The Iron Writer Challenge #144
2016 Winter Solstice Challenge #2
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Richard Russell, Zac Moran, C Rose Lange
A Roll of Paper Towels
Any (or all) of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Beginning of the End
During the few seconds of peaceful silence we all saw them coming, but they weren’t here yet. Resting momentarily from the troubles that had plagued us many a year, we watched them descend to the Earth while we, humanity, held our breath, the sound of our collective pulse throbbing in our ears.
Our respite was short-lived, for when they slammed into the Earth’s crusty surface, everything changed.
Like a nuclear shock wave, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse separated out to the four corners of the Earth inflicting intense misery upon us all. Nation rose against nation in bitter warfare and wholesale slaughter. Starvation and famine followed in the wake of sweeping pestilence, destruction rooting itself into every square inch of the planet … except for the verdant hills of Ireland.
The pale rider took note of this anomaly and went in haste to gather it into his clutches. Perched atop the Bluestack Mountains, his lathered steed’s aura of death beaded up around him like a drop of oil on water. Ten feet from his presence, the pleasant green of life flourished, exuding such a sweet aroma of lilies and heather, it soured Death’s stomach.
At that moment, Death was distracted by a faint tapping which seemed to be coming from inside a nearby tree. Dismounting, Death stalked over and bent to peer inside, spying a wee man hammering soles to a new pair of shoes. Curious, Death watched the humming leprechaun take a paper towel, dip it into a black paste and wipe it over the shoes. Taking another towel from the roll, he rubbed the shoes vigorously until they glistened with a mirrored finish.
Having seen enough, Death thrust his arm into the tree and extracted the Irish elf forcefully. Taken by surprise, the wee man commenced to scream like a banshee whilst flailing about. But in spite of his struggles, the faerie could not escape. Reaching into his pocket, the imp produced a gold coin and offered it to Death in exchange for his freedom. Death didn’t even blink as he proceeded to squeeze the very life from the leprechaun. In a panic the fay man blurted, “If you don’t kill me, I’ll grant you three wishes!”
Death paused, relaxing his grip, and gave a guttural chuckle.
“Well, okay then; I wish to be the only one ruling the Earth.”
Instantly the other three horsemen vanished.
“And it would be nice if everyone loved me in spite of my ill reputation.”
Straight away, all the peoples of the earth began to blindly praise Death vociferously.
“And … actually, all this time, I’ve always felt I was meant to be a woman.”
At once Death was transformed into a female.
Immensely satisfied with the turn of events, she released the leprechaun, mounted her horse, and left Ireland in peace. Settling in Massachusetts, she eventually married and had kids.
But lately the guttural stirrings of her former glory years …
Who Knocked Down the Sego Lily
C Rose Lange
The four horsemen of the apocalypse (the 2020 one, not the 2012) and the leprechaun (the one born of 2012’s luck) stood around the wilting Sego lily, wondering what to do.
Someone (Pestilence) had knocked it over during the night and not refilled the water, but no one would admit the deed.
“Throw it out and buy a new one,” suggested Death.
“Buy a better one,” said War.
“We could just use paper towels and call it a day,” said Famine.
“Oh you sillies,” piped the 2012 leprechaun with a little hop and a squirm to his hips. He snapped his fingers and with a puff of green, the vase refilled itself with green water and the Sego lily stood up straight.
Damn that leprechaun, thought Pestilence. I’ll have my way one day!
Chasing Snakes from the Emerald Isle
“When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’ and out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from Earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword,” recited Patrick from the leather-bound book in his hand, “Your highness, this is the power of my God; to bring death and destruction to the world of men should they not repent for their sins. But he is also a loving God and will accept believers with open arms into the kingdom of Heaven; a paradise greater than any man could possibly imagine.”
The man Patrick spoke to leaned forward in his throne.
“Our people are the Druids, of this ye must know. Many of us are capable of what ye call witchcraft.”
The king motioned to a white-robed man next to him. The man moved forward carrying an iron pot with an assortment of herbs inside it. Patrick saw a tattoo of a snake wrapped around the man’s hand and disappear under his sleeve. The robed man mumbled something and the herbs burst into flame. Patrick moved to speak, but the king held out a finger to silence him. The robed man swayed and spoke in words that Patrick couldn’t understand. Laughter could be heard, as if down the hall. It grew louder and louder until it filled the room, echoing off the walls.
Two men popped into existence in front of Patrick clad in nothing but green. They were only a foot tall and were arguing with each other over objects in their hands. They didn’t seem to notice their surroundings until the king cleared his throat. They stopped talking and looked at the king, then at Patrick. The corners of their mouths curled upwards and their eyes narrowed.
“I fancy yer staff!” said one, “I’ll trade ye this roll of pure white cloth for it! It comes from a time much beyond yers and it be stronger than iron!”
“Oi! I want the staff!” chimed in the other, “The cloth he has can only be used but once before it becomes useless! I’ll trade ye this white flower from a land far from here. It is said to contain magical powers of healing and can mend the most grievous wounds!”
The king nodded to the white robbed man and the men clad in green vanished from sight.
“Er…well, your people would need to repent for the use of witchcraft and cease it’s practice immediately.”
The king stared and Patrick for a moment.
“I must consider this. But first, explain to me how your God can be both one god and three at the same time.”
“Ah,” said Patrick as he pulled a three-leafed clover out of his pocket, “see this shamrock? It represents my God. This leaf is the almighty Lord, this leaf is his son and our savior, and this leaf is the Holy Spirit. Together, they make the Holy Trinity.”
“Interesting. We must speak more of your Lord in the coming days, but now I must retire.”
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