I signed up for a weekly newsletter through tumblr, at yeahwrite, and I realized that I was not only two whole weeks behind, but I was about to be three.
So I started at week two, and this was what I came up with! The prompt was “Write a story that takes place at night” so here goes nothing!
Necromancing the Stone
If Maria were to read further into the curse, she’d find it rather funny. Well, not exactly funny, but ironic. And anger-inducing enough to lead to hysterical laughter followed by quite a bit of crying.
As it was, she buried all thoughts about the curse and pulled out her mother’s runestones. One by one she threw them into the air and punted them across the river. She wasn’t angry. She certainly wasn’t glad that the curse meant that only she and her senile grandmother were awake-and would remain so until vengeance, or justice was wrought.
“Very mature, Mar.” Maria almost didn’t want to turn around. She knew who it was, she knew exactly what would happen if she turned around. She’d get caught in a game of riddle-me-this until either she won or Swarna got bored of her and was ready to help. Their voice washed over Maria, though, soothing her, making her want to turn around, fall at the feet of her friend. It had been too long since she’d seen Swarna. She was clearly at risk of falling for the magic in their voice.
She really wasn’t in the mood for riddles, but she steeled herself, warding against the magic even as she turned to face the only friend she had left in this town. And the only feasible reason she’d be huddled beneath a bridge chucking runestones across a river at ten pm on a school night. Not that school mattered much at the moment. Everyone aside from supernatural creatures was caught in a seemingly endless sleep, and Maria was the only one who could save the world. Too bad she didn’t want to.
“You’re up early.” She commented. It was true. She’d expected to wait for Swarna for at least another hour or so. Swarna was a heavy sleeper, especially for a troll.
“Everyone else seems to be sleeping enough for two of me.” They sighed, stepping further beneath the bridge and coming to life beneath the florescent lights of the bridge. Their skin was a deep, rich brown, and their eyes sparkled with the same gold laced through their braided hair. If it weren’t for the fact that she knew better, Maria might have been ridiculously attracted to her friend. But, given the fact that the Fairie blood that ran in her family had decided to surface in her, and the golden piercings in Swarna’s lip and ears were actually gilded iron, she didn’t quite want to risk the third-degree burns, or the disgust that would fill her friend’s face at the prospect of becoming romantically involved with a Fairie.
Too bad, though.
She shook the magic out of her ears and narrowed her eyes in warning at Swarna, who merely shrugged their shoulders and walked over to the bank of the river before laying down in the rock. After a moment, they patted the ground next to them, indicating that if Maria wanted their help, she was going to need to play along, at least a little bit.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Swarna asked quietly, their moonlit eyes looking at Maria with concern. She looked away, but sat down nonetheless, mimicking Swarna’s shrug from earlier.
“If I knew, I’m sure that I would. I was hoping you could tell me if you’ve felt any-disturbances in town lately.”
“Like the entire town dropping into a cursed sleep, aside from me, you, and your grandmother?”
“And the Park.” Maria mumbled, hating to mention the fairies, but knowing that Swarna wouldn’t.
“And the Park.” Swarna conceded, exhaling through their nose. “No, I haven’t. Your house is colder than usual, but only by a bit.”
“You went to my house?” Maria asked, finally looking down at her companion.
“I knew you’d want to see me, and I thought I might be able to catch you before you had to come down to this slophole.” There wasn’t an inch of remorse in Swarna’s voice, but there was a secret in there. They weren’t telling Maria the entire truth. But, knowing Swarna, that could just mean that they tried to reach Maria’s house before sundown, which would have been incredibly dangerous, and likely to illicit one of Maria’s “You could have died!” speeches, which were the main reason that she and Swarna had agreed to minimize contact. Maria was always on the verge of cardiac arrest, because Swarna could be dead if they showed up more than five minutes late, and Swarna didn’t quite know how to deal with someone caring about their well-being.
Especially when that someone had Fairie blood.
It was such a small part of Maria’s life, but when Swarna had seen her leaking ichor from a paper cut instead of blood, she hadn’t talked to Maria for nearly a week, going so far as to turn around and walk the opposite direction whenever they crossed paths.
Maria said nothing, throwing the last runestone across the river, satisfied when she didn’t hear a splash. Runestones were difficult to make, and at least this way, if she couldn’t find one, she could just cast Attract and cast them again.
“Maria.” Swarna’s voice turned her name into a spell of it’s own, and she turned, transfixed, her heart missing beat after beat. “You know what the curse is. You grew up with stories about it. You know what you have to do.”
Like that, the spell was broken. Maria rushed to her feet, stepping into the river and wading across where it was most shallow, like she’d done a thousand times before. She blocked out Swarna’s words of caution, illuminating her eyes with a whispered spell, and looking for the runestones at the rocky bank of the opposite river. She heard Swarna splashing through the water behind her and felt her back tense up against her will. She hated being on guard around Swarna, but….
“How many are there?” They asked quietly.
“Four.” She replied, picking up the first two, where they’d landed closest together.
“I’m sorry I brought it up,” Swarna began, as she walked over, pressing another stone into Maria’s palm, before bending over and rescuing the last one from where Maria was about to step on it. They covered the runestones with their ringless hand, almost holding Maria’s hand, and her heartbeat was going too quickly again. They waited for Maria to return their gaze before letting go. Maria took the opportunity to swallow a few times and read the runestones that now sat in her palm.
“It’s not your fault.” She said at last. “I know I have to but-“
“It’s okay to be scared, Maria.” When they received no response, Swarna directed their gaze down to Maria’s palm as well, deftly reading the stones, and understanding their message even as Maria translated it.
“I’ll have to do it anyway. The stones are telling me to talk to her.” Swarna pressed their hand into her shoulder. “I have to summon my mother’s ghost.”
Do I continue or do I stop there for now? It’s just a snippet of the story, but I think it will work for what the prompt asked.
The next one won’t be fantasy. I have to make myself branch out.
Dear Lord, I’m Screwed.