Parry, Riposte || Oz & Soren

Soren is in the zone. He faces off against his opponent, his en guarde easy and relaxed, but ready. “Ready, Fence.” He hears his opponent say and he sets the pace. He bounces on his feet never giving the guy a chance to set the rhythm. He brings the blade into circle four time after time, knowing that it won’t work; will be easily parried, but that’s not the point. He finally feints a direct lunge, recovers and slices a quick and deadly coupé past his blade to the wrist. The ding as of the bell guards colliding fills the gym. He pumps his fist before removing his face mask and offering his hand to his opponent to shake. They shake and talk about the bout for a moment before parting. He unclips his body cord and looks out to see if anyone is waiting for a bout or to use the strip. He sees the guy he’d been talking to the day before and smiles. He tells a lot of people to come down to the gym and check things out, but hardly anyone has. He’s surprised but happy. Dropping his face mask off to the side of the strip he waves and jogs over a wide grin on his face. “Hey, you came?”

Mother's Nature

Prompt-Ripost: “I feel raw down to the bone. Every day, I see a little glimmer of what people can be. It’s just a glimmer, though, against a massive wall of casual cruelty and ignorance. I fight, but I’m tired. And the worst part? I fight for big ideas, because I’ve got nothing small left to hold.”

A homeless man once told me, “Human beings love to watch those around them burn, because the smell reminds them of Mama’s home cookin’.” He said the worst injustice done to him was when a man dropped a thousand dollars in his change cup and smiled. “Killed me with kindness,” he said. “I spent it all on alcohol, and boy, did it burn.”
    There’s a reason they call coins change—it hit me as I watched him jingle the quarters in his cup towards another woman who passed us by. When someone can let go of the little things, it changes them—frees them to hold the heavier burdens and gives just enough, not too much, to those with empty hands. And when someone carrying the weight of the world receives something small, it reminds them that this life is not always trying to crush them. 
    I don’t want to give you too much. I don’t want to tell you the world is burning, even though we both can smell it. I just want you to know that there’s no shame in seeing the value in something small. Sit on a street corner and beg for it, if you have to. We all have to, sometimes. It’s those who focus on everyone else who hold the matches over themselves. 
    I just hope this adds up for you.

Glitter in Gutters

The prince in gold was a girl, but she’d earned it and the word princess made her nose wrinkle. So on went the mantle of paint-stained canvas. On went the sword, a broken board. On went the rings of broken chains and stolen baubles. Last came the crown. The crown was all too real.

Her eyes flashed white, then were no eyes at all. They were pools of mist that snaked and slithered up her curls. Where she stepped, coins fell behind her that the street rat scooped up. Where she touched, their sickness faded, and so they hugged her, kissed her, clasped her feet.

Then they went into the fat, old side of town. For the prince in gold gives, but all that he gives, he must also take. Poverty. Plague. Pallor. Panic.

The old town turned gray.

While the little prince woke the next morn, full bellied, well-loved, and rosy-cheeked. She wasn’t a prince anymore, but she didn’t mind it much.

The poor children are said to never steal. And they don’t.

They sing silly songs about imaginary gods. Or forgotten ones.

Prompt: via textonlynopromises

the slums are bitter/and/cold under the mist/like bubbles catching all the rivers of the venetia/i am rising for you and with you and with you all/we will walk the star bridge for whenever.

(C) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins