They funnelled the whole vat of liquid into the tiny bottle. An undeniably magical bottle because that was a lot of stuff going in there with no problems. Plus it still weighed practically nothing afterwards.
“Magic,” she argued.
“Technology,” her brother shot back.
As one, they turned to their uncle. “Which is it?”
“Doesn’t matter.” He pocketed the bottle. “As long as it works.”
She shared a look with her brother.
Their uncle sighed.
Follows after Dormant Thunderstorm.
Today, she was interested in one thing and one thing only.
Getting her powers back.
When she was younger, she had the power to create thunderstorms. Unfortunately, it was too much for her to handle, and it was locked away for everyone’s safety.
Now she was moving out alone for college, and a little thunderstorm was a great way to deter anyone from trying anything funny with her.
They tried throwing her into danger, tasers, other supers, creepy crawlies. Nothing would pull her power out of dormancy.
“Calm down.” A hand landed on her head and ruffled her hair.
A tiny bolt of lightning zapped her brother’s hand.
“Ow! Hey. You got it!”
More electricity sizzled in the air.
“Don’t touch my hair again.”
“Ok. Ok. Just calm down.”
The air lightened. So did the tension that had gathered in her over the day. She smiled.
“I like this.”
“Of course you would,” her brother grumbled.
“Are we there yet?” his sister trudged reluctantly behind him.
“Any time now.” He scanned the horizon. If he remembered right, it was on the left.
“Are you sure it even exists?”
He shook his head. “Oh ye of little faith.”
“I don’t even know what ‘it’ is,” she complained.
“‘It’ is magic and sparkles and dreams. I just need to find a shimmer.”
“That’s just the heat in the air. It’s normal for deserts.”
“I’m 100% sure I saw it. Just follow me.”
Hours later, the air remained frustratingly shimmer-free, and he admitted defeat.
Behind them, to the right, the air shimmered.
He waved his arms, shook his body, twisted, jumped, dashed, but no matter how he tried, the human still clung to him. Worse, the human kept stabbing him too, and some of those stabs actually hurt.
“What do you want?” he roared.
“Bring my sister back to life,” the human said.
“There is no return from death.”
“Not for you.”
He bucked and kicked, but the human’s grip was annoyingly stubborn.
“Why should I bring the dead back?”
“Because I will keep attacking you until you do.”
“You will tire eventually, human.”
“So will you.”
“Then we will see who tires first.”
This story is inspired by the game Shadow of the Colossus, where the player is basically an annoying little insect climbing all over these giants and stabbing them to death. From the player’s point of view, the giants are a pain to fight, but I’m pretty sure the giants feel the same way about the player, so we all annoy each other together. Oh well.
Genre: humour, family
A ball floated down the river past her.
That looked familiar…
A dog floated down the river.
That looked super familiar too.
A young man floated down the river.
That one was definitely familiar.
She clambered to her feet and asked the man in the river, “What are you doing here?”
Her brother swam over to the river bank.
“What? I can’t swim here?”
“Who says I can’t swim on a cold day?” He climbed up the bank and looked beyond her to her boyfriend. “More importantly, who’s that guy with you?”
“If you wanted to meet him so badly, you could have just asked.”
Her brother glared at her boyfriend. “Who says I’m here because of him? This is just a coincidence.”
A breeze blew by. A shudder shook her brother’s wet body. Without a word, her boyfriend took off his coat and held it out. Her brother continued to glare as conflicting thoughts fought in his mind. Eventually, his body’s need for warmth won, and he accepted the coat.
Another gust slipped between them. This time, both men shivered. She sighed and knelt on the picnic blanket.
“Help me pack up. We’re going somewhere warmer.”
My response to the prompt construct.
Genre: general, family, humour
The two siblings stared into the glass case, little hands pressed against the invisible barrier.
“What’s that?” the younger brother asked.
The older sister studied the large dark dome and the funny groves and projections on it.
“It’s a helmet for giants,” she declared.
Behind them, their parents stifled a laugh.
“A helmet?” the father whispered.
“Could work. If someone hollows it out first,” the mother replied.
The two children turned their attention to something else, and the parents followed them to another display.
“What’s that?” the younger brother asked, pointing to a structure covered with feather and beads.
“Clothes for the giant.”
The parents disguised their laughter as a cough.
“Didn’t know you were such a fan of giants,” the father whispered to the mother, who was one of the artists participating in the art exhibition and the creator of both the giant’s ‘helmet’ and ‘clothes’.
The mother slapped him playfully on his arm. “I blame your recent giant bedtime stories.”
The father grinned and raised his camera. “Kids, look here. Say cheese.”
