Friday, April 17, 2015

Third Friday Writing Prompt: Shapeshifter

Soooo, I missed the first Friday of April, mainly because Easter was approaching and I was madly cleaning house, gardening, and prepping for my family to feast at my table on Saturday. Then last Friday, I decided I would skip April's prompt completely because I was madly writing on my novel and didn't want distractions. But today, I figure I'll post a writing prompt anyway, late though it is.

I found April's prompt on Reddit, HERE:

"Tell me how you discovered you were a shapeshifter."

And here's a fun photomanip for additional inspiration:

"Shapeshifter" by Vanyamuina

(If you find inspiration and wish to share your creation with me, please do the following:
* DO paste a link to your creation as a comment to the prompt you’ve used, OR if you don't post your writing publically, type a paragraph as a comment.
* DO include a link back to my blog, Wordweaver.
* DO NOT copy anyone else’s work and publicize it as your own.

Prompt History
January's Prompt


Court Ellyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Court Ellyn said...

My response to April's prompt, as much as Google will let me post...

Dear Celeste,

I feel I must explain a few things before you decide your attachment to me is something you can’t live without.

I first learned I was a shapeshifter shortly after my 14th birthday. (If that doesn’t put you off, please continue. If you’ve started laughing, by the end of this letter I hope to convince you I’m not entirely crazy.) I was born in 1796, about the time Napoleon was rampaging across Europe. The moon governed me, just like a woman’s cycle and the tides both. It governs me still.

When the moon rises full, you won’t find me unless I want you to. Last week when you kept calling and I didn’t answer my phone? Right. Let me give you a piece of honest advice: when the moon is full, you don’t want me to find you. Just pretend I’m on vacation, out of the country on business, that I have the flu or the pox or the bubonic plague and go happily about your life. I’ll see you when it’s over.

What was I saying? Oh, yes, 14. My mother left my papa and me when I was three-years-old. My father was a fisherman. We lived in a village on the Bjorna Fjord, on the western coast of Norway. I didn’t know why she left, only that one day she wasn’t there when I climbed out of bed. I know it was summer, because the sun was shining through the window when papa told me Mama was gone. There had been no fighting, no infidelity, no lack of money or food. So for years I didn’t understand why she left. Though I became angry, my father never uttered one slight against her. He spoke of her always with tenderness, and I didn’t understand how he could love her still.

The closer I came to puberty, the more my father would give me long looks, as if he were inspecting my every expression, every tone of voice, every angry outburst. He would often ask, “How are you feeling?” I would shrug, like all pubescent children do, as if their parents are idiots for asking. “Do you mind the cabbage soup? If you want meat, you need to kill the chicken. Would you prefer to kill the chicken?”

The questions made no sense, and I began to think Papa was going mad. When my 13th birthday came and went, Papa relaxed a little and stopped prying with so many questions. He seemed to have become sane again. He fished. He taught me to fish. We fished and sold fish, and that was our life. I had my circle of friends, we chased the girls at all the local dances, we got into trouble like all teenage boys do.

Then, during my fourteenth year, Papa noticed me scratching at my skin, like a habit. He asked, “How are you feeling?”

I told him, “My skin itches. Everywhere. My arms and back. It’s driving me crazy. I need lanolin, that’s all.” Midwinter was upon us. Snow and frigid frozen winds barreled over the mountains and down across the fjord. Everyone needed lanolin in winter. I thought nothing of it. I rubbed on the lanolin. Then I layered it on. Then I practically bathed in it. It didn’t ease that maddening itch.

Doorposts, fence posts, the bark of pine trees, all became scratching posts for me. My friends laughed and said I looked like a cow plagued with flies. My skin bruised, bled, scabbed over, but the itch remained.

It made me cross to say the least. At least, I thought it was the itch making me cross. Papa started with the long inspection-looks again. That didn’t help. One night, while the two of us were cooped up in the cabin during a snowstorm, the looks and the itch became too much. I shouted, “I’m not sick! Stop staring at me! Why do you always stare at me as if something is wrong with me? There’s nothing wrong!”

“Does your skin itch worse during the full moon?” he asked. The pointedness of the question startled me.

The tides ruled our livelihood, and the moon ruled the tides. Though the storm raged outside the cabin, we both knew well that beyond the clouds, the moon was nearly full that night.