Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 25

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 25.

This is a flash fiction challenge.  The prompt is a song.  You are not required to write about or even mention the song.  It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan.  If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

The rules;

500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.

Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.


The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 4:30PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt is provided by the Afro Celt Sound System.


The song is.. “Eireann”.  Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/pSqR1O1PDJU

This week’s Judge is The Book Hipster herself… and last week’s champion, Stephanie Fuller!

That’s all from me…

We’re live from the second you read this until 4:30PM on Friday, August 9th….

What are you still doing here?

Go write!  Now!


Posted on August 6, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Gancanagh
    By J. Rose Alexander

    The now-quiet blood stained the ground. A moment before it had been quickened by the heart of the beast before him, and – he realized – it was easy to see how it could have been his own. The fear he had not let overwhelm in the thick of the chase consumed him and he fell to his knees.
    She walked to him, the dark-skinned warrior, trembling and alone in the road. The gancanagh lay dead. Her eyes cleared as the blood drained from the Aes Sídhe, her mind freed as the last breath left its body. She was glad to see it go. She knelt next to her warrior and laid a hand on his, her pale skin a frightening contrast to his dark.
    “My fire-heart,” he said and leaned into her, his head falling into the crook at her neck, comfortable there.
    “How did you know it was me?” Her voice was weak and tired.
    “Your eyes,” he said, looking up into her soul. “Your eyes, mo dearg áilleacht.”
    She put a hand to her mouth. “I never thought you’d come for me,” she said. “But your words, they are music…”
    “I would cross all the world a thousand times for you.” He grabbed her hand and clutched it to him. “Tá grá agam duit. I have searched for you across all of the continents. It has been too long since last I held you to my breast.”
    She pressed her filthy hand to his cheek, stained with the horrible bright red blood of the gancanagh. She looked at the now-dead beast. “How much time?”
    “Five years,” he said.
    She gasped, and hot tears welled in her eyes. “He held me for five years?” She whipped around, and her eyes went wide. The smallish figure in the door stood in rags and filth, confusion consuming his face. Her tears burned her face. “Half demon…”
    “No, no, áilleacht,” he said, turning her face back to him. “Not half demon. Half of you. The whole of your heart. We will raise him to the light.”
    The dark warrior stood from the dirt of the road. The gancanagh, once in the guise of the man his áilleacht called ‘husband’ was revealed in his true form. A twisted, spiteful creature who preyed on the brokenhearted, he was now fading into the dirt of the back-country road. He looked to the halfling and once again to his áilleacht.
    “We cannot stay here,” he said. “Should anyone find his true parentage, he will be an outcast. I do not wish that for our son.”
    “We…” She stared deep into his coal black eyes to his luminous soul.
    “We. If you will have me.”
    “Until the Almighty sees fit to end our world,” she breathed.
    He pulled her to him, and pressed his lips to hers. The memories rose and sparkled between them, almost as bright as the sun, banishing the last of the darkness.

    (494 words)


  2. Title: “…”

    Eireann (Ireland) was the prima facie, but before The Silence there were reports from parts of Africa and France too. Wales went so quickly that only reports from the border confirmed that territory as being part of the initial wave of quiet that washed over the World. At first the rest of the planet assumed technical problems, or cyber terrorism, to be the cause.

    When the phenomenon we now call The Silence took 99.9% of 7.2 billion souls, the few of us unaffected learned quickly to mask ourselves. The alternative for those not pawky enough to – how did they used to put it? – see the writing on the wall was quite horrific. Slavery at best. Mutilation or execution in the worst cases. It never ceases to amaze me how little communication a mob needs to become a mob.

    We few (who can) call ourselves Muties. A bitter irony. The rest have no words for us, for they have no words. The Silence saw to that. At first it was like listening to a song from another land. People spoke, but the meaning had been stripped away, leaving just the melody. In all the confusion, it took a while to realise it wasn’t like a stroke depriving individuals of language. Hearing words as words was the first thing to go. The second symptom was loss of word formation. Other Muties I have contacted confirmed the same thing: loss of comprehension then composition. And it was not limited to vocal communication. People just stopped being able to write, then read, then for the majority to think.

