For Sonya’s Three Line Tales. You can read the other stories here.
photo by Zara Walker via Unsplash
She stopped at the edge of the dark place and poked at the freshly turned earth with the toe of her boot.
They had put something in there but it was shifting and turning, and she knew that they hadn’t done it properly.
The earth heaved, growing like a volcano, but she didn’t flinch, and when the head broke through the surface with a cry of triumph, she pointed, throwing a bolt of white fire that sent the creature back to where it belonged.
The summer sun is failing,
Gold disc paling,
Autumn wind is sighing,
Wise blackbird dines,
Among the vines.
And will you leave me with the sun,
Our love dance done,
Or let love grow
Through winter snow?
The Daily Post prompt is: together
Together used to mean we two,
The couple who
Were set in stone,
Don’t even phone.
Together we’d stroll through the crowd,
The crashing feet,
Hear our hearts’ beat.
Together we walk separate ways,
Those summer days
Not meant to last,
Just so much past.
This painting by Harald Slott-Moller is one I find absolutely intriguing. The girl sits with her bare feet at the water’s edge, a crown of flowers on her head, and an expression on her face I would describe as mournful, but it could be simply thoughtfull. A flock of birds that look like mainly blackbirds (except that blackbirds don’t flock) fill the bare trees around her. The title of the painting is Spring. That may be the title, but it seems to me there is a long story behind this sad-looking girl. Is she drawing the birds to her, or are they there to give her a message? Is she an allegory of spring? Then why does she look so sad? The landscape is broad and flat, like salt marshes with the sea in the distance. What is she doing in such an isolated spot?
If you would like a few prompt words:
Spring, sorrow, silence, solitary, submerge
No obligation to use the words if they’re not appropriate. Write a short story about this scene and post the link to your post in the comments box before next Thursday. I’m looking forward to reading what you make of this one.
This short story is inspired by Sonya’s photo prompt. It shouldn’t really be included in her Three Line Tales line-up since it’s more than three lines, but that’s the way it happened, and it seemed somehow disrespectful to shorten it. Her it is anyway, and I encourage you to follow the link to her site and read some of the stories that actually do stick to three lines.
She smiled as she worked and wove the bright orange wool, imagining the new baby crawling in his new romper suit. Not that she’d be seeing this one any more often than the older children. Her daughter found it hard to get over, and her husband had made it clear that he considered his mother-in-law a nuisance.
In the end, the new baby never got his romper. A stroke carried his grandmother off before it was finished, and his first and last visit to her house was not to crawl by the fire and play with the old cat, but to watch his mother, her eyes swollen with tears of regret, put things straight for the house sale.
Her husband let his hard, dry eyes wander round the little kitchen, still warm, the air still not settled into the silence of resignation. He picked up the abandoned bundle of knitting from the chair by the stove and tossed it into a plastic bin bag.
Another fucking horror we’ve been spared, he said to himself as he threw a stray ball of orange wool after it.
Air hangs heavy, fruit-luscious,
Dripping golden heat on parched grass.
A brittle breeze stirs crisped leaves,
Crick crack as twigs snap in forgotten flowerbeds.
Air hangs heavy as syrup,
Sweat-trickling and irritable.
Kick the dust,
Watch it settle,
Wish for autumn.
Perhaps if the wind were to rise,
And the dry sedge sing a different song,
And the weary hibiscus, left flowering alone, give up the ghost,
Perhaps if the air cleared and the rain fell
To wash the syrup from my eyes,
Perhaps I could open my hands,
Let go the crushed petals of fallen roses
And say, it’s over,
Breathe deeply the clean salt-tangy breeze from the sea,
And peer through the drifts of crick crackling dead things
To the spring beyond.
The last rays of the shortest day were fading from bright flame to deep orange. This was the moment she had been waiting for all her life. Each year she had stood on the sacred stone, facing the great mound where her ancestors were buried, waiting for the sign that it was time. She, the last of all her race, waited for the sun to die and the night to call her home.
Winds from the north cackled and crackled in her ears, but she did not feel the cold. No night birds called, and the fox slunk silently back to his earth, but she was oblivious. Already, the evening star was shining, fighting the golden rays that sought to diminish its splendour. She smiled to herself and her teeth shone in the last light like pearls at the bottom of a midnight ocean.
In the east the turquoise sky had darkened. In the west the red light was dimming, lying like a bloody pall on the vast burial mound. The north wind held its breath, the fox trembled in his earth, and the light fled. One by one, pale stars flickered and grew in brilliance until she was standing beneath a field of diamonds. Silhouetted in starlight, the burial mound shuddered and split from end to end. She raised her arms and howled in triumph. The reign of the Queen of the Night had begun.