Sparkles and Hope

The shine in his eyes spoke of intensity born from new love, or old hate. “What has happened to you, Lamb?” She used to smile when he called her that. Now, she wanted to grab the word and ram it down his throat. “It was always you and me against this vermin-ridden world, my Lamb. When we met—”

“When we met, you promised to coat me with sparkles and fill me with hope,” she said. “I didn’t realize the sparkles would come from chains, or that the hope would seep into my bones through the holes you would stab into my flesh.” She watched her words skinning off pretense. Control was alien to his mask.

“You don’t know what you think you’re doing. You can’t win this game.” He took a step towards her.

She widened her stance and bared her teeth. “If you think this is a game, you should look again and try to figure out who the ignorant player might be. When we met, I said I was tired of being a slave to war and pain. I never meant that I wouldn’t fight for freedom.”

“Sit down, woman!”

The knife came out of nowhere. One moment, he was standing in front of her—lips puckered tightly and skin tinged with a sickly shade of rage—then blade and man rushed towards her, aiming for her womb.

Her body remembered. She placed one arm over the old scar, and used the other to smack him in the nose. “No,” she said, smacking him again when he tried to take another step. “No. You are done. Go.”

a wee note…

– Linked to The Twiglet #4 (“When we met”) and to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie #145.

“Painful”, by Natalia Drepina

Eagle Turned Sheep

The two men arrived silenced and half-broken, the same morning the world froze. Their quiet stank of rout, and she hated the sound of beaten souls. But not enough to miss the hateful cry of the eagle turned sheep.

She let them into her cabin, but ignored the way their cold bones leaned towards her fire. “Why are you here?” She already knew—the leader of their madness had turned tail, leaving them to feed on lies and snow. She just needed to make sure that they knew it too.

The younger man tried to hold her gaze and failed. “We’ve no place to go,” he said. “And… we’re hungry. I don’t know these lands. And the storm… Please, ma’am, you don’t have to help me. But my grandfather… he’s unwell.”

She watched the old man. They had been neighbors since before the cancer took her mother. She didn’t know his first name. But the blue chilling his eyes was burned into her forever memory the night he paid two teenagers to set fire to her garden. She could taste the smoke, hear screams ripping out of her throat, feel heat biting into the skin of her hands. Old anger twisted her gut. But she wasn’t a heartless beast. “I don’t have much—”

“What did I tell you?” the old man said to his grandson. “This kind of people—”

She continued talking as if his spew hadn’t envenomed the air. “But I have enough to get us through winter, if we are careful.”

“Just tell me what to do,” the young man said. “I’m strong. I know how to listen.”

Lips pursed, the old man walked to stand by her fire.

She let him. But when she saw him eying her rocking chair, she said, “No. Use one of those,” she pointed at a wooden crate, “or sit on the floor.”

Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
(Poetry and Flash Fiction with Magaly: Snow Birthed Tales).

snow-birthed-tale-cabin-in-the-snow-by-jenny-leslie“Snow Birthed Tales”, by Jenny Leslie
(find more of her stunning work on Instagram)