Friday, October 20, 2017

Flash Fiction contest: Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly

oh my dear writer friends, you want want want to win this!

It's entirely true that I stole this ARC from the sleeping hand of MarcyKate Connolly's trusting agent, and slithered back to my office to read it posthaste.

And now my criminal spoils are yours for the winning!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus: flesh/fleshy is ok but flesh/flemish is not

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.

Contest opens: 6:37am Saturday 10/21/17

Contest closes: 9am Sunday 10/22/17

If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock

If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's
an .xls spread sheet here

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!

Oops! Too late, contest closed!


Jennifer R. Donohue said...

First we were weavers of wool, but we had set our sights beyond those earthly strands.

As time passed, we learned to weave clam spit to silk, coal to diamonds, straw to gold.

From mother to daughter, sometimes to a niece; the closest flesh doesn’t always hold the strongest talent.

We weave darkness to light, shadows to air, cold into warmth. The scientific and the magical woven together into something stronger, newer, taking us to the stars.

We weave hope into determination, starlight to energy, our exhaled breath into the water that sustains us.

We will weave our new home.

Craig F said...

First, we blamed something in the ship’s systems. 2k years of cold sleep.

We thought it was a failure of our flesh in the second generation. Their songs weren’t ours.

The kids of the third generation had shadows in their eyes. They were weavers of darkling songs.

Some wanted to move to yet another world. To do so meant leaving the children and their eldritch ways behind.

Others said that there was no guarantee that it would not be worse elsewhere.

The last group of us waited, they were our kids. In time we recognized the magic of their ways.

Linda Strader said...

Shadow patterns fell across the flesh of her arm as though the sun passed through a weaver’s loom. The magic only lasted a fleeting moment before darkness closed down the day.

What am I doing here? She wondered. I should’ve left long ago.

The door opened, the tall man entered.

“I see you’re still here,” he said, staring at a photo of her.

I see you’ve returned, she thought.

He picked up the photo. “I can’t handle this,” he said, turning it over. The funeral was just yesterday.

I can’t handle it either, she thought. Why am I still here?

Kregger said...

“A Oaxacan weaver exclaimed, ‘Dios de Los Muertos!’ as he sold me my wool poncho.

“The ancient Aztec’s eyes shadowed, and his flesh grayed until dead.

“I peeled pobrecito’s fingers one-by-one from my neck, dropping his whisper-dry husk to the dirt floor.

“I think he meant, ‘Día de Los Muertos,’ as the magic of the Celts’ All Hallows Eve loomed.”

Time immemorial passed as I searched the pubescent eyes of a white-cracker reaching for my trick-or-treat candy.

A shrouded moon waned as the wind died through leafless branches, whining a cantado su destino.

I grinned. “Why do you ask, darlin’?”

french sojourn said...

Harsh morning light washed the landscape, yet defiantly, the frost in the dark shadows remained.

He took a break and leaned on his blood-stained shovel. The ground was hard, the flesh softer. He exhaled…the stale odor of gin and nicotine drifted past a dew-covered web. The orb weaver magically disappeared into the shadows, as the man continued his digging.

So much toil on this godforsaken plot.

Sweat lined his brow as he tried to remember last night. He glanced down at the cloth-covered corpse, frowned, and continued digging.

All he remembered, was her yelling about… “Til’ death do us part.”

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Abandoned deep in the woods at sunset I hurried after him as quickly as I could. My little legs were too short to keep up. As darkness erased his shadow, I sobbed, why did you leave me here? What did I do wrong? Why me?
Alone, afraid, cold, and hungry I imagined myself withering to flesh and bones before I had a chance to grow up. Curled in a ball under some leaves, I cried and finally slept. As a weaver of dreams, the magic of sleep consoled me.
“Mommy, look what I found. A kitten.”

Unknown said...

Blind and deaf, trapped in her own head and the woods, Sarlona waited.

Finally, a shadow fell over her.


Of course, if the old spell-weaver answered, she couldn't hear him. But no reassuring hand alighted on her shoulder.

