Writing Group: The Sky Blinked

Hello everyone!

We are now officially well and through the time of warmth and feasts. We’ll make up for it pretty soon with more winter festivities, but in the meant time we’ve got to find other ways to keep our mind off the cold.

Right now, we’re doing that by turning an eye toward the obscure, because…

This week’s prompt is:

 

The Sky Blinked

 

RULES AND GUIDELINES AT THE BOTTOM OF POST
Read them to participate! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Strange one, no? Conjures images of gargantuan creatures swimming through the sky, glitches in reality where all the clouds go missing for one elusive moment, realities in which the dome of the “sky” is simply the inside curve of some god’s great blue eyeball.

These are the strange spaces that this prompt drew my curious, hapless mind into. Of course, it doesn’t have to be where yours goes.

Maybe you don’t see an anomaly here. Maybe you see a way to articulate the mundane. The Sky could represent the horizon of one’s Icarian ambitions, and when it blinks, that could be a moment of wavering uncertainty. It could be the vastness of one’s love for another, the blink a moment of doubt. It could be something vaguely religious, to do with the heavens and all the things which inhabit them.

As with most prompts, it could be just about anything. So long as you’re fascinated by it and we can, in some vague fashion, see the remnants of the themes nestled in there, we will be pleased to read your work.

Go on then. It’s time to see what all of you can do with total power over the firmament.

 

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

 

Rules and Guidelines

We read six stories during each stream, three of which come from this public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected from among the top ten most-liked of each post, so be sure to share your submissions on social media and with your friends!

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • Submissions close at 4:00pm CST each Friday.
  • No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
  • Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
  • Please format your submission as “Submission Title” by Author Name and be sure to separate paragraphs. (Example Submission)
  • You must leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long (if you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post).
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or credits will be provided.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

 

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Matthew
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Matthew

The Scientific Method, By Matthew
Human existence is marred with vast mysteries of life, religion, and purpose. A lifelong Catholic, these questions had always been answered for me in definitive tones but arriving at university changed things. I was exposed to the black abyss surrounding our sphere of knowledge for the first time and began to consider the fallibility of my upbringing.

Searching for answers led me to far corners of the world, but it was my trip to Tibet that was the most interesting. Among the typical Buddhist monasteries, I heard of an enclave of unorthodox Tibetan monks. Ernest in their pursuit of spiritual meaning and skeptical of previous theological tradition, they had begun to search for answers in their own way.

Intrigued by the tales of this mysterious group, I made a trek to their monastery only to discover ruin and decay. After searching around for some clues to the monks’ disappearance, I discovered a journal. Suspecting that the tome held valuable theological insight but unable to read Tibetan myself, I stowed the journal in my bag and headed home.

Upon translation, the journal was revealed to be instructions on how to move into the spirit dimension. Filled with skepticism, but incessantly curious, I decided to follow the method. After 48 hours of fasting and meditation, I stood up and focused my entire being on “motion” without actually moving. After some time, my hearing faded and my vision darkened.

Whilst scrutinizing the changes to my environment, a new shape began to catch my eye. Hazy and amorphous at first, gradually, the entities came into focus. A myriad of tangled tendrils filled my vision, engrossing the entire sky. Intermittently among the slimy strands were thousands of eye-like spheroids.

They were staring at me.

I had no time to process this revelation as I began to feel the sensation of drowning. I felt tendrils encroaching around me as I began to struggle for air. As my strength waned, I slipped into unconsciousness. I awoke in hospital unable to explain my injuries, my night terrors, or the nature of reality.

Alexander
Guest

You Matter
By Alexander (DownToEarth)
Miles and miles away from any civilization, nothing would be able to save me before I ran out of oxygen. The only way I could hope to be rescued was for my distress beacon to reach someone in less than an hour and a half. Considering how far away I was from anything, that wasn’t really something I could depend on.
I was going to die.
Tears sprung to my eyes as I forced myself to accept that.
I felt more alone than any other time in my life.
I drifted… And drifted… And drifted…
Tears openly flowing now, I did the only thing I could do.
The only thing we, as people, can do when we’re this hopeless.
I sang. I couldn’t tell where the words came from.
“As I leave you at the end…” I choked out. My voice hadn’t been used since I got separated, and it took a moment to get through the tears.
“I gently close your eyes…” Maybe the song made no sense. It didn’t matter to me.
I just needed an escape.
“I left your love, to fly to space…” I had no family. Maybe I was referring to the Earth itself? The lyrics didn’t even rhyme, and if I cared I would be ashamed of the poor songwriting.
My eyes were weary. I was running out of oxygen.
“Now I’m lost…” As I closed my eyes for the last time, it seemed to me like the entirety of space, everything in the universe, was singing with me. I had always thought space was cold and unforgiving, but in my final moments, I felt more loved than I had my whole life.
Seconds later, seconds too late, a ship arrived. The crew brought my corpse on board, but it was just a formality to them. They didn’t care, not really.
They brought me to Earth, where life moved on as usual. All my friends, it seemed, were too busy to show up to my funeral.
Humanity didn’t care about me, but the universe mourned me in its own, special way.

Seán Gray
Guest
Seán Gray

Summoning, by Seán Gray

Night had fallen by the time the kettle boiled. It screamed, whistle loud and high. Quincy was glad there was no one else to hear it. Nestled in this little cave, the world seemed so small. So far away.

Sighing, she rose, knees creaking. Two days on the run had taken its toil. Quincy had always been fit. She’d hadn’t been prepared for a hunt. Now she was trapped, left only with the picked-clean remains of a bear. Its skull unnerved her.

Caution warned against the fire and the tea. Reason demanded both. She had no choice, not any more.

So Quincy filled her tin mug till it was steaming, let the warmth suffuse her. Embrace her. It made it easier, what she was about to do. What she was about to summon.

Outside a few cold stars were rising, imperious in their ascent. Before long, her pursuers would catch up. See the light coming from her hideout, a beacon drawing them in.

Good. Everything was going according to schedule. Quincy rifled through her satchel, found a single tea bag. It stained the water red-brown, deepening until she fished it out.

Then she removed the vial. Charcoal black, a liquid shifted and swam inside. Power, raw and poisonous. Grimacing, Quincy laced the tea with it. Darkness bloomed within the brew, consumed it.

Finally she arrayed the bones.

There was nothing for it now. The drink burned as she slugged it back, eating at her throat, even as she laid her hands on the bear. Quincy sat up straight, tried to ignore how her stomach roiled. Then it happened.

The world froze, the dead rose, and the sky blinked.

Freezing, burning, she watched the world fall apart, piece by piece until there was nothing left but her –

Quincy woke, limbs stiff. The fire had burned itself out, and a weak morning glow had stolen in.

It meant nothing to her. For a creature of death stood before her, and in its eyes the heavens stared back. Endless and cold.

HimeChan113
Guest
HimeChan113

A Perfect Morning
~by S.D.~

“Good mornin’!” Mr.Lynrider greeted you, tipping his hat as he passed on his way to work.
You smile and wave back, squinting slightly in the sunlight, “Have a good day, sir!”
He returns the smile, walking up the sidewalk.
You tear off some more bread, tossing it in the grass of your front yard, feeding several birds. You let out a content sigh, smiling up at the sky as you debated what to do with such a lovely day. Maybe a visit to the park, or perhaps a trip to the countryside, or-
What was that? So fast…
“Good mornin’!” came a familiar voice.
You look over as Mr.Lynrider tips his hat to you, passing by.
You smile and wave, watching him go up the sidewalk, “Have a good-”
But wait… didn’t he already leave?
You shake your head, thinking you were mistaken, and shrugging it off. You tear off another piece of bread and toss it. You feel your heart leap into your throat. One of the birds was perfectly still, frozen in the middle of plucking its wing. You examine the rest; another in the process of picking up a crumb, one with it’s head tilted, and one simply holding a crumb in its beak.
“Good mornin’!” Mr.Lynrider called to you as he tipped his hat.
You don’t wave this time. You know he’d already left. You look past him and notice a couple others not moving. A woman on her phone, a chihuahua and his owner in the middle of walking, a cat hopping from a window to a fence, stuck in midair.
You stand up, very much alert. You look back up, seeing it again. You’re not crazy after all.
The perfect, clear blue sky blinked again, so fast it was barely noticeable. Then it blinked again, flickering until it faltered. In its place, a black void lined with a white grid. Everything else started faltering around you in rapid succession as a large red “ERROR” flashed overhead. Things distorted, even vanished.
What would happen to you?
Your hand stings, becoming garbled code.

