The Roar of the Crowd | 200-word story

This was inspired by the Olympics. The opening ceremony is tonight. 

swimming, challenge, flash fiction, competition, Olympics, summer

It’s the quiet before the storm.

Though it isn’t very quiet. There’s a blur of faces. The roar of the crowd filters back to where we wait in line.

I can hear the announcers, but can’t understand what they’re saying.

I hear our names. It’s time to enter the storm.

My competitors surround me, walking with me out onto the deck. The crowd is so large they’ve become the colored backdrop to the scene.

My mind begins to spin, but I shake it off. This is what I’ve been training for.

I take my place behind the block. I am ready. So is everyone else.

At the sound of the whistle, we take our places. At the buzzer, we dive. The roar disappears. A familiar quiet surrounds me.

I’m swimming faster than I ever have. I feel powerful. I know down to my soul that I have never swum better. The turn comes, my world turns upside down then rights itself.

I use every last bit of my energy. I glide toward the wall. Smooth and fast.

My hand slams against the wall. The race is over. I gulp down a big breath.

I look up at the board.

4th.

 

 

Hello August – a little update

August update

Hello, August and everyone!

Wow, July was a little crazy! Working 2 part time jobs and posting 1-2 times every day was a lot, but I did it!

I thought that before I get into what is coming up for me in August, I would look back over July.

This past month was a busy one, and it was a lot of fun.

I’ve been working two jobs, both of which have been fun and great experiences. I went on a 15-mile day hike to a mountain lake and traveled to California to visit my brother.

The past month also had July’s Daily Word Inspiration challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed hosting/participating in it and thank you to all of you who joined in. I hope to do it again next July and (hopefully) later this year.

I enjoyed writing the haikus every day and now that the challenge is over, I’ve noticed that I miss sharing the little poems with you. I’ve heard from some that they enjoy the haikus and will miss them.

So, I have a question for you, the lovely readers. How often do you want me to post haikus (if at all)? Let me know what you think by voting in the poll below. I greatly appreciate it!

And with that, on to this month…

August is going to be a busy as well but in a different way. I have some friends visiting, travel plans and many tasks for school. Though I will be busy, I’m not going anywhere! There will continue to be Healer’s Daughter posts along with many others.

I also have some big news that I am excited to share with you!

I am making a websiteOver the past few weeks, I’ve been working on creating a self-hosted website! I’m super excited about this and am very happy with how the website is looking so far. It is my plan and goal to make the move seamless. It is my goal that those of you who follow along will continue to have your notifications just as you’ve always had.

The website isn’t quite ready, but I will let you know when it launches. It should launch sometime this month. I hope you love it as much as I do!

On a different note, our little family is growing fast and I feel as if a community is forming. I love it! Thank you everything!

I hope that you have a fantastic last month of summer!

Until next time,

Acire

 

The Healer’s Daughter – Part 5

compass for a map and a journey

“What?” Launi was shocked and she felt the walls were closing in around her. “D-death? Death is waiting?”

Screbra merely nodded solemnly, as if he knew nothing he said would make a difference in this moment.

“H-how long do they have?” Her voice felt shaky. Her mind was spinning and her hands had begun to tremble.

Screbra looked thoughtful. “This happened yesterday? Yes?” It was Launi’s turn to nod. “Yes, well as with many dark curses, they don’t work right away.”

“Why is that?”

“Dark curses take a lot of strength and power to cast, much more than light magic. Curses are fickle and it’s often better to let them grow in strength over time. It would take an enormous amount of power to cast a full one in a single go. It is likely that these dark mages are letting the magic grow so they can harness it later for something worse.”

“How does that work?” Launi wasn’t sure she wanted to hear the answer.

Screbra cleared his throat. “Well, it is likely that these mages cast a curse around your village and are using the life force of the villagers to power a much stronger one.” He gave Launi a long, sad look. “Using the power contained in a life is a dark, horrible thing. And with an entire village, it would be enough to cast something much, much darker.”

“So,” Launi wanted to make sure she understood even though the very thought pained her. “The curse was cast to keep my friends and family unconscious and stuck in one place until some dark mages can take their life force and cast a darker curse? They’re just lying there until the mages decide it’s time for them to die?” Launi was standing now. Screbra simply nodded, a horribly sad look in his eyes.

The walls felt too close and the ceiling too low. The books and papers felt like a crowd surrounding her, suffocating her. She was struggling to breathe, her hands shaking. She ran them jerkily through her hair, causing the tight ringlets to stand on end.

Breathe! She silently screamed to herself. Breathe! You can’t do anything to help if you’re panicking! Just breathe!

Slowly, after what seemed hours, Launi got her breath under control. She was breathing deeply and staring down at the floor of Screbra’s home. He had waited patiently, silently as Launi calmed herself.

“I am so sorry Launi. Truly I am.”

“Is there anything we can do?”

“Not we, I have to stay here and take care of some things.” His tone suggested everything was not well.

A sudden thought reared its head and Launi thought it was time to ask the man before her.

“Screbra, when I walked through the village, everyone was giving me odd looks. Surely I haven’t changed so much since my last visit?”

