Day 7 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Incorporate these words- Rodent, Ethical, Birthmark
Erin: “I’m going to kill it,” Griffin said diving into the knife drawer far too calmly.
“What? No, let’s just set him free,” I pleaded slamming the drawer shut. It was too late his hand was already in and all I managed to do was slam his wrist.
“Are you looking to be next,” his irises flashed red then settled back into their natural purple.
“I’m sorry,” I spoke softly as not to set him off. He flashed his pointed teeth and breezed past me.
“He would die a slow painful death on his own,” his face hardened. “This is the right thing to do.”
“Griffin, giving him to someone who could care for him would be the most ethical. That is the right thing to do. Please spare him,” his lips draped back over to cover his teeth. “You love me, don’t you?”
“I’m doing this because I love you, he is not some rodent Rochel. He could be the end of our civilization,” he walked up until he was face to face with me. I allowed my eyes to look from his twisted birthmark to the one on our son. The blade of Griffin’s knife brushed my finger. He didn’t even notice as a drop of my blood dropped to the floor. He didn’t notice much of anything anymore. “I protect our land Rochel, you promised to do the same.”
“I did, and nowhere in our teachings was his impact prophesized to be detrimental. He could be the savior of land,” I sprinted past his shoulder while he was still under the impression I would never cross him. I snatched our yet to be categorized creature and bolted for the door by the time he caught on and began to follow me.
Shannon: “It’s not ethical to keep him here like this,” I heard the voices faintly from behind the closed door as I regained consciousness. I was too disoriented to panic as I racked my brain trying to figure out how I ended up in this dark room with only one dim purple light to reveal its features. Was I alone?
After I heaved my torso up quietly, and placed my bare feet on the cold floor, I paused again to listen and look around. My short-term memory was blank, and the last thing I could remember was watching a movie in biology the day before and seeing an image of a hideous rodent of some kind flash across the screen.
“You’re awake,” an old man’s voice wavered from somewhere in front of me. I searched around, but he was hiding in the darkness and my frantic head movements to find him were making me dizzy. “How are you feeling,” the voice questioned as it got closer.
“Where am I?” I rubbed my temple to soothe it.
“Answer my questions first and then I’ll answer yours,” he explained calmly.
“I feel like I was hit by a truck, and my mind feels hazy,” I gave in. “Now where am I?”
The man stepped forward in a lab coat clicking on a blinding light over his forehead not giving me enough time to make out any of his facial features. I had to close my burning eyes. The room was obviously dark for a reason.
“Sorry, but you will eventually have to get used to the light again. I find most patients prefer one painful exposure over many consecutive gradual healings. I believe it’s the mind’s anticipation that truly tortures the rest of the body,” he explained as if he was sharing a fun fact.
“Does that mean I’m in a hospital?” I asked as soon as the daggers in my eyes start to retreat just enough for me to think clearly again.
“Something like that,” the man was vague as I felt his palm on my forehead. “You’re fever is gone. I’d say you’re just in recovery, but let me take a peak at your arm just to make sure,” he rolled up my sleeve as I blinked through the burning pain of the light.
Red discolorations on my skin traced every vein in my arm like birthmarks. “What’s wrong with me,” I feared the worst.
When I started writing that (I’m Erin FYI) I had not pictured the story I would write at all. My original idea involved a mouse and fast food restaurant. Not sure where that came from? It’s fun surprising yourself, give it a shot.
Jesse, our guard, lounged against the faded yellow fence outside our house. As the sun beat down on his tanned shoulders I let the drapes flutter closed and turned to the tense room. There was a tangible heat despite the frosty temperature. Seated in our old blue recliner, bestowed the highest honor in our household, was my brother. At this impromptu meeting of the Weeping Dragons my brother had taken on the title as surrogate boss while our real leader was laid up.
When I feared the tension in the room was about to break down the peaceful silence my brother cleared his throat loudly and stood to address the group. His boots planted firmly in the same place our father once had, Caleb’s voice was gruff and tired, “I know these past few days have been difficult. There has become a chasm of divide between our two halves.”
Stiffly he turned to Trevor’s side of the room; Grey, Lizzie, Murray and Trevor stood uncomfortably on edge. They were ready to flee at a moment’s notice and it showed. Caleb addressed them respectfully, “You have a point that we cannot allow the ethical crime that Shane and his gang committed to go unanswered.” If it had been me I would have told them to screw off, none of us wanted a war and if they got their revenge this tryst would mean war.
