Phases of the Moon – 55 word flash fiction Gallery

A showcase of flash fiction. Some lovely pieces to enjoy.

Written Words Never Die

The Prompt Image was > PHASES of the MOON.

You are all invited to read the different takes – all 55-worders about the phases of the moon.

I received twenty one (21) contributions! A record!

Take your time, relish, linger and reflect.

And in no discernible order, we present:

To get the ball into play, we have newcomer Henk Mulder blogging as geneticfractals

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Aubrey Alagos blogging as Fiction for Supper has titled her’s The Werewolf and the Moon

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Please enjoy the contribution from Jane Dougherty blogging as Jane Dougherty Writes

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Next we have one from Bill. Please read billgncs blogging as bwthoughts

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Please welcome and enjoy Freya blogging as Freya Writes

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Georgia blogging as Bastet and Sekhmet shares her Time’s End

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Please welcome once more, Soumya Vilekar blogging as SOUMYAV

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We have newcomer to the Gallery, Marcus blogging as alarmingman with Reflections:

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My pleasure to welcome back the ever supportive Jane Stansfeld blogging as jstansfeld

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As…

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More Flash Fiction

Here’s another great blog, Eric Alagan’s this one, for writers of flash fiction to display their work.

The challenge this time is to write a short piece, exactly 55 words long inspired by a photographic image of the phases of the moon.
This is mine.

Night terrors

Still night, calm sea, full moon.
Fathers in fitful sleep clutch weapons tight.
Mothers hush crying children, listening
For the splash of oars, boots crunching on the strand.

Storm wind, high sea, moonless night, the watch slumbers.
Mothers, fathers sleep while thunder roars and waves crash on black rocks.
Dragon ships will not come tonight.

Flash fiction: Narrow Ships

Darksilvertree sent this link to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge, to write a fantasy piece under 1000 words on one of five themes. The theme I chose was: a charming watchman is engineering the downfall of the Empire. Here it is.

Narrow Ships

Sigurd pulled himself lazily to attention. Dusk was falling; the long autumn night was beginning. Wulfgar Blood Hands tramped through the gates of his little kingdom, his huscarls in tow. As he passed, Sigurd presented him with one of his beaming smiles.
“All quiet out there, Wulfgar? No sign of the terror from the sea?”
Wulfgar glared through his thick brows. “Just keep your eyes peeled and your mouth shut, Sigurd.”
“I will watch the river like a hawk, silent as a dead dog.”
Wulfgar glared again, unsure if he was being mocked. Two of the huscarls pushed the gates closed and barred them with a heavy oak beam. Sigurd climbed up to the parapet that ran along the inside of the palisade, and took up his post.
The evening was calm, but cloud had bubbled up along the western horizon, where the river ran into the sea. Soon it would be dark, the lights in the night sky hidden behind raincloud. The wind would blow the narrow boats landward and hide the sound of the landing party. Sigurd chuckled to himself and looked down across the little burg with its untidy thatched houses, and the pigs rootling between them. Wulfgar had come to this place as a conqueror. He had driven away the tribe settled along the river and built his burg, thinking he had done a fine thing.
Sigurd found Wulfgar too funny to despise him, too stupid to defy. Wulfgar had never understood that the barbarians who lived along the river knew more than he ever would, should he live to be a hundred. The huts Wulfgar destroyed were flimsy, makeshift affairs without complicated defences, because the barbarians never intended to defend them. There had been no treasures kept in the huts by the river, no rich halls or temples. Those were in their settlement on a hill, much further inland, behind a high palisade of pointed stakes, behind a wide ditch filled with more pointed stakes. Long before Wulfgar, the raiders from across the sea had found the river, and no one left anything of value within the dragon ships’ reach.
Children ran here and there with sticks, driving the pigs into their pens for the night. An older girl tried to round up the children. Cattle lowed in the byres, and a group of drunken men called after the girl, making her duck and weave to avoid their wandering hands. Sigurd sat up, the grin wiped from his face. Elsa. His eyes followed the girl as she grabbed a small boy by the back of his shirt, calling out at two older ones to finish with the pigs and get themselves inside. The boy struggled. Elsa slapped him hard and he yelped. Sigurd nodded approvingly. Elsa had spirit. She would make a good wife.
He watched as she herded her brothers home. She stopped before the house door, and turned to scan the palisade. Her eyes lingered on the lone sentinel, and Sigurd could almost see the blush spread across her cheeks, feel her racing heart. He raised a hand in salute. Shyly, she waved back and disappeared through the door beneath the thatched eaves of the house. Sigurd would visit Heremod’s house later, when it was time.
Until then he watched the river, still gleaming faintly with the last of the daylight, and the sombre woods beyond. Beyond the bend in the river lay the sea, and on the sea were the narrow ships. A sharp smell made his nostrils twitch. He turned back to the huddle of wooden houses, his gaze instinctively resting on the hut on the edge of the burg, the völva’s hut. Smoke rose from the chimney hole, pale green and pungent. The freshening wind caught it and flattened it across the thatch, then snatched it away into the darkness. But Sigurd saw, and he knew what the old witch was up to.
* * *
Urdar threw another handful of dust, dried and ground nameless things, onto the fire. Her old eyes watered but she saw what she wanted to see. Narrow ships on the black sea: a red-haired chieftain in the prow of the largest. Clouds and rain, and Wulfgar’s hall with bloodied walls. Wulfgar with his huscarls about him, sleeping their last sleep. She saw other things in the smoke too. She saw her sister’s man stabbed while he slept. She saw her sister taken by Wulfgar’s men time and time again, until they slit her throat and ended it. She saw the baby stabbed in his cradle and the maid child stabbed as she ran screaming from the house. All that Urdar saw, without the help of magic.
* * *
The green smoke died, and Sigurd saw the wiry silhouette slip out of the door. He leapt down from the parapet and unbarred the gates. Urdar pulled up the cowl of her cloak as the first heavy drops fell, and looked at Sigurd from the depths.
“They are coming,” was all she said, and disappeared into the night.
Sigurd watched her leave, watched the silent river, and the trees beyond that sighed in the wind, listened to the rain clattering on the leaves. Only he heard the narrow ships riding up the strand, and boots crunching through the pebbles. Only he had been shown the vision in the flames, of the red-haired chieftain and his bloody sword. It was time to get Elsa.

