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“Ember” by Rose J. Fairchild

Image is from Pixabay and was used as inspiration.

     “I’m sure you have heard that men discovered fire long ago. That statement is doubly false, and I will teach you the true story, young one.”

     The little girl snuggled against a warm golden side as a well-muscled tail curled protectively around her.

     “But who discovered it then? The fire?”

     The dragon hissed, revulsion giving its sunny eyes a molten spark. 

     “Fire begins with dragons, my dear. Always with dragons. It comes from within us and we decided to share it with the world. Well, a part of the world.”

    The dragon’s heavy silence settled over both of them, it’s disappointment so thick, the little girl could almost taste the bitterness.

     She bit a strand of hair, twirled it around one finger, and whispered, “What happened?”

     The dragon snorted and snapped its jaws as small tongues of flame curled within its nostrils. 

     “The fire was a gift. I met a young woman once who was to be married off against her will—sold like cattle to the highest bidder.” The dragon’s focus settled on some unseen memory, and the girl felt it gently probing whatever old wound waited there. 

     “Her name was Elidi, and she was barely more than a hatchling, while the man was old enough to be her father. She stumbled into my lair, and to this day I do not know if she was trying to hide, or if she hoped I would eat her.”

     The little girl sighed. “She must have been very sad to want either of those things.”

     “She was. She cried like I have heard no one else cry in my very long life. I swore her heart poured out in her tears, like she was purging herself of all emotion. How else could she handle what was happening to her? And she, with no choice!” The dragons shook its red-maned head.

     “I went to her and lay at her side. And when no more tears would come, I finally spoke to her.”

     The girl whispered, “Was she scared?”

     A wry chuckle trickled through fangs and scaled lips. 

     “No, child. She was more afraid of the arranged marriage, and that she had no voice in the matter.”

     The little girl stroked the dragon’s scales, absorbing the story. “Then…what did you say?”

     “I told her this was not the end—that I would gift her something to help her through; then I gave her power over fire. She held it in her hands and watched it dance across her palms. She did scorch her hair a bit, but only once.” A deep, rumbling laugh made the dragon’s sides heave up and down, bouncing the girl along with them. She giggled, swallowed up in contagious mirth. 

     “But then came the important part.”

     “What’s that?” The girl held her breath.

     The dragon curled its neck so it faced the little girl.

“I planted an ember in her soul. I told her it would light her way when the world was dark, and warm her when it was cold. That when things were tough, with a little fuel, she could ignite that ember and accomplish great things.”

     The girls eyes shone with amazement at her friend’s story. “And then?”

     “And then I explained that while the ability to hold and create fire was uniquely hers, the ember would pass through the generations to all women. Do you know what that means, little one?”

     “That I have it in me, too?”

     A gentle squeeze from its golden body spoke volumes. 

     “That’s right, child. And never forget that it is dragon fire burning in your soul. You will never be tamed. You will never be ruled. Ignite, my dear, and change the world.”

     The dragon could feel happiness radiating from the small but fierce girl at its side. It heard the intake of breath and knew a question was coming.

     “But, what happened to the old man she was supposed to marry?”

The dragon grinned ferociously.”I guess you could say he was the first man to truly discover what fire can do when tested.”

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“The Hex Doll” by Rose J. Fairchild

I have lived one long life and died a thousand deaths; been tortured more times than I would care to count. But not alone. There is always someone else along for the ride. Someone I hold captive inside me, and the true target of the savagery.

My skin is scored with so many scars, it loosely resembles burlap. My mouth has been slashed wide and stitched totally shut, my heart and eyes gouged out only to return later. The creativity born from people’s hatred is boundless and I am forever amazed at their viciousness. 

Our most recent customer has brought me hair from her intended victim. My assistant, Skyla, offers them to me and I use my tongue to roll it into a ball before swallowing it with a generous helping of wine.

The man’s DNA begins running through my veins and I feel myself changing as his essence is pulled into me. As he is absorbed into my flesh and we become one. 

I see the eager look on the woman’s face as she raises her blade skyward–the frantic look of fresh hurt written all over her face. I wonder what he has done to her, but I never ask.

As she plunges the blade downward, I leave the man on the stone surface my body lies on, feeling his terror as I hold him prisoner. I dive into my sacred space and feel myself scream with him, though I only vaguely register the pain. It is just part of the ritual of channeling his flesh through my own.

Long ago I had to find a way to escape the bloodletting lest I go mad with the agony of both blade and emotion. This escape is the only way I manage it.

Broken and bleeding, I feel the man’s consciousness slip away and know the woman has finished him off. I let him go and return to myself.

