Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Soul of a Mountain II

I thought I'd write a paragraph of a story. I'll add to it a paragraph at a time, as I write it. I'll try not to go back and change anything. It could be fun. Others could add to it if they want.

Lift up the night to awaken
on this mountainside
take sun swept slopes between glacier and tree
and watch the shadows march and ride

Born on the morning with the waking sun, the blackness gone, the fire of blushed excitement greets this sunrise, stretched over the hills below the mountain. Its actual name lost to a people whose wood homes long before rotted into the earth; trees now stood on their bones. A cold spring night had left a frost on newly budded branches and a bubbling stream fought its way out of ice. Beneath a blanket lay a young brother and sister fighting to stay warm. Nearby another blanket lay still, steaming as the sunlight marched on up the valley. Wolves howled, but no one seemed to care. Life had been too brutal. Yet the kids understood what it is they had to do.

Today they would leave their father, and carry his message home. He had said it could save them; they had seen enough to believe it. It had been two weeks since they had escaped the city, but the night before they had been spotted. In their flight their father had climbed this mountain, but hadn't made it far. The man that had been chasing them, had killed their father, but he had been wounded too, and lay licking his wounds further down. They had hoped he didn't make the night, but somehow they feared he had.

"Sis, we should go," the brother indicated as he shoved off the blanket. She was crying he could see, but there was nothing he could do. They had been put to the test like father had uttered they would be, "You are my blood, you know what to do," he had said. "Steel has dealt me a cruel blow. You are my son and daughter and you have strength undiscovered. Test it and it will temper you of stronger metal than what was wrought against me." His father wanted to say more, but that was all he had said. They were lucky to have heard anything at all over their beating hearts. Neither of them could believe their father had fallen. Not this time. He had survived so much before as leader of their tribe. They had lived in peace for nearly a decade, that is until they met the Osarks. He cringed thinking that one of them could still be following. At 12 he would stand and fight. The knife at his side held testament to that. But right now they needed to go, "Sis, it is time to go."

Unbeknown to them, trees swayed far below with wind funneling through the valley and dark clouds cursed the horizon with foreboding darkness. Awakened, a man could be seen next to his dead horse. His leg bleeding and his face bruised and bloodied from his fight, but he was alive, and three sets of tracks could be seen leading up the hill behind him. He grimaced as he prepared to follow. There wasn't a choice. He was pretty sure his quarry was not too far beyond him. He had to make sure his job was done.