Flash Fiction Day 2018 Submissions

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By WizardandGalaxy   |   Watch
2 1 100 (1 Today)
Published: June 16, 2018
       Xilaskar had heard more than enough stories to know that the Gem Caves suited their name, but the sheer volume of gemstones embedded in the walls, the ceiling, the floor, still stopped the young dragon in her tracks.  There must have been thousands of them in that hallway alone, each one glowing with latent Power.

       After a moment, she shook herself.  Now was not the time to be gawking; only the most disrespectful dragons would come here simply to gawk.  She continued forward, peering at a few of the larger or brighter ones, trying to figure out which one was meant for her.

       It was a… a feeling, other dragons had told her as they struggled to explain what she would be looking for.  Even Higura, who avoided gut instincts and pure emotional reactions like an Ice User avoids deserts and volcanoes, had attested to this description.  Not that it helped.  A feeling?  A feeling of what?  How strong was it?  Was it uncomfortable?  Could it be wrong?  The others had discarded such questions, scoffed at them, assured her that she’d know it when she felt it, as though she had ever felt like she’d fully known anything, as though she didn’t second-guess herself at every possible turn.  Higura, ever striving to be helpful, had attempted to go into specifics, but ultimately decided that it couldn’t be described, that maybe it wasn’t supposed to be, that it was meant to be some unifying aspect of their culture, understood by all and spoken by none.  As much as Xilaskar adored her friend’s philosophical ramblings, she couldn’t stop herself from questioning them.  After all, she had none of Higura’s confidence.  Her enthusiasm.  Her intelligence.  She could not see herself considering anything with such bravado, let alone the inner workings of magic, the intricacies between a dragon and their Power, the very nature of their existence.  How could she, of all dragons, be expected to grasp something as monumental as-


       And suddenly it had her.  It had her by the deepest, most intimate part of her soul and it pulled her through the tunnels, one turn after another, claws klinking on the gem-studded floor.  Her objective was set into the wall, far above her head, but she reared up on her hind legs and strained her foreclaws upwards until they found a solid grip.  The Gem slid out with a sound like a contented sigh, and then it was hers.  No, that wasn’t right; it had always been hers, but only now had she claimed it, had brought herself into its presence where they were both meant to be.  Its red glow danced upon her scales and filled her with warmth.  It was a ruby, a thing of flames and light and heat, a thing of candlesticks and burning stars and everything in between.  It was one with the Power of Fire.

       And now, so was she.

       With that realization, it had her again, guiding her back the way she had come.



       From the moment she opened her eyes, the visions showed her everything.

       They showed her what she would be eating before her father had decided what to make.  They showed her where her sisters would hide before one of them suggested hide and seek.  They showed her when she could sneak out of her room, though it felt rude to disobey her father.  They showed her what to do and say to cheer up her father after he’d argued with her mother.  They showed her all the hiding spots where she’d never be found, by her sisters and mother both.

       They showed her how to escape.

       They showed her how long she had left if she didn’t.  It wasn’t much time.  Hardly any at all.

       They showed her what was going to happen to her sisters.  To her father.  They showed her what her mother was going to do.

       The one thing they did not show her, though she searched and searched for it, was a way to save anyone else but herself.



       He thought that knew her.  Or, no.  He does.  He does know her; out of all the people in her life, he probably knows her best.  But he thought that he knew more or less everything about her, that she didn’t have much to hide, and certainly not from him.

       So when she shows up on his doorstep at 10:47 PM covered in scratches and bruises and bitemarks, he has no idea what to say.  Perhaps that is another misphrasing.  He never knows what to say, really- it’s kind of a staple of his- but with her, it’s never really mattered.  Now it does.  Or at least, he feels like it should, but she makes no note of it, simply asking if she can stay the night, like it’s no big deal.  But it is, of course it is, and he doesn’t know how to respond.

       She insists against going to the hospital, as though the fact that her wounds are more numerous than severe makes them any less alarming.  His parents reluctantly settle for the first-aid kit, and while she wants to use it herself, she cannot keep them from helping.  He tries to help, too, but he has fainted more than once during dissections in science class, and she knows this.  So he stands guard at the kitchen door and prevents the dog from barging in and administering affection where it isn’t wanted.  When she is plastered with more bandages than he wishes were necessary, she leads the way to his bedroom without comment.  They sit on his bed, and he makes sure it won’t hurt before he hugs her.  She hugs back, even tighter than usual, and buries her face in his hair.  When he got upset as a child, he would curl himself around his stuffed animal snow leopard to make himself feel better.  He wonders if he’s like her stuffed animal now.  If he’s soft and cuddly enough to fix… whatever this is.