Every villain of every tale she'd ever been told surrounded her.

She pressed her back into the oak, while some dark creature surely appraised her flesh's tastiness.

If only Sylvanus had taught her some defensive magic. Too young, he said.

She reached out, hoping for dusty robes or a gnarled stave.

She got steel. Horns.

Sylvanus didn't have those.

Emalbom said...

A treacherous stomach rumble betrayed his hiding place. Sobbing, he bolted for the trees, but the dark magician’s long arms claimed him.

A braver soul would bellow in his face and turn the tables, but alone, he was small, slow, scared, and all he managed was a shriek before fleeing.

Chest tight, legs aflame, it wasn’t enough – the monster would take him. Tear off his flesh. Gnaw on his bones.

The bravest hero in the land scooped him up, her words a cocoon of safety. “Silly sausage – it’s only your shadow. Haven’t we a very scared boy today?”

Anonymous said...

At last I have succeeded!

Through dark magics have I stolen the powers, the advantages, that only the gods themselves had owned. Through major battles and minor scuffles have I conquered the known lands. Now I shall weave reality anew, reshape reality in mine own image.

Which kinda sucks for reality, I guess, 'cause I really am an asshole.

Steve Forti said...

In that moment, the magic was real.
Out of our clothes we scrambled.
Into her I plunged.
Out of two bodies, we became one flesh.
In love, I knew we were.
Out of her mouth came a different story.
Inconceivable, insincere, insane.

Out at the bar, stupidly alone.
In my drink he slipped a roofie.
Out cold, I was.
In the ER, cops and doctors whispered.
Out of this bed would walk two souls.
In awe, averse to reality.
Outside the clinic, tears had owned my cheeks.
In my mind, I never left his back seat.
Outraged, outsmarted, outcast.

Jennifer Delozier said...

Madame Feraline, weaver of black magic and darling of the royal court of Carkoon, waved her fleshy paws in the air and cast her spell. With the flick of her sleek tail, she disappeared into the alley’s dark shadows. The Duchess of Yowl hissed a warning from atop her dumpster throne, but it was too late. Sir Mouse-a-lot, the court’s gentle jester, was never heard from again.

JD Horn said...

You wanna talk plot holes? Here’s one for you: Tinkerbell, weaver of like a million magic spells, had to wait for Wendy to darn Peter’s shadow to his flesh. Clap if you believe that one, lost boy.

Karen D. said...

I shadowed the Weaver through the winding streets of the city. Light from the cold Hunter’s moon above guided my steps.

He turned in to a blind alley, and I foolishly ran after him. I slid to a halt when he spun around to face me.

The Weaver raised his hands, and I felt the white-hot burn of metal eating into my flesh. I howled in pain.

The Weaver knelt at my side. “What do you want from me?”

I struggled to catch my breath. Blood, dark as night, covered my chest. “Magic”, I whispered. “Black magic.”

Richelle Elberg said...

I rose today in Dar es Salaam. Yesterday, it was Newark.

(New Jersey has no idea the debt owed it. Dayweaver has a sense of humor.)

But Kilimanjaro was tough to summit; I’m tired. I trudge across this beehive of a city. Hot flesh chafes; lives shout and whisper in Swahili.

All lost if I do not reach him.

Shadows lengthen.

Finally! I see it, a sunbird, purple, blue, yellow. It leads me to him. In his magic loom, the Tapestry of Tomorrow is fully woven. Intricate. Resplendent.

“Ravi.” Dayweaver smiles. “You’re here.”

And so I will rise again tomorrow.

Lennon Faris said...

The Magi carried more than I.
Still, I arrived –albeit in shadows, the gates a soft opal in starlight. Gooseflesh prickled, bare feet frozen in awe.
“Avert your eyes, it helps,” the guard suggested. “Name?”
“I...” An old panic flurried, snowflakes in my blood. Alzeemer’s bites, she’d lament.
“Or a friend, perhaps?”
Aha! “Anna Samson. She–”
He clasped my shoulder. “No, William. Her Name.”
I stilled, remembering. Reading stories under blankets to her dolls, snitching raspberries together from the garden. Catching fireflies in the darkness.

