Purchase prints of the art by Omar Rayyan at Etsy.
Link to io9 writing prompt.
Writing Prompt Response:
The thick smoke, smelling of dusty herbs, wafted in the orange light like the coils of snakes.
Valencia coughed and covered her mouth politely with a gloved hand, one hand remained cradling her swollen belly. Madame Pirocud looked up from the objects on the pocked wooden table, a glare on her wrinkled face. Valencia’s cough subsided.
“The smoke helps the Spirits. Loosens their vocal chords,” Madame Pirocud said, her voice cracking defensively.
Valencia nodded, acceptance and desperation in her eyes. “But the gold…” began the old woman, her voice strained kindness, “helps my Spirits.”
The younger woman, her once lovely face now tired and grim, reached out with a trembling hand and placed a small pouch on the table in front of the older woman. Madam Pirocud snatched it up as soon as it touched the wood.
“If you can’t tell the Lady what she needs to know,” Bartholomew threatened, placing his hands protectively on Valencia’s shoulders, “I shall take that gold back, and then some.”
“Yes, yes,” said the old woman. She reached into the pouch and counted the bright gold. It was warm, enchanted, just like she had demanded. She nodded, satisfied. “The payment is accepted,” she cackled. She bent her head to the objects on the table and the bangles around her neck and forehead jangled. “Now,” she wrapped two colorful, tasseled scarves around her hands, “you wanted to know about the little one?”
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