Well, I guess I’m going to be that kind of writer. I’m always missing deadlines. In my defence, I did write more than 1000 words in response to this prompt. Last week’s prompt was:
The Main Character is: “A simple inventor who has an unnatural fear of the dark”
The Setting Is: “In a strange cathedral within a different dimension, where last technology has outpaced electronics”
The Story is about: “Capturing and taming a dragon”
Here is what I came up with, almost 1800 words, I hope you enjoy it!:
Stan and the Dragon
Stan tinkered. Those two words served very well to describe the core of the man. Stan tinkered. From the age of six when he took apart his night light to make it brighter to age 30 when he put together the world’s first fiber optic paint. Stan tinkered.
He’d made enough from his various project to live quite comfortably in a small mansion a few paces down the road from a small unremarkable village in the countryside. Close enough for a quick ride for groceries and supplies, far enough that neighbors would not complain of the bright lights that would illuminate the house around the clock.
Stan tinkered. He managed to put together a light bulb that sipped power while banish the dark for an astonishing distance. That little tidbit alone had paid for the flood light setup on the mansion grounds.
Shadows were few and far between at Stan’s. He had no idea what was in the dark, and since he was six, he’d never wanted to know. No closets, no under-the-beds and no dark corners for this fellow! Lights and escapes, that’s the way of Stan.
At ten years of age, he’d designed a cunning escape hatch from his bedroom to the backyard, along with a cunning latch that allowed for easy egress while being totally secure from the other side. His uncle’s locksmith business had thrived on it.
Now, Stan had done it again. He’d found the ultimate escape.
Stan stopped tinkering, whistled in satisfaction and flipped the switch.
A hum erupted from a metal framework on the back wall of Stan’s workshop. Stan’s teeth started to rattle.
On cue, three high powered laser arrays fired and the humming rose in pitched. A sound Stan heard in his gut rather than in his ears rumbled and the fabric of reality tore asunder.
The hole in reality shone brightly, even compared to the very harshly lit workshop. Stan could make out some details. Light colored stonework, glowing ropes of light and some very strange designs. He puffed, slapped his hands together, grabbed his remote and resolutely stepped through.
The hole in reality on the workshop side burped as Stan vanished from his plane into another dimension.
Stan looked around quietly.
The room was huge. Stan grunted in satisfaction as there was nary a shadow in sight. The walls glowed with a dull white light. Crisscrossing every surface, lines of light in hues of blues and reds traveled every inch. Stan stood a moment, just outside the tear he’d made in reality and took it all in.
Seats, a few tables and some ramps all made from a solid looking material. Seven aisles leading from the rear where Stan stood all the way to a raised dais with a huge intricate looking altar. The place had a hushed air, like a cathedral Stan had once visited in France on his one and only trip abroad.
No shadows anywhere, Stan thought. Good.
He gripped the remote and slowly walked around. The tear sealed itself silently. Stan ignored it and focused on the back wall of the, well cathedral for lack of a better word in Stan’s mind. He pulled a few tools from his tool belt and a magnifier. He dug into the wall near a glowing blue line. There was a sizzle as the line burned into the tip of his screwdriver.
A laser! Digging into a red line revealed the same thing, another laser.
He followed the two lines around the wall. In the corner they wrapped themselves around an oddly shaped protrusion. Stan tapped it with a wrench. It did nothing. Stan inhaled deeply and, holding his breath, touched it.
A stream of beeps startled him and lights showered him as they coalesced into an alien form. Stern, unrecognizable words hammered at him and the form disappeared again. Stan had been warned of something. Stan shrugged and continued.
This is amazing, Stan thought. It’s like they built the power right into the walls! It’s like a giant circuit board! Touching the various bumps and shapes he could find seemed to change the configuration of the laser tapestry, sometimes the alien shape would spring up again, ghostlike to scream at him in alien gibberish. Stan ignored the gibberish and kept tinkering.
Some configurations would set off a series of notes, some would hum, others would silence the cathedral. Stan played with the walls like a conductor draws forth harmonies from an orchestra. At one point, the noise level grew so loud, Stan had to stop because his stomach was getting upset.
Stan nodded in satisfaction.
He strode off towards the altar. He touched a few things on the way, getting tones and shrieks.
The altar loomed on a raised portion of the floor. It was, like everything else, made from the same glowing white substance, interlaced with red and blue light lines. The laser beams from all over the cathedral converged on the altar, pulsing a little on its surface.
