Soul Soaking

Scarfaced dagger-holding demon Orin Zebest flickr

Photo credit: Orin Zebest

Pantae shook the rug over the balcony. The dusty plaza bustled.  Neighbors pausing errands to gossip.  The crack of stickball, children whooping amid barking dogs.  Elders clicking their Astral tiles.  Garlic aromas wafting nearby.

But in the center, the terrifying Kaaraka statue.  Pantae shivered, waved the sign against evil, and retreated inside.

Her parents said the Kaaraka protected them, that she was too afraid of everything.  They were right.  You are what you feel.  Whatever you soak your soul in – envy, joy, anger, guilt – that’s your afterlife, for eternity.

The squeals outside turned to screams, crashes.  She counted heartbeats, breaths, steps toward the balcony.  Then: silence.  Pantae halted.

She would die in fear.  But then, didn’t everyone?  She’d just started earlier than most.

She stepped forward and peered down.  People lay everywhere, not moving.  Not bleeding, not visibly injured, but… not moving.  Someone faced up.  Pantae couldn’t admit to herself who it was.  Only: someone.  Dead open eyes, frozen mouth terror-twisted.

They’d moved the Kaaraka.  Why–  Its head rotated toward her, tilted up.  It leered.

As Pantae fell, she realized she would not die in fear, but shame.  Because her last thought was: I told them so. I was right.

Word count: 200.  Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.  Big thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting– and an even bigger apology for going over the word limit.  I got confused about which word count level I need, and struggled to get it down from over 300 words to the 200 words, and when I realized the limit was actually 175, I just couldn’t find another 25 words to cut.

Thanks also to Mark for the original photo prompt, below.  Click the link above to read the other stories inspired by this prompt, and to submit your own!

Photo © Mark Reynolds


25 thoughts on “Soul Soaking

    • What a lovely thing for you to say, I appreciate it! I learn from so many of the other writers whose blogs I follow, it’s nice to think I might return the favor. Thanks for reading!


    • I know what you mean. Other writers make it seem so obvious, so clear, but when I’m making it happen myself, those “simple” things take an awful lot of finagling to get just right, so that they seem natural and true. Thanks so much for stopping by, Crispina!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That soaking your soul line is so wonderful! And so true, too. Whatever we allow ourselves to feel, we’ll wallow in until the end. Lovely, colourful imagery and a truly creepy living statue. Loved it

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading, and for the great comment! I’m happy you found it spine-tingling; that’s nice to hear. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the villagers foolhardy, though — more that they naively put too much trust in something unknown, that turned out to be more dangerous than they realized. Cheers!


    • Thanks for such a nice comment, Millie! I really liked the story too, and felt a bit unsatisfied with having to cut out so much that I wanted, so I’m writing an expanded version, ~1000 words. I took the first draft to my writers group last night and first, they all said they loved it and then… Well, one comment turned to another and a half hour later, all three pages are totally covered in red ink, ha ha! I’m lucky to have critique partners willing to give me such thoughtful feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

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