He didn’t meet her gaze, “no, no you haven’t. It has nothing to do with you.”

“Then what is it?”

“There have been shape shifters around, causing trouble.”

“Shape shifters? Here? What do they want with you?” Launi hadn’t heard of shifters being this far away from the cities. Shifters roamed in groups. They were often referred to as bandits, but everyone knew that they caused more trouble than bandits ever could.

“We have no idea, but they got away with many stores of food and took a few family heirlooms with them as well. Our best guess is that the cities are cracking down and they’ve decided the villages are easier targets.”

“I’m sorry Screbra.” The loss of food stores was never good and not with fall and winter approaching.

“We’ll manage.” His tone was light, but his eyes showed his true worry.

Launi nodded, choosing not to push the topic. He was already doing so much by meeting with her. “So, is there anything I can do to help my village?”

Screbra shook his head gently as if ridding it of thoughts. “Yes, just one moment.” He stood and started rummaging through papers and books again. Launi sat quietly. Her mind was clouded with thousands of thoughts. She tried not to dwell on the fact that her village was being used to power a worse curse. She tried to forget that her father was with them. She attempted to pass over the fact that she was the only one left, the only one who could do anything, the only one who-

“Screbra?” He looked over his shoulder, pausing his search of a pile of papers . He raised a single eyebrow in answer. “Why am I the only one awake?”

He stood and scratched his chin with a worn hand. “I’m not certain, but I’m guessing it would be because you weren’t there long enough for the curse to take hold.”

“But I was there for a while, checking my father and gathering things to come here.”

“Maybe you just missed the curse.”

“But I was inside the boundary the entire time I was there.”

Screbra shook his head. “Even with all of these books, there are things that I don’t know and don’t understand. And Launi, this is one of them. I don’t have an answer for you. I wouldn’t worry about it at this time. The important thing is that you are awake and able to help them. Focus on that. Focus on what will happen, not what already has.”

Launi wasn’t sure he was right but didn’t say anything. He obviously wasn’t worried about it. Launi would have to find the answer somewhere else. For now, she could focus on helping her village. She could do that. She would find a way.

A few minutes later Screbra returned to his chair. He handed Launi a folded rectangle of paper.

“What’s this?”

“A map. There is a witch of light magic that might be able to help you. She has been known to give aid before. It is worth seeing her. She might be your best chance.” Launi didn’t need him to say it to know that it was probably her only chance. She had no idea when the dark mages would cast the next curse.

“Where is she?”

“In the Valley of the Dragon.”

Launi looked at the map. She found the forest she lived in and searched for the Valley. She found it, and calculated the distance.

“That must be at least a two-week journey, one way.”

Screbra nodded in agreement. “Yes, on foot. But I would be willing to give you a horse. That would cut the journey almost in half.”

“Why would you do that?” A horse was not something one just gave away.

“Your father has helped us countless times over the years. This is the least I can do for him.”

“Thank you.” Launi was immensely grateful. With a horse, she might actually have a chance to save her village.

“Of course. Now, I’ll have Travi gather some supplies for you.”

“No, it’s alright! You’re already short on stores. I can’t take any more from you.”

“Launi, truly it’s nothing. We’ll give you enough food for a two-week journey. There and back. Just please return the horse to us if you can.”

“Of course, I will. I’ll return as soon as I can. Thank you for everything.”

“It’s the least I can do. I’ve known you long enough to know you are your father’s daughter through and through. Now, get some sleep. You looked as if you haven’t slept in a week. I’ll come wake you when the provisions are ready.”

Now that Screbra mentioned it her eyes were heavy. She thanked him again and curled up in the chair as he left the house, closing the door tightly behind him.

Launi wasn’t sure she would be able to sleep, despite how exhausted she was. So much had happened in such a short time. Her mind was full to bursting with questions and worries. There was so much to do, to think about, to worry about.

I hope I can get to the witch in time. I have no idea how long they have. I hope I can do this. I need to be able to do this…

I can do this…

And with that last thought drifting around her head, Launi fell into a dreamless sleep.

Scribe

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the writer sits there

with a blank page, exploring

different worlds


This is day 31 of July’s Daily Word Inspiration – Challenge.

Artist

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the artist is here

working, creating, often

long into the night


This is day 30 ofJuly’s Daily Word Inspiration – Challenge

Village

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let’s be the village

that comes together when times

are hard and easy


This is day 29 in July’s Daily Word Inspiration – Challenge

July Book Review

 

July Book Review and Recommendations

At the beginning of the summer, I made a promise to myself that I would read a lot of books this summer. I have always been an avid reader, but over the past few years, I’ve been reading less and less.

So, I decided that this would be the summer that I change that and get back into my avid reader ways. I have to say that I’ve done pretty well too! I’m still watching more TV than I’d like, but I’m reading again. And it feels great!

I thought I would share with you the books I’ve been reading this month.

What I read in July:

We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

In this book, Sundquist takes a personal look into his life trying to find an explanation for why he hasn’t ever had a girlfriend.

I enjoyed Sundquist’s narrative and personal insight. The tone of the book made for a light and easy read. Sundquist’s sense of humor makes this book very fun.

