The theme of this contest is called Raven’s Omen. You’ll be given a prompt, consisting of both words and an image, and your goal is to create a memorable piece based upon that prompt in the form of either a poem or a short story.
It sounded interesting, so I let my mind wander and came up with the story that you can read below.
The raven lifts his head, sensing impending trouble. He takes off from his post above the dark, abandoned tower; a message of warning upon his wings.
- Create a story based upon the prompt.
- Decide which category you want to enter into: Poem or short story.
- Short stories should be between 100 and 1000 words in length. Poems should be between 5 and 15 lines long.
- You must enter by August 23rd, 2015. No entries will be accepted after this date.
High on top of the broken and charred remains of a tower, a flock of ravens had found its home. On each side of the tower one or two birds sat on the outer walls, watching over the field that lay beneath them. The tower used to be a watchtower for a once mighty castle and guards stood sentinel over the lands in every point of the compass. Now it was abandoned and the unspoken duty had fallen to the birds. The day had started like any other; a calm morning had turned into a warm and sunlit afternoon. Suddenly a shiver ran through the black birds as a dreadful feeling fell upon them. They sensed that something was not right. Something wicked was on its way. Wings fluttering and cawing loudly, the flock dissipated in every direction to spread a warning to everyone that crossed their path.
Down below the tower a field of grain stood proudly, its stalks swaying slightly in the wind. Men and women stood amongst them, shielding their eyes to follow the black birds. One man looked behind the tower and noticed an especially large shape.
„The ravens get bigger and bigger each summer.“, he commented.
„That’s not a raven…“ mumbled another one that had seen it as well.
„DRAGON!“ now ran the call throughout the field.
Every last one of them dropped what they had in hand and laid down flat on the ground.
Everyone except one boy that still clutched his fork in his hands, staring at the fast approaching dragon like prey looked at its predator.
The others yelled and called out to the boy, but they were ignored.
The beast flew lower and lower, his large wings spread widely he used them to glide over the field. Soon he was low above the field, his feet touched the grain and the wind below his wings, with every graceful flap he made, pushed it aside and sent clouds of dust and dirt into the air.
Now close enough the dragon stretched out its claws to simply snatch the boy away.
Another farmer boy gathered up all his courage and jumped up to tackled his friend down. Just in time they landed in the dusty field when the creature flew right above them, darkening their view; the sharp claws slicing the empty air it hit. They could hear its wings flapping strongly as it tried to assent again and regain its momentum.
„That was stupid!“, the boy reprimanded his friend, one hand still on the others chest, his ear touching the earth.
He could feel the others racing heart and ragged breathing. His own heart was bumping in his chest as if he had just ran many miles. Patiently the boys and the other field hands waited for the dragon to either return or disappear.
After a few moments had past someone finally yelled: „SAVE“ and they knew they could get back to their work now.
He helped his friend up and continued his scolding: „Everyone knows you have to lie down flat when a dragon attacks! They can’t reach that low mid-flight!“
His friend was still pale, but nodding in understanding. One of the older men came to give him a sip of his water skin and an encouraging pat on the back.
„Why didn’t it burn our crops to get to us more easily?“, one of the younger men asked after they had stood a while, watching the direction the dragon had taken.
„Because it knew we wouldn’t be worth it.“, an old man simply stated, leaning heavily on his hoe.
His remark was followed by several questioning stares.
„Don’t give me those looks. Dragons aren’t as stupid as you think. They know good prey from bad and in our case, we looked far too skinny for its taste to bother hunting us down and waste energy it could use to get better prey.“, he explained.
„Scaly bastards.“, another man commented.
The rest of them took this as a sign that the conversation was over and without further ado they went back to their work.
High above the field the flock of ravens one by one returned to their posts on the old sentinel tower, resuming their watch over the fields.
~ old: 485 new: 710 words
I hope you enjoyed this little thing.
The word count for this was a nice alternative to our usual 800-1700 words and was therefore easily filled. I don’t know if I even can write a complete story under a hundred words any more… Notes and rough versions, yes, but not stuff that actually makes sense…
Anyway, I ended up not using the raven itself that much and also only noticed the eye it is holding in the picture when I had already written my first draft and did no longer fit into the storyline at that point, but well, inspiration sometimes strikes in the most unusual ways…
© Rights for the story lie by me, those for the picture by Vickie666, as named in the description. Do not use or repost without my permission.
* Edited version 23.08. 13:20 UTC+1: Added and changed some things and included a last nod to the ravens for Breagit ( 😉 ). If someone is interested in the original version, feel free to let me know and I’ll add it.