    Confusion spread like a plague, followed by conflict and combat. Maybe the World being so dependent on the Internet and its ubiquitous instant connection between nations was what rendered the lack of the concept of communication so horrific. Overnight entire cultures imploded. Dominant survivors emerged as the new leaders. The power of alpha males (and, in fact, females), seemed to not need the nuances of language. The fist and the foot quickly spread as the new punctuation in our lives.

    Eventually, a form of physical gesturing began to emerge; Muties were particularly effective at this, but that was a two edged sword. Ownership of books, or any knowledge storage device, became dangerous to all but the most powerful. Yet the thuggery of the dark years of The Silence eventually passed. Without words to worry the weary fear became a useless tactic. The lack of difference in interpretation levelled the population in a single generation. A new peace descended on the scattered hamlets of the inhabitable continents. The Silence proved mightier than the pen and the sword.

    That is when the true deliverers of our salvation made themselves known, coming wordlessly among us, signing a new dawn. Revelation. A becoming of beings worthy to be brothers in a shared future. They thought we would be grateful for this cosmic lesson in humility. Were we ready to begin again, they asked simultaneously across the Globe?

    We said “No.”

    [500 words, @DoctorMikeReddy]


  3. Homecoming

    The bow of the skiff scraped against the sandy rock with a shudder signifying it would go no further. He rose from the center bench, running the strap of his bag over his shoulder to offset the weight of the heavy greatsword he wore slung across his back. Bracing a hand on the gunwale, he sprang nimbly over the side and onto the shore.

    With nary a look backwards to those who’d brought him there, he began to trek inland. Though there was no path or road to guide him, he walked with the sure strides of one who knew whither he was bound. For a surety he knew, for this was…home. Granted it was a home he’d not seen in too long a slew of years but it would always be the land of his birth and he now knew, knew with the wisdom of age, would forever be the only place he’d ever truly belonged.

    A wan sunlight sought to pierce the gray clouds of the early spring day and drive away the thick mist that swirled about him. His thoughts drifted like the mist back to a time so long ago when he’d cursed the unchanging coastal gloom. Now, it felt the most natural place for him to be in all the world.

    Topping a low rise, he gazed down into a valley grown thick with the salt grass, bracken and wildflowers so common this time of year. Drawing a deep breath, he savored the tang of the sea minged with the unmistakable scents of heather, peat, sheep dung and wood smoke. Aye, this was home.

    Shaking off memories he’d not been aware he even still possessed, he set himself back to walking, relishing the feel of the springy turf beneath the soles of his boots. He expected it would be the better part of a day and a night before he would be within sight of the hamlet he’d called home for the first fifteen years of his life; years that weren’t all that bad given the places he’d been and the things he’d seen since.

    Aye, he’d seen the far-flung lands he’d only imagined. He’d worn the armor and rode a fine steed and swung his sword until the whole of the long blade ran red with the life’s blood of more men than he cared to think of. He’d bled no small bit himself and puked up the remnants of a hundred hundred pots of piss-water wine he’d drunk if only in hopes of achieving a single night of sleep free of the voices and the faces of the men he’d sent to their end. Perhaps here, so very far away from the lands he’d once so yearned for, he would at last find peace.

    The jingling pouch at his side would see him settled on a decent spot of land and he’d not, as yet, decided if he’d build a home himself or seek a stead already made. He would hoe and weed and plant by day, have a strong cider and a pipe of an evening and then fall asleep between the comforting scratchy embrace of homespun sheets. He would raise pigs and sheep and chickens and mayhap even a cow or two. It would be a simple, uneventful, pastoral life and he could not imagine in all of his dreams a life he desired more.

