Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Write, Edit, Publish - April - Freedom In the End


I originally wanted to share a memoir piece of working to fight against colorblindness, but it was really difficult to do in just 1000 words! I decided to share a different work instead. This is a short story I wrote recently. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for visiting. (I also wasn't smart enough to combine my A to Z Challenge...but I should have!)

I had to cut over 600 words, and it is still a little over, sorry!


Chryssa’s thumb rubbed against the smooth stone in her pocket and she pressed it against the side of her finger. She took it with her everywhere, which was much easier in the winter when she wore a big, puffy coat with large, comfy pockets. The cold air also made it easier to slip away into the woods unnoticed so she could play with its magic alone.

    Wind shook the branches far above her head and the cold air slipped around the collar of her coat. She scrunched her shoulders up and watched the ripples chase each other across a puddle. Her hand slipped out so she could look at the surface of the stone shifting like the reflection of a passing cloud. She had little time to play with her latest creation before the full moon reset the stone’s power.
    At first, only the shades of white changed, but then the glossy texture rippled and vibrated. The elliptical shape morphed, sprouting five legs with three joints. Tiny purple hairs shimmered on orange scales. The body grew until it matched the size of her palm and the legs were the lengths of drinking straws. The top blinked in waves of copper eyes. Despite having no facial expression, Chryssa knew the creature was happy to see her again. 
    She smiled at her creature and it returned the affection with another wave of blinks. Tiny turquoise claws tickled the palm of her hand as it danced excitedly. For a moment she felt love. 
    Behind her, voices whispered and footsteps crackled on a mixture of drying leaves and soupy soil. She closed her fingers around her creation, crushing it back into a state of cold, dormant stone.
    A pinecone hit the back of her head accompanied by a small round of laughter. She turned to look at them. Was it not enough to disturb her moment of joy? Did they have to assault her too?
    “She is probably eating worms.”
    “She probably has worms.”
    “The worms probably run away from her, even they don’t want her around.”
    Chryssa bit her bottom lip. Words never helped, only time. She did not even bother to tell the adults anymore. They said it was just a phase. One day, none of this would matter, they claimed. Was that fair? Just ten more years of school and she would be free of this phase, right?
    She pushed the regret from her mind and rubbed the stone silently in her pocket. Another pinecone bounced off her shoulder.
    “Stop throwing things!” a voice called from the distance—an adult trying to help. The footsteps retreated and so did the whispers. 
    Chryssa clenched her fingers tightly on her stone. At least they did not see it. They were not meant to see her gift. Every full moon for the past two years she invented a new being. Tiny pieces of life created from her own energy and her own mind bringing her deep pleasure. 
    An adult spoke behind her. “Chryssa, do you have something that does not belong to you?”
    Chryssa shook her head and kept her fists inside her pockets.
    “They said you took something from them, what is in your pockets?”
    Chryssa shook her head again. “I don’t have anything.”
    “Then show me your pockets.”
    Anger swelled inside. She stood still, shutting down in her mind as the adult tugged at her arms. Her hands were forced from her pockets but she kept the secret hidden in her fist.
    “What is in your hand, Chryssa?”
    She saw no way out. Her hand drifted in front of her, knuckles white with the effort to protect her precious magic. 
    “It is my rock,” Chryssa whispered.
    “No!” a kid shouted. “She took it from me.” The lie floated toward her like an insect looking for the best place to sting.
    “I have no way of knowing whose rock it is. But, they say you took it from them, and you have it. I will take it so we don’t have any further conflict.”
    The adult’s hand hung in the air, waiting. The corners of Chryssa’s mouth turned down sharply and her eyes began to sting.
    “But it’s mine. I found it,” she cried.
    “Just because you found it does not make it yours,” the adult said. “It belonged to someone else before you found it.”
    “It’s a rock!” 
    Her fingers loosened and the small stone sat like a tiny, distorted moon on her open palm. Chryssa took a step back and raised her hand to her mouth. She felt the cold pebble press between her lips and slide across her tongue. Her chin lifted and the magic slipped down her throat, leaving a trail of frost like she had swallowed an ice chip.
    The stone’s power melted inside her and somehow she knew she would never see it again. At least no one else could take it from her.
    Sadness and loss overcame her by the time the full moon finally arrived. On that eve, Chryssa stepped into the veil of night and leaned on her mother. She smiled at the brief moment of pleasure they shared. But something else stirred inside her.
    Wrapped close in her mother’s arms a small wave of sorrow washed over Chryssa as she realized no new creature would greet her. A soft kiss in her hair lured her back from the returning melancholy. The embrace loosened and she stood alone, trying to imagine what she would create this time.
    Something with wings, long silver flowing feathers with fluorescent purple shimmers streaming down a lengthy tail. The eyes would slant like a cat showing affection with a blink. Instead of a beak, it would have a wide grin on the tip of a long nose, with a horn at the end. The invention took shape and the bones inside her body shook with the pleasure of creation. The feathers felt warm but her core was ice cold, melting outward.
    Her lungs filled with the night air and her long neck swooped low. Her talons pressed into the cold soil, and she pushed herself upward toward the full moon. The freedom of her flight took away all of her pain. Nothing else mattered.
    She smiled so deep she could feel it in her roots. Nothing hindered her magic—twisting and turning in the cold clouds far above the world she never fit into.

Word Count 1065:  FCA

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  1. Hari OM
    A magical creature herself, darling Chryssa! The imagination provides us with so many places to frolic. YAM xx

  2. Hi,
    The magical world of child combined with his or her imagination is a place to hide.
    Good story.
    Shalom aleichem

  3. Lovely!! The transformation is beautiful!

  4. This is wonderful. I was Chryssa in my youth, only I wasn't magical. I was just a stupid, ugly child who was picked on unrelentingly, and I dreamed of being magical.

  5. Hi Steph - lovely story ... telling of unfairness by children, yet that sparkle we can dream we have - but Chryssa might just have magic to let free and to be. Well done - all the best =- Hilary

  6. Wow. Powerful imagery. Minute plot. Measured development. Deeply enjoyed.

  7. Thanks Steph for a wonderful read. Loved the young character and felt her suffering being pelted with pinecones and disbelieved by children and adults. I'm glad she was carried away by her magic. Freedom indeed!

  8. What an imagination your character has and by your own imaginings has come to life for your readers. I'm sure that any child reading this will be enthralled and able to relate to her. This story really sucked me in.

  9. So beautiful! We all have that little magic as children and then it's only around as long as we believe it is. Lovely narration.
    Sonia from https://soniadogra.com

  10. So glad she found her magic! A beautiful piece!

  11. Enthralling descriptions and lovely imagery. Children can be cruel and they can find wondrous escape routes from cruelty too. Loved the transformation and leap into a magical freedom. Great take on the prompt.

  12. I know how lonely it is to be a kid who doesn't fit in. You portrayed that well. I loved how Chryssa's magic worked, and the ending was perfection.

  13. A truly fantastic and enchanting tale. Well done.

  14. This piece really hit me. It's lovely and magical, yet so relateable. I would say I was that child but this is often my reality even as an adult. The ending was perfect. Excellent entry!

  15. Freaking awesome! I love that she found an escape. Would be nice to have seen the bullies get punished, but there's only so much in 1000 words and, honestly, there's rarely such justice. Your story has an uplifting ending. I enjoyed it.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

  16. I wonderful solution to the bullying. It was meant to be. Great magic making. Well done.