Brick
Guest
Brick

Glimpse of the Universe
by Brickosaur

Wednesday

So, reality opened up this morning. Just for a second.

I don’t have a better way to describe it. The sun was normal, and then it just . . . wasn’t. It got dark from the inside out, like the aperture of a camera opening. It’s like this dark spot in the middle of the sun, which ripples outward really fast, and then the light’s back and everything is normal.

But not before we got a glimpse of the universe.

I can’t even describe what I saw that well. But I want to try and get across how it made me feel.
It’s . . . awesome. And not in the normal Oh That’s Awesome way we always say for everything. I mean really. Freaking. Awesome. Like finally understanding the size of the ocean — that feeling.
And it was beautiful. There were so many bright, moving colors, and they seemed almost alive. I swear I heard actual singing for a sec. And the sound was, well, I can’t think of a better word than Angelic.

Everyone says space is all dark and cold and that’s the whole thing. But what we saw today . . . I really can’t believe that anymore? For a second, the sky we know was gone. And what we saw instead was pure beauty. It was full! Of . . . something. It should have been terrifying, but that song brought me such peace . . .
I’m still feeling it. When you feel like this, you really can’t be afraid.

The sun’s back now. Everything is normal again. But I miss that bright, hidden sky.
It’s still out there, I think. And I’m sure scientists are freakin’ out trying to figure out what happened. I just hope I get to experience that again, someday.

Until then, the sun keeps shining. Keeps blocking out whatever is out there.

What else is the sun hiding?

[Note To Self — glue photos of swirly sky here]

Q. J. Graham
Guest

Light Pollution, by Q. J. Graham

Thinking it over later, Harry realized that perhaps what scared him the most was just how familiar it had seemed. Obviously, something like that doesn’t happen every day, but if he had been inside, it would have looked no different than if the light bulb had flickered.

Harry had been outside though. He’d been putting groceries into his car in the supermarket parking lot when it happened. The sky, cloudless and blue, went dark and became suddenly filled with stars, and in the spot where the sun had been moments before there was only a round, black void, as if the millions of miles of flames on its surface had just gone out. Though no one was focused on the sun; everyone, Harry included, had their sights turned elsewhere.

In that split-second of darkness, Harry saw more in the sky than he’d seen in his entire life. He saw swirling quasars, and nebulae creeping like mist across deep space. He saw brilliant supernovas illuminating solar systems half a galaxy away.

Despite space’s best efforts though, all these marvels faded into the background. Past the planets, Past red and white dwarfs, Harry saw the stars behind the stars: mere pin-pricks of light, but so far away and so blinding in their brightness that they couldn’t be anything other than holes in the blackness. They were everywhere; soon Harry couldn’t see anything else. They were in front of him, behind him – they surrounded him.

Worst of all, from those holes in the curtain, Harry felt watched.

Now, hours after the sun had come back, Harry sat, a blanket over his entire body, watching white-coats try to rationalize the half-second phenomenon that had lasted an eternity. Mass hallucination, they suggested, but somehow, in his gut, Harry knew the answer. It was a flickering bulb; the sun, like a light with a switch, was designed to keep the darkness at bay. Who designed it for them, Harry didn’t know, but the idea worried him. The system was faulty. The bulb was flickering.

And a bulb that flickers eventually burns out.

Amalgam
Guest
Amalgam

The Universe Awoke
By: Amalgam

From its slumber new stars were born. It yawn and old stars collapsed, dying under the weight of their own gravity.

