The uprooted trees symbolised the turmoil in her thoughts, a burning itch of fire ants on her skin. The bitter drink aggravated the snake coiled in her belly, a mixture of freedom with the dread of discovery.
Last night’s tempest thundered like a herd of stampeding buffalo battering the hotel with spears of rain, and the window crashed across the room. She acted on impulse, a frenzied flash of angry until the bedsheets resembled an impressionist canvas of red.
Her cup rattled in the morning quiet. The train departs at seven and she will travel alone.
This week’s picture prompt for Friday Fictioneers flash fiction showing an entanglement of trees and their roots is interesting for me. I spent some time trying to determine what the type of tree it was. I came up with–an American Beech or possibly Eucalyptus.
Legend tells of a Green Man and of an underground city dripping with gold and silver. Myth requires the first born in spring as a sacrifice at the roots of the great, grey tree to fertilise the forest and ensure an abundant harvest from our fields.
Everyone in Cronbourne keeps clear of the tree in May and we wear a sprig of silver birch to deter evil.
Martha laughed and went searching for hidden treasure. We continuously called and heard her mobile ring within the tree.
The autumn harvest was excessively rich that year.
Not as expected, but the rent is cheap and suddenly available. Sally checked the agency’s note. The landlord, Mr Bates, had the keys; she knocked. It’s the top flat. She followed him into a tiny room. You’re beautiful. He scratched his beard. Sorry! A pretty view. See the park. Oh yes, nice. Is that jasmine shampoo? She moved to the exit. No, no, this way. A dark bedroom with narrow windows, a carpet stain and a new mattress. He scratched at his neck. Should we forget about this month’s rent? She smiled. Maybe not, as my boyfriend would kill you.
This week’s picture, to me, is a reminder of the Burma -Death Railway built with forced labour by the Japanese Army during WW2. It is estimated that 90,000 labourers and 16000 allied prisoners of war died during it’s construction. The brutality of the period reverberates with us still, in books and in films. One film, The Railway Man, is an adaptation of the account of a British Army Officer, Eric Lomax, captured and tortured by the Japanese. Years after the war Lomax confronts his Japanese counterpart and they become friends. As they say; time heals. Perhaps, but only for some.
My story has nothing to do with that tragic period.
Their shift had ended 200 years ago, and the bearded miners packed the “Journey’s End” pub. The flaming fire warmed the room, but at midnight the atmosphere turned sullen.
John sipped his ale.
Outside, a train screeching to a halt stirred all the men to drink up and leave. John followed them into a fog of hissing steam that obscured a locomotive. The miners climbed into the carriages, and the engine pulled away in the dark above dilapidated tracks. John marvelled at this silver miners’ mystery.
He returned indoors to his bitter ale, and the crowded pub of bearded miners.
‘I have something important –’ ‘Not now,’ said Carolyn, and flashed her new Breitling watch. ‘Meet me at Le-Petite around five.’ She cycled away and tinkled her bell. ‘Still waiting,’ toned Maurice. He lifted my cup. ‘Another coffee?’ ‘No.’ I paid him and stared out the window. Carolyn’s Diamond watch niggled me.
We worked out at weekends in Bros Gym, where people ogled her glowing appeal. Lately, without an explanation, she would disappear for days. No calls. Was it my business? I dare not ask. But today! She was never late. I was going to New York. Would she come along?
The wonderful Dale has given us a picture of a garlic string to stir our imagination and taste buds. I understand that the greatest benefit from garlic is to eat it raw in salads. Does anyone really eat the cloves raw?
Radiant with the beauty of eternal youth, Silvia enchanted a fluttering of men like lavender surrounded by buzzing bees. Four of her husbands died of broken hearts and the fifth during a moment of rampant ecstasy, and she howled pitiless that night. It was her curse to devour the passion from the souls of men.
In Vulcan, the women called her ‘She Wolf’ and fortified their homes with strings of garlic.
Late afternoons, wearing fine leather and furs, she would ride her sleek stallion to lure a lusting youth.
By midnight, her mourning and howling would haunt the mountain villages.