Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
This week for Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood, they gave us a short poem by Robert Frost to inspire 450 words.

The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,

But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

Go on over to read more submitted responses, or to give your own!

Let me know what you think of this.  It isn’t attached to any of the other short stories I’ve written.

This photograph is by MD-Arts on DeviantArt.  He has a collection of amazing fire shots, this one using a two metre long flaming rope.  Check out his site to see more of his work, including more amazing fire art, as well as some beautiful nature shots and adorable kittens.

Light like a bonfire, flickering, crackling, shadows all around, smoky and unreal… Rachel swayed as dizziness and nausea washed over her, the confused jumble of images from that night assaulting her senses, burning her lungs.  She choked back the gasp of pain at the memory of a memory, hoping none in the kitchen had heard her.

“She saw them – she danced with them, you all saw her!”  Her Aunt Bea sounded worn down.

Spinning and leaping, shadows flickering against shadows… so much music.  Not music.  Fire.  Her body felt overheated, her feet throbbing painfully in time to unheard music.

Rachel’s mother sounded like she’d been crying.  “What difference does it make?  She’s too young, and that’s all there is to it.  Just leave it be.”

“We only use age as a factor because most have stopped showing signs, and even if they do, they’re about the right age anyways.  We can’t just leave it be.

“She doesn’t even remember it!  She might never.” Her sister.  Rachel scowled angrily – of course they would let Rebecca be involved!  And, of course, Rebecca was all for keeping her in the dark.  “I think it’s better if she’s allowed to forget, poor thing, it must have been terrifying.”

A short bark of harsh laughter from her usually cheerful aunt.  “Careful, girl, you’re looking a bit green.  Most never see, and none in the past three generations have danced!  You’re only sixteen, you still might see.  If you do, you’ll understand why your sister needs training now.”

Rachel smiled, gratified that someone could see through her perfect sister’s sickly sweet mask.  It seemed that the main argument was now only between her mother and aunt.

“For god’s sake, Bea – you were considered an early bloomer, and already seeing at eighteen!  She’s only a child, she can’t keep this kind of secret yet.”

“She won’t be able to cope with this on her own!  She has been chosen to flame, and that cannot be undone.”

Chosen.  The word struck like a mallet to a gong, reverberating and echoing through her skull.  She remembered a face – bewitchingly beautiful and terrible.  Words tolling like bells, without meaning but so important.

She collapsed into the door, swinging it open with a slam as she came to her knees on the cool slate of the kitchen.  The fire in the hearth roared in welcome.

The women stared in horror at the baby of the family, soft round cheeks traced with blood red tears.

With more ferocity than she thought she had in her, she snarled, “Tell me the truth!”

The elder Maari shook her head sadly as Rachel’s mother sobbed.  “It’s too late for secrets, now.  She is born of the flame.”

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  1. Wow: this writing is utterly compelling! If this were the beginning of a novel I’d pick it up and pay my money before carrying it off with me for the Summer hols. Great write.

    • thanks 🙂 Maybe one day I’ll actually manage to complete a storyline and you’ll be able to!

  2. wow this is really has me on the edge of my seat! i hope you do more with this!

    • Thanks – I might, though i think I’ll need to figure out where I was going with that, first.

  3. I’m in! I would read this novel in a heartbeat!

    • thanks – apparently the votes are in, and I’ll need to continue this one 🙂

  4. I like!!! I want more. You’ve spilled her secret but kept sooo much more. Please keep this one going!

  5. First of all, thank you SO much for linking up with a story that’s not part of a much longer piece! It gets frustrating when I don’t know what’s happened before.

    This really packs a punch. There is SO much in here, I had to read it three times. Each time I found a question, I went back into the story and realized it had been answered (Like the age of the character.) My favorite line: “Words tolling like bells, without meaning but so important.”

    The dialogue with several characters is an excellent way to get information across without just narrating it. I was tempted to say that there are too many characters to keep track of in such a short scene, but after reading again, there really aren’t. You have four… the two older women who know what’s going on, the sister who has a very immature POV, and of course the MC.

    I love it!

    • I know what you mean – I love going back through and reading what basically amounts to a novella (or at least a few chapters) when people continue things, but sometimes I’m just in the mood to read what’s in front of me, no following links. Then again, i’m terrible for adding things to storylines.
      I actually got rid of a character before posting… a second eaves-dropper who I realised was just too much extra baggage, and not supplying any information the mc couldn’t provide herself.

  6. Ooh, love it! I too would happily read this novel.

  7. Nicely done! I like the idea of a fire-dancer. That sort of thing one just can’t be expected to keep secret. Love it!

    • Thanks 🙂 I wanted to go into a bit more detail about that, but figured it’s likely to be a version of the same idea from anyone who tries to picture ‘fire dancer’

  8. Very compelling! Leaves me saying (kind of frantically) “What comes next? What happens?!” Your writing is amazing!

    • thanks 🙂 I’ll be trying to continue it, when it works with the writing prompts, or inspiration strikes.

  9. There’s something enticing about being born of something, even if your destiny is murky, and *born of the flame?” Very compelling.

  10. I like this very much. I had some trouble following for the first few paragraphs, but you did a great job making it all come clear. The only concrit I would give has to do with that beginning. You evoke a mood, but the string of images followed by her reaction reads long, and it took me a while to realize she wasn’t actually *in* the kitchen. Could you ground us in the “real” setting, and mix the memory of the memory into it?

    • good point, i don’t really start off making it clear that she’s eavesdropping. thanks.

  11. Great story. I really enjoyed it.

  12. More please.

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