    It takes me an hour to clamber up the mesa where the husks of Ancients stand like parchment sentries. At dusk they whisper in their autumn-leaf language: Not… long… now.

    (I compare it to Derek’s broken-glass words: “We need you to… do something… for the family.”)

    I usually answer with crumpled newpaper: I’m ready.

    Here’s my sanctuary. Whenever the rage rumbles down the hall and bursts into my bedroom, I come to listen to their papery promises. A world where words and shattered glass don’t cut so deep. Where officers don’t bring Mom home three days later, faces constricted with concern because caring too much takes time they can’t spare. A world without hungers so huge the boyfriend needs me to do more somethings.

    Tonight I’m here because it’s my last chance. Because he’s moving us away. Because keeping me out of school has raised suspicion.

    Their rustling is crisp. I hope that means the portal’s open. This time I answer in broken glass.

    The concern-face officer comes looking for me.

    I husk-whisper I’m safe, but he doesn’t hear me.

    He’s too preoccupied with the vessel that waters the Ancients.

    190 words
    @ncscrawls
    Fire element (unseen someones)

    Liked by 7 people

  19. Transfer Of Power

    It is one of the great mysteries.

    Not the termite mound, which is simply proof of all species’ desire to have a bigger house than their neighbour.

    No, the great mystery is why any scientist carrying out a radical experiment will always fail to check his work area for insects.

    This tale followed the familiar tropes. The sentences followed the familiar order – ‘it’s working!’ gave way to ‘hang on, that shouldn’t be happening’, before the sad, inevitable ‘aaargh!’.

    The white-hot flash, the bang, the smoking lab. They really should see that coming.

    The dejected scientist moved into architecture, where he successfully exploits a new-found talent for skyscraper design.

    The now magnetic termite moved into the outback. He had little choice. It started with him having to fend off paperclips, thumbtacks and small change, but his power grew by the day until, in an incident that still gives him nightmares, he was hit in the face by a belly-button ring.

    Far out in the wilderness he has built a hidden sanctuary for similarly afflicted creatures – radioactive spiders, fevered flies, unharmed but annoyed cockroaches.

    He calls it Bug Off Humans.

    188 words
    Fire dragon element

    Liked by 6 people

  20. The Land Remembers

    The Land remembers, Mrs. Hawthorne says. The land speaks its own language.

    The new highway was going through, even though the people of the town had voted against it. It would connect them to the world, the modern world of cities and lines of glittering traffic. If some trees had to be removed, that was the price to pay.

    The oldest tree was so huge, two grown men couldn’t get their arms around it. They laughed at the fallen giant, while the people of the town cried and prayed. It rained that night, and for many nights thereafter.

    When the rains stopped, white columns rose out of the ground where the trees had been. They were not mushrooms, or termite mounds.

    At night, they gave off a strange glow, like cities at night. But there was a barrier, a force in the field, that kept the road crews away. The land did not want them there.

    In time, other things became more important, and the project was abandoned. The land was left alone.

    Can you hear the hum? Mrs. Hawthorne says. The land remembers.

    @voimaoy
    184 words
    something unseen

    Liked by 10 people

  21. Notes on a Life Lived

    He’d always been a quiet man. Silently toiling in the fields that surrounded the cottage. I, his shadow, watching his metronome arm arcing with the odd shaped knife he used everyday.

    Nightfall, he, Grandmother and I would sit within the perfume of the plum orchard. Small words uttered as he split purple flesh with his blade, revealing the sweetest yellow flesh.

    As the seasons faded into years I returned less to the cottage, till one day I never did.

    When she died he moved into the city. Living in a small terraced house with dirty windows. Each time I visited, he would seem smaller again, as if every breath I took stole directly from him.

    Seasons faded into years.

    We gathered, dressed in black, on the greyest day. Umbrellas shadowing darker faces.

    Sat in pews. An old man struggled to the front, hands trembling, eyes blurring, medals clinging to his chest.

    Telling a tale never before shared.

    Of parachutes, fighting behind enemy lines.

    Of capture, the torment of the prison camp.

    Of liberation, the gift the soldiers had given Grandfather.

    For his leadership, fearlessness and love.

    An odd shaped knife.

    @ArcaneEdison
    190 words
    Something unseen

    Liked by 9 people

  22. Magnetism

    ‘Can’t you see?’ he screams, tinfoil hat rustling as he races towards us. ‘There’s a pattern – a code.’

