I like the dynamics of the improv group. We meet, eat, toss some prompts down and see where our brains take us. Pressure? Sure – but it’s the good kind. Gets your blood pumping, your imagination churning. I love when we all write from the same prompt, too. The different ideas people get from the same prompt fascinate me. Today’s piece isn’t one of those, alas. But it’s still a good one. Take a read and see what you think. Yes, it’s incomplete but what do you expect from me in just 10 minutes?!
Prompt: Crypt, Drake, Musician, Contempt
He pressed the flute to his lips and let out a slow, steady breath, fingers working the holes. The music was low and deep, the notes so rich he imagined them leaping from the flute to dance and swirl in the air before him. And this was just the warm up.
Blue eyes scanned the stone door of the crypt, moving up one side and down the other, taking in the pattern of notes etched into the ancient rock. When his lips felt lose, he pulled the flute away and took a deep breath. The next song was one he’d never played before. The tone was slower, sadder, the notes clung to the air like big, fat raindrops heavy and wanting to fall to the ground. Around the edge of the door, the carvings lit up as he played the notes in succession. When he reached the end, a heavy crack rent the air.
Staggering back, he watched the door slide forward, a grinding nose of stone on stone drowning out all else. An inch, then five, then ten, the door moved forward. When it was more than a foot and a half forward, the door began to slide to the right. Sick, stale air rushed out, nearly toppling him over. He caught in that air the scent of rotting flesh and stagnant water. So fast did it hit him that it was all he could do not to vomit right on the spot. As it was, he covered his face with a multi-colored scarf kept in the front pocket of his minstrel cloak, and waited for the door to finish it’s egress.
When it settled, all sound ceased. He couldn’t help but turn in a tight circle, eyes scanning the surrounding forest. The trees here were dark and thick, heavy with leaves twice the size of his hands that whizzed and whirred in the breeze. Yet now there was no breeze, and the trees were silent. Gone, too, were the bird songs he’d enjoyed on the way up the ancient, overgrown trail he’d followed. And the insects with their incessant ‘neeker-brek’. He had never known such complete and utter silence before.
And then a wind slammed into him, picking him up off his feet and tossing him as lightly and easily as it would one of those leaves from the trees. He landed with a thump and rolled until an old stump caught his legs and spun him round to slam face-first into the gnarled wood.
Stars filled his vision. He blinked through them and tried to sit up.
A Drake sat coiled at the entrance to the crypt, eyes glittering in the twilight sun. He felt nothing but contempt in those eyes, and shuddered in response.
Rather than face the beast right away, he scanned the ground in search of his flute. He found it shorn neatly in two and picked it up using trembling fingers.
“You broke my flute,” he whispered.
The Drake said nothing in response.
“You broke my flute,” he said, louder now.
If the Drake cared, he could not tell.
Opening his mouth, he filled his voice with all the force and emotion he could muster, and let loose with a high C sharp. The tone and pitch were perfect. The Drake staggered back by the onslaught of sound. Moving forward, he maintained the note, driving the Drake to writhe in agony, covering its face with leathery wings.