The Mononoke club on deviantART is having a contest, themed for the Medicine Seller in the modern day. Each entry must have a short narrative accompaniment. So picture + drabble after the jump!
wip 1 and 2 on tumblr ♥
In a dank alleyway at the edge of the city, a girl has died. It is now a place of rumor and superstition, where giggling schoolchildren threat and cajole and dare each other to enter. It is unkempt, traced with iridescent puddles of oil and dirty rainwater, littered with trash and reeking of filth. It was once a niche between smaller buildings, unpaved and lit by slanting sunlight, but now it is caged by iron and a girl has died.
(The man pressed his hand to the brick and felt the grime between his fingers. He walked the length of the alley and listened to the echo of his steps. He burned a cone of pungent incense and smoothed a charm over the wall and he again walked and walked and peered at the bit of sky so far above.
The twist of smoke and the tightened spirals painted on his charms, the faint chime of his scales where they are tucked in his pack, all of these things told him: this was once a forest, the earth rich with organic rot and the cracked markers of a village's graves. What was once a set of graves has become a foundation, and the underpinnings of steel and cement and mortar are a complete structure of the dead.)
The girl's corpse swings from the mukade's mandibles, her school uniform torn and disheveled. One of her shoes is missing. Her neck is pale and exposed where her head tilts back, her eyes staring at the sky with unnatural ab-life.
"This is not your world," the man says, lifting his face and unmindful of the blood smeared across his chin. The mukade shuffles and twists its chitonous body to encircle him, its armor glistening wet-black. It gives off a sensation of stinging cold, a sort of darkness like smoke and a biting wave of the deepest fear and resentment. It scissors its claws and the girl speared upon its barbed fangs jerks.
"No," she whispers in a voice not her own.
The man smiles. He spreads his hands. "And," he says, "this is no longer your time." His tattered clothes whip in a sudden, hot breath of wind and the mukade rears, flexing its many limbs. It tightens its coils.
"Release," he hisses, and he is a man no longer.