via Daily Prompt: Champion
(Below is my thirty minutes of writing for the day. Fictional. I simply sit and write for 30 minutes. No edits, no read-backs, so please ignore the ‘suck’).
Dark clouds threaten to unleash Poseidon himself as I rush across the field, cloak clenched tightly in my right hand, basket full of fruit in my left. Slippers seep into the already softened soil from the previous night’s downpour, and if I don’t hurry, I’ll get caught in today’s.
I pick up the pace as a thunderclap echoes across the miles from behind, sending a shiver up my spine.
It is unwise to be caught outdoors when the gods fight, and lately they’ve been having an all-out war, with humanity in the center. Crops are failing, animals are dying and humans are struggling to keep themselves hidden in their rickety domiciles.
Mine is just up the hill, another quarter of a mile to go.
I feel the first drop of moisture as I reach the crescent of the hill, my relief quick in my lungs as I exhale. The small shack that is my home is nestled at the bottom of a cliff, protecting it from harsh winds off the coast, and wild animals from the forest a few miles west.
I immediately pick up the pace at the sight of my home, shoes kicking up mud in the process, basket bumping against my thighs.
Yet as I get closer, the dim light in the only window of the building pauses me. As I live alone, the sight worries me.
I glance every which way before deeming no one is watching and wonder if perhaps I simply left a candle lit in my rush to gather fruit between tempests of rain.
Licking my suddenly parched lips, I grip the basket more firmly, ready to use it as a weapon if the need arises and approach the window tentatively.
Peering inside to the three-room home, I do not see anything or anyone, out of place. Chewing on my lip I gently push in my door and croak out, “Hello?” My voice catching on the dryness of the air.
Silence greets me and with it, a lessening of tension in my shoulders.
I move quietly toward the tiny kitchen, dropping the basket on the counter. As I am removing the berries I spent all morning picking, I keep my ears tuned into the sounds of my home, now very familiar with each one.
By the time the basket is empty, I’ve convinced myself I neglected to blow out the candle, and ignore the niggling feeling that it is at the same height as when I left.
I carefully prune and wash the berries, placing a handful in a plate and moving toward the small table in the corner to enjoy my lunch and dinner.
The loud boom in the sky, followed by a light so bright it illuminates my entire home, startles me. Within moments, the rain is pitter-pattering on the roof, and just as quickly, it becomes torrential. The sound lulls me into a state of exhaustion as the hike to where the berries reside is over five miles each way. That, and last night’s battle kept me awake for most of the night, letting me doze off for only a mere hour or so.
A rumble shakes the small home, causing glassware to tinkle, and forcing me to grip my table. An explosion is fast on the heels, rocking the foundation and sending the other chair toppling over. Another bright light flashes in through the window, blinding me for a whole minute before it is gone.
“Quick,” a voice whispers harshly from my right, startling a yelp past my lips. “You must leave your home.”
I jolt upright so quickly, causing the chair to fall back and land with a barely audible thunk.
“Who… what …are you?” I stutter. The creature before me is clearly not human.
“We do not have time. The cliff above is crumbling and soon your home will be buried beneath it,” the non-human pleads. Pitch black eyes are wide with what appears to be fear, but the clawed hands keep me frozen in place, a blueberry still clenched in my hand.
“Hurry,” it says with more urgency, taking a step toward me as if to pull me from my home itself.
I curl back, fear lodging a scream in my throat. I eye the only weapon I have near me, the plate on which my fruit rested. I wonder if it will render this being motionless.
It must read my decision because in seconds it is beside me, claw hands resting gently on my shoulders. “I will not harm you. I am here to save you. Please,” it begs now.
Another explosion knocks me into this being, my face planting into the scales that is its chest, and I curl back in horror. A scent of day old fish assaults me and I find my face scrunching up in displeasure.
“I am not leaving my home with… with… whatever you are, until you tell me what is going on!” I demand, shocked my voice is steady when all I feel is panic and fear.
The beast visibly sighs and that is when I notice the gills in its neck, expanding and then closing. A shudder grips me and I take another involuntary step back.
“I am here on the behest of the god Poseidon. I am to save you, but I will fail if we do not leave NOW!” The being yells.
My heart dives into my stomach. The last thing any human ever wants is to catch the eye of a god. While some might think it a glorious thing, it only ends in misery and often death.
“I think I would rather die with my home,” I mutter.
The beast’s eyes flash red and its skin goes luminescent before returning to a very pale white. “I do not have time for insolence,” it says before his claws are gripping my waist and flinging me over its scaly shoulders as if I weigh nothing and dragging me out the door, just seconds before a boulder the size of a moon lands atop my home, completely decimating it before my eyes.
The being is carrying me away too quickly and soon the only home I have ever known is both literally and figuratively gone. Moisture pools in my eyes, but I refuse to cry. Instead I allow anger to control my next actions. I begin to beat on the beasts back, my hands hitting solid scale and probably hurting me more than it.
“Put me down you disgusting piece of filth!” I scream, which gets devoured by the battle raging above us in the skies.
Reds and oranges flicker in the sky between the pitch black clouds, giving the world below small glimpses of frightening power. Lightning strikes in our path, but my kidnapper easily evades it and picks up his pace to a mind-numbing speed. My body convulses with the erratic pitching, ribs knocking harshly against the scaly flesh beneath me.
“We are almost there,” the being yells over the violence and my body recoils at the thought of where there is.
Before I can royally freak out, I am tossed unceremoniously onto my feet, stumbling at the sudden motion and almost losing my berries in the process. My hands grip my ribs and I groan before I even realize the other odd thing. The complete and utter silence.
I finally take in my surroundings. We are down on the shore, hundreds of miles from my home. No wonder I feel like upchucking a week’s worth of food, which in all honesty isn’t that much.
There are more like the thing that brought me here. They all stand at attention along the shore, three long rows of perhaps fifty in each. I stare wide-eyed, never having seen such creatures.
Then my vision lands on the mammoth half-man and half-serpent leaning over a table in the distance. His entire scale-frame is tense as he barks out orders. It is my staring that eventually turns him to face me, as if sensing my gaze.
A smile crosses his horribly handsome face. A face that is both rugged and beautiful, should not be on that body. Queasiness quickly overtakes the anger, and I find myself taking small steps backward as the god Poseidon slithers toward me.
Long black hair reaches to his waist and irises made of ocean blue capture my retreating figure.
“Well done, Mekhail. You managed to save my champion,” he practically purrs. Another oddity considering the image before me.
I shiver at his voice, those thick lashes of his brushing his cheeks as he blinks, taking me all in. “She is quite the vision, is she not?” He seems to ask of no one.
I take another step back, which only makes his smile broaden.
“Cham… cham…pion?” I manage to stammer.
“Why yes. You will help me defeat Zeus,” he says with a nonchalance as if discussing the weather.
Incredulousness pauses me in my retreat. I am a mere human, who at most has wielded a rock to break up the rare meats I can catch. Is this god insane? Oh right. They all are.
I must have a look of utter disbelief because it seems to amuse him.
His laughter dances along my flesh, like a keyed-in song to my body, and I gag in repulsion but nothing comes up.
“Just … send me home please,” I beg futilely.
“You have no home, Ariella. We are your home now,” he adds with an imperious wave of his colossal arm.
The words repeat over and over in my dulled mind and when the darkness comes, I accept it with open arms.
(Okay, I wrote more like 40 minutes, but still…. :D)