Nano 2011 - Day 04She found him beside the house, swinging an axe down with regular thuds into blocks of wood, splitting each one into a manageable size. The swoosh and the thud and swoosh and thud sounded as easy as if he had been making that movement for years. He looked like part of this place, standing in the shade where the wall cast a shadow and swinging his arms up with his shirt sleeves rolled high and bringing the axe down like a promise into the flaking white grain of the wood.
She stood and watched him for a while. He was unaware of her presence, his eyes only on the wood that he was cleaving with each blow. She could smell the scent of his sweat on the breeze, real and human. His shirt was damp and sticking to his back and billowing away again with every movement. She half wondered what all this wood was for, in this summer heat, but she knew in a quiet place in her mind that it was for the small stove inside that stood against the wall, and that it was her job to feed that iron box with woo
Nano 2011 - Day 034.
The grass was tall and itching against her legs. When she ran it whipped at her and caught her in tiny strokes. When she stopped and walked slowly, catching her breath, it swept under her skirt and tickled her skin. The earth was warm and growing warmer beneath her bare feet and the sun was brightening into a globe of fire in the sky. When she stopped running she looked at herself, looking down at her skirt and her bare feet and her arms browned by the sun. She was tanned, and her feet were browned too. Her dress was clean but it showed signs of wear. It showed signs of her having been here for longer than she remembered. She stroked her fingers down the front of the bodice, touching the thin fabric and wondering.
But it seemed natural. It seemed right. She was wearing the clothes that fit this place, that fit this time. She knew how to make a dress like this. She knew how the house had been built, log by log, and knew about the horses in the stable. She knew a thousand things that
Nano 2011 - Day 02There was something behind her. Something following her like a ghost, something she could not glimpse or take by surprise. She turned her head cautiously and in the most fleeting second she caught an impression of wings, tall and arching and weightless and rising up from the smoothness of her back. They were white, goose-feathered, and too beautiful to believe in. A moment later all she could see over her shoulder was the eggshell blue of the sky and the strips of pink and gold that accompanied the sun.
I have died, she thought, and the lack of pain is this.
She walked to the door of the house, curious at how real the ground felt beneath her bare feet and how real the air felt on her skin. There was a dampness to the grass and earth between her toes and a smell that rose from the crushed stems that was more real than heaven. This was not heaven. It couldn't be. She had sat in straight-backed pews and listened to the resonant voice of the vicar and she had skimmed through
Nano 2011 - Day 01The Myth of Wings
Icarus fell in flames from the sky because he was not yet ready to fly. He plummeted to the ground like a meteor streaming in from the heavens. Perhaps his wings were blackened. Perhaps they fragmented and were left behind like the tail of a comet. Perhaps they rained to the earth as black ash, seeding sin and discord amongst men.
The scent of burning feathers became a sign of evil on the earth, of witchcraft or voodoo moving through the gathered crowds. Even as their eyes were still turned up toward heaven, Icarus had struck the ground, immutable evidence of human sin. He was Lucifer in another guise, the misfortunate one, the one weighted down with his choices in the world. And that was a beginning of the myth of wings.
Yesterday it began. Yesterday was the falling through the sky and then the ground below, deadly and level and made of earth and grass. The noise was a thrumming, a taut noise of hard air striking and shivering past wings that would no longe
More 100 Themes - 96-10096. Puppy
He was nothing but a ripple of movement, of sheets of thin muscle flexing beneath fur the colour of bracken. His front paws would not stay on the ground, his tongue would not stay in his mouth. He made Ed laugh, even when he was scraping mud onto his trousers and bouncing head-high in his excitement. He seemed to be part of these flat, swelling lands and the low, soft rivers and the darkness of the mud and the vibrancy of the grass. He belonged in this kind of place.
Ed ruffled his hand over the dog's head, feeling its skull sharp and fragile beneath his palm. There was a life in there that could not be denied.
In some ways this land reminded him of the land back home the way it was mostly flat and wide. But it was divided into small and ancient fields and scored by roads that had grown up over thousands of years. First they had been footpaths, maybe, or animal paths, dodging left past a slight swell in the ground, right past a rock, left again around a tree t
More 100 Themes - 91-9591. Orange
The image of the flames was on the insides of his eyelids. It was scraped and burned onto the inside of his mind. Angelo there on the grass, the blood a strange dark colour against the green. Danny scrambling and jerking himself free of some shard of metal that was piercing his flight suit. The sound of the fire making the metal creak and ping and the sound of moisture hissing from the grass, and the feel of the heat like a great, shimmering wall that could not be breached. Frankie there with no way out, with the underneath of the nose a crumpled mess and the knowledge that somewhere in that tangle of bitter metal and glass were his legs. There was a smell of meat cooking, and there was only one thing it could be. And out of all of them on board, there was Angelo and Danny outside. Al had never made it out of the ball turret. He couldn't have. The ball turret wasn't there any more. Perhaps some of the men had made it out the other side, were somewhere behind the plane where
More 100 Themes - 86-9086. Surprise
At first she thought she was quite alone. She stood looking about herself, at the endless, sun-baked grass and the brassy sky and the small worn trails on the ground and the silent house behind her. She thought that she was the only human thing in existence, and she didn't know whether to be scared or content.
And then the wooden door creaked and scraped behind her, and she spun, and a man came out of the house. He was tall and lean, so tall his head nearly touched the top of the frame. His hair was blond and bleached into lighter streaks by the sun, and his skin was tanned almost to redness, and his long arms and broad shoulders were strong and solid. He stood filling the doorway, and just looking at her. And then he said, as if he had come to water in a desert, 'Cassie.'
'I wondered if this were heaven,' she said.
He looked at her bleakly. 'I wondered if it were hell,' he said after a pause.
She almost laughed, but seeing his expression, she did not. 'W
More 100 Themes - 81-8581. Clone
To the left of him and to the right of him were planes just like his. To the left of him and the right of him were other waist gunners, standing over their own guns that were just like his gun, wearing the same uniform and the same heated gloves and the same heated shoes and fighting against the same twenty below cold. And there were fighter planes, ally and enemy, and they were all the same, and all the men in them were the same, and whether they flew back to England or Germany or to occupied France or Belgium they were all the same. They were men whose hearts beat hard in their ears when they were afraid, and who thought of hunger and cold and the warmth of women. They were all the same man.
His hands near frozen. His face that way too. The heating in his suit had failed forty minutes in. Twenty thousand feet and on oxygen just to protect himself from the empty air, and the cold was more than knives, more than ice. It was something that inhabited every part of hi