One fine afternoon, I was rewatching the scene where Russell Crowe is motivating the troops from his pretty horse, as the about-to-be conquered Germanic tribe screams from the trees when the following story popped into my head. Read on.
The following was a twitter short I posted weeks ago at @flickerfiction – edited for content and format.
Blaine can sense my rage, so the greeting is timid. He runs a nervous bony hand through the wisps of limp brown hair stretched heroically across his skull. His eyes dart around as he furiously searches for the perfect excuse that would diffuse the thick tension between us, and simultaneously shift the blame to someone else not named after an 80s Vegas magician. I can almost see him performing in a three star off-strip casino Monday buffet, to indifferent tourists hoping to make up for lighter bank accounts by eating their weight in complimentary crab legs before slinking back to reality.
“I didn’t expect them to believe the prophecy. Come on! We made it up two days ago drunk as skunks!” He pauses licking his thin cracked lips. “What was in that hurricane drink anyway…” he continues, his voice dropping away into a whispers as he finally looks at me.
The intensity in my eye stalks hardens, making him gulp and take a step back before he catches himself, unleashing that oily smile; I have come to loathe the way it slithers into his fat smug face.
“Sorry I didn’t show proper deference oh mighty eh…Cthul..Noodliness..?” The smile gets greasier as his beady green eyes cast a speculative trail across my multiple starchy appendages. His gaze sharpens as he catches a glimpse of the meaty nether regions. I stir in a blur of movement to obstruct his hungry furtive glances, even as his stomach grumbles rudely when his flaring nostrils catch the garlic scent emanating from my new body.
I am an infant goddess naked and vulnerable, but not for long.
It’s always the same dream. The memories of my clutch mates whistling and diving through Oversky, riding crystals, singing bawdy songs, and filching dew-soaked manai from unsuspecting clouds. We lie suspended on hammocks made by entwining a few Yslly vines on our moorbana – the great home tree. Our wings trilling happy rest notes occasionally joined by a mating note that drapes the forest in tunes for almost an eternity.
Our beautiful glittery Oversky is hurtling through the the black, full of fire, ice, and rocks; a planetoid of perpetual winds, vast restless oceans stowing secrets in their depths. Ranges of ice-crowned black mountain ranges sheltering desolate hidden valleys, and a barren peninsula of soft red sands. The remaining verdant moorbana trees scattered in my valley are skinny, flexible, and extremely closed-in. They choke each other in an near impenetrable embrace of love and violence.
Free falling through gauzy films of sleep, the Stranger’s gritty voice cuts off my dream. He is back, the Outlander sent to treat with the Caretaker, smelling like death and wearing dead skins. The skins are tightly contoured to his body, leaving his pale bald head bare and covering his long torso with openings for his four queerly arranged limbs which have peripheral digits of their own. When their star-rider descended on the Ruby beach 10 cycles ago, they had presented themselves as scholars seeking knowledge from the worlds rediscovered, once they had reclaimed decommissioned planetary star-gates. By the time my clutch mates and I deciphered their true purpose, it was too late.
The Caretaker hadn’t bothered to take Authority Form before she sung to the whole of Oversky of the impending visit from kin a million cycles from the past.
I slither down a Yslly vine entwined to my home tree to spy on him with Caretaker. The Caretaker is in Market Form. A holo screen floats between them full of dancing incomprehensible glyphs. The Stranger seems animated waving his stiff digits from his smaller pallid limbs, a color rarely expressed in Oversky and even then, is associated with the abstraction Rot.
“…last of its kind!” Caretaker’s soft voice fills the small glen. She buries her true nature under impeccable manners but my clutch mates and I suffer under her cruelty, so I instinctively freeze in fear that her five blue ranging eyestalks will stake me out before I can complete the blend cycle. I dare not think of my last mate who had the misfortune of interrupting one of her ‘trades’. Bland words for a despicable practice. Pullo is encased in Amber, trapped alive in the extra-solar museum of a scruples-deficient, civilization-cratering-be-damned alien jackass.
“…exceptional quarters….terms agreed” the Stranger’s voice is barbed wire smothered in grease. His flat face screws up in a rictus of contempt as his lower larger limbs take a step back leaving a slightly curious indentation on the sand.
From my concealed vine, I still catch snatches of their hasty conversation, but I have lived long enough to know that I’ve run out of time. I scurry back up the vine to watch the wind dance; sapphire crystals beyond count, ready to eddy through my wings and launch into a graceful dive into the winds of Oversky.
It won’t be long before the nets catch me. The stranger has powerful magic that breaks through all my blending spells to catch my soul. Until then, I spread my quad wings, opening gossamer slits to draw in wind crystals and I soar. The empty skies are awash with the last song of Oversky.
One lazy afternoon in a public library far far away, as story time for tots was winding down, I spied with my little eye a cover that would change my life. Being the fantasy aficionado I claim to be, I didn’t waste any time sidling over to the Librarian’s Corner and picking up that month’s recommendation. I was drawn to the name “Game of Thrones” as well as the cover art that depicted a snowy scene, and presumably a thickly black bundled Jon Snow on a black garron, knee deep in snow falls with a white wolf looking over them. It was a hot Nashville summer and the snow looked so enticing which meant that I had to pick up the book.
I corralled my tot and headed home to half-finished chores. I squired the tot away with his father and went into my room with a fresh libation and lost myself in George R R Martin’s epic universe. From the time an arrogant ser on his first ranging ignored the counsel of his experienced brothers only to run into an strangely dappled armored thing armed with a crystal longsword. I was hooked instantly! frozen scary undead sword action. And it got better as each page pulled me further into this universe where seasons last years, magic is almost dead, treachery is suckled from birth.
The book is structured through multiple view points that are used effectively to paint the characters in broad gray strokes. What is one man’s honor when faced with proof of a cuckold king. What would the queen do to save her position and that of her children.
I was reading every chance I got except for when I got to the parts where I had to stop and take a walk around the neighborhood to digest what had just transpired. As soon I was done with the first book, I run out and bought the rest of the series.
Then somehow, the HBO gods accepted my burnt cheetos offerings and feverish prayers of the devoted fandom; A Song of Ice and Fire was bound for the small screen. I made lemon cakes for the premiere of the first season and they were delicious as my husband and I watched the books come alive in HD.
Just a few more days until the season 4 premiere and my mission is to do a re-read and a re-watch to make sure I will be ready, lemon cakes and all.
The smell of coconut rice simmering triggers memories of humid vacations spent sprawled under swaying palms. Of slow breezes snaking through sands. Of scrapped fingers. Hmmmm…what is the Oxo\Cuisinart equivalent of this? A very easy rice dish that is great with any kind of spicy stews. I usually serve it with curry chicken or spicy beef stew.
2 cups basmati rice
1 can coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Rinse rice thoroughly in cold water and place in a small pot. Pour one cup of the coconut milk into the rice. Top up the can of coconut milk with cold water and then pour remaining liquid into rice (about 2 cups). Bring pot to boil then lower to simmer until liquid is evaporated and rice is cooked through. Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup).