Staying Time

The future may be stayed, but at what cost?

rosebud 122-09-september-20th-2015© Alistair Forbes



Old Majir had conquered all his enemies with his witchcraft.  All but one.  Determined to forestall the inevitable, he cast divinations.

When the bud blossoms, Majir’s star will fall.

Now, the jayanta’s young daughter Inkadi was so exquisite, everyone called her Rosebud.  The prophecy surely meant her.

Majir vowed.  That bud would never open.

In a quiet garden, Majir handed Inkadi an elegant glass rosebud.  Filling with her captured future, it glowed red.  She squealed, delighted.

At first, nobody noticed she’d stopped aging.  But over time, the curse cast shadows over the royal castle.  Her parents grew desperate to cure her.  Nobody could break the spell.

Trapped in a child’s body, Inkadi searched everywhere for information.  Finally, her path led to Majir’s door.

Her peasant disguise fooled him, until she plucked the glass rosebud from its vase.  At her touch, it shattered. She grew a dozen lost years in as many heartbeats.

The curse rebounded.  Majir aged twice as many years, just as fast.  Suddenly frail, he collapsed.

Inkadi begged, “Why did you do this to me?”

Majir wept, done with excuses.  “Fear.”  He gazed upon her, spending his last moments seeped in beauty.  Oh, how the rose had bloomed.



Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.  Click here to see the rules and join in yourself.  Click here to see the other writers’ entries.

Word count: 200


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15 thoughts on “Staying Time

  1. I’m reminded of how often the old become envious of the young. The loss of livelihood drives many to cling to what they have, taking preemptive measures to strengthen a position that is doomed to ebb with the tide. Accepting one’s fate is always hard.

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    • I would guess that those who enjoyed life are more likely to envy the young — after all, they’re just starting, they get to do this whole wonderful thing from scratch, whereas the older person knows there are few years left. But letting envy (or in this case, fear of death) turn you to evil deeds is another matter. Yet another reason I’m glad I don’t *actually* live in Eneana, where magic like this is possible!

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  2. Gorgeous story, nice intergenerational tension, amazing to think about aging that quickly and how the years will not be held back, no matter what surgeries or creams or spandex we think we can apply to them. Your image and metaphor was beautiful with the rosebud. I was going somewhere else with the “not blossoming” bit, in my mind, but I am glad you frozer her youth instead of locking her in a tower away from … well… dessert (to use a reference to the Honeyed story). Very satisfying. Love your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Heather! I felt really inspired by this photo prompt — the metaphor just came to me. Yes, in the real world we have to bear our aging as it comes. In the magical world of Eneana, well, there are a few options, but they all have their risks and downsides. (It helps if you’re evil, though – cackle cackle.)

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