“But,” Caleb continued calmly, “we do not want to show weakness or that we are any less with our leader out of commission.” When he addressed the other side of the room, Barron, Zak, Tessa and I, his demeanor softened slightly. In the stillness as he paused for dramatic effect I turned back to the window wondering where the rest of our gang was. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of grey-brown shirt shoot past the window and come to a halt before Jesse.
From this distance I could see the glint of a metal object in Jesse’s outstretched hand and the figured before him trembling. Noiselessly the figure put his hands up and dropped hastily to his knees. In the living room a hushed conversation had begun so I didn’t want to alarm them if this situation was nothing. Jesse was making an angry motion at the figure, who didn’t seem to have a clue what to do.
Finally he stepped forward and threw the hood off the man, exposing a shock of bright red hair. The gun fell to Jesse’s side limply and he moved to smack the man upside the head. As the man got to his feet the guard had already turned his back and motioned at my window, still hidden behind the curtains, and the man staggered toward the house. Turning to the situation at hand I cleared my throat for attention. When all eyes turned to me I smirked and reported firmly, “The Rat just arrived.”
Patiently we all waited as the door was answered, an informal conversation consisting of hushed murmurs was conducted and the stairs leading up to the cozy living room squeaked out an odd rhythm. The knock which followed was tentative and delicate. When the door swung open it revealed a short, pale man with a bruise beginning to blossom on the side of his face. His mousy features were accentuated by the way he held his hands close to his chest and his ever-darting eyes.
Taking a few small steps into the room he trembled, glancing around at the sparse crowd, and decided he would be safest standing behind an aged rocking chair. While this eccentric custom was taking place Caleb was texting someone with his brows furrowed and his lower lips almost bleeding.
“Caleb?” I asked, touching his arm gently. At my touch he flinched took an involuntary step back. Eyes wide and breathing ragged he opened his mouth to speak but words would not flow. Terror gripped my lungs and I reached for him solemnly, “Please, Caleb, what is it?” I’d never seen him so shaken.
“He, uh,” he began then broke off to gather himself. Sighing in a few deep breaths he continued in a rush, “Dad’s dead. He didn’t pull through. They were there. They let those-those monsters in! And now he’s gone!” In the next instant his phone lay in a crushed and sparking pile of shards on the carpet. Tears mingled with blood on his cheeks as Caleb wiped angrily with his bleeding hand at his eyes. “It’s not-” he hiccupped, “-not fair! He can’t be gone!” he screamed, his knees coming, painfully, into contact with the floor.
I’d never seen my brother break down like this before; he was always the strong one, the leader. Now, in his moment of vulnerability I knew I needed to be there for him and for the gang. Mustering all the strength I could I stood on knees that had decided to be strong despite shaking. Firmly I vowed, “I, Zahara, will seek vengeance against Trevor on behalf of our father and leader.” Without skipping a beat or taking time to second-guess myself I began shouting out orders, “Rodent! I need all the information you’ve collected being on the inside of Trevor’s gang.”
Turning to the pro-revenge team I spoke sternly and precisely, “I need you to gather all the members you can who are willing to fight. Do not, under any circumstances, let them do anything on their own.” After a pause to consider how much time was required I ended with, “Meet us back here at nine. After that, we die.” For a moment they scowled at me, not recognizing my authority before bowing to my power.
They slunk out of the room like children being sent to bed without dinner; anger mingled with respect. To the rest I almost smiled, “Go get as many weapons as you can; tonight we ride for our fallen leader.”
I was alone with my brother, then, sobbing with no end in sight. For a while I just sat with him, being there for him the way only a sister could. After he’d quieted down I got up to leave. But he gripped my wrist and smiled up at me. Pulling his sleeve back to reveal a dark splotch not unlike one half of a heart he whispered, “We’ll be there for eachother always-“
Catching on I knelt down and pulled my own sleeve back to show my matching birthmark and, the smile spreading to my lips, whispered back, “-because we are more than family.”
