Writing Prompt by Robert Lebeers

Writing Prompt by Robert Lebeers

Posted on Facebook by Robert Lebeers Here 

The post has been mirror-linked to the reply.

 

Malvec rubbed the lamp experimentally. It glowed and then became hot. Putting it down with a curse, the pirate backed away and gaped as a bluish smoke poured from the mouth of the lamp. It swirled into a miniature tornado and then solidified into a huge mannish shape, it’s hide as black as obsidian and gleaming like oil.

“You may ask anything you wish,” The shape stated, “And it will be yours.”

Malvec had heard of these, Gins, he thought they were called. The wishes were tricky. Ask for a fortune and it’s yours, but you would either be the owner of stolen wealth or put somewhere where it couldn’t be spent. He thought, and then shook his head, “Nay, spirit, I’ll not ask.”

The Djinn roared, “Ask or die!!”

Malvec backpedaled, holding up his hands, “All right, all right. Let me think.”

“Ask, or die,” The djinn repeated the threat, but in a softer tone.

“Okay…” The pirate said, nodding, “I ask that I never have anything bad or inconvenient ever happen again in my life.”

The djinn’s eyes glowed and it said, with a smile, “Granted.” As it pulled the pirate’s head from his shoulders.

This is your prologue. Now tell the story.

 

So the story goes.  It’s what happened afterwords where the real tale begins.  Malvek’s wish had been granted – since nothing bad or inconvenient could happen to him, he could not die.  He considered that both “bad” and “inconvenient”, and the Gin had to obey his own rules, or be locked up in the lamp for eternity.  However, that didn’t mean it had to occur on Earth, you see.  The Gin made it so Malvek could live with just his head before casing it off into the unknown reaches of space.

“Whyyyyyy?”  Malvek howled into the vacuum, remaining unheard by any he passed.  Until his head landed on a small, barely inhabited planet, there to be found by a local who would care for him and keep him company.  After all, starving to death and being lonely were also considered “bad” and “inconvenient”.  Malvek had not specified that he couldn’t undergo hardships, so the one who found him was unable to understand him, and he was unable to understand the local.  Many a night by the fireside was spent with the two  trying to understand each other, with little progress.  It was the end of the first month that the local managed to finally convince Malvek her name was “Domycht Finthil” or Night Moon in the local language.

With names established, though Domycht was convinced Malvek’s name was “Metostae”, or “It’s in” in the local language, the two found themselves in good company.  Domycht, a trader by day and prankster by night, would often offer Malvek’s head up for sale when she set up at the local markets.  Malvek used the opportunity to scare the customers into paying more than they should for the wares Domycht offered, satisfying his pirate heritage.

This lasted several lunars, until the pair upset one of the local nobles.  Being away from the Gin, the noble had both Malvek and the merchant cursed, then forced off planet through an unconnected portal.

To find their way home, they had to join forces, and search out the one world they were banned from and return.  Malvek, only familiar with sailing ships, couldn’t figure out a form to use to move between stars.  Domycht, unfamiliar with navigation without roads, was familiar with animals that could cover vast distances in space.  When the two talked it over, they settled on Domycht selecting the form, and Malvek choosing their course.  The pair have been riding the ghost horse for millennia, searching for a way back home to have the curse broken.  Unfortunately, neither remember any longer that they are banned from the planet.  Now that they have reached the barrier, behind which the planet hides, they continually push at it, and  get no where.

Cosmic dust has collected, like particles of knowledge, on their lives giving shape to the nebula.  Perhaps, one day, when we finally reach the nebula ourselves, we can give the pair their final release, which is rumored to be all they ask for now.

S. S. Lynx – Old friend, new ship

 

“Well, captain, what do you think?”  were the first words I ever heard as the last of the construction crew cleared my decks, and left me empty and waiting.

“I think she’s beautiful.  With this, I’m sure we can transship those goods in record time.  I’m glad you purchased, her.”

Now, this had me a little puzzled.  Who was talking, and where was I?  I had gone down with my crew, all hands on board, after that devastating cannon broadside.  The last I understood the idea of mermen and mermaids had been forgotten about the time I had my first commission.  So, that brought me back to the question of who was here, and were I was.

The silent footsteps did not help, either.  I found myself unable to track where the voices were, or even if they were moving.  When I thought about my hull, I found another surprise waiting for me.  It did not creak and groan like it should.  Soft pops, and an occasional ping answered my probes.  Why did my builders do this to me?  Do they not know I need to be able to speak in a way the crew could understand?  These new sounds had no meaning, no life.  They made me a dead thing.

“When do you want to set sail, then Captain?”

Set sail?  As in go out in the open sea, when I had no way of speaking with the crew?  No way of tracking where they were, or what they were doing?  I tried to moan, and let the speakers know this was not a wise idea, but they continued talking.  The only good thing was their voices let me follow them from midships to the deck.  I finally felt a little tickle there, but I never felt them leave my decks.  Even the sway of the gangplank did not indicate anyone was on it.

