When Malcolm's first child is born he is ecstatic. The island is a lonely place for him and Julia. The trees and rivers and mountains provide beauty. The animals and plants a form of primitive kinship, but nothing like other people.
"Who needs friends?" Malcolm can still recall how amused Julia had been when he first proposed the move. Thousands of miles removed--not just from family and friends--but everything they had ever known. Streets they had walked hundreds of times. Stores that, even if they had never stepped foot in them, they knew. Like songs, there are only so many combinations of melodies before they all begin to feel like offshoots of some great and ancient Singular Work.
It's a girl. Malcolm and Julia fret over her name for months before she arrives. Should she be named after an old friend? Between the two of them they've only known a handful worthy of that honor and they hadn't spoken to any of them in years. A family name, then? Of all the strings tethering them to their homes, family had never been the strongest for either. To name their first child--or any child--after that felt more like bestowing a curse than a blessing.
"What about something from the island?"
"Like a fruit?" Julia had asked, [indignant].
"No, no." Malcolm said even, though he hadn't considered the possibility. "Well, maybe. It's just, neither of us are from here. Our kids will be."
This raised Julia's eyebrow. "Kids."
"Well," Malcolm shrugged. "Why not?"
Julia laughed. Why not had become something of a battle cry for them. Pursing their own research late into the night (A major no-no according to their contracts which explicitly stated: all research conducted on company time, with company equipment was, by law, owned by the company). Selling their home. Quitting their old jobs. Bidding farewell to their friends and former lives. Moving to the island where money stretched like warm taffy and they could continue their research unmolested. And now this. More children? Why not. Why not five? Or ten? Why not.
"What about after that woman from the festival last summer?"
"The crazy one?"
Julia slapped his arm. "She wasn't crazy. Ridiculous, maybe."
"Whatever she was, I don't want my daughter reminding me of her."
They pored over local myths and legends. Gods and goddess. Sprites, spirits, and soothsayers. Some sounded beautiful, but when cross-referenced against English always turned out to be something like, Deceitful or The Betrayer.
"Why do the pretty names always have to mean something terrible?"
"It's just bad luck, baby. We'll keep looking."
All the heroes and heroines had ugly names. All the powerful beings with the powerful sounding names were awful. Raping mortals, torturing towns because of a lackluster tribute. There was one tale in particular which stuck with Julia. A [Tah-neesi], the local version of a dwarf, had been walking a path through a village. It was a particularly positive creature, always displaying its magic for local children, providing communities with a little cheer. One day, this dwarf, [name], practiced its magic too close to the shrine of a local deity. Outraged and jealous, the local god struck down the dwarf with a bolt of lightning, shattering its body into a million pieces. The goddess, not satisfied by her victory, called upon her brother--who also happened to be her lover--the god of wind, to scatter the creatures remains across the island. He did so only after getting her to agree to bear his child. The child, like so many fables, would go on to be an amalgamation of the two gods. Mother's lightning and father's wind. The god of storms. And like all fables, the woman suffered. Her child was quickly swept away by her brother's winds and so, the story goes, massive storms were created with the island being the origin point.
As for the dwarf. His remains would go on to become a mushroom that grew all over the island, but in particular abundance in the basin where he was reportedly first struck down by the goddess' bolt. Childless, her enemy's remains desecrating her once beautiful shrine, she
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Event A child is born
Location An island
Sentence "Who needs friends?"
Words Reach 50 words
Letter Use the letter L
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Character A ridiculous fairground worker
Words Reach 400 words
Character A positive dwarf
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
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