    ‘What, these?’ I say, pointing a thumb at the mounds behind. ‘You reckon?’

    ‘The spaces between them.’ He fishes a laser measure from his tatty pocket. ‘Equal. Each and every one.’

    ‘How about that one?’

    ‘That must be a directional marker, or punctuation, maybe.’

    ‘So, the termites are sending signals to who… the mighty aardvark in the sky?’

    ‘They’re magnetic termites. Can you not feel the energy? It creeps under the skin.’

    ‘I think a few of them might have crept into your ears last night. Might I speak to the human who you have taken control of?’

    ‘Don’t come crying to me when you’ve got a probe sticking out ya backdoor. And by backdoor, I mean—’

    ‘I know what you mean…’
    *

    Above, a glint in the sky, a fleck of glitter surrounded by ozone.

    ‘Shouldn’t we just check?’ Three of its four stomachs rumble.

    ‘It says “Move on! Nothing worth abducting.”. They must all be riddled or inane.’

    ‘Or both. Ugh, that’s lunch out of the transparent viewing-glass then.’

    @WeymanWrites
    WordCount: 189
    Fire Dragon: Something Unseen

    Liked by 7 people

  23. LEGACY

    I don’t know why I’m left to linger, when the others have all passed on. Perhaps because I was the one who brought us here that day, this my punishment for my arrogance and naïveté. They’d followed because they believed in my demands for justice, my calls for change. Because they believed in me.

    For the longest time there’s nothing here but ashes and scorched earth. And me, of course, although I’m not sure I really count. The wind carries the ashes away. Grass grows anew. A group of people arrives and marks the spot where we fell. Others follow, in time, honoring our—

    Sacrifice?

    Yes, I heard true. Our massacre a catalyst, they say, the fire becoming a spark.

    The woman and child arrive alone, and when last I saw them they were still one person. I see his mother in the boy’s hair and mouth, but in those wide, solemn eyes I see the light of my hopes and dreams reflected back at me. I linger, smiling, as I watch them go, then fade away like ash on the wind.

    @MattKrizan
    182 words
    Fire dragon

    Liked by 7 people

  24. Soul’s March

    I see my Soul outside my bedroom window every night. She slides into the crowd of Souls, blending in until I lose her form. They slide through my sight like a candle snuffed, one moment visible, the next — gone with a breath.

    Mother can’t see them. Neither can the medics or the caretakers who check my monitor and write many words beneath their grave spectacles.

    I wonder where the Souls go. They appear in the dark forest tangle and then glide over the grass like the slow spread of a wave. Their shade is grey, their faces are indiscernible in the dying light.

    I join them the night these paper-thin bonds of flesh refuse to hold me any longer.

    Carry me to the window.

    My mother’s arms tremble beneath me, but her chin is hard as flint.

    I see my Soul outside my bedroom window. She lifts her hood, and in her face, I see the me I’m meant to be. My Soul has come for me.

    I step from my mother’s arms and into my shape. Her edges meld around me as life… gives way to life.

    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 190
    Prompt: Fire… and Ice, come to think of it.

    Liked by 7 people

  25. ~Disorientation~

    Jude’s compass needle tilted in the wrong direction— due West, where the sun was descending into its final crimson blink. North wasn’t north anymore— the pole had been displaced by the Big One— the latest disaster. The changes were both bigger and smaller than Jude had expected. Most ignored the fraying edges of the old world. Jude could see a tear in the fabric coming. He’d left Canberra three fire seasons ago.

    Several new termite mounds had appeared in the insectoid metropolis near his campsite, oriented in the world’s new direction. They weren’t as large as the other constructions, but they loomed twice taller than Jude. Termites from the old mounds blindly massed on the ground in a half-vain attempt to make it to the new edifices. Their cuticles were thin and transparent, unprepared for exposure to the elements. Even though he tried not to, Jude’s progress through this part of the bush left a massacre with every footstep. It didn’t matter— the fires would consume the new mounds, too.

    Jude shifted his knapsack, headed where the compass said West was—but the needle was starting to waver again.