    A frown creased his brow when he pictured that home with not a soul to share it with. Sure and it was years too late to think Brigid would still be free for him to pick back up with. With a fierce scowl, he shook his head to banish such thoughts.

    For while this was, indeed, Eire, the land of his birth and the land he called home, the truth of it was that it would not be so, unless and until, he’d found that favored lass again and wrapped her in an embrace so tight he’d never wish to let her free of it again that it would truly be a home worth having.

    Whistling a merry tune, he walked with a renewed vigor across the land of his past in search of his future.

    700 words @klingorengi


  4. Lost Youth

    The heat and tears of the morning had left me standing by the window, staring out towards the school, like a sculpted pumice stone. I had been told that morning of the funeral and told only as an off-hand remark, ‘your classes this afternoon have been cancelled, everyone will be at the funeral’ stated the Headmaster. I had no response, I could only stand there open mouthed my eyes searching his for any glimmer of compassion or information, but there was none. Hours of training at home and in country hadn’t prepared me for the callousness of those with any power. I had at first thought it was a protective wall, put up to help cope with the regularity of death, but after a year living here I knew better of this man.

    The words were never spoken but it had been implied that my presence would not be required. I knew that if I was there, the only white woman, then it would be a distraction and the attention needed to be on those who had died. It didn’t matter that I wanted to show my condolences, that I wanted to be there to say goodbye, that the horror of their deaths would haunt me that summer. It only mattered that I wasn’t there.

    I watched as the procession left the school grounds, the headmaster and other teachers leading the students, they walked in pairs holding hands and I was reminded of nursery children, but my students’ ages ranged from 14 years to 24 years and I watched them as they disappeared along the road blurred by the suns haze.

    I returned to my bungalow that perched on the edge of the campus and slept fretfully, waking only to consume water and mop my own brow, as I tried to block out the images that rattled in my mind.

    A student who worked for me had arrived shortly after the headmaster had left and I regretted asking him who and how had the person died.

    ‘You don’t know madam?’
    ‘No, the headmaster didn’t say who or how, can you tell me?’
    ‘It is Abena Ayamga madam, she was killed.’

    At the mention of her name and that she had been killed, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, I had to open my mouth slightly in order to breathe. I knew this student; she was in Year 1, young and bright, very polite and helpful and always smiling. I had so many questions that I wanted to ask but they soon evaporated when he relayed the story to me…

    ‘Abena had been at home before choir practice and her mother and brother were arguing. Abena hadn’t eaten all day and was feeling hungry and so half way through practice she went home to get some food. As she approached the house she could hear her brother arguing again with their mother, then she heard her mother scream and ran into the house, she screamed and never came out. A few moments later her brother was seen running out of the house. A neighbour alerted the police and they went after him, they shot him in the legs so he could not run away and then they took him to the hospital and left him outside.’

    I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to know what had happened but I couldn’t help myself.

    ‘So…how…I mean…why?’

    ‘Apparently Abena had interrupted her brother, after he had attacked their mother with a machete that they use for farming, when he saw her he attacked her the same way too.’
    I felt my stomach lurch and held tightly to the edges of the chair that I had been sitting on, it was worse than I could have imagined and I didn’t want to know more.

    ‘Thank you for telling me Pious, you can go and I’ll see you tomorrow’
    ‘Yes Madam’

    I leaned back into the chair, the wooden slats pressing into my back through the flimsy cushion, I closed my eyes as the tears fell and when I felt that there weren’t any tears left I had waited by the window.

    Kate @tsk_show
    690 words


  5. ‘An Ocean Apart’ (The Giant’s Lament)

    The most beautiful song in the world is one few have ever heard. Developed over geological timescales each time sung it is made more beautiful than the last. It is the song of love and lamentation between the giants Benn McDuinn and Mòr Morne, who were separated by a growing ocean and who yearn for tectonics to one day bring them back together.

