I am resistant to the destiny that the clan mothers spoke of.
They coated my face in broad strokes of pink and blue, across the skin over my eyes and in diagonals down my cheeks. All the while, they lay their burden on me.
Find it. Restore them. Restore us all.
The prophecy of the Daughter of Lost Chicago is older than my mother’s mother. The talk is not new. But now these old women—in whose strong wrinkled fingers is woven the blood of our people—now they speak of carrying out the ancient promise. Find the cup, restore the clan, heal the dying, bring peace to the continent.
I don’t see why it has to be me.
I was days away from setting off. From making my hunt, setting my borders and breathing blood into a clan of my own. I would walk beyond the dried edges of our burning valley, somewhere where water did not hide beneath the twisted, greedy tree roots.
Instead, I wanted into the heart of the valley of fire. To where the ancients lived in their brown stone pillars, where only the wild dares explore. To find the cup, they say; to save our people, they tell me. To become clan mother and restore life to the bloodlines.
Author’s Note: These snippets are unedited free-writing exercises that I use as a way to shift my brain into a creative state. I use Lynda Barry’s What It Is YouTube timed exercises (usually 9 minutes worth of writing) for these. They are handwritten in a composition notebook and then typed up here. As I transcribe them, I make minor grammar and spelling corrections, but the overall “clarity” (if you can call it that) of the exercise is left as-is.
The concept for this snippet came from a flash fiction challenge by Chuck Wendig. I’d been holding onto it to write a longer piece, but since others online have already used it, I didn’t want to depend so heavily on a shared topic for a novella or novel length work.