Author’s note: In preparation for NaNoWriMo 2009, someone put up daily prompts on one of the forums. I did them in the spirit of warm-ups, but some of them turned into stories. Here is one such.
Prompt: “They said you’d be here.”
The evening was closing in, and the high garden walls facing the narrow medieval street hugged themselves tight. Details vanished into the blue gloom, as the moon rose on one side of the sky, swimming up through the rising earth-shadow.
Sarah picked her way along the turning from the High Street, following the wall that bounded the churchyard. Somewhere along here would be the gate, a tall gate with an iron rooster surmounting a sunburst. Very old, they had said. She tried to imagine it—rust-red bird crowing over an alchemist’s grinning sun, sign of gold and glory—and failed. She wouldn’t be able to see in the dark.
The stone wall ended, and rough hinges began. She felt along and across the wood planks, wood bound in iron; this was a double door, and above? Her hands couldn’t find the top. Very well then. She stood in its shadow and closed her eyes, and then opened them onto starlit sky, let them adjust to the darkness, and lo… there it was, crudely outlined but nonetheless unmistakable: wings outspread, claws or talons gripping the coronal spikes of a rising sun, as a child might render it.
She knocked, first quietly, and then as there was no answer, more confidently.
Then the gates swung wide and rough hands hauled her inside.
Tomas said, “They said you’d be here.”
Her heart clenched in fear. She had been betrayed.
(Process information: 10/17/2009 6:02 PM to 6:10 PM, 238 words, 8 minutes)