Thursday, January 23, 2014

Prompt: Drawing out the new green

Mallie carried a basket with stakes, a mallet, rope and a slim knife to the far side of the garden. She had cleared a strip of land and turned the dark soil the day before, while Ivan helped by dragging a three-pronged cultivator in more or less even rows across the soil. He had wanted to come help Mallie with the pareira vines, but she needed a little peace and quiet for the greening. She had promised to bring him back down in the evening to see the rows of new vines.


After she pounded a few stakes into the soft soil, Mallie sat cross-legged at one end of the row. She dug her palms into the dark soil and closed her eyes. Relaxing, she reached out to the little pareira vines running through the ground to greet her. Soon, she felt the smallest tendrils tickling her fingers. She wiggled her hands in the dirt and slowly raised them, encouraging the vines to follow.


The slender vines pushed through the loose soil and waved over the ground. Mallie loved the greening, loved the delicate new vines and their tiny leaves and curling tendrils. She let that love flow out of her, imagined it spilling like water over her head and along her arms, flooding off her fingers to nourish the new vines. They clasped over her waving fingers and curled around them, following as she slowly, slowly lifted her hands. She felt the warmth of happiness flowing back up her arms, reflecting between her and the new green.


Teasing the fluttering, slender new vines with her left hand, she picked up one in her right hand and drew it around the first stake. When it curled on its own, she deftly tied a loose rope around and knotted it, cutting it with a swift stroke of the sharp blade. The pareira flailed against the restraints, and the loose vines jerked and fluttered on the ground.


“Calm yourself,” Mallie whispered and stroked the staked vine gently, sending soothing thoughts as she imagined the warm sun and the vine growing up the stake until it was strong enough to weave together and support itself. Slowly, the vine calmed, and the tendrils clasped to the stake, curling around as if anxious to climb higher.


The first one was always the hardest. After that, the vines practically leaped onto the stakes, stretching tall, eager to grow strong and reach for the sun. Soon Mallie walked back along the completed long row, reaching down to touch each vine, praising and encouraging them as she passed.


Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle
January word count



  1. OK, completely off the beaten path for a second here. Last night I was up till "All hours" finishing re-reading Faith Hunter's Skinwalker so when I saw stakes, a mallet, and rope in the first line, I totally thought "Ooo...Vampires" :)

    And on to my thoughts...
    This started out a little slowly for my tastes. Yes there was magic involved, but it was still~essentially~ just gardening. It would have probably helped if I knew what the vines produced (beans...grapes...could this be a magical winery :) )

    I did like the glimpses of character that were there. I feel like I got a clearer look at Ivan than I did with Mallie. I got that in the way you described him helping ("more or less even rows" suggested that he means well even though he's not perfect) On top of that, he wanted to help with the vines themselves but Mallie needed the peace and quiet which told me more about who Ivan was.

    I got some good looks at Mallie too: She promises to bring Ivan back afterwards to show him the vines which hinted at their relationship (mother/son, older sister/younger brother, etc). I think that what clouded my view of Mallie somewhat was that she was tied so closely to the magic going on.

    1. Great thoughts, Ken! Thank you :)
      This is actually a little character sketch for (not in) my novel. I wondered how clearly the characters would stand on their own. Interesting that you got a better sense of Ivan - Mallie's 2yo brother. There's a Little House on the Prairie aspect to my novel, as these are pioneers on a new planet, so I have to find the right balance of how much daily life to show. Thanks for the feedback!