Somewhere in the world, a dead man lies slashed and bleeding, no evidence of the killer left behind.

I hear the woman’s whispered words of thanks and the soft sounds as she weeps her way out of our temple. I know not whether they are tears of joy, relief, sorrow, anger, or even guilt. It does not matter. The job is done.

Weakened, I raise my eyes gratefully to Skyla as she pours healing elixir slowly into my mouth and over my tongue. As it rolls down my throat, I pull her to me and taste her lips. She is the tether that keeps me sane, the single point of light in the world of hatred and pain I live through every day.

She breathes deeply, fingers gently caressing my broken flesh as if instead of a battered canvas, I were a beautiful masterpiece, and I know that there is hope for the world–that love truly can exist alongside so much hate.

Short Stories

100 Word Story : “Hunted”

Hunted by Rose J. Fairchild

The man drew near, intentions clear on his face. He thought she was trapped; defenseless.
The little girl hugged herself, preparing. He wasn’t the first to see her delicate beauty and hunt her.
But he was the one being hunted.
He raised a hand to her white hair as she closed her eyes and unleashed. The wolves within her erupted in a smoky haze, red-eyed and razor-fanged.
They scented his fetor immediately, honing in with a simultaneous snarl.
He tried to run–apologize.
Too late.
They painted the earth in shades of him as the girl smiled and called them back.

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Are We What We Create?

Good morning, Spriggans, Sprites, and creatures of light! My son wanted to paint this morning, so I created a base for a painting I’ll be working on as I can. The horse was inspired by the ones depicted in Holly Black’s “Folk of the Air” series.

How I love that series…

Anywho, it got me thinking about the art I usually create. They tend to go one of two ways…either there is some sort of joyous freedom or escape as above, or there’s teeth, claws, and spikes everywhere (or even better, some combination of the two!). Both are huge pieces of me…but more like things I always longed for as a kid.

In the past I wished for freedom, so I created it in pictures, poems and stories. And I also often wished I had magic, fangs, and claws…of a sort anyway, and that has forever been evident in my artwork.

So I was wondering…artists that depict peace, serenity, and beauty…is that what they know, or what they long for?

How about you? Why do you create?

Have a magical day!

Short Stories

Flash Fiction-“A Kingdom of Their Own”

This is a flash fiction piece I wrote based on the amazing artwork (below) by someone near and dear to me: the incomparable Trevor Fairbairn! Thanks for inspiring me and letting me share your image before it’s even finished, Trevor!

“A Kingdom of Their Own”

His good eye glittered in the sun as he surveyed the devastation behind him. The battle had been hard, and he knew he’d face aftershocks of it for years to come, but it had been worth it. 

He’d slowly dragged himself from beneath the heavy-mantled rule of a false god–one who was more monster than god; more malevolent than benevolent.

Ommin had suffered greatly under the monster’s rule. His head poured full of putrescent filth about his worthlessness; his body bruised and battered even as he was forced to get up, forced to slave ever harder. 

Of course, there were days he thought there was no hope. And yet, somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew there was more out there. That maybe life was worth living; that he was enough–for himself, and maybe for someone else. 

And on his way up from the false god’s mire, Ommin scraped bits and pieces of himself off the ground, his heart and soul stitching back together as he pulled them back in.

He would always be scarred, both inside and out, but they were lines of his story: an epic journey of war and self-realization.

He sighed heavily and used the finger-like appendage at the end of his trunk to gently brush ash away from a sapling trying to rise from the devastation. 

Despite his age, he felt like that saplng–young and fragile, pushing up toward life-giving sun and air, the cleansing touch of summer rain. Toward freedom. 

A gentle bump against Ommin’s leg pulled him from his stupor and he glanced down at his toddling son. The boy twirled his trunk around Ommin’s, whose heart swelled with such love and pride that it almost hurt. That face, with eyes full of hope, trust, love could near break his heart as he wished and hoped that such innocence would never know the trials he had. 

A gentle trumpet sounded behind him and he turned his eye to the matriarch who had found and fallen for him despite his scars and brokenness. As he had with her. 

And from behind her, their eldest son, and the middle baby–their girl, ran and danced around him, oblivious to the charred remains behind.

They pulled at him with their trunks and he rumbled in reply as he turned to follow their lead. 

They tugged him toward a pleasant path, green and lit with pools of golden sun. A path that would be rough at times, but well worth the journey together. 

Raising his battle-scarred head high, Ommin trumpeted a triumphant bellow at the skies before following his family to build a kingdom of their own.