Thursday, January 26, 2017
This weeks terribleminds challenge - Hope in the face of Hopelessness. I've continued using the same world I created for the Apocalypse Now challenge.
Beryl is where I live now. I’m not sure what’s happening in the lowlands. Sometimes there are reports of descent that a few travelers report to us. At first, over a year ago, mail carriers would deliver an official envelope with information about the change that was happening. Our Mayor, Cinnabar, would read every word of the file and then put it in a public folder so we could all read it. A cheer would go up at the end when it congratulated us on our important part in the whole plan. The plan had some number to it that I have forgotten.
Thursday evening is our gathering night. I love it. When I visited, Beryl, before the plan was enacted I would stop briefly for one more use of a flush toilet and buy packaged food before heading into the wood to camp and fish. It was on my last return trip from camping that I moved to Beryl. Actually, I didn’t move here but just didn’t go home. The store clerk informed of the plan and he’d been waiting for my return. He and his wife took me in and I live in their cabin they’d built for grandchildren to stay in when they visited. They don’t know where their kids are now.
Back to Thursday night. It was mandated that each Village of Preserve (VOP) should have a social evening and keep the collective memory. Beryl’s is a party. Everyone brings food and Wolfeite created a band. Tonight, one of the best hunters has made barbecued meat. I’ve made a pig of myself. Sipping on some kind of alcohol recently brewed, I listen to the music and enjoy the evening air which has a hint of winter in it.
“Thorite, is this seat taken?” asked Niter.
“You notice the stranger?” He jerked his head to the right.
“No.” I look and can’t tell anything about the person except that the backpack was bigger than the person’s upper half.
“I think it’s a girl. Remember the last stranger told us of a woman who was rescuing people from the horrors of the lowlands? Wonder if it is her?”
“What? In Beryl? Why would such a legend be here?”
“Because that guy said that she said she was heading to VOPs. Beryl’s a VOP, remember?”
“You’re fantasizing. That guy was telling tells. His story is what people tell when they want to have some kind of hope. This is it, Niter. Enjoy this Thursday. Tomorrow there might not be one.”
Niter mumbled and took another drink. I kept looking over at her. I wondered, did she know that she is welcome to food? To drink? Did she have information about anything beyond the mountain?
Then, I watched her and her backpack titter and fall over. Wolfeite reacted faster than all of us and in two steps, he was off the stage and kneeling next to her. “Amber, Amber,” he said and touched her cheek.
A crowd formed around them. Wolfeite starting giving commands. He was that guy who always knew what to do. Amber? Was that the name the stranger said? Could Niter actually be right and this is that woman?
“Thorite, get her some food,” Wolfeite said and I saw that her eyes were open. “Everyone move back. She’s going to be ok.” He started to get her backpack off and I went for food.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
This is the same world as last weeks apocalyptic story. This week's terribleminds challenge was something that scares you.
My mother, often while standing at the sink doing dishes, would ask me, “What do you fear, Wolfeite? What are you going to overcome now?”
I never ask the question in return. My mother’s fears were never known to me. This question had become part of my life and I never question why she asked it.
Today, now, at this moment, standing in front of the house that had become too crowded with its five inhabitants, I ask myself my fear. While I’m thinking on it, I see the old woman with a new load of bags all completely filled. She is hunched over and this hunch is still present when she is not loaded down with a new load.
“What momentous thing are you going to do today, Wolfeite?”
I know the voice instantly. It is Thorite.
“Today, with this blue sky, with the dirt road in front of me, with the woman walking by with her loaded bags. I think I will seek out a house that is empty.”
“A futile task then. They are filled. You know that.”
“Indeed I do.” I walk off following the woman. It has been three months since my group of friends was herded to this village. Three months since one life ended and this new one began. This time my fear wasn’t a fear of being alone. I still feared never seeing her again but now new fears had entered me. Every morning, rising from my bed, I wondered if my knees would ache as much as they did yesterday. When planting my bare feet on the floor, I mentally took note of the degree of pain in my back.
Falling in with slow measured steps of the women, I said a quick hello to just say I was there. We continued our steps in silence.
The dirt road continued and then turned down a hill. I hadn’t been down that hill since I came to Beryl. That is the name we were told but I have never found a sign to confirm the town’s name. She continues along a rocky path that rises. There is still room for me to walk next to her and we continue.
The sun is above us and the trees no longer shade the path. Sweat drips from my hair to my neck combining with trickles running down my back. The path turns into a clearing and I see a brown porch railing. The woman walks up to the door and opens it.
“Come on. I’m in need of refreshment.” She walks into the house leaving the door open.
I’m awe struck when I walk through the door and see the view through the bank of windows. The house must sit on the edge of a cliff because I’m looking at the tops of the mountains.
“It is all yours. I fear Beryl is getting too crowding and I’m not finding much to fill my bags. I leave in the morning.”