Prompt: Skyline Pigeon – Elton John
Il piccione se ne sta seduto sul davanzale della finestra, incurante della grave violazione che sta commettendo. Secondo una legge non scritta – ma ben riconosciuta da qualunque animale in tutto il mondo – i territori altrui non si attraversano senza permesso. E' una cosa che semplicemente non si fa, è maleducazione e inappropriatezza, nonché mancanza di autoconservazione.
Difatti, il piccione in questione – rotondo e pasciuto – potrebbe essere attaccato in qualunque momento – magari casualmente proprio dal gatto nero e grigio che lo sta guardando – e non potrebbe far altro che soccombere perché nessuno con un po' di sale in zucca interverrebbe in suo favore. Non certo un altro gatto, se non per portarselo via e mangiarselo una volta che fosse ferito, non certo i suoi colleghi piccioni, che si sa non brillano per arguzia.
Il piccione torce il collo e guarda il gatto con gli occhi vitrei della stupidità, eppure al gatto sembra uno sguardo di sfida. Prova a prendermi, dice il pennuto, volerò prima che tu possa farlo.
Gorgheggia, questa pallida imitazione malriuscita di uccelli più aggraziati di lui, passeggiando impunito sul davanzale e ondeggiando il paffuto didietro.
Il sangue del gatto ribolle e tutto il suo corpo si tende. Come osa, questa sottospecie di triste tacchino in miniatura, posare le zampette sudicie sul davanzale della sua finestra pensando di poter fare come gli pare? Giammai! Qui inizia e finisce la sua bravata.
Il gatto si carica indietro come un gioco a molla, sculetta per calibrare la traiettoria, si dà lo slancio, salta e si schianta contro il vetro della finestra con un fragoroso rumore di dignità infranta. Il piccione agita le ali in preda al panico, fa due passi indietro e cade dal davanzale.
Ancora quel campo di forza, invisibile e impenetrabile, che lo tiene lontano dalla preda tanto ambita.
Ma verrà un giorno in cui riuscirà ad attraversarlo e allora per i piccioni non ci sarà più pietà.
Title: Semina curarum de capite orta tuo
Prompt: Delenda Carthago – Franco Battiato
From the window of the harem, Leo looks at the group of soldiers entering the gardens and yelling at the guards to stand down. The two men, fattened by too many banquets and the constant lack of exercise, understand they have no chance against an entire, trained squadron and depose their weapons to the ground immediately.
They expect to be killed, no doubt, but they are not. They are tied, instead, and left in a corner while the soldiers scour the area.
There are fifteen of them, all in heavy armor, on their shields a strange coat of arms Leo has never seen before – not that he has seen many, after all. It looks like a crown with a chain wrapped around it, something like that. Not many soldiers come so far up the mountain. The castle doesn't have any strategic value, the weather is mostly horrible and they have no gold – it's common knowledge in the valley – it's the last place any raider would want to come.
Leo wonders if they come from so far away that they don't know the disappointment that awaits them. This is the only reasonable explanation he can give to their presence here.
Their leader is tall and black-haired, with deep golden eyes, and he looks extremely upset or tired, Leo can't decide. He's got islander features, though, and milk-white skin exactly like him. In fact, he can see a great lot of himself in him, and that's the first time in forever. Everybody is dark-skinned here, or blonde.
Maybe this soldier comes from where Leo himself comes, wherever it is. Leo doesn't remember because he was four when he was taken away from his family and nobody wants to tell him where he's from – not his owner, who doesn't like the question, nor his fellow slaves who don't have the knowledge. Suddenly this foreigner could hold the answer to a question Leo has had for ten years, and Leo needs to give him a better look, maybe talk to him just a little.
He pushes the couch under the window and climbs on it to see him better. Maybe he makes a noise or maybe he's just more visible than he was a moment ago, but the man turns his face up and for a moment their eyes meet.
Leo sees something in them – maybe the same spark of recognition or maybe something else, surprise perhaps – then the man gives an order in a language Leo doesn't know. He drops on the couch, that wobbles under his weight.
