Monday, 14 May 2012

Moon-Water Lily-Heron - Short Story

Going on sick leave and then losing my job has meant me leaving London and returning to southern England and once again beginning the path to the reposessesion of my house, the third time since 2009.  As always everyone seems convinced something will turn up.  I guess this is what helped the British survive the Second World War.  Britons are particularly good at expecting things to improve for people other than themselves.  Anyway, that is an issue for other postings.  Leaving London meant leaving the great little writers' group I had joined.  This is the last of the activities that I was set.  I really wished I had found the group when I first moved to London rather than just three months before I left.  Certainly if I ever work again, I will seek out a group in whichever town I move to.

For this activity, we all had to draw three cards from a pack.  They were not playing cards, but instead had a series of images of objects, buildings and animals.  I am not certain but they may have been meant to be used as some form of modern day tarot card.  The group organiser had bought them simply as something artistic.  From the three cards we drew we had to write a short story.  The title shows the ones that I drew: a full Moon but tinted red the shade I had seen it a few weeks earlier, a single water-lily in bloom and a heron roosting.

Moon-Water Lily-Heron
The full Moon was a blood-red shade giving the garden an unearthly pallor.  The air was warm and heavily scented by the blossoms on the pond, mimicking in form if not shade the sky’s features above.  Perhaps this was a night for meetings.  This place was vacant of the sounds of humanity and for the moment spared the more wild calls.  A person could pad along the grass-covered paths and come down to the water; another could approach and converge there.  Their way would be lit, not as vividly as in daylight, but enough; the vital features exposed.

I sat watching: my time for meeting for converging passed for this year.  My focus was immediate: it was for prey.  The breeze came again and for some, its impact on the water might have been a misleading sign.  Yet, I, a consummate hunter would not be distracted.  Then it came: the ripple that signalled what I needed; an insect’s life ended; its corpse subsumed within the one I would eat in turn.

My motion was instinctive: the flap, glide and dive.  I penetrated the yielding water and my jaws closed, entrapping the orange and white form: cold and wet and fresh and sustaining.  In gulps I had it within; all its flesh and skin, bones, eyes, fins; its thoughts, its knowledge, its last meal and meals before, all consumed by myself.  I left the water, my disruption inappropriate for this place, at this time. 

I steadily settled, my heart pace slowed, my plumage came to rest.  Below, the water similarly stilled and once again I and the blood-shade Moon had our perfect replicas on display.

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