Sunday May 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: all that remains.

Lazed around the house with my family this morning. We took Max to the park in the afternoon. Enjoyed a tasty Mother's Day dinner of slow-cooked short ribs.

It was a good day. Pretty sure Kat enjoyed it as well.


Dad always had the same thing for cereal every day. The only exceptions that I can remember are the mornings when Mom made pancakes for the whole family. Of course Dad joined in - he was a big part of that whole family deal we had going on - but on more than a few of those occasions I caught him looking longingly at the cereal cupboard.

It was the same cereal each morning, otherwise, with his usual additions. A handful of raisins, a smaller handful of cashews, and an exact number of almonds. Dad was not a superstitious man, but he refused to add 13 almonds to his bowl - it had to be 12 or 14 or, if he was staring down a big day, 15.

Never 13.

I remember a couple of times when there were 13 nuts left in the bag. Dad would count out 12, look at the remaining almond, and pop it in his mouth.

"What's the difference?" I would ask.

"I guess there isn't any, really," he'd reply with an embarrassed shrug.

He knew he was being silly. That didn't stop him from doing it though.

Dad ate his breakfast carefully, always making sure that each spoonful of cereal contained at least one raisin or cashew or precious almond. But not too many! After all, he didn't want to be left staring down at a bowl that held the remains of only a few bits of cereal.

And milk, of course.

But then, the milk mattered about as much to him as the cereal did.


Greg said...

Sounds like a lovely way to spend Sunday. But you know, if you daren't ask Kat if she enjoyed the day, then she probably didn't... ;-)
I am trying to decide if that tale today is autobiographical or not; it sounds like it should be, so if it isn't then that's some masterful piece of writing! And if it is true, then it's still a masterful piece, it's a lovely little snippet of someone's life with all the minutiae that we take for granted and the necessity of it to that person well-conveyed. It's like the start of a three-generation family saga :)

All that remains
A reminder:
Whether he stands in Heaven
Before a glorious throne
Or bestrides fiery hells,
Now overthrown and bent to his will,
He may be gone
But he'll not be forgotten.
And all that remains of a life left behind
Is a woman who weeps
And a child steeped in crime
His legacy's rotting and it drives him to rage,
So he will return to this earthly stage
And burn like a flamethrower,
Holy and bright
Until everything's gone and there's the only the night
And all that remains
Amid mud, blood and ashes
Is the love he once felt,
A reminder.

morganna said...

All that remains: Smoking ruins that used to be a bank, with a parrot circling high above the smoke, shrieking.

Shrieking parrot: I'm ruined, ruined, I tell you!

Deep underground, below the ruins: People wearing respirators and protective clothing tunnel through the debris, emptying out the vaults.

Two miles away, at the end of a long tunnel, in a safe building: Emily hugs her mother. "What a great plan, Mum!"

Anonymous said...

Frantic voices assaulting my in the darkness. Bursts of red and yellow flickering—fighting each other to the death. The sound of tears. A name.
“Tori! Fate above! Tori, please answer me!”
I remembered when I was a little girl, swimming in the ocean the deep end of the pool all by myself for the first time, the feeling of eternity as I tried to swim down to the bottom. Then there the long, agonizing wait of rushing to surface to take a breath. As a little girl, there were times when I thought I would never make it, that I would drown right there in our community pool amidst all the adults.
I felt like I was again in that pool; I was rushing to the surface of something, not knowing if I’d ever reach it. Then came what felt like the first breathe of my life as I finally reached the light.
The sun burned my eyes for a few seconds. I blinked like rapid fire, trying to give myself time to adjust to the bright light around me. Bright? I remembered black skies and a brisk wind…
“Fate above, you are alive.”
There were hands gripping my shoulders tightly, blunt nails digging into my skin. I looked down and saw Vitus staring wildly at me, his hair coming out from its braid and flying in the soft breeze that carried. He was crying. I’d never seen him cry before.
“I’m,” my voice was quiet and my lips cracked. God was I thirsty. “I’m fine.”
I caught a whiff of a horrible, acrid smell. It was like my dad had forgotten a steak on the barbeque pit again, charring whatever meat had once been edible. I tried to look past Vitus to see where that awful smell was coming from, to find out what it was.
He was shaking, his hands jarring the skin of my shoulders up and down. His voice was even shaky when he spoke next, fresh tears streaming down his face with each word. “I am glad you are safe.”
Whether it was his sudden sorrow that took away his strength or I had somehow finally found my own power, I managed to push him aside. I felt like a dog, sniffing the air as I did, trying to locate that smell. It was familiar yet foreign all at once.
A couple of feet ahead of me was a blackened mound on the grass. I crawled towards it, my legs still trapped in the waters my mind had escaped. Vitus was trying to stop me, but he didn’t—or couldn’t—follow me.
The blackness took up about three feet at the widest. I could feel heat rising up from the black sand. Ashes, my mind instantly supplied me; there were still some tendrils of smoke wafting through the air. I looked around the site and saw only emerald blades of grass and sunbeams. What had happened? I slowly prodded the ashes with the toe of my leather boot, wondering if I'd see anything that could clue me in. At first, there was only ash, the small flakes clumped together in places and, once my searching toe touched them, they began to crumble away. I began to make out a larger clump of ash at the center of the pile and instantly froze.
This cluster was elongated with a golfball-sized nodule at one end and smaller bumps at the other. There was a slight curve to the ends while the center of the shaft remained straight, proof of health. As soon as I started wondering why there was ashy remains of a femur in the midst of the clearing, everything came flooding back.
Adrian confronting me and Cris, intending to kill him to avenge Evander. I turned back towards Vitus, who was still crouched over himself, and saw the crumpled form of Cris. In my confused state upon waking, I hadn't seen his body. His body. He tried to buy time to let me escape, letting Adrian exact his blood price from him. Empty of everything except horror, I turned back to the femur at my feet. I could still feel the weakness of losing my life force to him. Then came red hot fury that flew like electricity from my hands.
It was electricity; lightning, specifically. Lupe had been right; I was the girl in the prophecy. I fell to my knees in the ash, scattering bits of femur around me. I knew why Vitus was crying; his father was dead, his black remains lying underneath me.
And I had killed him.

Marc said...

Greg - she enjoyed it :P I just don't like speaking for other people, that's all.

Mine is actually something I imagined Max writing about me one day. The tale isn't 100% accurate, but there's plenty of truth in there. Glad you enjoyed it :)

That is an excellent poem, definitely one of my favorite from you. Love the story and imagery and... yeah, great work, good sir.

Morganna - hah, really like that you almost always find a way to tie the prompts into your ongoing saga.

Ivy - that's some powerful, atmospheric writing in this one. A very interesting tale, well told and leaving me wanting to know what comes next.

So, you know, the usual from you :P