Author Topic: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?  (Read 8496 times)

Offline Plumjive

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Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« on: September 28, 2013, 08:44:39 PM »


Ash

   I raised my forehead from the earth and entered the lodge.  With a silent chant: clockwise, careful of toes, don't stare - I slowly crawled around the circle.   Nestling into my spot, I inclined my head at what I hoped a respectful angle, and brushed at the soil clinging to my brow.  This small act was enough to silence the manners mantra and that was all the permission my gaze needed.  I looked up and immediately began staring into a mans chest.  It's flesh, loose with age and sun-dance scars held my eyes absolutely.  Eventually it released its hold: expanding to feed the elders soft remark that we sat within a womb.
 
   His words were confusing enough for me to brave a look about.  I peered around, inspecting the latticed willow boughs which supported the exterior hides. Glancing down, I wiggled a bit to better test the earthen floor and decided his description of the lodge didn't fit.  It was light and cool inside, and the ground wasn't particularly comfortable to sit on: Not at all how I imagined a womb to be.  I didn't have a chance to further explore what the elder meant as my attention was distracted by the arrival of the stones.

   I watched as the twenty eight bonfire baked rocks were brushed with a sprig of pine before receiving a pinch of tobacco each.  Humming what sounded to be a tune of welcome, the elder picked up an antler tine and gently nudged the hissing stones into the pit.  Our fire tender let fall the hide that served as the lodges door, sealing us into near complete darkness. The stones didn't radiate light so much as they did a heat that my cold butt and legs welcomed.   The scent of tobacco and charred bone was soon met by waves of sage, juniper sap and bear root.   After taking a minute to warm his drum in the smoke of the offerings, the elder began to sing.  I tried to understand the language he sang with but the drum was the only part of the song familiar to me.  It mirrored my heart beat.

   Lavender infused water was poured onto the stones.  I thought this soothing right up until the steam came.  It dropped from the roof of the lodge like a cougar to prey: clawing my body and gashing my thighs, until I felt encased in searing blood.   My heart began to seriously outpace the drum and this terrified me.  Those matching rhythms were the only thing I'd understood about the ceremony.  And the sweat came, oh god it came: from places Iíd never known could sweat.  Not a trickling dripping type of sweat but one that gushed and drenched.   Within minutes, the only rhythm that my heart kept time with was my own frantic breathing.  Desperately seeking relief, I fell to my side and smeared myself with the sodden soil.  I lifted my face to suck at the sweaty little pond I'd been sitting in, hoping the small surface might contain a breeze.  It didn't.  If anything, my wallowing seemed to attract the heat.  Blinking through the mud,  I sat up,  stared into the stones and burned.

   The pit rose to the center of my vision and its glow shifted into  faces of  fiery malice.  I felt the images were directly tied to my thoughts yet I was absolutely incapable of thinking them back to stone.  I clamped my eyes shut and let my chin drop to my chest.  My breath scorched my belly and thighs until an unbidden thought came to mind: I was intimately familiar with this exact pain.  If I hadnít been so thoroughly devoid of moisture, I'd have let loose a small burst of pee.  Once I recognized my current pain as the kind meted out by my stepmothers whip:  her voice became as my minds own.  In devastating harmony we told myself  'This is pagan and wrong - its hurting you because you don't belong here'.

   The dreadful chant grew until I knew with certainty sun-dance scars would never adorn my chest and I would never sing the songs.  I had to leave.  Sick with pity I moved to speak.  Just as my throat tightened with my cry to be let out,  I heard the stones.  Or I heard the lodge.  I heard something...and through feeling rather than word it was asking me to stay.  This sensation possessed an authority more profound than anything my mind could summon.  It annihilated the wicked harmony, encouraging me to sit up and open my eyes.  My lids cracked apart and I saw that the pit had returned to the earth.  Within it now lay a molten wolf surrounded by a tail of  ash.  We gazed at each other through salt and fire until I grew comfortable with his offer of guidance.

   Compassionate wisdom radiated from the wolf, embracing me as thoroughly as the steam had.  I wept with the knowledge that the lodge was simply doing one of the things a lodge was meant to do.  He explained that the ceremony had called to a deeply buried toxin and drew it, burning, through each of my pores.  Having surfaced,  it could now be acknowledged and given to the earth through sweat and song.  Being my first sweat, the totem told me it was important I learn now that the only pain I'd find within a lodge was the pain I carried inside.  He stressed that choice was still present : I could cling to my sickness, but sensing its death, it would flee the lodge and take me with it.

