Bathed in the blood of his foes, and covered in a shimmering cloak of shadows. It moved through the night sky— moving much faster than the speed of light. Carefully landing right on the edge of the house on the hill. The front door leading to the house welcomes it in, with what seems to be a shaky temperament. With each footstep it takes, the floorboards creak with a sound like a rubbery squeak, but it does not have any rubber shoes on. It flaps its wings, and prepares to take a much needed rest for a certain amount of time. As it wraps itself in a cocoon, a blanket of smoke begins to fill the air. It starts to wonder where the smoke is coming from. The house is now in flames, and making a mixture of sounds like a cough, back ‘n’ forth as if it’s human. It flaps its wings close to being ready to take off into the starry night, away from the firelight. The smoke starts to cover every corner, and space of the house. Soon every room is colored in grey. It rushes out of the house, & barely makes it out of the house. The flames continue to roar in power forming what closely resembles an image of a phoenix. It gasps, and thinks of taking off again. The phoenix flames rise higher, higher, and higher. Then they flap their wings, and go on a hunt for it. The phoenix flies, and zooms in the air at jet speed. Leaving a smoky trail of dust in the night sky that makes it look like a shooting star. It can feel the phoenix gradually getting closer, closer, & closer. The instance they collide, the two begin to spin like a tornado, until they finally crash into a corn field leaving a trail of burnt corn crops along the path that they crashed. It tries to stand tall, alas, the phoenix holds much greater might. With a final burst of flames, the phoenix hits it. Thanks to the phoenix now it will be able to take a long much needed amount of rest- this time it would be asleep for a really long time. It would now be a part of the ancestral realm, for all eternity.
Music by MINDSTEELNESS
“No one can save us from him…..no one….none at all…none..no one. We are all going to be slaughtered like chickens. It’s time we all get ready to leave, and find safer, ‘n’ greener pastures!” The children had all been tucked in, and were fast asleep. They were dreaming of sheep and other animals that they thought were cute, and fluffy- with soft fur like a rabbit. They had no idea a meeting was being held by some of the older folks in the village. Or that some folks were about to lose their minds from the nightmares they’d been having lately. They’d gathered around in the tiny cottage, and formed what felt like a council of mages, but none had any access to magick, or magickal spells/incantations. One of the elderly folks let out what sounded like a groan. He had enough of the fear surrounding the village like a sea of shadows that kept rising higher, & higher causing much more gloom. The elder pleaded that they needed to ask for help from the being that lived in the odd looking mushroom like cottage. Some of the other folks shook their heads. They were not ready to seek help from a being that they thought would turn them into a toad, or even worse…take over their entire being.. human aura. One of the folks grew restless, and volunteered to seek help from the mushroom being. The rest of the crowd wished him all the best, and the meeting was adjourned…for the time being. Later close to the hour of midnight, the volunteer approached the mushroom cottage. He knocked on the front door, and was greeted by a croon. The volunteer steeped into the cottage, and felt his heart skip a beat. His feet landed in something gooey like slime, or syrup. He tried to move, but the substance soon covered his whole body. The volunteer felt the material slowly make its way into his body. Something foul and syrupy moved through his ears, mouth, nose, and shortly after throat. Then his body fell onto the ground. The being in the cottage stepped out of the shadows, and stared into the volunteer’s face. The last thing he saw was the being muttering something underneath her breath, and a raven suddenly appearing right beside her. They both grinned, and were happy to have another body added to their collection of human souls.
#CORVUS ©️ 02.12.23 Sat’rday
The sounds of the hounds gathering in the distance echoed in the pitch black thick shrubs, and giant Jacaranda trees. Jan ended up not paying attention to where he was going, and was smacked in the face by a branch from an ancient looking tree. He yelped out in pain, but had to not try to let the sound out. Jan tried to not let the tracking beasts end up catching up to him. He continued to ran, almost blindly, because now his vision was getting much more blurry. Jan moved one of his hands toward his face, and felt a collection of something sticky beginning to cover his face. Each time he tried to rub it, or pull some of it away, it ended up just sticking much harder. Jan fell to his knees, forgot about the hounds, & let out a piercing cry. Soon the hounds had managed to spot him, and had surrounded him. They all sprinted toward his body, ready to tear into Jan’s flesh. Jan took a moment to pay attention to where the sounds of howls was coming from. He used his mind to also sense the beasts’ current location in the fog. His eyes were also still covered by whatever the substance was which he figured might have been from the branch that had hit him not too long ago. A few hounds were suddenly face to face with Jan, so close that he could feel their tar and onion like stench through his nose. He felt like his nose hairs would all start to burn from the foul smell. Jan pinched his nose, and continued to focus. He called out to the gods, the ancestral spirits, as well as all the ancient trees to protect him. Thunder rumbled in the sky with a mighty roar like a lion. Lightning flashed around Jan, but instead of striking his body, it struck the hounds. The beasts whimpered, and took off with their tails between their legs. Jan felt the earth begin to quake underneath him. He covered his head, getting ready to be swallowed whole by the earth, but it passed right by him. Then he waited to hear the sounds of the hounds…nothing..and he could not smell them near him anymore. Jan slowly tried to open his eyes, and his mouth formed a wide o in shock. Before his very eyes, he spotted a being that looked like a man, while also somewhat like a Corvus, too. Jan had heard some old wives tales about this being in the village. He had never seen him, or it before. He fell back down on his knees, and held his breath. The being transformed into a raven, and took flight into the dead of the night.
