The Promise of Spring


"The soldiers stare at Annika when we go for rations."

"Let them look." Liam snatched a biscuit from the plate. "Her beauty will save us. As long as there is something to dangle in front of them, they will leave us alone."

"She is your daughter, not an enticement. When will they be no longer satisfied with...?"

"We all need to survive, Bekka." Liam looked out the window. "It will be a cold winter. We must find more wood."

"The hickory shells..."

"...mere phantom of warmth. You and Annika go to the forest tomorrow. Bring back what you can in the sled."

"I won't take her, not with the soldiers."

"The New Decree forbids your disobedience."


She stood. "I will prepare Annika and myself for tomorrow's foraging."

"I am thinking of joining the soldiers. We will get more rations for my service."

Bekka stared. What had happened to Liam's dreams of revolution? His plans for New Independence? "Do what you must."

She found Annika in the back yard, studying her reflection in a pool of rainwater. "Do you find me beautiful, Mother?"

Bekka gazed. "Oh, yes."

"What gives me my beauty? Is it my hair? My teeth? My skin?"

Bekka frowned. What hubris was this in a child of such modesty? "All of it, I suppose."

Annika pointed. "See you that maple?"

Bekka nodded.

"Why do the leaves depart the tree?"

"It's the time of the Falling, Annika. Why ask you such questions?"

"Grandmother once said that the leaves depart because the weight of their beauty cannot be contained by the tree."

"I have heard it so as well."

"The truth is that the tree willingly lets the leaves go, sacrificing its beauty in order to preserve itself over winter. Beauty is only an encumbrance to survival." Annika took a length of hair in her left hand and cut it off to the scalp with the kitchen knife. "We must go to the forest, Mother, and there wait for the promise of spring."


This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was phantom.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: The Promise of Spring

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Promise of Spring


"The soldiers stare at Annika when we go for rations."

"Let them look." Liam snatched a biscuit from the plate. "Her beauty will save us. As long as there is something to dangle in front of them, they will leave us alone."

"She is your daughter, not an enticement. When will they be no longer satisfied with...?"

"We all need to survive, Bekka." Liam looked out the window. "It will be a cold winter. We must find more wood."

"The hickory shells..."

"...mere phantom of warmth. You and Annika go to the forest tomorrow. Bring back what you can in the sled."

"I won't take her, not with the soldiers."

"The New Decree forbids your disobedience."


She stood. "I will prepare Annika and myself for tomorrow's foraging."

"I am thinking of joining the soldiers. We will get more rations for my service."

Bekka stared. What had happened to Liam's dreams of revolution? His plans for New Independence? "Do what you must."

She found Annika in the back yard, studying her reflection in a pool of rainwater. "Do you find me beautiful, Mother?"

Bekka gazed. "Oh, yes."

"What gives me my beauty? Is it my hair? My teeth? My skin?"

Bekka frowned. What hubris was this in a child of such modesty? "All of it, I suppose."

Annika pointed. "See you that maple?"

Bekka nodded.

"Why do the leaves depart the tree?"

"It's the time of the Falling, Annika. Why ask you such questions?"

"Grandmother once said that the leaves depart because the weight of their beauty cannot be contained by the tree."

"I have heard it so as well."

"The truth is that the tree willingly lets the leaves go, sacrificing its beauty in order to preserve itself over winter. Beauty is only an encumbrance to survival." Annika took a length of hair in her left hand and cut it off to the scalp with the kitchen knife. "We must go to the forest, Mother, and there wait for the promise of spring."


This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was phantom.

Labels: , ,

7 Comments:

At October 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM , Blogger Valerie Boersma said...

"Beauty is only an encumbrance to survival."

Annika is wise beyond her years realizing this-those horrid soldiers!

This is a beautifully written piece, Kelly. Wartime steals so much, but the innocence of the young is one of the worst crimes.

And thank you for recommending me to Sandra! I felt like bursting at the seams when I got her message:)

 
At October 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM , OpenID theinnerzone said...

"weight of the beauty cannot be contained by the tree." How profound! Beautifully written.

 
At October 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM , Blogger kymm said...

This voice is so haunting and other-worldly, Kelly! The dialog is terrific, and the scene blood-chilling. The withdrawal of her partner, and the wisdom of her daughter are in such perfect balance. What will she do? Loved Liam snatching the biscuit.
Terrific story.

 
At October 23, 2013 at 7:12 PM , Anonymous steph said...

So thought-provoking, Kelly. I love the dialog. Heartbreaking the despair she feels over Liam's capitulation. And the conversation about beauty... the idea of dangling their daughter to get what they need, or at least to be left alone.. sad. Great story. Terrific writing.

 
At October 23, 2013 at 10:19 PM , Blogger Trifecta said...

What a read to start the day! This is a stunning story with depth and wisdom. Oh, and beautiful phrasing! Thanks for linking up!

 
At October 24, 2013 at 9:18 AM , OpenID trudgingthroughfog said...

I love that conversation between Bekka and Annika. And the fact that she recognizes what she needs to do to force her father to go with them to safety in the forest. A lovely piece!

 
At October 25, 2013 at 4:37 AM , Blogger Atreyee said...

What an amazing piece of writing Kelly and the end-wow-am totally bowled over !

 

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