Friday, September 9, 2016

Paula's Prompts

Here's one of my two responses to @PTWyant's challenge! To see her prompt, go to's 'Wednesday Prompts'. This week, it involved a squirrel, a graveyard, and a school.

The mention of a squirrel made me think of Thomas, the boy who makes life so miserable for the twins in Omphalos in 'A Godling for Your Thoughts?' Thomas is not a nice boy, but he is one of Seraphix's chosen. I wanted to develop him further, explore his reasons for being the bully, who sneers at Danyell and Dayell for being pretty.

The squirrel sat on a tombstone. Always watching. Always flicking its tail in a judgmental manner. Its nose twitched in exactly the same way Master Scald’s had. 

“What are you wearing, Thomas?” he’d ask. All the while his nostrils would wrinkle and flare at the sight of Thomas wearing a pink cravat. 

It hadn’t been Thomas’ choice. It must have been his mother’s. He couldn’t have picked out such a girly piece of clothing himself. 

“Trying to be pretty?” Oleander asked with a sneer. As if he should talk, with those high cheek bones and blue black hair. He sat in a desk behind Thomas, so it was impossible to stare at the dark curls at the nape of his neck any more. “Not that you’ll ever succeed with those bat ears and that flattened nose.”

“Of course not! Boys aren’t pretty!” Thomas snarled, only he hadn’t. Not back then. He’d been too busy admiring how Oleander’s hair curled around his ears.

Danyell and Dayell’s curled in the exact same manner. Only their hair was golden, as golden as honey poured from a pitcher in the morning sun. The locks on the top of their head were straighter and lighter. A few curls were actually silver, as if the twins were much older than their smooth, beardless faces and innocent eyes suggested. Death hadn’t touched the twins, while Oleander had carried it in every poisonous word, which sneered on his lips. 

Such pretty lips, full and pouting, part of a generous mouth. Not the tiny rosebuds which graced the twins’ heartshaped faces. 

Boys shouldn’t be pretty. Boys that were died young, for the gods themselves took a fancy to them. If you wanted to be a man, you couldn’t be pretty. 

“Call me pretty and I’ll break your face,” Oleander had warned. Oleander hadn’t really been the boy’s name, but it was perfect for him. A poisonous flower, which blooms beautifully, sickening you with his taste. He’d pushed Thomas against a gravestone, before ravaging Thomas’ mouth with his own. 

Thomas wiped his mouth and stared down at the grave stone. One of a hundred tiny grave stones dotting the greensward. His own body was buried among them. 

“You should be grateful you got a grave,” the squirrel said, twitching his tail. It spoke with Mr. Scald’s voice. “A pit would have served you halfling monsters better.”

“Shut up,” Thomas growled. He fingered the coin, hanging from a bit of cord around his throat. Its coolness soothed him. Seraphix was with him, breathing in his breast, whispering in his ear. “I’m not dead. I’m alive in Omphalos. I have a family.”

“Chee!” the squirrel said, flicking his tail again. “No one is alive in Omphalos. No one is even real in Omphalos!” 

“Shut up!” Thomas yelled. He ripped the coin from its leather ties, only it was no longer a coin. It was a stone. He hurled it in the direction of the squirrel. It cried, knocked off the top of the tombstone, leaving a trail of blood behind. 

“What are you doing?”

Danyell was standing in the graveyard. Staring at him with wide, horrified eyes. 

“What right do you have to look at me like that?” Thomas yelled. He marched forward, closer to the slighter, smaller boy. That despicably pretty boy with his heartshaped face, parted lips, and innocent eyes, which were so shocked by blood and cruelty. “You've been cut off from the rest of the world, sheltered in your secluded cottage!” He stopped, inches away from Danyell. He longed to reach out and grab the other boy, but he didn’t quite dare touch him. “You know nothing of what the rest of us had to go through! How dare you judge us?” 

Danyell didn’t answer for a moment. He looked down at his feet. Silvery golden curls fell forward around his face. Thomas wondered if his hair was as soft as it looked. Stupid thoughts. This boy was everything he despised, everything he looked down at, everything he…no, he wasn’t going to finish that thought. He refused to finish that thought, even as his treacherous brain supplied the word. 

Wanted. This boy was everything he wanted. 

No, please, Seraphix, no. 

“Maybe I don’t understand,” Danyell said, in a low voice. “Answer me this at least.” He looked up to meet Thomas’ eyes. His own were a clear, violet blue, glistening with unspoken questions. “Why attack the squirrel?”

“It wasn’t a squirrel,” Thomas replied. He closed its eyes. “It’s never just a squirrel.” He opened them. Danyell was still there, cocking his head slightly. His brow puckered slightly, as he frowned at Thomas’s answer. 

Didn’t like what he heard? Too bad.

“Assuming it’s just a squirrel is like assuming you’re just a boy,” Thomas said, feeling his mouth twist into something uncomfortable. Something ugly. “Consider that, when you’re asking questions.” He reached out. Danyell flinched, but all Thomas did was touch his cheek. 

Ah, so this boy was within his reach, if he didn’t attack him. His strange ‘Dance’ wouldn’t begin, unless Thomas approached him with violent intent. That was interesting to know. 

Besides, there were other ways to attack someone than just physically. Not to mention more effective. 

I wasn't entirely happy with this response, so I wrote a second. It shall be posted shortly at