The Omens

After a couple of weeks of writing from prompts published over at Flash Fiction Friday, I’ve decided to head back to the 500 Club this week. I’ve really enjoyed using an assortment of prompt sources in the last few weeks, so I’ll probably keep right on juggling them. If you know of a good place to get flash fiction prompts, feel free to tell me about it in the comments.

As is so often the case with me and prompts, I’ve decided to interpret this one with a little bit of creative liberty. I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with. (And, Nim, please note the name of the pixie.)

The prompt I’m going with for this week is:

Start with an omen. A raven, a black cat, a shining light haloing someone’s head. Just make sure your omen foreshadows the opposite of what we expect (halo = bad! Raven = good!)

the omens

Mr. Buckley ran the backside of his hand across his chin. The stubble made it feel like sandpaper. He grunted, annoyed that he would have to shave again soon.

“Red sky,” Beeble said. “Could be bad.”

Beeble is a pixie. Like all pixies, he’s quick to speak and slow to think. Mr. Buckley would have done away with him years ago had it not been for the fact that pixie dust is powerful. He used it in a number of his concoctions, and acquiring pixie dust from an unwilling pixie is…a hassle.

“That’s a sailor’s warning,” Mr. Buckley said. “We’re not at sea.”

“Still,” Beeble continued, undeterred, “That makes three. First the black cat that walked right in front of you on the way. Then that raven.” Beeble laughed. “He was sitting right in the spot, Mr. B. Right where we were going to draw the circle! You can’t get more ominous than that! And now a red sky. It’s a warning, Mr. B. I’m telling you, a warning. Best to sit this one out.”

Mr. Buckley’s attention remained fixed on the field. It was a plain field, dirt and more dirt, expect for a circle he’d made in the dust earlier that morning. The circle was 10 feet across. Along the outside edge were rough drawings of runes and symbols meant to either keep something in or keep something out. Mr. Buckley wasn’t sure which way he’d use the circle yet.

Beeble fluttered directly in front of Mr. Buckley’s face. “Mr. B? I’ve been talking to you.”

“Beeble, you never stop talking. Most of the time I don’t listen.”

Beeble nodded with understanding and then went right on talking. He was saying something about the possibility that the stars might not be appropriately aligned when Mr. Buckley held up a hand.

“What?” Beeble asked.

“Do you see the roof of the barn? What’s that hanging off the edge?”

Beeble raised a hand to his brow and strained his eyes. “Mr. B, that’s a snake.”

Just as Beeble said it, the snake dropped from the roof to the ground.

“Very bad sign,” Beeble said.

Mr. Buckley nodded. “Yes. It’s decided, then.”  He reached down and plucked his bag off the ground. An assortment of bottles bearing everything from common herbs to unspeakable oddities jostled, the glass clinking together in a strange chorus. Mr. Buckley strode forward to the circle. Beeble watched in shock and then flew as fast as his wings would carry him, working to catch up.

“You’re still going through with the ritual?!” Beeble asked.

“Never gave that a second thought.”

“But, what about the omens? The signs?”

Mr. Buckley stopped walking and regarded the pixie hovering a foot in front of his face. “Beeble, every bad omen has taken place outside that circle. When I summon her, I intend to be inside the circle.”

Beeble cocked his head to the side. “Oh.”

Mr Buckley began walking again. “You coming, Beeble?”

Beeble didn’t even answer. He just flew directly to the only safe place for miles–Mr. Buckley’s summoning circle.