    @IpsaHerself
    189 Words
    Ice Dragon: something foreseen, but also
    Fire Dragon: something not foreseen

    Liked by 7 people

  26. Title: Fix Our Eyes Not on What is Seen

    We wait.
    Seen and unseen.
    They see what we want them to see: mounds of dirt, arrayed like rows of soldiers. A curiosity.
    We wait. We watch. Unseen.
    They sent the signal. We received it, and we came. Was it not an invitation?
    They should have foreseen.
    But they were blind in their ignorance, and so…
    We wait. We watch.
    Seen but not recognized.
    The long years of travel, we waited. The long years here unseen but seen.
    There were times they almost discovered us, but that ignorance again, that attitude of if I do not see it, it does not exist. But we exist.
    We wait. Through wind. Through rain. In heat. In cold. Covered in snow. We are there but not there.
    The animals know. They come close. Some too close. We have need of sustenance, after all.
    Why wait? This world is perfect. This world will be ours, and our effort will be minimal. They will destroy themselves, and so…
    We wait. We watch.
    Patience.
    So many times it was close, but they recovered. Now, it will not be long.
    We wait. Seen and unseen.
    Eternal.

    @Unspywriter
    Ice dragon: something unseen
    189 words

    Liked by 6 people

  27. Awakening Now (Title)

    The air hums with strange energies.
    Resonates with harmonies meant to reach out and touch distant perspectives.
    The antennas sit there, in rough lines, each one linking to a different wavelength of existence.

    Standing there, waiting on the update from below, seeping into each pore.
    The message is simple, wait for the signal.
    And we wait.

    “Frank, see those little monuments. They are made by termites.”
    “I though they just ate wood in your house.”
    “These are wild termites, not like the ones in your walls.”
    “So what do we do?”
    “We are here to just collect some samples of the mounds is all.”

    Footsteps crunch in the dried soil, across the branches and closer and closer.
    “Give me that screwdriver, going to seat this transmitter to relay seismic changes. You go chip off some of it and put it into the collection baggies. Get some from a couple different mounds will ya.”

    Change in outside
    Match the indicated targets
    Begin the migrations.
    Share the signal with all things.
    Bring them into the all.

    The mounds all splinter from their insides, spilling forth the new message.

    @gamerwriter
    Fire Dragon: Something/Someone Unseen
    Word Count is 186

    Liked by 4 people

  28. Not A Hill To Die On

    “‘You are the ‘Ghost of Christmas Future’?” asked Scrooge.
    “Why do you show me these obscene edifices, Spirit?”
    As he awaited an answer, mundane conversations arose from he knew not where.
    “That is high quality soil, good friend.”
    “Indeed. We may well rise in rank for a find of this nature” retorted his co-worker.
    “One never knows.” quipped the first. “After all, a diamond is still a diamond whether you have to mine for it or not.
    Both chortled at the speaker’s maxim and continued on without another word.
    The import of this exchange was lost on Scrooge who was intently following the conversationalists as they moved towards the rising hillocks.
    “The soil they talk of? From where does it come?” he asked plaintively.
    The apparition pointed a bony finger.
    Scrooge had no need to observe the nameplate to know who lay within. The coffin had clearly been recently opened and desecrated. The earth above the casket had been frenziedly discarded to afford entry.
    He said a silent prayer that he would still have opportunity to amend the codicil which stipulated he was to be buried with his gold.

    @Rab8241
    189 words
    Ice dragon option – something foreseen
    (And a little bit of fire option.)
    Apologies to Dickens and apologies to you all for such an early Christmas reference.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Builders

    Once, long ago, humans predicted that only cockroaches would survive the coming apocalypse. There were two problems with this prediction. First, when the world burned in the global cataclysm, it was not as humans expected. Second, the great beneficiaries of humankind’s downfall were not cockroaches, but termites.

    One after another, ruined human cities were reclaimed by thick forests. Into the forests moved the termite colonies. The colonies became mounds; the mounds, great cities. Generations of insects developed beliefs and culture, and recalled myths of great prehistoric giants who once ruled — and might again. A new termite civilization thrived atop the forgotten remains of the human world. But though human knowledge was obliterated, humans yet survived.

    One day, into the midst of the termite city wandered a man. The man wondered at the mounds, so carefully architected, as the mound-builders scurried for safety. A spark of insight came to his mind. Termitekind could only watch in awe as the man worked stone, wood, and fire into primitive tools. Then he went into the forest — just as ancient termite philosophers predicted — and he built a wooden house.

    @pmcolt
    185 words
    Something foreseen

    Liked by 8 people

    • The concept of insectile culture, beliefs and myths developed as they assume the role of dominant species just makes my spec fic brain happy.

      Like

  30. “For Unto Us”

    They call to me.

