Feverish Dreams

My dreams plague me with vivid realities so farfetched and daunting I’ve no choice, but to run. My feet pound against barren dirt, stirring dust into the air. Despite the burning feel of it, I must push on.
 
Glancing behind me, I see a pack of wolves. Scratch that. They’re much bigger than wolves. Much faster, too. Their snarls echo off the cave walls I’ve been placed in by my overactive imagination. I know it’s not real and yet my heart races.
 
Teeth sink into my calf and I fall forward with a scream. The wet, slickness of blood drips down my leg and sends these unknown creatures into a frenzy. Their bites shred my arms to ribbons.
 
Just when I’m about to pass out, I have been transported to the centre of a storm. No shelter in sight. But of course, I say to myself and will my sleeping self to rouse. It’s of no use.
 
The rain shifts from small drops to heavy bullets, or so it feels. My skin tingles and bruises under the assault. Thankfully my limbs are restored and I can run towards the edge of the clouds. The ground is wet and I slip with each step. Mud grabs my shoe off and I keep running, leaving it to the land. I can see the sun shining beyond the black clouds and I yearn for its serenity.
 
It’s too late, though. Hail the size of watermelons falls from the clouds. Lightning forks, stabbing at my tiny presence on the ground. The thunder sounds like laughter amidst the roar of the storm.
 
For the first time in years, I stop running. I stand in the centre of the chaos and let the storm strike me down. It doesn’t take long. Both hail and lightning hit me and it’s the most painful thing I’ve ever felt.
 
I wake with a shout and feel my head, inspect my pillows for blood. Everything’s wet from my sweating heat and my skin’s red. Upon closer inspection, I see white forks winding under my skin, following my veins.
 
Not again, I think and lapse back into darkness.
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Very Short Stories, Week 7

Hello! Another week of very short stories is up to read now! I think some of my favourites might just be in this collection, too.

New month means new individual in charge of the word prompts and they have been wonderful thus far. I’m looking forward to seeing the challenges to come and try and push myself further with my writing, too!

 

May 28th

The computer screens flashed on the moment she touched the mouse. Her lips turned upwards in a faint smile, and she clicked the folder where her manuscript hid. A white page covered in black swirls and lines greeted her eyes, and she knew she’d never #regret writing.

 

May 29th

The grass was soft against her hands, dampened by dew. Lips curled into a smile and the chill of the air sent goosebumps along her skin. Entranced by the #Orion, she fell away from the world and the freckled boy who saw the galaxy in her emerald gaze.

 

May 30th

The #patch stood out in the crowd since it covered a woman’s eye and hid a gruesome sight. But she had known it would.

On horseback, she moved through the men and kept her gaze straight ahead. Her face kept cold as stone, she shouted above them, “You follow my lead or you die.”

 

May 31st

Sleep shed itself from her mind and left a #reverie in its wake. Images danced beneath her eyelids, enticing her to remain coddled in bed.  Invincible in a land of her making, she found happiness in ignorance and kept the curtain drawn. Forsake the day for night has come.

 

June 1st

Stones were piled to the sides around the dig and wheelbarrows brought more in a hurry. The sound of metal biting into dirt filled the day while shouts gave further instructions.

This world beneath our feet is #ancient, he spoke to his daughter. And it needs our love.

 

June 2nd

Sweat ran down her face in drips and her heart beat in excruciating bursts. I can do this, she thought, determined to beat the #crucible before her. The gates opened, unleashing her into the labyrinth, and she surged forward. Knife in her grasp, she listened for threats.

 

June 3rd

The #willow tree stood tall in the meadow and wildflowers bowed to it in the breeze. Its branches swayed to nature’s tune whilst birds fluttered underneath its canopy. Tickled by the sun, the rustling of leaves became its laughter, and joy shimmered through the grasses.

The Forge

Made of wood and stone, the blacksmith’s shop had few solid walls. Beams held the weight of the roof, and kept the weather from hounding them. Heat filled the space during the day, emanating from the coal forge, and defeated winter’s chill.

The sound of hammering called to her, a siren song for her soul, and she raced from her room to join her father in the welcome heat. Throwing on one of the thick leather aprons, she came to his side, watching the scale fall off the scalding metal.

“Hey now!” her father said when he finally spotted her, “Get out, Gwen! I’ve told you a thousand times, blacksmithing is not woman’s work!”

“Please!” she cried, pleading with the large man, and tears formed in the corner of her eyes, “Just let me try!”

Grumbling, he threw his arms up and moved away from his anvil. A hand grabbed a piece of steel, thin and long, and he set it in his tongs, placing it in the forge. As it warmed, he turned on his insolent daughter, “Fine. You can make hooks. Lord knows I could use more of them.”

Gwen’s face lit up and even her father scoffing at her could not ruffle her feathers. Pulling on a pair of gloves, she found one of the lighter hammers, checked it had a flat face and went in search of another. This one’ll do, she thought, carrying a ball peen hammer to her anvil.

Balancing the tongs in her gloved grasp, she took the metal from the forge, its bright orange colour beautiful to her. The tongs kept hold of the heated metal and she lifted the flat faced hammer in her grasp. I have to round the edges of the tip first, she determined and swung time and again at it. Spinning the piece when needed, she only got a couple strikes in before it had to be placed in the forge again.

The cycle repeated itself longer than it would have for her father, but she persisted. Sweat beaded on Gwen’s young brow, her arms aching from the exercise, but she refused to disappoint him. The metal cooled with every hit from the hammer, stealing its warmth, but she managed to draw out the metal with time.

Again, Gwen placed the metal in the forge, and wiped the sweat from her brow. A glance in the distance brought the sun, and the extra light would help for the next part. The metal heated through again, she placed it on the horn of the anvil and used its roundness to create the curve of her hook.

The years of watching her father had paid off, begging to hammer metal, and wear his leather gear a dream come true for her. This will be the best hook ever made, Gwen told herself, glad her brown hair was tied at the back of her neck. Once it was out of the forge again, she balanced it flatly on the surface of her anvil and gripped the ball peen hammer. One swing was all it took to create the indent she needed for it to hang from.

One more step, Gwen thought, placing the almost finished product in the forge. In these moments she watched her father create measured horseshoes, his project for the day. Though he ignored her, she enjoyed these periods of time in the day, thankful to be out in the heat instead of inside with her mother.

Focusing on the task at hand, Gwen put her metal over the pritchel hole and hurried to punch a hole before it cooled. With a punch in one hand and her hammer in the other, she swung clean and true, popping the piece out in ease.

Gwen used the tongs to lift it again and doused in the bucket of water always kept full in the shop to quench it. Steam rose from the water and the hissing sound summoned her father. Placing it on her anvil, she let him inspect it, waiting for some sort of comment.

“It’s crooked,” her father said, the fact obvious to his seasoned eyes, “Try again.”

Those words were music to Gwen’s ears, a form of permission she had never hoped to receive, and she began the process again.