1.10.2014 Journal Prompt

Image from Beneath the Harvest Sky
Image from Beneath the Harvest Sky

January 10, 2014: This is where he came from.

4 Replies to “1.10.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. There’s an old farm five miles out of town and the wind runs its cold fingers through the tall tangled grass in its gutters, and rainwater splits the stones when it freezes so that the house leans crooked and the walls crumble, and gray slates shrug and slip-slide from the roof leaving holes for the sky to creep in. And children once threw stones at the windows and they were sure of shot so that black jagged splinters of glass is all that is left and the echo of the children cheering. And birds nest in the rooms – swallows and martins and even a wren – and mice in Autumn, and sleeping frogs in winter. And the photographs that have fallen from the walls, years back, lie few on the floor and the faces fade to nothing.

    And the fields outside are so long unturned that they are not fields anymore, and small trees creep and creep beyond the edge of the ragged wood and into the ground that was once barley and wheat, and untrapped hares leap for joy in the spring, joy at the people being gone, and butterflies in summer leap, too. And it was here that a story began… insofar as stories can ever be said to begin.

    His name was Coll and if he lives it probably still is. And he almost wasn’t born at all, which is to say that they saved the child and let the mother die, but if the father had asked, it could so easily have been the other way round. And life was hard after that, and a little harder living with a father who could not look at Coll without hurting, without spitting on the ground and cursing the boy’s every step and those curses given shape with a slap or a kick.

    And Coll grew up running away from everything. To the furthest reach of the sprawling farm sometimes and from some high vantage point he’d look over the rim of his world to what lay beyond. And through the misty blue of the horizon to the place of the setting sun, it always looked brighter. And some days he skipped school and walked as far as walking can when you are ten, but they always brought him back, wrapped in a blanket in the back of a car with a blue light on the roof. And they laughed and touched his shoulder more gently than any touch had ever been before, and they said he was lucky to have a home. And when they left his father never spoke, but the boy knew he was mad as a shook bag of cats by the slamming of doors and the breaking of plates or cups and the kicking of chairs.

    And it was a girl who made him leave at last. He was fifteen and she played with his heart as young girls do. Kisses soft as feathers one day and her hand down the front of his jeans the next, and the breathless wonder of first love and first sex and being young. He was easily won and she made him do things he never would have done before. And they made plans for their getaway. He stole money from the shop and then the post office, and she smiled and said he’d done good. And one day he took a car that was not his own and he stopped outside her house with the engine running.

    But she was fickle and flighty, which is allowed when you are young, and another boy was gathering up her kisses by this time, and Coll’s heart broke and if he couldn’t have her then no one could. And she was found in the wood up on his father’s farm, laid out like she was just sleeping on a bed, her dress pulled straight and her shoes cleaned, and her hair tied in neat ribbons. And her neck was broke.

    Coll ran from there and maybe he’s running still, and time runs, too, faster than most. And the father sooner shrank to a grateful grave and the farm was never sold nor ever was a farm again. And birds and the sky and the weather live there now and the wind moans sometimes and it makes the sound of a mother weeping.

  2. Lindsay, this is one amazing story. How did Coll spring into being so quickly from your fertile imagination and flying fingers over a keyboard with just one suggested prompt? Wow! I can almost hear the wind moaning.

  3. Susan, thanks so much for reading and for commenting and for liking. Who knows where these things come from, I am just glad they keep coming. I have Patty’s carefuly worded prompts and chosen pictures to thank… they feed me. I really really appreciate your positive response. Thanks.

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