Amber lamps shimmered as the camp site drew dim. Diamitus being drawn to a plain wooden traveler’s wagon with a curved roof and thatched ramp leading to it’s door. He could see candle light being spilled out from underneath the door. Nervously he walked up the ramp, the ramp moaning as he gently tapped on the door.
Awkwardly he glanced behind him. He could see Ronald doing his passing patrols as he chewed on some stolen fruit from the storage wagon. Ronald eyed the Diamitus before walking on disinterested. The wagon door opened. Bright saffron colours and dull greens were the first thing that caught the Diam’s attention of the gypsies’ robes. A octagonal almond shaved face with short coarse hair greeted him with a gentle warm smile. “Ah it’s you. Please come in.”
Diamitus stepped inside and closed the door behind him. “Abas told me to find you since he said you could solve my problems.”
“I can not solve your problems.” The small man sat on a chair behind a plain wooden table. Only the shimmer an exotic paper lamp with swirling hieroglyphs lit the scene. “But Abas thinks too highly of me.” He gestured to a chair across the table. “Please, sit.”
Diamitus sat down on the chair, pulling in closer. “I guess you already know my name?”
The man pulled out a cloth bag that clicked with the shuffle of stones. He smiled. “Not exactly. You have a habit of wearing names like you do with the clothes on your back.” He gently poured out of the bag smooth pebbled stones as they came down in a pile. “My name is Celeas and your currently?”
Diamitus paused. Thinking as his eyes wandered the room before landing back at Celeas. “Um…” His voice caught on his lips but he risked it. “Diamitus. My…my name is Diamitus. I’m a runaway.”
Celeas nodded. “So, as you say. You don’t mind if I call you Diam, yes?”
Diam shook his head. “No, no not all. It’s a terrible name. I don’t mind.” He crossed his arms defensively.
“hmmm.” Celease quietly thought, leaning forward and cupping his hands together into a basket. “We have already found the first your many problems.” He spread the stones out into a single sideways column of two by twelve. “Choose four stones but do not touch them.” Diam looked at the assembly of stones curiously organised. He pointed to several stones, most being either some exotic black shade with veins of snow or marble with swirls of shadow. He studied each stone before picking out four stones that caught his attention the most.
First a white stone with fang like swirls. Second a black stone with leaf like branches. Another with marble with specking chaotic strokes of thin black and finally a stone of pure white.
Celease watched carefully as Diam picked out the stones. “How many ashfalls have you lived?” He asked as he moved each stone forward in the order that Diam chose them. The rest of the stones were shoved back again into a pile.
Diam sadly looked down. “I don’t know. Maybe twenty. I was too young to start counting.” He dejectedly sank back into his chair
Celease brushed his chin in thought. “You have the look of a survivor about you. Someone who perseveres through tragedy after tragedy.” He started to rearrange the stones. “May I quickly look at your palm?” Diam brought his hand up but was indesvive, as if showing his palm would reveal some personal secret before giving in and stretching his palm out. Celease leaned close, tracing the lines and countless scars with his skeletal thumb. “Your mark…your birthmark is of the Rodent.”
“The rodent?” Diam worriedly looked at Celease. “I’m sorry but does this tie into helping me with this game and all?”
Celease responded. “Before you can solve your problems, you must solve yourself.” He continued to examine the hand. “You have the mark of the Rodent. A birth sign of preservation born under a darkling moon.” He released Diam’s hand and turned to the first of the stones and pushed the first stone forward. Flipping the stone of white and talons, the runic symbol of a scythe. “The harvest. You want something tangible but your problems extend to beyond that you can touch. For you seek to collect but your sign leads you take by necessity. You do not mean harm but the farmer can not see otherwise.” He somberly looked across to his participant.
Diam studied the stone before meeting his gaze. “I’ve had to do what I could scrape out something to survive. Being on the move was a necessity with since there were no places to work.” He looked at the symbol again. “But what does a scythe have to do with me?”
Celease flourished his hand with a cursive twist. “It represents your ethical dilemma you were born into. You steal because you need to not because you want to.” He tapped the table gently besides the branching white lines of the black stone. “But we can only harvest for so long with our scythes until they are worn out.”
Diam overturned the black stone, the wavy serpentine curves of water. He spoke out of turn. “Water, so I guess I desire a change of some kind?”