#CORVUS ©️ 02.12.23 Sat’rday
“I need you to hold on…don’t let the daemons win..” Henaru felt her whole being nearly ready to burst into a myriad of pieces. Her hands trembled at the sight of the nightling towering over her child’s bed. She had been trying to keep her child safe from it, but it seemed to have managed to still get a hold of her only kid. It grinned, and then growled at her— with its swirling midnight scarlet eyes- in the mode for taking many more lives. Henaru had heard the voices calling out to her~ warning her to get ready. She grabbed a hold of a collection of odd things from the depths of an old bag that was her great-aunt’s. Her hand had reached for a tiny object which when she pulled it out from the bag, it lit up, almost blinding her. The light shined forth like a golden bright ray of hope, ready to snatch the nightling away from the kid. The nightling writhed in agony, & its body began to burn from the golden bright ray.
30th November 2023.
Gust ‘n’ Dust
Sitting at the edge of the stool, Chewe leaned forward nearly falling close to the mbaula. The clear, blue sky blanket of day had been whisked away, leaving behind it a dark, and cloudy night sheet. One with not a single star in sight! Chewe sniffed, and leaned back making sure not to succumb to the chills, or much worse the whispers from what was either something that was nightlings, or worse still— daemons- *shudders*. Chewe slowly began to whimper, and with clasped palms began to utter underneath a trembling breath:
God of our Babas
In the Heavens above
How majestic ye be
Thy Village folks wander
Yonder~ seekin’ the sangomas
Thy hand is needed
To redirect them back
Toward the golden path
That leadeth toward immortality
& not toward the absolute chaos
Or netherworld realm
But these folks need to see
Thy holy iridescent face
Thy who sitteth by
Thy own golden pearly throne
For all eternity…
Before the final words could be said, a gust rushed in ’nd blew some loamy dusty soil into Chewe’s eyes. Chewe shrieked, as the dust clogged the mortal’s blood vessels causing them to burst…leaving a trail of blood that ended up rising to the heavens.
Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry [Free Contest!]
This poetry writing contest rewards one unpublished poet with a cash prize and publication. While self-published poets are not eligible, editors or anthology contributors are welcome to submit!
Word count: At least 50 pages
Closing date: 01 December 2023
Happy Black Friyay
The crowd gathered around in awe. He was back again. No one knew where he had come from, just that one day he seemed to have formed into being, and stepped out from a wave of thick mist that only came once upon a December. The man cleared his throat, and grabbed a stool to place on a wooden stage that he had made for his work. He smiled at the crowd, and then began to slowly thump his feet. Folks continued to gather around to see what this man would do today. Not too long ago, when he first stepped into the village, he had managed to catch all the women’s eyes (both young and old), as well as all the children’s attention, too. He frolicked about like a unicorn, some mystical powerful being, the new guy in town. This made the other guys, and lads hurt. Who did he think he was strolling about like he was Zeus? He did have quite a physique that was much more grander than most of the other guys, and his locs of hair shone bright like a blend of honey & the bright gold sun. This kind of startled the other guys. They did wonder if this guy was one of Zeus’ long lost kid, or he was a demi-god. Not only was he adored by the ladies— even animals liked being right by his side-maybe he was Eros wandering about on Earth, and gracing the folks in Srekampo with his presence. As soon as he began to sing on stage, the women all seemed to forget where in the world they were. The voice of the god-like man drew them toward the stage. They all started losing their minds, going out of control, to the married women’s husbands dismay. Later toward the glowing light of eventide, all the men~ except the stranger, had a meet, and sit down to discuss what to do about the new guy. They nodded in agreement with their plan, and grabbed their pitchforks, torches, anything they could use to take care of the other guy. The men moved as fast as a tiger that was ready to strike its prey. They arrived at the edge of the village, and spotted their target resting by a Baobab tree. One of the men tossed a rock he had picked up from the muddy ground. The rock was tossed right at the stranger’s forehead, but the moment it was close to hitting him, it stopped mid-air. This made the guy who tossed it step back in shock. The other guys now tried to use their pitchforks to tear through the new guy’s flesh. They thought they had managed to hurt him, and then they noticed that they had been only hitting a pile of rocks now. Some of the men felt that maybe they were fighting with a demi-god. They tried to run back toward the village. Something came at full force toward them, nearly causing them to lose control of who they were, or what they had come to do near the Baobab tree. They panicked, and started to scream for help. Meanwhile, all was quiet within the village. The women (both young and old), including all the little children were fast asleep dreaming about the new guy singing, and playing songs to them. The sounds of the men screaming seemed to be drowned out by the sound of wings flapping beside the Baobab tree. They tried to run. With every step they took, their feet kept sinking deeper, and much deeper into the ground. Their bodies began to sink into the mound.
