Friday Flash Fiction: Clockwork Songs

Another experiment, apologies if it’s too obvious or trite:

Clockwork Songs
By Neil Beynon

I went down to the glass river to sit on the lost walls and watch the swollen star melt night’s blanket from the ground. As I looked on a clockwork sparrow spun me a yarn from the song of the world. Sparrows sing the blues best, that tiny creature wrung me out and hung me up to dry in the winter sun.

It sang of the shield maiden Ásmóð falling in the mountain lands of the blind and aged Lord of War. Struck down by the Witch King in his exile. The creature lamented on the land’s grief and rage as the bards went from town to town with the tidings, brother turned on brother, sister on sister, claw on claw. The mountains turned ruby with it and the Witch King rose secure in his mountain fortress.

In the Empire of the Setting Sun the aging emperor looked across his ocean with fear of the coming storm. His lizard army was vast and yet tiny when compared with the shifting tides.

In the Northern wastes the rising Bear King grinned with glee as he offers his hand to the Lord of the Middle Kingdom. They see the tipping point and they spur their mounts on.

And in the East the ancient ones, the students of time, the great planners, await the coming dark when they shall be the last as they are the oldest.

A husband weeps; a brother swears revenge and children quietly ask gnawing, biting questions that do not rise on the updraft but hover like carrion. Why?

The song ends, the bird flies, spiralling effortlessly higher on the heat of the cooling earth, the wind ready to carry its song to the next passer by. I wipe the water from my face before returning.

In the town-stead I espied Ásmóð upon one of Maer Lynn’s cauldrons of light, a song splashed out in shifting shades of red, green and blue that scorched across my eyes like the fire of Mistress Etna in the south. All true. Not a song.

And, the earth mother over, the dragons shift in their pens, sniffing the air, sensing the storm. Ready to set the world aflame.

Their time is near.

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