Celease smiled. “Yes. But so, does every hero in the ages before us.” He breathed in, thoughtfully reaching back into his memory. “The ocean is your desire to change and adapt but the primordial tides and spirts influence your needs.” The light in the wagon dimmed as the candle inside the lamp began to flutter.
Diam nodded affirmatively as he flipped the marble of thin peppered lines to only be greeted by an Insidious gapping maw of a snake. The lines that had wrapped around the stone was in fact the fat belly of the beast wrapping its self around the stone as if it were suffocating it.
“The serpent” Celease grimly remarked. “You continue to repeat your mistakes that continue to drive you further from existence, slowly choking out to the crushing strength of cruel indifference.” Shadows played across his face as he continued. “It can change but only if you throw away the venomous constraints of your current life before death in some form takes you.”
Diam stared down the angry serpent, it’s black opal knife like eyes seething with a cold contempt. It’s slithering grasp crushing the very stone it was etched into. “There’s still one more stone left.” He rested his hand on the pure white stone, avoiding the etched serpent stone it’s fangs. “I just want something good for once.” He turned the stone over, a twelve-winged peacock flying out. The wings and tail carved with silvery rainbow gems outlined by glossy black. “Whoa. What is that?”
“Oshushva.” Celease said. “The Phoenix.”
Diam picked up the stone, enamoured by the priceless gems that glimmered with a heavenly glow. “Oshushva” Diam repeated.
“Not many know about it anymore.” Celease commented. “Not since the sacking of Peristy. Like the serpent and the phoenix, you must battle your own inner serpents if you are to be reborn from your ashes.” Light flickered off the brim of his wide nose. “Do you understand the signs Diam? The Scythe, The Ocean, The Serpent and the Phoenix. For if you do not change, the serpent shall devour you in it’s bottomless hunger.”
“I think do understand. Vaguely at least.” Diamitus sighed as he studied the four stones set in front of him. “I still don’t know how this helps.”
“Then you were not listening.” Celease bluntly spoke. “Remember these four signs in your life. Do let the great devourer consume you for it still not too late.” He stretched his hand out. “For this reading that will twenty cita’s please.”
“Twenty!? Oh! Um, one minute.” Diam hurriedly checked his left pocket and pulled out ten fortress emblazoned copper coins. “I don’t have enough I’m sorry. If I knew this was going to cost I wouldn’t wasted your time.”
“You would have your time if you did not heed my warnings.” Celease said. “But thankfully you have passed the first the challenge.” He started to pack up the rest of the stones. “But a hundred more still remains for you Diamitus. Forget not the serpent that lives in our hearts, for guard against it’s insidious temptations of gluttony and lies.”
As Diamitus got up and walked to the door he turned around to Celease. “I will not forget the serpent, I promise.”
“Take care then. I hope I was at least helpful.” Celease collected the stones and put them away.
Diamitus opened the door and walked out into the gapping night and closed the door behind him.
Created to Write: “Jacey!” Josh walks around the house, with his hands cupped around his mouth. “JACEY!” He yells louder. He groans, then finds August and Nikki in the basement. “Have you two seen Jacey?”
“No,” August says. Nikki is double bent next to him, looking like she ran through a rainstorm.
“…You okay, Nik?” Josh asks. She looks up at him, a glare plain on her dark features.
“Not everyone was born a ninja,” she pants.
“Okay, break times over,” August says, “let’s try that kick again.”
Nikki all but falls to the floor, “It’s… not… it isn’t ethical to do this to me,” she whines. She looks at Finn, who’s lounging by the wall of the dojo. “Why isn’t Finn training?”
“I am practicing,” Finn says without opening his eyes.
Nikki rolls her eyes, “Uh huh.” August motions for her to start. Nikki kicks, but August blocks easily. “Practicing what?” she asks.
“I’m trying to draw Mrs. Mantleplop’s birthmark,” Finn explains, “I had the picture, but… now I lost it.” He sits there for a moment longer while the other two spar. Then he shoots up, “Got it!” Nikki is distracted for a second, which ends with her on the floor.
“Dude, why do you want to draw her birthmark?” Josh asks.
“And it’s Mrs. Meleantloe,” August says, without pause in deflecting Nikki.
“And also, what birthmark?” Nikki asks when she gets another break.