I have no idea how long I sat, empty and vacant.  When the crew arrived, it was with a surprising bustle and amount of noise.  Things falling into my holds with a solid thud, voices shouting back and forth up and down my halls and corridors.  The galley coming alive, and something I did not know I had.  There was an extra heat source near my center – hotter than I had ever felt any galley stove burn.  I do not know what that heat was, but I soon learned  why it was present.

Not long after the worst of the noise and bustle subsided, the heat peaked to an unbearable temperature, and something beside me started to move.  I tried to groan a warning, and this time was rewarded with a sharp, piercing whistle.  But, none of the crew bothered to go investigate what it was that shadowed us so closely.

As the days went by, and the thing continued to churn by my side, I began to grow accustomed to it.  Though, I had not yet guessed just what it was.  We had a following breeze, which let the crew pile on the canvas.  It was not until we came to the calms that I discovered what a paddle wheel was for.  When the winds began to die, the crew reefed my sails, yet we did not slow.  Puzzled, I let my consciousness roam through the parts of my body I had not investigated fully.  I found rods that spun, pistons that pumped, and the boiler that sat just above the core of heat.

Such tremendous pressure, yet it was harnessed, and put to work to let me move when even oars would have  been impractical.  Oh, what a fabulous discovery that was.  I spent several shifts mesmerized by my own internal workings.  I missed the squall that we powered through, and our arrival into the destination port.  What recalled me to the present time was when the crew began to offload the cargo.

I was no longer a war ship, I was a freighter.  How frightfully undignified!

You’ve Been Challenged!

Raonal sighed to himself as he watched  the common every day boring, tedious, banal activities go on around him.  Despite his recent return to the Sunlits, he still felt the canker on his soul from the recent sojourn to the darker Realms where tedious was exciting, and pranks were dangerous to think about.  Muttering to himself, he turned to go, and saw the small group of children gathered nearby, staring with unabashed curiosity at him.  Always one to play the crowd, the pukah smiled at them and opened his arms wide.

“It’s said there’s no place like home.  But, I don’t have any ruby slippers, and I have no idea where home is.  At least, I don’t know where I can count as home.  I’ve lived with alpha now for five lunar cycles, and so far we have to stay anywhere longer than just a few days.  Not sure how the Strange Lady does it.  Not sure if the Pretty Lady isn’t regretting coming along.  I’m not even sure I even want to belong to this strange pack.  The Mistwalkers were mean, but at least they didn’t roam creation as their territory.”  he decried, hoping this time to scare them off before the canker in his soul blighted theirs as well.

None of the children left.  In fact more gathered, their high giggles washed across him, providing a soothing balm to the open sores he still carried in his mind.  Though he wished to be alone, he decided not to leave this oasis of healing.  He pointed to the forest’s edge closest to town and continued, “Maybe their territory is home.  That would be nice.  I could be around young Bowyer, and be at least accepted for who I am.  They accepted me once, perhaps they’d accept me again?”

When the children giggled again, he pretended to be shocked to notice them for the first time, “Oh, forgive me.  I didn’t realize I was talking to an audience.  I’m not like Wildfoot Horsetail, though some would argue otherwise.  I like being in one place and love being in front of an audience.  So, please, gather ’round.”

The children gathered close to him, some sitting right in the middle of the dusty street where he stood.  He waved them to scrunch in closer, “Even closer.  Let’s make this a nice little story circle.”

When no more children appeared, he relaunched into his story telling mode, “There you go.  What I speak of no one believes, even though I tell the Sphinx’ own truth.  For some reason, just because I grew up in the Neseil Courts, everyone thinks I am full of nothing but tall tales.  That is further from the truth than the stars are from the sky.

“I met my alpha one evening just as the laughing ring moon was rising.  He had been out to scout for new pack members.  I don’t know how I impressed him as much as I did.  He was traveling with an Imuti for his beta.  But, he decided I had to join his pack.  See this scar here on my neck?  That was given to me as a reward for my acceptance.  We traveled far and wide those first few months, and I had never been so tired in all my life.

“We traveled all over the world in search for perfect members to join our pack, but the alpha kept saying no.  Some he said were too mean, others not mean enough.  Now, he says he is going to take us some place called the Arena so he can look there.  Where ever this place is, it sure does have the sound of somewhere I do not want to go.  I just want to go home.  But I don’t have any ruby slippers to clack together to make it happen.

“Perhaps, if I show him the Courts he will decide to stay there.  Perhaps these sparkly boots I found today – made of some sort of strange leather like none I’ve ever seen before – will take him, and convince him to stay.  The courts aren’t my home, but at least they are a home.  Do you want to come with me?”

The children howled their universal “No” to his question, then scattered, as if afraid he would kidnap them and turn them into changelings, like their parents always threatened.  With a sigh of remorse, Raonal made his way back to the inn where his companions continued to wait patiently for the alpha to return from where ever he’d gone.  Now, it was up to Raonal to figure out what he wanted to do – he just wanted to home, and he didn’t have one.

 

Raonal is one of the characters in my debut series Followers of Torments.  He makes his entrance at the end of Remember the Shadows, and continues to travel with Nameless while the rest of the cast is introduced.  You can find the series on Smashwords and on Amazon.

 

 

 

 Smashwords

Out of the Darkness

Remember the Shadows

Amazon

Out of the Darkness

Remember the Shadows