Shuǐmǔ

bike

© Dorothy

“Bai. don’t give up now. She must be nearby. I can feel it.”

“We’ve pedaled long enough my brother Heng. It’s a hoax.”

“No. If we find her, we’ll be rich.”

“There is no ‘her’, Heng. We are being manipulated by a wealthy eccentric.”

“Send 68 pairs of contestants on tandem bicycles to search for the Shuǐmǔ? Why would anyone do such a thing if she wasn’t real?”

“Who knows? Boredom? Proving that people are basically stupid? Maybe he’s right.”

“The Shuǐmǔ is supposed to be a priceless treasure. The indicator, Bai. We’re close.”

Heng suddenly jumped off the bike and ran toward a building surrounded by dozens of identical bicycles. He ran inside.

“Heng, wait.” Bai’s shorter legs were pumping as fast as they could.

“Statues. Nothing but statues.”

“Heng, I recognize these statues. Our competition.”

“Hello, boys. I guess you found me,” she smirked.

Shuǐmǔ

Shuǐmǔ

Heng turned to stone before Bai’s eyes. Then Bai too became unmoving.

“When will that old fool stop sending his pawns after me? Money cannot buy the services of Medusa.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW writing Challenge for the week of August 8th. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 175 exactly.

I started writing with no clear end in mind, not even a real story. I just thought of two brothers being part of a competition, not a race so much as a scavenger hunt to find something valuable. I needed a tragic end which is when I wondered if the name “Medusa” has a Chinese counterpart. As it turns out, it does.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

K is for Kangaroo

k is for kangaroo

© James Pyles

There was nothing but darkness, and then there was light.

Daniel woke up with a headache surprised to be alive. The last thing he remembered was Gerald the Rooster expanding to fantastic proportions, growing to become a prehistoric nightmare, and engulfing the ten year old in its ebony wings.

Then he was here, wherever “here” was.

“The farm?”

It sort of looked like the farm, but not really. There were structures in the right places, the farmhouse, the chicken coop, the barn, but they all had an air of unreality to them, as if they were just “bookmarks” for other objects.

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The Dream Master

Morpheus

Morpheus, Greek god of dreams

In spite of his exhaustion, Ian Mohr had to battle the demon Morpheus, god of sleep and dreams, every night to enter his realm. There were whole nights when the demon was successful in denying Ian entrance, but eventually the man’s sheer fatigue would defeat the sleep god.

As long as Ian entered the dream realm in a state of mental collapse, the realm and the god were safe, but Morpheus could never take the chance that the man might someday gain entrance with some psychic reserves intact.

However even gods err, and after several decades, Morpheus had a minor lapse, one significant enough to allow Ian access with some strength left within him.

This was all that it took, for once in the twilight realm, the guise of Ian Mohr fell away as he recalled his true nature and name: Phantasos, the demon’s brother.

Jealously long ago caused Morpheus to expel his brothers from the neither realms, cursing them with moral identities. Only Phantasos remembered, and only then in fragments of dreams.

Now it was Morpheus who walked the Earth as a man, one who could not quite recall who he was, what he was. Would the human that is Morpheus age and die and then forever cease to threaten to regain the dream world, or would he too remember and retake what was his?

The answer could only be found in a dream, if Phantasos would allow it.

I didn’t get much sleep last night, so this story is a natural consequence.