       Then she tells him, and he knows that he can’t be.  He can’t combat the cramped and ever creaking house she grew up in, spending most of her childhood locked in her room.  He can’t fight her mother, with a mind stuck so far back in the past and determined to drag everyone else back with her, no matter the cost.  He can’t mend her father, too powerless or apathetic or both to do anything but spend all the spare change on alcohol.  He can’t fend off the near-feral and bloodthirsty excuse for a dog that has torn up her skin and kept her from seeing his dappy golden retriever as anything but a monster.  He can’t fix any of this.

       Her voice grows thick and her words stumble over each other and her arms shake around him and he realizes that he’s never seen her cry before.  It doesn’t make sense.  She is a person of white-hot fire, one who does as she pleases without second-guessing it and incinerates anyone who dares to stand in her way.  To reduce her passion and fury to this, to batter and break her and make her sob in his arms, is an impossible thing.  He cannot fathom it, and yet here she is.  If she can’t fight this, if she can’t overtake it like she’s overtaken every other problem in her life, then what on Earth is he supposed to do?

       She shudders, fails to keep her breath steady, and something steels in him.  He pulls her closer, tightens his grip.  He may not know what to do.  He may not have the slightest idea.  But good God, if he isn’t going to try.



       Every day, the man exhausted himself to the point where he collapsed the moment he got through the door of the dingy apartment.  He leaned against the wall, gasping for breath, and struggled to keep his eyes open and staring at the space that was both small and empty at once.  Then, once he recovered just enough of himself, he rose on shaky legs and got to his work.  Most nights, he passed out and left sentences half-written.  Sometimes, he kept working until it was time to leave again, half-conscious.  Those were his lucky nights.

       Most days, the man did not eat.  The primary reason was forgetfulness; he was too busy, and too invested in that business, to notice the headaches and dizziness and drop in his body temperature.  When he did remember, his options were limited.  The apartment, as dingy and small and empty as it was, still cost a fair amount of money, so he couldn’t spare much for restaurants or groceries, and that implied that he had the time for such excursions.  He had work to do.  Money to make.  A life to keep afloat.  And besides, the stomach cramps felt like nausea more often than not, and filling his stomach with water worked almost as well.  He could manage.

       Not so much as an hour passed where the man had nothing to do.  He was in grad school, was going to change the world someday, and had illustrious grades to keep up in the meantime.  When classes weren’t in session, he worked multiple jobs, answering phones and editing documents and smiling at customers.  It made him enough to pay for the dingy, small, empty apartment, and to make the payments on his student loans, and to buy a bit of food every now and then, when he deemed it necessary.  Sometimes he joked to himself that he didn’t really need the apartment, since he spent so little time in it.  But of course, that was the reason for all the jobs in the first place.  He had nowhere else to go.  Still, a little humor was nice.

       Sometimes the strain hit the man at full force, tried to overwhelm him no matter how much he downplayed and ignored it.  But that was good!  That was good, he told himself, because if he got proper sleep, he would have more vivid nightmares, and if he ate more, he might exacerbate the knots in his stomach, might end up vomiting.  And if he took a day off, well, that would lead to catastrophe.  His grades would slip, or he would lose his jobs, or he’d get kicked out of the apartment, or some combination of the three.  He would lose everything, everything, and he refused to let that happen again.  The first time had been too much; he could not fathom making it through a second.  Not to mention the fact that losing it all more than once in one’s life was an indicator of a truly pathetic person.

       Above all, the stressors made for an excellent distraction.  A cover-up for the worst part of it.  A way to hide from the reason for the nightmares and the nausea and having to rent a sub-par, overpriced apartment without enough furniture to fill its meager space and taking job after job after job just to make ends meet.  A barrier between him and all the little things he’d messed up to make it even worse.  A defense against the pain that was burning and messy and sharp and frigid and every other horrible thing all at once, against the hollow feeling that had emptied him out like a gutted fish and left him a husk of a human being.  He felt that anyway, but the simpler difficulties diluted it, walled it off.  So he could live with these pains, this exhaustion and hunger and stress.  He could push himself through another week, another day, another hour.  Because anything was better than facing what lay beneath.