“I’m Grandpappy. I love my granddaughter, Anna. She’ll come much later.”
He smiled. “Welcome.”

Megan V said...

I didn’t name the weaver, lest shadows it should send
To wrest away my memories
With threads that cannot mend

The dream-filled gossamers slipping ‘round my mind,
Cocooning in my closest thoughts
Where doctors cannot find

Answers to the questions I hear myself repeating
What day is it—
Inside my head, time is ever fleeting.

How did my flesh grow wrinkled; can it be undone?
Dare I dream I’ll die with dignity?
Know my husband from my son?

Magic isn’t real, they say, but named? It’s real enough
It’ll strip me down to infancy
And leave me in the buff.

Mike Hays said...

I stepped on Captain Everett Scott’s (1892-1918) grave to place the final "Wreaths Across America" wreath.

My foot sank.

Knee deep.

The October chill turned my skin to gooseflesh. Shadows stretched to my bike leaning against the iron gate.

Dangit! One last wreath and I’d have been gone. Granny’s D.A.R. project done. My community service finally completed almost like magic.

Leaning, I hooked the evergreen wreath over the headstone. Granny’s well-honed weaver skills held tight and I pulled free. With the wreath left dangling over old Everett, I sprinted for my bike.

Next community service, I’m walking dogs.

SarahJ said...

Blanket weaver Buttonweezer
Darted home to catch a creeper.
Magic switch,
Caught a snitch.
Shuffle, shout, a shadow seized her!

Unknown said...

The car isn't too hot. I left it parked in the shade of a tree, and the dancing shadow of the leaves held off the sun.

You've heard of my work, though you wouldn't recognize my face. I'm the weaver of words who wrote that exposé last year. The one about that actress, with the picture perfect plastic surgery face that barely has a shred of flesh left, who turned out to work for the CIA.

I turn the key in the ignition. There's a flash. A blast. Like a massive malfunction at a Las Vegas magic show.

Then darkness.

Barbara Lund said...

They deposited me in the shadow of the witch’s doorstep without pause.

“Tradition,” my father said.

“Fear,” my mother whispered.

I didn’t want to be a flesh-weaver, but by tradition and fear learned the magic as I was told.

Hands dipped in the blood of my first solo spell, some of the fear faded.

Healing the girl who had been my childhood friend ripped tradition to pieces.

Using the dark in me to show others the light, I thrived in the shadow of the witch and then took her place without pause.

Colin Smith said...

I saw the sign as we turned off the highway. Hard to miss. Had owned the skyline of Podunckville. We averaged about 100 miles a day before we found it, so we were glad we’d arrived at last.

“This is gonna be magic!” I said to the wife with barely concealed excitement.

Walked in and stared at the menu.

“Gimme the Plato’s Hit!” I said to the man at the grill.

“Right away, sir!”

I nearly gagged at the smell.

“What is this?”

“Plato’s Hit, sir. What you ordered.”

“Wait. This is Forti’s Waffle Shop, yes?”

The man grinned.

Michael Seese said...

Countless cameras flash as I step onto the red carpet and into the glare of scrutiny.

I spackle on the magic smile, and they buy the act. They can't see the shadow of shame consuming my flesh. Starstruck, they weave realities, imagining what it's like.


Some of us made deals with the devil.

“You can be a star, darling. I just need one thing...”

Others said “No deal.” But he took their soul anyway.

I escape into the lobby. And breathe. Surreptitiously eyeing the other Beautiful People, I wonder how many are thinking what I am.


Beth Carpenter said...

A shadow fell across the cedar tree loom. The weaver ignored him, her magic shuttle flying, bringing the fibers to life. Her loom held the rug’s bones; her weft yarns added the flesh.

He tapped the calendar. “Five days. Will it be ready?”

“It will.”

He examined the wool with a magnifying glass. “Perfect technique. Natural dyes.” He smiled. “Even you won’t be able to tell it from the original once it’s hung in a museum.”

