Thursday, May 30, 2013

Prompt: Restless flight over the hidden lake

Thanks to Alexandra Semushina for permission to use her beautiful artwork, "The Secret Lake"!

Chiri flew straight up into the darkening sky, her black hair and orange robes wrapped around her body and streamed below her outstretched arms. There was no science, no calculation to how high she could go. When she felt she was high enough, almost even with the surrounding peaks, she stopped, pulling her energy in to her center so that she hung suspended in the air, hair and fabric now floating up around her with their inertia. She looked out to the horizon and slowly spun around. There were a few birds flying high in lazy circles as the sun set. Smaller birds homing to roost in their hidden nests. The entire valley was her roost, the lake her nest. Her eyes followed the shoreline, seeking movement, company, prey. There was nothing.

With a wild scree, she folded in half and pushed her arms below her head, straightening into a dive that sped toward the mirrored surface like a flaming arrow. A body length above, she flipped sideways and flew straight over the water, orange trails splashing droplets in her wake.

She flew to the tallest tree and perched high over the water, feet dangling loosely against the broad branch as she braided the long strands of her hair before darkness claimed the valley for the night. Fingers swept through the pattern while sharp eyes kept watch across the valley. A family of turtles slid from a half-submerged log into the water, trailing bubbles down to the mud where they burrowed in to sleep. A young fish slapped the surface in the middle of the lake, attracting the notice of a tired hawk who rested with his last catch in a neighboring tree before returning the day’s final meal to his hungry chicks and mate.

Chiri sometimes slept in the trees, but she preferred the lake’s sheltering comfort. She stood and balanced on the branch, arms outstretched, looking up to the first gleaming stars and the slender new moon. Who had taught her to wish on the first star of the night? “I wish I may, I wish I might,” she whispered. But she would not speak her dreams aloud. They kept shelter in her silence.

With one last nod to the moon, Chiri dove down and this time flew straight into the water, barely a splash marking her passing. The gossamer fabric shed the water even as it passed through, pulling straight behind her without creating any drag to slow her down. She dove deep below the surface, into the crater in the middle of the lake. At the bottom she leveled out once more and floated to the ledge that concealed her nest. She breathed in the water and felt it stream through the delicate gills across the back of her neck. No light filtered down from the night sky, and with one last hopeful look, Chiri ducked under the ledge to wait for whatever the morning might bring.

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing:
20 minutes

May word count:


  1. Prompt: Restless flight over the hidden lake

    A dawn fog lay over the lake, like cloud poured into a bowl formed by the near vertical mountains surrounding it. Olati shook the dew off the front flap of her tent and pushed it aside, standing in the cool morning air. Rocco burst from his tent, showering her with the spray from his flap.

    Olati scowled and held a finger to her lips. Conditions were perfect, and she'd never forgive Rocco if cost her the sight of the ribbon dragon. They emerged from their high mountain roots rarely, except for moist and bright spring mornings when they would cavort in mating flights, dipping into and out of the over-lake fog.

    The last three mornings had dawned overcast, and the ribbon dragons would remain high in the mountains. But this morning was clear, and strings of white in a blue sky suggested it would stay so long enough for the dragons to fly.

    Rocco gasped, and she turned. They were there already. Perhaps the dragons, too, had despaired as morning after morning had rained out their display. They descended like a handful of streamers dropped from the mountain tops, reds and oranges and yellows, dragons the colour of flame. They wove about each other, now flitting up and down along the surface of the fog, as if it was the lake below.

    A deafening crack echoed through the valley, like a rock breaking. One dragon, orange, plummeted to the water, and the rest shot upwards. Olati found herself running, a knife pulled, aiming towards a vaguely sensed source of the crack. She had no idea of what the sound might be, or what she would do when she found whatever might be there; she was only filled with rage that someone, or something, would ruin the dragon's flight.

    Time writing: 20 minutes, awkward sleeping lap baby

    1. Very nice! I like the description of the dragons, the immediate sense of danger - and her headlong rush to their defense! Think of defending a dragon! Will they appreciate it? Or mistake her for part of the danger? Exciting!

  2. Nice atmosphere piece -- I get a good sense of the world around her, and an almost melancholy feel.