Ten terrified youths are abducted by a bird with ten terrible heads, who plans for them a doom worse than death.
Music: “Dungeon of Shadows (seamless)” by Nicholas Jeudy
Video Description: “The Ten Terrible Heads of Shi Xin Niao” Trailer. Duration, 45 seconds. “Dungeon of Shadows (seamless)” by Nicholas Jeudy. Digital drawing. A creature that looks like a bird with nine visible heads. The body is seen from the right side, wing feathers extended out, long tail feathers flowing back, and legs loosely folded. The colors and patterns of the bird appear like that of a golden pheasant. The color of the beaks differ between some of the heads. The heads are arrayed in different positions, some in profile, some looking and facing forward. The bird is surrounded by a crackling glowing energy. Title card with the words “Short Story” and “Genre: Mythology,” is displayed at top. Tagline is displayed at bottom. It reads: “Ten terrified youths are abducted by a bird with ten terrible heads, who plans for them a doom worse than death.” Title card and tagline fade. Lines from the story appear in sequence in different positions and different colors: “In time, the transformation of their body spread to their heads. Separate they remained, but their heads grew feathers and beaks, and their bones and muscles cracked and tore, until all that remained of their prior selves were their human minds and their human voices, though even those were fading. Already, seven had lost their human voices. And four had lost their human minds.” Site URL appears at bottom center throughout and fades at end. As the last line disappears, the story title appears at center, and a text card appears at top that reads “Available to Read Now.”
Welcome to Year 10 of Storyfeather
Every year’s short stories (mostly) follow a theme. For Year Ten, every month’s stories share a genre or theme, some anchor point that the reader can rely on. But within that, there are strange concoctions brewing. The genre’s merge, archetypes collide, mythologies mash…welcome to the Year of Fusion.
January Base Element:
🦀🐌 BEAST-UARY! 🐲🐙
Base element for January: Beasts! Beasts of myth, legend, nightmare, and dream.
Fusion Element: The law (specifically, the laws of marriage)
One of the prompts for the art challenge that I’m currently doing (in January 2023) was “nine-headed bird.” This refers to the nine-headed bird (or phoenix) from Chinese myth and folklore. I took many elements from the folklore story I came across: the abducted youths, the cliff-side cavern, the existence of a tenth head originally, and other things that would be spoilers for the story.
(Sources: China Beasts and Legends and World of Tales)
It’s fun taking an existing story from myth, folklore, or fairy tales, and putting my own spin on the story. Might be an exercise worth trying, if you’ve ever wanted to have a go at fiction-writing and didn’t know where to start.
Tags: Bird, Caihong, Cavern, Creature, Heads, Jin, Marriage, Nine, Ning, Ten, Yanchao, Youths
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