Sunday, 5 February 2012

#DearValentine: La Belle Part 1

New month, new blog challenge!  This time inspired by the lovely @timonysouler who delights in inspiring her community of flash fictioneers.  The theme:  Dear Valentine.  The rules:

4 days, 4 stories, 300 words.  Each with a different set of prompts.  Without further ado, I shall reveal week one's prompts:

Saturday 4th: A note, a photograph, the docks

docks Pictures, Images and Photos

In a break from my usual style, I'm going with a fantasy theme and four interlinked stories. 

La Belle sans âme: Part 1

The photograph was faded to yellow and ochre, the faces barely distinguishable.  Karen traced the blurred outline of a child with one finger.   An uncertain image, it would barely be a clue if it weren’t for the emotions vibrating from the paper.  Psychic imprints outlasted ink.   She could sense laughter and agony.  The regret.  Stains on a soul; something that was unique as DNA and traceable in this world and beyond.

And that was the weird thing - because if she was right about the child in the picture, she should have left no trace at all.  

La Belle sans âme, they called her.  Not a vamp.  Not a were.  Just soulless.  The best kind of agent: untraceable, even by Psych-corps.    Three of Karen’s colleagues were in the morgue now.  Secrets had been stolen.  The security of Psych-corps was at stake.   And what would the world without Psych-corps be?  Post-apocalyptic chaos.  War, famine, murder, greed.  The barely remembered horrors of the distant past, before Enlightenment. 

A shiver ran through her and automatically she reached out for the silver web which spread across the collective unconsciousness, smoothing fears, warming hearts, soothing, neutral and cool.   Enlightenment.  The age of logic and reason.   It poured through her like liquid moonlight, bathing her in its serenity.  She steadied herself and looked once more at the picture.

Crabbed handwriting marked one corner.   Holding it up to the light, she peered at it.   “Dockyard, Calabrisky Bay.”   Karen smiled.  A starting place.  Somewhere La Belle had stood once, bursting with the soul everyone said she did not have.  A clue. 


Unknown said...

I like it a lot. This has oodles of potential. Wonder where it may lead?

Unknown said...

What Jeffrey said! I love that you've gone with a fantasy theme for this - you do it well! Can't wait til next week!

Emma Calin said...

Packed with tension and questions. Top stuff indeed. Love the French.

Julie Fisher said...

Oooh, this is intriguing - can't wait to see where you go with it!

Lena Corazon said...

LoveLoveLove. I adore the fantasy theme that you've gone with as well (amusingly enough, mine is going to have a wee bit of a paranormal twist in the later installments. Great minds, eh?). For such a short piece, this world seems incredibly vivid. Can't wait to read your next entries!

Meg McNulty said...

Thanks so much for the encouraging comments! Hope you enjoy the next instalments. Really enjoying the fantasy aspect myself (a whole new genre to play with!). :-)

David A Ludwig said...

Yay! Fantasy! I also love the use of French here, it really adds a je ne sais quois to the whole piece.

Favorite line is definitely "bursting with the soul everyone said she did not have."

You've got me curious about the world and the characters, desperately so in regards to your La Belle sans ame. Lucky I'm so late reading these I get to read them all at once.