Friday, December 3, 2010

Tunnel of Love

Sun smote the ground between the soles of Síofra's feet and his shadow. Erin shook her head wondering why he bothered to tolerate her and her vestigial wings if his status meant so much to him. She should be happy. The blue-wing had augured that Síofra would propose to her today. If it was such a good match, why did he have to show off?

The wooden dragons-head laid on the grass beside the xylophone bridge. Paint dripped from a wooden sign announcing the "Tunnel of Love". Erin didn't remember it being so close to the bridge, but things in fairyland had a tendency to drift. She'd never ridden through the tunnel -- never had a lover before -- and the sign looked a little amateurish. Yet, the scales on the dragons-head sparkled in the sunlight and it looked so life-like. Erin let the grin blossom across her lips in diamond twinkles. Those who flew were more susceptible to claustrophobia.

"Why are you grinning?"

Erin grabbed Síofra's arm and let the tingling sensation zip through her blood as a glow surrounded them. "We should ride the Tunnel of Love."

"Why?" A flash of lightning sparked between them as Síofra pulled his hand from Erin's grasp. "We're not even promised."

Yet, thought Erin. "Haven't you ever pondered what wonders lie hidden within the tunnels?"

"It's not about the wonders." Síofra's eyelashes became heavy in the sunlight.

Erin raced forward and he flitted close to her always at least a hands-breadth away. She arched her back as she squeezed her hand into the folds of her blouse, searching for a gold coin. His eyes dropped to her exposed cleavage. At least there was something he wanted. Droplets condensed on the blackened edges of the coin drop in the dragons-head's nose. The yellow-green liquid stuck to her fingers and she shook them while making a face.

"I don't think we should do this," said Síofra.

Erin crossed the dragon's wooden tongue, it was moister than she would've expected, and clambered into the trolley. "You're not going to force me to go by myself, are you?"

His wings flashed mother-of-pearl as he perched on the edge of the trolley.

"See, that wasn't so bad. Everyone does this."

"Why aren't there any tracks for the trolley?"

Plaque stained the edges of the dragons-head's teeth. The maintainers of this ride should have kept it in better shape. "Magic, silly." Erin pulled Síofra from where he balanced on the wooden rim.

Warm wind belched over them with a stink of sulfur.

Síofra fluttered his wings but he couldn't budge Erin's weight over him. "We've got to get out of here. Now!"

The mouth closed and the car lurched backwards falling down the tunnel. Síofra screamed. His wings tore as he beat them against the car's walls.

Erin swallowed the fear in her throat. Tearing his wings like that, he wouldn't fly for weeks. Scratch that. They were unlikely to survive. She clenched her hands on one of the boards on the car. It wiggled as she realized the nails were loose. She pulled and it came away. "Hold tight," she shouted at Síofra. She punched the board into the warm esophagus. Erin clung to it.

The trolley struck Síofra's shin and pulled him from his grip on Erin's waist. His hands slid down her leg and caught on her foot. Below them, light flashed in an explosion as the trolley disappeared into the gullet.

"If we get out of this alive, I'll marry you," said Síofra.

A response to Emily J. Griffin's prompt, "Oh No!", on Flashy Fiction. Constructive criticism and comments appreciated.


  1. great response to the prompt, "Oh No!" indeed!
    This is well crafted, with the prediction that he would propose.

    Dragons get plaque too, eh? I sympathise!

  2. Great take on the prompt!! Love the descriptions of the fairies too. Will there be a part two?

  3. @Mazz, Thanks; yes, it's one of the few times that I sympathize with the dentists.

    @VR, Glad you like the fairies. The story does leave it hanging doesn't it. I will have to see if I get a clever idea for a part two.

  4. This is so beautiful! Your images always leave me feeling satisfied and full. I chuckled at the premonition twist. ;)

  5. Funny. By the time she was making her way over the moist dragon's tongue... I had a pretty good clue what was going to happen next. But the ending deserved an all-caps LOL!

  6. @Deb, glad you enjoyed the images and twist.

    @Stephen, glad it got a laugh. I wasn't going for a twist on the Dragon being live so wanted to make sure it came across and hope it pulled out a little of Erin's character at the same time.

  7. A nice cliffhanger ending Aidan, maybe if they tickle the dragons throat he'll cough them back out again?

  8. @Steve, that's an enterprising idea. I can see a couple complications there that might be fun to play with.

  9. Great response to the prompt. I felt like this piece was jammed full of world building and action. I almost think I would enjoy it as a longer work where you could really develop these characters and the world the live in fully.

  10. I dig flyer-types having greater issues with tight spaces. That's my favorite detail in the piece.

  11. Wonderful imagery! I think there's a good opportunity to develop Erin and Siofra's relationship in a longer piece or perhaps a story that precedes this one.

  12. "Oh no," indeed. I liked the little scattering of fairyland details that built up some of the background reality of the story. I was intrigued how the fairyland tunnel of love worked - perhaps, once you are ready to take a trip, crisis cuts through any romantic circling to a more committed 'yes / no'. I like it.

  13. @GP, thanks, I enjoyed the bits of the world here and feel like it would be fun to get to know the rest of the iceberg. If only I had enough time to work on longer pieces for all the work clamoring for them.

    @John, thanks for pointing that out; it's always helpful to know which details spark for people.

    @Wendy, glad you liked the images; I like Erin & Síofra; so it'd be nice to dig into them more thoroughly.

    @Stephen, that fits nicely with the tunnel of love rides that either were romantic or scary to provide lovers a socially acceptable excuse for touching in the early 20th century.

  14. Is it a bad thing that I sided with the dragon in this? His trick had me grinning, and I wish he'd gotten a nice little snack for a reward.

  15. @James, I'm glad someone sided with him. I thought he was being quite clever.