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Clarion Call #16: Stud Brand

April 23, 2011

Your writing prompt for the week is “stud brand.”  Ambiguity is your friend; use it!

There are only two rules for Clarion Calls:

  1. If you choose to try the assignment, do not read the comments section before you post yours.
  2. This is a critique-free zone, and that includes critique of your own offering.  Save your analytical skills for Mondays with Lynda.

With that in mind, I invite all of you to give it a try.  At the end of the year, I have a special honor in mind for the person who most often posts an answer to our weekly Call.  So have fun, and stay inspired!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2011 8:13 am

    His gleaming chestnut coat almost burned my eyes as I watched him trot by. There was something about this horse beyond what the eye could see.
    I met the trainer at the barn fifteen minutes later.
    “So, is he ready?”
    The trainer’s dark eyes peered into mine. He nodded and turned away, leading the 17 hand beast back to his stall. I followed at a distance, struck by the magnetic pull that propelled me on. I watched him unsaddle the stallion, watched as he opened the stall door and ushered the big guy inside. When he left I walked over to look inside. The chestnut turned to greet me, his head over the stall door his soft muzzle nuzzling my arm. As I gazed into the liquid eyes I found myself miles away in another galaxy for a moment. We knew each other. I lifted his lip to check for the stud brand that I knew would be there. There it was, an intricate design done in blue ink exactly like the one I bore on my upper arm. Memories flooded my brain–galloping across a wild plain filled with blinding light from the two suns the planet revolved around. In that life I had shared his life as his mate. We were both from Xiatis.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      April 23, 2011 8:52 am

      Welcome! Is this your first Clarion Call? I don’t see your name on the list I’ve been keeping… It’s always so amazing to see what two words can fire off in someone’s mind. Hope you’ll bring your fertile imagination back to us next week! 🙂

  2. April 25, 2011 8:55 am

    The acrid air and dead cathode ray tube black of the walls blended together in a symphony of oppressive confinement. Just above, plasma window canopies let the night sky shine through with a comforting warmness rather than the searing radioactivity that would otherwise reduce the biologicals to gibbering masses of flesh, blood and pain that would exist without the shielding in place.

    With a dispassionate gaze, he watched the biologicals go about their business. Some of them went about the task at hand with a violent and lustful fervor that would often reduce the birthing tanks to screams and tears within seconds. Others were equally as tearful as they went about their business, requiring constant encouragement from the electrocuting touches of the drones. A messy and infinitely deplorable situation, but needs were as they were.

    He watched as one of the more violent breeders was given a jolt of electricity. Usually, a single blast was more than enough to keep the mammals in line, but this one had been electrocuted so many times that parts of his back seemed to have been almost branded in the fashion of cattle in the days before the invasion. Perhaps it was one blast too many and the mammal turned on the drone and attacked it. A futile gesture, even were a single drone to be dismantled, no lasting harm would befall the hive-swarm. These biologicals just couldn’t seem to get the fact through their organic heads.

    With a gesture that would have seemed to be a sigh were he possessing of any body that was vaguely humanoid, he turned his attention to the biological. A bit of concentration in the right spot… and…. there, it was done. The breeder fell to the floor, convulsing in seizure. An aneurysm, he’d be dead in a few more minutes. Shame to have to waste resources, but they had to be kept in line. The hive-swarm couldn’t put up with any disobedience or unruliness within the basic factories.

    Ah well, it was just the nature of things he supposed. He signaled to another drone to clean up the mess and harvest what could be harvested from the corpse of the soon to be dead human. Messy, messy, messy it all was. Still, couldn’t be helped. After all, it was war.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      April 25, 2011 10:40 am

      Welcome back!

      (And I am going to answer your Write-a-Thon question soon, I promise. Virtually everything in my life is on hold ’til after Friday, though, due to a massive deadline.)

  3. J Hatfair permalink
    April 26, 2011 5:44 am

    Galen slipped his backpack over his shoulder when he got the nod from the customs inspector and moved into the spaceport proper. One obstacle down, now there was the ticketing agent and boarding to overcome. His hand itched to push his hair behind his ear, but that habit had to be ignored at all costs. His hair covered the brand that would give him away.

    He passed by a large bank of shop windows and covertly watched the reflection of himself. He still couldn’t get used to the image of himself with so much hair; it was something only the Academics wore, and he felt the weight of his pretense like a yoke. Any moment, he expected that someone would see him for what he really was and cry out for him to stop. This attempt at escape would come crashing to a halt like so many others and his years of preparation would come to nothing. He swore to himself that if it came to that, he’d fight to the real death rather than be taken back to the farms.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      April 26, 2011 6:22 am

      Another new name! Welcome to the Clarion Call. Kind of fun, isn’t it? 🙂

      • J Hatfair permalink
        April 26, 2011 6:33 am

        Yes! These exercises are great mini mind vacations.

  4. April 30, 2011 12:39 pm

    What a week it’s been! Shandy ran his hands through his shaggy hair. Five herds done already, twelve more to go. The beasties bred well in the Toloran Highlands, producing many sets of twins and more triplets than expected.

    Shandy leaned on the wooden rail fence, watching the latest herd as the sun dropped low in the west. The grazing beasts circled the hay bales split and spread in the pasture. Tails flicked over the fresh brands on their rumps. The calves frisked around their parents, plump and healthy. On the hill above, the three alpha studs stood guard over their large harem.

    Good studs made a good breed. Shandy secured the gate to the corral. Good breeding made more good studs, the hallmark of his brand. Yep, crazy week, but a good one. The waiting studs watched from their own hills, the new crop of calves ready and waiting for his brand.

    (It’s been crazy, so I’m a week late on this one.)

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