Friday 12 July 2013

#FridayFlash - In the Cellar Prison

This week's story isn't really a follow on from last week, but it is related to Watery Depths in some ways. Enjoy!

My name is Puella and I suspect that I shan't be alive for much longer. They keep me in this dank cellar below the guildhall, and I hear water lapping against the wall on the other side of the bricks. Such a prison is cruelty itself - they know of my nature, and they keep me where I can hear my element, but am powerless to join it. There was another of my kind here a century ago, my older sister Furia, and her wrath was so terrible that the townsfolk have been vigilant ever since. They no longer duck or burn their witches, but they do hang them.

I took so much care to live in the shadows. I turned my face away from the sun, and I only emerged at night. I crept around the city like a cat, and the town continued oblivious. I thought myself safe, and grew careless. One day I awoke too early, and came across some of the bigger boys tormenting a group of younger children. I could not stand such behaviour, and intervened. The bigger boys fled crying to their mothers, and I became beloved by the young ones. I would appear in the secret nooks and forgotten wells that the adults had come to miss. My little younglings, as I grew to call them, would bring me gifts of food, filched from kitchen tables, and I granted their wishes.
It all sounds so idyllic when I put it so, and for a time it was. But the bigger boys told tales to their mothers, and words spread until they are heard by ears which should not hear them. The men that govern this town remembered my sister, and they hunted me down. If I am still and quiet, I can still hear the screams of my younglings as their fathers dragged me away. They threw me in this cell, close enough to hear the water, but too far to join it.

How little they know. Water is the most persistent of elements - it will always find a way, until the smallest crack becomes a gaping crevice. It is relentless in its pursuit of its desires. I am of the water, and I too am relentless. I have also learned the mercilessness of my sister. I have discovered a crack in the wall, a fracture between the bricks. I can call the water to me, and it forces itself through the cement until it pools in the corner of my cellar. Yet it does not simply come in - I send it forth again, my resentment and frustration boiling and churning the water. I have sung a song that only my younglings will hear. They know from which wells they can safely drink, and they know to which place they must go when they grow old enough to journey forth.

I fancy that I hear a key turn in the lock and I turn to face the door but I know that no one will come. My captors are probably dead by now - indeed, no one has come to give me a paltry ration of gruel for some time now. I have no way of measuring the hours, but I still hear the tides in my heart, and I suspect it has been three days since my last meal. It does not matter - I shall return to my element when I expire, and be at one with the water that I currently can only hear. My poison will have spread throughout the town by now, and my younglings and their favoured maids will wonder at the destruction I have wrought.

I must sleep now, though I fear I shall not wake. Goodnight.

Image by Datarec, edits by me.


Sulci Collective said...

I loved so much of the language in this and the dripping of emotion coming through the words. Put me in mind of Murakami's novel where one of the characters spends a long time down a well and I do mean a long time, many, many pages - so I preferred yours cos you painted wonderfully rich associations and metaphors way more economically than he did! :-)

marc nash

pegjet said...

Will the younglings grow to be the ones who remember the havoc and become the new hunters of such elemental creatures?
The character's balance of malice with acceptance of her fate works so well.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Sounds like she's planning to reunite with her little younglings. I wonder if they will remain devoted to her.

Katherine Hajer said...

If the younglings choose any revenge at all, it should be on the authorities for being so arrogant and naive.

I really liked the tone with this one.

Larry Kollar said...

Revenge complete, she awaits her fate with enviable calm. Great job, Icy!

Anonymous said...

The atmosphere in this is so well written I could feel the mixture of her desperation and hope. I hope you plan to give us more in this vein Icy.

Tony Noland said...

A long, slow, cold revenge... effective and quietly brutal, but it's a pity she can't escape to wreak a more direct kind.

Helen A. Howell said...

Revenge is bitter sweet isn't it. A dark story with an element of sadness about it.

Anonymous said...

Such remarkable imagery and metaphor. Stunning.
Adam B @revhappiness

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