The Writers Voice
Favourite Literary Website
This is a 500+ worder. The prompt was an eagle, wings widespread, soaring
above a mountaintop.
Somewhere beyond the near range rose the peaks of the Khirgiz. In a week or
so they would lie under a blanket of snow. Skyros must get there before then.
The eagle circled high above him. The eagle would lead him to the Oracle.
But what would he do when he got there? What questions would he ask? It was
said the Oracle was often mysterious and contradictory and sometimes a wayfarer
could return empty-handed and be executed for his failure. Should the Helenes
march on Gaul? Would the fields be fertile enough to feed the poor this year,
or will there be only food for the wealthy? The questions seemed so simple,
yet Skyros knew when he reached the mountains of Khirgiz he would forget them.
He reached a patch of trodden snow and he saw footprints of other men who had
gone before him. Men from Troy probably, Cypriots too. He looked up. The bird
still hovered above him and pointed the way. Had he done that for the other
men? Already some men were returning, looking puzzled and talking among
themselves ... he overheard some of them as they plodded wearily through the
their way down the mountain ...
"The oracle said the seeds will grow with the melting snow."
"What does he mean? It never snows in Athens. The king will not like the
"They will find their heads on the end of a pike," Skyros thought.
Skyros pushed on, and finally the bird settled in the topmost branches of a
nearby cedar. It hunched its shoulders and folded its feathers carefully, then
stared at him.
"We are here, young man. Do you have your list of questions ready?"
Skyros gulped convulsively and reached in his jerkin for the list of
questions the king had given him. "Yes, please, your birdship, I'm ready."
"Bag of gold in hand?"
Skyros held up his bag of gold and shook it eagerly.
A curtain was pulled back from an opening in the sheer rock wall of the
mountain and a hand-lettered sign read, "THE ORACLE IS IN." An old man sat in a
wicker rocker, he wore a cape decorated with stars, moons and comets. Above his
head, another sign read, Sid Rabinowitz, Oracle.
"So. What brings?"
"My master, sir. He seeks advice."
"Oy! King Xylophone again! Don't tell me - he sends because the newest Queen
is infertile, no?"
"That's right, your Oracleship."
"This is the fourth queen, already. Queens are not his trouble. Go back. Tell
him in the mirror to look. He will see there the reason he is heirless. Too
much shellfish, too much pork. Tell him to diet -- lay off the carbs and the
wine; and the God thing! For each day of the week he has a God -- what's with
"He will not be pleased with my report, O mighty Oracle."
"You will be chopped liver when you tell him, right?"
"He has a terrible temper, sir."
"Tell you what. You will carry a note from me inviting the new Queen to pay
me a visit. Sure as there are settlements on the West Bank it will take only
one visit. She will return to King Xylophone, fully and permanently pregnant."
The Oracle scribbled a note and handed it to Skyros, "The bird will show you
the way down the mountain," he said.
Critique this work
Click on the book to leave a comment about this work