(Don’t believe me? Don’t think about a purple giraffe. Eliminate the idea of a purple giraffe from your mind. Visualize anything but a purple giraffe. Now, close your eyes. What do you see?)
After a few minutes of mental fluttering, I just decided to roll with it. Lead with it, even. Make it work. And that got me thinking.
Sometimes the process of writing is like that, at least for me. My mind will attach itself to something and there’s just no getting away. Usually, it’s something abstract or tangential or random or just plain weird. The temptation to sidestep it has everything to do with not looking like a freak.
The trick is to quiet that voice in your head and let the story be what it wants to be.
Think of this as the inverse of ‘kill your darlings‘. Sometimes your mind will birth some strange little suggestion and you’ll have a helluva time pushing past it. When that happens, stop fighting yourself and allow that random detail a place in your story. You can always edit it out later, and letting it in may create the needed space for something pretty kick-ass that you haven’t even considered yet.
In the case of the story below, I’m not crazy about it in its current incarnation. However, I love the idea of this little vignette, and I can easily see it playing out as a longer scene in another work. I would never have made it to the part where the narrator describes summoning Psykhe had I not been okay with the Indiana Jones reference right in the first sentence.
As I mentioned, this story is based on a prompt from The Prediction:
100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘asp’, ‘personality’, and ‘theft’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.
Enjoy it, and I hope everyone’s 2016 gets off to a wonderful, creative, promising start.
“Asps,” he quotes. “Very dangerous.”
It’s only a couple of garden snakes, but what does he know? He’s a black hole of both intellect and personality. But we’re half way through the seance and I kind of need him right now, theft of a soul being a tricky business and all.
I shush him and begin the chant. He grins, such a shit-eater, and joins me.
Wind blows. Incense burns. Candles flicker. And Psykhe comes.
The butterfly-winged bitch wants tribute. A trade. His eyes go wide when I point at him.
Very dangerous, indeed, I think.