Flash fiction: Harbingers

Here’s a taste of the next series, Angel Haven. Also YA fantasy it follows on from The Green Woman. It’s jumping the gun a bit (a lot) but it’s what I’m reading and writing at the moment.

Harbingers

The last rays skimmed the oak grove while shadows swallowed up the forest paths. Scyld stared down the mountain, across the treetops, his gaze unfocused. Deep in thought he did not hear the creaking of the ropes, the sighing of the branches beneath the dead weights. He did not hear the noise of his feasting thegns or the raucous cry of the birds.
Scyld was reliving his blood dream. His fists clenched and his lips parted as he watched himself splash across the ford, a war cry in his throat. His thegns were about him, axes and swords swirling, throwing up great fountains of river water. In the dream the river ran red, red blood splashed and fountained, and the warcry in his throat was the death knell for the fools in the unguarded settlement.
The dull thunk of a heavy blade slicing through human flesh, the screams and shrieks of the villagers taken by surprise filled his dream ears. The river ran red, and the earth was black with blood. His parted lips curled into a smile. Donar was with them; the god sang in the sweep of the axe stroke, laughed in the whistle of arrows, and roared in the sacking of the wattle huts.
At his back the bodies twisted in the breeze. Sacrifices to Donar. He stepped closer, and peered with cold curiosity at the swollen tongues and bulging eyes, his nostrils flaring in distaste at the smell from the soiled breeches. A price well worth paying, he thought as he pushed the redheaded corpse, setting it twisting slowly.
The sound of feasting reached him at last, and a sudden thirst dried his throat, a desire to be with company to celebrate the sacrifice that would bring certain victory in the coming raid. He licked his lips and turned towards the fort. Deep in the grove yellow eyes stared, unblinking. Scyld looked from the yellow eyes to the twisting redhead.
The god comes for you, Hrothgar. He grinned, almost laughed, but that would have been unseemly in the holy place, and left the wolves to their own feast.
Feasting, he heard, and the raucous sound of birds. Scyld raised his head. Against the fire-streaked sky above the fort two black birds flapped with ragged wings.
More guests for the feast, Osmund.
This time he laughed out loud. The blood dream had shown him war and slaughter, he had made two sacrifices from among his finest warriors. Donar would be pleased with his offering; he would be in Scyld’s right arm on the morrow.
The raucous cry of carrion birds broke into his thoughts of massacres and bloodletting. Scyld paused at the gates of his fort and frowned. Two ravens. Flapping with their steady, powerful wing strokes they flew over the fort, then turned and back they came again. Scyld followed them with his eyes, waiting for them to reach the sacred grove. Suddenly uneasy, he started back; anxious to see them settle on the god’s feast. Before he could move they turned about, not reaching the grove, ignoring the enticing smell of dead men. Against the fiery sky they turned about, gracelessly, flying low, back through the open gates of the fort.
Fear gripped Scyld as the harbingers circled the houses, passed over the huts of wattles, and the finer halls of the wealthy thegns, circled once and settled on the roof of the big hall. Scyld’s hall. Cold settled in Scyld’s stomach. Harbingers.
The blood dream came rushing back. In consternation he saw the fording of the river, the bloody water splashing before his face, heard the war cries, the screams and shrieks as blades sliced through flesh. He heard the whistling of arrows. Cold turned to ice. He heard the whistling of arrows growing to a whine. The whine grew to a shriek, and he heard at last the death song the air crooned in his ears. Silhouetted against the blood red sky, two birds waited. Harbingers.

Flash

Revising the first part of Angel Haven I got the urge to write a flash. You could call it a flash of inspiration, or you could call it going off on a tangent.

Anyway, I wrote 750 words of flash fiction centred on one of the more unpleasant characters (don’t you just love a good baddie?), which might serve as an appetiser for the series. I’ll probably post it tomorrow. Too tired now, and it’s probably full of mistakes.