Fiction


I don’t usually share my own writing (other than blog posts, obviously). This has to do with the label “non-writer” which I gave myself many moons ago. And I dubbed myself a non-writer simply because I knew I could never compare to those writers I admire so much. But, since I’m now about to be published for the third time, I suppose it’s time to admit that I am a writer….at least sometimes. And with that part time admission, I’d like to share the story which is being published in the very near future…don’t worry, it’s a short story! Really short….shorter than most short stories. 😉 And now I’ll stop prattling….my almost published, shorter than a short story, story:

 

Pomegranate Seeds  whole-and-cut-pomegranate

The sun bounced off the waves, throwing shards of shimmer over the water, like a disco ball at a high school prom. The day was fine, all light and warmth, as the boat with its two passengers slid across the rippled river, silently…stealthily. The warm breeze touched the young girl’s face, and gently mussed her hair, like a mother’s soft embrace. Mother. She sadly sighed.

Yes, the day was fine as she sat in the boat, watching the boatman steadily row. But despite the sun and breeze, she knew the darkness was coming. It was looming up behind her. Its sharp, cold teeth were bared. It was ready to pounce. She felt it growing in the distance, but she would not look back. She couldn’t bear the pain of her own creation.

As they travelled, the waves began to rise, lapping at the sides of the boat. The treetops stretched now bony fingers toward the sky, and seemed to scrape and claw at the abundance of dark clouds as the wind howled through their limbs. She felt the gale build, as it grabbed at her with its rimy tentacles. I AM HERE!!LOOK AT ME!!! it screamed, pulling at her hair and scraping her face with icy talons. I’m sorry, she whispered. I’m so sorry… She hugged herself to keep out the bitter wind, which shrieked around her, but it was only a matter of time. The darkness was poised to overtake them. She was helpless to stop what she had so foolishly started.

And then she saw it. She felt her panic rise up as their destination rose up into view. Entering that cave would be like death for her, and all that surrounded her would die with her. It was as if the very earth was mourning her loss. Cold and bitter barrenness would prevail. For her and for the world. As they were about to enter the mouth of the cave, she noticed one small rebellion. A lone woman stood, holding a sign, which read “Freedom For Persephone!” Freedom…she sighed, and she closed her eyes. A tear slid down her cold cheek as the darkness enveloped them, leaving the rebel alone to brave the benumbing cold and snow which suddenly surrounded her. All was dead. All was barren. All was lost.

~Heather Sarsfield 2014

Advertisements

A true story…almost….

The day was perfect: not a cloud in the sky; warm, but not uncomfortably so; a soft breeze blowing out of the East. A perfect day for a safari. As they packed up their gear, they discussed where they should go first.

“How about the dark forest?” asked the first. he was obviously the braver of the two, despite his smaller stature, for they were under strict orders not to enter into the dark forest….by order of their superior.

“No.” answered Fin, who was the older of the two. “You know we’re not supposed to go there, or to the river bottoms.”

“I don’t know how we are supposed to find the rare copper colored Frogimissium Hopsalotum without going into the dark forest or to the river bottoms, but fine! Be a wimpy boy!” retorted the first, sticking his tongue out at Fin. Fin just rolled his eyes.

“Knock it off, Séamus. You’re always trying to get us into trouble. Just put on your helmet and let’s get going already.”

Séamus sighed heavily, put on his safari helmet, and tagged after Fin. It wasn’t that he was trying to get them into trouble, he was just looking for adventure and a bit of fun.

“Guess we won’t have any adventures today”, he grumbled under his breath. Little did he know…

They made their way across the meadow behind the camp, en route for the tall grasses of the savanna. Fin was hoping to find the elusive Frogimissium Hopsalotum near the small pond on the other side of the savanna. But it was a long way across the tall grasses, and danger lurked everywhere.

As they quietly made their way through the tall grass to the pond, Séamus heard something.

“Fin, did you hear something?” he asked, in a bit of a panic.

“Oh, it was nothing, Séamy! You’re always hearing things!”

Onward hey trekked, until they finally reached the edge of the pond.

“Here we are!” exclaimed Fin. “Now to find the rare Frogimissium Hopsalotum!”

Séamus rolled his eyes. “We would have found ten if we’d gone to the river bottoms” he muttered. Fin just ignored him and started searching. He looked under a rock…nothing. He lifted up a lily pad…still nothing. He looked in the rushes on the side of the pond…nothing again. After a half an hour of nothing, he became exasperated and plopped down onto a large rock. “This is too hard! We’re never going to find it!” he sighed.

Meanwhile, Séamus was sitting under a tree, lamenting the fact that he couldn’t go to the river bottoms, when he saw it…”Fin! I found it! The Copper Colored Frogimissium Hopsalotum!! It’s on my SHOE!!”

Fin ran over, excitedly took it off Séamus’ shoe, and put it carefully into the collection jar.

“Now we can go back to camp and add it to the collection!”

They gathered up their gear, and started to walk through the tall grass. In their excitement, they didn’t hear the footsteps following closely behind them…

“OUCH! Finbar…wait! I tripped over a rock and…FINBAR!!! RUN!!!”

Out of the grass jumped a large, orange-ish cat…”a LION!” yelled Fin, who grabbed Séamus and started to run. The camp wasn’t that far off…he could see it through the grass…

“Finbar! Séamus! It’s time for lunch!” yelled a familiar voice.

“Mom! Are we glad to see you! Wait till we tell you what happened!”

“You two didn’t go down to the creek, did you?” as she surveyed their muddy shoes. “You know that area is off limits.”

“No, Mom. We wouldn’t EVER go down there!” exclaimed Séamus. Fin gave him a look. “We went across the tall grass and found this!” said Fin.

