Flash: Frozen

Stock Art of Frozen Pool

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Okay, that didn’t go well.” Kai said.

 

Brook looked across the pier and newly frozen lake. Fog shrouded the immediately surroundings because of the sudden switch in temperature from steamy summer to frosty winter. She pulled the wet towel tighter, grateful she had climbed out of the water using the aluminum ladder now covered in icicles before Kai cast his spell to take the edge off the burning July day. “Understatement handsome … That is definably an understatement.”

 

(Words 78 – first published 4/7/2014; republished in new blog format on 11/12/2017)

Flash: Cannot Be Unseen

Photo by Jiří Wagner on Unsplash

Kai stumbled after Aubrey into the Ferry house out of the January weather. The difference between outdoors and indoors felt nearly physical; the old man had upped the protections on his home since his wife gave birth. Even a welcomed friend like himself needed to beware entering uninvited. Kai shuttered to think what would happen if he violated guest rights.  The old man was a first rate wizard.

Today continued the lessons on friction. For third weekend in a row, Kai spent Saturday in the empty ice rink. Kai was certain avoidance spells were possible, though he had only been a student since Thanksgiving when Aubrey had taken him on. But Kai did not think the spell was used to empty the place; after all, who would spend time in an ice rink in January?

He expected that his mentor would be teaching combustion in the middle of July. The old man was quirky that way … or mean, depending on how one interpreted his actions. Today Kai was leaning toward downright malicious. He was sore from the heavy skates on his feet, sore on his butt from falling, sore in his head from trying to grasp the lessons on how to increase and decrease friction, and frozen throughout.

It didn’t help Aubrey was none the worse for wear after nearly twelve hours of torturing him. Yes, Aubrey looked Kai’s age, with stark black hair and solid muscles like he worked side-by-side with Kai landscaping instead of whatever he did as his day job. But Kai knew that Aubrey had to have pushed himself in the rink today, if only to control Kai’s mistakes. Why couldn’t the old man be a little tired?

Struggling to lift his arms to get out of his jacket, Kai watched as Aubrey raced into the living room where his wife was nursing and someone he had never seen before was standing.

“When did you get in child?” Aubrey asked joyfully as he scooped up a stunning redhead and spun her around. “How did you get away?”  A concerned look crossed his mentor’s face as he slid the girl down his body onto the carpet. “And who did you leave in charge?”

The young woman laughed at his exuberance and replied in an Irish lilt.  “I’ve only been here a few minutes. Mom was just introducing me to the young one. And don’t worry, I’ve left the Trio temporarily in charge. They should be able to keep the peace … among themselves … for a few days.”

Kai watched his mentor look the girl up and down … his daughter? Same strawberry hair and clear white skin, enhanced by a spattering of freckles, as Aubrey’s wife Colleen.  The girl was only a couple inches shorter than Aubrey’s five ten. The girl appeared to be a college freshman, an angelic freshman. Her wispy hair desperately escaping a crown braid creating a halo effect backlit from the kitchen. Her off-the-shoulder white dress had lace insets in all the right places. Less bosom-heavy than the earthy Irish beauty of Colleen, Kai was able to see the girl had inherited Colleen’s coloring and Aubrey’s strong lean frame.

He couldn’t not Look. But Kai did try to talk himself out of it. What is Seen cannot be Unseen. That was the first lesson. Aubrey had found Kai in the middle of his first Seeing; a horrific experience brought on by stupidly trying to fit in at work and joining the guys on a marijuana break. The next month was spent bringing his natural gift under control; the following month has been spent learning friction.

As he hung up his jacket, the nineteen year old closed his eyes and opened his inner one. Turning back to where the conversation was continuing between the old man, his wife and his daughter, Kai slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus only on the girl. He didn’t need to see Aubrey stripped of all the natural assumptions people make so is life more palatable EVER again; that scary shit was firmly cemented into Kai brain for the rest of his life. Kai also had no interest in finding out what could hold its own in marriage to the millennium old magician. He tried to use his recent lessons on focus to look only at the newcomer.

The girl’s hair loosed from its braid to cascade down her back in a riot of curls, a far-deeper red than Colleen’s strawberry. Like staring into the heart of a furnace with blue-white flames dancing out of red-black coals. He could feel the heat sear into his eyes. The crown braid formed into a silver diadem, elegantly wrought like a small ivy branch freshly plucked and turned into ice.

