Sorry for the delay, folks, but the wait has been worth it. I haven’t added any titles, so only Carl’s has one. (I couldn’t think of one.) The theme this month was a single word: draw. In the five stories, authors used four different meanings of the word as their primary definition. What a versatile little word!
Anyway, thanks to all. I hope I didn’t miss any (Kris?). Enjoy!
(Next month, Mimi chooses the theme and the word count. Watch for it in the comments below.)
Author: Mimi Speike
I would read for you, said Dee. I must know who you are, what you’re about.
Ask anything, cried Sly, eager to oblige. (One does not refuse an opportunity to apprentice to the great John Dee.)
I consult the Tarot, please. The cards don’t lie.
Your implication, I do?
Don’t get your back up over nothing. Madame Tarocchini reveals things we may not be aware of.
Dee fanned a deck face down on his desk. Let’s see. Draw five.
Sly took one, examined it, and shied it at his mentor. Outrageous! I had assumed a brilliant man, which you most certainly are, must reject this idiocy.
Dee shrugged. Nonsense, certainly. But, a popular depiction. One finds this nastiness everywhere, it’s impossible to avoid. Try to take it in stride.
Easy for you to say. You’re not a cat.
That particular card, Dee mused, his first pick? Luck of the draw? Or drawn to it? Gives one pause, it does indeed.
Author: Curtis Bausse
The man and the boy walked along the road, waiting for the lights of a vehicle, any vehicle, to pierce the black. None did. They kept walking, the man answering the boy’s questions as best he could. The boy was at that age, wondering about starlight and atoms and trees falling in forests with no one to hear them.
‘There’s a book up there.’ The man pointed to the ragged sky. ‘Maybe in orbit, maybe just drifting past. Full of words we can’t understand. And pictures. Drawings. Beautiful, they are. There’s one of a bird with feathers like flames and eyes bright as diamonds.’ The man paused. ‘And an ice cream van. Just one flavour. Chocolate. But the best chocolate ice cream in the universe.’
The boy craned his neck, looking up. ‘Ah, bullshit! I don’t believe you.’
‘OK, I made the ice cream up.’
‘But the rest is real?’
‘Sure.’ The man glanced over his shoulder at the darkness behind and quickened his pace. ‘Come on. Better hurry.’
Author: Perry Palin
Teacher said draw a picture of your favorite animal. The children drew dogs and cats, and one drew a pet snake. The little girl didn’t know what to draw. She looked at another girl’s picture of a cat, and she drew a cat.
Teacher said draw a picture of your house. The children drew houses with peaked roofs and flat roofs, one story or two stories tall. There were curtains or flowers in the windows, and some drew a sun in the sky. The little girl thought about her teacher’s words. She drew a gray apartment building with a parking lot, and the two cars that never move in the parking lot.
Teacher said draw a picture of your last vacation. The children drew scenes with children at lakes or in the mountains or at Disney parks. The little girl didn’t know what to do. She drew a picture of a table in a park. There was no one sitting at the table.
Teacher said the holidays are coming, draw what you would like most as a gift. The children drew bikes and pets and bright big toys. The little girl drew a mother and a father holding hands.
Author: Atthys Gage
Husk cracked, clinging where she hadn’t chewed it away. It fell in flakes when she extended a hinged foreleg. She looked up, gathering the dank air in the membranes of her face, and licked. And gulped. Air had never meant much to her before; now she couldn’t get enough.
Breathing coaxed other urges. Jointed plates groaned, drawing ichor into untested sinews. Forelegs? Hind legs?—these made a sort of sense—but what were these strange nubs, these stumps of flesh set high up on her back? Stretching, pain warned, but did not deter. Some urge, deeper than pain, spoke inside her. It would not be denied.
She flexed until the shriveled nubs swelled, unfolding in jointed segments that stiffened into crisp panes. Their slow beat flicked shadow across her crystal face. They were bigger than she was.
With hardly a flap, she was airborne, rising into the stale dusk. She chose a direction without benefit of sight, sound, smell. A gradient lay across the sky, a chemical net spreading in every direction. The draw was irresistible. She set a course for the center, and it pulled on her like a lodestone, onward, ever closer, to where death hung the thickest.