Dark Triptych I

Dark Triptych Part I

For Tehani

(see her prompts here)

The wind whips the spoors into the air and over the cliffs. She watches them float there (wait for me), watches the wind cushion then release them as they climb down to the floor below where waves crash white through the blue, the rocks painted then washed clean.

A muffled cry whispers to her (wait for me) like the breeze tickling strands of hair into her ear.

The desire to follow the spoors chokes her, has choked her all this time, so that it hurts to speak, and she doesn’t anymore. Her pallid mustard skin stark against her black shawl, the fraying strands floating in the wind as though they can’t bear to touch her. She is a diseased thing, she once thought. But she hasn’t thought that in a while. The disease ran its course. She’s thinks only of the rocks (wait for me), and the blues waves painting them white.

She looks over and a thin, humourless smile stretches over her tightened lips.

The stone tower looks out as it always has, impassively, unfeeling. Determined. She envies it. It wasn’t here still; not in the way she was. Better she was a ghost, an insubstantial being, that didn’t have to smell the salt that flitted up, taste the happiness of the birds in the air.

The dead shouldn’t live (wait for me) should they?

The birds, the hated birds, dive down the cliff. She watches them drop, willing them into the water. She had watched her husband, from this cliff, as he had floated off to war. Wait for me he had said and she had kissed him on the beach, her fingers knotting themselves in his stinking furs. I will, she had promised, I’ll go nowhere without you. Then she had walked, following the cliff up with her baby girl strapped to her and pawing at her breast, and her twin sons running at her feet like goats and they sat at the cliff top watching the boats sail.

It was long ago (wait for me): the children were gone to dust, their descendants muddied and diluted and gone to dust as well. They were lucky. Her village too, was dust. Trampled for a new village that was trampled for another and then for a road that led to a bigger village of metal and smoothed rock.

The birds soar past her again. The wind picks up; a muffled cry again grasps her ears.

Wait for me, she whispers.

She creeps spider-like towards the tower, ducks under a doorway. The other woman lies on the floor trussed up, her head banging rhythmically against the irregular stone floor. She looks up at the pallid thing wrapped in black.

“Wait,” she says. Always, thinks the woman, looking down at her captive.

At the cliff edge the two women totter. The shadow woman holds the other up, leaning her deep over the edge.

“No,” the woman pleads, her eyes fixed on the stark rocks beneath her. “My children. Please. My husband is dead. The children need me. Please.”

The shadow woman doesn’t comprehend the words; they are carried past her by the whistling wind. She looks at the woman with love and pity.

No waiting for you, she thinks, and releases her grip.

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6 Responses to Dark Triptych I

  1. Tehani says:

    *shivers* Urk. Very good Mr Simpson, well done!

  2. dansimpson says:

    Thanks Tehani – glad you like 🙂

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tehani Wessely, Daniel Simpson. Daniel Simpson said: @editormum75 Tehani, your story is (finally) ready! check it out https://dansimpson.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/dark-triptych-i/ […]

  4. gigglesigh says:

    I’m intrigued … did you write them in order of I,II and III because your third is much darker and this one is like a prelude to the dark side that awaits us. I’m wondering whether it was intentional

  5. dansimpson says:

    I did write them in that order, but there was probably no real thought put into making each one darker than the last.

    The first and second had a shared theme based on the prompts Tehani and Cate gave me – that something endures past when it should. Maybe the first piece resonates in the third?

    That would really make me look like I knew what I was doing, wouldn’t it?

  6. Amber Hunter says:

    Wow, Dan! Absolutely incredible! Can’t wait to read the rest of these. Your work just keeps getting better.

    Please tell me your sending off submissions to traditional print zines, too? Or are there not enough vampires, werewolves and dragons in your stories to attract the editors? LOL

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