Posts Tagged ‘dark’

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Sam sat in his taxi as the raindrops pattered against the windscreen, looking up at the dim stars battling to be seen in an expanse of grey. The day had been as dull as any other.

A woman leapt into the street, black coat flailing around her, her hand stuck out. He pulled over and she darted in, her bright eyes flashing.

“Follow that car,” she said, pointing to another cab.

Sam raised an eyebrow. “Is this is a joke?”

“Is this?” She threw a hundred-dollar bill at him. “It’s yours. Just follow the car.”

Sam slammed pedal to floor and his cab sped off in pursuit of the other. Through winding streets they travelled, one after the other. At last, the cab ahead pulled up at its destination: the gleaming glass and warm lights of a hotel. The passenger got out: an old man with a crooked nose, the collar of his heavy coat turned up.

“So what is this?” Sam asked as he pulled over. “You a detective or something?”

There was a sharp pain in his neck, then nothing at all.

She smiled. “Not exactly.”

Sam sat in the raindrops pattered against the windscreen, looking at nothing.


Word Count: 200

This is for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Thanks to rogershipp for running the challenge!

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The Wall was raised over months of work, cement and barbed wire dividing one tongue from another, one people from another. Soldiers walked from one end to the other, their rifles clicked like beetle’s pincers as the desert sand lapped at their boots. They didn’t hesitate to fire. Their eyes were hidden behind black sunglasses: the windows to their souls had been nailed shut.

The Soldiers understood what the Wall was, what it had to be. It could not be cement. It could not be brick. It could not be steel.

It had to be the wail of mothers and the dreams of children. It had to be drunken slurs hurled like arrows. It had to be the shriek of rifle fire and the stillness that followed. It had to be ghosts and heroes.

The Wall had to be sorrow and despair. It had to cut not through the land, but through the soul: Us and Them, People and Unpeople. It had to cut deep enough to bleed, to make one thing into two.

Earthly walls can be crossed. They can be climbed, tunneled under, slipped around.

But walls within the mind can never be breached.


Word Count: 196

This is for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Thanks to rogershipp for running the challenge!

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Ardhyld was a War Queen, her sword never far from her hand. Across the land, thousands quaked in fear of her and her fierce warriors, slaughtering under the Lion’s mark.

One night she and her warriors made camp by the river by the shadow of the Grimwood, laughing and drinking long into the night, rejoicing in the spoils of battle. Their feasting awoke something in the dark: a queen far older, far mightier, and far fiercer than Ardhyld. She came creeping from her barrow, clutching in her hand a gift for the War Queen.

The goblet appeared by Ardhyld’s hand, its skull face staring into her eyes. The bone was cold under Ardhyld’s touch and the silver colder still.

Drunk on victory and ale, Ardhyld thought it just another stolen treasure and raised it to her lips, sipping the strange draught inside. In the shadows, the elder queen smiled.

Ardhyld didn’t die, but neither did she live. With each day she grew thinner and paler, until she was little more than shadow. They say she wanders the mountains still, a War Queen with black eyes and white skin, sword still clutched in bony fingers as she hunts the lonely paths.


Word Count: 200

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction.

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Three lights shone overhead, piercing the dark metal of the gates. Edgar avoided them, keeping to the shadows. Shadows were softer, safer. Shadows didn’t pin you down and cut you.

And the three lights became three staring eyes of fire, sweeping the cold stone towers for him. The metal fences gleamed like teeth, shook as the furious roar echoed in the dark. They wanted to devour Edgar, to strip skin from bone. They would cut him up like butcher’s meat.

And then they were fences again, still and solid and metal. Edgar shook his head, trying to shake loose the demons in his mind. They were always confusing him, always pinning him in, alway telling that things were there which weren’t.

He had to move quick, before they came in again.

Edgar raced across the courtyard, dodging the searching beams. They tried to catch him, but he was too fast, too clever. He knew how they moved.

Hurling himself against the fence, he climbed hand after hand. The metal was cold and wet against his skin.

