⌗IWSG-WEP Challenge, Antique Vase, 17th April 2020. Lady Lace.


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Quote of the Day : 

L’humanity qui devrait avoir 6000 ans d’expérience, retombe en enfance à chaque génération.  Tristan Bernard (French playwright and novelist, 1866-1947)

Man who should have accumulated 6000 years of experience, falls back into childhood at every new generation.

It’s time for another Write Edit Publish Challenge of 2020, writing on a word and picture prompt with the Insecure Writers’ Support Group.

If you’d like to know more about WEP and IWSG,  or join the Challenge go here and here

IWSG in the 100 best blogging sites

The WEP site

The joint WEP-IWSG Challenge 2020

This Month ANTIQUE VASE   writing tips here

Thanks to Denise Covey, Laura, Renee, Nila Bose and Olga for their hard work to make this challenge possible. Check out their contributions on the link-up page.

Lady Lace

Tuesday 17th March 2120, St Patrick’s Day. The first hundred days of our new-founded colony. Time to turn over a new leaf. Beyond the ice-covered peaks the sun rises for the first time and shimmers in the faint air. There is a shadow on the valley, enough light for Mount Boadicea to be framed between the two frozen streams, The Greta and the Hope.

The safe wheels ease open, the door whines on its hinges. We step out.

Lady Lace turns towards me,

” Henrietta, you will lead the explorers’ party . Take Claire, the herbalist with you and select the sturdiest women and most experienced boys.”

As soon as the sun has climbed half-way across the sky, we set off. It is still etching up when we pass under the shade of the range. The path is hard-going, our steps sink into the crisp, but still very iced snow, up to our calfs. We have to wrench our foot free each time before we can place the other forward. Our journey stretches endless over a uniform white landscape, broken only by the sparse tips of barren rock that protrude from the slow thaw. The air is clearer than yesterday but we still can’t distinguish a clear horizon .

Our eyes dart  to and fro like field-mice, spying every spot of shadow in search of a spectrum other than black or white. The light starts to play tricks on our minds, some even hallucinate a mirage, a false alarm.

When the light begins to wane, we are only half-way on the return trip, the floating air already glazing over with frost. Our breathing labours in and out hoarsely, a cough or two slice the twilight. We endeavour to hasten our progress towards the setting sun and home by using our footprints to gain precious minutes. The glow is but a sliver to the far end of the valley when a sudden movement catches at the corner of my eye. I turn my head and could swear I see a flicker turn blue, then disappear in a flash of icy vapour behind a mound of white.

I stop in my tracks and I hear Tracy’s hushed “hey” behind me before the toe of her boot collides with my heel.

” I saw a blue form over there,” I attempt to shout out to the company. The line halts, eyes trained on me then heads turn towards the spot I am staring at.

” What ? ” someone says.

” Another mirage,” says another.

” In this light ? Hardly.”

” Wait here, I’m going to have a closer look.”

I pull my right foot out of its hole and slowly make my way towards the spot, rapidly becoming darker in the fading light. It takes me all of ten minutes to reach the mound. I circle it and there to my utter disbelief, I let out a gasp of fright. There is a clear declivity in the snow, I could of fallen through, completely black leading it seems to a rocky tunnel, no bigger than a fox’s burrow.

I summon the others with a wave of my hand. When they join me , they look down,

” It’s the entrance to a cave,” says Tong, our geologist.

The next day at first light, we go back, having marked the spot with a metal flag. Alia slides effortlessly into the gap; she is no more than four feet tall and skin and bones, like most of us. I hand her a pickaxe through the opening. We then hear her attacking the ice. An hour later, the opening is wide enough for us to climb down with our gear. Alia has been able to reveal a path that travels deep into the mountain. We proceed with caution, at least our feet now strike compact ground.

With our flashlights we scan the walls and roof searching for something other than solid rock. Suddenly, about fifteen feet ahead into the beam jumps a small form, I cry out. It is blue, has six limbs, beating like wings, large head and translucent membranes in lieu of skin. Its three shiny eyes fix on me intensely but with a curious warmth, as though we’ve met before.

It turns, then looks back and speeds off further down the tunnel, clearly beckoning us to follow.

” Let’s do it,” I say to the others.

Thirty yards further into the dark, a rush of air hits us. We stop. I beam the light as far as it will reach just in time to see the creature disappear into a narrow slit beyond. I swing the ray all around us and gasp again. We are in a vaulted room with drooping stalactites. There is an unmistakable door of sulphate and then we hear it, a regular trickle,

” Water.”

A week later, Lady Lace presides in the Great Hall, profusely lit for the occasion, euphoria on every face.

” Let this day be remembered and cherished for millennium to come. Her is the Blue Vase into which I pour the Water. Here is the White Vase into which I scoop the Salt. The Green Vase welcomes the Lichen. We thank the little Blue People of the Mountain for leading us to these treasures.

May these three Vases be the symbol of a new flourishing civilisation and may they never become Antiques. May this civilisation, Humanity’s last chance on this planet Earth, never become extinct.”

A deafening roar of applause and cries vibrate like shock waves around the room for the first time in eons and smiles return to faces. Then the tears of relief, joy, woe and hope stream down our cheeks.

©susanbauryrouchard  FCA

Word Count : 953

Cold Skin, 2018, film trailer, here

AVATAR, 2009, here

Fridays for the Future, Documentary, 2019, here

30 years ago, Severn Cullis-Suzuki,  here

Another World, 2008, here

Respire, here

The Day After tomorrow, 2004, trailer, here

MAN, Steve Cutts, here

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment, like, dislike and I will be sure to reply. See you in June for URBAN NIGHTMARE.

36 thoughts on “⌗IWSG-WEP Challenge, Antique Vase, 17th April 2020. Lady Lace.

  1. I always love a story set on an alien world, and you’ve done a wonderful job of creating it here. I felt as if I were actually trudging through the snow alongside them. Your descriptions were marvelous, and I enjoyed the blue creatures you created. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you L.G. For reading and commenting. Thrilled that you enjoyed my descriptive prose. It is interesting to see the cleave between those who saw an alien world and those who saw Earth.

      Like

  2. An intriguing alien world. Only when I got to the end and they celebrated the water did I process the significance of the frozen streams! And the local blue entities… I do hope they won’t be harmed by the colonists!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Clem. Happy you enjoyed the piece. Yes World building, that’s what the A to Z was all about. Except my novel in progress is well anchored into reality with its joys and woes. Have an inspiring Spring.

      Like

  3. Appropriate for our troubled world, Susan, that quote is powerful and tragically true. I’m reading of a better world in your story opening – Hope. Rich descriptions abound. Post-apocalyptic fantasy? Our world or another? I’m intrigued. Yes, you create a sense of hope in these dark days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Roland for reading and commenting. Opinions differ as to the interpretation, alien orEarth. When I wrote it I was thinking of Earth but it could be another ‘colonized’ planet … Man will never learn …. or will he … won’t see it in our lifetime, I’m afraid.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderfully descriptive piece, and a unique take on the prompt. It’s interesting that this is set only 100 years hence. Would the world be that much changed? But then look at what happened in a mere two months…

    Liked by 2 people

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