Saturday, March 15, 2014

Prompt: Vultures soaring have beautiful wings, fantasy version

Teksal watched the bok-sikahm soaring high above and thought it was really quite beautiful up there. The raptor’s eight-foot black wings were highlighted by a white “window” near the tips, which were outlined in bright blue against the lavender sky.

Her right thigh spasmed, and she shifted her hip slightly to relieve the pressure of the tension where the heavy rocks had fallen on top of her shattered lower leg. She stilled when the bok-sikahm turned its head with uncanny precision. With its deeply curved beak thrown into profile, it once again looked like the death-on-the-wing she had spent the last six hours trying to avoid.

After a long moment, the bok-sikahm flapped its wings twice and resumed its lazy circle in the afternoon thermal. Teksal had to remain conscious to keep her spell in place to hide her body and the scent of her blood. Night would fall in another five hours. She would be safe, then, from the bok-sikahm’s attention, but other predators would be emerging in the dark. Could she remain conscious until Jospul came for her?

Her head dropped forward, jerking her back into awareness. She moved her fingers in the dirt, tracing the sigils of her protective spell, and felt the wash of energy from the ground into the air around her. The bok-sikahm had drifted lower, head angling back and forth as it struggled to see they prey it must have sensed. It gave a frustrated cry and flapped its wings again, rising higher on the curve of hot afternoon air.

How long would it be until Jospul decided to come looking for her? How long would it take him to get hungry after night fell and realize she had not returned from hunting their supper? He had not yet taught her the healing spells she so desperately needed. And the pain drew so much energy, she couldn’t even pull enough from the earth to move the rocks that pinned her…

Note: The prompt is literal - I was watching a vulture flying and admiring how beautiful it was. I was inspired to do both a science fiction and fantasy "take" on the same scene. What do you think? Does one work better than the other? What do you like? Dislike? Comments always welcome!

Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle, Malachi

Time writing
25 minutes

March word count


  1. Writing report: (two days worth)
    Re-reading novel with spot edits: Ch5-9a yesterday, Ch10-13 today

    Time: ~40min yesterday, ~30min today

  2. Hmm. Both have a deceptively pleasant start; not quite sure if I like that or not! Fantasy version has extra little detail of the rocks on her leg, which helps set the scene faster. I feel like the fantasy version has more tension: for some reason, I'm more willing to believe a large vulture-like creature is a danger to a spell caster than to a xenoarchaeologist (or whatever she is). Although I really like the last line in the science-fiction version. The wondering about whether the fall would count as location change is a good reminder of the fallibility of technology, and sets up more tension for whatever is to come.