Ah, but she would. It looked the same, smelled the same, but the corner of one diamond camouflaged her secret signature: a winking emoticon.

Barbara said...

Samhain, and a sickle moon.
A goat-headed man,
weaver of words,
murmurs magic over a virgin
atop a stone table.
He shivers with lust.

An owl alights in an ironwood--
Lilith, first wife of Adam,
mother of demons,
who walked away
from God and Eden,
refusing to be a wife.

She swoops,
enraged at tbe sacrifice
to Satan, not her.
Feathers blur into shadow,
transform into flesh,
canines rip skin,
and the goat-headed man bleeds out.

She licks her lips,
ripe with the red
of burgundy blood,
leaves the virgin
for another day,
and the sickle moon
datkens and wanes.

dsw said...

“Hortense, you simply must try it.”

“I can’t, Sylvia. You know how jealous Mortimer is. What if he has me shadowed?”

“Nonsense—I tell you, it’s magic. What good is money if you can’t enjoy it?”

Hortense bit her lip, imagining another man’s touch on her flesh.

“Ha!” chortled Sylvia. “You know you want to! It’s the only time we average-looking girls can have the attentions of a man like that.”

Hortense thought she’d just die during the massage, but Mortimer did, when he heard about it.


At least now she could write the appointments on her calendar.

Amy Johnson said...

Young girl dream weaver
Wannabe high achiever
Sleeps on a creaky cot
Wants her frozen waffles hot
Electric’s shut off
Hand-washing brother’s socks.
Shadows call
Forget it all
Life’s a joke
Take a toke
Take a jump
Off a wall
Along comes neighbor lady
Says that she’ll watch the baby
Won’t charge your mom a dime
Just get to school on time.
Now she got the magic key
Real generosity.
Night and day
Turns each F into an A.
Dream weaver’s going far
College on the radar
Gonna be a superstar
A superstar.

Kelli Mahan said...

Folded into the tiny space, her long legs cramped; the theater crowd was white noise, awaiting this final performance. Shadowy figures flitted back and forth, making last-minute adjustments on the darkened stage. Silent, preoccupied, they trundled props and costumes to the carriage waiting outside the stage door. The Great Moirai, “Weaver of Illusions,” moved not the slightest muscle beneath his pale, waxen flesh as he, too, waited in the darkness.

The curtain rose, revealing the glass tank and the magician, floating silently forever. Behind the theater, the carriage lurched into motion. Inside the costume trunk, Atropos, former magician’s assistant, smiled.

Marty Weiss said...

A Limerick For Today

Magic weaver of words is Miz Maddow
who does spook Mr. Trump like a shadow.
All her facts dare to mesh
so they gnaw at his flesh
on her cable TV evening news show.

Amy Schaefer said...

It took a long time to realize what was happening.

I trod our regular route through the park. Bought cheddar scones. Went cycling and to the movies, just like when she was alive.

I was more shadower than widower.

But when I was ready to try a new path, invisible claws gripped my flesh and spun me around. My mouth ordered black-coffee-no-sugars. I only wore old clothes.

As always.

She used to weave red-nailed fingers through my hair. “I curse you to be mine forever.”
“I accept.”

Words we chanted countless times – our call-and-response.

I guess love’s magic is real.

Steph Ellis said...

Hands moved in shadow play against old walls, the tale told by the story weaver becoming flesh in the soft lantern light. His magic held the children in its darkling palm as parents sat in the warm bar, enjoying their respite from family worries. Separate. Unaware.

Fingers danced to form the devilish favours he would gift to each child when they left, small dark hearts to stain their souls, tiny demons to whisper in their ears.

Eventually, the children were reclaimed and mellow parents offered their thanks for the entertainment. “It’s not over yet,” he whispered as they walked away.

John Davis Frain said...

Death in the Darkroom

Lieutenant Doyle gathered the suspects. Glared at the magician. “You can disappear, ma’am. Not a missing persons case. We’ve discovered a body.”