Stan stared. It was clear to him that, although he could manipulate a few things along the walls of the cathedral, the altar was the central hub. It was delightfully chunky. It had all sorts of knobby bits and fiddly things rising from the material. It all looked like it was carved all from the same stuff. In fact, Stan wondered if the cathedral wasn’t something hollowed out of something else, altar and chairs included!
He approached cautiously. He examined the altar up close, inch by inch.
Stan cracked his knuckles and took a deep breath. He puffed it out and leaned in.
His hands caressed the altar’s surface for a moment, then sped over it. They grabbed and twisted and pushed.
The cathedral erupted in noise and a storm of music. The chairs danced and the walls throbbed. Stan pulled on a knob and twisted and the side wall puffed out, stretching and making an alcove. He pushed a bump into the surface of the altar and the ceiling rose into a majestic cupola and with a yank on another protuberance it lowered into a more conventional ceiling. The glowing lines in the walls danced and the patterns changed into a kaleidoscope of colors.
Stan marveled. His hands danced and he smiled. He abruptly removed them from the surface of the altar and sighed at the resulting silence. He paused in thought and gingerly touched a couple of buttons again.
This time, a beam of light shone down from the ceiling. In the beam of light stood an alien figure similar to what he’d seen before. Garbled sounds echoed in the cathedral as it spoke. Stan listened, frustrated that he could almost, but not quite, understand.
Finally, the figure pointed dramatically to the back of the room and the wall shrank away from itself. A very large door formed itself. Stan was stricken by the similarities with what happened when he tried his ultimate escape device. This looked like a rip in reality too!
The outside, past the door, was coming into view now and Stan quivered in fear. He heard a low whine and realized it was coming from him. He reached for his escape device and froze when he realized it was no longer in his pocket. His eyes frantically searched the cathedral and he saw a small dark bit at the back, near the door. It was so far out of reach! He felt a cold sweat trickle down his neck. His knees grew weak.
Outside the door was darkness. It was a palpable thing. It oozed and moved.
Whatever it was, to Stan it was only one thing. It was darkness.
Stan stood still. The darkness oozed through the door. It moved without a sound. The figure in the beam of light flourished dramatically again and flickered out of existence. The darkness pooled and grew until it almost filled the entire rear of the cathedral. The light in the cathedral grew brighter, in response to the invasion.
The darkness gained mass and dimension. A neck stretched from the roiling cloudy mass. Wings extended and legs pushed against the floor. Details condensed on the black. Scales, blacker than night and charcoal claws resolved themselves.
Stan faced a dragon, born of darkness, made from his primal fear.
The dragon stood firmly between Stan and the remote that would allow him to tear an escape from this reality to his home.
Stan froze in fear. The dragon stomped forward, straight down the center aisle, slowly stalking the only figure in the place. Lights dimmed near its passage. It stepped on a laser line, a blue one. It flared once and died.
Stan finally moved to action. He grabbed at the altar and pushed buttons and yanked on whatever he could reach in unreasoning panic.
The cathedral exploded in light and sound again. The dragon reared and screamed in defiance. It snapped its jaws at the ceiling, chairs and walls as they moved. Light seemed to just end when it touched its hide. On the whole, the light show did nothing.
The dragon roared, then stalked towards the altar. Stan was now too afraid to move. He wondered if it would do any good to play dead.
The dragon did not seem to care either way. It rushed at Stan, a semi solid cloud of the same stuff that had terrified him his entire life.
Stan screamed. He squeezed his eyes shut and screamed again. He vaulted over the altar and swung his screwdriver and, keeping his eyes tightly shut, he ran towards the fallen remote beyond the billowing monster before him. He yelled and screamed and waved his arms as his legs pumped. He bumped into a chair and dared to open his eyes. To Stan’s surprise, he was beyond the dragon and it was turning to face him. He’d run straight through it!
Stan yelled in defiance, swung his fist through a smoky paw. It did very little but he felt better, stronger. He rushed back and scooped up his remote and clicked the button. Stan fervently hoped it would work all the way from this reality since the machine was in his home. He heard the hum. It was taking seconds that he felt he did not have. Stan turned to face the dragon again. It was hovering right behind him. He wielded his screwdriver, ready to thrust, but the beast was no longer attacking.
It hovered and its wings spread, almost spanning the cathedral.
To Stan’s surprise, it bowed. It hung there for another moment. Its eyes now glowing, it fixed Stan for an eternity and then it vanished.
Stan sighed. That wasn’t so bad now, was it?