This is a great summer read!

 

 

Twinmaker by Sean Williams

This is the first in the series. I happened to randomly pick it up while roaming the stacks in the library and I wasn’t disappointed.

Sean Williams describes a world in which there is instantaneous transportation. In this world, some have found a way to alter people’s appearance. When her friend uses this method to alter her appearance, everything begins to change and Clair has to figure out what exactly is going on.

 

 

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I found this book by looking up great summer reads and, again, I wasn’t disappointed.

This reminds me a little of a modern day Pride and Prejudice. It is set in Singapore, among some of the wealthiest families in the world. This book gives you a great insight into the world and culture of the super rich while following the story of a boy bringing home a girl to meet his family.

 

 

Food Whore by Jessica Tom

I found this book on the same great summer reads list.

The main character, Tia, is trying to navigate the world of New York restaurants. She is quickly caught up in more than she can handle. We follow her as she attempts to balance everything in her life while sinking further and further into trouble.

This is a great read and perfect for summer. I highly recommend it for those looking for a book that will quickly draw you in.

 

Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell

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I was recently on a road trip and Fan Girl was one of the books I downloaded for the car.

Fan Girl caught my attention and held it until the end. It starts with the main character Cath at the beginning of her first year of college. She is an avid fan fiction writer and her twin sister doesn’t want to be her roommate. We join Cath as she tries to navigate her way through her freshman year and begins to figure out who she is on her own.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

image

This was the other book that I downloaded for the trip. I had been seeing it all over the place and thought I would check it out.

Red Queen is a fantasy book about two different groups at odds with each other: the Silvers who have god-like powers and the Reds who are just like you and me. The book follows Mare as she navigates her way through this world and deals with the consequences of having a god-like power even though her blood is red.

 

Looking back over this list, I’ve realized I’ve read quite a few books this summer (though 16 hours in a car does help quite a bit). All of the books I read this month have been good reads and I would recommend any of them.

Let me know if you’ve read or hope to read any of the books I’ve mentioned. And please let me know in the comments if there are any books you recommend. I always enjoy getting book recommendations!

Until next time and happy reading!

 

Natural

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to stand in nature

to take a deep breath, simply

being with yourself


This is day 28 in July’s Daily Word Inspiration – Challenge.

Appearance

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appearances are

so important, or so say

those who live in fear


This is day 27 in July’s Daily Word Inspiration – Challenge.

Drip, Drip, Drip – Reader’s Choice

This is the post for which you, the lovely readers, chose the inspiration. There was a tie between “cat” and “crimson”. A huge thank you to all of those who participated in the pool and all who have been reading!


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Crimson liquid dripped, dripped, dripped onto the kitchen floor.

He stared at it in disbelief. His mind hidden in a fog and his hands shaking. He stumbled over to the sink. Turning on the tap, he grabbed the nearby sponge, knocking the soap dispenser over with his elbow in the process.

He could still hear the liquid dripping. It was all he could hear.

Drip, drip, drip.

He made his way over to the puddle on the floor. He couldn’t focus. He tried to pay attention to the pool of liquid in order to soak it up with the sponge, but he couldn’t will his hands to move.

He sat back on his heels, sponge in hand and eyes full of tears. He couldn’t quite believe it.

What had he done? What would she think? Would she ever forgive him?

He shook his head, attempting to clear it of thoughts.

Drip, drip, drip.

He tried again to move his hands towards the puddle. This time, his arms responded and jerked forward. He slowly, painstakingly soaked up the pool of crimson.

He returned to the sink, slowly and groggily. He rinsed the sponge in the water still streaming from the tap. He moved over to the counter. Three large chunks of glass had scattered across the tile. He gingerly picked them up and threw them in the trash. They were useless now. He felt a connection with the pieces of glass as they hit the bottom of the garbage bag.

Drip, drip, drip.

He moved to the mess again and began to soak up the liquid that had migrated along the grooves between tiles and fallen again onto the floor.The sponge was full and he rinsed it out again.

He repeated this process, again and again until every last drop of crimson on the counter and floor had gone down the drain.

His head was a little cleaner now. He stood at the sink, staring out the window.

He wasn’t sure how long he stood there, but before he knew it he heard the keys in the door. His stomach sank to his shoes with worry.

She called out his name, letting him know she was home. He heard her footsteps approaching the kitchen.

He turned to face the door but kept his gaze on his feet.

“Are you alright?”

He shook his head. He didn’t trust himself to speak.

“Did something happen?”

He nodded.

“What happened?” Her voice was kind and loving.

He couldn’t take it anymore. The words spilled out of him in a rush. “I’m sorry! I know you left me here alone, ’cause you trusted me. I’m sorry! I accidently let the cat out the door and I broke the juice bottle.” Tears were streaming down his face; his shoes were blurry now.

She lifted his chin and looked into his eyes. “Honey,” she sounded kind and caring. “It’s okay. These things happen. It looks like you cleaned it up and we’ll find the cat. She never goes far. Come here.” She tugged him forward, knelt down and wrapped him in a warm hug. “I love you, sweetheart. Thank you for telling me. I love you.”

“I love you too Mama.”