Thursday, February 7, 2013

Going Home

Nulli's latest picture over on her website was one that, at first, didn't really inspire much of anything for me. Granted, I think I've lived down that road or at least traveled down it. American Beech trees are fairly prevalent in this area and lots of folks line their drives with them because their white trunks are pretty. So, while it was familiar, it really didn't strike any particular chord with me.

And then, last night as I'm fighting to stay asleep due to a horrible sinus headache, I realized that I'm not the only one who would have grown up with similar memories. I created Alicia and made her a southern girl from the same general area that I am. She would also have that same sense of home. Her mother, still living in the south, might even live at the end of one of those beech lined paths. And so the glimpse into Alicia's life began...

Characters:    Blake and Alicia
World:            After the Reveal
Word Count:  256
Prompt:          Picture - A narrow path lined by beech trees

Alicia fiddled with the strap of her purse as Blake drove along the narrow, deserted lane. The white trunks of the beech trees lined the road like silent, watchful sentries; their branches spread overhead to create a loose canopy, giving the bumpy road a tunnel-like atmosphere. As memories of the last time she’d seen her mother crowded into her mind, she felt the shiver race down her spine. She could almost feel the encroaching trunks and taunting shadows pressing against her, reminding her of a past that very nearly cost her everything.

“Are you going to be all right, beautiful?”

The soothing voice of her mate washed over her, banishing the hurtful memories and choking feeling. Glancing over, she caught the worry in his dark brown eyes and gave him a weak, but reassuring smile.

“I’ll be okay. I promised Daddy I’d check on her. I didn’t realize it’d dredge up the past quite so vividly.”

He brushed his fingers across her cheek and down her neck, lingering on the healed bite he’d given her just that morning. She shivered again, her smile growing more genuine at his gentle touch. He knew how sensitive she was after he bit her and that the slightest touch produced memories that were definitely inappropriate for a visit to her mother. She shook her head at his smug, unrepentant grin and returned her gaze to the path before them. The trees and shadows no longer intimidated her. Nothing could hurt her as long as her vampire was by her side.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Temple

The latest of Nulli's Musings is a wonderful picture of a vivid green eye covered in either paint or clay. The peeling, cracked appearance called forth many a serpentine image from the writers. She was joined by a guest author whose story was absolutely amazing. Check it, and the rest of them, out and see what you think!

Characters:    Lianna
World:            Unnamed (Fantasy)
Word Count:  309
Prompt:          Picture - A vibrant green eye with peeling skin/clay/paint

Memories danced through her mind like dust in a sun beam – disjointed, meandering, skipping from one horrifying image to the next. In the excitement of exploration and the potential of making a new discovery, Lianna had dismissed the locals’ whispered tales of curses and an evil presence that guarded the treasure. This was her chance to prove she was as skilled as the men; as determined; as physically capable.

And she’d succeeded.

She’d found the temple nestled into the sheer cliff, hidden by vines and decades, if not centuries, of jungle growth. She’d chopped a path towards the cave mouth, heedless of remembered warnings and scattered, etched totems to beware. She’d stepped fearlessly into the darkness, led by her small lantern and a dream of finally succeeding at her chosen career.

And then it all went wrong.

A hidden slope, slick with moss and condensation, knocked her feet from beneath her. Lianna slid down the smooth rock with a shriek, losing her lamp to the infinite black that surrounded her. After seconds that felt like hours, she came to a gradual stop. Crawling on her hands and knees in an effort to retrieve her missing lamp, she heard the gentle sound of what might have been silk drifting over the stone. She felt a pinprick sting.

And awoke like this.

Trapped motionless, her body encased in hardened clay, only her eyes were able to move. The chamber, unlike the front part of the cavern, was carved into the rock and decorated with vibrant murals. Sconces every few feet held torches that cast dancing shadows upon her frozen body and illuminated the only other item in the room: an intricately carved stone altar. Even squinting, Lianna could not make out the images, only that they involved a restrained female and a large, serpentine creature.

And the gentle shushing sound returned.