twwm - relaxation iikkiikkii 3 0 (twwm) night life xekateus 8 0 [TWWM]-Night Life, monthly prompt MonochromeDew 10 2 2021 October Prompt dragonight1993 9 0 2021 September Prompt dragonight1993 8 0 [TWWM] Rain Water (monthly prompt) Crystal-WolfDarkness 7 0
Socket - Long Days
“This reminds me of the steam,” says Socket. He’s referring to the Warming Stone, and he’s talking to the deer who had not been there for the strange adventures with the stones, but the deer never seems to mind being talked to about anything or everything. It turns an empty-eyed head towards him in solemn contemplation, a bit of green twig being worked slowly in its rot-exposed jaw. There are mushrooms sprouting thickly around its feet where it stands in a patch of moss, in what seems to Socket to be a pleasant forecast of what the ground will look like in a day or two. Experiments to produce steam from his own vacant eye sockets have hitherto proved unsuccessful, but tests will continue. The ground is steaming, however. Rain has fallen on the stones on which he perches, a brief intermission of relief in the searing heat, but as the sun once again assumes its punishing brightness, at the edge of the cliffside where there are no trees to shade the fresh puddles, steam rises in thin grey wisps and dissipates a few inches above the ground. Socket prods a puddle with a curious paw, then lifts it to see if he can produce his own steam this way. Nothing obliges him and he must, he suppose, be as hot as the stones in order for this to work.Perhaps he will be, he thinks. He feels uncharacteristically sluggish, unwontedly languid, in a way that is quite alien to his usual unflappable nature. In general an experience that might objectively be called unpleasant is merely an opportunity for observation to Socket, for learning some new trick to make himself as disagreeable as he can be, which is very disagreeable indeed. Perhaps it is because the heat does remind him so much of the stone, and how uncomfortable that little jaunt had been. To this day he has never returned to the strange hot springs, and feels an instinctive mistrust for any water that rises above the level of slightly chilly. He feels as though he might melt like sap where he sits, and so he slides down to his belly, and then keeps sliding. With his hindquarters planted firmly on the steaming rocks he lets his body stretch out and out, a string of melting wax, until his limp head and forelegs slide over the edge of the cliff and dangle, a dozen pairs of little feet paddling languidly at the air. Even his flies seem too lazy to swarm properly, offering half-hearted buzzes as they crawl into and out of his head. He twists to look back up towards the cliffside, and the deer pokes its head into view, still chewing its twig with an equal expression of exhausted ennui despite not having much face left to emote with, and Socket lets out a gusty sigh which he cannot help but feel would be more satisfying with a mouth to expel it from. “You look silly,” Socket informs it solemnly, as if delivering bad news. It continues chewing, unaffected, and Socket flops backwards with another sigh, letting himself sway to and fro like a pendulum from the edge of the cliff and gazing out over his boundary. The customary bowl of trees seems inverted over him from this angle, with the blue sky, still studded with black clouds, sprawling out beneath him. It’s pleasantly dizzying, and the vertiginous view and his own gentle swaying puts him in mind of Arden. He wonders if it is hot in the salt flats; if the water has all dried up and left nothing but a dull white blankness, and he wonders if she is lonely in her vast wilderness. He could go and ask her, he thinks--but when it is cooler. When the salt will not be hot to the touch. When the moon rises, perhaps. Somewhere in the sweltering forest Keryn tends her books, probably fretting over the combined rain and heat and what the humidity will do to all her prized pages. Somewhere to the south Founder is reclined on a too-warm wave, stretched out under a baking Florida sun and thinking of the death of her reefs. Dot, perhaps, reclines in a meadow, her fur warm to the touch. He runs over the list of friends--he uses the term universally and perhaps inaccurately--and for some time none seem to promise any respite from the inexplicable dreariness of the heat. He remembers Slip’s reptile house and how he’d delighted in the close and oppressive heat as he wandered from enclosure to enclosure, admiring anacondas and axolotls and arowanas swimming in riverside dioramas. It had been pleasant, then, to move from the cool autumn air to the exciting dark heat of the reptile house and out once more. The thought of visiting now makes him feel sticky in a way that is unpleasant. He is just thinking that perhaps he might find some frost-rimed wing of the conservatory when he suddenly pauses in his restless swaying, and watches the dizzying vista of inverted mountain forests swim into stillness. “Oh,” he says aloud, remembering one of his newest friends: one of Founder’s progeny, introduced to him by the cantankerous old Esk in a place of vast, wind-swept stillness. The tundra had not excited him so much as playing with his new, silent, blank-faced friend--he had not realized it, but Founder had dropped him off with her much as one might be rid of a troublesome toddler by arranging a playdate, and had then quietly made her exit before Socket could notice that she did not join in their games--and it might now, he thought, be a good time to return and enjoy the chilly view. He begins coiling himself back up like a millipede, rolling up onto himself and then retracting his legs as he uncoils, until he flows seamlessly into a jolly, rolling trot. Much like a lightning bug that needs to crawl to the top of a stem to fly away, Socket does not like to move himself from one place to another until he has found a nice open clearing to--figuratively--launch himself from. The deer lurches after him, and the twig, now thoroughly demolished, falls through the open flesh of his throat and onto the ground. “Let’s go visit Doll,” he says aloud, half to himself and half to his familiar. “Let’s go to Siberia.”...
The sky is a gradient of tangerine and auburn. Some prickly pear juice is mixed in with broad strokes too. The sun’s sinking eye backlights a lupine form hunched along a lone ridge. Ubi Sunt settles, slowly, carefully into the encroaching twilight. She moves as if she has aching bones and joints—as if she has a skeleton. She doesn’t, but the desert she calls home does.
A saguaro carcass stretches before her dusty paws. Its long spines are barren of its once vibrant green shell. Now it’s long dried and bleached white, and so is the esk that has folded herself in front of it. Her palo verde isn’t, currently, living up to its name. Its branches are more dust than verde. Some are twisted, some are brittle, and some are broken. However, unseen but felt to her, a new saguaro blooms, stretching towards the overripe peach sky with arms wide open. A bittersweet beacon of her life purpose.