Prompt: Solitude

Today’s prompt is: Solitude.

My Response:
The days after Evelyn’s death were long and hard. I sought solitude and the company of myself, but it seemed to me that there was another knock on my door as soon as one person had left. They came to visit me, to ask me about her last words, a few to see how I was doing. I did not care for their company; without Evelyn the temple was nothing to me. The temple of Ahkmar was rising; without Evelyn, this temple was as good as dead. It served a dead Goddess after all.

A newspaper came to me and asked me to write her obituary. I spat in the young man’s face and told him to leave me alone with my grief. I didn’t care about the bad publicity.

I appeared at her funeral, but I watched from the distance. Evelyn had brought me in when she found me bleeding to death on the street; she had saved me, she had cared for me. I would never have been a priestess, but she gave me a life within the temple. She did not give me friends. I did not speak to the mass that gathered at her funeral. I spoke only briefly to those whom I had known well, but I did not pursue conversation.

When her body was buried I walked back to my room alone. I did not go to the wake. I had seen all I needed to. I had all I needed…

Evelyn handed me a silver silk bag held closed by a string. It was heavy in my hand and it clinked when it moved. I pulled the bag open as she watched. Twenty silver coins and a dozen gold coins filled the bag to the brim. I gasped and looked up at Evelyn. She smiled at me, her old decaying eyes sparkling in the candle light.

“It was my mother’s. She gave it to me when she died, but what good is money to a woman of the temple? I have been waiting all of this time for the Goddess to show me what I am to do with this. She has shown me now that I am to give it to you.”

“But Evelyn-”

“You must find your own way, and this will allow you to do that…”

The preparations were simple: buy a horse cheap from the temple, get a free bundle of blankets and clothes, and go into town to buy food and whatever else I needed to. Of my own possessions I brought only the necklace Evelyn had given me for my sixteenth birthday a year earlier and the sword that my father had tried to kill me with many years before that. When I had slit his throat with a kitchen knife, I took the sword.

A sword doesn’t always save you from a beating, but it helps. I put it in a leather sheet and put it around my waist. I wore trousers for riding and a white shirt, covered by a green cloak. The horse they sold me was a beauty, black as night and nearly as fast as a bird. Her name was Taea. Taea was Evelyn’s horse; she rose the horse just as she rose me, with kindness and love.

It was sunset when I was finished in the city. I did not mind riding through the night; anything to get out of this place. Taea carried me through the gates just before they closed for the night. The guards did not try to stop me. I was only mildly surprised; they probably figured I was on a suicide mission anyway.

The night was warm and the cool wind refreshing. I was alone, really and truly alone, in the middle of the forest. The trees were my company. And I was fine with that.

Please post the first 75 words of your response.

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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 31, 2011, in Prompts, Short Fiction, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Greetings!

    http://redparrot.wordpress.com/
    Post in NEW spot … moving over to this site just so I can super-complicate myself. LOL!

    Ooo. I quite like your post – my collegues and I are burying one of our staff this week. All the funeral details – the distance and closeness and strange chaos – feels quite true. I also sense the “tether is broken” result that often happens when one passes.

    The other thing I quite liked was the detail about artifacts – what was taken, how it was procured etc – things say a lot about people and often have meaning/power well beyond the thing itself.

    I also have in my mind a great green billowing cape as she rides off … : ) … perfect for a cover, perhaps. : )

    Cheers!
    RP

    • RP,

      I like your new blog 🙂 I’ll have to update the link in my blogroll.

      Your post is quite pretty. I love the idea of the note that Elgin leaves behind, the way he turns even a simple gesture into a work of art. I really like this piece.

      And I’m glad you liked mine. The passing of somebody you knew-whether they be family, friend, coworker or just somebody you’d met a few times-is always a strange occurrence. It always jars you a little. I hope you’re feeling all right about your coworker’s death-as all right as you can.

      I like writing details about artifacts… actually I always have a lot of fun writing up what characters take with them places. I find those little details very interesting, more so than lots of other little details.

      Thanks for reading,
      ~Dianna

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