Day 39 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Get your inspiration from “Sweet Serendipity.”
Shannon: “Oh oooh,” I giggled into my hand, ashamed at my amusement in his pain. “You hit the ground so hard. Are you ok,” I questioned as I helped him up, still laughing.
“No, no I’m fine. This happens a lot actually,” he brushed off his clothes from all the sand he had just face-planted in. “People don’t typically laugh, but…” he finally looked up, “Wow, you’re pretty,” he stated what was on his mind as if he had no choice. “And I’m the idiot who wiped out in front of you, so I will be on my way. Sorry for the interruption,” he bowed, jokingly, and displayed the path to the side with his arm, “Please proceed.”
“You seem very happy for a guy who just fell on his face.” I wanted to know more about him, and I couldn’t just walk away like it never happened. Maybe his spirit could rub off on me.
“It’s hard to find me in an unhappy moment,” he flashed a big smile, “Maybe in the past when I thought I had a target on my back for bad luck, but eventually I realized that my worst moments often led to some of the best things that ever happened to me. Who knows, maybe even meeting you for example,” he phrased it as a question. “Hmm… do you want eat lunch with me, or at least get something to drink? I was heading to the food truck before I decided to take a dip in the sand.”
I let out a laugh, he was fearless, and he spoke so nonchalantly that he didn’t seem like a stranger, and you’d think he never heard of the term. He also didn’t seem like the type to ease into anything. “Ok yeah,” I went with it, “Why not?”
Erin: “Where do you see yourself in five years,” is a question that really stressed me out when I was going for a corporate job. Now that I’m there though I know why my answer was such a far deviation from my reality.
“I would like to be on a path to a senior engineering role. I would like my impact to stretch from not only me, but to other engineers coming in with less experience, but lots of promise,” was a true statement to me at the time.
But how could I know how happy I could be just scraping by until I gave up on my benefits and salary to scrape by with my family café. Sure, my jeans had a few holes in them, and sometimes we had to choose to eat the leftovers from the day instead of going to get burgers, but waking up in the morning was so much easier.
In a lot of ways, I had less, but in a lot of ways I had so much more. I had a husband who brought me kids, I had a passion that brought me purpose, and I had a life that made me smile. Sometimes I guess you just have to let life sort itself out.
Art inspires other art. Have I said this before at the end of one of these?
The tiny creature fluttered its giant wings aggressively against the shut window, having somehow gotten through the wards around the house. Every twelve years our town is overrun for six days by magickal moths, called the occtinia, that eat everything we don’t protect from them. During this particular cycle the stupid beasts were even more destructive than usual; somehow they managed to sneak past a lot of our normal wards, prompting the installation of new, power-sapping enchantments. These new protections hadn’t quite been enough to keep them out of the old residential buildings unfortunately.
Picking up one of the dusty grimoires scattered around the warm study I swore at the moth hovering before me. For the past three days I’d been attempting to ward the house with ancient magick no one knew anymore; potent spell magick. Nearly all of the enchantments around the town this week were a collaboration of various abilities as not many in Briarwood had the gift of spell magick, also known as spiritual magick.
I glared at the occtinia before me, picked up a stale glass of water Anise had left out the night before and took a swig into my mouth. Thinking the spell I’d read in my head as loudly as possible, following the confusing hand movements in the air between us, I spat the liquid on the bug’s enormous papery wings. Immediately the monster burst into a puff of rancid smoke and fell like dust onto the shag carpet. For a moment I laughed at the first success all day at finding a spell that would work on the infestation of moths.
But my celebration was cut short as something caught my attention outside; a bright white spark darted along the sidewalk. Peering outside, through the rippling energy of the ward, I could almost make out a figure wandering down the deserted street. My heart nearly stopped when I realised it could be someone who doesn’t know how dangerous the occtinia could be. Desperately I wanted to have imagined the figure but I knew I had to go out to warn them before they were eaten alive.
Gripping Anise’ hot pink umbrella in trembling hands I muttered a protection charm under my breath, tracing the sigils I knew well in the air around me. Around me a wavering field extended from the umbrella’s spokes like a giant bubble. “Patefio!” I shouted at the front archway, extending a hand outward as the knob clicked and solid door swung open. Hastily I shuffled outside and slammed the door closed on the small army of moths about to breach our ward.
I shot across the lawn, down the half-eaten sidewalk and around the corner without a sighting of the mysterious pale figure. Breathing hard I leaned against a dead light post, listening to the buzz of thousands of wings fluttering, and raked the landscape for a whisper of white fabric with no luck.
