Writing Prompt: Champion #amwriting

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.

Still.

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)

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Ten

via Daily Prompt: Ten

The comforting sounds of city noise surround me. The blaring horns, the squeal of rusted bus breaks coming to a stop, and the loud chatter of passersby.

A smile touches my lips as I stuff my frigid fingers deeper into my coat pocket, dipping my head slightly so the wind doesn’t slap me in the face. I hurry down the sidewalk with the motion of people traffic, knowing when to twist and turn to avoid being bumped by the non-city person.

Finally, I reach my destination; a small mom-and-pop café on the corner of 5th and 23rd.

A bell jingles as I enter the warmth and the scent of confectionary sugar and mocha assaults my senses and I love it. I inhale deeply and step behind the last person in line, tugging my hands out of my coat and pulling my knit cap off.

I stuff everything into my purse while simultaneously pulling my wallet free. The line moves slowly, but I am in no rush; plus I know the wait is well worth it.

Finally, when it’s my turn to order, a pretty young woman turns to me, eyes bright with the start of a new day and unburdened by the typical customer.

“What can I get ya hun?” She asks with a hint of a southern accent.

I always get the same thing when I come here, as it’s out of my way and often just to treat myself. I return her smile and am already pulling out a twenty dollar bill when I order, “A small caramel macchiato with whip cream and a chocolate deep fried croissant.” I slide the twenty across the counter as she taps away at her screen.

“Great choice. They should be out in about ten minutes. If you take a seat, I’ll have someone bring it to you, okay?” She hands me back my change and I nod.

“Thanks,” I give her another smile and move to sit against the wall near the back of the shop, so I can look over the room and outside.

A light drizzle is now coming down, creating an array of reflection pools of quickly passing cars and flashing neon signs from across the street. A few come in off the street, shaking their coats or umbrellas before stepping into line to order and then quickly leave.

A woman no more than thirty comes in with a stroller, a doll-like toddler sitting upright, legs swinging and singing a nonverbal tune. Big blue eyes take in the café and a giggle slips past her lips, hands clapping together. Mom presses a kiss to her daughter’s forehead just before she steps up to the counter to order a milk, hot chocolate, and a muffin.

They move to take a seat near the windows, stroller facing the café and I. The young girl lets out an endearing, “Oooo” as mom places a chunk of chocolate muffin on her small tray. She immediately begins to tear it apart with tiny little fingers, stuffing crumbs in her mouth when she remembers its food.

It’s been about ten minutes, and as I glance up and away from the mother and daughter, I note a young man, no older than twenty, coming toward me with a small brown bag in one hand and a bright yellow cup in another and I feel my mouth water with anticipation.

As he nears my table, chaos erupts.

One moment the entire café is a serene, cozy and inviting and in the next second, it’s a scene out of a war zone. Screams deafen me instantly before I realize they’re coming from my own lungs.

Something is pinning me, keeping me from moving, but I am too numb to make out what the hulking metal above me is.

I hear muffled yelling, someone crying and in the far distance the sound of sirens. My mind is too dazed to compute what is going on, and as my vision blurs the man that comes to stand over me blurs with it.

“Are…okay… feel… legs?” He is clearly trying to ask me something, but I cannot make the out the disjointed question.

“Croissant,” slips past my lips and a flash of memory comes to the forefront. A young man, brown hair and startling autumn irises. The man above me is not this boy. I look around, trying to see around this man, but the hunk of metal and his shoulders are blocking my view.

I try to shift my weight and a cry of pain tears past my throat as a searing spasm burns from my toes up along my spine to my brain, and I know I’m going to be sick. I turn my head away from the man quickly enough to dry heave to my left.

The blaze of pain has revived my synapses and my eyes widen with a clarity I never thought I possessed.

That’s when my brain can properly process that a car is resting on top of me, trapping my legs between its bumper and the remnants of the front of the café all around me, keeping me pinned.

“Just hold on,” the male voice is back, clearer this time. “The paramedics are almost here.” He takes my free hand and gives it a squeeze.

I turn away from the black sedan and catch his gaze. He’s older, perhaps in his fifties. Graying eyebrows are pinched in concern and I read what he’s not saying; I am not going to make it.

The news settles over me with a calm I never expected to have on my last day of life. Is this what shock feels like? Complete numbness of all extremities and emotional thought. I feel my grip on his fingers weakening as he grips them tighter.

“Hold on,” this perfect stranger practically begs. I see the moisture pooling in his eyes, and I find it curious that a complete stranger would cry for me.

I find the strength to squeeze his hand, comforting him, before my entire body goes lax.

Images flash before me so quickly, I cannot make sense of any of it until the last one snaps into the panel and it’s of me glancing down at myself through a murky lake. I watch as the older man lowers his head and quietly cries, gently shutting my eyelids.

There’s a blinding flash of light before I am whipped away from the imagery of my last moments.