Prompt of the Week: Illness

Today’s Prompt is: Illness

My response:

The halls of the Great Temple of Memories were never so quiet as on the day High Priestess Evelyn died. The songs of worship were not sung on that day, seventh day of the seventh month. The priests prayed in silence. The doors of the great temple were not opened that day. The air in the temple hung heavy over the heads of healthy priests.

A young girl carried an iron kettle in one hand and a clay mug in the other. She wore black today instead of the colour of her Goddess. Today was not an ordinary day. Today was a day of mourning. She walked quietly in padded slippers down the huge halls. It was said this place was built by giants. She could believe that if she looked up and thought about how far away the ceiling was.

At the very end of this hall there was a green door. On the door in elegant black lettering were the words ‘High Priestess’. The girl did not need to knock; the door opened of its own accord to let her through.

The room that she walked into was fairly large. The walls were light green contrasted against dark mahogany furniture. There was an elegant desk in one corner with a red arm chair sitting next to it, a wardrobe in another corner, and in the centre of the room there was a huge four poster bed. On either side of the bed were a little tea table and a little chair. The windows behind the bed were closed and the curtains drawn over them.

In the bed there was a woman, a very old woman with braided silver hair and unseeing blue eyes. She smiled as the girl put the kettle down and then the cup.

“It is nice to see you still care,” the woman said.
“We all still care,” the girl said.
“Perhaps. But no amount of caring can save me.”
“Do not speak that way, Mistress Evelyn,” the girl said, pouring the tea into the cup. “I have brought you tea.”
“I am going to die, child. I have lived a good life. It is fine.” The woman took the tea and sipped at it. “Ah, rose tea; my favourite. Thank you.”
“You do not have to die today-”
“If I do not die today, I shall live only to die tomorrow.” The woman put her tea down.
“You can live yet.”
“No; I have summoned you here so that I might have a friend by my side when I die. Do not try to stop me; if I wanted more life, I would seek a healer.”
“Mistress…” the girl took the old woman’s hand.
“Listen to me,” the old woman said, looking at her, “when I am gone, follow the river to its widest point. Choose carefully which of its paths to follow, and along that path you shall find your queen.”
“Evelyn-”
“Do not question. Just go.”
Evelyn’s eyes closed and her chest sank. The girl buried her head in the dead woman’s shoulder and sobbed ever so quietly.

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on January 17, 2011, in Prompts, Short Fiction, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Sorry I havnt dropped in on you in while hun but Ive got your new site in my faves so I can keep up with your work….As usual your prompts inspire me to do some of my own.

  2. Greetings:

    http://redparrots.livejournal.com/15028.html
    Post in usual spot. However, I discover I have an old, unused WordPress blog that I might transfer to … for company etc. : )

    Re Prompt… my connection to illness is a little tenuous but it won’t be the first time I’ve sort of mashed it to fit my needs.

    I enjoyed your post … in particular the “negotiating” between the living and the dying. It resonates – the living want the dying to keep trying and the dying often want release.

    Cheers!
    RP

    • RP,

      Very interesting. I like the way this story is moving. I keep hoping for something more to grow between Elgin and Avis.

      I really like this piece and I will probably be using the young woman again. I’m not sure who she is just yet but I’m going to let that come to me as it wishes.

      ~Dianna

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