The man is coming up here, he's sure of it.
Either he has the answer Leo's looking for or not, Leo can do nothing but wait for him now.
Prompt: Warning: Violence
Gabriel plunges Phaesphoros in the belly of the demon, who shrieks and starts bucking violently in order to get away from him. Tommy, straddling his back, closes his knees to its flanks and plants Heosphoros right in the back of his neck. “Where do you think you're going?” He chuckles.
Gabriel pulls the sword up, opening the creature up to its throat. A gush of ichore showers him right before the mass of its entrails rain down on him. They stink like rot and death. The demon growls in his face, its teeth only inches away from his face.
Gabriel laughs, opening his arms wide, the sword held tight in his right. “What? Do you wanna have a go at me?” He taunts the beast, taking a few steps backwards. “Come on, then! Take your shot, your lurid creature! Come and get him.”
The demon struggles to pull himself up on his wounded legs. Tommy cut four of them before climbing over it, and creature is unstable on the three that it's got left. It roars again and then, with its last ounce of strength, launches itself at Gabriel.
Gabriel stands still and smirks, his arms still open wide, inviting. “Come on, you idiot! You stupid fucking beast!”
The demon growls, galloping towards him, the ground shaking under his enormous taloned paws. It gets an inches of Gabriel's face, winding his last breath. Then its head detaches from the rest of his body as Tommy hangs to Heosphoros and lets himself slide down the flank of demon, hooting and cheering. “Stopped at the right second!” He praise himself. “I'm so good.”
The carcass slumps to the ground with a few seconds delay. “You are,” Gabriel says, his voice darker.
Tommy turns to look at him and licks his lips. “I can be better, you know?”
It's all it takes for Gabriel to grab him and pull him into an hungry kiss.
They should report to the institute, but they'll be late again.
Title: Pirate fights are never fair
“Are you sure about him, captain?” Adam tries to ask the question as vaguely as he can.
The new kid has been on the ship two weeks and Adam has already made up his mind about him. He is not made for this life. He's a spoiled brat who embarked a navy ship because he was bored and now he thinks he can be a pirate.
“I think he's got potential,” Blaine says, looking over at the new kid, who sits awkwardly next to a group of barrels.
Adam doesn't like the way the captain looks at him, there's too much affection in his eyes, too much of something Adam thinks it's unacceptable – partly because it's addressed to a stranger, partly because it is not addressed to him, but he will not admit that.
“To die young? Probably,” Adam snort. “I give him three days before he demands to be taken back.”
“Why do you say that?” Blaine asks, genuinely confused. “He came to us alone, risking his life, that is something. And don't forget he beat three of your men with a wooden sword. That was unfair, by the way. If you want to put someone to the test, you give him the right weapons.”
“Pirate fights are never fair,” Adam retorts. “If he wants to be one of us and raid the seas, he'll have to learn how to fight with everything he has, not only his sword.”
“Well said,” Blaine stands up and brushes off his hands. “You'll be the one in charge of training him, then.”
“Wait, what?” Adam looks at him in shock. “Blaine!”
But Blaine's already gone.
Title: Fathers are fearless
Prompt: Cowtverse SAFE
Langley looks intensely at his child, who flails arms and legs in what it's undoubtedly an interesting, if uncoordinated, dance and gurgles happily as if expecting him to know what to do.
Langley can't blame the kid. He is a father, he should know what to do and he probably will, in time, but right now, at the present time he has no clue of what he's supposed to be doing. The kid pooped – that much is clear by the stink of death that's pervading their royal bedroom – and the kid is stained with said poop up to the neck, which is extremely disgusting.
But that is also what fathers do, right? They face disgusting things head on.
Poop! Boogers! Vomit! Spit! Bring it on! Langley can deal with everything. Sort of.
The problem is that he doesn't know how to clean the brown problem – well, it's actually yellowish with some tinge of green. Is it normal? He doesn't think so, he should investigate on that, but later – without touching it. He is a fearless father, but not that fearless.
