Hey, Hey everyone, hope you are enjoying the new site. There are a lot of things that need tweaking still, but just owning my domain makes me feel like I am moving forward. While moving things around I remembered that the original intent of my blog was to tie my writing into my experiences with running, well I haven't been doing that. Still running though and my goal for 2014 is, in fact, still 500 miles. I will do a full update soon, but for now here is the short story I submitted for another 24 hour writing contest.
Here was the prompt:
He walked among the market stalls, pretending to ignore the whispering and giggling women. His relaxed demeanor, handsome features, and ready smile meant no female in the town missed his weekly sermons and the church's coffers were overflowing of late.
Feeling a touch on his sleeve, he turned and his smile disappeared. Looking first left and right, he angrily spat, "I told you to never speak to me again!"
She blinked, her long lashes brushing her cheeks, and said, "But, I need to talk to you." Leaning closer, she paused, and lowered her voice. "You see, I'm..."
And what I wrote:
Isobel watched him from behind the fresh fruit stand, heart racing and temper flaring. With his arrival into town earlier that year, the new priest promised to bring wealth to the city and homes for the destitute. She had always been inclined to dislike any person that took favor so easy. The congregation grew weekly, as did the whispers.
Albeit, he was handsome, but he preened at his reflection in the polished silver of a nearby shop. His vanity made anger burn at her neck, until she was distracted by a beautiful woman trailing slightly behind him. The stranger’s almond eyes were a slash of black against ivory flesh, and though streaked with gray, her hair flowed like spilled ink over her shoulders. Likely, she was another wealthy widow hoping to confess her sins in the confines of his elaborately furnished office.
The young cleric paled when the woman made herself known. The crowds of the bazaar helped keep Isobel hidden, but their loud conversations masked whatever harsh exchange occurred between the man and his, presumably, scorned lover.
Isobel crept closer.
“You see, I’m here to collect my debt.” The woman’s words were melodic and threatening.
A sheen of sweat covered his normally confident face, “There is only so much I can do without gathering unwanted attention.”
He glanced over his shoulders and Isobel shrank back behind the protective awning, out of his line of sight. She knew that man had been up to no good from the moment he blew into town and swept the women off their feet. When Isobel had aired her worries to her sisters, they scoffed at her immaturity and said that she would understand when she was older. But she was not so naive to think they met up for prayer when they snuck out in the middle of the night.
“That is not good enough.” The beautiful woman reached a hand up and brushed his cheek, only a slight tremble gave his sins away.
“As you wish. Follow me,” he relented.
The dubious couple began walking and Isobel followed in the shadows like a church mouse. The sun had set and she struggled to keep up, stumbling upon deep ruts in the dirt. They left the town square, passed humble shacks, and crossed a recently plowed field, until they entered the forest.
After walking straight uphill for twenty minutes, Isobel was ready to give up. The moon glowed fat and orange for the harvest, as if to help light her steps in dark of night, but she wouldn’t be able to keep the pace much longer.
As fear began to seep in with the autumn chill, a light flickered to life up ahead. She walked until she reached a clearing where the flames of a fire licked the sky. Distracted by curiosity, she forgot about the priest until he grabbed her and cupped her mouth, muffling her screams.
“I’ve got her.” He said calmly, as he dragged Isobel kicking and screaming towards the fire. “Thought she was so sneaky. Think you could catch us in the act, did you little bird?”
Isobel’s eyes rolled like a feral horse as she searched for help, praying he wasn’t corrupt enough to hurt a young girl. As naked as a babe, the woman stood waiting for him in front of the flames that blazed twice her height. Isobel bit the priest’s hand and stomped his foot, forcing him to release her. He cursed the Lord’s name in vain.
“Leave her be,” the woman said in a flat tone, “she’ll learn the ways soon enough.”
The heat reflected in his eyes as he moved toward the woman, and his hands fumbled with buttons. Isobel flushed as he his mouth kissed all over the woman’s body. She turned away.
At first she thought it was a trick of the shadows, but soon it was clear they were not alone. Dozens of women stepped from the trees that circled the couple. Each was dressed in a long cloak that hid their face, but did nothing to cover the swell of their body, ripe with the fruit of womb.
Isobel returned her attention to the lovers, wondering if she should warn them, but there was no need. The beautiful woman was fully aware of the company. She grabbed a handful of the man’s hair as he knelt in front of her, and pulled his head back, forcing him to look into her eyes.
“Your time here has come to an end. You have served your purpose, and our town will continue to prosper.” The woman held an arm out to gesture to the surrounding crowd. “We thank you for your sacrifice.”
A knife Isobel had not seen was brandished, and in one swift movement, drawn across his neck. His body crumpled forward and twisted so his face was directed at Isobel.
The blood pulsed out from the garish wound, soaking the earth. Isobel stared into eyes frozen wide with shock.
A smile spread across her face, as all the women cried out to the night. The men never did last long in their town.