Friday, 3 October 2014

The chosen one

A picture says a thousand words. Write them.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a critique about this picture. Write something about this picture.
Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!
The crowd watched the slim, pale-skinned girl walk towards the light. She wore a flower crown of small red blooms. Her long blonde hair was scented and recently crimped; it flowed loose around her shoulders, her feet were bare, and her arms thin and delicate. Her dress was transparent lace that barely covered her thighs.
The crowd sighed with anticipation as she walked towards the glowing light. The hopes of the city went with her on this special day of the year, the only day that the path was open.
Two girls stood near a guard. One of the girls snorted. It sounded derisive. She was nearly as tall as the guard she stood behind.
“Shhh,” the guard hissed at them. “Show some respect.”
“Uh, huh,” said the smaller one. It also sounded disdainful.
“What?” the guard asked, seemingly despite himself.
The girl pointed at the pale figure, stepping as she nervously approached the end of the path. “She’s the chosen one?”
“So the soothsayers said.”
“I’ll give her ten minutes - no fifteen ‘coz she’s pretty. Bet you a copper piece.”
“Five,” the taller girl countered.
“You’re on.” They shook hands.
The guard shook his head. “The seers are never wrong.”
“They got it wrong every other time,” the smaller girl pointed out. “And we need better luck this year with the war coming.”
They both looked at him expectantly. His mouth opened and then shut again. “They know,” he insisted, but it sounded less sure somehow. He’d watched this ritual before as well. Each year the chosen one was rejected and the city survived, but did not flourish. “Ten minutes,” he added.
“Deal,” they chorused before turning back to watch the spectacle.
He watched them out of the corner of his eye. They were obviously young women of the local people. He guessed they were about marrying age - they looked it, but he often had trouble telling with the locals - they matured early. Their bodies were in stark contrast to the waif that had walked into the light; they were full bodied and muscular. “Why do you think they’ve got it wrong?” he asked.
“Gran says the seers have got soft and-”
“-forgotten the old ways. He’s an-”
“-animal and he wants a mate-”
“-not a twig that will snap when he touches her. And besides-”
“-it’s supposed to be about progeny and-”
“-she doesn’t have any hips.”
He thought about it. Maybe they were right. But that would mean the seers were wrong. He glanced towards the path the girl had walked. He could still see her back.
“Two minutes,” said the tall girl.
“She’s nervous,” the other noted.
“I remember my gran’da saying the old nursery rhyme,” the guard said, his voice low. He recited, “Some gave him flowers, and some gave him meat but what he really wanted was a pear from the street.”
They said the last line with him. Another guard shushed them all. The girls chuckled.
“Haven’t heard that one for years.”
“She didn’t take a pear.”
“Pear,” the guard repeated. The girl vanished. “Do you think they meant pair?”
“You are not making any sense.”
“Pair,” he said, louder now.
Silence for a minute. There was a loud scream from up the path.
The crowd groaned as the flower crown was thrown out.
“That’s it!” The guard grabbed both girls. “He wants two; a pair,” he said.
“And you’re right. Run. I’ll cover you.” He started dragging them towards the entrance.
“Are you nuts?” the taller girl almost shouted at him.
“Do it for the city.” He glanced around but nobody was trying to stop them… yet.
“He can’t be worse than your current beau,” said the shorter girl.
“Now is NOT the time to discuss my love life.”
“No,” the guard interrupted. “The worst that can happen is that he throws you out.”
“You think? What if he keeps us?”
“Well that could be-” he searched for a word “- interesting.”
“You try having sex with the beast.”
“He doesn’t want me!” the guard argued. “And he doesn’t want her.” The blonde girl stumbled down the path, crying. “Quick! Before the path closes.”
“Let’s do it!” The shorter girl said as she grabbed her friend’s hand. “I’ll race you. Tell Gran bye from Aubine and Elaina.”
Hands clasped they dashed down the path, their long legs pumping and both were laughing as they ran. They were too fast for most of the guards. He ran after them and pushed away people who tried to stop them. It took the commanding officer too long to realise that he wasn’t trying to stop them. He had to tackle one guard that almost reached them.
The crowd shouted encouragement and in a moment the girls were gone.
The guard was arrested and held with too much force by his previous companions.
Everyone waited for the outburst; the blonde girl still sobbed loudly.
The guard started to think that he had made a terrible mistake, but then the thorn trees on either side of the path trembled and shifted and the path was closed.
The representative of the seers slapped him across the face. “What have you done?” he screamed at him.
“He doesn’t want the girl you want to fuck.”
That earned him another slap.
“You don’t fight in the war; we do.” He appealed to his commander. “And we need the beast to fight on our side.”
The commander looked astonished. “You sneaky little-”
“-He’ll fight to protect his women and his children,” he added, “if he has any.”
“You will go to the dungeons for this,” the seer threatened.
“No, he won’t.” The commander made a sign to release the guard. “You don’t fight. You’ll be safe in the temple.” He raised his voice, “The offering had been accepted!” he shouted.
The crowd repeated it and the seer huffed in frustration.
The freed guard looked at the thorn barrier and prayed that the girls would be okay.
© AM Gray 2014

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