The world shrinks, a wizened apple
colour of ditch water,
and even the owls hunt afar.
Will you still be here
when the blossom returns,
and the cold is chased by the rising sun ?
Or will you have shrunk into the past
like the empty walnut shells
and chestnut husks
that litter the damp grass?
Listen to the east wind in the branches
and tell me if their song of the icy steppes
will still trot in your head
when the lilting melody of the south
lulls the day to sleep.
I see the white hair
of the children of the mist
and hear their laughter,
though the world is ending,
and the tide will ebb no more.
Hold tight to my hands,
let us not sink into the dark alone.
I’ve just been over to Sacha Black’s blog for a bit of inspiration. She is challenging anyone who fancies it to write a short story using only dialogue. Since my next release, the first volume of the Wormholes series, is pretty heavy on dialogue, I thought I’d give it a go. Here is one of the opening scenes reduced to dialogue.
Yesterday’s pic applies.
“You all right?”
“Can’t see any blood. Mind you, I can see feck all, so it’s possible I’ve lost a limb or two.”
“The building must have come down on top of us.”
“Lucky we’ve got such thick skulls.”
“There has to be a way out. Seems a bit lighter over that way…”
“Careful, Carla. There could be aftershocks.”
“Yeah, exactly. I’d rather not be in here when they hit. It is lighter over this end. Tully! There’s a way out. I can see… Porca miseria!”
“I’m here, I’m here! What’s up? Are you okay?”
“Look out there.”
“Jesus! What in the name of…”
“Tully, where are we?”
“Looks like half time in the War of the Worlds. Let’s go back. There might be a back door.”
“Just for once, can you be serious? How can we go back? Back where? It was the end of the world starting, remember?”
“Looks like it’s over now, so we’re in luck there, at least.”
“I don’t fancy going out there. Not till they put the fires out and those cracks in the ground stop opening and closing like that.”
“Tough! Now just turn around slowly, and don’t try any funny stuff.”
“Who said that?”
“The dwarf with the Kalashnikov?”
“I’m not a dwarf! I’m eleven.”
“Whoever you are, put that fuckin’ thing away before it goes off!”
“Nah. You’re coming with me.”
“Shopping mall. Ace wants to see you.”
“The boss. You mess with Ace and he’ll pull all your skin off. A little bit at a time.”
“Okay. Just askin’. You said you were out of deodorant, didn’t you, Carla?”
“Does your mother know where you are?”
“Nobody knows anything anymore. Now move it!”
Vitrail: Notre Dame de l’Epine
On the rim of this last crepuscule, the flame-feathered sun sinks into night’s black maw, indifferent to the fate of the puny earth. When the jaws snap shut, locking down the last night across the planetary sky, there will be no more wrestling at dawn with the iron-bolted trap. The fingers, that since the first dawn have prised apart the bright horizon from the night, catch dead asteroids to toss among the stars. Fiery wings plunge into the hollow blackness beyond the sky, where space smothers all light, and the howling astral winds blow celestial feathers and flames into oblivion.
In the dry leaves and brittle twigs of the last of the trees, the fox curls and sleeps. Nothing moves, except what is nudged by the erratic breeze. No mice stir, no birds. The fox dreams of scurrying rodent feet, the trickle of rain water running into a stream. She dreams of soft grass beneath her dry, cracked pads, and a cool dark night sky glittering with stars. She dreams of a tiny cry, and the sound is almost real enough to wake her, but her cubs are long since dead, forgotten except in an instinctive memory.
She curls tighter against the dust, bitter and dead, that fills the air that used to be full of the smell of the rain, rabbits, and warm blood. Night is falling, cold comes. She should find her earth and shelter. But she lies still, uncaring. There is nothing left to care for. The cold bites, deeper than a dog bites. Warm blood slows, heart’s pulse falters and stills. The last fox sighs and lets her soul go free.
Last day, last story. I pass the challenge on to Peter Bouchier. I can’t find a blog address for you, Kyra Thomas, but please consider yourself nominated too.
The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:
1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!
Painting by van Gogh
At the end, a flowering tree,
Its petals cast on a sea of mists,
The dreams of all the world.
On the edge, a last tree bends,
Showering a whispering tapestry
Of lost loves and hopes,
Drifting into eternity.
When the end comes,
And all the blossom is fallen,
When cold winter strews dead leaves into the gulf,
Who will hear the last song of the wind,
Crying among black branches?