The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
All the moons were out the night I found the hatchling. That, in itself, was a sign of things to come. I was wandering through the burial grounds, where the skeletons of its Tarag ancestors came to rest, gnarled tree roots and bones merging as if they were symbiotic creatures.
These creatures of legend had not been seen for many turns, and were thought to be extinct. But I knew better, as I had glimpsed the hatchling’s mother in several dreams, and know she led me here this night to be midwife to her babe.
A horrible stench guided me to one of the ancestral skulls. There were seven eggs nestled togeher, and it didn’t take long to realize that just one had a chance to hatch. The others were gray and mishapen, clearly rotting from the inside. When I reached into the nest to gently cup the luminous blue egg within my hands, it responded to my touch and began to crack. What thoughts and feelings had been going through its mind while it rested against its dead siblings, its mother clearly gone.
But for how long? And where was she now? Taking her last breath somewhere within this landscape of barren bones where life refused to take root? Watching to make sure I saved her child?
This is a sign of things to come. Her voice resonated within my mind. And then I realized she had been guiding me all along. Even though I couldn’t see her, I sensed she was near, so I dangled the hatchling by its tail to show her its beautiful sleek body, how it wriggled with life.
You will need to take my child and leave now. Your people will not accept we still live among you.
My breath caught as the Tarag began to take form before me. Her multifaceted scales reflecting the moons’ light in exquisite patterns, her immense wings dangled at her sides. It was then I realized she, too, had come here to die as her ancestors always had.
“But where should I go? “
She showed me a place within my mind. You will find others who will accept my babe and you as my wingless child. Say you accept and it will be done.
“I accept. What do I name your child?”
She was silent for a few moments that seemed to expand in all directions while she gazed up into the sky. Choose a name from your people’s language.
The hatchling was asleep in my arms, snuggled inside my vest. I placed a kiss on its silky fur that would one day become irridescent scales. The tiny nubs along its back would eventually become wings. I looked further down the babe’s body, realized it must be a girl. She needed a special name, a name that resonated with who she was as well as who she would become.
“I’d like to name her Topaz, if that pleases you.”
Yes, a rare and precious stone on your world.
Topaz’s mother came closer, dimming the moons’ light as she leaned over us to nuzzle her daughter’s flank in farewell. As she stepped back, she extended her wings for one last time. The night went dark as she sang a chilling song , while Topaz and I were transported to another world, another time, where Tarag and their wingless siblings could live as one.
Fiction © Copyright Terrie Leigh Relf
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Terrie Leigh Relf:
For thousands of Earth years, the Transgalactic Consortium has had a quiet interest in this planet and its inhabitants, the Haurans. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching. The power of this moon reveals untold secrets . . . including a sacred covenant with the Mora Spiders. There is an ancient pact that needs to be honored—but at what cost and for whose purpose? The world may come to an end. But will there be a chance for a new beginning?