So one of my very favorite blogs, Sinistral Scribblings by the talented Eric Storch, has started a new writing prompt game called Master Class. Since the whole point of starting this blog was to get myself back into the habit of writing fiction, I figure that I will just jump directly into the fire (barefoot and doused in accelerant) and link up my second ever blog post to a seriously skilled writer and hope that I don’t get booted back into the kiddie pool to douse the flames of embarrasment.
The prompt is to take the starting sentence and then write what you think comes next in 300 words or less (which was the hardest part, for me). From DHALGREN by Samuel R. Delaney – “To wound the autumnal city…” I decided to use the autumnal definition of “past maturity, or middle life”. Here goes….
“To wound the autumnal city,” proclaimed a voice so devoid of inflection it had to be purposeful, “would be to deal an unnecessary blow.”
He was peripherally aware of the discomfitted looks of the council surrounding him. Carefully now, tread carefully.
“I did not know, Commander, that the Lark was in the way of bullying.”
Vaunts face blanched and he half stood. “What the hell do you mean by that Jemmy?” His heated words were a direct contrast to Jemmy’s cool tones.
Spreading his hands like a parent calming wayward siblings General Tarkis spoke. Almost no one noticed the glance he flicked towards the window port, towards where Jemmy stood. Almost no one, but Commander Vaunt did. “Left to its own devices, this first among cities is ready to collapse under its own weight.” Tarkis remained seated as he spoke, and commanded the room merely by waiting until all eyes were upon him before continuing. “The aqueducts are crumbling, their food sources are deserting the people to go to where the water is. Those who have not yet succumbed to the Roiling are nursing those who were.”
Vaunts expression reflected a war between incredulity and rage as he searched the faces of the Lark Council for an ally and found none. “We cannot appear to be doling out mercy at this juncture, we cannot hesitate to strike!” A few of the more trigger happy among the council looked emboldened by this attack upon their military might.
Forgive me Talia, Jemmy murmured to himself. “A suggestion, council? We have already rendered their only viable trail through the mountains impassable. I propose that we offer safe haven, that we gain a cadre of subjects who do not realize that they are slaves. Or. Or can leave their corpses to rot where they lay.”