Thursday, January 3, 2013

Prompt: First Night


Alex started off on First Night. Ma begged him to stay, to wait for daybreak. She would make fresh hot cross buns with cinnamon frosting—his favorite. Every year since he was three, he had watched her pull the buns out of the chimney oven, bounced with gleeful anticipation as she drizzled frosting from the little cloth sack kept tucked away for just this purpose. She always wrapped the first bun into a cloth napkin and handed it to him with a kiss and a warning not to burn his tongue. “Hot! Hot! Hot cross buns!” she would singsong, the bright blue crystal glowing at her throat.

But ever since the Solstice, when his own crystal suddenly beamed fiery red, Alex had been impatient to leave, feeling the pull growing stronger and stronger. His restlessness crept into his sleep, his dreams. He walked through the days in a fog, hardly hearing anyone talking to him. Da had cuffed him more than once for leaving the pen open, but Ma hugged Da and whispered in his ear. After that, Da left Alex alone and sent Davvyd to do his chores. Alex was already withdrawing, leaving the household, and they’d best make their adjustments now, get used to having him gone.

Ma understood. Her crystal had burned so bright on her Solstice that she’d leaped from her bed and thought she should leave in the middle of that very night. ‘Cept she hadn’t known where to go. No one in her village had seen a crystal glow in their memory. 

Fortunately, there were still holiday travellers on the roads, and the next day one of them recognized her fidgety distress. He watched her sloshing more ale than she served and when she reached his table, he smiled kindly and took her hand. She started to slap his hand away as she always did with customers, but she stilled when she saw the crystal shining at his neck. 

Bender his name was, and Ma was lucky he was a good man. He took the pitcher from her slack fingers and set it on the table as he stood. He led her outside the inn and pointed south. There was nothing to see but a few crofts and fields before the forest stretched to the mountains on the horizon. He told her about the Crystal Hold, where all were called to learn their true Craft. His troupe travelled in that direction, though not the whole way, but they could take her as far as the Gap. Ma left with them after breakfast, never even looking back at her own family waving goodbye in the snow-covered road.

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle


Music:
Chocolat soundtrack, Rachel Portman


January word count:
2020

5 comments:

  1. Thanks, Courtney! I think this story has some promise. Once I get the hang of this daily blogging thing, I hope I can start working on some other stuff. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  2. Interesting! The time jump is a little confusing, and I now want to read BOTH characters' stories. : )

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Kate! When I come back to this one, I'll work on clearing that up. :)

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