Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Anger (01/24/05)
- TITLE: SECRETS OF THE NIGHT
By DeAnna Brooks
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The fire in the hearth, burned down to little more than glowing coals, flared to life from time to time in brilliant flashes, before settling to orange embers once again.
Still, the old woman never moved, save to rock, for merest moments. Nor spoke, save the illusive sighs escaping unnoticed into the stillness of the night. Even she didn’t notice...locked away in the darkness of memory’s home.
From time to time a smile flitted across her face like the wisp of gray-streaked hair she randomly swept, unknowingly, from the cheek where it came to rest each time her memories stirred enough to grant momentary life to the old rocker in which she sat...so still she seemed part of it.
Then, maybe she was.
Her arms moved slowly now as the rocking took on a deliberateness of motion. And into the room’s stillness a melody rose, wordless, yet haunting.
Moonbeams danced a shadow dance across the floor gently kissing her brow with every forward motion of her chair, like a suitor at play. As the melody rose more clearly in the hush of the night, moonbeams embraced the old woman in a peculiar dance all their own.
The gossamer veil lifted unrepentantly from the moon’s face, capturing in its brilliant beams a truth, hidden till now.
Clutched within gnarled hands rested a book, old and worn as she, its pages yellowed, nearly translucent. Words spilled across them, undecipherable now in the rapidly waning light. Clouds, suddenly spilling across the moon, cloaked them. Within the same shadow, her heart cloaked the secret.
The melody ceased as swiftly as it began, hanging, unfinished, in the new coldness, creeping icy fingers towards her. The few remaining embers devoured the last of their life with a final burst of light, revealing gnarled hands now clasping the book tightly against her breast. And silent tears, flowing slowly down the deep ravines of cheeks, mirrored a heart too full to carry more.
The bitter cold of dawn found her sitting, wrapped in memories that were colder still.
Memories woven around heart-books she’d cherished, for a life-time; written, page upon page, by her own hand.
Initial inscriptions she’d scrawled laboriously as ire’s pen propelled every letter, poured pain-filled word by pain-filled word upon the pages. Efforts to share them, in the beginning, led simply to more pages, deeper pain, and a pen that came to know no other language.
The tattered volume she clutched now, with desperation’s gnarled hands, numbered simply the latest in her personal library. A dusty bookcase, barely visible in the corner, stood so full its overflowing shelves spilled earlier editions upon the floor, their titles laying out a pathway taken by a shackled heart: Provocation’s Portals, Resentment’s Ravings (vol.1-3), Affront’s Addled Adages, Piqued Papers Unlimited, Irritation’s Chronicles, Agitation’s Airing ... to name a few.
Anger’s ink flowed throughout each volume revealing a lifetime squandered. Word upon recorded word wasting her away, until nothing more than the dying ember of all that could have been remained.
And thus she sat ... alone, in a growing darkness even daylight could not cast away. Imprisoned ... by an aching cold emanating from anger’s heart. Coldness no fire’s warmth could comfort. Captive to a room, and a chair, and emptiness ... filled only with her tears.
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