Sunday Strange: The Baby Strikes Back

This tale cuts the cutesie picture down to size. To recap on Baby’s debuts, you might want to read this short story which will refresh your memory.

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Baby thought he was pretty special, destined for greatness, Ruler of the Universe probably, especially when his elder brother Jimmy fell foul of one of Baby’s genetic experiments, leaving Baby the eldest child. But Mother explained that in this world, only girls count. Baby would never become Ruler.

Mother never did have a girl. After Baby, came another two boys. Jack and Tom, thick as shit in a bucket, both of them, were easily persuaded to take the pretty sweetie. A much easier job than it had been to get the smart arse sheep to take it. The servants had been horrified, of course, and gone running to fetch Mother. Baby shrugged. He felt the time was right to take the logical next step.

With Jack and Tom in attendance, their dumb-wit eyes goggling, Baby trapped the power between his palms and wished very hard. He had no more need for sugar-coated pills. Not even Mother was able to do what he had done, had she? Jack nodded in agreement and wagged what passed for a tail. Tom just looked, the tip of his tongue poking out like a right shitbrains.

Baby brought his palms tight together, just like the magicians used to do before Mother got rid of them. He felt the power to change and transform squidge and squirm against his flesh. His eyes rolled and he fought to remain conscious. The squirming became a digging and delving, a hot, icy cold shiver of heat, and when it stopped, Baby was a girl!

She shook her curls and flexed her muscles, quivering with kick-ass, and Jack backed off the bed. Tom eyed the buttered toast. The door was flung open and Mother stood in the doorway, more agitated than Baby had ever known her before. She saw instantly what had happened and opened her mouth to squeal something obvious and idiotic like, “You’ve been messing with genetic engineering again!” But she never had a chance. Baby clapped her palms together once more and Mother rolled onto the breakfast tray, a smooth, fresh egg.

“Now for some real fun,” Baby said with a diabolical cackle and picked up a teaspoon.

Sunday Strange microfiction challenge

Anyone have any ideas what’s going on in this painting? Apart from anything else, I’d like to know what she’s looking at. Stories please, as short as reasonably possible.

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Microfiction: Little God pees

There wasn’t a Three Line Tales prompt this week, or if there was, I didn’t see it, so here’s a three line tale based on the painting for my own Sunday Strange microfiction challenge.

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When the Little God discovered that his Tree of Life had been vandalised, its branches broken and its first flowers stolen, he screamed for the likely culprits, his Six Miserable Sisters, who appeared with the evidence of their crime in their hands.

“Mother told you not to mess with things,” said the eldest sister, “and if you don’t want your backside tanning you’ll leave Creation to your elders in future.”

Pouting, as only a Little God can, he waited until his sisters had gone and peed, a long, golden, Little God pee onto the stricken tree, and smirked, a nasty Little God smirk when the golden stream worked its magic, and new, putrid blossoms began to take form on the stricken limbs.

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Sunday Strange: The house on chicken’s legs

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She had no one else to turn to. The neighbours had stopped her going into the house, prevented her seeing the remains of her family one last time. They knew who was responsible for their murder, but none would say. She might have been only sixteen years old but she condemned them as cowards and ran into the forest, with little idea of where to go, and one thought in her head, revenge.

The house on chicken’s legs appeared in a clearing. Attached to the surrounding tree trunks by rotting cords were the skeletons of unfortunates, discontents, criminals, the despondent, who had all come searching the help of the ambiguous one. The girl knew she risked the same fate. The ambiguous one did not heed every petitioner, nor spare the weak-spirited, the miserable or the frail. Neither did she listen to every braggart, every angry noble brandishing his wealth and his sword. The girl looked into the empty eye sockets and saw as many powerful as humble dead. She clenched her fists and held her head high. Death did not frighten her. All her dear ones had already passed through the door, pushed violently it was true, but they would be there, waiting for her. She had nothing to fear from death, and only one thing left to live for. She would offer her death to the ambiguous one, and hope her boon was granted.

The chicken claws scratched in the dirt and the little house shuddered. The girl’s mouth was dry but she found her voice and shouted.

“Baba Yaga! Give me the lives of my parents’ murderers and I will give you mine. Refuse and I will kill myself, and you will never have me.”

She took a knife from her belt and pressed the blade to her chest while the leaves of the trees shivered in a sudden breeze and the house on chicken’s legs trembled. The breeze carried a tinkling sound like distant laughter and the girl held her breath, waiting for Baba Yaga’s answer. No sound came from the house, but by her ear, a hissing voice said, “Take me with you and I will show you what you are looking for.”

Startled, the girl turned and stared into the dead eyes of a skull. Without hesitating, she plucked the skull from the skeleton and brandished it high on a stick.

“Thank you, Baba Yaga,” she shouted. “When I have done what I must, I will return.”

Again, the silvery laughter floated in the wind, and the chicken legs stomped around and crashed through the trees that closed behind them and the house of Baba Yaga. Before her was a dark green wall; she was alone with the skull.

“Follow where I lead,” it said in the low, hissing voice, and light, pale and green, poured from the empty eye sockets onto a path the girl had not noticed before. The path wound between tree trunks, over streams and through glades, and the girl followed it through the night, and through the cloudy darkness of the following day. Her resolve and her grief were so strong she never tired. She heard not another word from her guide until she reached the forest edge. Beyond the last trees she could see that night had fallen again and a new moon shone. The skull spoke.

“In the shade of the fir trees, you will see an iron railing that encloses a small plot of land. Look beyond the railing and you will see four mounds of newly turned earth.”

The girl peered over the iron railing, and it was as the skull had said.

“Who lies here?” she asked, dreading the reply.

“Your uncles Ivan, Pyotr and Dmitri, and your cousin Fyodor.”

The girl’s face went white as chalk. “What new horror is this?”

The tinkling laughter drifted on a breeze from nowhere and the skull replied, “The ambiguous one granted your request. These were the murderers of your parents, your sister and your brother.”

The girl sank to the ground as images of her laughing, bearded uncles, and her smiling, bright-eyed cousin ran before her eyes.

“Why?”

“For the land, of course,” the skull replied.

Vengeance should have felt sweet, but the girl felt only emptiness and misery.

“Take me back to Baba Yaga and let her take my life. There is nothing at all left for me now.”

“The house and the land are yours now, and a young man is waiting for you, the young man who followed the murderers and showed the soldiers where to find them. A young man with broad shoulders, hair the colour of ripe corn and eyes blue as the sky.”

“Anton,” she murmured. “But, what about my promise to Baba Yaga?”

The skull was silent, and the green light in its eyes was dead. The faint laughter grew louder as a wind sprung from the ground, wild and joyous as a young horse, plucked her into the air and whisked her through the night, into the dawn, and set her down in front of her home. The skull had spoken the truth. In the doorway of her house, was a young man, a pail of feed for the pigs in each hand. Anton was smiling.

“Welcome home,” he said, and putting down the pails, ran to her and swept her into his arms. Somewhere, far away, silvery laughter turned to birdsong before drifting into a contented silence.