#writephoto: The Spring

This story is inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.

reflection

She had determined to find the source before her resolve failed her. The journey had been long and wearisome, and her feet were a mass of sores. But she had found it, the bright, sparkling waters that flowed from the earth’s heart. Not blood, but crystalline, life-giving water. Smell and taste, and at the end, hearing had guided her steps, for she was blind. They had blinded her as soon as the visions started when she was a child, thinking she had no need of eyes since she saw with the eyes of her soul. Earthly sight would cloud the visions, they said, and they were more valuable to the chief than the beauty of any young girl. Her mother had tried to stop them, but her father had made her be still. It was for the good of the clan.

The visions grew more vivid, more real. She truly did have no need of earthly eyes and lived increasingly in a world of fairy people, soft winds and warm sunlight. Then, one day, she heard a voice, a lover’s voice, soft and low. She learnt the contours of his face, his smell, the taste of his breath. But what she wanted more than anything in the world was to see his face, and for him to look into her eyes.

She told no one, not even her lover, and taking nothing but her staff, set off on the road to the mountains. She heard the wind and the cry of eagles; she left behind the smell of salt from the sea and her senses filled with the scent of ling on the mountainside. When the sound of the source filled her ears, she smiled to herself and stopped where a shadow hung between her face and the sky. She reached out a hand and plucked seven rowan berries from the tree that overhung the pool, and dropped them into the magical water. With trembling heart, she bathed her ruined eyes in the stone basin.

Light exploded all about her. The red berries gleamed like rubies, the grass shone so bright in the sun she could scarce look upon it. When the ripples on the pool settled, and the silver glitter receded, she stared into the water—her face, eyes restored, big and wide and blue, and behind her, the reflection of a man. Had he guessed and followed her? Her heart pounded with joy. She swung around, a wild smile on her face, and saw, waiting at the foot of the hill, their feet bathed in the rill from the spring, the chief and his bodyguard. Bewildered, her gaze flitted to the man before her, his scent unknown, his eyes hard and pitiless. She barely had time to whisper her lover’s name before the knife forced its way between two ribs and found her love-swollen heart.

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Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

63 thoughts on “#writephoto: The Spring”

  1. You just had to, didn’t you? 🙂 There was I thinking we had resisted the darkness….

    Oddly though, the eyes, the vision and the rowan berries are far more appropriate to this place than could be coincidence.

      1. The outer forms don’t matter so much, not if the inner life is engaged, but I agree that the old ways seemed more alive and closer to the natural rhythm of life.

      2. I’m inclined to agree with you on that from a personal perspective, but there are many for whom that structure and guidance are comforting and helpful. Each to their own path… they are all valid.

      3. Then you get to the existential problems about what is free choice, and what is training and habit. How do we know that we think we have chosen is our real heartfelt choice, and not what we have been conditioned to think we want?

      4. I can’t speak for anyone else but my own upbringing was so spiritually eclectic I could have taken any direction; the one that calls your heart leaves you in no doubt.

      5. You were very lucky to have not been channeled in a particular direction. We brought our children up without any religion and tried to instill a respect for life instead. It’s made them completely ignorant of all the thousands of religious references in our culture which is a shame, but it has made them maybe more aware of the imperatives of nature and society.

      6. I tried to give my lads the freedom to choose their own paths but shared as much as I could about as many others as I knew, without any bias. The oddest thing is that their own homegrown philosophies and values seem to have evolved close to what you might call that ‘natural’ philosophy that forms the common heart of many belief systems.

      1. Yes, very true. Even my old Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm storybooks have few happy endings – I think it’s a construct of the Disney corporation 😀

      2. Or perhaps it’s as an antidote to the real world… Though there is magic still to be found there, it seems to be lost at times. Perhaps it was also when fairytales changed from being for everyone to being relegated as ‘children’s stories,’ and it was thought the littlies couldn’t cope without a happy ending.

      3. Also perhaps because we tend to protect children from the unpleasant aspects of the real world whereas until very recently there wasn’t much point in pretending—childhood wasn’t pink fluffy unicorns with spangly tails.

      4. Yes, the changing face of childhood is definitely part of it. I think you wrote something the other week about how all the stories we write could be classed as fairy tales, as they are all made up – so it makes sense there would be darkness there as well as light, as that is how life is. My nine year old, for some reason, has always written quite dark stories – despite her early Disney addiction 😀

  2. But an invisible shield protected her, the knife slicing in but doing no damage, it was then her faith was revealed, her sight returned, and all the evil she had come to destroy was felt across the world. women walked free from their prisoner homes, and love blossomed again, because she believed, amen.

  3. Nasty piece of work, lulling readers into a false sense of beauty… then *stab*.
    You just like that very small spot, the sweet spot at that moment… when readers have dissolved into your story As the chests heave, eyelashes bat like starlings wings and become part of the murmuration, you “Bam!” Then relish the sight of wide eyed people re reading the last line … people suckered in, with hearts pounding on their tongues and a stench of death hanging thick in the air as it sinks in. You live for that tiny spot!
    Excellently twisted Jane!

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