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Daily Deviations by thorns

Prose by curlscat

writing by chasingsunbeams77

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Submitted on
January 16, 2012
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3.7 KB


4,423 (1 today)
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There were sixteen tall windows. She'd counted them over and over when she was small, her chubby finger outstretched as she spun in tiny circles. Eight walls, sixteen windows, thirty-two black curtains—the arithmetic of her childhood.

"Eight window seats, Daddy. Eight buttons on each—sixty-four. I counted."

The fountain stood dry and dead-center in the middle of the black and white tiles. Eight sides, eight lion-mouth spouts. Sixteen limestone mermaids poised gracefully around the edge. Four thousand and ninety-six blue tiles. Five hundred and twelve white.

And two doors. Always the two doors, huge and solid and radiating a sense of looming disdain. The rough oak had bitten her hands and it bit them now, when she pressed her palms against it. The doors eased open like wings outstretching, coming to rest against stone doorstops.

Her boots clicked against the marble flooring as she advanced, each click reverberating through the silent room. A mute ghost of a man stood in each corner of the room—eight corners, eight men, eight long black robes, eight sharp-beaked masks. Thirty-two steps to the fountain. Eight feet up to the balcony.

"Good morning, father."

"Good morning, pet." He stood there, leaning leonine against the balcony's carved railing, his hair elegantly slicked back.

His hair had smelled like spice—like cinnamon and ginger— when he'd lifted her up onto his shoulders.

"You know what's happening, pet."


"Mmm…" His long fingers trailed gently over the railing's edge. "You know why it has to be this way."


"And you're ready to take your place."


"And you'll make me proud, won't you?"

The weight of the room fell squarely onto her throat, but she forced it back and stared straight into his cool steel eyes. "Yes."

"Where are you going, Daddy?"

"Just business, pet. I'll be back in the morning."

His gaze lingered thoughtfully on her for a moment before sweeping out to the eight black shadows that guarded each corner. "Bear witness."

In perfect unison, each eagle-faced shadow gave a low assent that thrummed in the air.

"Daddy, why are you bleeding?"

He'd run red-streaked fingers through his hair. "A little accident."

"Good," he murmured, and stared down at the fountain for a moment. Sixteen mermaids posed coquettishly beneath the open-mouthed lions. "They will come after you, darling."

"I know." She fought back the trembling that snuck up into her ribs. The lions seemed to snarl their stony disdain.

"The world will be yours then. Fight. Protect what's ours."

"Yes, father."

"Daddy, take me with you. Please."

"Not this time, pet."

"Protect what's ours," he repeated, voice rising. It echoed—ours, ours, ours—and when it faded, he spoke once more. "Make me proud."

She couldn't speak. She didn't need to.

Catlike, he leapt lightly onto the railing and grabbed the coil of rope he'd always kept ready. Without hesitation, he pulled it around his neck—and jumped.

"Don't leave me."

The crack shook her to her very marrow.

When the echoes died away, she dismissed the men in the eagle masks. They obeyed in absolute silence, taking the body with them—ghosts were fitting pallbearers.

The stone edge of the fountain was cool under her shaking fingers. "Tell me your secrets," she whispered. The world was hers now.
546 words.

I am absolutely drowning in unwritten backstory. There's so much more to this, but the word count limit snuck up on me. I may expand it...

This is based on a nightmare of mine. The octagonal room is still frighteningly vivid--the fountain, as well. The men in the black cloaks are from the dream, as well, but I added in the eagle-beak masks. Let's see... the father is also straight from my subconscious, but originally he was already hanged. Hard for a dead guy to do much talking, though. :P

I think (the key word being 'think') that it all makes sense. Does it?

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hierarchies White pick-up truck
red brick, ruby house
smoke and mirrors, now
gone to the dogs
gone to the crawlers below
the ditches of the sleepy south

Vietnam flashbacks of
meaty, greased palms
loaded dice
"I'm blind in my left eye."

Here, there is a magic show,
the scientists and mathematicians
make love.
Everyone else watches;
they can't figure it out.
Sex, that is.

The beautiful assistant
talks about the fifth grade
and the pills.
Everyone cries.

A week later, you could have heard
as they all went about their business.
The fifth grade went back
to where it came from:
tucked, with love, aw
lost kings we were all lost kings of the electric
highwire act, tripping like ghosts through boarded
windows and vacant lots that never held
any secret we wouldn’t tear apart
cables stretched over the place we used to live
drooping tightropes for worn-weary dancers
that pirouetted from house to house while
we just paced the streets of glass and concrete
our mothers worried on their rosaries
and poured their fears into party-line chats
father just poured another scotch and said
boys will be boys so let them have their fun
and us out in the night between the tracks
and the towers willing our years into
smoke and bottles and dolled up girls that jus
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-05-19
The suggester says The Fountain by ~disrhythmic is "brimming with backstory yet delightfully concise." ( Suggested by angelStained and Featured by thorns )
Vattani Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
A beautiful piece! Please leave a comment on one of my stories! Just click on my name!!!!
Meggie272 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is a lovely bit of suspense - a cinematic and dramatic atmosphere, but yet restrained and not over-the-top. Nicely done!
disrhythmic Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it. :heart:
Lacewinged-Beauty Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012   Writer

This is lovely. It makes sense.
disrhythmic Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2012
Thanks so much. <3
Lacewinged-Beauty Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012   Writer

No problem.
blueflippy Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012  Student Writer
"The weight of the room fell squarely onto her throat, but she forced it back and stared straight into his cool steel eyes."

oh my gosh. that line... *_* sheesh, dizzy... leave some talent for the rest of us!
disrhythmic Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012
Oh gosh, thank you so much. <3
EXHellfire Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, congratulations on the daily deviation, I didn't know such thing happened =0
disrhythmic Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012
Thanks! :D
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