Monday, December 05, 2011

And Speaking of Ninjas...

The following story originally appeared on The Badgers of Uncertain Fortune where some friends and I endeavored to all write one short story a week. It was one of my favorites to emerge from my fingertips during that exercise. The writing prompt that started this one was "My Imaginary Friend." 


“Lie back on your mat and close your eyes.”

The instructor’s voice lilts across the room and the class gladly obeys. It has been an exhausting hour of stretching, posing, balancing, inverting. A bead of sweat races down my brow, but like everything else that vies for my attention during these rare moments of stillness, I do my best to ignore it. The instructor walks between us, talking us through the savasana, guiding our awareness from one end of our bodies to the other and out to its farthest reaches, urging us to release any tension that we encounter along the way.

A tile in the ceiling above me slides away and a shadow appears in the opening, the blackness punctuated only by a pair of eyes. Ninja. The shadow looks down at the prone forms on the floor beneath it, at the instructor with her back turned, looking out the window. “Relax your toes, relax the space between your toes…” It then looks straight down at me, lying still on my mat with my eyes closed, trying - without trying to try - to be aware of as little as possible.

The shadow drops out of the ceiling. Falling faster than gravity, he pulls a saber from a sheath strapped to his back and pivots so that the point of the blade is aimed at my throat. The sunlight streaming through the window strikes the sword, only to be absorbed by the ninja magic that imbues the metal.

Barely the length of a baby cobra fang lies between the tip of the blade and the flesh of my throat when an arm clad in silks of green, pink, and yellow reaches down out of the hole through which the ninja just emerged and grasps the shadow warrior by the ankle, halting his descent. As he is pulled back into the ceiling, the ninja looks up into the blackness between the third and fourth floors and sees the face of his undoing. A whisper escapes his lips, the first word he has uttered since beheading his former master and entering the service of the shadow.


And then he is gone. No sound reaches my ears, nor those of my classmates. Our eyes see only the insides of our eyelids. The instructor thinks that perhaps she hears an insect flying through the room, but ignores it.

“Slowly bring awareness back.”

The instructor’s voice reaches me as if from the other side of a dream and I wonder, as I always do, if I have fallen asleep. I wiggle my fingers, wiggle my toes. I open my eyes and think nothing of the unremarkable ceiling above me.

1 comment:

sybil law said...

Love it. As usual. :)