the magic of life

Mist
Picture Credit: Hengki24

The days had grown short.

The afternoons spent lounging in the warm glow of the sun, idle hours of pleasure, were distant memories.  The newest generations had never known them and the eldest were no longer certain they had ever existed.

Those who did remember tried not to.  There was no room for soft nostalgia in the cold hard truths of the new world.

First the mist had come and stayed.  The dew used to herald the arrival of the sun, but then the sun had crept lower and lower until it merely brushed the horizon, never warming the soil enough to burn away the watery surface layer.  Then the heat of the ground had dissipated and the mist turned to ice.  The glow in the heavens grew weaker and lasted minutes less each new day.

Soon there would only be night.

Those few survivors who had lasted to see the final days were a tough breed that proved if there was potential for life humans would find a way.  But, when the world went dark and the plants began to die off completely, it was only a matter of time before the freeze would strangle all.

Young and old would fight until the ice shards crystallized in their lungs, until the frostbite claimed their extremities, until their bodies forced their minds to sleep.  Their efforts would be valiant and worthy of remembrance.  Their struggles would be lost, though, as the Earth spun further off its axis and erased the magic of life forever.

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Written for this week’s Once More With Feeling prompt and because I needed to write something dark.

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terror

You are like the Ocean...
Image Credit: o-BlueMoon-o – Click the image to see a bigger, better version.

My worst nightmare: lost at sea.

Growing up I had a lot of crazy dreams.  I was chased by dinosaurs that came from the past through a portal at the back of my pool.  My house was crushed by a giant scorpion that we then had to fight off.  Bears, hunting me.  Etc…  And, more recently, I’ve had dreams where I’m in a car that is being chased and shot at.

Good times, right?

Interestingly enough, I’ve never had falling dreams.  I’ve never had any dreams about work (or school) anxiety.  I’ve never really had any of those nightmares that everyone seems to have at some point or other throughout their lives.

And, I’ve never had a dream where I was lost at sea, adrift on the rolling ocean with no land in sight, no supplies left, no company, no hope.

But, the thought terrifies me more than anything else.

The dinosaurs and scorpions were the dreams of an imaginative child’s mind trying to process new knowledge and fears.  They hold no power over me anymore.  The shoot-out dreams have occurred so frequently recently that I know they are a dream now while it is unfolding and I can use that knowledge to wake up or shift to something different.  The bears… well, they still creep me out.  But, not as much as open water.  Nowhere near as much.

And perhaps that is why I’ve never had dreams about it, because the idea is so completely horrifying that even while I’m dreaming my mind won’t let my subconscious explore the possibilities…

What do you think?

What terrifies you more than anything else?

Write it, link it to this week’s Once More With Feeling post, and publish it to play along in the fun.

the fiction of it

gunnison day 3 028

The odd cross-hatched clouds marred the otherwise pristine sky, too thin to provide any sort of shelter from the relentless sun.  The light reflected off the snow, burning our exposed flesh despite the chill in the air, and the longer we were exposed the more likely it was that we would go blind.

In the distance we saw the unmistakeable sight of a cabin jutting out of the snow drifts.  Trudging through the deep layers we pushed on cautiously.  There was no telling what kind of reception we would receive.  The lack of smoke rising from the chimney meant the place was probably deserted for the long winter, but it was still early in the day and perhaps the fires just hadn’t been lit yet.

If nothing else, we knew would could force our way in and use the cabin as temporary shelter until we had regained enough strength to carry on.  It wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t how we wanted to act, but the days of walking and the freezing nights had put a sharp edge on our thoughts.  Survival was all that mattered.  To hell with the rest.

As we drew closer, my vision started shrinking as exhaustion, dehydration and the effects of the sun took their toll on me.  I tried to rub away the pain and damage I had done to my eyes, but my gloved hand and numbed fingers were ineffectual.  I clinched my jaw and nodded to my companions to be on guard, and then I pushed forward the last hundred feet.  Shelter and rest would be ours one way or another.

And when we were done, we would torch it, so that those who followed us wouldn’t be able to use it as we had.

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My second post for this week’s Once More with Feeling picture prompt – which happens to be one of my photos.  This is a bit of flash fiction, but if you want to read the truth of this photo, you can find it here.

the truth of it

gunnison day 3 028

We’d spent two days on the mountain already:  two wide open days, learning the trails, enjoying the adventure, testing our limits and taking it easy.  And then, on the third day, we found a new run, away from the main thoroughfare, that was perfect.  It had sections that forced us to practice our turning and improve our skills, and sections where we could relax.  Plus we were the only snowboarders on it so we could ride in huge arcs back and forth across the steepest sections without worrying about getting in anyone’s way.

We daydreamed about owning one of the cabins that dotted the backside of the resort.

We marveled that the beauty of the Rockies.

We wished our trip would never end.

The blue skies and clean air were a treat.  And while Crested Butte will always rank behind Mammoth as our favorite place to visit and go boarding, there was something magical about being in the Colorado Rockies.  Whenever I look at this picture (which is in rotation as one that I use for my desktop background both at home and at work), I feel that magic stirring within me and a longing for adventure grows anew.

When it calls, I must answer.

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Since he is using one of my pictures, this is a quick little truthful write up for this week’s Once More with Feeling picture prompt.  Be on the the lookout for my next post which will use the same picture and be flash fiction.

 

frozen

_kuri
Image Credit: _kuri

The city slept, and we huddled together to share our warmth.  We didn’t have a choice, really.  It was either work together or die during the freezing days and nights of winter.  We may call the streets our home, but that doesn’t mean we don’t value our lives.

The city slept, and the cold ate into our bones.  We felt as stiff and brittle as the buildings across the river looked.  Eventually day would come and those offices would warm with the lights and movement of the movers and shakers of the world.  We would stay hidden, out of sight, forgotten, but we would be shaking too.  We never stopped shaking from October to May.

The city slept, and the river creaked and moaned.  We understood how it felt.  We intimately knew its complaints for they were ours as well.  All year long it was open to receive the whims of the weather.  As the chill wrapped itself around us, it blanketed the surface of the river.  That too, could mean our death, because we needed the water to survive.  Dehydration was every bit as deadly as hypothermia for us.

The city slept and we crept onto the ice with our borrowed shovels.  We needed to break through and pull as much water as we could before the ice weakened under our feet.  The longer we took, the more likely the hole would refreeze.  The more times we had to reopen the hole, the more likely the ice would crack and send us into a watery grave.

None who had been claimed had ever been rescued in time.

We drew straws each morning to determine who would brave the ice.

They risked death to provide us all with life.

When they fell they were celebrated as heroes as best we could.

A small memorial was built.

Words were spoken in their memory.

A round of cheers sent them on them.

And still the city slept.

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This was my response to this week’s Once More With Feeling picture prompt.  The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was a backpacking trip I was on years ago where we had to break through ice at a lake we camped at to pump water for our dinner and to refill our canteens…  This story flowed from that.

What do you see when you look at the picture?  What do you feel?

Write it, link it, post it!