For details regarding the series: A Story from 10 Words, please read my about page, and feel free to contact me with your own 10 words and I will write you a story!
If you would like to read some of the other submissions, please check out the series page!
This week’s submission came from a dear friend of mine, Aubrey Kelly! She is the wonderful woman who took the headshot of me that adorns this website. A multi-talented woman who I honestly think is amazing at everything she does. I can’t say enough good things about her… except she tends to chide me about how long I take to shower 😉
Her submission details are as follows:
10 words: snow, darkness, pristine, peace, desolate, quiet, loss, love, travel, distant.
Theme; tragedy and/or drama. What can I say, I love a good depressing tale.
Oh, and a song… uhhh… if I can choose one without words then Open Set by The Gloaming. Alternatively, Rebellion by Arcade Fire.
This is the story I created from it:
She sits, staring off into the darkness, cursing all she knows. A rational mind allows for no compromise, and hers is a mind beset by the confines of logic.
Death is an inevitability. A living thing can no more evade death than a cloud can resist bringing rain, and she knows this better than most. The end of life is merely a step along the cycle and it should not be feared. Would that reasoning could ward off emotions she would not be in her current state of agitation.
Snow is falling all around her, silent and pristine — a subtle reminder of nature’s terrible power and unrivalled beauty — when a tear escapes the corner of her eye and freezes to her cheek. She lowers her head, her copper hair falling down in front of her ice blue eyes, and she runs her slender hand along the spine of the animal curled up in her lap. She has to fight off the stabbing pain that wells in her chest then and she clenches her teeth in a mad effort to do so.
It is a mantra, and one she has said to herself in her mind so many times that it has ceased to make sense. The small, grey cat lifts its tired head and stares into her master’s eyes. The animal’s eyes are nearly opaque, glassed over with cataracts, but it could find its master even without them. She runs her hand down the animal’s back again and she can feel the frail thread to which it clings. The cat’s breathing is slow and shallow, barely raising her master’s resting hand, and there is a small rattling sound accompanying it.
It won’t be long now.
She sits, awash in pain, wallowing in quiet desolation, and she sends her heart traveling to distant destinations. Anything not to feel what she was feeling just then. As a scientist she had known how to keep the animal alive for as long as possible but the unavoidable question was soon staring her in the face.
Am I keeping you alive for you, or for me? Am I saving your life, or mine?
The answer was nearly as hard to swallow as the solution to the problem. She had to let go.
A fresh wave of sorrow washes over her and she allows it to crush her. The tears flow freely down her ivory cheeks and the cat begins to stir. It knows she is in distress and the pain of one becomes pain for the other. That is the tricky thing about real love, it renders all hurts a shared experience.
She places both hands on the animal and calms it. Her only desire now is for her friend to pass in peace, her own feelings be damned. The animal mewls, a strangled, tortured sound coming from it’s wasted body and she bites the inside of her lip to keep from howling herself.
She has to say something now, has to bring it to an end. Sitting here in the study of this old house surrounded by thousands of books she feels at a loss for words. Everything seems trite and insufficient to encapsulate her feelings for the being that is about to fade from her life. She knows how to let go of a life, but she does not know how to let go of a friend. She opens her mouth, and the words fall from her lips.
“Goodbye, my friend. I will miss you.”
The animal blinks slowly and runs its warm, coarse tongue along its master’s fingers one last time. The cat open its mouth to make another sound, but nothing comes out. There is a hint of a smile in its nearly blank eyes as it lays its head back down on her lap, never to move again.
Gazing out at the peaceful scene from her study window a single thought runs endlessly through her mind…
To know love is to know loss, for every beautiful thing that lives must die.
No matter how much you love it.
I dedicate this to all the animal lovers out there.
For anyone who has ever lost an animal they truly loved, you will know how terribly painful the experience can be. I don’t know why Aubrey’s submission led me to this other than I know how much she loves her cats…
If you would like your own story, please feel free to contact me with 10 words, a theme (it can be a genre, favourite movie or book) and a song and I will write you a story as well! I am open to any and all submissions! They are posted every Sunday.
Here is the schedule for the next few submissions:
March 13th – Fambroise’s Story – Part II
March 20th – Raeyna’s Story
March 27th – Seth’s Story
April 3rd – Special Edition – Jonathan’s Story (Guest Post!)
Thank you for your constant readership and support!