“Sweet icy cake of mine,” he chirps to Shannen, sitting a few feet away from him and, more importantly, from the stink, “would you mind give me a hand?”
“Not a chance,” Shannen shakes his head. “Didn't you want to be a father?”
“I made them,” Shannen declares. “That's my contribution.”
Shannen made them, Celes gave birth to them, he needs to keep them clean.
It seems the short straw, until the kid smile at him before anybody else.
Title: Junk food is a state of mind
Prompt: Cowtverse SAFE
“I don't think this is acceptable”, Lacros says looking at them in utter disgust.
These are two of the things Lacros is famous for – thinking things are unacceptable and feeling disgust for something or other – so they don't pay him much attention. It's not disrespect, it's just that he says that all the time, it's not like they don't know or anything.
“Actually, I know this is not acceptable,” Lacros insists as they sit down at the table and start unwrapping their food. “This is absolutely preposterous.”
“Dear, your blood pressure,” Laenton tries, knowing very well that his words will fall unheard – which they do obviously.
“I demand that you stop immediately!”
As a matter of fact, they do stop but only to look at him with annoyance. “What, uncle Lacros?” Celes asks, his newly acquired masculine voice sounding a little bit strange to his uncle's ears. “You wanted us here for dinner. We are.”
“The proper one!” Lacros says hysterically, waving at what's in front of them. “What are those? This is a formal dinner, with delicious food prepared by the royal cooks!”
“And these are cheeseburgers, courtesy of Aimatopolis,” Langley presents him with a wrapped bun. “Here, try it.”
“Come on,” Langley insists with a smile. “Try it, if you don't like it, we will stop eating them too and we will eat what your cooks prepared.”
“What?” Shannen hisses, “Are you an idiot, idiot?”
“That's redundant, my love.”
Lacros smiles. “Very good,” he accepts the challenge. “Give me one of those things.”
The High Priest grabs the cheeseburger, unwraps it with pretentious slowness and then he bites into it as if he was holding a piece of mud. He munches as if it was rotten. He swallows it as if it was poop. But for all he tries, he can't hide the blissful expression his face makes after the first bite and right before the wish for a second.
“So?” Langley smirks.
“Laenton, call the cooks,” Lacros says, biting into the cheeseburger again. “I have changed my mind on dinner.”
The boys laugh, victoriously.
Title: The first time in forever
Prompt: Cowtverse SAFE
Langley sits down on his beach towel right in the middle between Celes – who has been lying for the past hour and it's probably already cooked on that side – and Shannen, who's stubbornly hiding under a straw hat and in the comfortable shadow of the beach umbrella.
“Here, my winter flower,” he says, passing him a cold drink in a pretentious glass with a little umbrella in it, “I brought you something to drink. You look exhausted after doing absolutely nothing.”
“It's the sun, I hate it,” Shannen grumbles.
“Said the one of my boyfriends who's not a vampire,” Celes chuckles from behind his huge sunglasses. “Did you bring something for me too?”
Langley leans forward to give him a kiss and then he handles Celes a second glass. “Here, my summer flower, I would never forget about you.”
For the first time in forever – after general wars, wars against evil energy twin, battles between alien women (that one was weird) and tiresome reconstructions with the help of hot men – they can relax for more than ten minutes in a row and they're gonna take advantage of it as much as they can. At least two of them, they will try and get Shannen relax later.
As they sip blissfully from their glasses, Calico passes by running and screaming like his head out. “Somebody help him! They're crazy!”
Right behind him the twins, who half running half flying are chasing after him, using their cousin as a target for their (unusually powerful) magic.
“It's nice that our children are pretty much the same age as Calico, right?” Langley observes, as the twins set fire to their cousin's hair. “At least they can keep each other company.”
“Absolutely,” Celes nods, watching the horizon.
Calico falls on the ground, pleading for mercy, but his voice goes unheard.
