Finite Creatures: The Evening of the Storm (A Short Story and Ink Drawing of a Sinner)

The Evening of the Storm

(A Short Story)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”

I can’t really remember when I first discovered that our lives were finite, so I’ll take refuge in fiction and tell you the story of a girl who wouldn’t die.
 
It had happened on the evening of the storm. The townsfolk still remembered that evening. They talked about the storm and the brave truck driver who died that night.
“He died trying to save her,” said her grandfather, pointing a knobby finger at her.
“Not a drop of gratitude,” said her grandmother, adjusting her bifocals and looking across the room at Leah.
She tried to drown their voices by turning her attention to the storm that was brewing outside. Lea hated her grandparents who whiled away their time recounting events that had turned to dust, except in their minds.
She had trained herself to ignore them but she knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, especially tonight. This treacherous night looked a lot like the night that they were talking about. Before she could steel herself, the stormy night colluded with her grandparents’ conversation and pulled the plug. Memories tumbled in.
Terrible memories. Of the storm, and of death.
Leah was returning from school when the skies had turned dark. She was just a hundred yards away from home; she just had to cross that wooden bridge across the river and she would have been home. 
But at that point, right before the bridge, her memories slowed down – they turned into a series of snap-shots.
First, the cold steely feel of the knife on the skin of her throat, then the violent shove; little later a familiar smell riding on a hoarse whisper, “come with me.”
Then it all turned into a blur.
A blur of rain, the sound of clothes being torn off, a raspy voice, an unbearable stench of sweat mixed with that of rotting teeth, and throttled cries for help…
That was all she remembered of it. But the memory of the pain still made her clench her teeth and cross her legs, really tight.
It must’ve lasted an hour or more – she couldn’t remember, but those bruises were everywhere.
Later, he lay satiated on the rotting floor of the log-cabin and said in his slimy, wheezy voice, “Don’t tell anyone, or you will die.” She didn’t know then, what dying meant, but she nodded. And then it happened. A strong gust of wind was all it took. The last thing that she remembered was that the cabin shook wildly and then rotten logs under him gave way. They crumbled, then cascaded down into the wild river. The logs were swept away, but he wasn’t. She saw him impaled upon one of the jagged rocks. The overhang was all gone and she lay on the edge, face down, watching his body twist and turn as the water hit it.
She was found two days later. She didn’t tell anyone. She was eight and she thought that if she told, she’d die too. She didn’t want to die.
Leah turned and looked at the pictures on the mantel.
They were all there. Her mother, her father, and he. All three. All dead.
Caricature Cartoon of a sinner - angry mad man with a guilty conscience - fire of hell.

The Sinner

 

The Genesis of this Post:
When Lydia and I discovered that we had both used the Photo-prompt for our blogging assignment, we decided to do the assignment once again, with the correct prompt this time. So we set ourselves a time-limit of one hour for the post, in which we had to think about the prompt, crystallize our thoughts, and make the post. I overshot it by 10 minutes 😦 She was in time with hers 🙂 Please visit her blog here.

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31 comments on “Finite Creatures: The Evening of the Storm (A Short Story and Ink Drawing of a Sinner)

  1. Pingback: Reading and Appreciating | Apoorva Kulkarni - My Thoughts

  2. I have read this short story before writing mine post on the prompt. This story of yours has sent goosebumps to me and the thought of commenting was lost. I was short of words as thinking about the state of the little girl. Can’t imagine the trauma the girl was going through. For me she has already died once as her innocense was destroyed.

    Life is about living with zeal and joy. To be happy and make other happy. Such incidences leave such a scar in life of sufferer, that nobody knows how long it’s going to be with them.

    A thought provoking write up. Liked it truly.

    • Yes. A child who goes through such a traumatic experience would continue to experience its after-effects all her life. There are terrible experiences hidden in many childhoods – experiences that shape lives. Some grow up afraid, others become bullies – they are all affected in different ways. Leah is still not old enough to move out of her grandparents’ house, but when she does, will she be able to lead a normal life…or will her damaged soul continue torture her? There aren’t any right or wrong answers…

      • I completely agree to it. It really depends as what atmosphere Lea comes across to overcome her fear. Really would love to know more insights on this story. Loved Reading

  3. I really like your take on the prompt: the prompt iself was a little dark, and your story works really well with it!
    I ended up writing a story, too (though it’s in Italian), as I really did not want to approach the subject in a personal way.

    • Thanks Melyanna. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting. I went to your blog and read your story (actually, its Google Translation,) and enjoyed it a lot. It proves that a dark topic need not result in dark thoughts – how you interpret death depends a lot on how you were trained to think about it. Thanks for sharing.

      • Thank you so much for visiting!

        I find it very interesting how a similar approach to the same prompt (write a short story based on the same subject) ended up with two very different results.
        Though I must admit I had to keep myself from going towards very dark thoughts.

        Your story is probably a lot more similar to my feelings around death (dark and not happy) than mine is.

      • Fiction reflects reality. It is based on how the author interprets her environment and experiences. If you choose to interpret the knowledge of death in a slightly different way, you may not find it so dark. I just visited Niharika’s blog (http://niharikamodi.wordpress.com) – she’s made a positive post on this topic and I liked it a lot. Perhaps you’d like to check it out 🙂

    • Thank you, Mr. Venkatachari. You make a valid point. Life often has more dreadful moments than death, and yet we love life and fear death. An inexplicable contradiction – perhaps, it can be attributed to the finality of death.

  4. Whoa… that was intense! Do you write more of such short stories? If yes, I would love to read more of these. You have got great talent. I felt as if I was in the story (even though I am not a character in it). Good work 🙂

    • Thanks Komal. Death is a topic that often results in intense stories. I think it just happened, and it answered another a question posed by another recent prompt for me. When do I perform better – when the heat is on or at my own pace? Looks like it’s the former for me 🙂

    • Hey Faye,
      Please don’t say that. We write all kinds of posts all the time. Sometimes they turn out to be good, at other times, they don’t. Just take a break from writing. I know it helps me. I was away from blogging101 for a day, and when I returned, I was feeling more energized. And thanks so much for visiting and commenting.

  5. WOW. That was really good and dark! That drawing is really great! I think it almost shows the emotion Leah feels-as if she too is a sinner for wanting him dead and not caring that he died. (Not that I blame her-I’m completely in her corner on that!!)

    • Thanks. The story leaves a few questions unanswered. She was eight when it happened, and a child often doesn’t tell because she doesn’t understand. She doesn’t know that “you’ll be dead” meant that “he” would kill her – or she would feel safe because he’s already dead and can’t harm her. The concept of death for a child isn’t always finite.

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