And please, I'd like anyone's comments on these, so if you can be bothered, do read them. ~smile~ But don't worry if you can't be bothered, of course.
Norman looked over his shoulder as he heard the engine, struggling as it was with the uneven road. The van was black, the windows were tinted - they'd never seen anything like it before.
"Fuck me," he observed, turning to Steve, "I wonder who the fuck that can be. God damn, it's not like we're bastard expecting anyone, out here in the arse end of fucking nowhere, is it?"
"Too damn right," Steve replied, pausing to bend his head and take a mouthful of grass. Through it, he went on, "And what the fuck's with all the fucking black, anyway? Like some kind of fucking hearse."
"All this talk of fucking's made me randy," came the voice of Kev from behind them, and Steve suddenly felt himself mounted.
Back in the farmhouse, not so far away, the men in the black suits and the farmer looked out of the window together. "In the middle of the field! Sir, it's disgusting," said one of the men. The farmer sighed his agreement.
When the men came out of the farmhouse, striding purposefully across the field, there was a ragged cry from the sheep.
"Leave us the fuck alone!"
"What the bloody hell d'you think you're doing?"
"Are you Welsh? Fancy a quick shag before you leave?"
And so on.
The men tried to shut their ears - especially Mr. Evans. They marched on, and when they'd got all the sheep in one place and the air was simply a mass of mingled swear words, they brought out their guns.
It was bloody slaughter. Not a sheep survived.
In the farmhouse, the farmer turned away from the window with a pained expression. The last of the men put out a hand to touch his shoulder sympathetically. "I know it's hard, sir, but they were just getting out of hand. You could hear them all over the county - it was upsetting everyone. I'm sure you understand why we had to censor your sheep."
shadowdance's request was "Erm...blue sheep?
Once upon a time, on the marbled surface of a planet green as the grass after rain, there stood a city, fashioned all from emerald and green agate and jade. The poorest houses in this city would take your breath away to look at them, for even they were built in precious stone and detailed in purest gold.
Now in the centre of this city stood the palace, tallest of all the buildings and most richly decorated; the stone of its creation carved into scrolls and statues and arches and shapes that seemed at first to be nothing until you came close, when they would take on pictures from old tales, or become fire or water before your very eyes. Truly, generations of the finest magic had built this palace, for the kings of the city were not only wealthy beyond imagining but held high standing with all, wizards, tradesmen and commoners alike.
And in the centre of the palace stood the throne room, furnished in forest silks and dark velvets, where the king gave his gentle orders and educated his two sons, who sat either side of him, in the art of ruling. For there is no king, nor has there ever been, but considers the time after him, and what will happen to his city.
But the king was fortunate; his two sons, matched in age, stature, beauty and wisdom, were quick to learn, and by their twentieth year were often offering suggestions to their father as to how to solve this dispute, or aid that family. Their father was grateful for their suggestions and the promise they both showed, and to indicate his gratitude he would give them presents, one to each, never exactly the same but the same in value, concept, or provenance.
So it was that one year, their father gave them each a bird, one to sing joyfully each day and one to shed and regrow the most beautiful feathers for dressmaking and decoration. And one year, their father gave them each a jewel, rarest of rare both, for one was deepest purple and the other palest, subtlest rose. And on the twenty-seventh anniversary of their birth, their father had determined to give them each a beautiful girl, one honey-blonde, one with hair of burnished auburn, to take to wife. For there is no king, nor has their ever been, but wishes his offspring to wed, that the kingdom may continue.
He had no difficulty finding the girls, for in the city were many beauties, each good and pure and kind, any of whom would be a fitting bride for one of his perfect sons. But on the day of their turning twenty-seven, when their father expressed his intention, the second son, younger by ten seconds than his brother, fell into a storm of weeping. Amazed, his father and brother urged him to tell the cause of his distress, but to no avail; he would not say, and hid his face from his father. At length, the first son took his father aside and said, "Father, I think it were best if you left this to me. We have no secrets, your other son and I, and I will have the truth of this from him."
Troubled, but finding sense in his son's words, the king left them.
The first son approached his weeping brother carefully, sitting beside him and placing one hand gently upon the back of his neck. "I told my father the king that we have no secrets, but I fear that was the first lie I have ever told; for it seems there must be something you have kept from me. Have I hurt you in some way? Please, brother, I beg you - cease your crying, just for a moment, to tell me its cause?"
Then the second son, moved with the overwhelming love he felt for his brother, raised his anguished face, streaked with tears and kohl, and cried out, "I have seen it! Do not tell me you know not of what I speak, for I know you must have seen it also. The ship, the ship of crystal, transparent as ice, that nightly sails amidst the stars outside our window and calls me to it with a voice I hear waking and sleeping. Truly, I can marry no girl from our city, nor our whole world even; for the voice of my bride hails me from that ship and I cannot deny her!" So saying, he began again to weep, and turned his face to the window as if waiting for the ship to pass by then and there. But the first son shook his head in wonder.
"I have seen nothing in the night skies, my brother," he replied softly, "And I have watched the stars with you a hundred, nay a thousand times. When have you seen this ship? How is it possible, that I can have been blind to it, while you say you see it every night?"
He had no further reply from his brother, and soon enough a servant came to inform them the king wished to see them. In silence, he painted his brother's face, tenderly, so barely a trace of the tears remained.
The king was grave, even sombre, as he spoke with them. He had made his decision, and he had made it as king, not as father. They would both take a wife the following day, and a wife of his choosing; if they did not, they would be cast away out of the city into the tangled forest beyond, a forest nobody had entered and survived. From this the first son saw that his father had been much troubled by the day's events, and strove to plead reason with him, but his father would hear none of it. The second son gave no protest but sat, head down, while judgement was pronounced. Indeed he spoke no more all day, save his thanks to servants when they brought things to him or took them away.
That night the first son felt that he must not sleep, that he must remain awake lest his brother should commit some rash act that he might be able to forestall. So it was that he feigned the slow even breaths of one asleep, and when the second son was satisfied that he alone was awake, he crept to the window of their room, from which he could see the patch of sky through which the crystal ship travelled.
He waited, long hours, while behind him his brother struggled to fight back sleep, which attempted ever more insistently to claim him. And then, at three of the morning clock, the second son let out a soft gasp of wonder as the ship sailed into view, closer than ever before, so that he could see the figure on the deck, her slight frame glowing against the night as she called to him."You must come to me tonight!" she cried, "For there is no more time. If you love me, if you truly love me, leave your palace and your city and come to me! I swear to you, we shall be wed as no prince and princess have ever been wed, and our love will light the skies of galaxies, only you must come now. Now!"
And as if in a dream, the second son, younger than his brother by ten seconds, stepped up onto the ledge of the window and, reaching out his hand, stepped forward into space.
Behind him, the first son slept, though in his dream he saw his brother, hand in hand with a woman whose very skin seemed translucent, lit from within.
The first he knew was when his father the king, face twisted in an agony of grief, came to wake him with the news that his brother had been found lying at the base of the castle, his neck cleanly broken, one hand reaching up toward the stars.
lhiss's request was "Tell me a fairy tale, about a crystal ship that sails amongst the stars".
I feel like I should apologise for that, but I'm not going to, because it's not my fault where my stories go. Or something. ~s~