Monday, November 3, 2014


The campfire is hot on her shins, and the others are ready for bed, but she does not move. She smoothes Little One’s hair and breathes it in. He smells like smoke and marshmallows and boy sweat. He smells like life, and she is not ready to let him go.

All day she’d been haunted by the feeling of this child in her arms, not sleeping, but pale and without breath. He’d been underwater much too long, and she should have been watching, but she never seems to have enough eyes or arms to keep them all safe, especially in her dreams. She was watching his brother when he went under silently, telling the wrong child to be careful. And so it was that he was carried to her from the stream, silent and still. It was too late to do anything, and she pressed him to her and breathed in his wet hair and tried to love him alive, but it was too late.

“It’s getting late,” daddy says, but she is busy loving him alive, for just a little longer. He stirs, nestles in closer, and puts his sticky hand in her hair. She clings tigher, sits deeper, and will sit until her bluejeans catch on fire.

This month I'm participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My goal is to write 50k of fiction in the month of November. This post is not part of the novel... it's just me playing with fiction, warming up my fingers.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. I admire your resolve to make yourself write! What a fun sounding challenge. I am commenting because you asked for feedback so I don't want to leave you hanging...

    Reading these words reminded me of a pianist playing fluidly over the keys. The words flow really well and have a steady pace. I could picture the scene and feel the hot fire.

    I read it a few times (I am horrible at reading comprehension) and this is what I understood you to be saying: A mother was cherishing the time holding her little boy. She had been haunted by terrible visions of a child's (hers) death and it was, to say the least, extremely unsettling. This gave her a sense of urgency and appreciation for the moment she had with her son, who was not dead, but alive in her arms, and she was going to soak up every ounce of him she could for as long as she could...til she was "set on fire" or the fire went out, whichever came first. The point being, she didn't want the moment to end. Her mother's heart was warmed with love.

    On a technical note, the last sentence of the second paragraph could possibly be a little repetitive, as you mention two times the idea of it being "too late". But maybe you meant to do that, which in that case, you had a purpose in mind. That was the only thing that stood out as far as that goes.

    Thanks for sharing! You definitely have the gift of storytelling.

    Makes me want to go love my little ones alive. :)
    Rebekah Theilen


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