Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Risk (05/17/12)
TITLE: The Dark Side of the Sun
By Ada Nett
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The morning she met Frederik had dawned soft and sweet, the light breaking through the night sky with a pale rose glow that illuminated the farm like a glorious outdoor cathedral. The first notes of the mourning dove were drifting across the field when she heard the approaching hoof beats. Helsa was milking the soft gray Vosges cow, she could hear her papa already at work in his forge beside the barn. The sharp ring of his hammer striking the hot malleable metal was like the singing of birds at dawn, an intrinsic part of her life, as natural to her as was the daily breathing in of the warm, musky smell rising from the cow's flank in the dawn's early light and she took a quiet comfort in the rhythm of the hammer blows as she filled the milk pail in harmony with papa's hot iron song. Delicate as a wild rose petal and as strong as the iron in papa's shop love grew naturally and unbidden when Frederik had ridden the limping,old mule into the barnyard. The mule favored his right front leg, where the wrought iron horse shoe hung loosely from the hoof. Helsa stepped from the barn as Frederik reigned the mule in. Their first words were simple and unremembered, lost in the beauty of a moment that was destined to change their lives forever.
They were wed on the farm in the outdoor cathedral. Helsa's dress was the customary black with buttons of cherry red. Her mama smiled as she lovingly tied the heirloom crown around Helsa's chin, the long tie ribbons unruly and gay as they danced laughingly in the summer wind. Helsa's pale blonde hair was woven into intricate braids laced together with an array of wild flowers gathered in the morning mist across the fields surrounding the farm. Frederik felt his heart die and rebirth anew as the reverend spoke the holy words that reconstructed two hearts into one . The merriment lasted three days and the farm rang with music as the village folk took a holiday from their care-worn lives and celebrated the happy event.
On their wedding night Frederik shared with Helsa his daring plans for their future. “We will build a new life in a new world, Helsa, here I am poor and have no chance to prosper. I will go ahead and prepare a home for us. When the time is right I will send for you.” Helsa wept as he spoke, yet she knew the words were true and as one were their hearts, so became their dreams. Two weeks later Frederik boarded the ship.
The storm was ending, sporadic drops of rain fell on Helsa's back as she slowly unclenched her fist leaving the death drenched letter and their broken dreams in the grass. Tears spent, heart and belly heavy, Helsa rose unsteadily from the ground just as the sun burst forth with a light that shattered the wet sky into a crescent curve of color. Helsa touched her stomach a look of pure wonder on her face as the first kick of the new life deeply hidden in her womb made its presence known and in the distance Helsa could hear the steady ring of papa's hammer calling her home.
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