Finn turns from his half drawing. “You haven’t seen it!” he asks, shocked, “It’s right above her shoulder blade, right here,” he shows, pointing just below the top of his shoulder, by his neck. “It looks like a giant beetle-”
“Okay, I’ve heard enough,” Nikki says, disgusted.
Finn finishes the drawing, then uses his gift to bring it to life. The origami beetle crawls down the wall and across the floor. A rat darts out and snatches the beetle. It looks at Finn a moment, then scurries off.
“…Uhhh… do you guys have a rodent problem?” Finn asks.
Josh looks at him, “Where did it go?” Finn points towards the recreational room, by the stairs. Josh darts in that direction, “Jacey! Transform back to human or so help me!”
(Just a little Novelty fun. I might even use this in their story.)
(Picking up from day 5, be warned I kind of took another Pintrist story prompt and mixed it together.)
“Do you remember what happened to you when you were 7?” Ethan answered her question with another.
“Claire, What does Claire have to do with this?” Paige asked. Looking up at Ethan with tears in her eyes.
“You also went to a library for a year, remember?”
“Yeah,” She looked at him sideways. “You were there? Why were you there? Why didn’t I remember this earlier.”
“Becuase you were 7 that was 7 years ago. I looked totally different when I was 3. I’m always there. And they haven’t been yet.”
“Oh, It still doesn’t make it ethical that you did that to them without asking first.”
“I don’t need to be ethical, I just have to accomplish my goals at any cost.” Ethan Picked up Ally by her armpits and started to drag her into the tent. “Can you help me? I have to go to sleep soon or else they will get there first.”
“yeah. “ She picked Ally’s feet up. Together they dragged them into the tent.
Ethan curled up next to his friends. “Before you go to sleep I have a question,” Paige asked.
“Are we rodents to you? Just things to test, look at then throw away so you can get your goal.”My goal is to save you. This world and the library. I would never do anything to harm you if it isn’t justifiable.” He fell asleep and woke up in a giant room filled with comfy bean bags and variations of light for different types of work. There was a collection of laptops in the corner along with a 3-d printer. Ethan resisted grabbing out his laptop to write out exactly what happened that day and instead called for his robot.
“2.5 any new arrivals?”
2.5’s screen turned on and the small robot bleeped “3, 2 in the children nursery and 1 in the fishing section.”
Ethan rubbed his head, there hadn’t been any new arrivals for a full week or several years of library time and here was someone the day that he brought Clay and Ally. “2.5 handle the one in the fishing section, play the orientation video or something. I’ll deal with the two in the children section.”
Ethan spent every night in this library and made upgrades to its already advanced technology. He could teleport but it was uncomfortable so he preferred to zip line. There were wires on the top connecting all of the sections. He climbed a ladder next to a bookshelf, climbed on top and took a paper clip from his pocket. He looped it onto the cord and squished it together. It transformed into a handlebar with safety gear that he could step into. He got ready and jumped off the shelf. He always got a thrill ziplining over the shelves. He loved this place, how much knowledge was stored, how many stories. He doubted that he could read it all even if he devoted all of his life to it or even if he had more than one life to devote to it.
He tapped the side of the handlebar when he spotted Ally and clay. The zip line slowed to a stop and slowly lowered him. Clay was the first to spot him.
“Where the hell is this?”
“Where I’ve lived my whole life. Every single night I come here.”
“Why have you never told me?” Clay showed hurt on his face.
“Becuase you didn’t really want to know.”
Ally interrupted them. “This is where your birthmark came from.”
“I guess. I still don’t know. I just know I need to protect this place.” Ethan brushed his hand across the smooth cedar bookshelf.
“Is this what the whole, ‘I need you to collect these people for an adventure’ was for?” Clay asked.
“Yeah, I mean its also about keeping humans from all dying but you know.”
“You picked me for an adventure to save the world?” Ally asked.
“That’s cool.” Ally said.
“No, it’s not cool. I thought this was just to, I don’t know, explore a cave or something like that. You know no chance of us dying?” Clay started to pace.
“Hey Clay I would have told you if I knew you would have agreed. But I had a feeling…”
“You were right. I would have never said yes to this. And I still won’t. How do I leave?”
(I forgot to include this line.) “You wake up. It will seem like a year since time is slower here. Then you can choose whether or not to leave but give it a year. You’re stuck here anyway.”