This week, Chuck’s challenge was to pick a random song from where ever and write a story named after that song. I’ve got to admit that I cheated though. Because when I read the challenge, I knew exactly which song to use and what to write.
The song I’ve picked is called Silverflame and is by a now-defunct band called Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, who were HUGE in Denmark 15-18 years ago. The song was a massive hit, and a few years back inspiration struck when I heard it on the radio again. This week’s Flash Fiction is a teaser of what that song inspired.
I’ve embedded a live version of the song, taken from a reunion tour Dizzy Mizz Lizzy had a few years back.
By Trine Toft Schmidt
Sorrow ran, ran as fast as she’d never done before, weaved in and out of the crowds gathered at stalls, out side taverns and shops.
“Sorry.” She groaned at a man, who squawked indignantly when she stomped his foot, but continued her frantic escape down a side street, narrowed by stalls of vegetables. She kept a shoulder against the free wall and took the next right, her legs on fire, her feet numb from slapping the cobblestones hard.
The streets were increasingly empty, and at a left turn she risked a glance over her shoulder. No one seemed to follow her and she slowed down by a fraction, zig-zagged through the maze of the old town, until she exited an alley in front of a tall black stone wall. Brat had led her past here when they’d first entered the city, had told her about it too. The graveyard. Massive gates rose toward the sky in front of her and relief surged through her. They would never look for her here.
She darted across the street and pushed the gates enough apart for her to squeeze through. It clicked shut behind her, and exquisite silence settled over her as she crumbled to her knees, clutching the cool iron. With her eyes on the street she waited until her heart had slowed to a fast gallop, before she released the gates, pushed up from the damp ground and turned to survey the graveyard.
It was empty. Lush green grass dotted by small white circles and bisected by a narrow white path, gathered around a somber semi-circle of raised gray stone platforms, licked by sooty smoky swirls. Pyre-stones. For a second the memory of crackling fire and the smell of charred flesh buckled her knees. She shook her head, dislocating the unwanted memory.
Behind the pyre-stones a mammoth black stone dragon rose out of the ground, widespread wings so large that the tips touched the walls on either side. Brat had told her about him as well, he was the dragon of death. In the flat open landscape he was the only hiding place. With a last look to the street, she ran into his shadowy safety and skirted his stone body until she could duck under a wing and out behind him.
She slid to a rocking stop and her heart stopped dead in her chest. A few feet behind the wing the ground dropped away into nothing, leaving her teetering on a narrow ledge. Terrified, she sank to her knees and crawled along the extended wing, pebbles and rocks biting into the skin of her hands and knees. In front of her the hind legs of the dragon loomed tall.
The massive hind legs formed a cave under the dragon and she pushed herself into it, scrabbling so far in, that the light grew dusk-like and the air changed. The sound of her heart and breaths echoed back from the walls of stone muscle and claws. Below her the sea was like a whisper of a thousand voices, but she felt safe. Here they would never find her.
She settled against the cold stone, pulling her knees against her chest and buried her head against them. Coming to the city had been a mistake. No matter what Ferinea had said. She didn’t belong here. These people, fighting over every scrap of power and prestige were not her people.
Tears, frozen inside her by a long winter alone in the mountains, finally spilled down her cheeks, washing dirt and grit from her knees.
She wanted to be home on the prairie, she wanted to run the empty expanses, sprinting after the pack, howling against the moon with them, she wanted to hear Ferinea scream and shout cautions after her, wanted the small simple hut, wanted her old homespun woolen dresses, wanted the comfort of her scratchy old sleeping skins. She wanted it all back.
But she never would.
“Oh Feri.” She sobbed and shuddered. “I want to die.” She whispered it, smeared the words against her wet skin, and felt the stone weighing down her heart lift slightly.
“I want to die!” She said it out loud, heard the words roll back toward her from the darkness. The ledge. It was right out there, waiting for her. One single step, and she would be free of the voices, and the people, and the city, and she would be back with Ferinea. She pushed away from the dragon and crawled back toward the sliver of light from the cave mouth.
Looking over the edge, she imagined Ferinea was down there, in the endless roiling sea, waiting with her soft warm embrace. Sorrow smiled and put her hand to the dragon’s tail that spilled over the edge like a guide. Below, it’s spiked tip curled around a small withered tree. She stepped closer, her toes hugging the edge.
“What a waste.” A voice, around her, inside her, thundered. Shock pushed her forward and reflex curled her hand around a spine, clinging to it until her forward momentum stopped. Shaking hard, she pushed herself back up and looked around for the man.
There was no one. The ledge was empty beside her, but the voice still vibrated within and around her.
“So is this.” She answered it, spread her arms against the dragon, meaning the city behind it. “There is nothing for me here.” She paused. “Besides, I only expedite the inevitable. When they catch me, they will kill me.”
“Pah.” The voice dismissed her concerns off-handedly. “Of course they will not. You are Two, they are outraged and angry, but also jealous and wanton, and no matter what, they will not kill you.
“But how do you know? They call me an abomination, a disgrace, a..”
“Silver is meant to burn forever.” The dark voice laughed at her, mocked the legend.
“You don’t know.”
“I know many things, I’ve guarded this city for years beyond count.” The voice paused, hummed thoughtfully.“I know your name, you know.”
“The whole city know my name. I am Sorrow. It is not a hard thing to figure out.”
“No, little one. I know your true name.”
The air caught in her throat, the ground dropped away below her and the world spun out of control.