Friday, December 6, 2013

Prompt: Cuckoo Clock Forest

Thanks to Gabriel Rano for permission to use her whimsical "cuckoo clock"!

It was time. Dabro walked into the thick pool, color swirling around his legs, too thick even to splash. He twirled his hands in the water, enjoying the designs. No need to rush. Now came the part he did not like. Submersion. He’d found it easiest to squat down and lean backwards into the pool, until it coated his neck, poured over his shoulders, dragged at his hair. He looked up at the starless sky and took a deep breath, gently blowing it out as he sank down. After all this time, he kept his eyes open.

He always emerged in the treetops, but never in the same place. The top of the canopy was thick and viscous like the pool itself. But the colors swirled and morphed into more detail as he climbed down the branches, so by the time he reached the trunks, he could see and feel every inch of the delicate green leaves and the rough bark of the gnarled tree trunks.

Over the years, he had run an extensive walkway of vines through the trees, under the crowns. The ground was…inconsistent. He was afraid to drop through it, too. What if he got too far away to get back home? The brook that flowed through the stream looked more like the pool than water, flashing silver in the filtered light. It wasn’t sunlight of course, how could it be? But it moved across the horizon and disappeared at night, just like home. The sky was as empty as his own.

It was time. The cuckoos were almost ready. Three had already bloomed while he was away, their fragile skins bursting open and peeling back to reveal the delicate clockface. They all kept the same time and faced the same directions. The twelve was at what Dabro thought of as three. He’d heard of a place where it would be pointing to seven, but he wasn’t sure he believed such ridiculous stories. Then again, consider where he was…

He walked along the broad, heavy vines, checking each cuckoo clock that had already bloomed. There was one seed pod still dangling low on its stem, and he made his way toward that tree. It had an old branch twisted into a comfortable loop, down low where the pod hung. Dabro hoped he’d be able to watch it open. He’d never seen a cuckoo clock bloom before.

Dogs in house

Time writing
30 minutes, interrupted

December word count

1 comment:

  1. Prompt: Cuckoo Clock Forest

    Jake stretched his legs and settled deeper into his sleeping roll.

    _Cuckoo! Cuckoo!_

    “What the hells?” He sat upright. It seemed the trees around him had erupted into a mass of mad, screaming birds. The forest went silent. Jake’s horse, apparently startled out of near-sleep as well, gave a plaintive whinny.

    Jake’s heartbeat continued to race as his breath slowed back to normal. Of course. The Cuckoo Clock Forest. He had heard of it, just never really thought about exactly what it would mean. Was this going to happen every hour, _all night_?

    At least it meant he must be getting close. Now he wished had not pushed on past dark; this place was clearly better traversed in the daylight. Although, as far as the oddities surrounding the Source of Magic went, hourly cuckoo-ing was probably among the mildest of the problems he would encounter. Why had he agreed to this trip again? Right. Save the world and all.

    Jake lay back down. He could get an hour of shut-eye at least. Earplugs. He mentally added that to his growing list of essential items for his next world-saving mission. Assuming, of course, this one was successful and there was still a world left to save.

    Time writing: ~20 mins