Well trained, the children spun around and gave them great toothy smiles. The father snapped the happy picture to be used in a few years to tease the kids mercilessly.
Sometimes, having kids was great.
When I first saw the prompt, my first thought was, I have zero inspiration for this.
Having zero inspiration didn’t mean that I shouldn’t bother, so I brainstormed a few ideas. I considered exploring the creation of the Wilhem Dolls in Perfect Junk, or the city wall in Defenders of the Wall, or some sort of superhero power relating to creating things.
But I wanted to create something new, and this happened. *shrug*
Written in response to the prompt ‘pretend‘.
Genre: family, angst, heatwarming
~Celebration for Two~
She spread the embroidered cloth she made from the scraps she collected over the months. He poured the juice he made from the berries he foraged from the forest.
It wasn’t the wine (the blood they shared in their veins) and lace (the threads of fate that bound their lives together) they usually celebrated the special day with, but it was good enough for them to pretend they were still a part of the community they were exiled from.
They raised their drinks.
“Happy birthday, sister.”
“Happy birthday, brother.”
Read more about the siblings in Together in Exile.
Genre: general, slice of life
~An Offer Taken~
“Need anything?” she asked her brother’s door on her way downstairs.
“Actually, can you give me a hand?” her brother replied from the other side.
“Ok.” At least she asked… Wait. He actually wanted her help this time.
Her hands hovered before the door. Her brother hadn’t accepted her offers to help before. What now?
“Come in. The door isn’t locked,” her brother said.
She grabbed the handle and pushed. The door swung open.
Inside his bedroom, her brother sat cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by puzzle pieces of all shapes and sizes.
“Hold these for me.” He pointed his chin at the two larger chunks he had assembled halfway in his hands.
She sat down and took the pieces. “Like this?”
“Yes.” Her brother rose and walked over to his cupboard. He grabbed a small tube off the top shelf and returned to his spot.
She didn’t talk to a wall this time.
A smile curled her lips.
She was glad she kept asking.
My response to the August prompt ‘close’.
Genre: general, slice of life
~Talking to a Door~
Her younger brother wasn’t mean, but he was very independent. Too independent, actually. He was the kind of person who could survive alone on a deserted island. No help, no problem.
But getting her offers to help rejected day after day was still annoying. Just a little.
She’d lost count of the amount of time she spent talking at the closed door to her brother’s room. Their rooms were their only sanctuary, so without his permission, she wouldn’t barge in, even when she caught the occasional crash or muffled cry.
But she kept offering, because she would rather get rejected a thousand times than miss the one time he actually needed her help.
The story continues in An Offer Taken.
Genre: general, fantasy
Every morning for the past two years, she rose with the sun. Not because she was a morning person, but because her brother was. Or to be accurate, her brother’s teacher was.
She groaned into her pillow, but sleep was futile, at least, not for the next three hours. And by then, it would be time for her to get up anyway.
When that Fighter said he would test her brother’s resolve, he conveniently left out the fact that his training would also test everyone else within the area. Her brother was very fortunate that their neighbours were willing to endure the noisy training sessions, even if half of them didn’t think he would make it into the garrison.
Fighters came in two flavours: the rare few born with superhuman strength, and the rarer few born with special abilities. Her brother was neither. All he had was his passion to protect their city and the people in it from the monsters outside. How far could that get him? No one knew.
She yawned her way down to the courtyard and melted into one of the benches. Today, her brother’s training involved three bins, a bunch of different sized balls, and a lot of yelling. She didn’t know how that worked, and it was too early in the morning for her to care.
“Can he actually be a Fighter?” she asked her brother’s teacher as they watched her brother fumble with all the balls around him.
“Yes. We have other people like him on the team, so I know it’s possible. But, it will also be extra hard for him compared to his more gifted peers. If he wants to go anywhere in this area, he’s going to need all the support he can get.”
The Fighter looked at her out the corner of his eye.
“You and your neighbours are doing fine. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and your brother will do the rest.”
Her cheeks heated in embarrassment. The less easily flattered side of her cut in.
“I’m sure we can support him a lot better if his training starts later,” she bargained.
“That sounds reasonable.”
“So maybe training can start… two hours later?”
“One hour later?”
“Just for you, I’ll start half an hour earlier tomorrow.”
Her brother sent her a glare. She returned the glare with a sheepish smile.
Well, he couldn’t blame her for trying. He would have done the same, if he wasn’t so scared of his own teacher…
The Fighter waved his hand, all the balls lifted off the ground and dove at her brother. Her brother barely threw himself out of the way.
… for a very good reason.
She silently wished him good luck and went back into the house. Might as well do something productive with her extra time.
Check out the related story It Started as a Little Bud.