“Wow! A tiny brownish frog! That has got to be the smallest frog I’ve ever seen” said their mom. “Make sure you let it go after lunch, ok?”

“Yeah, sure. But there’s more!! After we found the frog and were making our way back to camp…um, I mean home” (at this point, Mom smiled), “we were chased!!

“Chased? What do you mean chased??” she nervously asked as she whirled around to look into the tall grass.

“Yes!! We were chased! By a LION!!!” yelled Séamus.

Mom peered into the grass, sure she saw something,when all of a sudden the lion burst forth into the yard.

“Oh!” she replied, with a knowing smile. “A LION! You poor dears! It’s a good think I made peanut butter and Fluff for lunch, huh?”

“Yay!” they both yelled, running into the house.

“Make sure you get cleaned up first!” she yelled in, laughing quietly as she watched the lion…also known as Paws, the neighbor’s orange cat…make it’s way home.

I wrote this a while back, and came across it just recently. It seemed fitting to put it here, since it was my first real attempt at fiction. It has no title…I was never able to come up with something I found to be suitable.

As Dan knelt down, he tried to think of how to word it all. What he was going to do wasn’t an easy thing, but it had to be done. And Eibhilín had to be told.
“We’re leaving, Eibhilín…Áine and I are leaving this very day.” There, he had said it. The worst, he felt, was over.
But after the words were uttered, Dan grew silent…thinking back over the past few years. All that had happened; all that had been taken away. It started with Eibhilín falling ill that winter 3 years ago. The doctor had said even if she were to get better, she would always be weak. But she never did get better. It was that winter 3 years ago that he lost her. It was this that he thought about as he knelt upon the very spot he had knelt the day she was buried.
It seemed such a short time ago that Eibhilín had died, and yet so much had happened in that time. Things were tight…they always had been, but with the potato crops suffering they way they had, there was only enough money to get them through to the next harvest. Each year seemed to be worse. This past crop didn’t make it through the blight so there was no harvest at all. When the money ran out, and the rent was not paid, the landlord told Dan and his daughter to find other lodgings. Dan pleaded with him…saying there was no other place to go… he had a small daughter to think of. He was met with silence, and was escorted out by the landlord’s crew the next morning. A smile crept upon Dan’s face, as he looked north and saw the smoke still rising from the rubble that used to be his landlord’s barn. You could always count on rebels not to be so silent.
As Dan gazed up, and saw Áine dancing merrily in the grass, a wreath of wildflowers upon her golden head, he whispered “She is a vision of you, Eibhilín.”
“Come Áine, we must leave now,” said Dan as he rose from his spot. Áine ran over, and placed a bouquet of wildflowers upon her mother’s grave.
“Da, will Mum always watch over us, even when we are in America?” asked Áine, as she put her hand into her father’s.
“Yes, Áine, I think she will,” answered Dan, as they walked down the road toward the glistening bay, to the ship that would take them to their new life.

Here is a bit of a story for you.

My grandmother was an immigrant to the U.S. Her childhood was spent in Ireland, in the province of Munster, in the county of Cork. I always had the impression that her childhood was a happy one (if one can judge by her stories), despite the turmoil that seemed to be going on throughout much of it, which was widespread throughout the whole of the country. I won’t bore you with Irish history, but suffice to say the battle for freedom was still alive and well during this time (especially in Cork)…it was something that she spoke about, with a Fenian gleam in her eye, for years after.

For much of her childhood, she stayed within the area she was born (I think West Cork), and associated with the same people for all of that part of her life. One person in particular seemed to be favored, and it was often talked about among the inhabitants of the town where she lived that someday the two of them should be wed. When my grandmother would speak of him, I have no doubt that they were right. He was the love of her life, and she of his. They spent every free moment together, and their love blossomed as lovely and fragrant as the roses in June. By the time my grandmother was 16, it was evident that marriage was very much in the immediate future (I believe he was 4 years her senior). As Easter came closer in the year of 1916, it was decided that this holiest of sacraments was to be conferred shortly after Easter Week. As she told the story, you could still see the look of happiness, mixed with a touch of melancholy, on my grandmother’s face. But there were other forces at work, which were to pull them apart forever.

Right before Easter, as everyone was preparing for the Holy Day, as well as for the pending marriage, her lover came to her to relay a secret. He was to leave…to go to Dublin to take part in a battle to ensure the freedom of the country. My grandmother wept bitterly, and tried to change his mind, but she knew that she couldn’t. His first love always had been for Éireann, and while she was devastated at his leaving, she would never try to compete with that love. It’s a love that not many people (at least here in the U.S.) could ever understand…true patriotism and love of your country, and a willingness to die for that love. So, with heaviness in her heart, she watched him prepare to go. And with the bitterest of tears, she watched him march with the other Volunteers down the road on the way to Dublin. Before he left, she begged him, once more, to stay, but he said to her: “If you promise to love me forever, I promise to be with you again.” She promised, and held his promise in her heart for all her years. But he never came back. It was on the steps of the GPO that her dear Séamus breathed his last breath…her name upon his lips.

It was almost too much for her to bear, and even many years later you could see the sadness of his loss in her eyes as she told her tale. Shortly after the Easter Uprising, my grandmother’s family made the trip to Cobh to board a ship en route for the United States. It was here that my grandmother eventually met my grandfather, married and started her family. It was here that she lived the rest of her days, never to go back to her native land again. I’m not sure that she could, in a way. Her loss was too heavy in her heart, even after all of those years.

My grandmother passed away about 20 years ago now. She was well in her 80’s, and she lived a very full and happy life. During that whole time, she kept her end of her promise to her dear Séamus. She loved him as no other, for as long as she lived. While he was not able to keep his end of the promise during his earthly live, it is my hope that their spirits are now together, walking through the fields of their youth, never to be separated again.