I decided to start the writing prompt challenges as a means to explore options outside my screenwriting, and in an effort to build a writing community. I’ve taken to writing, what I call flash fiction, and I hope you’ll join me!
Seeing faces in everyday objects was commonplace. There was a term for it and everything. What they didn’t talk about was what it meant when you could only see faces in inanimate objects while the faces of loved ones started to disappear. Visual sensory overload was becoming just as commonplace in a world that so heavily relied upon that as a means of communication. Words started to dissolve into shortened versions of themselves, acronyms, and emojis. Whatever might be easiest. Emotion, tone, connection…things of the past. So it was no wonder that eventually those who might be recognizable would start to blur into the background and become faceless. You know what? There’s an emoji for that.
*After writing the piece, I found the sentence I wrote upon first seeing this prompt: I was one of those people, the ones who always see faces on inanimate objects, so you can imagine my surprise, perhaps horror is a better word to describe the feeling of when I stopped seeing faces on people.
*Then there was this piece I started some time ago, and somehow did not finish…
The legend of the Lady of the Lake is a well known tale. The Arthurian legend is among the most notable which is why so many people, for generations, have sought, and failed, to discover Avalon’s true location. We would not be counted among them. We had been meticulous in our research. We were confident in our findings.
Had only luck been on our side. Had only our confidence been enough to carry us.
Upon traveling to the mystical land, strange things started to happen, accidents, or so they could have been construed. Deep down, I think we all knew…
They thought themselves servants of the old gods. They had built their home in the remains of a fallen one as a way to preserve and watch over the sacred ashes. Every year, when the wind shifted and the air turned, they awaited the awakening. They offered sacrifices and held celebrations in the hopes the new god would be tempted. Would be pleased. There were tell tale signs, moments that would harken the coming, but it had been a dozen generations since the last, they had no way of knowing when the time would be right. This year felt different, mist rolled through the town, blanketing everything in a fine sheen so that the lanterns and the moon glowed with a strange, unsettling aura. Then there was the tremor and the sound of the great god shifting in his long slumber. It vibrated in your chest, it tingled up your spine, and in the distance its arms unfurled. The people stopped mid-action to witness the rising, a mixture of fear and wonder, for how could they ever know if their new god would be a benevolent god, or if today was to be their last day?
For the next image I had two ideas, similar enough, and yet each needing to be told.
Museums are strange places. I was told that once upon a time, they held relics of other worlds. They were places that held knowledge and history, and allowed visitors to travel to distant lands and connect with people long since gone. Or so they would have you believe. This exhibition wasn’t too different from the truth of what museums actually once were. Organizations that paid exorbitant amounts of money to acquire mostly stolen goods from lands plundered for their riches. This place didn’t feel like an art gallery, more like a zoo. The pieces were described as artist renderings of new species encountered on humanity’s exploration of the stars, but then why did they move? Why did I get the sense that their eyes followed me, pleading for aid? There were other stories I had heard of, ones where people protested animals being tested upon for human advancement, setting them free, and I had the feeling, looking upon the strange figure trapped in a box, that I was going to become one of those people.
~ * ~
When I was a little girl, my parents took me to an exhibit of an inventor, a scientist, a so-called visionary. I don’t recall the details with such clarity any more, but I do remember the feelings of awe and sadness as I took in the subject of each clear box. It was as if they were frozen in time. And there were so many of them. The boxes had to be stacked and platforms were built so that visitors could encircle the room to get a “good view” of all his creations. I remember hearing whispers. I remember the looks on some of their faces as they took in each form. It wasn’t a triumph, it was a freak show. They were said to be designed for a purpose, but whatever that may have been has long since been forgotten. I was drawn to a particular display, number 217. There was something about its form, its face, and when I saw the flicker of movement, I had to stifle the cry that wished to escape my lips. It was in that moment, when I felt small and powerless that I made a choice. It wasn’t long after that the exhibit was permanently closed. Two-ey, as he likes to be called, and I made sure of it. My age and size allowed me to be “unsuspecting”, and that shortsightedness, along with my new friend’s abilities, allowed us to wreak havoc.
Earthlings were still a fairly primitive species. They still had yet to move beyond their own planet, but that didn’t make them any less fascinating. They had had visitors since the beginning, those that periodically checked in on their advancement, offering them a helping hand from time to time, others that wanted to discover why so many had been drawn to them in the first place. Eventually, Earth became a destination, a vacation getaway, a chance to observe the natives, and on ocassion, interact with them. The appearances became so regular that the Earthlings built their society around it. They created places for their visitors to land safely, and buildings that offered a more welcoming, hospitable environment depending on their visitors planet of origin. They fashioned places they called restaurants and pubs that did their best to serve food and drink they hoped their new friends would enjoy. Of course not all interactions were so pleasant, but that didn’t make them any less fascinating.
The rain came down in a torrent. Its sudden appearance and forcefulness caused those strolling about to flee and take cover. The pitter patter was like a song to my wounded soul, and it was nature’s perfect response to my grief. It was as if she were commiserating and understood that I needed the solitude. I walked for some time in the quiet. The mist clung to my skin so much so that I could not tell where my tears ran except when they first fell warm upon my cheek. I clung to my umbrella’s handle like a life line, suddenly realizing that the empty world before me was my new life. For a moment I was paralyzed. I stood in the archway, knuckles white, cheeks tear-stained, and took a shattering breath that left me light-headed. And then it dawned on me. The world before me was my new life. It brought a smile to my lips. It felt unnatural, given the circumstances. Then my foot took a step forward, almost of its own volition. My arms slackened and the umbrella fell to the wayside. I lifted my face up to the sky and let the rain wash me clean. And then, again, as if she understood, the clouds cleared and a ray of light shone down upon me. I could not help but laugh.
Red is for Passion
She still remembered the day she was given her red drape, the color that designated her station and responsibility, and her vow. It was a proud moment to achieve such status at so young an age. For years she did as she had been trained, serving as a handmaiden to the goddess and upholding her sacrifice, a vow of silence, until he arrived. They worked side by side in the temple, barely acknowledging one another, tending to their duties. Slowly, over the course of a year, he drew ever nearer. He was drawn to her silent devotion, her soulful eyes, her gentle touch. It was forbidden, and if they were discovered…The first time their hands brushed against one another, she pulled away, angry. The withering look she gave him from beneath her hood made his cheeks burn in shame, and yet a warmth spread through him. In time, the priestess partnered them together on a number of tasks that allowed them to spend more time together, more opportunities for a casual caress that eventually spoke volumes more of intimacy. One day, when they found themselves alone, he took her by the hand and led her further into the shadow of the forest where for the first time he could look upon her face fully and hear her break her vow.