And it’s that time again. My favorite part of #5MinuteFiction. Well, that and the writing part. And the reading part. And the voting. And when we have a winner.
And here are the finalists in no particular order:
These are their entries. Get reading and get voting. The poll’s on the right side of the page. Then come back at 9:30 EDT tonight and find out who won!
Dazriel ducked as another arrow came at him. Three of the black shafted things had already shredded his right wing, making it impossible for him to fly away. He couldn’t use his magic either, making him believe that the arrows were cursed. With no other choice, he kept running. He was hoping to make it to the next village.
He could hear the barking of angel-hounds behind him. These men were professionals. Dazriel had been warned about angel hunters on the upper plain, but he never really expected to see them, never mind be their target. These men were ruthless. More arrows whizzed by, and this time one hit him in the shoulder. He cried out in pain, ducking to the side. His whole shoulder went dead, and he knew then that the arrows were cursed. He wasn’t going to make it.
Then, he broke through the woods and saw a village. He ran. There had to be a temple there, even a small one. The priest could use his magic to protect Dazriel, maybe even send him back to the upper plains. The sounds of the hounds got closer. He looked over his shoulder and saw the large, red beasts making their way through the trees. At least ducking into the forest slowed down their wings.
He turned and spotted the temple. He ran towards it, yelling for sanctuary as he did. A portly priest opened the door, a broad smile on his face.
“Ah, good,” he said. “You’re here.”
“Please, good priest,” Dazriel said. “Help me.”
“Help you?” the priest said. “I think not. I hired those hunters to bring you to me. You see, I wish to replace God as the supreme being, and to do that, I need the blood of angels. Sixty, to be precise. And you, my dear friend, are the last.”
The angel-hounds closed in from behind. Dazriel screamed as the fat monk laughed.
Sixty. Sixty days I’ve been laying here.
On my side.
Tied to the ground.
With nothing to eat but some nasty bread cooked over cow dung.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. It was supposed to be human dung before I negotiated with God for a little bit of a reprieve.
Did I mention that God was the one who told me to do this? It’s all right there in the third chapter of my memoir, which I’m sure is going to be a big hit. Everyone is big on performance art nowadays. God tells me this is going to be huge, draw in the crowds.
Sixty days. Three hundred thirty to go. Then I have to turn around and lay on my other side for forty days.
It’s going to be worth it in book sales alone. Who wouldn’t want to read about my year plus of lying on my side?
I’ve come up with a title. Ezekiel: I’m Not Crazy, God Told Me to Do It.
Okay, It’s not great. I know. It’s a working title. I’ve got a lot of time to still think about it.
A lot of time.
She doesn’t know I still have them, that I’ve kept them tucked away in a small satin lined box. But I have. Conchs and augers, scallops and clams, mussels, helmets, oysters, olives, turbans; every seashell unique and beautiful.
Serena left them behind on purpose, of that I know, thinking them a silly reminder of times passed. I, however, keep them, treasured for what they are; little keys to snapshots in time. Memories.
I count them out every year on her birthday, let them play through my fingers, remembering each beach; sandy, rocky; that we scoured for them. Some years she answers when I call, others not. She has her own life now.
This year, though, it’s time to return them to her. They are hers as well as mine, now. Because next year I won’t be around to count. My handwriting is careful, the wording specific. I fold the letter, tuck it inside, tape a nametag to the box. ‘Serena’.
Hopefully those sixty shells will help her remember me when I’m gone. Remember when her hand, tiny, fit into mine, and we created memories, mother and daughter.
And a half.
I don’t know why I bother counting.
That’s a road, isn’t it? In some song I think.
That’s… well, that’s something too.
And I’m done. I promised sixty days. And then I gave ten more, out of some foolish optimistic hope.
No more waiting, wishing, pretending.
He promised. Sixty days and I’m coming back. I just need a little time to think.
He’d thought already. It was a coward’s way out. I knew it then. I don’t know why I bothered counting.
Sevan Mizrahi swatted at the gnat buzzing around the week-old stubble haunting his face. Sweat beaded all over his skin – a sticky layer of anxious moisture that was, at the moment, largely being ignored.
He tested the weight of the bag of rocks in his hand. He had no idea what was coming next.
He decided to act. His foot touched the loose stone at the base of the pedestal, and when the arms of the ancient Mesopotamian deity came together he deftly set the bag of rocks in their cradling embrace.
This exposed the small cavity in the deity’s stomach which held…”it.”
Sevan wasted no time snatching it up and rubbing it’s dull bronze surface. Nothing happened. No smoke. No flashing lights. Nothing. The map Izaak had given him was useless! A fraud!
He wound is arm back to toss the cursed thing and nearly jumped out of his skin at the voice behind him.
“Who’s there?” Sevan asked as he whirled around.”
“Who do you think?” The genie stood with his arms crossed, looking annoyed. For an all powerful being, he looked surprisingly…human.
“Where did you come from?” Sevan asked.
“The lamp, master.”
“No, I meant…nevermind.” He realized he was wasting valuable time and the other fortune hunters couldn’t be much further behind him.
“I am ready to make my wishes.”
“Of course you are. Your first wish?”
“I wish for sixty more wishes.”
The genie rolled his eyes at his foolishness, and started to pick at a hangnail. “Do you think you’re the first jackass who has made that wish. It doesn’t work that way. No genie will grant additional wishes as part of another said wish. Sorry, that wish is void. You have two remaining wishes ” he said, and smiled. A smile that irked Sevan.
Sevan thought for a moment, and grew a small smile of his own.
“Fair enough. My second wish is that after I make my final request of you, you are banished into the lamp for sixty million years and cannot return to this world, even if you are summoned.”
The genie, to his credit, remained stoic. But there was a fear behind his eyes. Fear of whatever demons and horrors would accompany him alone in the lamp for sixty million years.
“And y-y-your last wish, master?” he said, his voice breaking.
Sevan tossed the lamp back into the deity’s stomach, and it came to rest on its side in a small pile of fossilized rat dung.
“I wish for a different genie that will grant me additional wishes,” Sevan said.