Prompts & Responses, Serials, The Deal, Writing

WOW 555 – Tension and Friction

Image by PhoeniXea on DeviantArt

Happy Friday!

It feels like this month has flown by! Halloween is next weekend and I still have no clue what I’m going to be. Even though I’m way too old for trick or treating and also don’t have children I can use as an excuse to get candy, I still intend to kick ass at the company Halloween costume contest. Here’s hoping I can come up with something over the weekend. Something tells me my costume will rely heavily on makeup. I’m open to suggestions!

The week has been a pretty busy one, with even more participants in #TuesFlashFicTrain. They’ve written some pretty great pieces, so please give them a look and vote for your favorite! While they were submitting to my contest, I was struggling with the #WOW555 prompt. I’m not really sure why this one was so hard for me, but it feels like it took me forever to get the words and ideas onto virtual paper. Hopefully it’s up to par.

Prompt: write a story in which you explore the tension between two opposing forces.



Finding Balance

I’m not sure how long we watched the phoenix arrange its nest, only that the bird seemed to be pretending we weren’t there. Our presence didn’t bother it, and it simply continued gathering seemingly random bits of sand from various nooks and crannies throughout the chamber.

“It’s getting ready to die.” Esther was the first to move deeper into the room, walking along one of the walls that depicted the life cycle. She pointed at one image – a large bird sprinkling sand onto an altar, similar to what the bird before us was doing. The picture immediately after showed a bird encased in flames.

“What does that mean for us?” Malakai’s voice, although barely higher than a whisper, echoed in the chamber.

“According to the drawings, it’s reborn immediately after its death. No egg. But look.” Esther pointed at another image closer to the entrance. It showed the phoenix with a round object in its mouth, apparently setting it on an altar. I hadn’t noticed it before, but there was more than one – the tall pillar-like structure in the center of the room, and a second one on the other side, lower to the ground and resembling a sarcophagus in size and structure.

Careful not to draw attention to myself, I made my way across. Malakai followed, while Esther continued to examine the images on the walls.

“Looks like it stores its eggs somewhere, and this is as good a place as any.” Just as I spoke the last word, I rested my hand on the altar. Within seconds, the phoenix’s cry echoed throughout the chamber, a hollow sound following as it dashed towards us. It moved faster than I could keep up – before I knew it, I’d been thrown on my back, the phoenix’s talons digging into my ribs, its eyes holding my gaze.


I held my hand out to stop Malakai, eyes never leaving the phoenix. I addressed the bird, “I’m sorry – please – I didn’t mean to…”

It pressed its forehead to mine and the next thing I knew, I was back in the dark room with the mirror floors. But I’d broken it – hadn’t I? On the other side, the darker, fey-like version of myself stared back at me.

“It repaired itself.” She gestured to the cracked glass. “Or tried to. Somewhere, deep down, you’re still reluctant to accept me completely.”

“If I break it again?”

“It’ll fix itself again.” This time it wasn’t my doppelganger who responded, but a different voice. It had a musical lilt to it – like birdsong. Was that the phoenix? “Your human half cannot touch an egg without being consumed by it – the flames will kill you. That’s why I stopped you.”

“How do I free you?” She met my hand with hers against the glass, her eyes reflecting the fear bubbling inside me.

“Same as before – but you were afraid last time, reluctant. Accept me, embrace me, and we’ll be fine.”


And we continue moving forward! Here’s hoping the end is nigh – working on this will make it difficult to keep up with my NaNo project. Maybe I’ll take a break from Emma and Malakai after next week – who knows? We’ll see how I feel come next Friday.

Remember to check out the other entries on Saturday and vote for your favorite! If it strikes your fancy, give the contest a shot! Flash fiction is an awesome way to jump start the writing process if you’re struggling with your NaNoWriMo project.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on


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