Doyle eyed a second person. “Chiropractor, right? I’ll straighten this one out. You can exit.”

He turned to the home-owner. “Umpire, you’re safe.”

One person remained.

“We matched the DNA to the darkroom rug. The rug you weaved of … flesh!”

“How did you know to look there?”

Doyle turned to his mystery assistant, Red Herring. “This gentleman foreshadowed it. In the title.”

The weaver sobbed. “She says you don’t even need a title.”

Karen McCoy said...

Fire season, easily dismissed.
Like earthquakes, it happens here.
We think we’re safe.
Angry wildfire spreads, a demon’s shadow.
Our green hills transform, Eden to Hades.
Vines weave rage with smoke.
Magic turned ash.
Vintage tainted.
Flesh burned.
We barely get out.
House unhealed.
But we must.
Rebuild, darling.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Before last year, we were strangers
The both of us in dark shadows of grief
The both of us broken
We fumbled, stumbled into each other’s arms

Before long, we healed
We became weavers of shared joys
The both of us shy
We crumbled, trembled inside each other’s flesh

Before the magic waned, we found
Our affections turning to need
The both of us scared
We ambled, tumbled deeper into each other’s lives

Before God and man, we stood
Love as our dowry, life as our pledge
The both of us said “I do”


Melanie Sue Bowles said...

His shadow danced along the rail of the hospital bed.

A daring nine year old climbing to the top of our backyard pine. He forgot to come down till Daddy got home.

Twenty-something, smooth as Boz Scaggs at every party. In his thirties and forties he forgot to leave that dirty lowdown behind. A weaver of delusions, he avoided our eyes and forgot we loved him.

In his fifties he forgot to eat, bathe, more. His flesh turned gray.

Sixty-two. Our entwined hands cradled my tears. “Don’t leave.” Through the merciful magic of memories, he didn’t forget how to laugh.

Unknown said...

The shadows grow longer each night.

They stole us from our beds in the blackened dusk, binding and breaking us without care. They, no longer human, obeyed Her orders for fresh meat and blood.

I look upon them and shudder at what I’m to become, for Her magic is of the flesh. The Death Weaver will kill the last of us soon, binding our bodies with Black Arts into puppets for Her pleasure.

She tells me each night of her favorite moments. Teresa’s face gapes from a Golem. “You’ll be mine soon.”

I’ll die in the cold and the dar

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Lily sings, her voice squeaky, small. Clouds cast shadows over the sand where she plays. She shivers.

Seabirds shriek. The wind wails. Lily looks up, out over the water, hopeful. But she is disappointed, as if by a failed magic trick, as if the rabbit did not reappear.

The sea splashes over her bruised flesh, gently, in apology. Farther out, waves toss the wreckage of Dream Weaver. Bodies drift, until they are tugged below.

Darkness comes. The tide leaves. Lily curls up on the empty beach, on the edge of the uninhabited island. She sings, her voice squeaky, smaller.

Brig said...

Lady Octavia Summers was known for two things. Being very not nice; and being ever so good at it.

She was also rich, which was why two young bucks stood before her.

Lord Flourish was so well turned out he was almost in again.
‘My lady. How handsome you are’.

In contrast, Mr. Townsend’s feature was his silence. He nodded. She nodded. He nodded. She nodded. When he went to nod again she rang a little bell, which thankfully did the trick.

She made her decision.

But alas, a daring shadow magic flesh-weaver’s wayward steamroller flattened her.

The villagers rejoiced.

Timothy Lowe said...

I wanted it clean, hard, sharp. A revenge that casts no shadow.

Like many, his daring shocked me. His jiggling flesh, his bloated smile, robe pulled aside like a magic show curtain.

But a spell is harder to cast than a shadow. For years, we averted our eyes, souls scarred by hate. Enthralled, enraptured, our magic inside.

My magic is growing. Now I’ve learned tricks. The lock. Two tumblers, a hairpin. So quick.

Now I’m inside, and nothing is different. You still like the bath. I am still lithe, thin as a shadow, softer than murder on black, muddy feet.

