She sat among her own.
Around her were other historians of the old, the ancient, in spoken word alone. Some old, some young, all in awe of the hoarfrost woman, the eldest of the griots.
Eyes of stone that easily flashed in compliments or condemnations, were a study in consternation as she gazed among those gathered. Especially the young who dared challenge their way.
“Only mouths are we who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things!”
Bent and cane dependent, she moved boldly nonetheless to the youngest among them and held out a gnarled, aged hand. He had tried to hide the offending item he carried, but as always, she knew.
He handed her the scroll. Their history on vellum.
He saw it as the beginning.
She knew it for what it was: the beginning…
…of their end.
dVerse Poets Pub | Prosery: Here’s the thing about existing
At dVerse Sanaa tends bar and welcomes us to another round of Prosery where we are asked to write a very short piece of prose that tells a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end, in any genre of our choice.
Since it is a kind of Flash Fiction, there is a limit of 144 words. It must include a complete line from a poem in the story, within the word limit.
Punctuation can be changed, but it is not allowed to subract or insert words in between parts of the original quotation.
This week’s quote:
“Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?” – from Rainer Maria Rilke, “Heartbeat.”
This is some POWERFUL stuff. For me, I’m getting shades of Octavia Butler, of Tomi Adeyemi. You bring so much depth through such slight turn of phrase: the quick flick of a glance, the song to a distant heart, the soothsayer’s vision of an ending. Beautiful. NOW this needs to become a longer piece, because I, for one, am hooked.
Oh, wow Butler and Adeyemi… Thank you! Regrettably, I don’t think muse will be that generous with me to create a larger work from this, even if I wanted one.
I get that. I have lots of things that COULD be things, but…nope.
Wow, I want to keep reading this. It feels a bit like a short story of Neil Gaiman’s where the seasons are personified. Thank you
First comparisons to Butler and Adeyemi and now Gaiman? My goodness! Thank you!
A fascinating fictional take on the prompt: great work!
I love this folktale-like story. The prompt line does sound like something a griot would proclaim. Really well done.
Thank you, Merril!
Wow, wow, wow 😀 this reads like a legend in the making, I especially love; “Eyes of stone that easily flashed in compliments or condemnations, were a study in consternation as she gazed among those gathered.” Thank you so much for writing to the prompt! 💝💝
Thank you, Sanaa for such an intriguing prompt.
I can really understand this… to go from words that exist only as told by storytellers to words on vellum was booth beginning (and end)… I can only imagine the next steps when stories could be printed.
And now we are happy to read them from a screen.
Exactly, Björn. The transition from vellum to print was somewhat easier only the educated could use them, Oral histories were still needed among the rest. The advent of books and a basic education becoming more commonplace among the masses sealed their fate, but yes – their stories being written on scrolls was the beginning of the end. Thank you.