Memories of Time and Bent Bones

My thing for Writing Contest 42.
(Exactly 600 words, aw yiss.)

I didn't want to think of a title, so the one I'm using is just bleh.

Thanks for reading, guys.

~Ripple c:

Chapter 1

by: Ripple_
Some lands have soul. You took this for granted as a child. Back then, your love for me was endless. You still suspect it sometimes, I think. I see it in the way you hold yourself, at times; the careful alignment of your bones. As though you’re listening for some sound beyond the stirring of my waters, and the trees. Even as you grew old, you would stop sometimes and listen, as though for a voice, embedded in the whisperings of the earth. I swear sometimes, you almost heard me speak.

I’m speaking now.

I remember when you cut yourself on my stones. You couldn’t keep your hands on that rope; the old, fraying rope into which you put so much faith. You must have felt yourself slipping, because I heard you cry out even before you fell. Your father could not catch you in time, and your skin burst against my own. It was the sight of the blood, not the pain, which frightened you into tears.

You were so young.

Your mother forbade you from coming here, after that. She blamed herself for letting her children play alone. It wasn’t her fault. She told you the swimming hole was dangerous; you could never go there. You came back, anyway. For years you and your older brother would play here- and then, later, you would play alone. As you grew older you played no more, but came here to read, or dream. You brought friends, sometimes, but friends come and go. I thought you would never go.

Until you did.

I missed you. I spent years waiting for you; thinking about the days when leaving me would have brought you to tears. I missed the sounds of your footsteps and of your voice. When you were gone, I felt old. Others would come, sometimes; families would swim here, or sit and talk. They never stayed, just like the seasons. The passing of time is unfathomable, and I fear that we all bend to it, in the end. I thought I was old; I thought I would out-live time. I knew, when you came back, that I was wrong.

When I saw you again, you were weathered.

Not yet aged, not graying, but older. Your face was lined. Your shoulders broader, your easy gait was gone. Now, you were always alone, but for the hound that followed you so faithfully. You loved that dog like a brother. You lived, I think, in a house nearby. Almost every day you came to walk, and to sit and listen for my voice. You seldom swam in the waters, but your presence was enough. After all those years, you had returned to me, and that was all that I had ever asked for.

A day came when you spread your dog’s ashes in my water.

You really were graying, then, and your bones were bending. Time had claimed you already. You wept as you threw that blackened powder to the wind, and your tears fell over me. You stood there for a long time, and I swear then that you could hear my mourning. The sky was overcast. Twilight passed in agonizing time, and when night fell you were gone. I haven’t seen you since. I miss you, again. I miss your silence. I think that they will bury you, soon. Nearby, perhaps. This is the place where you learned to be human, after all. The earth will swallow you, and then the insects, too, will swallow you.

Perhaps one day your bones will find me.

Until then, I’ll keep on missing you.


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