Fearless Reider said...

Twenty years she waited, worried, stoked fires and balanced books. From rosy-fingered dawn she toiled, sought his shadow o’er the wine-dark sea. Midnights she wove and wrecked her web till weaver and task became one.

“Penny for your thoughts,” he croons as whiskers chafe her care-worn cheek. His hands work that old black magic, plying her body like a well-strung bow. Flesh might forgive what the heart can’t.

“But first,” she snaps, “the dog needs walking.” She sinks into his favorite recliner. Wily, they called him. “And WHILE you’re up,” she snorts, “fetch my scotch.”

Donnaeve said...

Local paper runs same article each year, warning ‘bout strange happenings in the woods, going on for years. Under the shadows of tall oaks or pines, waiting on bones to tell them ‘bout unsolved murders. They ain’t yet. Bones? Them I don’t know ‘bout. Flesh? Yes.

At the sound of leaves crunching, I turn.

“Why, hello lil darlin’.”

“W-What’re you doing?”



“I should go back.”

She’s perfect.

“Wait. I’m a weaver.”

Eye alight, curious.


“Of magic.”

“Can I see?”

“Look up. What's that there?”



One a year. I ain’t so selfish, am I?

Just Jan said...

Joey was a greenhorn; a kid, really. Ed was older, but not necessarily wiser. She killed them slowly, while they struggled helplessly against her silken bonds.

She’s a master manipulator--a weaver of webs so complex most never catch on until it’s too late. And she’s coming for me.

“Darling,” she says, her voice dripping with saccharine, “come closer. I can’t see you.”

I remain in the shadows, poised to pray, until curiosity gets the best of her. She scuttles forward. I work my magic: One strike and her flesh is mine.

Wherever you are boys, this one’s for you.

Asha S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gayle said...

The ground shook and I dove for cover. When the world grew still, I abandoned the shadow of my protective outcropping.

I found my partner, almost entirely crushed by the remains of the avalanche. He gritted his teeth, but a whimper escaped. He glared at me.

This assignment was a lesson, our pairing a punishment. If I dared save him, revealing I was a weaver of magic, he could destroy me.

At my command, the rocks lifted away and his flesh and bone were forged anew.

“You trust me?”

I shrugged.

“You can.” He offered his hand.

I took it.

npholland said...

"Mama," her daughter's voice a sorrowful whisper, "Mama I need to go now. Please don't be sad," her hand against the mossy gravestone.

"I know I promised."

The shadow behind her barely visible as she felt the presence near.

"I'm sorry," she sobbed, "but if there's a chance. . ."

So wintery cold, the weaver's hand tightened against her flesh.

The little girl stood, so small, yet so determined.

He stepped closer, dark magic. Then tufts of black.

"See you soon," came the voice across the wind, "My darling."

Her curse: forever watch her daughter's failure to save her.

MLW said...

She emerges from dreams, shrugs off shadows and rises.

Guided by a vision, perfect in its nonexistence, the artist, weaver of the tapestry Life, picks up her golden brush—saturated with all the colors of light—and paints a line across the canvas of night.

Above it, she layers illumination, a pastel backdrop for abstract terrain fleshed out in earthen hues. Upon her palette, she blends magic from which streak rainbows. Blues run in rivers and pool in lakes.

She toils. Her brush runs dry. Darkness falls; all colors swirl into black.

Time is come to dream the vision anew.

katie said...

We avert our eyes; she practices her magic in our backyard. One morning I find a waxy lump of burned flesh on the patio. The hydrangeas are an unnatural blue I've never seen and under them is a shadow shaped like a four legged creature. We don't dare say anything and I blame Hank, who seems to be under some sort of spell. I would confront her myself but every time I think what to say I end up staring into the fireplace, imagining the hair on my arms burning. We must keep the will secret, long as we can.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

The whitehorse-laden sea dashed against the rocks and salt spray soaked the tasteful princess dress I wore. A metal shackle around my ankle bound me in place.

