Yes. I missed posting last week, as needed a week off from this challenge! Not because it’s boring, but because it’s truly challenging me to think in different ways (and I kinda hit a small slump >.<). But, cracking on with the challenge – this week was, again, from the Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide To Creating Imaginative Fiction. Page 25, this week, as chosen by Jennifer Don. This was a doozy of a challenge. A picture prompt, nothing to really learn – bar writing from a prompt, I guess! This was just entirely different for me…a fun, short, flash fiction more than anything else, however. So – without further ado – the challenge (and prompt)!
If suddenly confronted by an image like this from Jugend magazine (c 1900), could you create a story about it? Write one right now.
You can see it’s hard, right? Well this is what I came up with – and think….1600s/1700s for the time in this. Or….Victiorian Britain. That works rather well!
He reclined, shoulders back, against a wavering tower of books, already searched through for answers. Not the smallest of men, Sir Benjamin Cherry rested his fists on his ample hips. Scurvy, his cockatoo and Scrumpy, his parrot fluttered down, landing on his shoulder and arm respectively. He was frowning, the birds quivering with fear. The reason – this unknown taxidermy-preserved creature, currently menacing him from the corner. It was almost like some kind of wild hybrid, of unbelievable proportions. The body was that of a fish, absurdly spotted. Set in some heavy stone, the creature also bore wings, as spotted as the body – matching those of a bat. Absurdly swollen, it looked about to burst, and he was pretty sure that was what was happening. Perhaps the heat had caused something to ferment inside…
Two days later, he still stood in the same place, though now joined with another three towering piles of books. Nothing had compared to what he had read. No creature, real or imagined, matched the unrealistic proportions of the one he had in front of him. He wandered closer, picking up one of the quills he’d been using to make notes. ‘This’ll make a good tool to check on it…I’m pretty sure, anyway. It had better not be Sir Thomas and Sir Barry poking fun at me again!’ He would be sure to wager against them next time they were sure to use. Turning to make sure both birds still remained safely tucked away behind bars, he drew in a deep breath before tentatively poking the flesh of the creature. He recoiled back.
There was no boom. No bang. No pop, to make his birds keel over of terror. Instead, he observed, through weary eyes…the creature losing air. A squeak, long, loud and shrill rang out. He pulled back, believing it to be some sort of incendiary device, until it moved again. It sagged, an empty sack on the ground, leaving behind an awful smell of rotting fish. He snorted, using a handkerchief tucked in his pocket and scented, to protect his sense of smell. He saw, pinned to the back of one of those wings, now loose from the fish flesh.
I truly hope you enjoyed the look at the world’s fast spotted flying fish.
Remember, take care of it! No sharp objects.
This fish can truly fly, but they are particularly vulnerable to damage.
I return in a fortnight.
Of course…Sir Benjamin had no option except to curse, loudly and fluidly, in a manner that did not suit his station as a noble sir.
Of course – this is why I dislike this challenge. It was rather limiting, in my opinion – however – why not join in? Come and have a go, and join me here next week for another challenge!