Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Today marks week 44 of the 52 week writing challenge!
The prompt for Sunday 5th November is ‘Sparkle’:
In the UK on November 5th we set off fireworks to mark the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up parliament. Are we celebrating his capture and execution, or honouring his attempt to get rid of the government? Who knows. I do know fireworks sparkle.
I’ve written a scene from my NaNoWriMo project where my characters celebrate Asteria, the day Earth was struck by an asteroid.
‘What are you doing for Asteria?’ Merlin asked. He glanced at Arthur as they lay side by side on the grass he’d conjured on the roof of his apartment block.
Arthur blinked and turned to look at him. ‘Not much. Father says we don’t have the money to celebrate. Back on Earth we had festivals. Food. Fireworks. Bonfires.’ He turned away again with a wistful expression. ‘I miss it.’
‘Could always go to the New London festival,’ Merlin said. ‘There’s no bonfire, but they have food and fireworks so it’s usually pretty fun. Well, it looks it anyway.’
‘You’ve never been?’ Arthur asked. He sat up and looked towards the centre of town, where a giant shimmering dome rose above the houses.
‘I’ve watched from up here, but never bothered to go,’ Merlin said. His eyes lit up, and he sat up. ‘We should go together.’
Arthur shook his head. ‘We can’t.’
Merlin pouted. ‘Why not?’
‘It costs money. 100 galactic dollars a person. You lost your job, and I don’t have one.’
‘That’s your only objection?’ Merlin asked with a sly grin.
Arthur nodded and watched as Merlin pulled a sheet of paper from his coat. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Making us tickets,’ Merlin replied.
He fumbled in the grass for his staff and tapped it on the paper. The staff glowed, but Arthur was focused on Merlin’s eyes. He’d never seen Merlin do magic this close up before. Normally a dull purple, almost brown, his eyes glowed amethyst and sparkled like the sun when he cast a spell. When Arthur looked at the paper, magical ink had spread to form two admission tickets.
‘Done,’ Merlin said with a grin.
Arthur stared at the fake tickets. ‘You really think that’ll work?’
Merlin shrugged and pressed a button on his watch. A hologram of the original ticket appeared, and he held it next to the sheet of paper as he eyed the tickets. ‘Probably. Do you think they look the same?’
‘I think you could make a living in counterfeiting,’ Arthur replied with a teasing smile. The tickets were identical, right down to the seal which sparkled in the setting sun.
Merlin slapped his arm. Arthur’s watch bleeped, and he glanced at the time.
‘I have to go to practise,’ Arthur said. ‘See you tonight?’
Merlin nodded and waved him off. ‘Meet you at the fountain at 7.’
When Merlin arrived, Arthur was leaned against the wall by the fountain, tapping his foot and staring at the sky.
‘Hey!’ Merlin said as he strode over.
‘You’re late,’ Arthur replied. He glanced at his watch. ‘A whole half hour this time. Was beginning to think you’d stood me up, or worse, been kidnapped again.’
‘The display doesn’t start until after eight,’ Merlin replied, but he flushed at Arthur’s glare. ‘Nini wouldn’t let me leave. I think she wanted to come with me.’
‘You need a new pet,’ Arthur teased.
‘I can’t get rid of her!’ Merlin replied, face pale. ‘She’s been acting odd lately. More so since I met you. I think she’s jealous.’
Arthur frowned. ‘No, not jealous. She just likes me more than you.’
Merlin rolled his eyes and gestured to the festival area, a large dome suspended above the streets and houses, made from a holographic shield designed to keep out those without a ticket. ‘Come on, let’s get inside.’
Inside, market stalls lined the outer circle. Arthur’s gaze flitted between the bright lights, which circled the floor, and the vendors selling hot dogs, noodles and other food to go.
‘Hungry?’ Merlin asked.
‘Starving.’ Arthur closed his eyes and inhaled as they passed a noodle stand. His nose twitched as he caught a whiff of fresh chicken. ‘Please tell me it’s free.’
‘I’d never lie to you,’ Merlin replied.
Arthur groaned. ‘I skipped dinner to meet you.’
‘I have a bit left over from my last pay check. What do you want?’
‘Chicken noodles,’ Arthur replied without hesitation.
Merlin raised an eyebrow. ‘Out of everything here you want noodles?’
Arthur crossed his arms. ‘My mother used to make them on Earth every Asteria.’
‘All right, noodles it is,’ Merlin replied. He exchanged a huge twenty galactic dollars for two portions of noodles and handed one to Arthur. Food in hand, they made for the stalls.
‘Relics of Earth?’ Arthur asked, as they moved past stalls selling asteroid bracelets, coffee mugs and disposable cameras, and came to a stop at a stall.
‘Yup. Replicas of things from Earth before the asteroid hit,’ the stall owner said.
Merlin frowned and picked up a carving of stone henge. ‘The stones are in the wrong place.’
‘I think you’ll find my wares are 100% accurate,’ the stall owner insisted with a glare.
