Friday, February 3, 2012

#FlashFriday #FridayFictioneers: The Chosen One

What a beautiful photo prompt by Madison Woods this week. Her photo prompts are typically challenging and stimulating, but this week the challenge for me was not to try to think of a story idea, but to pick a story idea from the several that popped into my head.

As always, I'm excited to read what everybody else wrote. Check out the other stories on Madison's blog!



The Chosen One

She would not be afraid.

Dressed in a clean, white gown, she walked up the mountain. Mother on one side, Father on the other.

She would not be afraid.

Still, she felt her father’s hand tremble on her arm. Heard her mother’s whimpers.

She would not be afraid.

The One to whom she’d been promised heaved before her, his breath hot and angry. They told her she would calm him.

She would not be afraid.

Cresting the volcano, she watched orange flames leap before her like a lover’s fingers, hungry to touch.

But she would not be afraid.

46 comments:

  1. Oh Jan!

    How many times I've seen that light on the Big Island. Your story was excellent, not only for finding a unique source for the light in Madison's picture, but for crafting such a true story around it. Fantastic.

    Aloha,

    Doug

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    1. Thank you, hareemtariq! And welcome to the Friday Fictioneers!

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  3. Love it! What more can I say, but very inventive.

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    1. Thanks, Caerlynn. Just finished reading yours--very creative with lots of good imagery.

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  4. This is greeeeaaaattt! Did she jump in or was she pushed?

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  5. Aw c'mon, Jan. Don't you have at least a small feminist side that objects to stuff like this? The sacrifice program was almost certainly designed by men, not women. It clearly serves male interest, not female. Why let the oafs get away with it?

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    1. ed_quixote, what a great question! I should have written this VERY creatively and made the virgin a male. Hey - why don't YOU write a story? :)

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    2. As they reached the crest, she turned, winked at the gathered crowd, and pushed the high priest over the edge.

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    3. Yes, it is a great ending, ed_quixote. Very Ned-esque.

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  6. hey Jan,

    I liked the repetition in this piece. Showed an attempt to be strong even when face with insane fear. Very interesting take.

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    1. Thank you, cleveroldowl. I tried to make it sound like a mantra. I guess we've all had times when we were afraid, and chanted such a mantra.

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  7. For me, what made this literature was the "She would not be afraid" refrain, like in African song or the chorus in Greek plays. Very good.
    Ed-quixote's response is provocative and dogmatic. The image of human sacrifice is ingrained now so as to have gone beyond the historical, like images of the West: gunfighters, the Alamo, etc. And so many more. Your story is a description, which would exist regardless of the subsequent socio-political interpretation. E-q, therefore, is asking you to have written a different story, or perhaps not a story at all.
    E-q oversimplifies human sacrifice by calling it a "program" when it is something that developed over thousands of years in many different cultures, the victims not always women. Not something we would do today, but then, they weren't living today. We sacrifice people in different ways now.
    Perhaps you should have attached a disclaimer, like on TV shows: "This story is fictional. Jan Morrill does not condone human sacrifice, especially of women."

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    1. Carlos, you're right that I don't condone human sacrifice, female or otherwise. :) But, it is a subject I'm fascinated with, especially after visiting Peru and Guatemala. I've thought many times of writing a longer story . . . maybe I'll have to do it now.

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  8. Good one Jan! I expected to hear Pele' instead of volcano ;) I have always been fascinated by sacrifice, whether ancient or modern as Carlos intimated in his comment.

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    1. Madison, as I mentioned in my reply to Carlos, the history and culture surrounding sacrifice has always fascinated me, too. There are so many stories to be told about sacrifice, real or fictitious.

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  9. I'm beginning to see you have a real interest in history. Do you write historical fiction? I, too, went through a lot of ideas, but this one never hit me. Very original. And many cultures, including my ancestors, the Celts, did human sacrifice. Hell, with the trouble the country is in, maybe we should try it! The writng is elegant and poetic, very nice.

    Here's mine: http://bridgesareforburning.wordpress.com/

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    1. Yes, Ron, my novel, Broken Dolls, is historical fiction, and yes, I've always liked reading and writing it. So much to learn, while being creative, too. Enjoyed reading your story -- learned a lot, too! :)

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  10. You have worded this beautifully, Jan - a careful mix of the poetic with the prose of the story itself. And the repetition is a beautiful way of showing the girl's strength and fear together. Although it's a stereotype, I thought you dealt with it in a fresh way, showing us the strength in this girl, rather than making her a "victim".

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    1. elmowrites, you leave the best comments. :) Just read your haunting tale. It was full of beauty and tension at the same time. Like I said on your blog, I held my breath.