Prompt: Cowtverse SAFE
“I don't think that's the right way to put it on,” Shannen comments, tilting his head to the side. He's usually a very quite guy – especially when he knows that opening his mouth and giving his opinion will lead to a conversation where he will have to open his mouth again and giving other opinions – but he became generally more vocal, lately, when it comes to the twins.
“How would you put it on, then,” Langley asks, not a trace of annoyance in his voice. He's sincerely curious because he's new to fatherhood and he's aware of knowing exactly nothing about everything, so he's willing to accept any suggestion and to see things to another perspective.
“I don't k now, it just seems wrong, don't you see?” Shannen walks around the twin, to watch his baby from every side. The baby in question, held up by his other father, tries to follow him with his eyes and gurgles something that, in Langley's mind, translates to What are you doing incredibly handsome father? Why are you looking at me like that? Am I not the most precious thing you've ever made? What is the wrong that you see in me?. Baby language is way more succinct.
“It's weird, but I don't see any other way to put it on, honestly,” Langley comments as the baby starts jumping up and down, testing his short legs.
“I don't know, maybe the other way around?” Celes enters the room and sigh, looking up at the sky, probably seeking the wisdom of his powerful ancestors. “What's wrong with you two and onsies? Can't you see it's backwards?”
“Now that I think about it, it was weird that it has two buttons to open the front,” Langley realizes. “It makes much more sense on the back.”
“You don't say?” Celes grabs the baby from him and starts undressing him. “Sometimes I really worry about you two.”
Just sometimes, though. The rest of the time, lucky for him, they are perfect.
Title: A constant, nightmarish sound
Prompt: Cowtverse SAFE
“They are crying,” Celes mutters from under the pillow, even though the babies are not crying, they're more like two very loud sirens. It's a constant, nightmarish sound that starts suddenly and seems to never stop.
“I've been there last time,” Shannen turns on his side and presses the pillow over his ears with all his strength. He's ready to crush his skull with his own hands if that is what he needs to do. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen and the pillow is not enough to keep away the horrible sound.
“If I don't sleep at least a couple of hours, I'll break down,” Langley protests, covering himself with the blankets and trying to disappear. “I haven't fed in weeks. If I don't even sleep, I'm going to kill someone.”
“They fall asleep faster with you,” Shannen replies. “You bore them to death or something.”
“They are here because your loins were too enthusiast,” Langley frowns in protest, from underneath his nest of sheets like a overgrown bat “It's your responsibility.”
“They here because suddenly there was a ute—“
Celes groans, hitting him blindly. “Don't you even dare finish that sentence, Shan, or I swear...!”
The babies start screaming louder, if it's even possible.
“I can't take it anymore,” Langley whimpers.
“Fine,” Celes sits up. “We all go. If one of us can't sleep, none of us will.”
“It sounds like a suicide mission,” Shannen comments.
Langley will take it. The thought of death seems sweet to him at this point.
Title: Demon Curse
Prompt: Immagine del demonio
They look down at the body on the floor, or what's left of it.
The place stinks of death – that nauseous, vaguely sweet smell that sticks with you for days – and there is blood everywhere. It's a small room, but they still had to cut her out to paint it completely red. It's a young girl, not much older than them. Her belly open to reveal her entrails, her face disfisgured.
“What happened here?” Leo sounds sickened and angry, but most of all he sounds scared, and Annie can't really blame him. She is used to things like that, but they are more used to other kind of deaths, more messy maybe, but way le creepy.
“Some sort of attack,” Adam tries to guess, looking at the body. “Maybe one of those riders.”
“No, that was something of her own doing,” she sighs, points at the signs for them. The circle on the ground, the traces of soil on the tip of her fingers, the symbol painting on her forehead. “She summons something and she couldn't control it.”
“You mean like a demon?”
“Yes, exactly like that.”
“So, if she summoned and it killed her—“ Leo swallows.
“It means like it's still around,” Adam concluded.
They look at each other and then they suddenly turn to the door when the hear the roars. They came here for a simple murder and they suddenly have a demon on their hands.
Not exactly a good way to start the week.