‘No, Merlin’s right,’ Arthur said. ‘I grew up near stone henge, and it doesn’t have a roof.’
‘Grew up near… Pull the other one, kid.’
Arthur rolled his eyes and pressed a button on his watch. A hologram appeared: An image of a younger Arthur, stood by the stones.
‘I want my money back!’ A woman yelled from behind Arthur.
Merlin noticed the stall owner glare at them, and he tugged at Arthur’s arm. ‘We better go.’
‘Right,’ Arthur agreed. ‘We need to find our seats anyway.’
Arthur’s jaw dropped when they got to their seats, a box suspended in the sky as if by magic.
‘Did I forget to mention we have the best seats?’ Merlin said with a grin.
Arthur ran to the railing and leaned over. ‘I can see the whole city from here.’
Merlin joined him and smiled. Arthur raised his watch.
‘What are you doing?’ Merlin asked.
‘Taking a picture,’ Arthur replied. He pressed a button and a holographic picture of the two of them appeared. ‘I want to show mother I have friends now. She worries.’
Merlin nodded and sank into his seat in the corner of the box. ‘Come on, it’ll start soon.’
‘Heat this up, will you?’ Arthur asked, with a gesture to his noodles as sat beside Merlin.
With a glance behind them to make sure no one was watching, Merlin waved his hand over the noodles. Steam began to rise from the box.
‘Thanks,’ Arthur replied. A fork full of noodles was already halfway to his mouth when he paused. ‘Hey, you didn’t use your staff.’
‘I didn’t bring it,’ Merlin admitted. He dropped his voice to a whisper as the seats began to fill up. ‘I only need it for more advanced spells.’
Arthur nodded, and they faced forward as dramatic music cut through the air. The lights dimmed, and the crowd fell silent. A man took centre stage on a podium in front of them, suspended high in the air. Poised, he waited, and then the podium whirred and began to spin. The man spun with it, and as thin platforms shot in all directions from the pedestal, sparks flew from his arms. Surrounded, he became a blur of light as he moved around the dome.
Arthur gasped as a holographic planet appeared, blue and sparkly against the black backdrop. ‘Earth.’
He saw Merlin nod beside him, and leaned forward in his seat to get a better look. The sparkly man spun around the planet, swift and bright in the dark of the night, and perfectly balanced. Another man appeared, as bright as the first, and they danced together across the sky.
‘Thanks for bringing me here,’ Arthur murmured, eyes alight with awe and bright with the sparkles of the display. He stood and leaned, arms crossed, against the barrier in front of them.
Merlin joined him. ‘It was the least I could do. You saved my life.’
‘That had its own reward,’ Arthur replied. ‘I didn’t believe in myself until I saved you.’
Merlin smiled and Arthur grinned. They turned back to the display and watched as the spinning men collided. The men became a blur of light, and they hurtled towards the planet to explode in a shower of sparks against it. Merlin’s eyes widened, but around them the crowd burst into applause as a ship shot into the atmosphere from the ashes of the burning planet.
‘Realistic, isn’t it?’ a voice asked from behind them.
Merlin turned and tried to keep the surprise from his face. Mordred.
‘All robots, and I made them,’ Mordred continued, oblivious. ‘Miss Morgan sponsored me.’
‘Impressive,’ Merlin said, and the tension left his shoulders. Mordred wouldn’t recognise him. He knew Myrddin Ambrosius, an elderly university lecturer, not Merlin, a young man at an Asteria celebration. Beside Merlin, Arthur nodded and turned back to the display.
‘Oh, you have to watch this next bit!’ Mordred said, and he pointed to the sky in front of them.
Merlin turned back to the show as a multitude of fireworks shot into the sky to sparkle above them.
‘I modified the chemicals,’ Mordred said. ‘They’ll stay in the sky for at least a week.’
Merlin smiled awkwardly and turned to look at the dots, which sparkled suspended in the sky.
‘Reminds me of the stars back home,’ Arthur said with a wistful smile.
Merlin nodded. Looking up at the night sky, he was reminded of a time long ago, when he and Arthur stood on the parapets of Camelot and gazed out over the kingdom and its starry skies. ‘Me too,’ Merlin replied. ‘Me too.’
Thanks for reading!
Nini is Merlin’s pet, named after the Lady of the Lake. She’s a cross between a cat and a dragon. Asteria is the Titan goddess of falling stars. I named the asteroid festival after her because near the disaster it was common to wish on falling stars for the survival of humanity.
I’m not sure this excerpt fits into my project, because not a lot happens in the way of plot. I’m counting the words anyway, but it’ll need a bit of work if it’s to be included.
Next Sunday’s prompt:
The prompt for 12th November is ‘Alien.’
If you try next weeks prompt yourself, let me know how it goes. Post your attempt on your blog on the 12th November, and leave a link in the comments so I can read it 🙂
If you can attempt the prompt in less than 140 characters, you can also #sunscribbles on Twitter. I am super interested to see what you all come up with 🙂