For the dverse prompt. 144 words exactly.
The egret picked its way through the reeds to where the open water of the lake began, the stately progression of a Medieval princess dressed in white samite performing some mystery. He shifted his weight; the movement frightened the bird and it launched itself in a shower of droplets into the sky. Envy made her want to weep.
“Oh to have that freedom, those white wings.”
He shrugged. “It’s not freedom. It’s just following nature’s orders.”
“Sometimes,” she said, “the great bones of my life feel so heavy, I could drown in these shallows.”
He took her hand. She knew what he was going to say, the platitude about how he’d always be there to carry her. She pulled her hand away.
“The shallows call with more passion than I’ve ever heard from you.”
“I know,” he said and turned back to the house.
For the dverse prompt, a 144 word (exactly) story incorporating the line from Liesel Mueller:
‘there is nothing behind the wall
except a space where the wind whistles.’
When I was small, the path to school followed two sides of a high stone wall. There was no door, no entrance, and I told myself that there was a magical garden full of trees and flowers on the other side, where no snow fell and no farmer shot the pigeons.
I grew up and, hating the cold northern place, went away, only returning to clear out my parents’ home. Wandering the streets in search of memories, I came to the wall, walked around the third and fourth sides until I found the door.
I stand here now, feeling the tremor of childhood magic, turn the handle. It isn’t even locked. There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles, and dead leaves pile in nervous drifts. But among the leaves lies a child’s winter scarf and a dead pigeon.
The ‘prosery’ prompt over at dverse is to write a story of exactly 144 words including this line from a poem by Jo Harjo:
“These memories were left here with the trees”
I haven’t used exactly the same words, just the sense from them. We lived for almost ten years among the French battlefields of the Great War and the atmosphere of the entire area is a very special and very melancholy one.
She had always found it a sad place, the landscape, the people—too rural, enclosed like the big fortified farms, no outlet for any feelings. There were mature trees growing around the foxholes now, and shell craters were filled with bracken. The mutilated and the broken lay almost hidden, but she imagined she heard their cries as they were blown from their roots. Men were turned to bloody soup in these woods that became cellulose soup, then oceans of bloody mud.
The fields were tilled again and flowers blew at their edges, but beneath the trees memories lingered. If she dug her hands into the deep earth she could pull them out. They whispered in the delicate woodland flowers, but it was the trees that held her in their spell, the horror of their stories, the unquiet memories that were buried in their roots.