They Fired Back

Prompt: Create an inkblot. Name 10 things you think it looks like. Write a story incorporating as many of those things as you can. For the title of the story, use three consecutive words from any article in a newspaper.

The tree was lit on holidays and festival nights, when the air was crisp and filling, when families were out past their bedtimes but had never felt more awake.
They carried long colored matches with them and ignited the wicks of candles that swung softly in the sinuous arms of the chandeliers that hung from the branches.
So many were lit that the tree seemed to glow like one giant lantern. The leaves were x-rayed by the light, their flesh illuminated around their bones so that they looked like a shoal of fish changing direction all at once on the breeze. Life was drawn in, the tree so bright that thousands of insects mistook it for the moon.
The children climbed into the branches, hands roughed by bark, daring each other to climb higher and higher until the great tree was holding them only by the tips of its fingers, like people hold onto hopes, to memories.
They broke through the pulsing canopy of light and looked out over the valley of night below them. The stars, those distant pinpoints, threw down darts of fire.
And they lit another candle.  And they fired back.

2 thoughts on “They Fired Back

  1. Hey Megan, I love this! The line about like how people hold onto memories or hopes works perfectly with the line before it about how the tree is holding the children.

    The only suggestion I have is that in the last lines, “they” could refer to the children or the stars. “And the children fired back.”

    What do you think of something like that?

    • Thanks Jen! Good point about the ambiguous “they,” but do you think the fact that “they” is on the same line as the human action of lighting a candle is enough to let the reader know that it’s the people that are firing back?

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