Of magic and more


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Don’t mess with the Sirens

This is my submission to the Write On Edge Week 11 writing challenge. The idea is to write a piece of fiction in 500 words, based on the picture prompt, the given quote, or both f you’re so inclined. This week the quote was:

I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.

~Robert Frost

The picture prompt:

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

I have taken inspiration from the picture. Here are my 490 words 🙂

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DON’T MESS WITH THE SIRENS

 

She had watched him from afar, noon and night, ever since he had pitched his tent on the island. Often he had caught her eye with a knowing smile, and every time she had lowered her adoring gaze until he turned away. Parthenope, the sea siren, was infatuated with Ulysses, and he knew it. The handsome hero loved all the attention, but never would he fall prey to her charm. The great Ulysses and a low down creature of the sea! Impossible. That was exactly what he would tell Parthenope if she came to him, demanding his love. He was well aware that rejecting a siren’s advances was dangerous, and all his well-wishers would advise him to flee , lest he be killed. But from the siren’s unusual shyness, it seemed unlikely she would approach him, and so he remained complacent.

 

But she did come to him one afternoon. She rose out of the tide, pearly-eyed and dark haired, her beauty putting the loveliest goddesses to shame. But all this was wasted on the stone-hearted Ulysses who bestowed her with no more than a cursory glance.

Still she tried to woo him. Again and again he spurned her, taunting her and her sisters for being wicked deformities of nature and boasting about how he was too great a hero to ever stoop so low as to love a siren. “Begone!” He spat. “You are not worthy of being the ground I walk upon.”

Gathering up her wounded self-respect, Parthenope responded with cold dignity. “Do not underestimate our worth. My sisters and I are powerful. Men have killed and have themselves died often at our bidding. Many in this world have sought our affections, none have been fortunate enough to glimpse it. Be wise, Ulysses, this is not a gift to be thrown away. Choose well, while you have time.”

But the hero merely laughed and threatened to obliterate Parthenope and her sisters until the siren left him alone.

On their home island, Parthenope and her sisters discussed Ulysses.

“Perhaps he’s faithful to his wife.” Suggested Ligeia.

“Hardly!” scoffed Aglaope. “There is not a land in the known world where he has not bedded a woman.”

“He must be dealt with.” They agreed.

The day before Ulysses was supposed to return home to Ithaca, he mysteriously disappeared. His men, whom he had ordered to camp on the other side of the island so he might not be disturbed; found nothing but his tent despite searching thoroughly. Large, skilled search parties were launched, but the hero could not be found. In Ithaca, Penelope, his wife, grieved his assumed death.

 

“Slave!  Fetch me a goblet of wine!”

“Have you not mopped the floors yet, slave? Really, you are the slowest!”

Ulysses wiped his brow and continued his unaccustomed labour. By Gods, he should have fled while there was time. Now he was stuck as the sirens’ slave forever…

 


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The Groom Returns

My first entry for Write On Edge and I must say I really like this concept of using a photo as well as quote for the prompt.The writer has the option of choosing the picture or the quote, or both of them as inspiration for their 500 word story.This week I used the photo as my prompt.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Here are my 497 words 🙂

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THE GROOM RETURNS

The cold night wind scattered sand over the desert. Iris watched the fine silver grains rearrange themselves gracefully into new patterns. Above her, the velvet sky was dotted with stars, but lately Iris had stopped tracing the constellations with her eyes, she found no peace in them any longer. It was all because of him. He had taught her the art of reading the sky, and now he had made her lose interest just as easily.

Iris and her family had lived with their community among the dunes for years, its serenity only disturbed  by the occasional research students, academicians and archaeologists whose curiosity drove them to investigate the mysterious desert and its myriad secrets. But the community was careful not to let anything leak out to the outsiders. Twice that had happened, and the scholars had been captured and put to death quickly, quietly and efficiently.

 

The desert’s secrets had to be protected at all costs.

 

Robert had been another young research student, different from the others only because he had fallen in love with Iris. Attention from men was quite unknown to young Iris, for unlike her (flower) namesake, she was neither delicate nor pretty.She was not particularly intelligent or charming either, so Robert’s wooing had enthralled and enchanted her. She had begun to love Robert back, and the elders had been shocked, but tolerant of their forbidden romance, only because Iris’s father was an important man in the community. Since, Robert was still an outsider, they had merely decided on hiding their rituals and magical skills from him.

 

But as fate would have it, Robert had walked in on a late night sacred ritual worship of a very important deity, disrupting the process and unfortunately becoming a threat to the community. And of course he had been excited and pleased about his discovery, telling the elders how good it would be for their community to be publicized and how famous it would make them. But of course that couldn’t be allowed. The decision to execute Robert was unanimous. It was only after Iris begged and begged and convinced her father, that they agreed upon erasing Robert’s recent memory with a serum rather than killing him.

 

However, fate had intervened again when something in the serum had gone wrong, leading to a painful death for Robert. There was nothing that could be done, no potion, no spell that could revive him, and the entire community went into ceremonial mourning.

 

But now he was back. He had somehow returned from the dead to claim his bride, and he was wreaking havoc all over the desert with famines,droughts, infant deaths and worst of all to Iris, he visited her in nightmares with that gruesome bloodstained smile and equally bloody hands that reached out for her.

Iris shivered in fear.

A hand came down heavily on her shoulder. She screamed.

“Hello Iris.” Robert’s mangled living dead corpse rasped. “This time I’m taking you with me….”