Wednesday, October 31, 2012

EXCERPT: Honeysuckle Sycamore, Ch. 2

from my anthology Slight Details & Random Events


II


Passions have the speed of a hummingbird’s beating wings if they need it. No human could ever hope to tame or capture one. But against another Passion, against one of their own, they haven’t that advantage. And not every Passion is as whip-quick as the next. There are certain inequalities, one might say. It all depends on the strength of the moment in which they were created.
            As Peat Moss strode with dangerous intent ever closer to Dogwood and Honeysuckle, the two sprites lit into the forest air, their feet barely touching the smooth rocks of the hollow floor. Though Peat Moss was certainly a larger and more cumbersome-looking Passion than the other two, this in no way impeded him. So bitter, damp, and cold was his essence that Honeysuckle and Dogwood at once felt his shadow over them as they fled like a coming winter storm.
            They burst free of the hollow as mere glimmers of light that any watching human would think but plays of moonlight on the river valley air. Honeysuckle was always the faster of the two sprites and in no time, propelled by fear, had sped on ahead of Dogwood. It was only when he heard Dogwood cry out that he finally realized they were no longer together.
            He turned to see the giant, newly born Passion dragging Dogwood by his lustrous white hair along the sand to the river. Dogwood kicked and hit as hard as he could, flailing about like a fish on a hook, but his blows were mere tickles to Peat Moss. Finally, having tired of Dogwood’s struggle, Peat Moss leveled a shattering blow of his own against the young sprite. At once, Dogwood was dazed.
            “Dogwood, no!” Honeysuckle exclaimed. He stood breathless for a moment, fear rendering him to stone. “Get up! Get up!” he thought. “Fight, Dogwood!” But seeing his companion incapacitated and sensing the true danger, the thought occurred to him, What would Honeysuckle do without Dogwood?
            Quietly, with as much stealth as he could, Honeysuckle crept closer to the river’s edge. From behind a boulder he spied as the giant beat the young sprite with merciless force. The expression on Peat Moss’ face was one of devious delight; a crippled grin dripping with drool lay like a scar across his face. He grunted like a wild boar as he swung again and again. Defenseless, Dogwood took the blows and was soon limp even as Peat Moss continued his relentless barrage.
            Honeysuckle did not need to wait long for his courage to mount; (a strange, new sensation to him, for it had never been needed before). He sped at the behemoth as if his feet were lit by flames, tearing across the valley air with haste. Though he hit Peat Moss with unbridled force, it did little to lessen the monster’s attack on Dogwood. With the effort of a shrug from Peat Moss, Honeysuckle was thrown off, slamming forcefully against the boulder. Before Honeysuckle lost total consciousness, he made a final attempt to rise and rescue Dogwood. But it was futile. His body, like Dogwood’s, was as limp as river weed.
            “I’m sorry, Dogwood,” he whispered as his eyes closed on the night.

            When a Passion dies, it disperses into a thousand pieces carried away by the breeze like dandelion seeds. There is no body or shell left behind to bury or weep over. There is no grand funerary procession. Yet like everything of substance and energy the essence of the Passion remains in the world until a time comes that it may be reborn.
            When Honeysuckle awoke, the light of dawn was breaking upon the shore. The patch of beach where Dogwood had fallen was bare, and only a dozen or so dogwood petals fluttered in the breeze. They circled, chasing one another as if ignorant of the death of a Passion. When a stronger breeze came and snatched them quickly away Honeysuckle jumped to his feet as if trying to catch them. But they were carried higher in the sky and far up stream. He lost sight of them in the blinding glare of the new day’s sun.
            Defeated and despairing, Honeysuckle slumped to the ground and wept. His hands dug into the sand in angst. His tears fell, mingling with the sand and the vanishing remnants of Passion blood. “Dogwood! Don’t leave your Honeysuckle!”
            And as he cried, the wind kicked up around him, his moans seeming a call for creation. Wind, sand, blood and tears had taken form in a stationary twister conducted by howls of grief. When the cyclone finally abated and Honeysuckle sat broken and sobbing, behind him stood a figure. A female energy born of sand and bitter anguish. She swayed back and forth in plaintive, half-crazed repetition. Her name was Grit.

4 comments:

  1. *grins*
    Is it next week yet? Wonderful, Eric, as always!

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  2. This is wonderful and I'd totally be interested in seeing an expanded more polished version. :)

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    1. Thank you! I was actually thinking of doing just that some time in the future :-)

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