I thought I’d try something a bit different for a bit. There’s quite a few writers I know who write “in public” — they post what they produce on their blogs, for readers to react to. Wattpad is the grand collective of this idea. For writers who are unsure of their craft, or for the very rare extroverted author, such public writing has benefit.
Most of my stories are locked in — there are series I would like to complete and characters who are already established. Plus, I write long. Most of the time, anyway (this year is an experiment in exceptions, however).
Plus, the genre is set. I’m either writing SF or Romance.
Because my publishing schedule is set for the next two years, there are only a few places where I can play in the sandpit, experiment and play around. This might be one of those places. We’ll see!
The idea is that once a month, I will use a wild card prompt of some sort, and from that generate a short piece of fiction. Hopefully, it will be flash fiction and done by the end of the post. If it looks like the story has legs and could go on a bit, I may stop and check to see what everyone thinks before finishing it.
There’s lots of possibilities. I will be very open to feedback from you.
If you’re curious, check out the article itself here.
Here’s the story I wrote, jumping off from the article:
The Well of Rnomath
“The Well of Rnomath,” Halle intoned, reading off the brochure as the bus trundled into the public parking area. She rolled the name off her tongue with relish. “The natural spring dried up three hundred years ago, but sometimes it runs. They say it works only for powerful magicians. The water that emerges has incredible healing powers.” She looked at me sideways. “With a name like that, you know the place has to be fake.”
I didn’t laugh. Magic is serious business for me. My family, including Halle, have no idea how senior I am. Right next to the Grand Mage himself. I don’t talk about it because my white, middle-class, straight-laced Baptist family would rather stick their fingers in their ears and whistle, than hear that one of them is…well…strange.
Halle waved the pamphlet around to tease me. As far as she knew, I was cured of such silly business years ago. It wasn’t her fault. My family and I had separated for a decade It was the only way to find the room to figure out who I really was. After ten years, though, I had confidence in my own identity, so when Halle, fresh from her divorce, had suggested mending fences, I agreed to this thirty day tour of Europe. I wanted to know my kin. They had helped me become what I was. I had to find out if my powers were a result something they did, or if I had been given them despite everything my family had done to supress them.
Visiting the Well of Rnomath had been Halle’s idea. The Well was a forgotten structure in the middle of yet another cute Danish town. It was so overlooked, they’d built a parking lot around it. The tour bus was stopping here so everyone could take pictures of a miniature Medieval Danish town. The parking lot was for the town.
Everyone overlooked the Well, but my Sect knew all about it. All wizards do. So when Halle suggested archly that we stop by the Well to see if I could make it run, I had agreed. That had surprised her. Now she was back to teasing again.
The bus halted with a hiss of pneumatic brakes and the door swished open. We stepped out into a mild, sunny day. It was cloudless. No portents there.
While everyone else filed toward the miniature town, Halle and I walked over to the Well. Decades ago, someone had built a cupola around the thing, with a steep sloping tile roof and a deeply carved picket fence. We leaned over the fence, looking down at the completely dry concrete-lined hole in the middle of it.
“Looks like a culvert to me,” I said lightly, even though my pulse was screaming.
Abruptly, the water ran. It didn’t just bubble up and pour down the run-off drain that had been thoughtfully built into the concrete. It geysered, slamming into the roof and spilling back down in a thunderous waterfall that drenched both of us instantly.
We staggered away, coughing and shaking off water. We leaned against the bus, recovering, while tourists ran over to the cupola from all directions, babbling in thirty different languages, their cameras at the ready.
Halle looked at me. “Weird, huh?” she said. She wasn’t smiling anymore.
“More weird than you know,” I told her. I wrung water out of my tunic and flapped it. Even my Birkenstocks were squelching.
Halle twisted her black hair into a rope and squeezed out droplets. “I think I’m going to sit on the bus. There’s a breeze. It’s cold.” She looked around and shivered, gave me a strained smile and moved around the front of the bus, heading for the door.
I let her go. Now wasn’t the place to break it to her. Instead, I looked around for observers, then hooked the hex bag out of my sweater, removed the thong from around my neck and dropped it into the nearest garbage can. I’m good at what I do and hexes to neutralize a wizard’s power were basic stuff.
The hex had done its work. It had not been me who made the Well erupt. There had only been two of us standing there. Later tonight, I would explain that to my sister.
I couldn’t help smiling as I got onto the bus after her. After all this time, we would be close again.
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