My brother and I had been hungry. The queen, skillful weaver of magic, had been unexpectedly kind, adopting us, clothing us, serving food that plumped and sweetened our flesh.

Along the shoreline, a man appeared.

“Hansel. Help me. Hurry!”

He reached his hand to help the shadow behind him. The princess? But she had been sacrificed, arranged by the king, devoured by Cetus.

Had she not?

RKeelan said...

The shadow weaver stands alone after the battle.

None but I dare touch her. She threatens to ensorcell me.

I laugh. Magic isn’t real. I treat her kindly, though.

Every night I dream of her flesh, but that’s not magic.

She has a son, hidden among the slaves we took. I was a father, once—I can tell.

Her son comes to live with us. They remind me of my own family.

The men say I'm bewitched.

I rebuke them for superstition.

They build a pyre.

I draw my sword.

The shadow weaver and I stand alone after the battle.

Sherin Nicole said...

“Flesh forms a prison. Bones call to the reapers.”

“What of blood?” the Darkness asked, fading to grey in eagerness.

I dared not breathe.

“Blood is mercurial, but the threads of reality beneath the fingertips of weavers is a magic neither dark nor light.”

The unspoken hung in the black. The Darkness craved infinite unseen mornings. Baited and hooked, it stitched itself to my heels. Darkness became shadow.

So close.

“We cannot go on eight legs,” I whispered. Breathless.

“Sixteen,” it countered but obliged.

The fiber of my being unraveled; a familiar ache. I stood rewoven. Woman again. Arachne again.

Brigid said...

Hand a weaver rifle and cap, and some black magic makes him a soldier.

He had kneeled in these woods before. Same thin jacket, threadbare hopes. Another man stood over him with bayonet and hesitated. Today John stood amidst the skulls of last year’s dead, flames crackling in fleshless sockets. The man who spared him was one.

Again the wounded unraveled in the shadows. A man in dusty broadcloth kneeled before him. For all John knew the weight of his country rested on his bayonet, but his heart was too heavy to thrust.

He would darn his soul another day.

Unknown said...


How are you? I’m okay. I spent the day cleaning cobwebs—pushing back the shadows, mom always said. I found your baby doll—such a darling find—real eyelashes, porcelain softer than flesh. I don’t believe in magic, but I stood it on the bedside table and slept all night without dreaming.

I want you to have it, but I can only send letters, and you never visit. Are you still angry? You know how hard it is to tell the difference between a weaver and a recluse. Surely the scars have faded by now. Come soon.


RosannaM said...

Abby robotically dispenses vaccines from prefilled syringes.
“Sign here,” boom, flesh pierced, done. On your way.

The procession of sheeple weave relentlessly in line, believing that magically this serum will safekeep them from influenza. As if.

A second pile of prefilled syringes for those rebelling against the mandate.
A wink, Abby’s cue.

A huge shadow crosses her door. An officer of the law stares and Abby’s danger radar blares.

He signs the pseudo informed consent form, and bares his arm. Hand hovering over the vaccine, Abby catches the wink at the last second and shoots sterile saline into his bicep.

Writer Geek Esq said...

The weaver bowed. “You summoned me, Sire?”

“All with a shadow must lose its shape,” said the King. “And so all flesh must die. Not me!”

“You wish to keep your shape? Wish to trap your shadow in the Norn threads? Say yes thrice, and I shall.”

“Yes. Yes. Yes!”

“Then stand ‘twixt torch and magic loom, and move ye not.”

The king stood and the weaver worked, fixing the darkness of the royal shadow in the weft.

“I am done,” said the weaver, “as are ye. Life's shape must ever change, but without a shadow, yours cannot.”

Mallory Love said...

We called him Weaver because his web of lies had more tangles than Rapunzel’s hair. We didn’t know his real name, only his stories which consisted of an old lover who broke his heart and stole his son.

“That boy is my flesh,” he’d say nightly over a pint. Dark shadows resided under his glassy eyes. We were apt to feel sorry for him until he started talking nonsense about helping the queen magically spin straw into gold, them bonding over being outcasts.