    Benn McDuinn stretches out and yawns the yawn of a giant who has slept for a thousand years. It is his time to get up and to sing. The golden eagle, whose favourite perch happened to be just behind Benn’s left ear, was not aware of this and was currently perplexed at seeing her perch some distance away from where she’d left it. Wheeling high above the mountains she saw her tree topple down the face of Benn McDuinn. She had never been aware that the foothill had covered a giant and was unsettled by the idea. She decided that her new favourite perch would be several miles away, one in a nice low lying valley, maybe one above a river.

    The ground shuddered as Benn creaked up showering first pebbles, then boulders, down the slopes into the soft peaty foothills below. He wiped the remnants of the accumulated soil from his chest and rolled back his shoulders. Apologising to the surprised ptarmigan, which he’d sent flying from his shoulder along with a clod of earth, he then set his sights west. A low rumble began to echo through the Highland mountains and valleys as the giant started to hum, as he always did when on his walks.

    Simultaneously, on the bitter windswept coast of Newfoundland, it was deep night and Mòr Morne was rising. She slowly extended up to her full height sending heather and sodden soils down her suddenly steep slopes alarming several caribou. They were roused from sleep and bounced away in shock at the noise and at what they thought they could see in the moonlight. The old black bear glanced briefly at the commotion but showed no concern. He had heard the ancient tales of giants and was happy to actually see one for himself.

    Mòr strolled, as nonchalantly as a giant could, eastwards through the night towards the High Cliffs. Trying to step as carefully as she could, dozing birds and mammals were still scattered hither and thither some unconscious, some just pretending hoping they were in a bizarre collective dream.

    Benn sat down with a thud onto the cliffs above the west coast of the Atlantic and for a while watched the waves nibbling away at the rocks below, enjoying the westerly wind play against his face, a feeling he’d forgotten. Gannets and skewers soared through the watercolour grey skies about him without paying much heed. His low rumbling hum slowly gave way without a break into a new song. If truth be told into the world’s oldest song.

    It told of the love between Benn and Mòr and was sang in languages long disappeared from the world, no-one but Mòr would now understand its words. It described a primal love as old and solid as the oldest of rocks, as beautiful and vibrant as any sky and as deep and enduring as the oceans.

    Across the water Mòr echoed back the verses and sang new ones she’d worked on in the centuries since their last song. Her heart ached but also soared with each verse, their love deeper and stronger than ever. The new twists and turns Benn had added to their song excited her and she thought they fitted well with hers. She was soothed.

    At the end of the day Mòr and Benn returned to their wilderness homes with new ideas for verses, ones to make their song more beautiful still. It would need work, but they had time.

    The parted giants were separated by an ocean that had not always been there and they yearned for the day when the seas would close again, as one day it must. When the Atlantic becomes but a ghost of a memory, then the giants would sing new songs. Together.

    (692 words)



  6. The Seasons of Enchantment

    As autumn’s chill spread through the gold, and scarlet, and dying green, her voice still wandered across the dewy grass, lifting up into the fading leaves, searching for her lost love. My bursting heart sang and my breath fluttered on the autumn symphony, and in her hair, and I watched as Bronagh moved like a sylvan through the forest. The song on her lips, a mournful lament, matched only by the black she wore from head to toe. I urged and whispered, and she searched.

    Winter snow swathed the forest floor, and ominous clouds hung in the sky, and still she walked, soft-footed and lone. Her fur-bound feet crunched through the flurry, and her hands brushed snow from low, bare branches, and I shivered as she moved softly through the trees. She walked like a shadow, dark against white, and I listened, my heart breaking as “Odhran…” slipped from her mouth.

    Light, crepuscular rays shone down through the emerging canopy. Honey-green leaves unfurled and broke through, stretching in spring’s embrace. Bronagh, still dressed in mourning, welcomed the early sun, gathering bluebells and pale sunshine primroses. Her feet danced lightly on the green sward. I breathed and my heart swelled like the buds on the boughs.

