She stretches, muscles rippling like currents of the Nile. She’s beautiful and knows it. Her head held high reminds me of the sphinx. She rules this realm with calm assurance, her palace partially draped in shadow.
It’s peaceful here, a quiet corner of the jungle protected from the crazy fusion of wacky signs and flashes of Vegas neon.
We are in the MGM Grand. A sturdy wall of glass stands between us and the majestic lioness.
Her trainer calls her. Paul and I find a little tunnel that leads into the glass enclosure. We stand in the viewing chamber as she stretches and yawns. I hear the trainer call again. Her Highness is not to be rushed.
She stands. Her immense size makes me gasp. The graceful feline pads her way across the floor then leaps above us. Pause. Her massive head stoops low toward me.
Her face is inches from mine. She studies me. My eyes dive into the swirling yellow-lime-green aurora galaxy of her eyes, dark pools of mystery. I smell jungle, and know the struggle of life and death.
People gather in our tunnel, but she chooses to share her secrets only with me. Her head rises, then she turns and vanishes, taking the magic with her.
I have jungle in my blood now. I recall her glowing eyes each time I see aurora borealis dance in my arctic sky.
My brother talks about his life in Africa. He tells us, “Lions never look you in the eye.” I smile and don’t correct him.
Well done, Jan! That’s a HUGE story in just 257 words!– Indy
- Introduce an unexpected mental image. Stick with the one you chose. Bring it back from time to time.
- Create a sense of time and place around the person. Never forget that it is the person – not the time or the place or why you were there – that is the focus of your writing.
- Choose words that are composed of sounds – phonemes – that reinforce the feeling you are trying to make us feel. Soft sounds are the sounds that are made by letters like s, f, v, th, sh, h, l, m, n. Listen for the sounds of ‘f’ and ‘s’ in this passage. “His footsteps fell like snowflakes on the soft Caribbean sand.” Hard sounds are the letters that pop and stop. Think of the sounds represented by the letters p, b, d, k, t, g. Hard sounds reinforce hardness. Soft sounds reinforce softness. Choose your words, not only by their definitions and associations, but by their sounds.
- Edit your sentences. Make the rhythm of the words pleasant to the ear. This is equally as important when the words are read silently as when they are spoken. The written word cannot be understood until it is translated into the spoken word in the mind of the reader. Write for the ear.
- Your story cannot exceed 540 words, plus the title and your signature. Send your story to email@example.com before midnight Saturday, April 30, 2022. Be sure to include your physical (postal) address in case I want to send you a prize.
– Indy Beagle