Someone jokingly suggested he build a new son out of enchanted wood. Never saw him after that.

Lucy Crowe said...

Shadowy elm-branch arms were capering across the floorboards when Tia went to bed, sick and sore inside.
Such lies he’d told! Boozy breath stinking like limburger. Tia hadn’t called 911 even when he passed out cold.
Ugh! Orphaned at the father-daughter dance!
Everyone had laughed.
Overhead, her magic dreamcatcher. Grandma Weaver had strung it, said Tia would need it.
If only dreams were real.
Beneath the bed, a darkling beetle’s tic-tic - like her father’s heart when he held her - made her flesh crawl into goosepimples.
Daddy’s snoring paused, hiccupped.
Tia dreamed of belladonna’s soporific effects.
The tic-tic ceased.

Kate Outhwaite said...

At awkward, inconvenient times (a meeting, a phone call, an interview)the time-weaver slips from my mental shadows and, with vile magic, sucks me back.

A cold, wet bus stop; a family friend with a warm, dry car.

“How’s school?” “Are there any boys you like?”

A fleshy hand rests on my thigh, a moment too long and a fraction too high to mistake intent.

A frozen heartbeat, a change of breathing and a single word, “Out.”

A bullet dodged, I walk the long way home.

I never tell.

But, in awkward, inconvenient times, I choose the darker path.

Marie McKay said...

The small, dark outline appears once more on the wall at our bedside; in silhouette, twisted bones weave reflections of a brutal time.
'Bad dream, Little One?' we ask.
His head nods the ghost of a yes.
We sooth with song and hushes so he may rest.
Whatever magic brings him here, will keep us here. Compelled; we remain to warm this cold, cruel house; unable to abandon this shadow child we found here and call our own, despite the contradiction of our blood and flesh

Ly Kesse said...

Portos, the weaver of magic, trapped the shadow of Dartagnan upon the wall. Portos, rubbed his hands and cackled to himself. He would upend D, finally besting him. None of this all for one crap, he giggled. Nevermore.

But Dartagnan in the flesh bridled, knowing Portos was playing games with his spirit. He pulled out his sword and sliced through the candle, releasing his shadow before his spirit could be trapped for good.

Hah! Take that Portos, thought D, knowing that scissors cut paper, which covered rock. Swords were scissors, sort of.

CynthiaMc said...

"Don't trust a redcoat, Sallie," Papa said.

"James is different, Papa."

They eloped in shadow.

DAR lineage - check.

"Flesh is weak," James said...again. "You'd kill me if you could get away with it."

"Drat modern forensics," Sallie said.

Her tapestry was a hit at Yorktown re-enactment.

"She is quite the weaver," DAR President gushed.

"Magical," said James, resplendent in his redcoat. "We could walk right into it."

Just for fun, they did - right into the Battle of Yorktown.

"You said it wouldn't work again," James said.

"I didn't think it would."

James reached for his bayonet.

Sallie gave it to him.

Leilani said...

'Memo lost,' bah.

"Eye of newt, flesh of frog, dragon's gizzard found in smog: the swirling oily Fog of Death."

It's death all right - to servitude!
I shatter rubies, swallow pearls, chain twisted lizards by my door. They see through darkest subterfuge. I spell a man to make me glass (my cat is black, of course) and shovel all the naked weft of words into the flame he blows.
A shadow grows inside the sun, transmuting rage to gold.


I smash the globes and gather rhymes. This time, I choose.


NAME: Euterpe.

Unknown said...

“Daddy needs his magic pills.”

Those words pricked at my flesh. I opened my mouth but before words formed his eyes dared me to choose his fist over the shadows of the dark. Not wanting to aggravate the devil, I grabbed my coat.

With fear wrapped around me I weaved in between the helpless and hopeless. Just as my foot touched Jackson’s corner, a large hand seized me from behind. Before I could put up a fight, he had me on the ground.

When my attacker finished, he pulled out a gun and finished a life giving impossible odds.