Archive | February 18, 2011

15-minute ficlet: Denial

Originally posted in response to a photo prompt here: go see it, and you’ll know why this had to be fae-apoc Apoc. It ended up being Arnbørg because Wyst & I had been discussing Jamian.

The sky shimmered and rippled like an old parking-lot oil slick, the world stretching and tearing in the bright sunset.

“Oh, no you don’t.” Arnbørg settled the heavy army coat a little more firmly, and pointed a single finger at the sky. The ripples slowed, and then shifted direction, as if looking over their shoulder at their caught tail. The sky bunched and puddle, and a small tear of orange appeared in the blue-red clouds.

“No.” This time, the word had power behind it, a shove like pushing a big dog back to the ground: down, boy. Down. The world tore a little bit more, the ripples frozen in their pushing, and Arnbørg pushed back with a single finger and a single word.

“No.” It may have been the only word of power to ever properly cross those lips, but it would be strong enough. Shoulders set, the slender mutt said it again: “No.”

Through a hole barely big enough, in the scheme of things, to count as a pinhole, thrust the head of a being who at one time had been worshiped as an all-knowing deity. “What?”

“I said no.”

The god worked a shoulder through, only to find himself sucked back into the hole, nothing but his nose and mouth sticking out. “Who are you to naysay my will, child?”

“I am Arnbørg sh’Arvilla by Aelfgar, and I say no.” With every repetition, the slim shoulders swayed, the sky rippled, and the hole in the world shrank.

“What are you to naysay me,” the god roared, but he sounded tinny and far away.

“I am the one who says No,” Arnbørg repeated, “and I say no to your intrusion.” Bony shoulders shook with cold, but the finger remained unwavering until the world stopped rippling and the tear vanished. “No,” whispered with the last thread of strength, and a wry smile as knees hit the ground.

“No.” When Arnbørg had been just past three years old, a tired Arvilla had declared it looked like her contrary child’s sole ability would be to deny everything and anything. At twenty-eight, the slender mutt cheerfully denied a god and proved her mother right.

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.