Day 26: Sentient Wand

Author Jenna Eatough's Flash Fiction Story from Fyrecon's Fyretober Writing Prompt 2023-10-26

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-sixth 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

The Devonthrall Chamber Orchestra and Choir was considered the best in the sector. The conductor Janlee would have loved to take in pride in this fact. She had taken over when the previous conductor had retired and been delighted with the honor. She felt no delight that the reputation of the chamber had not suffered for her leadership. She would have been delighted, but even a week passed before she’d understood to dread each performance.

Now the cursed Devonthrall chamber was scheduled to perform on the home worlds. Janlee sat in her quarters on the ship carrying them toward the worlds’ doom and glowering at her wand. For all the good glowering would do.

We remind you that smiling helps with the conduction of the event and the atmosphere we are trying to create. The voices rang within her mind, overlapping and twisting. She couldn’t tell if the sound was one or many. Janlee could only fee the voice burrowing deeper into her brain every time it spoke ripping more of her asunder. Already, she could no longer sit straight at the table and instead slumped over it.

Janlee’s mind went back to the previous conductor and his last performance. He’d looked ancient, haggard. She’d ignored the whispers that he’d been far too young to look that old while doggedly pursuing the position herself. She’d brushed the concern aside trivializing it to the stress of the chamber or their schedule.

No, she knew know it had been the damned wand. She flicked her finger against the thin metal, and it rolled before coming to an unnatural stop mere millimeters away.

We would remind you that we cannot be banished. She pursed her lip and glowered at the wand. It could not be banished. It could not be separated from her. Not extensively.

Janlee had already gained the same reputation as per predecessor for being an eccentric and carrying the thing with her everywhere. No, it was no eccentricity. It was the grip of some alien race which had constructed the thing.

The plain metal exterior held the innards. She knew it had to contain circuits, wiring, and the voices. Wherever she went, they went with her. They demanded her to keep them close. They made her suffer if she dared part with the wand.

Already she could feel itching running up and down her arms from the slight separation. Her back tightened until the muscles wanted to protest and scream. Until she wanted to cry out.

Her hand darted out, and Janlee grabbed the wand from the table. It settled into her palm, and she felt the sensations relax. She hated herself for accepting the reprieve. Tucking the wand into her sleeve, she sighed and rubbed her brows. She’d wished she’d never taken the position of conductor.

She knew what happened with every performance. While the crowd sat in wonder, listening to the cello and drums rumble through the floor, to the wood winds and their melodic tune, to the strings mixing present and the past into one coherent whole, while all of it wrapped the audience in distraction the aliens nipped at them as well. They pulled away bits of souls with every performance.

Those in the chamber were affected quickly as well, but they rotated in and out. Resting and healing where Janlee could not. They’d heal while she wasted away. While she gave the aliens, lingering hidden within her wand, more souls upon which they fed.

Truth was, she didn’t know what they did with the bits they took, but she saw it happen every performance. The lines flowing through the air and power drawing from individuals to her. To the wand.

The first time she’d seen it and really understood what she saw, Janlee had wanted to throw the wand away from her. She’d lunged forward, waving the wand and frantic abandon. The chamber had kept up with her movements. And she had been unable to release it.

“Orbit will be reached in ten minutes.”

No, she could not, would not do this. They had taken the previous conductor. They prevented her from separating herself from the wand. But they couldn’t control everything.

Janlee felt the wand still tucked in her sleeve and stood. She had a choice left. Turning, she fled from her quarters to the dive bay. Space dives were the raging fade, and, though Janlee had not participated in any, enough in the chamber had she’d gain an understand of the mechanics.

Stop. You must not do this.

She moved to the controls and began the process for another dive. A dive where force ejected you from the ship and propelled you through frictionless space. Some said it felt like water slides of old. Others claimed it was more like sky diving. Janlee only knew it would shove her away.

Shoot her through the dark. She glanced toward the closet with the dive suits. Shoot her where there’d be no wall between her and space.

“I can’t not do this,” she growled.

Do this and we will merely choose a new conductor. There was an edge of panic in the voice.

Janlee grinned, knowing she’d guessed right. They’d never panicked before, but this scared them.

“I don’t think so. I think, like me, atmosphere will be your doom.” She positioned herself in the dive chute and glanced at the screen. A countdown ticked away to release. Until the chute thrust her into space without a suit, but with the damned wand. Thrusting her toward atmosphere where she would burn up. As would the wand.

Janlee didn’t have to separate herself from the wand anymore. She’d carry them to her home world as they wanted, but the arrival would be her choice. Ash in the atmosphere.

The number hit one, and Janlee closed her eyes.

Be sure to check out all the #fyretober creations.

#fyretober2023 #fyretoberflashfiction2023 #fyretoberprompts2023 #fyretober2023day26

“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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