So, last week my friend AJ (from Twisted Writers and For The Love Of…) threw down a gauntlet in the form of a challenge. She’s been doing a five photos, five stories challenge, and she nominated me (among others) to take the challenge.
1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. Just have fun.
To be honest, I was not really looking forward to this challenge. Things have been a little wonky lately and, other than poetry, I just haven’t felt the writing happening. Then, Lizzi posted a pic on Facebook and I haven’t been able to get it off of my mind. An idea began percolating in the back of my brain. I sat down with it this morning and wrote it out. So, I guess I’m taking up the gauntlet. Well, done AJ.
Thing is, I *might* not post consecutively. But I will post. And now, to my nomination. I nominate Lizzi to take up the challenge as well. And I give full credit to today’s picture to my British wench, D’Artagnan. Although, I take no responsibility for whatever shenanigans she comes up with on her own. 😉
P.S. Can you see the Sky Dancer?
By Jesi Scott
Warrior raised his hands above his head and cursed the gods. He had gone to them in supplication for his family, but the gods had sent ill fortune his way. Why? What had he done to deserve their rancor?
He knew what had to be done. Warrior walked down to the river and bathed. The sun baked his skin dry. He went inside his hut and put on his dancer’s wooden mask and silk robes. Their stark whiteness mirrored the clouds in the azure sky above him. Then he went outside and lit the bonfire he had prepared. As the sun began to edge its way to the horizon, Warrior began to dance. Anger and loss and love were woven into his steps. Moon yawned and opened her eyes and began to watch Warrior, her interest piqued. She sighed as she watched the man move with grace becoming to him and turning his haggard face into beauty.
“Brother,” she said to Sun, “is this one not deserving of our favor?”
Sun yawned and turned sleepily in the sky to watch Warrior. “Sister, what would you have me do?” asked Sun.
“Grant his request,” said Moon.
Warrior danced until his feet were bloodied and sore. Then he dropped to his knees, breathless. He rent his robe and tore the mask from his face. Tears streamed from his eyes and he looked up at the sky.
“Please,” said Warrior. He dropped his head to the ground. He could feel the heat from the fire warming his feet, though he hadn’t thought he’d been that close.
“Dance, Warrior. I command it,” said a warm, trumpeting voice.
Warrior looked up but could see no one. Confused, he sat up straight.
“I cannot. My feet are torn and bleeding,” said Warrior.
“You’re feet have been healed. Now, dance,” said the voice.
Warrior sat back and looked at his feet. He took his sandals off and gently felt them; the skin was soft and without callouses. He stood, carefully, and picked his mask up from where he had dropped it on the ground. He placed the mask back on his face, adjusting it so he could see. As he looked through the mask’s eyes he could see two figures watching him. He could not see one of them clearly, the light coming from behind it blinded him though the outline suggested a male form. But the other, the soft silver one, made him catch his breath so beautiful was she. She smiled tenderly.
“Dance now, Warrior. For me,” Moon said. Warrior did. The angry music that had filled his soul earlier changed. The light of the stars filled his ears and his feet began to move in rhythm with the song of the universe.
Warrior felt a warmth fill him from inside out but he kept dancing. He felt light, buoyant. He wanted to fly. He danced for a long time. When he was done, he looked around him but all he saw was azure sky deepening into midnight blue.
“Where am I?” he asked. He heard laughter behind him. Turning he saw Moon with a delighted smile on her face.
“Where you belong, Warrior. In the heavens where you wanted to be,” Moon answered.
Warrior raised his hands to his face to remove his mask only to discover it was now his own skin instead of wood. He looked down and found himself looking down at his hut. He was floating in the air. His white robes billowed softly around him.
“What have you done?” he asked in awe.
“I have granted your request, Warrior,” said Sun. Warrior turned towards the sound of Sun’s voice. He could now see the golden figure without being blinded. “You wanted to go to heaven, so here you are.”
“I wanted to be with my wife and son, wherever they are now,” replied Warrior.
Moon touched his arm with a silver beam. “Look down, Warrior. Look to where your wife and son lie.”
Warrior looked down at the dirt-covered mounds that hid the bodies of his wife and child. He could see his own body lying between them.
“Am I dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Moon.
“But I wanted to be with my wife and son! Why have you cursed me this way?” cried Warrior.
“You have not been cursed, Warrior,” said Sun. Impatience tinged his voice.
“Peace, Brother. Warrior does not understand. We must show him,” said Moon.
“Show me what?” asked Warrior.
“Look,” said Moon. She blew a gentle whistle, a sound like clear bells sounding, and pointed to something behind him. Warrior turned to see what Moon was pointing at.
Clouds, large ones and small, came dancing towards him. They were hard to make out at first. As they came closer, he began seeing shapes. Arms, heads, faces. They were people. On they came and before long, Warrior found himself surrounded. Unfamiliar faces stared back at him, all except two. The crowd parted before him, and soon, his arms were holding his wife and son.
“You are a Sky Dancer now, Warrior,” said Moon. “You must choose a new name in this new existence. What would you be called?”
“Daylan,” said Warrior. “Because you had compassion for me, Lady.”
“So shall it be,” said Moon. “Now, dance for me, Daylan. Dance with your wife and son and make me smile.”
And he did.