   Deep breathes fueled my sobs and they didn't burn.  Purifying smoke tasting of mountain and field coursed through me. My heart slowed again to match the beat of the elders drum.  I rose to my knees.  Reaching through the thickest heat , I grasped the upper willows and hung my face over the pit.   Within the earths womb my first song fell as tears, onto the wolf of ash . 

Offline bri h

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 08:52:43 PM »
On first reading, I'm finding this lovely. I'm a bit tired and ready for bed, so if you don't mind I'll save any crits for later in the day. Ok a quickie . . . 'breathes' should be 'breaths.' and I think you want a question mark at the end of one of your ellipses. Gnight/morning. Bri.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Plumjive

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 08:56:52 PM »
Ty Bri.  I'll research what ellipse is and fix this.  Ty for reading.

Offline bri h

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 08:58:21 PM »
English Ellipse =  . . .  American =...       ellipses. ok? And you're welcome. I learned how to do em here as well. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Plumjive

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2013, 08:59:42 PM »
Ah, awesome. ty again.  I put '...' when I do not know what to properly put there.

Offline bri h

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 09:00:19 PM »
hang on
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline bri h

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2013, 09:02:23 PM »
I heard something...? In the English version it would read
'I heard something . . . ?'  That kinda thing. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Plumjive

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2013, 09:03:06 PM »
I know many of you are pro's at this.  I am sorry since all that I write is going to be bad with punctuation and the like. (why I am scared to critique anyones work..I am doing this by feel if anything)  I have no idea what I am doing.  Well, not an educated idea anyhow.  Glad some of the - and ... and 's were good lol

Offline bri h

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2013, 09:08:33 PM »
I'm no pro, plum. I just remember some of the good things I've been taught here. And I like to pass em on. You're in a better position with your writing than I'll ever be. Don't be hard on yourself and keep writing. You're doing great. Wait till the rest of the Brits see this. They'll come out of the woodwork to crit this. And it won't hurt. It'll all be good supportive stuff. Well, Most of em will be. Just remember, they're critting the words and technique. NOT the author. A lesson I learned the hard way. A crit is easy. Just say what you liked about the story/poem/script, and what you didn't. These are all just opinions. Not hard fact. Enjoy this time, you're gonna learn so much AND have fun. Resp, Bri.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Plumjive

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2013, 09:10:28 PM »
you kickass Bri. Ty.

Offline bri h

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2013, 09:13:16 PM »
Who's arse am I kicking? Do I get to choose? heh heh. Thanks for the comp. Appreciate it. And I like making new friends. So you get to see my bias. heh heh. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2013, 09:17:55 PM »
Hi Plumjive, we often witter on about the importance of the opening line . . . I got confused [cultural thing, I know] and thought the 'lodge' was . . . in sequence:

1. a grand house -- no
2. a masonic lodge - they have weird rituals -- no
3. also thought of Orange Lodge  but because of dismissing #2, nixed that thought
4. getting confused now -- beaver's lodge -- no

Oh FFS I'm getting really annoyed trying to work out what this is ::) >:( . . . and that's before I managed to get any further.

If you could somehow clarify the lodge more precisely then the reader [and there could be more things  like me out there, let's hope not, but hey] won't suffer any confusion or frustration. Even working through the first paragraph, because I didn't have a clear idea of what a lodge was and still wasn't any wiser until near the end of the sixth sentence when sun-dance was mentioned I hadn't a lulu where I was. :o I'd have been a lost reader because of the opening sentence. :-[

mans chest ----> man's chest

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2013, 09:20:08 PM »
Maybe even a title change could set up the scene for the reader.  :-[

Offline Plumjive

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2013, 09:20:30 PM »
I posted here on MWC what I thought was a poem about a year ago.  A member replied with some heavy stuff, and even someone like myself could see he was well read and smart. So I decided I am not a poet.  And I thought I'd try story stuff.  This was my first attempt as I read here on MWC 1k is a solid place to shoot for for a little story.  It has evolved into a real story though...huge.  Like, I have pages on characters and places and things.  My self doubt and ego and memories make this writing thing harder than it should be, but I am going to try.  I do not have many other options really :P Just want to know if I have what it takes.  

One thing I have found is when writing on something, like my bad guys for instance, I will look out the window and see them in the shadows.  Wings unfurling and piercing glares... 100% sober.  Is writing supposed to shape the world like this?  Or am I crazy?  I am comfortable with either option btw.

Plum

Offline Plumjive

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Re: Little story - 1000 words. 1008?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2013, 09:21:09 PM »
Ty 510...on it.