The woman spun as he continued to stare. Her blue eyes were like the blue of volcano lakes, promising the same ice and heat, the same serenity and danger of those isolated paradises. She said something as she stalked towards him, but Kai was focused on Seeing, not hearing. Her fingers stretched into inhuman lengths as they curled around his throat. Her skin was the color of winter ice and summer clouds, the dress falling away into illusion.

Her red lips plumped from unkind hope, curled with merciful despair and he could not resist even has her claws drew blood from his neck. Keeping his green eyes on hers he leaned forward to kiss his life and death. Her eyes spoke her name to his soul, both use and true, as his lips touched hers. Closing his eyes to keep the vision with him for the rest of his meager life he deepened the kiss. He felt her breath escape in surprise and the choking grip lessen.

Unthinking, he turned off his gift that usually took him hours to put back in the box and grabbed the curtain of fire with both hands pulling her naked body against his starving one. His tongue warred for dominance with hers.

(words 1,000 – – originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 1/13/2013 – The original photo was from  Sarah Ann Loreth who retains copyright on her photos, with written permission to reuse. I did not asked for said permission. Published on the first blog on 1/13/2013; republished new blog format 7/9/2017)

Flash: Evendalson’s Cave

Stock Art Winter parka

Photo by Talgat Baizrahmanov on Unsplash 
(Cropped and color adjusted by Erin Penn)

Old Man Winter sat heavy on Evendalson’s shoulders as he stared into the dark cave. If he stayed outside, he would surely die a quiet death. Already his limbs felt as cold and heavy as the grave. But the cave was sacred to the local fae, may they sleep well into spring. He knew little of its holiness; parents only taught children to stay away from certain sites within a day’s walk of the village.

With four moons until his name day, Evendalson’s was adult enough to bite back the curse rising from his gut as he debated what form of death to embrace. His mother had little choice in accepting Greger’s proposal since Evendal’s brothers had not extended arms to their brother’s widow.  A proud warrior, Greger was willing to take on the cost of a woman and her two daughters, but shunned accepting a boy with someone else’s name.

For a full moon Evendalson had survived being outcast, but winter gusts promised further ice and blind snow. His bed of leaves and sticks stopped holding heat days ago.

The wind ripped his fur-lined hood from his head, driving crystals hard into his face. Determination to survive goaded the young man into the cave. He grabbed the unbraided blond hair the Dod-vind had tried to steal, tucked it under the cloak, and pulled the hood back up. Outside the wind spirits howled at the loss of heated prey.

But the Dod-vind stayed the other side of the threshold. The still air of the cave held no warmth, but took none either.

“Blessing upon the fae and faekyn,” beseeched Evendalson as he continued away from the entrance. He smelled moisture and needed some badly. The creek had frozen over days ago. Melting snow with his hands traded thirst for cold; a trade he made for two mornings but dared not make at night.

A breeze bearing water instead of spirits guided him further in, aiding him in choosing splits and turns once darkness had swallowed all. The dark pressed on his eyes. Strangely the rocks Evendalson expected to trip him never reached out. No injury sought him; though maneuvering through the black wrought its own exhaustive wound.

After untold time, water clung to his face and hood.  Earthen soil below the hoarfrost allotted the air warm. Evendalson pushed the hood back and removed the two-finger mittens from his hands. He tucked them into his belt for safe keeping. His youngest sister, Hanne-grandottir, had knitted them in a red so bright the color hurt the eye even after several washings. Agnete-dottir’s socks were equally treasured through the cold days of his outcast, though their green often dyed his feet.

With the hood removed, trickling water could be heard. The walls were still dry under his fingers, but Evendalson knew he would find true water soon. He wiped the sweat from his face.

The dark grew even more complete, to the point Evendalson swore he saw light. Deeper he went until he discovered the light was not false. Eventually he made out a turn where the glow seemed as if firelight dancing in a doorway.

He firmly pushed back the urge to run. He was in a fae place. Despite his thirst and a desperate need for light after blackness had tried to steal his eyes’ memories of the sun, he approached the turn carefully.

(words 563 – originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 1/6/2013 – I do not know the copyright of the photo which inspired the story, so I did not copy it.; published on the old blog on 1/6/2013; republished new blog format 5/14/2017)