When a gentle hand tapped my shoulder lightly I nearly jumped out of my skin, poised to defend myself. But before me stood the light silhouette I’d been chasing; it was a young woman of about my age with a well-worn cloak covering her from head to toe and a stark white eye shining from her pale face. Finally catching my breath again I breathed, “Who are you and what are you doing out here with the moths upon us?” I felt like shaking the grinning girl to make her see her stupidity.
She just chuckled lightly, pulling back her hood to reveal jet hair with alabaster streaks. “I’m sorry to have worried you, Lily, but I just wanted to go for a walk in the evening light,” she spoke in an even, polite manner. There was something profoundly nice about this girl as she flashed a set of straight teeth and answered my first question, “I’m Aster, from down the street. I went through school with your sister.” That’s where I recognized her; Anise was friendly with everyone.
“Ah,” I breathed, trying to position my shield to protect Aster but the moths didn’t go anywhere near her. “How about we have some tea before it gets dark and these buggers get worse?”
A look of concern flashed behind her eyes but disappeared before I could confirm it; instead she nodded politely and murmured, “Sure, I’d love some tea. Thank you.” Even as Aster turned and began to leisurely stroll in the direction I’d come from I could see wayward occtinia flit by her without touching her cloak. It was as though they were afraid of her.
Though it was nice to see these horrid giant insects scared of something it made me uneasy. As I jogged to catch up I tapped Aster on the shoulder and she turned her childlike eyes on me; full of hope and trust and innocence. “Uh, Aster,” I began, chewing on the right words, “do you want to come under my umbrella? I’ve put a charm on it.” The strained smiled didn’t touch my eyes as I moved over to make room for her slight figure and bulky attire.
Laughing like bells in the rain she shook her head gleefully, “No, thank you, Lily. The occtinia will not touch me. I asked them not to; so they won’t.” We walked without another word to the doorway, where I shook the enchantment off and slid the door open quietly.
The shrieking of the hinges sounded like a dying animal but it didn’t faze Aster, who was busily unhooking her torn boots. After a moment of muttering angrily at myself I found the tea strainer and lit the frozen fireplace to heat the water; all the electricity in the city was out during the migration time. For the most part it didn’t matter but it made some things difficult.
Watching the crackling fire in silence, shivers ran up my spine despite the heat from the flames. I cleared my throat intentionally and questioned Aster subtly, “What were you really doing out there? You could have been killed?” There was that concern flit across her face again, too fast to fully register.
Her gaze fell on the garnet flames and she pulled a pendant from around her neck, holding it tightly. Sighing, she stared into my soul, “My mother, before she died, gave me this. She spelled it to bring good luck to the wearer so long as they have joy and good intentions in their heart.” Sniffling a little she continued, “I knew nothing bad would happen to me. Nothing bad has happened, as long as I don’t ask too much of it, since I got it.” When she was about to tuck it back into her shirt I put my hand out to stop her, though we were several feet from touching.
“Aster,” I whispered nervously, “may I feel your pendant? I swear not to do anything to it.” I knew my suspicion for this kind woman was right; there was something off about the way she withstood the occtinia. Taking a breath she smiled and held the chain between white fingers.
As I touched the cool metal of the circular sigil I felt nothing at all; her mother’s spell, had it ever existed, was no longer keeping the magick alive. Aster was more powerful than she would ever know.
Created to Write:
August wakes up to a sound outside. He looks out his window, seeing Heather and Leslie chasing Andrew, all of which have paint on their clothes and skin. He chuckles, then goes to his closet. He’s only got one pair of jeans that he minds getting dirty, and he figures that’s the one that he’ll need to wear that day.
He goes down the stairs, and the trio are inside, ordered by their mother to clean up. Heather lets her siblings take the bathrooms first. August looks around at the simple farmhouse. He knows they need to get groceries, and he feels like he’ll mess up a few more times with farm work.
“Ghost?” Heather asks. She walks over, “What are you thinking about?”
August looks around a moment more, then turns to her, smiling softly. He’s completely out of his element, but with Heather by his side, nothing else feels more right.
“August?” Heather teases, poking his side, “c’mon, talk to me.”
August wraps an arm around her shoulders and leans closer to her ear, singing, “I’m doing just fine, I’m always landing on my feet. In the nick of time, and by the skin of my teeth.”
Heather smiles, then sings along, “I ain’t gonna stress, cause the worst ain’t happened yet, somethings watching over me, like Sweet Serendipity-”
“Sweet serendipity~” August finishes on his own. He looks up from Heather blushing, noticing that Heather’s mom had left.
“Dawww~” Leslie and Josh coo, just at the same moment that Andrew pretends to puke. The couple in question share an exasperated look, before bursting into laughter.
“Glad to hear you’re managing,” Heather whispers.
She walks off to the bathroom, hearing Josh say, “I still can’t believe you two can communicate via songs like that,” behind her.