Inktober: Week 3

What’ll it be this time?

MYTH – a memory

Once, the earth opened up and sighed. Long and low, his sigh rolled across the air until it reached the cosmos. In the cosmos it wisped and faded, became an echo which continued the journey – for nothing truly stops in the realms of the gods. Earth’s deities heard both the sigh and its echo, others only the echo. Still it moved and changed and lived. Still gods listened as it passed and wondered – what does it mean?

So they made their way to earth. One by one, and pantheon by pantheon. They came to hear and see and taste. Settling above the earth, they blinked into view – tiny lights, perched and curious. Pantheon constellations; proud and singular burning things. So they made the sky. They looked down at the earth and he looked up at them.

Who are you? What do you want? What was that sound you made? All of these are questions that the gods could have asked. But they are, by their nature, proud beings. So they sat and waited for an explanation to come. And still, they sit. What are a few millennia of waiting to the ageless, after all?

Since then, the earth has not sighed again, because what he once lamented, he now has. A hundred thousand admirers, and amongst them, hopefully – several dozen friends.

SACRED – a legacy

My mother had a jewel. Quite a worthless one, in the estimation of any competent jeweler. Old, certainly, but not worth the time it’d take to polish for sale. It was a beautiful, murky red. In the light, it shone alternately brilliant at one angle then absorbed light and refused to reflect the next. When I left home, she gave me this jewel and told me to always keep it close. I asked why, and she said I would know when I needed to know.

Because asking one’s mother if that’s her best impression of a psychic hack is poor form and also counter-productive to continued living, I took the worthless thing. When I settled, I put it in my jewelry box and over the years when I missed home, I held that stone and felt comforted. Then came the call – your mother is ill.

So I went home, sure that this was goodbye and determined to smile with her just one more time. Death was camped outside her door, I could feel it as I entered. My mother was never a frail woman, but whatever illness was determined to take her had turned the shoulders which bore the weight of the world and of my wayward ways, and turned them into brittle things. Like too vigorous a hug would end it all – that was how she looked.

“Do you have it?”

Why I brought that worthless jewel with me, I cannot say. But I had. and I handed it to my mother. She smiled, and the effort shook the musculature of her cheeks.

“Come back tomorrow, I must rest.”

“But I just got here. I have so much to tell you…”

She was, as ever, uncompromising. So I left, and hugged my father, and cried with my sister. And drank with my brother. Not in the house, of course. In the yard. Sleep took me in the small hours just before dawn. And when I woke I went to my mother. Because the sun was up and that meant that it was tomorrow.

The jewel sat on the made-up bed, reflecting strangely brilliant light. My mother sat at her dresser, running a large-toothed comb through her hair and humming. Shocking, I know.

To this day, I don’t know what that jewel is, or what it did. My mother never explained, because what is sacred need not be named.

PAIN – a sacrament

Pain, a beast of solitude

Digs in claws and asks for peace

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