The sky blink looking at the sands of time falling through the hourglass of a young princess as she stared in thought gazing at the grains of crystals.

Crushed diamonds sparkled in the moonbeam as they fell.

The sky blinked and everything changed.

In the span of millenniums rivers dried, fertile lands became barren. Now man road upon their steeds of steel. Engines of war powered by the energies of the cosmos. They harnessed the radiation, wielding the comics dust.

The sky cast it gazed upon another section of space and time and planets began to wither. Suns went supernova engulfing their moons.

The universe longed for its forbidden fruit.

Remembering a time long before sin had found this secret garden.
Under its eye it saw sadness and wept for the children of Earth. Graying clouds darkening as tears rained down.
The sky blinked pass the tears threatening to drown them.

It all happened in the blink of an eye.

Everything had changed. One moment, what was became what is not, as leaves fell from tree never to regrow.
Browning from green petrifying to white. A flash of light followed by a shockwave then a blast of heat.

The twisted skeleton of metal frames covered by ash falling from the sky like snow was all that was left in the end.

The sky blinked one last. It’s conscious expanding as it became self-aware.

Aaron Bridgeman
Guest
Aaron Bridgeman

“The Sky Blinked” (*Original I know*)
The sky blinked. One moment it was a deep indigo, splashes of orange and crimson across the horizon and cotton candy clouds drifting by. The next, nothing. A swirling maw devoid of stars, the moon, the sun, anything suggesting that it was our sky. I began to scream, but that was a mistake: there was no air. My final breath escaped my lungs in silent agony, with neither word nor sound; a pitiful whisper that could not be heard and that no one cared to hear. My vision blurred, my eyes in agony as the moisture in them began to tear itself away into the vacuum. The heat of my body forsook me as well, my skin shining like diamonds as it froze, as a burning cold sent daggers through every inch of my being.
I fell to the ground, unable to move. My vison blackened. I knew that I was dead.
“Find me,” she called out.
With a crash, I found myself on the ground. I lay there, dazed staring at the ceiling, trying to make sense of my surroundings. I sat up, recognizing the familiar shape of my desk in the corner. It was my room! I had only been dreaming. With a sigh of relief I stood, breathing deeply, savoring the cool night air drifting in from my open window. I turned to peer out the window: The moon glowing softly amongst a bed of stars. I shuddered, remembering the awful nothingness from my dream.
I grabbed my phone off the nightstand to check the time and froze. The date was a week before it should have been.

MisterWorst
Guest
MisterWorst

A Ritual, Completed
(Fog of Obscurity Series)
Submitted by MisterWorst

Twelve times the bell had tolled this evening. Twelve times it had announced the next step in the ritual. Granted most of those steps had to do with the feast and strengthening its survivors.
After all it was the most important part of the ritual.

It allowed the participants to talk, reforge connections and lay down the foundation for the next harvest.

While important these weren’t the main purpose of the feast. No that role fell to the various courses, as those were the parts that powered the ritual in the end.
Their consumption infused the participants with the needed power. The preparation of the seven courses and the connected sacrifices that entailed would concentrate the power so there would be enough energy to fulfil the requirements.

This time it had been Pugs task to prepare the ritual for the representatives of the tribes and like always the hardest part was providing just the right amount of participants.
Too many and the power would be spread to thin.
Not enough and one of the guests would demand another be added to the next course. Which inevitably lead to conflict where this was supposed to provide, ia peace between the tribes for the next harvest.

As such Pug was relieved when he watched as the representatives moved to the prepared site. To dance, to chant and finally to step into the bone-fire.
Each carrying their own idol.
They themselves being the tributes that would guide the powers now them for the betterment of the tribes.
The idols the connection between them and the tribes.

As the last Tribute stepped into the fire to be consumed, with the 13th toll, the flames roared. Shooting into the sky and dispersing the ever present fog. Letting Pug see the night sky.
A rare sight in these lands.

Within a blink the sight was gone again but now the animated faces of the idols could be seen in the fog.
The Ritual had been completed.
May the tributes guide and aid their Tribes well.