Urban Nightmare #WEP #IWSG

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Below please find my entry for the WEP June 2020 Challenge. Write…Edit…Publish is a writing challenge sponsored six times a year by the good folks over at #WEP / #IWSG, an online community meant to support and inspire writers at all stages of their career. The rules are simple. From the WEP site, submissions can be “any genre except erotica, max word count 1000. Present your interpretation of the prompt in flash fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction.” Please visit the link above for more information about how the challenge works and how to get involved.

When I saw the prompt for this month, Urban Nightmare, I felt the darkness of all the sad news upon my heart. As I’m currently already writing a very dark piece, I couldn’t face working on anything else with too much heaviness. As a result, I have written the little ditty below in the hopes it might be enjoyed by a few. It’s still pretty dark, I guess.

As a note, I will mention that earlier this year I had the occasion to learn that the the word nightmare has a special meaning within the world of Dungeons and Dragons. In case anyone isn’t familiar with D&D by now, one might summarize it as Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces meets a handful of dice in a storytelling game. As it turns out, a Nightmare is a mythical creature found in the rulebooks.

I hope you enjoy this little piece and I look forward to reading everyone’s contribution for this round.


An Urban Nightmare

A Unicorn's horn,
brilliant and bright,
is bowed to the stars,
the forest, the night.
The Elven Lord rises;
to the plea, he'll accede.
The little folk dance
as he saddles his steed.

Rare is the day
and dire the needs
when commands from a Fey
a unicorn heeds.
But the Unicorn's love
has been trapped by the king,
and her agonized cry
rends his heart as it rings.

In hills o'er the city,
the lone anguished cry
is heard by old souls
as their path brings them by.
To the castle they fly
with heartfelt intent
to ride into darkness,
to risk the descent.

To the dungeon they go.
The guards? Drunken men.
They find her below,
locked up in a pen.
The chains are all broken,
the door opened wide,
but neither believe
what they find there, inside.

A Succubus stands
with her hands on the rein
of the bridle that keeps
her Nightmare restrained.
Gone is the horn
and the flowing white mane—
her coat burnt to onyx,
her mane now in flames.

The trap was well set,
the door slams shut tight.
The Lord and the Unicorn
are lost in the fight.
Forests now whisper
with no one to hear.
The little folk weep
and shudder in fear.

They hide now in caves
'round fires late at night,
and try to remember
what's wrong and what's right.
But that which was lost
shall never be found—
no matter how long
the sun goes around.

Word count 253
FCA (Full Critique Acceptable)

Thank you for having a read and feel free to leave comments. Here are the other WEP entries for June, 2020. Enjoy!

44 thoughts on “Urban Nightmare #WEP #IWSG”

    1. I am discovering that what I love most about writing is being surprised by what happens when I give my own, unique voice a chance to express itself. Of course, it is then equally fun to then turn around and discover all the unique approaches that others take.

      Thanks for having a read and for your encouragement!

  1. Hi,
    What I like most about your poetry submission is that it portrays so well the lost freedom of the villagers once their hero the elven Lord has been trapped in the dungeon. Your rhyming is Spot On. You have done an excellent job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  2. Dark. Poetic. Moving. You’ve penned a poem that fits the prompt. Poetry is somehow able to delve the depths of our souls more so than prose at times. I’m so glad you decided to go with poetry to express how this nightmare spoke to you. And thanks so much for the research on ‘nightmare’ and DnD. I found it interesting to say the least.

    1. Yes, well, when I saw “nightmare” in the prompt, my fate was sealed because all I could see was that image in my head. Just add one city and two scoops of nightly news and you’ve got one easy-bake poem! Thanks for having a read and for your encouraging comment.

    1. Thank you so much! In this case, the images certainly led the way. It was fun to make-believe my way through the process. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thank you! Some poems seem to coalesce around a strong image and / or feeling. This piece turned out to be a bit cathartic to write. Thanks for dropping by and for your comment.

  3. My gaming started with D&D – and my writing fantasy with Joseph Campbell. So, this resonates with me – especially as I’m reading about a similar world…the Witcher’s. Except there the Elves and Unicorns don’t interact too well.
    Anyway, your poem is vivid as well as dark. I’m not a poetry critic, but the rhythm works and builds to the sculpted twist. Reminds me of Ridley Scott’s Legend – well, echoes of that film.

    1. If your gaming started with D&D, that begs the question, where did it end up? heh

      I’m glad to meet another adventurer in my travels! Thanks for having a read for for your encouraging comment.

    1. Thanks for reviewing and for the encouraging comment. I love the word “devolved” as that really captures my sense of the situation. Thanks again.

  4. Hi Karuna – well done … and now what … how do they escape or their world changes and they can be free to roam again … I’m learning so much from this prompt – D&D and Joseph Campbell … blogging always opens doors for us. Take care – Hilary

  5. Hi Hilary, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    I’ve been looking for unicorns my entire life; I will let you know if I see one.

    Thank you for dropping by. Take good care….

    1. It was as dark as I could go and it still seems a nursery rhyme compared to the nightly news. Your comment was deeply appreciated. Thank you.

    1. How fun that you, too, have encountered a nightmare! (And how true it is that context is everything here.) I’m glad you enjoyed it and am grateful for you comment. Thanks!

  6. Great job with the prompt. The poem has such flow and imagery. I know nothing about Dungeons and Dragons, but the picture you created for me of the Nightmare was exactly what I found after I Googled it. In the last verse or two, I see some comparisons to reality–what was once noble has been tarnished, the struggle to see right from wrong. Well done!

  7. Yes, it’s true. I do feel the current nightmarish situation within the last stanza.

    Thank you very much, Donna, for having a read and for your encouragement.

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