       She awoke with a shriek and a frantic flapping of feathered wings.  Her love was wrapped around her in an instant, murmuring assurances and smoothing down her raised hackles.  She exhaled, long and slow, then breathed in the scent of her love’s own feathers: pine trees and petrichor.  Safety, she reminded herself.  In this place, in this company, there is safety, and I will never have to leave it.

© 2018 - 2020 WizardandGalaxy
Hey, there!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  Especially since I am... bad at uploading things to places... I need to get better at that...
Anywho, I'm still putting DeviantArt-specific stuff on here, which includes Flash Fiction Day! (fav.me/dceavcf) I'll be updating this throughout the day, as the rules dictate, so stay tuned!  I'll put commentary on all the pieces after I'm done with them.
EDIT: Gosh darn it, I was this close to finishing another one before midnight... ah, well.  Time for extra notes!
Story 1: 6:26-7:41: I didn't start at midnight like last year because I had scheduled a picnic with some friends, and that required me to wake up before 10 AM, so I had to sleep earlier.  This is a direct continuation of this piece from FFM last year: fav.me/dbgkvox Xilaskar is a fun character to write because she's just as anxious as me, and I've missed using her and Higura in things.  The current storyline no longer has all that much to do with them; I need to figure out a way to change that.  (Also, they're friends when this happens, but later?  Dragon lesbians.  Welcome to Pride Month.)  Word Count: 500.
Story 2: 8:07-8:30: Hey, more dragons!  Though I guess you couldn't really tell that from the piece itself... Specifically, I've got lore ideas for all of my dragons on Flight Rising, and this is part of the backstory for one of them (my oracle, Coral: flightrising.com/main.php?p=la…). It is sad and angsty, as many backstories are.  Her life gets better, though.  There's more information in her bio, if you're interested!  A few of my other dragons have written lore, as well!  I might write about more of them during FFM... (Coral is Aro Ace.  The Pride continues.)  Word Count: 173.
Story 3: 2:34-3:52: The time break is mostly because I went to the aforementioned picnic (it was fun!  We played fetch with a squirrel), but also because I was having trouble thinking of stuff, and maybe also because I like the time 2:34.  This piece is probably most relevant to this one: fav.me/dbgyzhd, although there's quite a few years in between.  R.B. and Stella are nearing the end of high school in this one, and Stella made the mistake of mentioning college stuff to her parents, then followed that with a direct confrontation.  It... did not go well.  But she's safer now, at least, and despite R.B.'s doubts, he is more than soft and cuddly enough to make Stella feel better.  (They may or may not also be romantically involved at this point.  R.B. asked her on a maybe-kinda-sorta date, and they had the most awkward first kiss in the world.  It worked out, though, and now they're all sappy at school together, and a lot of people owe R.B.'s friend Sam twenty bucks for thinking R.B. couldn't pull it off.  Finally: R.B. is straight, but Stella?  Demisexual.  Sam's also nonbinary, although they're not in this piece and don't come out until later.  No such thing as too much Pride.) Word Count: 611.
Story 4: 7:09-9:38: This one took forever because I was easily distracted by food, my cat, and prompt generators.  Also, I was not expecting it to get nearly that long.  As for the subject matter, it's more of a concept I've been toying with in my head for a while that may or may not be fanfiction related, so I don't have that much else to say about it.  Don't bury your grief, kids.  It doesn't work.  (The context for this is that the guy lost someone very close to him, and has had horrendous experiences with losing people in the past.  You cannot tell, and it doesn't change the story that much, but since I'm on a Pride kick, I feel compelled to mention that the lost relationship was also gay.  Bonus points: In the source material, the other guy doesn't actually die; I just felt like torturing characters.)  Word Count: 667.
Story 5: 10:50-11:00: Aaaaand I needed something lighter after all the dark content.  It's more gay dragons!  Specifically, these two: flightrising.com/main.php?p=la… flightrising.com/main.php?p=la…. Morning has a lot of nightmares (because I can't resist hecking up my characters' pasts), but she also has a nice job as a librarian and a very cuddly and loving relationship!  Yeah!  Word Count: 69.
The sixth story was about accidental time travelers, but I didn't finish in time.  Just... imagine it, I guess.  Or maybe I'll post it later?  We'll see.  Hope you enjoyed!

EDIT: So I realized that I haven't been adding the extra spaces between paragraphs like I did before?  And at first, I ignored it, but then someone pointed out that it was easier to read with spaces, and I prefer consistency, anyway, so I'm fixing that.
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WindySilverHobbyist Writer
Awesome stories! I'd love to read the story about time travellers! :D