Category Archives: Flash Fiction
Short stories, micro-poetry and stories (from Twitter #FP #Friday Phrases and MicroPoetry.com, in 140-160 characters or less.)
Only the Great Ama could wield the Rain Maker mask. Only she could summon the rains giving life to a parched earth. Nera’s Great Ama had the power. Now, Nera’s Ama wielded the power of the mask. Someday, the power would be passed to Nera, as was custom, mother to daughter, down through the ages.
Nera stood by the window of her thatch and mud dwelling. She watched the steady fall of rain as the drops hit the clay, making patterns in the earth, where the water ran in rivulets.
Last season, Nera’s Great Ama, the village Spiritual Leader, died, just before the rains were due. After her death, not a drop of water fell. Nera’s Ama, had taken over as Spiritual leader. But, her inexperience led the villagers to blame her as the cause of the drought.
This season, before the planting time, Nera’s Ama, donned the Rain Maker mask,waiting for the waxing moon cycle, offering the gifts from the villagers and fragrant incense to the gods to save the village from the drought. Last moon cycle, the gods answered her prayers. The rain fell, soaking the parched earth, bringing it to life. But now, the rain continued to fall, with no sign of stopping.
Nera shifted, uncomfortable, as a chill wind blew through the thatch and mud walls. Everything was wet, including her clothes. She pulled at her collar as the fabric clung to her body in a damp embrace. Her teeth chattered as she walked to the stone fire pit hearth.
She knelt by the fire and extended her hands near the crackling flames. Nera felt the warmth slowly work its way from her fingertips into her hands. She listened to the sounds of the pater of rain as it hit the roof and the hiss of the fire as some drops made it past the thatched roof.
She edged closer to the fire, hoping the heat would dry the moisture that clung to her like a second skin. Nera still felt a sense of relief. At least she had not come down with the sickness that was ravaging her village. The children and the elders caught it first, but it was quickly spreading.
She moved back to the window. The gray sky continued to release the rain in torrents. Nera shook her head as she observed the crops in the field; stalks bent and broken, as the rain continued its endless assault. Ruined. The harvest for the second year in a row was not to be.
Tonight, during the waning moon phase, the Great Ama, would petition the gods for an end to the rains. Nera hoped it would work before the sickness claimed the whole village. Nera prayed that the gods would be merciful.
In her heart, she was terrified, for one day she, too, would become the Great Ama and wield the power of the Rain Maker mask.
Fireworks burst overhead, showering a cascade of glittering green embers. Dev cringed at the sharp report, so like a shotgun blast. Turning from the display, hand shaking, he raked fingers through spiky raven hair. Sparks faded, leaving behind a plume of smoke and the acrid odor of sulfur. Dev tried to push the thought of his father away, but the memory clawed at his mind and pulled him a year into the past. Back to the last day he saw his father. To the morning of the hunting trip and the evening he stood in the driveway watching his father drive away.
In the driveway, Dev waited, muscles stiff with fatigue and clothes damp with evening dew. He stood there as the scarlet hue bled from the sky and indigo bloomed in its place. His ears roared with the buzzing drone of cicadas, drowning out his mother’s pleas to come inside. Dev continued his vigil as the stars winked on, one by one. He blinked back moisture that threatened to spill over his lashes. Staring intently down the pock-marked street, straining to see that weathered red pick-up truck in the gloom, Dev waited for headlights that would never come.
“Did you see that, boy? Right through the heart!”
Dev closed his eyes, trying to block the image of the deer bleeding out in the verdant forest clearing. His eyes flew open as he watched red flow into green.
Like Christmas, he thought.
He swallowed the sour bile that burned his throat as he watched the deer sigh a last shuddering breath. Dev felt his chest tighten as he stood witness in the silent clearing, watching the light fade from the deer’s soft, brown eyes. He turned away as his father stalked toward the deer, meaty fists gripping the pearl-handled hunting knife as the blade flashed signals in the sunlight.
Dev hissed in a breath as he stared wide-eyed at the fireworks shooting a sphere of red sparks. He closed his eyes and slowly recited the mathematical constant of Pi. As he neared the hundredth decimal place, his heart calmed and he glanced around the fairground. Resolute, he was determined to face the ghosts of his past.
I can do this.
He straightened his shoulders, shook his head, and returned his gaze to the sky.
It’s only fireworks…