On 17 February 2016, these three words were chosen:
And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!
The blackness of her dress allowed her to blend into the night. Her heart was pounding in her ears, drowning out all other sound, and she peered into the shadows, trying to locate her pursuer. The wind howled in the distance, and storm clouds blotted out the stars. The moon slipped through occasionally, coy beams of light lining everything in silver for a brief moment before the clouds stole over again.
The Gates were now in front of her, looming up. The Guards stood on either side like statues. She waited for the cry of “halt!” and “stop, thief!” but it never came. The pendant she clutched in her had was heavy, and the farther she took it from the vault, the heavier it became. That was what she had brought Brunor for. She just had to make it out of the city and reach him.
A piercing whistle brought her up, breath frozen in her throat. Four of the Castle Guard thundered down the road. They pulled up in front of the gate, wheeling around in a circle. More of them would be on the way, but there were already too many. Despair began to pull at her. Then fire lit up the night, raining down on them from above. Cries were swallowed in an inarticulate scream of anger, and she realized she had either been handed a golden opportunity or her most dangerous foe had come to make her life even more hellish.
The blackness rolled through the sky seemingly as a deep thunderstorm but Dorna knew better. She watched from the castle walls as the spewing energy of the gods raced toward her. Once she was certain of its trajectory, she ran from the wall, tearing down the rock steps to alert the guard. When she hit the second level, she skid around the corner toward Skep’s room and halted pushing herself into a crouch when she caught sight of the wizard. He smiled lazily, his staff glowing an ominous gold.
“Don’t be coy, child,” he whispered, “Come closer. Tell me what has lit a fire under your feet.”
She batted her eyelashes at him and gave a coy smile, but he wasn’t buying it. She was bad news, Angie was Frank thought, with a blackness in her heart that had never even heard of grey. She could halt a man’s heart in his chest if that man let her too close.
Frank turned away from Angie’s come hither looks from across the bar and went back to nursing his whiskey. He was in no mood that night for her shenanigans. He had enough to deal with, having lost his airboat license that day. Wasn’t his fault the damn tourist had reached out to try and pet that alligator last month he thought and took another pull from his drink.
Stupid woman and her stupid kid. He’d told them not to do it, to keep hands and feet inside, but no, kid had a selfie stick and just had to get the action shot. Well, the gator got a tasty hand, and Frank got unemployed.
I stared into the blackness of the pond hoping to find a glimmer of life, but there was none. It used to be teeming with coy, but they had all died suddenly as if a plague had swept through them. It had all started here. The death, the evil and tonight I would restore the balance of life and death. I looked around once more to make sure that I was alone then took out a leather pouch and untied the string. The contents sparkled in the moonlight. Once I threw this in there was no going back, but it was the only way. I took a steadying breath as I moved to drop the ashes into the water when I heard someone yell, “halt!”
The blackness surrounding her should have been terrifying, it wasn’t. Even with the sound of something wet and heavy being dragged somewhere close by, the sounds of pain echoing off the not too distant walls, then coming to a halt somewhere far down the hall. She was instead calm.
There was a part of her that had hoped this would not come to pass. She had at once been willing to have her life ended in a similar fashion to those around her now. What was a little pain after all in exchange for some of the other sensations such as joy, happiness and pride.
She remembered the one and only time she had felt even a sliver of passion, almost lust. He had been playing so coy and lured her into a kiss. The memory so sweet she almost smiled now, however her new visage wouldn’t allow it.
“Deep-into-that-blackness-peering,-long-I-stood-there–” I held up my hand, and Jeff halted his mad dash through Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”
“It’s ‘darkness,’” I said helpfully.
“Huh?” Jeff stared at me, eyes wide, face frozen in fear.
“You said ‘blackness,’ but it’s supposed to be ‘darkness,’ as in ‘deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before…’” I let the words of the poem trail off, my hopes that my student would pick up the train of words slinking away for the afternoon. Jeff wasn’t my best student, not by far, but he had tried hard to memorize the poem, tried so hard, in fact, that he had practically memorized the entire thing as one long stretch of syllables.
“Take a minute,” I said. “Breathe. Compose yourself. You can do this.”
“Ok, miss,” Jeff said, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before opening them just a sliver to peek at me. “I think I’m ready.” He grinned, and I wondered if that was the look that made the girls in class go doe eyed for him. I didn’t think he meant to be coy, but he was oddly charming, even if he couldn’t perform right now.