10th November, 2023.
Short Story Award
“Calling all short story writers:
“Are you a short story writer interested in gaining more exposure and a bigger audience for your creative work? Would an extra $1,000.00 USD in your pocket be a great thing right now?
If so, our ServiceScape Short Story Award is the perfect way to achieve both. For this award, any genre or theme of short story is accepted. All applicants should submit their original unpublished work of short fiction or nonfiction, 5,000 words or fewer, to be considered. Along with receiving an award for $1,000.00 USD, the winner will have his or her short story featured within our blog, which reaches thousands of readers per month. Rules and exclusions apply.
“Terms and Conditions
“All submitted entries must be original, unpublished works of short fiction or nonfiction, up to 5,000 words in length. The winner retains full rights to his or her submitted piece. We require only that the winning short story be published online first in a permanent blog post on the ServiceScape.com site. The winner retains all other copyright, publishing, and reprint rights and ownership of the story. He or she retains the right to publish his or her work elsewhere and at any time without restriction after the competition is over, as long as the winning short story can remain published on the ServiceScape.com blog as well.
“In order to qualify as a contest participant, a person must successfully submit the application form below and must be at least 18 years old. ServiceScape is not responsible for any situation that constitutes an application form submission failure, including technical malfunctions experienced by the form submitter or by ServiceScape. ServiceScape employees and/or their immediate family and household members are not eligible to be contest participants. There is no purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.
“Each contest participant can enter only once.
“Contest participants' application form submissions must be written in English.
“The contest starts on December 1, 2022 ESTand ends on November 30, 2023 EST.
“Contest participants will be judged on their quality of writing. All decisions are final. Non-winning entries will be discarded after the winner has been chosen and the contest participants will retain all the rights to their submitted work.
“The potential winner will be notified via email in December 2023. The potential winner must send a headshot photograph within 10 days of the prize notification. The potential winner must also sign and return an affidavit of eligibility, a liability release, and a publicity release (where legal) within 10 days of the prize notification. If the potential winner does not deliver these required items within the specified time period or if the potential winner cannot be contacted for any reason, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate potential winner will be selected. If all required items are delivered within 10 days of the prize notification, the potential winner will be considered the winner of the contest.
“The winner of the contest will be awarded $1,000.00 USD, payable by check and mailed within 4 weeks. The prize is non-transferable. All federal, state, and local taxes imposed on the acceptance of a prize are solely the responsibility of the winner. The winner's name, headshot photograph, and writing will be featured within the ServiceScape blog soon thereafter.
“ServiceScape Incorporated reserves the right to modify or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice.”
November 4, 2023.
“Welcome to the crew!” The words continued to ring in Mot’s ears. He still could not believe that his Uncle had signed him up for this kind of work. His Mom had been so excited for him. She was quite glad that he now had a job, and looked forward to him working on later getting his own place. Sure she was okay with having her second born child at home, but a mother needed some privacy~ ya know. Mot had noticed how his Mom, and Mr. Grid had been spending so much time together lately. He later found out from one of the older ladies from down the street that sometimes when Mot was out with his friends, or went on a long weekend getaway/vacation, Mr. Grid would stay, get comfy, even carry some stuff over at Mot’s home, and stay over not only during the day, but overnight, too (as the senior buddy of his put it). This kind of worried Mot he told his close friend, Roti, about it, and Roti burst out laughing. He had told Mot to start preparing to call Mr. Grid, ‘‘Papa.’’ At that remark Mot squinted his eyes, and glared at Roti. Not that he didn’t like Mr. Grid, he just did not want to see his Mom get hurt again. The others guys she had been only wanted to use her, and they did not care if they broke her in the process of using her. Now maybe if he worked hard at his job, he would be able to take care of his Mom, and she would not have to be with Mr. Grid. Mot knew his Mom needed help with a lot of bills, but he did not want Mr. Grid to be the one to help with that. His older sibling was traveling, and was somewhere in another galaxy. Mot would have to be the one to try to save his Mom, and be her knight in shining armor. Now he just had to concentrate on his work. Not stared at the piles, and heaps of creatures lying on the mahogany floor. Their boss had been at it again. This time most of the bones of these beastlings had been shattered. Mot felt shivers go down his spine. He definitely did not want to ever be caught in a room alone with the one, and only Daemon Queen. She looked kinda human, but everyone at work even the transients knew not to mess around with Sasha.
#SHATTER ©️ 04.11.2023 Sat’rday
He worked it, her body that is, from dusk till dawn. Gliding down, and making her forget even where, & when she was— her head felt so dizzy- spinning in an addicting motion. Her lips quivered with each of his expert hand, ‘nd tongue twistin’ techniques. Her body was in quite a state of an electric frenzy, one that was driving her almost mad with glee. She felt like she was being handled by a god, or some demi-god. Maybe this is what it was like to be jumped in the line with Zeus’ lightning rod. What a crazy shockingly powerful feelin’.
Thorsday 02.11.2023 November ©️