200 word story: Grain

This is for the Daily Post prompt.


The wheat field stretched forever. Before me, its golden mass trembled in the light breeze like the thick fur of a sleeping animal, lying in the sun. Behind, my shadow cast a long, dark smear and where it ended, the mists began. No sound disturbed the silence. I strained my ears and heard only the rattling of ripe grains and the faint brushing of the whiskery heads. No birds sang; no rodents scuttled unseen among the stalks.

I took a step forward, and my shadow followed, dragging the mists behind it. Although I hated the idea of crushing the ripe wheat, the oppression of the misty wall at my back left me no choice. I strode out, confidence rising as the sound of cracking stalks broke the silence. I hummed a tune, my eyes fixed on the bright horizon, until another sound insinuated itself between the vibrating notes of the tune and the crunching underfoot. The tune faltered and died.

Low at first, but gaining in volume, the mist was growling. The golden light dimmed and tendrils of smoke were curling around my shadow, pulling it into the swirling obscurity and the arms of the sinister forms taking shape within.


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200 word story: Blood-red tree


Out of the blood-red ground a tree rose and bowed to the ocean. Beneath its bark, blood-red sap surged, each cell a memory. Ocean waves tinged with red picked up the message and carried it to the shore, where it hissed in the foam, the scuttling rattle of crabs, and the sighing of kelp drying in the sun. The great golden fish breathed it in and out through lacy gills, sending it trembling through the currents of the deeps.

On a distant shore, the waves found a peaceful river, rolled landwards, between green banks where kingcups climbed and tall rushes whispered. There the message seeped into the rich earth, following the burrows and galleries of water rats and earthworms. And the fruits of this earth nourished the spirits of the people who lived there, and they understood. They let in the souls of all the dead, those mown down in war and starved in famine, drowned in their frail boats, gunned down in the street, and they said.

We will not let this happen here.

I will search until I find this place where the message of the bloody tree is heeded. Perhaps a lifetime will not be long enough.