Day 24: Sparkle Castle

Author Jenna Eatough's Flash Fiction Story from Fyrecon's Fyretober Writing Prompt 2023-10-24

During October I am bringing you extra flash fiction or poetry in celebration of the season and inspired by Fyrecon’s Fyretober!

Enjoy my twenty-fourth entry into Fyrecon’s Fyretober!

Fyrecon's Fyretober Daily Prompt List

1. New neighbors
2. It’s Alive
3. No Exit
4. Walk in the cemetery
5. Door in the wall
6. Mirror
7. Space visitors
8. The Monster Is
9. Anti-magic costumes
10. Skeleton’s battle cry
11. Djinn party
12. Space dwarves
13. Zombie fireball
14. Possessed guild house
15. Lorekeeper’s mask
16. Dragon sight
17. Alien scryers
18. Trick-or-Treating Shapeshifters
19. Disguised spellbook
20. Screaming trapdoor
21. Ghost weaponsmith
22. Jack-O’-Lantern avatars
23. Phoenix light sail
24. Sparkle castle
25. Graveyard pocket universe
26. Sentient wand
27. Haunted Skyhook
28. Pirate space elevator
29. Disguised terraforming
30. The Witches’ Laws
31. Precognizant cats

Bonus Fanged griffin

“Es’loann,” Valeen breathed. Her eyes widened as she took in the spires rising into the sky in the center of the valley below. Myth had claimed that the city didn’t exist. The city of towers. Three to be exact Valeen saw. Three blue, cobalt towers sparkling in the sun. The castle of dreams.

Releasing the branch, Valeen let the foliage cover her view of the city. She didn’t need to gape at it from up here anymore. A quick run and she would be there. Readjusting her pack, she took off down the hill.

She’d found it. She’d found the impossible city. The impossible castle. The dream castle.

The word dreams chased her down the hill and the forest gave way into green rolling fields. So vibrant were the fields, so alive, they hurt her eyes. The smell of grass and flowers clung to her, filling her nostrils as she moved.

What type of dreams would she find in the city? Myth said the dreams within the city clung more tightly to the waking world bringing much to those who lived within. So much that none chose to leave. Valeen certainly had gotten the city out her mind since she had first read a scant reference to it in a tone in her uncle’s library.

A place even scholars did not believe existed, and Es’loann rose before her now. The bridges crisscrossed between towers, connecting them. Valeen could see people walking upon them already. Walking within Es’loann as it sparkled in the sunlight.

A gray wall surrounded the brilliant blue towers Valeen hadn’t realized was there until she was upon it. She circled the city, searching for the gate. Even if there had been no roads leading here. Three fourths of the way around the wall, she found a break in the grey stone. Within the gap stood a man leaning heavily upon a staff. He watched at her as she approached

“I don’t suppose you’ll heed me to turn back?” he asked with a sigh. His stance shifted slightly, subtly, but the movement spoke of weariness. Es’loann must have treasures, indeed, if they wanted to keep any and all away.

“Turn back? Why would I want to turn back now that I’m here?” She peered behind him and saw a garden within the walls. Gray stones dotted the grass forming a path leading further into the interior. “Isn’t Es’loann the city of dreams?”

“Aye. She’s the city of dreams.” The man nodded, a slow movement which held great weight behind it, as if it would press his head down.

“Then why bid me leave? Or are there not dreams enough for everyone?” Her throat closed around the last words forcing them out in a croak. She wanted her dreams true. She’d chased them ever since her parent’s death had left her in her uncle’s care.

He’d been far too busy for a child. And she had been alone too often. Dreams had been her only company. She bit her lip, waiting for an answer.

The man nodded slowly again. “There are dreams a plenty here, but dreams are the problem.” He sighed and didn’t say any more. Instead, he shook his head and lowered it not moving from the gate.

Valeen thought she might squeeze past him and slip into the city to see what lay there. “What problems could there possibly be?” She asked out of politeness, not curiosity about what he had to say.

“The problem is there’s only dreams within these walls.”

Valeen blinked and stared at the man. “I don’t understand. How is that a problem?”

“A soul must stop dreaming to be. This city has dreams but nothing more. No coming, no going. Just unending dreams. Only when guarding here can a person realize what a waste days are when lost in dreams. He between dreams and the waking world.”

He paused and looked beyond her. “Do you recall accomplishment and striving? That’s what you’ll lose if you enter this city. What she lost in her castle.”

“She?” Valeen blinked at the strange word. The word had cropped up often in references to Es’loann, but Valeen had never been able to discover a name to match the word.

“Yes, she. She is trapped in dreams as we are all her dream. You can enter Es’loann if you want, but then…” he trailed off and shrugged. “How does one ever wake from a dream?”

Valeen reached forward and her fingers tingled as she passed the man’s shoulder. She felt a power grab and tug at her. Her heart thudded quickly as her nerves creamed. Valeen retracted her hand and pressed it against her chest.

“Perhaps… Perhaps we can sit and talk for a while before I decide?” she asked, looking at the man. “I hear you can learn much from dreams.”

The man grinned and nodded. He settled himself onto the ground. “I’ve heard the same, yes. Maybe together we can figure out how to wake us all.”

Settling on the grass outside the city, Valeen stared beyond the strange man and to the castle. Dreams were beautiful, but how did one wake from them? Especially if the dreams belong to some she. Turning, she looked to the man again and smiled before asking her first question.

Be sure to check out all the #fyretober creations.

#fyretober2023 #fyretoberflashfiction2023 #fyretoberprompts2023 #fyretober2023day24

“Fyretober is for everyone who loves to create, and this month we’re looking to see your flash fiction, poetry, and illustrations every day. We’ll be providing daily prompts for the month and want to see what new concepts and wonders you can make with them.”

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