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  11. I agree with elmo. I though the story was a beautifully crafted and very complete and real short story in just 100 words, which is a fantastic accomplishment. The poetry of the volcano's flames reaching for her as a lover would, is a marvellous bit of writing and no, she is not a victim, but a brave participant in an ancient ritual devised to keep her people safe.
    DISCLAIMER: I do not believe or condone human sacrifice, especially of females, young or old.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. By the way, I love your Avatar pic! I'm glad you were able to see that she was not a victim, or at least, she wouldn't allow herself to be perceived that way. It's part of what makes it so tragic.

      Really enjoyed your flash fiction, too. Beautiful, with a surprise at the end.

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  12. Wow, powerfully written, Jan. I'm so glad the MC believed wholeheartedly in what she was doing because I'd be screaming and fighting the whole way (it's the volcanologist in me). :)

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  13. I think she's lying to herself! Because I would be terrified. It's an intense story for so few words. Sun gods can be finicky people. :P

    Well played!

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    1. Yours was poetic and oh, so beautiful, Elise Rae!

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  14. I like it a lot when writers take a photo prompt and do something completely unexpected with it. These exercises should not only help to hone our skills with language but also teach us to think outside the box. Kudos!

    (Here's mine: http://furiousfictions.com.)

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    1. I enjoyed your story, Joe. Yes, seeing how Madison's photos "spoke" to each of us is part of the fun!

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  15. The "clean, white gown" was very indicative (to me) as to what was coming for the girl. I think this is my favorite so far today!

    ~Susan (Here's mine: http://www.susanwenzel.com/)

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    1. Sorry to be so long in reading everyone's tales, but it's been worth the wait. I loved the way your story was full of mystery as to who the character was, and then, what a neat surprise at the end.

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  16. This is beautiful and haunting. I loved the repetitive lines. At first, I thought they were leading her to hell, which, in a way, they were. Loved the description of the clean, white gown. Well done!

    Here's my very different take: http://banterwithbeth.blogspot.com/

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    1. Glad you liked it, Beth. I liked yours, too. Gotta love that Erica. She's a spunky little thing. :)

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  17. "Take me to the volcano!"

    80s comedy movies aside, I imagine that's how the victim of human sacrifice would act, or may be pressured to act, what with it being an honour in some cultures. I'd rather not know for sure, but that's what I imagine. It's a terrifying prospect. As is the prospect of dogs and cats living together.

    I'm sorry, the 80s left quite an impression on me.

    Here's mine:
    http://jaykayel.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/circular-logic-100-word-flash-fiction/

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    1. Ha! Thanks, Jake. I enjoyed your story about the circles and "aliens," too!

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  18. A wonderful story Jan.
    I loved that repeating of the sentence, "She would not be afraid." It was as if this was almost needed to be chanted to help convince any of them not to turn and run. A kind of brain washing.

    Here's mine - albeit a day late.
    http://mjshorts.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/the-end-is-nigh-100-words-for-friday-fictioneers/

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    1. Thank you, Mike. I'm quite late getting to read everybody's flash fiction. Yours was very clever. The "Creator" being replaced. What an imagination!

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  19. Look at the word "heaved"--it foreshadowed, but I also think it may have tipped me over the edge too soon.

    Also enjoyed the refrain.

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    1. Good point about "heaved." I didn't even notice that. Enjoyed the "list" quality of your tale. It added a real sense of urgency!

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  20. Well done, Jan!

    Another alternative to Jan's and Ed's endings could be for her to leap way out (not just down) into the centre of the volcano, be met with a fiery blast that would seem to be the end of her, but for her to be transformed into a goddess (or the like) - not just still alive, but more powerful than at the beginning of the ordeal.

    Here's my story from the photo: http://wp.me/p24aJS-2l

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  21. Sorry I was out of touch most of the day! I was out of town without a computer most of the day, so I'll be catching up on everyone's posts throughout the weekend! Thanks for all your comments though!

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  22. I wondered where you were and why you hadn't commented! So unlike you. Glad you're back with us. However, I'm leaving for the evening soon.

    http://www.banterwithbeth.blogspot.com

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  23. This is brilliant! Great imagination!

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  24. This is beautiful. Both male and female virgins have been sacrificed throughout history, depending on which God/Goddess needed to be appeased. It just happened that this one needed a female according to this culture's traditions.

    Never pull your punches on your characters, and I'm glad you did not. Her emotional turmoil--telling herself not to be afraid when she obviously is, is very moving. Well done!

    I have two drabbles this week: http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/within-the-inglenook/

    http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/ellipsis/

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  25. Great use of the prompt, Jan.

    Carlos' comment, "we sacrifice people in other ways now," hit a chord with me. I've got a character that will have to be sacrificed in a painful, public, and embarrassing way for the protagonist to get what he wants. It's rather dirty business, but hey, I'm writing a political satire. My justification--it's for the good of the country. :)

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  26. I had a busy weekend that prevented me from getting around to the stories as soon as I would have liked, but this is just lovely. The repetition is powerful. And the impending sacrifice is horrifying.

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