If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Magpie Tales, 60

Magpie Tales

Midday, the muck of low clouds became a steady, gentle rain.

   On the thatch roof, its murmuring reminded Anna of breezes that once ran through her father’s fields of ripened wheat. In the heat of those younger summers, the sound had been a comfort, drawing out the poison of loss like loving fingertips.

   Anna let some of her worry fall with the tender patter. Maybe they wouldn’t search in the rain—question.

   She let drift her focus,  from the gateway she had been watching, to the beads of rain gathered on the window pane. In the tiny convexes she found  gap-toothed smiles, Mayan ruins.

   Anna wondered what Maria would see in the droplets:  lovers entangled, a bandersnatch. Maria had the imagination, the dreams. Anna's head had always been full of numbers and useless facts.

   She took her father’s watch from her dress pocket. Two-thirty. Maria was late. She looked back at the gateway anxiously.

   Anna had been instucted to leave at three ‘o clock, regardless. But how on earth was she supposed to do that, when Maria had the change of clothing, the food, the names, the route. This was her dream. All Anna had was the money. Same as ever.

   ‘Just go!’ Maria would say. ‘Try! Live!’

   Anna left the window. She found a knife and cut the star from her dress. It's dark image remained above her breast, a brand, she was sure, her money couldn't erase if she was captured.

   Maria would have gone anyway; taken the risk. But she wasn’t Maria. Hope had always been harder for Anna to find.

   Dusk followed the rain. Under its cover, Anna went to the well behind the farmhouse, a waste-high ring of stone under a limed shed. She took the coil of rope from its peg and fed the bucket down into the well's mouth.

   Anna washed her face in the icy water she had drawn. Maria was gone. They had her. She was certain of that now. She wanted to cry, but couldn’t. Hatred and atrocities had worn that ability thin. She looked out over the fading landscape. Even if she could reach the border and cross, would she be free, carrying this loss?  

   Anna fussed with the rope’s knot, slick and swollen tight to the bucket’s handle. When it wouldn't come loose, she placed the bucket over her head, handle under her chin. Tipping the brim back enough to see, she swung her legs over the edge of the well. She glanced once more at the empty gateway, then fell into the dark mouth of the well.


  1. Fascinating imagery. Sad and tragic, but beautifully written with a punch in the gut at the end...INCREDIBLE! Well done!

  2. Dark and delicious write, packed with an emotional punch at the end. Excellent piece. You have a gift for writing.

  3. I see that futile, hopeless look in the eyes of young people more and more and it is discouraging. It is the opposite of rebellion. For me to read it is damaging. Writing it would destroy me. I don't do well with tragedy.

  4. Amazing piece... tragic, raw, engulfing.

  5. Certainly a fantastic piece. I do, do tragedy - it's a big part of life.

  6. *blink*

    I was not expecting that. Powerfully heartwrenching, that one.

    Oh Steven, I wish I could write like you.

  7. Wonderful, intimate-effective work.

  8. You grab at the heart ... always connecting on a deep emotional level... always making the reader feel as if they are in the characters position.. and always leaving us wanting more.

    Fabulous writing, Steven.


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