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Eurydice, by AV Laidlaw

I followed her into death. I followed the rocky pathways into Hades where the mist twisted into the shades of the dead watching me from the gloom in silence. But I wanted more than silence. I wanted to sing and play music again, my voice echoing through our house as she closed her eyes and smiled. Music was life to me and without it our house had become as lifeless as her tomb.

She stood on the river bank, under a thorny tree with branches like dark bones, and did not recognise me. The old oracle had warned me of this – that the dead have no memories of the living just as the living only have memories of the dead. When I put my hand on hers, it felt as cold as it had when I found her with two red marks of a viper bite on her ankle. “We’ll have music again,” I said and despite the oracle’s warning I believe she smiled.

I unhitched the rope from my belt and knotted it around her wrist. Then I tugged it gently and led her back along the paths. The oracle had also warned me not to glance back at her as we fled. So I looked ahead and felt for the tightness of the rope and listened for her faint footsteps on the dust as we climbed towards the shaft of sunlight that pierced the darkness.

“We will have music.”

As I stepped into the light, the rope snapped taut. Without thinking, I turned and saw her in the shadows, her eyes wide as if now she was about to step back into the light, she finally recognised me. Then she faded back into darkness and I was alone. The rope dropped to the ground where it lay on the grass coiled like a snake. It was the third warning the oracle had told me, the one ignored as I hurried out of the temple. Desire would not lead us through death, only love.

Here at the entrance to the underworld, the birds did not sing.

Follow AV Laidlaw on Twitter: @AVLaidlaw

Summer Writing Fun

Luminous Creatures is back from a long but productive hiatus. Beth and Emily had a great writing meeting today to plan our next few months of LCP activity. We discussed the upcoming release of Emily’s new fantasy book, The Gantean, our plans for a summer flash fiction contest, and the impossible evil of pants.

Afterwards we went shopping for costumes for a book trailer for The Velocipede Races special edition and found a perfect racing jacket and gauntlets, not to mention black lace gauntlettes!

Stay tuned for updates on all fronts. The Summer of Super Short Stories ’15 will commence the first week of July. We have a very unique theme planned to take us through eight weeks of fabulous flash fiction.

Pre-Order Five Hundred Words of Magic!

Five-Hundred-Words-of-Magic-Kindle

You can now pre-order the anthology we created from the winning stories of Winter of Whimsy and Wyrdness on Amazon. This is the kindle edition, which will be released January 3rd.

We will be releasing the book for iBooks and Nooks starting January 3rd as well. Stay tuned for more information.

All our talented winners will also receive their very own special edition print version, coming later in January.

Winter of Whimsy and Wyrdness Week Seven

It’s our last week of magic. Today we have an evocative image by Christian Miller to inspire your stories. Remember, stories considered for the anthology will have some element or exploration of magic in them and be 500 words or less. Read the complete contest rules here. In honor of this being our final week of the contest, we are extending the deadline for story submissions to 7 am Sunday, 12/21, the beginning of the winter solstice. Submit your stories in the reply section of this post and enjoy! We highly recommend clicking on the picture below to see it in better resolution.

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WWW Week Six Winners

Thanks to all of you who took time from your busy weekends to post, taking advantage of our special alert! Our photo prompt this week showed a sculpture by Colorado artist Jerry Wingren. Born in Alaska with Scandinavian heritage (well spotted, Mark A. King!), Wingren creates sculptures that play with the forms of native Alaskan peoples’ traditional totem poles. In their element his works soar through skies, float nebulously above mountains, or stand like monoliths against passing time. We were eager to see what you made of this one. See more of Wingren’s work here.

Honorable Mention: Their Guardian Generals by Catherine Connolly

After our first read, both of us Luminous Creatures said to each other: “What was that one about?” We were flummoxed until we read it several times and this story’s complexities began to reveal themselves. Catherine created a richly-layered world based on an arcane mythology with an undercurrent of anxiety juxtaposed with laughter. We wanted to know more. This story interacted with our imaginations in loose and surprising ways—evoking images of China’s Terracotta Army and Korean shamanism, as well as harkening the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Anthology Winners:

Picture This by Holly Geely

Holly Geely opened with an interest-picquéing “No,” and we were hooked. In just a few well-chosen phrases she communicated a clearly drawn world with a full history. Taking a looser interpretation of the idea of magic, Holly won us over by framing it in real world terms. Every writer can probably relate to the poignant fancies of imagination in this story. We admired Holly’s vivid, taut writing.

Elle by Mark A. King

Scandinavian legend inspired Mark A. King’s image-rich story with a well-drawn and very dodgy main character. Color dots his narrative landscape with the “bruised aubergine sky,” hair like “strands of woven gold,” and “eyes more blue and pure than the glacial fjords.” Details of place made a believable but magical world: the frigid wasteland of Alaska, the stars a “bed of a million shiny nails.” And we couldn’t help but feel that shallow Clive came to a fitting end.

World is the World by Voima Oy

Voima Oy brings us to an entirely different world peopled by tall, beautiful, zen-like creatures. In this paradise of soft colors—pinks and purples—”orchids grow out of the snowfields,” and blossoms open “as pink as the sunlit clouds.” With great description and broad imagination, Voima evoked the shamanism of worlds old and new that was reflected in the final conclusion when our two leads were united and fused with the consciousness of the flowers.

Congratulations!

 

Winter of Whimsy and Wyrdness Week Five

This week’s prompt is a photo taken by Pablo Alonso Rovira, used by LCP courtesy of Lizette Bumbesti. For our purposes, it is called “The Fall.”

Let your imagination fall and produce a story of 500 words or less, submitted into the reply section of this post by Saturday at 6 pm PST. Remember, all stories considered for the contest anthology will contain a supernatural or magical element. See complete contest rules here.

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