A while back I got some touristy-type postcards of Cape Town and offered to write people drabbles. All they needed to do was send me a When the Sea is Rising Red prompt (the things I do on twitter when I’m avoiding work…:D).
four six seven are finally done and written up and in the post, so here they are:
Cindy Pon prompted “She couldn’t believe she was asking him…”
She couldn’t believe she was asking him when she knew better than to hunt for answers she wouldn’t like. “If you’d had to choose?”
He looked up from his book – that same stupid Mapping the Dream that had been both a reading primer and an extended love letter. “What do you mean, choose?”
“Between us.” Felicita pretended to fiddle with the long line of buttons on her wrists. “If there had been no revolution, no barriers. Could you have?”
“If there had been no barriers, there would have been no choice.” He went back to staring at the page.
Ash Hetland gave me “Jannik glanced out the window…”
Jannik glanced out the window, still waiting for Dash to appear in the shadows. He’d made the break as clean as he could because it was the only way he’d not lose his mind, but it didn’t stop the wanting, or Dash’s reflected anger battering against him. On rain-clean nights it wasn’t just sound that travelled.
Dash had always been fierce in his hate and it was worse now, turned inside out of love. It would have been easier if he’d been colder, more logical. Instead, Dash was a wild-fire in a rising wind. Dangerous. Unpredictable.
The empty space remained.
Jolantru‘s was “She ran through the green…”
She ran through the green to where the world stopped. The wind was a monster here on the Leap, catching her hair and dress in its fists and pulling her forward. Felicita crouched down to dig her fingers into the damp sod. She held her place like the old rocks and waited for a lull.
It came when her joints were frozen, knuckles turned yellow-white. Felicita inched forward to the drop. Tomorrow she was going upriver to MallenIve and leaving her girlhood behind. There were goodbyes to make. The wind caught her whisper and flung it down to the sea.
The last prompt came from Marieke “Starlight cast shadows around her…”
Starlight cast shadows around her, cold and remote. Only true fire accepted Esta; danced under her fingers, did as she commanded.
Before Rin died, fire was their weapon against stupid non-sea people in their wooden boats who fished and fought but were never at one with water. After Rin died, betrayed by an ocean that should have welcomed him, Esta had nothing left but flames.
She flicked a match against her thumbnail and watched the burst of blue and orange. Dash had said, “Light me a fire.”
And light a fire she would. Esta smiled, caught between starlight and flicker.
For Tilted Lamp, who asked for a pyjama party (Dash/Jannik)
“And what the fuck is that, exactly?”
His furrowed brow makes me realise that this is not what one does after feeding; hand your meal a – I look down at the offending bundle – nightshirt. One does not assume said meal is staying the night. “Um,” I say. “It’s for you to sleep in.” My voice does that questioning thing at the end. That thing I have been training myself out of.
The hob – Dash – grins in mockery. “A pyjama party, bat? What’s next, bed time stories?” He glances at my over-flowing bookcase.
“If you want.”
And for Nicole who just wanted a slashy little feeding scene between Dash and Jannik. Which turned out to be super-hard to write in 100 words.
The bat’s not like I expected. You hear stories about how they’ll leave you dry and dead if only the laws were different. But this one’s all jitters. It makes me feel like I’m in charge. “Are you doing this, bat, or should I just go and show myself the door?”
He’s been staring at my arm where I rolled the sleeve up. “Oh,” he says. “I -yes. No. I mean, I am doing this.” He touches the crook of my elbow with one finger. “I am.”
And after, he looks at me proper-like, and I know I’ll come back.
And another one, for This Dead Town, who wanted a wedding night.
As wedding nights go, Felicita had rather expected more. Of course it was a marriage of convenience. Of course they’d drawn up an agreement. Of course she had understood exactly what they were doing.
“Of course nothing,” Felicita said to the neatly-made bed. “You idiot. What did you want him to do? Pretend that this was real?”
She sat on the edge of the bed, and listened to the noises of an empty suite.
In another set of rooms, Jannik wrote poems to burn. Anything to keep him warm, and to pretend that this farce had been a good idea.