Wednesday, October 27, 2010

STONE

Every day Man shuffles through Land of Stones hunched over his stick. Bright-Eyes chitters loud and scrambles down Oak. My tail twitches, alert. Hungry. Sun scared away Rainclouds and the acorns are small and hard. Bright-Eyes hides them in our secret nooks anyway, for the kits who will come after Snow.

Bright-Eyes looks thin perched on top of Stone. Man hobbles slowly. He looks thin, too. When he arrives, Bright-Eyes scampers behind the tree, waiting. Man stops, leans on his stick, and sighs. He stares at Stone. He waters Earth with his eyes.

“Carol,” he says. “I miss you.”

His hand plunges into his skin, grey like Sky. Seeds shower the yellowed grass. Bright-Eyes dashes out, filling his cheeks with corn and nuts. Blue Jay swoops down from the branch for his share. Man watches with sad eyes, then leaves.

Every morning Man sprinkles his Water and Seed before Stone. Bright-Eyes lines our nest with fallen leaves. Sky turns black and blows cold. Bright-Eyes brings me acorns but does not eat. My belly swells.

White arrives. Man does not visit. We wait and wait. Still Man does not come. White piles higher than Stone. Bright-Eyes returns with the last acorn. He gives it to me.

One morning, White goes away. Yellow Bird rumbles beside Oak and digs through White and Earth with his beak. Men circle around the hole, but not our Man. They fill the hole and right another Stone.

White returns. Bright-Eyes does not wake. I wait.

***

A departure of sorts for me -- I've never written from a critter's POV, though I have written from a tree's. Inspired by the 52-250 Flash a Year Challenge theme: tombstones.

Redoing BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT. It's kind of fun. I even have a new title.

Peace, Linda

25 comments:

  1. Nice job, Linda. Animals are harder to capture (IMO), but I like the passing of time here. It doesn't just effect us.

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  2. I had a moment of hope when I read "One morning, White goes away" - but reality and life are harder than that.

    A great voice in this - and an unusual perspective on our world ("Land of Stones", "Sun scared away Rainclouds", "He waters Earth with his eyes").

    Good, good language.

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  3. "He waters Earth with his eyes." I love that line Linda. You should write from a critter's eyes more often - very well done.

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  4. Your construction of this story is quite brilliant - a POV of an animal, divided equally by one sentence spoken by a human.
    The simple language in this piece forces you to slow down, read it carefully. There was no skimming done in this reading - I took it all in one precious word at a time.
    And oh, that photo of the squirrel is adorable.

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  5. Gorgeous works here. You always leave me hanging on to your words doll.

    Carrie

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  6. The point of view made this cuter than your usual fare. Why does Bright-Eyes sound so familiar?

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  7. Beautifully written. It has a certain poetic feel throughout. I love that you wrote from the pov of a squirrel. This will make it impossible for me to take them for granted anymore. Poor Bright-Eyes.

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  8. You write the animal POV with great skill, tugging at my emotions so that the ending has a sad impact.

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  9. Adding my appreciation for your story to the others here.

    Love the picture.

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  10. Excellent story! Quite a different perspective of a story like this, with it being the squirrel's POV. It worked well.

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  11. Your writing is so versatile! Great voice, great structure and perfect names for all.

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  12. it's so hard getting the vocabulary right when doing a creature (i know, I wrote from a vulture's pov while back) but I think you pulled it off marvellously.

    marc nash

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  13. This is absolutely fabulous. I love the squirrel's voice, which by the way, you have completely nailed.

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  14. Beautifully written, Linda. An interesting point of view, and so sad.

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  15. ... and that's about all we are. A meal ticket and time-clock for squirrels.

    Ouch.

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  16. ha, love it photo is equally grand..

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  17. This is great. And the picture fits perfectly.

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  18. I love to watch your mind at work, week after week, finding different forms and points of view. Death to the animal, like death to the small child (they don't quite get it)is particularly moving.

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  19. Flash fiction at its best. A whole life captured in a few words. I still see Bright-Eyes' bright eyes.

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  20. I'mm repeating my Fictionaut comments--Nice work, Linda. I like your approach to the animal POV—you pull it off nicely. I like the primitive, almost fable like feel to this one.

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  21. Excellent story- very imaginative and effective point of view.
    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

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  22. Well done, Linda. Using the critter's POV to give us the Man's story was a nice piece of work.

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  23. Thank you ALL for reading and taking the time to comment. I am always amused by what readers respond to, and what they don't. I ripped this piece off in the space of 30 minutes or so, under the pressure of writing when time was particularly scarce, and almost did not post it -- I felt the story a tad sappy, overly sentimental, and I was really, really, really trying to write something scary for Halloween. But alas...

    The beauty of the 52/250 Flash a Year Challenge is it allows me to play at low time cost -- play with voice, with genre, with words. It's my indulgence, like a piece of fine chocolate or a glass of Brunello.

    I am always grateful that any of my words resonates with you. Thank you for reading me. Peace...

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  24. I really like this piece. The language that you've chosen is stark and really does give the feel of being told by a critter. I love that eyes water earth.

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