Today’s story starter (at the beginning of the story in bold) comes from Jocelyn Rish and to go with it I chose this picture by Joseph W. Richardson.
Christmas always gave me that creepy feeling, as if everyone were making merry and eating, pretending for all their worth as if nothing were wrong, when they knew the world was about to end. And today it would end for me, notwithstanding my own years of training as a warrior, the many sermons I had attended in both school and church, a púca with its black horse-body and its clarion clear voice would mark my end.
So boy, are you ready? it said, whinnying and stomping the ground, clanging the chains about its neck, its orange eyes now a pale gold, its breath a mist of spoiled blackberries.
Trying to stand tall with my body that was no longer that of a boy, not yet of a man, I said, No one is ever ready. The gas light above my head dimmed and flashed.
Will you fight or submit, Brian Boru?said the púca, grinning through its horse teeth.
What will be, will be, but if its is all the same to you, I’ll fight.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
If you liked this story you might like some of the stories I wrote for my A to Z last year.
You are writing some amazing stories with the prompts. I was at sea during this challenge but am prepared for the next one. i have picked up so many ideas and tips from all the participating members. Thank you for the same.
You've done justice to the picture combined with the story starter… 100%!
Why is there no Reaction button for Awesome?
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Joe, the privilege is mine– I love that I have your permission to use your photos as springboards to my attempts at fiction.
I have used another one today, for the letter "P"–the bell tower pic.
It is the pic I loved best of all your work, but I'm not sure I've done justice to it.
Nicely done, Damyanti. Nicely done indeed. Remarkable, that an image caught in a small, Midwestern town would prompt a story of dark fantasy grounded in Irish myth.
That so rocks!
Thanks for building something beautiful from my photo.
He made it out ok and became King, I think. I love accounts of history in writing, especially myth and lore.
The A to Z challenge is rewarding. Thanks for visiting my Main Street Arts blog mainstreetarts.blogspot.com
When you have time, check out my fantasy setting Shatterworld. Your Puca story would fit rightin.
I'm so glad I've returned your visit today. That the boy lived to tell his tale, says it all. Great story.
What a perfect picture.
I like your protagonist's perspective on Christmas. Different.
Thanks everyone for the comments. For those who haven't met púcas, they're part of Irish folklore, a sort of faerie, the most feared and mischievous of all the faeries in Ireland. It is a changeling appearing in many guises, the most common a sleek black horse with amber eyes.
The only time that a mortal has been able to ride one of them and tame it was the the High King of Ireland Brian Boru. He got the Púca to agree never to attack a mortal, unless they were drunk and on evil business.
hmmm very interesting take on Christmas—good post!
It has a dark vibe to it, but I like that in stories. I agree with Alex it has a Sleepy Hallow vibe to it..
Great creepy vibe – just how I imagined when I submitted the story starter! 🙂
And I love the use of Brian Boru and a puca. Nice!
This is a great imagining of the Brian Boru legend! Loved the line "a púca with its black horse-body and its clarion clear voice would mark my end" — very melodic.
Hi Damyanti, lovely writing! Very unique challenge you're doing!
This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.
Duncan In Kuantan
Very nice! I love a little spookiness and this was well done. 🙂
I enjoyed your excerpt. Well written!
Jolie du Pre
Oh man. I NEED to read on. This might be the best one yet. You write SOOO well. But puca?? Hmm. Goblin, Right?
I do not know what a puca is! Must google!
Your description here reminds me of the horses in The Scorpio Races.
I love pucas. I hardly ever see them in fiction. Great job! Love the ominous feeling.
Nice, sounds like my kind of story, now all we need is an evil sorcerer and a magical quest, great writing.
1. That's a gorgeously ominous picture, full of promise as a writing prompt!
2. I'm piqued by the idea of Christmas being a creepy holiday with undertones of doom…actually, that's kinda how I feel about New Year's Eve, a little bit.
3. No fair leaving us hanging like that! 😉
Some Dark Romantic
Creepy and intriguing! Just the way I like my fiction! Good job! ~ Angela, Whole Foods Living, http://www.wholefoodsliving.blogspot.com/
But I like Christmas! It brings hope and sweet dreams…
Very pleased to meet you and to visit your blog!
Just when I was sinking my teeth into it – it ended; but like it says- the rest is history.
Sounds like a very courageous person in the end.
Oh, I really like this one. My new favorite one out of the bunch so far.
Hey look at me!
Right after the legendary Alex J.
Nice to meet you Damyanti. This story you have put up reminds me that the future's bright, the future's Orange. No, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
I tell you what, I shall have a check of your postings for last year's, thrilling beyond belief, challenge:)
Take care and seriously, happy writing and happy A to Zedding. Kind regards, the 'anti-A to Z spokesman', Gary
Excellent! Nice Sleepy Hollow feel to it.