Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Summer Fiction No. 2

How time flies! I turn around and suddenly find myself in May. Well, then, I'd best get on with it. No sense rabbiting on when there is a story to be told.

Prompt: Sunset

She felt like she should be crying, but Angelica didn’t have any tears to cry. She didn’t have any angry words to throw at the empty woods; she couldn’t even feel happy that she was out from under her husbands thumb. She stared out among the trees and listened to the soft susurrus of the forest. Angelica sat with her back to outcropping of rock that had started everything.

She sighed and, from the corner of her eye, Angelica saw the tree branches bend, as if they sagged under the weight of her memories. She was only six years old when she first came upon the rocks. They jutted out of the top of a hillock deep in the middle of the woods. At one time, Angelica would have sworn they looked like an old doorway, a portal to some other land, some other time. Now they simply looked like rocks, gray save for splash of red from the fast setting sun.

Angelica had seen faces in the rocks all those years ago, and not just tricks of the light. These faces had moved. They had smiled at her and, being only a child, she was not afraid. The rock faces had never spoken any words to her, but they hadn’t needed to. The expressions of their eyes spoke plainly. She had seen happiness and sorrow in their eyes. Above all else, she saw kindness and understanding. Angelica and the faces had needed each other.

It was all nonsense, of course, but to a small girl those golden afternoons spent reading to the faces in the rocks had been magical.

She’d rarely thought about it later; Angelica had spent the time since then just trying to fit in. She did nothing out of the ordinary so that people would not call her “that odd girl” anymore. She had become ordinary for the sake of living in peace.

Another sigh and Angelica pulled her knees closer. There was a chill in the air, but the rocks were still warm from the day. She knew she would have to leave soon; she didn’t think she could find her way back in the dark even though she used to. Angelica could have walked the woods blindfolded when she was younger. There wasn’t an inch of ground she hadn’t explored, no tree she hadn’t attempted to climb. She never could, but Angelica’s imagination more than made up for her lack of brawn. In her mind, she’d been at the top of every tree and had seen the entire forest laid out before her in a million shades of green.

Angelica knew she should leave, but she suddenly didn’t want to. The warmth of the rocks and the color of the setting sun were bringing back memories that should have made her sad though all she could feel was a lightness in her heart. She suddenly felt as she did twenty years ago, childlike and whimsical. Angelica turned to look at the rocks behind her and saw the faint traces of the old doorway.

Also, rather alarmingly, she saw a face.

Part two, next time!

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