Old Book

“The unutterable name of which was synonymous with the dead . . . “

Glass shattered against the cavern wall, enhancing dull stone with a dark shine. The thick fluid made sluggish progress down the unhewn angles, which jutted and thrust themselves into the cavern with perverted geometry, and lured the eye to plumb unwholesome cracks and crevices for knowledge which man should not own, as shadows danced in lurid relief where thrown by the hissing flames arrayed around the arcane lab.

Vyssith!” The haggard sorcerer’s embittered face contorted in a mask of disgust as epithets flew from his lips in the black language of the Forgotten. “Ek reth e’l vrei k’th ctholin vagh!” The hearth flames behind him howled beyond the confines of their stony prison, black and malevolent with the echoes of his fury.

All around lay scattered the evidence of his labors, the hand-scrawled essays and meandering notes, whose logic vacillated somewhere between cosmic insight and furious incoherence, piled each upon another with the haphazard organization of a mind that sees only order within chaos. They crawled over tables and benches, congregated in alcoves, and shuffled incessantly around the glowing beakers, tubes, and alchemical objet d’arcanum that occupied the sorcerer’s cramped work space.

Hand-crafted vellum whispered beneath the wizened hand groping so unceremoniously through their number for a sheet he knew must be among them.

Theassyf kek vrei ath!”

Hidden beneath the dark leather of a blasphemous tome, the unutterable name of which was synonymous with the dead, peeked the note which he so desperately sought. Watery, bloodshot eyes perused the indecipherable scratches and bizarrely elegant swirls before finding what he needed. In a manic haze, he drifted to the table which served as his desk, and removed the antiquated quill pen from its inkwell, habit alone driving his hand to tap the tip against the well’s stained rim.

The quill’s nib scraped against the pale vellum as he scribbled in the weird language of his masters. Straightening from the desk, he listened as unheard voices slithered through his thoughts, licking at what remained of his soul with a wanton hunger. Nodding to their unspoken commands, he bent to the table, and, wetting the quill, added to the note in his own tongue.

“The formula is incomplete. Without the essence intact, the skin cannot be used to bind the Word. I must attempt again when the village is quiet and has had time to forget its loss. It will not be quality enough for The Book, but the vellum from his hide will be exceedingly fine; I will harvest it for myself.”

Setting aside the quill, the old man took up the crescent-shaped lunarium and began to sharpen it against a smooth strip of stained leather. As he approached the child’s body, stretched tight across a frame not unlike the herses used by other membrane makers, but which was larger and more sturdy than its counterparts, he began to hum an odd lullaby he remembered was sung to him when he had been about the same age.



(Read when the mood suits.  Humor exists below.)


Arbitrary decision – You occasionally get flash fiction instead of bloggery.  But that’s cool, right?  Right?  You should probably let me know.  For reals, or I’ll keep doing it and have no idea that you hate me for it, which is sad for everyone involved.  Especially the bunnies.  Think of the bunnies?

Do you have a Flash Fiction piece you’d like to see shared with the internet folks at large?  Send me your stories for Flash Fiction Friday and one (or more, if the story is UNGODLY short) lucky writer(s) will see their story featured here.

[OFFICIAL STUFF:  Please include any links to previous works, official pages, personal blogs, biographical material, or pictures of bunnies you may want linked at the end of your story to direct traffic back your way, or to make me smile extra hard.  E-mail all submissions to flashfictionfriday dot ci at gmail dot com, subject line “FLASH FICTION: <Story Title>”.  All submissions must be written as flash, and may not be snipped from larger pieces.  Strict limit of five hundred (500) words.  Please include word count in the body of your e-mail, preferably right after the title.  Stories must be received by Wednesday to be considered for Friday inclusion.]

For more weird tales and chilling prose, check me out on Smashwords.  Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook!  I promise it’s all kinds of fun.  Pretty much every kind of fun.  I mean, pretty much.

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2 thoughts on “Vellum

  1. I’m new to developing websites and I was wanting to know if having your site title relevant to your articles and other content really that important? I notice your title, “Vellum Caffeinated Inspiration ” does seem to be spot on with what your website is about however, I prefer to keep my title less content descriptive and based more around site branding. Would you think this is a good idea or bad idea? Any kind of assistance would be greatly valued.

    • Larissa says:

      What you’re looking at with “Vellum Caffeinated Inspiration” is the combination of the site title and the article title. The article, in this case, was my flash fiction story “Vellum”, and the name of the site is Caffeinated Inspiration, which is a phrase I’ve used in reference to my writing for ten or so years privately. Since this is a site about writing at its core, I chose the personal reference from my life, rather than a more literal name. Writers are notorious for their friendship with coffee and caffeine, so the title is something that writers will identify with on more than one level. Then, the content should keep their attention. So, I think in this way I do a fairly good job with both being relevant to the content people are going to find, while still branding myself and my site. And honestly, I don’t know how you intend to brand a site if you don’t take into account trying to describe the content. The content is what dictates what the brand will be. For instance, as a writer if I’m always writing horror, that would be my brand. I’d advertise myself as a horror writer, and I’d back that up by providing horror stories. If I want to be a fantasy writer, I’d brand myself as that instead. In either case, I’d keep my content relevant to my brand. When you brand your site, you keep the content relevant to the brand, and if the title of the site is what helps to brand you, then it will have to describe the content anyway.

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