    The longer they’ve been dead, the louder their voices are. In a graveyard like this one, marked with primitive stones weathered beyond sharing any information, it’s deafening.

    Hear me. A woman who died of an infection in her foot.

    Hear me. A child who had been beaten by an abusive father.

    Hear me. A village leader who’d died in her sleep after more than ninety years.

    Trying to pick out one voice in the chorus while my brain was pounding required a dizzying effort, but I’d come here for a reason, and I couldn’t leave until I’d found them.

    The dead didn’t leave this plane, they stayed trapped in a world where they couldn’t go anywhere or do anything except call out in agony to the rare living beings that can hear them.

    I wasn’t drawn to the unjustly dead, the murdered or the tortured or those who suffered through an excruciating end. They were everywhere, and their pain could never be alleviated.

    The one I was looking for was growing near. They were the most unique of all the dead.

    The reborn.

    187 words
    @drmag00
    Ice dragon, but also fire dragon

    Liked by 8 people

  31. We toil in darkness, deep below the surface.

    We search for softness in the sturdy, then attack it.

    We gnaw away— silently, relentlessly, indiscriminately— decaying from within the forgotten foundations upon which you built your home, the erstwhile reliable structure you long ago erected in oblivion, then neglected.

    And the beautiful irony is, we co-opt the detritus of your overtaxed architecture, and use it to establish our base.

    You, meanwhile, remain above, oblivious to the creeping rot which endlessly undermines your happy, stable existence.
    You luxuriate in the material bliss you’ve convinced yourself is “a life.”

    You ignore the growing sway beneath your feet, convincing yourself it’s just a gentle zephyr, rather than a gale force of change.

    You titter-teeter, all the while unaware that the entire house of cards you’ve spent a lifetime arranging “just so” is about to come crashing down upon your allegedly open mind.

    We are hate. We are invisible, yet ubiquitous. We are patient, recognizing that eternity is on our side. And once the time arrives, the moment for us to reveal ourselves, we know it will be forever.

    For we will not be stopped.

    Liked by 8 people

  32. Mound Hunters

    OK you are just going to love this next mound.

    From the outside it seems very cookie-cutter. And it’s far too close to the other mounds. I was hoping for a mound with a little more privacy.

    [The king rolled his weak, useless eyes.]

    Just wait until we go inside!

    Well, it has potential. What’s the capacity?

    1 million! It’s practically a palace!

    I have to admit, these chambers are pretty spacious. The walls could be thinner, though.

    Well, they are definitely customizable. You can make them as thin as you like.

    I beg your pardon?

    I mean your workers, of course, can make them as thin as you would like.

    Naturally. And how is the alignment?

    [Probably like the last 50 mounds we visited, the king thought to himself.]

    Perfectly north-south. You’ll have a comfortable temperature and humidity level all day and night.

    [Shocker!]

    Yes, yes, I suppose.

    So, what do you think? Would you like to make an offer?

    I don’t know. I just have a feeling there’s something out there that we haven’t seen.

    [Obviously! The king thought to himself. We can’t see worth a damn!]

    @ordinaryletters
    189 words
    something unseen

    Liked by 6 people

    • Well, if this isn’t the best spin on an HGTV series ever, I don’t know what is! The king’s internal grousing had me chuckling all the way through!

      Like

  33. Pa, they’re like tombstones, she’d said when she’d seen the termite mounds. The place was dotted by them giving the impression of a sprawling graveyard. Her grandfather had nodded then explained. His students from the university had followed taking notes. She was just thirteen then. Excited, awkward and probably a little annoying. At least one of the students thought so.
    He was tall and had this adorable mole under his left eye. She’d seen him at the house visiting her grandfather, and found an excuse to be in the study at the same time. Yes, her first crush. The poor boy tried to avoid her. She remembered her grandfather chuckling at her frustration.

    That was years ago. She looked around the cemetery now and smiled at the random memory. She liked to come here and talk to her Pa sometimes. She missed him.
    She turned around at the crunching of gravel behind her to see a young man with a bunch of flowers; she noticed the mole under his left eye.
    Oh, she managed and he shifted awkwardly under her stare. She could almost hear her grandfather chuckling.

    @firdausp
    Words: 188/ something unseen (like the future)

    Liked by 8 people

  34. Aaaaand we’re done! a very crowded and crunchy thank you to everyone who participated. Join us Sunday for Flash! Future; contest results for Sol 15 will post Monday 8am Washington DC time. Have a great weekend. ❤

    Like

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