    When summer brought its glittering jewels, and deep verdant life, she moved soulfully through the forest, resting beneath its emerald awning, taking time to catch her breath. I waved and beamed as the sun bore down, and my heart leapt as she still whispered my name in the breeze “Odhran…” I yearned to touch and hold her, but I waited.

    Autumn’s,/b> return brought crimson and bronze, and jade and brown, and the slow falling leaves matched her new attire. My heart dimmed and my hearing dulled as the wild, winter wind blew across the fields and into my life. She still wandered, lonely, through the trees, still searching, and I still whispered in her ear, but she no longer heard me.

    As winter froze the ground and water the colour of her ice-blue eyes hung from my boughs, I knew she was gone. Only deer wandered, hooves crushing the hoarfrost and bruising the grass like the purple shroud that veiled my heart. I shivered beneath the black, night sky and listened to my splintering heart.

    Spring’s warmth failed to reignite my soul. It stiffened and darkened, until I was a shadow of myself, until I became blind. I could not stop the burgeoning joy of new growth, my new cloak of leaves, but my heart was finally stilled.

    Frozen amid summer’s heat, I stood silent and cold, my soul as hard and as callous as the wood I wore.

    When she reappeared with recognition, and ruddy, autumn cheeks, and a heart full of joy I felt nothing. Her arms embraced me, but my stone-cold heart was lost and my waters frozen. She cried, rivers of tears like a weeping willow, but there was nothing left of me, the man she once loved, just a lonely tree, tall and strong, but forever bereft of love.

    (508 words)


  7. Sorry, got a bold thing wrong…only the season meant to be bold!


  8. Echoing Song

    Sipping on a glass of wine wasn’t exactly befitting the Irish pub in Camden Town but it didn’t matter how much Linda declared how smooth a Guinness was, she was sticking to her wine, although the Guinness did remind her of when she was a child, drawing a face in the thick froth of her dad’s pint.

    She loved Thursday nights as after evening class, they would walk into the quiet pub for a cheeky drink before heading home. But it wasn’t quiet for long as spontaneously, people would start playing on their tin whistles and their bodhráns. Before long, fiddlers would join in and the atmosphere was electric, not electric enough for Isabel to try the Guinness but enough to ask to have a go at playing the bodhrán.

    “It’s all in the wrist,” the young man said with a thick Irish accent. And he proceeded to play, his wrist moving quickly as he created complex but beautiful rhythms. Soon the other musicians joined in; there was no room for solos. The music echoed through the pub as it did through time. . .

    The wind whipped Isabel’s hair across her face as the salty sea air coated her pale skin. She picked up her long skirts and turned to face Adair.
    “Is it true?” his voice was hoarse but rose against the howling wind. “Did you bed my brother whilst I was away, fighting, for you!”
    “You weren’t fighting for me! You’re fighting for glory, to show your father you’re the one who should lead the clan.”
    “Is it true!”
    “No!” She turned back towards the sea; as angry as her as it bashed against the rocks into a fine spray.
    “Then why does Tristan mock me with these taunts? Why does Morrigan say so?”
    “Morrigan? You believe the words and gossip from a mad woman?”
    “She is not mad! She is wise and sees all, Isabel! Why would she say that if there was not the truth?” Isabel walked along the cliff edge, wanting to be far from Adair. The rocks were slippery but her footing was strong and sure. “Isabel? Please, we must talk about this.” He was behind and his large hand gripped her arm. She shrugged him off, not realising the rock she was standing was lose. A scream pieced through the wind as Adair quickly reached out, gripping her wet hand. “Isabel, don’t struggle, stay calm.” He heaved, pulling her up, but only where her head just peeked above the cliff top. His eyes were wild, demanding.
    “Please! Adair!”
    “Tell me the truth!”
    “I have! Please get me up!”
    “Morrigan says otherwise, your eyes betray you, your heart is with Tristan! I shall kill him but first,” he loosened his grip and as Isabel shrieked, he let go, watching her tumble to the rocks below, laying broken before the hungry waves took her. . .

