FLASH FICTION: THE ROCK

Hello everyone,

I’ve recently discovered the work of Chuck Wendig, who is an AWESOME horror writer, having produced such works as Double Dead and other wonders. Recently, he’s blogged about an awesome tool which generates a random Dungeons & Dragons character profile and challenged his followers to write a piece of flash fiction based off whatever character roll they get! Cool or what?

So, I thought I’d give it a go for a bit of fun; here was my roll:

ROMANTIC HALFLING SORCERER FROM AN ISLAND THAT CAN’T BE REACHED BY BOAT WHO NO LONGER DREAMS

Which is pretty challenging! Lots to get in but I gave it my best shot. I hope you enjoy the below story The Rock. Let me know your feedback in the comments as always!

THE ROCK

Norbert had everything he needed here.

Some would say it was a strange place to live: a floating island of rock chained to a nearby mountain, like some kind of overgrown balloon, but once you got used to the view, things were quite the same as living down below. He had his library of spell tomes (each book attached to the shelf by a little chain), his study, his hearth, his mead.

The only thing he didn’t have was company. 

Norbert had never been popular. Partly because he stood three feet tall (earning him the nickname ‘The Halfling’) and partly because he was an irascible man. ‘Little Man Syndrome’ was a phrase that got thrown about a lot around him. But whereas Norbert could not exactly throw his weight around, he could throw fireballs. He’d disintegrated his first person aged 18, and after that, nobody had really messed with Norbert.

Of course, no one had made friends with him either.

This was a problem, because Norbert was not only of the angry disposition but also of the romantic. The two often go hand in hand, one passion fuels another like two fires urging each other on to greater destruction. He wasn’t sure how he’d arrived at this romantic inclination: perhaps it was all the old chivalrous stories his mother used to read him, courtly love and all that (oh yes, he was very good at loving from afar) and the epic love stories, which invariably ended badly, but Norbert used to secretly re-write the endings in his head. It was this way he’d first discovered magic. It was as simple as re-writing a story, only when he created a ball of flame in his hand, he was re-writing the story of the world’s natural laws, not of two adoring lovers.

Of course, because life loved its little ironies, he had not yet found a magical way of making himself taller or more handsome. That illusion-craft eluded him. But he would. In time. That was the great advantage of The Rock. No one perturbed or interrupted his studies.

Nothing perturbed or interrupted his sleep either. Not even dreams. And that was funny in a peculiar sort of way.

Every day he woke and first thing practiced the manipulation of the mind’s eye, conjuring vivid shapes, demons, impossible creatures, revenants from the past and future, and sometimes even gorgeous holographic concubines. He never touched them – that felt like some kind of transgression – but he did observe as they played.

They were the kind of women who had been appearing in dreams to men for all time. Why did he have to create them consciously? Why did the dreams escape him now? He wasn’t sure when it’d began exactly.

Some days he walked to the very edge of The Rock and peered down from the floating precipice at the town below. He wondered what would happen if the magic that lifted the Rock failed and it plummeted, meteoric, squashing the town in a shockwave like that of Hiroshima.

Yes, Norbert had seen the a-bomb in the darkening glass of the future. Technology. Mechanisation. Industry. And then white light that made all matter dust.

After months of dreamless days Norbert felt like a ghost. He was pale and thin and shadows hung beneath his eyes like thunderheads forming beneath twin moons.

He went to his study, closed his eyes and cast the spell. He created the concubine, a glimmering vision of perfect circles.

He commanded the concubine as only he knew how.

She – it – planted a kiss on his lips.

That night, Norbert dreamt again, a sweating dream of lust and that made him hot between the thighs and in the heart.

But he woke to the sensation of falling.

***

Thanks very much for reading! It’s always a pleasure for you to drop by. You can follow me @josephwordsmith for more writerly and gaming shenanigans. And if you really enjoyed this story, why not give the competition a go yourself? It closes Friday 09/09/2016

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