For a change it’s time for a bit of flash fiction!
I didn’t have any prompt for this one but I got my inspiration from the northern lights. I wanted to keep the story under 500 words (final count 449) and finish within a time limit, so it’s a little rough around the edges. Would still love to hear your thoughts on it!
Alena raised her hand up towards the onyx sky and exhaled steadily through her nose. A cloud of fog momentarily blocked the stars out of view. The words of her mother rang in her ear, mixing with the brisk wind. Be respectful. Be polite. Be patient.
To call for the spirits was no easy task. Failure would stump her progress, cast a shadow of shame over her, spark distrust in the eyes of the villagers. Alena swallowed hard. Success was the only option.
She shifted her weight and the fresh blanket of snow creaked under her. The frozen air nipped at her cheeks and nose like an impatient animal. Time was of the essence but who’d dare hurry up the spirits? As much as Alena wanted to return to the hearth in the shaman’s tent, she valued her head over warmth.
Focus, she reminded herself.
She breathed out steadily, slowly, with her eyes closed, and moved her hand in a horizontal arc. In her mind, she envisioned the swaying lines and vibrant colors of aurora borealis. It attracts the spirits, her mother had reminded her. It gives them a form.
The wind howled and whisked up a puff of snow. Alena opened her eyes as the tiny dots hit her face, encrusting her face. She drew a sharp breath. A faint line of purple shot across the dome of the sky. It disappeared as fast as it had appeared, but Alena’s heart leaped with hope. She could do this.
She raised her other arm up, bringing her drum closer to her face, and swung the drumstick down. The boom rang all around her. She continued drumming and allowed herself to join into the rhythm, the melody. Without even realizing it, her mouths started to chant the needed words.
As her words of summoning echoed through the snow-covered plains, the stars above her twinkled brighter. The line of purple returned, soon followed by another, this time a green one.
Sing for us, the wind whispered.
And she did.
Alena carried out the ritual exactly as she’d seen her mother do countless times, step by step without missing a beat. The spirits, enchanted by the spell, came closer to her. She kept her head up as colors splattered the sky and lit up the plains.
She could finally relax and slow down her beating, her chanting. The spirits wouldn’t have her head. The villagers would be proud.
They would be proud their new shaman had lured out the aurora borealis. And, if Aleana said so herself, she was proud of herself too.
“Thank you,” she whispered back to the spirits.
The lights faded in and out, as if nodding their approval.