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.”