Spill over from last week’s contest. The first one took 3rd place over at MicroBookends, a fun contest where we get a photo prompt and the first and last words for a 100-word flash.
Earth clings like a barnacle to a distant sun. Moody purple clouds bruise the beige sky, and we make the seasonal trek to the spring.
“Wash up,” Miri announces, the lilt in her voice masking her revulsion from our sons. I want to vomit.
Wielding pumice stones, the boys splash into the shallows. They go to work scraping scaled knobs off their shins and forearms. The scalies leave behind tiny asterisks, red ones twinkling through old white constellations.
The scalies never plagued the original colonists. They waited for us to have children, invading their little worlds of flesh.
Miri wraps their limbs in gauze, feeble armor against the next colony.
The second is one of my entries into Flash Friday, a contest that come Friday I can’t ever resist. Last week we got a picture of a shack with a radioactivity sign on it and needed to include a monk.
Legend of Iron Pass
Watch the ridge, you might see the leper. He’s roamed the Iron Pass for years searching for his daughter. Look for the greenish glow.
Not ectoplasm, silly. This isn’t a ghost story. His amulet glows.
He used to be a monk. He pilgrimed the Silk Road with his daughter dressed as an acolyte. (Brigands tend to leave two men alone.) On a night much like this one, when the Siberian wind scrapes its way south and storm clouds pile up against the peaks.
In the frost, a portal crinkled open and consumed the girl. Most think she fell in the gorge, but that wouldn’t explain the amulet. He carved it from a weird stone left behind. Before his skin started sloughing, he’d come around demanding if we recognized the symbol.
They say some nights she appears, too, in a lightning flash, still looking like a young acolyte.
I just tell them that whatever they’ve seen, there are no ghosts here.