Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Entry #18

Entry #18
by Jim Stitzel


“Choose the lamp on the left, see visions of the future. Choose the one on the right, taste of true madness for a spell.” The crone’s words burned in the girl’s mind like festering sores. She held her hands over the lamps but felt no heat from them, despite the frigid temperature of the small chamber. No shadows, nothing to indicate they even sat before her, despite what her eyes told her.

What kind of choice was this? Madness versus prophecy? The choice itself was madness.

Still, she plunged her hand into the light of the left-hand lamp and felt warmth from it at last as it gripped her arm and invaded her body. But then it grew bitterly cold as it wrenched her mind with visions of an impossibly terrible future. She screamed with the pain and terror of it and knew that this was far worse.

Her last thought before she succumbed to the black madness was, I should have chosen the other lamp.

*****

Shuffling steps. A hunched figure in the shadows. The girl was half-curled in a fetal position, eyes wide and unseeing. She could have been dead, but for the tears streaming from her eyes and the trembling lower lip.

“Your problem, girl, is that you have no imagination, no ability to see the consequences of your choices. So very typical. Arrogance of youth.”
She spat and the rancid spittle slid down the girl’s cheek as the crone shuffled back into the shadows.

[Jim Stitzel is a data analyst who fancies himself an amateur SF&F author. He blogs about real-life things at Writer's Blog and has just recently started sharing his practice fiction in a more public place.]

15 comments:

Flood said...

Loved the non-traditional use of the lamps, here. Very compelling story.

Jer said...

Excellent story, Jim. Loved your entry. Jer

Bernita said...

The sort of thing that makes one want more.

Jim said...

Thanks for the comments so far! I really appreciate them.

One typo that I'm waiting on Jason to correct - fifth paragraph, the first after the break, should read "She could have been dead..." I had to retype the whole story off my Palm to my computer this morning due to technological difficulties (my Palm absolutely refused to sync with my computer), and I accidentally dropped a word in the process. That should hopefully clear up that bit of confusion.

Bethany K. Warner said...

Oh yeah... loved it. Very inventive.

Jeff said...

Very creative use of the lights. Well done. :)

Erik Ivan James said...

There is great potential for a longer story here.

Anna said...

Hey Big Bro. lol. I loved the story. I'd love to see the long verison if you ever get around to writing it.

Robin said...

Great story.... I would love to read more!

jamie ford said...

It was different. Different is good. I liked it.

Lyn said...

Jim, definitely develop this story. Matrix red pill blue pill choice - good call and first one to use that theme. I felt the fear but wonder - if she had imagination could she change the vision and thus the course of her future? That's the messsage I read - am I close? :-) Lyndon

sandra said...

You gave me the shivers. I wanted to curl up and hide too. I think the others are right about expanding this. You have a dozen different directions you could take this story. Best of luck with it.

Bhaswati said...

I liked the "different" approach with the lamps too. Overall, the story has an eerie effect and indeed has the seeds of a bigger story. Thanks for sharing :)

jason evans said...

Jim, loved the fantasy-ish genre here. Quite a full story for so few words. Great morality lesson also.

High marks for pacing, enjoyment, and storytelling.

Stuicide said...

She should have taken the red pill... I mean right lamp.

Very nice.