Scene: Puddle

The chains dug into the woman’s skin as the executioner tightened them around her, tying her to the stake. The metal cut through the thin fabric of her already torn dress, rust stains rubbing off on her skin as the links of the chain pinched and tore the flesh underneath. The dress, beige and plain, the scraps of the bottom fluttering in the wind, grew stained as blood spilled out from where the iron tore her apart. Her wrists, her waist, her ankles; all bled long before she was set to die. It dripped down onto the woodpile beneath her, sliding down the logs and onto the stone tiles of the street.

She passed the time by watching her blood slowly drip, drip, drip onto the wood, the droplets rolling one by one to settle into the grout lines between those stone tiles. She had once stood there, staring up at another on the stake, the young girl’s body bound with tight, cutting rope. She remembered watching the girl struggle against her binds, fighting for her life even then, screaming into the winds that she was not what they said she was. That girl, with tears streaming down her face and sobs tearing themselves out of her, begged for mercy. She was not a monster! She was innocent! And when her cries for mercy fell on deaf ears, as the people of the village continued their daily shopping at the stores surrounding the town square where such executions were regular, she had prayed. The girl would have fallen to her knees if she could, but the ropes held her steady. She looked to the heavens and begged her gods, repenting her sins and swearing utter fealty to them for the rest of her life if they would spare her. Then, as the sun began to set, the executioner returned and set fire to the woodpile.

That girl, not even yet a woman, screamed wildly as the flames licked at her skin and melted it from her bones. She was burned slowly while the villagers watched, muttering to each other that it was what the little devil deserved.

The woman now on the stake couldn’t help but smile. If it hadn’t been for her, that young girl would still be alive. How old would she be by now? Fifteen, perhaps? The woman remembered how she had laughed as she hung one of the sheep from the girl’s flock from a tree, killing it with a quick slice across the beast’s throat. She remembered the beautiful sight of the blood gathering in the bucket she had set underneath it, the blood gushing, pouring forward, its redness illuminated by moonlight. She remembered how much she had enjoyed finding the dress the girl had worn that day, using it to mop up the blood that hadn’t made it into the bucket. Everyone knew that that dress belonged to that girl.

The village had grown convinced that a heathen god had possessed her not long after that. The woman had seen to it, making sure that the foreign girl with foreign gods seemed to be the one behind the mysterious deaths of livestock and the sudden disappearances of children younger than herself. It was true, that girl had been innocent. The woman on the stake, well, she had enjoyed watching the child burn. She had gathered as much of the girl’s ashes as she could in the middle of the night, once the flame had died and the girl’s soul was gone.

Even after the girl was dead and the woman lost her scapegoat, everything had gone so well. As strange and horrible things continued to happen, the villagers were made to believe that the spirit of the girl had remained. They swore that the girl had stayed behind, was continuing to terrorize them even after her body had died. For four more years, the woman had gotten away with it.

But then the priest found her, naked and kneeling in the church, gutting that dog. It wasn’t long before she had been forced to confess, forced into that dark cellar, then forced to the stake. Simple ropes weren’t good enough to hold her, though; that woman, that witch, could only be held with iron. They had learned that while trying to keep her bound within the cellar.

She felt no fear, even as the chains held her tightly in place. Even as the villagers came, one by one, laying logs on the woodpile or spitting curses at her, she felt as at home as she ever had. They had no idea, she thought, just how much they owed her. Even as her blood ran red, the chains rubbing her skin and splitting it again and again, even as the droplets gathered into the grout lines like a branching river, and even as it spilled over the edges and gathered into a puddle beneath her, she came increasingly close to manic laughter.

Because she knew. Deep, deep beneath their feet, a relic of an ancient world was awakening. A forgotten god was beginning to rise. The sacrifices the woman had performed over the years had delayed its return, but as soon as she was dead, the god would burst free from its prison and the world would crumble beneath it. They had no idea what was coming. As the sun began to set and the villagers began to gather around her to watch as she burned, she looked them all in the eye as they approached. They refused to meet her gaze.

The fire was lit beneath her. She focused on the puddle of her blood that had gathered around the woodpile as she began to burn. But she did not scream. She laughed as the liquid in the puddle began to slosh as the ground began to shake.

It was coming.

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Short Story Prompt: Where Sharks Swim

{Prompt found here; Prompt #1, “Imagine a world where sharks swim in the forest and somehow you find yourself lost in the woods.”}

 

I look over my shoulder. We had been on the path, all covered with metal caging to keep hikers safe, until we found a hole in the cage. Lucille convinced me that it would be fun to squeeze out through the hole and to go exploring the forest on our own, away from the steel barrier that kept humans and sharks separate. “Where are we, Luciーhey, Lucille? Where’d you go?” There’s no response. I sigh heavily. “Really, Lucille? Come on out. I know you’re hiding somewhere. I’m literally going to punch you in the face if you jump out to scare me.”

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Memoir: A Portrait of Summer

There were always harvestmen on the bricks.

When I was a child, a younger one than I am now, I passed the summer days at my home away from home. While my nana, my guardian, was at work those days, I went to stay with my Grammy. Her house was always special, almost as special as she herself. She was a woman from a different time, long ago when dust still gripped Oklahoma and children walked uphill both ways to get to and from school each day. There was a certain smell in her house, one that I’ve gone too long without smelling to describe in understandable terms. It smelled like comfort. The air in that house was different from anywhere else, full of floating cat fur and the memories of the four children that were raised there long before my existence was even thought of. It was a place away from all other places, warm and welcoming and full of orange juice and toast. Full of love.

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OOC: Introduction

There’s a quote that says, “What one likes, one will do well.” I can’t say that I know the origin of that quote, but I can say that it motivates me to do a lot of things. In fact, the idea of getting better and doing well at something that I like is one of the things that brought me here.

Hi. My name is Spencer. Well, actually, according to my birth certificate, my name is Caitlyn, but I’ve had a fascination with the name Spencer for so long that it eventually made sense to just start using it as my own name. My friends call me Spence. I’ll answer to any of those three names, whichever floats your boat. I’m not overly picky.

Anyways. Like I was saying. My name is Spencer. I’m an aspiring author, hoping one day to use my stories to make people happy the way the stories of other authors have made me. I’ve been writing for a long time now, but I can’t say that I’ve been very liberal about posting my works. There’s been the odd fan fiction about my favorite characters, there’s been the rare poem lost in the jungle of Tumblr, and there’s an unfinished story or two somewhere on an abandoned WattPad. I’ve decided that it’s really time for me to branch out and post more of my original work in a place where, hopefully, it doesn’t get totally lost among cat gifs and One Direction reader-insert stories. (I mean, I love cat gifs as much as the next girl, but sometimes you really just want someone to notice you instead of the cat, y’know?)

More information about me can be found on this blog’s About page. I’m currently working on a page dedicated to my writing history, so that will also be going up soon. I truly hope that at least one of you people out there finds some kind of joy from reading my writing. Because, really, that’s all I want to do: make people happy.

Enjoy!