Below is my offering for Trifecta’s week 91 challenge word, which is ‘brand’. As you will see from the Trifecta blog post, the challenge is to write between 33 and 333 words of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose, based on the 3rd definition from the Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary. This week the 3rd definition of ‘brand’ is:
a (1): a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership;
a(2): a printed mark made for similar purposes: a trademark
b(1): a mark put on a criminal with a hot iron
b(2): a mark of disgrace: stigma <the brand of poverty>
Here’s my offering below – I hope you like it! By way of backstory, this is a tiny extract from my work in progress novel (first edit done, second edit underway), which I first began as part of NaNoWriMo in 2011. It’s very rough and sharing this feels like I’m walking naked in front of you all, but for the word prompt it fits very well, as the issue of branding people runs right through my whole novel.
The Penitents halted their circling and stamped their feet together abruptly. The noise echoed across the landscape – a crow rose from its perch in protest, a jagged ‘V’ in the sky. Dragging Gregor to his feet, the men pulled him to a nearby tree, binding him to its trunk face first.
A hooded figure marched forward and with one movement ripped Gregor’s cloak and shirt away revealing his target – the brand that lay beneath. In piteous defence, bare skin puckered with goose flesh against the dawn chill, but nothing could protect Gregor from the slash of knives as they flew, glinting in the winter sunlight, carving deep clefts from which gory jewels dripped, splattering the rocks at his feet. Flint struck stone, a muffled woomph followed as a torch was lit. There was a moment’s hesitation, cut short by a swift nod and flames were set against the bloody flesh, consuming and devouring with sickening greed. Gregor’s body sagged – the flame was extinguished.
The hooded man surveyed his prey for a moment then spat on the ground. ‘Not a squeal from him – how disappointing. Unleash him. He’s not worth the rope. Dispense with the formalities, he will soon understand his fate when he wakes. He is Discarded, for the record. Let us return to The Portal and continue our task.’
The Penitents untied Gregor’s senseless form, and cast him to one side. For good order they too spat on the ground before gliding away.
27 thoughts on “Discarded – Trifecta Week 91”
“from which gory jewels dripped”? I am assuming you want feedback, right? I would eliminate the phrase. Why? Because it made me stop reading. I had to re-read in an attempt to understand. Make it flow so your reader does not get bogged down,right?
Fair enough, I’ll take it on board for future reference 🙂 All of my offerings are part of the great learning-curve, some work better than others.
This is such a brutal attack. I sympathize with the one who was attacked, but for all I know, he could have done something wretched and is simply paying the price for it 🙂
Believe me, there is worse elsewhere in my work in progress, but unfortunately, it didn’t fit the word prompt, and i didn’t have time to make it so. As you say, you as the reader don’t know if he ‘deserves’ this attack – whereas I do (and it isn’t that simple!). 🙂 Thank you for popping in!
I think they are very dark grey, all of them, doing their best under difficult circumstances. I would like to see more of this.
Thank you, Clare. Yes, nobody is in a good place at all – even those who are in the ascendant and have all the power. ‘Grey’ is an apt colour, indeed.
Thank you for popping in!
I must have held my breath the entire time I read this. incredible imagery and tension. I liked the “gory jewels” reference. I could picture huge drops of blood falling from the knife.
Thank you. Yes, that’s what the gory jewels were supposed to be! I do wonder about my dark imagination sometimes….! I’m glad you enjoyed the read (if that’s the right word!).
Your dark streak is at work again! I can’t help wishing we had the context.
Ah, but that would mean I unleash more of my word-baby than I can bear, at the moment! There are plenty more dark and also light, moments to choose from…
I had a feeling you’d say that! Maybe little by little, we’ll get a fairer idea.
Ooh, a mind reader I haven’t got one of those in my novel…. Oh, hold on….!
As someone who once spent a joyless weekend in a mental ward in my teens, I feel like I understand the patients’ point of view, although I am generally a nonviolent person. I was treated like such a piece of crap, like less than human, all because I had made a half-assed suicide attempt during a very troubled time in my life. If I could have found something to hit those so called medical professionals, and I could have gotten away with it, I think I would have been tempted to give them a taste of their own medicine.
I think the fact that he was only one, and they were many, means that he had no option but to submit. Don’t worry, there is retribution of a sorts, along the way. I’m so sorry you had such an appalling experience – I hope life is treating you better these days.
Makes me want to know more of the story and that “want for more” is what all writers are after! Good work.
Thank you! I’m glad the ‘want’ is there 🙂
So descriptive – the rising gooseflesh, the gory jewels. I was completely sucked in and would love to more.
Excellent! Nothing like a bit of violence and gore to whet the appetite 🙂
This is interesting. Makes me want to read more.
Good, good…. 🙂
After all that was done to him I was surprised that he would wake. Brutal scene – and I mean that in a good way. Made me curious as to what this world is and what is going on.
It is a curious, deceptive, scary, fraught world… And whether he wakes or not afterwards, well….
The physical pain really showed through. Well done, and I hope your second round of editing goes well!
Thank you for linking up!
Thank you, Trifecta peeps!
Another great one! Your visuals are quite vivid, leaving nothing to the imagination, other than the whys and wherefores.
Thank you, Lorri. That was the plan… whys and wherefores are the hook! 🙂