    “Isabel!” Linda’s voice was shrill as she shook Isabel by the arm. “I was saying how nice the guy on the drum is. He likes you!”

    “What?” she was dazed, confused. The dream had felt so real. She was trembling with fear and cold. She had felt the sea on her face. She licked her lips and tasted the salty sea. “I think I need to go home. I don’t feel well.”

    “Ah come on girl,” the man playing the bodhrán said. “Stay for another!” His blue Irish eyes twinkled. Isabel couldn’t refuse as another wine was placed in front of her. “Your friend was saying you’d like to learn the bodhrán properly? I can teach you.” She nodded feebly. “Tristan,” he held out his hand. Isabel stared at him, the eyes were deep and intense and she felt like she knew them, trusted them as she held out her hand, not wavering from the intensity of his gaze. “Just don’t tell my brother, Adair. He likes to do all the teaching, especially with someone as pretty as you.” He kissed her shaking hand as Isabel lifted her gaze to the dark eyes of Adair; the same eyes who let her fall to the rocks below.




  9. Eireann

    They’d been cooped up in a taxi, plane, and now a secured transport. Soon as it stopped in front of the main house, Connor was out the door and running for the stable.

    Preston was on his heels, shouting. “Stop! It’s not safe! The property hasn’t been swept yet.”

    Connor ignored him, heading into a stall, sliding out of his suit jacket and tie.

    “Sir! You’re going to get me first on my first day! Please! Come back to the van.”

    Connor slid a bridle on the big black gelding and swung up onto his back. “Come with me, kid. There’s someone you need to meet.”

    Preston hesitated. He’d been so damn proud when Connor requested him for this detail but now he was wondering why, out of all the agents in the consulate, he’d been chosen. Had

    Connor picked him because he was inexperienced?

    “You know how to ride a horse, don’t you? Get the mare in the stall to your left. She’ll follow Satan, here, anywhere.”

    Preston grabbed the reins from the stall hook, hung his jacket in its place, and readied the mare. He was scarcely on her back before Connor took off out of the barn, the black horse churning up clumps of earth beneath his huge hooves.

    The rest of the security detail was shouting and a half dozen shots were fired but Preston stayed on Connor’s trail. The path wound across the meadow, through a thicket and to the edge of the cliffs.

    Connor brought the horse round to face Preston, his back to the sea, his untamed red curls buffeted by the wind. “This is your birthright, lad, even though you’ve never set foot in Ireland until now. I read your file. Preston O’Farrell. Your father’s people were from Kildare.”

    Preston struggled to catch his breath. “What does that matter now?”

    But the red-head and his black beast were galloping further down the path, winding down the steep slope to the water, their motion fluid as the water flung out before them like a midnight tapestry.

    By the time Preston reached the shore, Connor and Satan where charging back up the beach towards them, a fury of sea foam in their wake.

    When they were abreast again, Connor said, “This is what I want you to remember when we’re in that board room tomorrow, lad. Erin in all her raw beauty. Look at her. Beautiful and deadly. Angry and passionate. Powerful and destitute.”

    Preston grabbed the mare’s mane to steady himself. “I don’t understand, sir. “

    Connor smiled, and there was something in it, some ineffable kindness, some indefinable kinship. “Today, I want you to fall in love. Tomorrow, I want you to hear how the corporate bastards want to rape and defile your love. And then … then I want you to stand beside me and fight for her with your last breath.”

    And as Preston watched Connor charge back into the sand and water, like an inflamed man gives himself over to his zealous lover, he knew that his only wish in giving Eireann his life was that he had more to give.

    – – – – –

    522 words / @bullishink


  1. Pingback: Mid-Week Blues-Buster #MWBB – “…” | Play in Progress

  2. Pingback: #MWBB – Lost Youth | The Suddenly Kate Show

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