Nothing like bashing out a flash fic to blast through writer’s block. Today’s writing warm-up:
Everyone gets the ability to cast magic when they turn twenty, but each person has different types of power. We’ve seen Necromancers, Pyromancers, Sleepmancers and many more. You on the other hand are the first ever Pollenmancer, and no one likes you for it.
Can’t say I had much success with girls after my gift manifested.
I’d be chatting up someone while strolling in the Agora or sitting down at the open-air theatre, and after a few minutes of talk, she’d inevitably ask, ‘So, what’s your gift?’
No point in lying. People often asked for demonstrations. So I’d give her my best smile, tilt my head a little and whisper, ‘Apollenmancer.’
‘A Pollenmancer,’ I’d say louder, cheeks heating up.
What came next was always the same: a glance at the sundial; she had somewhere to be. Or the play was about to start, shush.
I spent months trying and failing to impress girls, and was destined for a life of attracting hay fever victims seeking respite from their allergy. Jealousy swelled inside me at the lucky ones, those gifted with powers that others found impressive. Powers that were dangerous or even lethal, like the Windmancer, who could manifest a gale out of nowhere and the Pyromancer, who could burn you with a click of his fingers. Or the ones like the Youthmancer and the Dreammancer: powers the rich sought and paid handsomely for.
And then there were the superstars: the Thundermancer, the Sunmancer, the Necromancer, the Seamancer or the most dangerous of all, the Lovemancer. They formed a clique, attracting attention, fans and groupies, and lording it over us all. People started making sacrifices in their name to require their assistance; they prayed in their name and cursed in their name and made such a big deal out of them, just because they’d been born with a more powerful gift than the rest of us.
But no matter how annoyed I felt at yet another festival in their name, I burned with longing to join their stupid clique. Moving into the mountainside commune they’d built for themselves became my number one goal. I bet I’d get plenty of girls then, I thought.
I spent the next few months developing my skill and considering my next steps. Attracting a swarm of bees — impressive to some — seemed merely a party trick to those who could command the sun or the lightning. I tried bribing, flirting, the lot. Nothing worked, so one option remained to me: blackmail.
A year after training hard, I’d become attuned with the rhythms of nature and the secrets of plants. I knew the right moment to cause maximum disaster, and when it came, I didn’t hesitate: I stopped all pollen from being produced. My range now encompassed the whole country. Soon the bees starved, the flowers died, the orchards went fruitless, the harvest failed.
Spring would come only when I wanted to.
Word soon spread out and people came in droves to beg of me to restore the order of nature. Some threatened me, others made sacrifices in my name. I’d started getting famous and basked in the adulation, but I refused to comply. I wanted more than the temples and the fame: I wanted the clique to notice me. I wanted in.
It didn’t take long before the two scary ones, the Thundermancer and the Seamancer, brothers as it turned out, came to invite me in person to one of their parties — on the condition I made spring happen.
‘People’ve been expecting us to fix things and we can’t,’ one of them admitted. ‘You make us look bad.’
I gave them both a sweet smile and said that I’d consider their request only if I moved in with them. An invitation to a party didn’t seem like a great reward for one who could command nature, now did it?
After a whispered conversation, the largest one turned to me. ‘If that’s what you want, Demeter, so be it. You can come live at Olympus with us.’
28 March 2018