Everything twisted as the beast roared and Edgar wondered: Were the eyes and the teeth in his imagination or was the prison the hallucination?


Word Count: 200

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction!

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All right, everybody strap in for the second installment of Star Wars Week here on LAS, building up to the release of Rogue One. This time, it’s another rambling essay posing as a review by yours truly.

There are spoilers, obviously, so if you don’t know who Darth Vader is, stop reading now.

Star Wars was a phenomenon. It was mythological. It felt like a fairy tale and a sci-fi pulp story and a Western all at once. How do you follow something like that up?

You take it in a completely different direction.

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The heart of this movie, really, is the cave. Luke goes in to face what lies in the shadows. And what lies there?

Only what he took with him.

A New Hope presented a binary good versus evil. The heroic farm boy using his father’s weapon to strike down an evil black-robed man. Empire subverts that.

In the cave, Luke encounters Vader, or thinks he does. He immediately strikes: his first instinct is to kill, to destroy the evil. But when Vader’s head comes off, it’s his own face staring up at him. He is the darkness. The evil is not some separate thing that can be killed. It’s inside Luke.

More than that, his desire to be the hero, to rush straight into things, constantly causes problems. He gets clobbered by a wampa, he gets Dac killed right after Dac talks about how he “feels like he could take on the whole Empire” himself, he disobeys Yoda’s instructions to leave his weapons before going into the cave, and he falls right into Vader’s trap by going to rescue Han and Leia. It isn’t even Luke that actually saves his friends: it’s Lando, working with Leia and Chewie.

And here’s the thing I think a lot of people miss.

Luke doesn’t actually try to save them after he arrives. He sees Leia, but he doesn’t go straight to her. He goes to Vader. Why? Because he thinks he’s the hero. He thinks he’s going to avenge his father and make everything right.

Then everything goes wrong, because Vader isn’t just the man who killed his father, the mustache-twirling villain. Vader is Luke’s father.

This is the dramatic twist of Empire: that evil is not some external thing that needs to be fought. It’s what we take with us.

The biggest victory our Death Star-destroying heroes achieve in this film is surviving. They flee Hoth; they escape Cloud City (or everyone but Han does). The last shot of the film is our survivors looking out at the galaxy from the rebel fleet. They’ve been battered and bruised. The universe has disillusioned them and done its best to destroy them, but they’re still here.

And in that moment, maybe surviving is victory enough.

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I give Empire Strikes Back an 11/10, because nobody can tell me that I can’t.

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The decay came suddenly, as if years were passing in seconds, as if time had made some terrible mistake. Metal rusted; wood rotted; everything fell apart.

Cassie ran, but an invisible barrier threw her back. It felt solid as steel.

Everything froze, as if she was in a paused video.

A groaning sound filled the air and a man in black and white robes appeared, floating in midair.

I’m dreaming, Cassie thought, but she knew she wasn’t.

“I am afraid,” he said, “you won’t be able to leave.”

“What?”

“Temporal quarantine,” he replied. “I understand it’s inconvenient, but I’m afraid we can’t risk infecting the rest of the universe.”

“So what?” she asked. “I have to stay here for my entire life?”

“I’m afraid so. I suggest you find a way to entertain yourself.”

Cassie stood just behind the barrier, looking out a world she could see but never touch.


Word Count: 150

This is for Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Barb CT for providing the prompt photo!

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That morning, as Carmine waited in the abandoned warehouse for his contact to show, he was surrounded by cold darkness, as if he was buried in a tomb. His breath rose into the air, warm steam spilling from his lips, then grew warmer and warmer until he realized that it wasn’t just breath that was coming out and that it wouldn’t stop. As he choked and gagged, writhing on the cold floor with his throat billowing hot smoke, Carmine knew two things: that it hadn’t just been coffee in his mug and that betraying his boss had been a big mistake.


This is for Three Line Tales. Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and to Dominik Martin for providing the prompt photo!