Thursday, May 17, 2012

Write On Edge: Choice & Consequence Challenge

This week's Red Writing Hood challenge gives us 400 words to explore a choice and/or a consequence.

There is no more unifying need than the freedom of choice, neither is there a more terrifying concept than the ripple of effect. We are taught from our earliest age that there are consequences for the choices we make, and we each face a myriad of choices on an hourly basis. What intrigues me most is how consequences have evolved over time while our choices remain the same. One only has to look at the punishments allowed in the classroom decades ago to realize how far we've come as a society. Of course, one could argue that our social morality is degraded to the point of extinction. Look at the filth we obsess over on television that is lumped into the world of "reality shows".

For this week, I decided once again to provide a historical perspective. Not surprising since I've just come back from a renaissance fair weekend and my recent light reading has been inundated with Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and William Blake.


I offer the following in response: Lamenting The Tempest




If not for the wind… His hollow words eroded her spirit until all that remained was the stinging poltergeist of his goodbye. If not for the tide

“Deliverance, where do you go when you close your eyes?” Esther’s words drew her back from the shore.

She opened her eyes and watched the fire crackling in the hearth. Brutish flames banished autumn from the room like a deposed monarch. Ash dripped as tainted snow to the stone floor while the sacrificial hemlock exchanged its charred skin for nothingness. Deliverance wished she could surrender her scorned heart for the promise of oblivion. If not for the tide… “I go nowhere,” she answered.

“You worry me,” Esther whispered through her chronic frown. Deliverance could not recall a time when she ever smiled. “Since the discovery of your sailor’s trespasses, you have become rather…tempestuous.”

She summoned her lie from the eye of her turbulent emotions, "Be at ease, Cousin. I have made peace with his betrayal."

Esther, still frowning, did not respond. She took up her tatting, shifting the intensity of her gaze to the shuttling of picots.

Deliverance found the heat stifling and rose, pleading her need for air. Despite Esther's protests and the foul weather, she walked towards the shore from their isolated homestead, headlong into the lashing wind. Where aggressive waves violated the naked beach, a briny spray raked her eyes. If not for the wind, if not for the tide… Her false-hearted sailor was as cruel as his watery mistress. She glared at his ocean until she could no longer endure the insult. Madness shattered her tenuous peace, unleashing screams to rival howling banshees. “I condemn you! May your ship dash itself upon the rocks! May your beloved ocean swallow you whole!”

Lightning flashed in the gathering clouds, belching thunder and hailstones. A virulent tremor possessed her as her fury became a force of reckoning. “Oh Lord, I beseech Thee,” she wailed. “Smite this foul deceiver! Shred his soul with everlasting fire and command the fiends of Hell to feast on his flesh!”

Heartless rain abused her mightily, yet she screamed and cursed until her voice failed. Buckling, she clawed at the scarlet letters stitched to her clothing. I would stay and we would marry, if not for the wind, if not for the tide… Within her swelling belly, their baby kicked for the first time.


20 comments:

  1. Not so much at peace, hmm?

    Nicely evocative imagery. Great use of the storm without to reflect the storm within.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts

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  2. Um. Wow.

    I was hooked from the line, "Deliverance, where do you go when you close your eyes."

    And the pain and power at the end. I'll just repeat my descriptive "Um. Wow."

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    1. Thanks! I caught the name Deliverance over the internet a bit back and I was itchin' to use it. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  3. You write with such passion. I am jealous! I agree with Mandyland. I was hooked from the same line.

    I also agreed with your intro about how consequences for the same actions have changed over time. Thought provoking . . .I will blame you for our dinnertime conversation tonight. LOL!

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    1. Yea! Topic of conversation at the dinner table! I'll happily accept blame for that. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  4. I've never read anything quite like this. Agree with Mandy and Denise about being hooked from “Deliverance, where do you go when you close your eyes?”

    Also, these lines were simply gorgeous, "Ash dripped as tainted snow to the stone floor while the sacrificial hemlock exchanged its charred skin for nothingness. Deliverance wished she could surrender her scorned heart for the promise of oblivion."

    Wow.

    I definitely feel the Hawthorne influence in this. Almost a bit too much. While I love the last paragraph, perhaps you could cut the reference to the scarlet letters stitched to her clothes, and simply have her clawing at the clothes over her swelling belly. The rest of the piece is so strong that you don't need it, and it's going to leave people thinking of Hawthorne, instead of your story.

    And your story is fabulous.

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    1. Thanks! I debated over the scarlet letters but I decided to keep it because of the history behind it. Perhaps changing the color to crimson? If a convicted adulterer failed to wear the mark on his/her clothing, it would be branded into his forehead with an iron. Cruel stuff.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  5. You definitely had me from the first line. Very well done! Once again, the imagery you create is so unusual yet poetic - very memorable. I love it!

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    1. Thanks! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  6. I always love your pieces. They are so polished and filled with such amazing imagery and phrases.

    Deliverance. That is an awesome choice for a name. It screams Puritan. Every bit of this lends itself perfectly to your time period and I can picture it all.

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    1. Thanks for the love! I'm thrilled that you enjoy your visits. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  7. The passage about the fire is breathtaking, truly.

    I felt that the bit about the scarlet letters was a little unnecessary, with the drama woven throughout the rest of the piece. I felt that the swelling belly was enough of a scarlet letter here.

    My favorite part is the repetition and slow revealing of his parting words (at least I supposed that is what they are.) It kept a nice rhythm thoughout the piece.

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    1. Thanks! I debated about the letters and decided that the historical legal consequence needed to at least be hinted at. She would have received public lashings regularly as well, but I edited the part about her wounds weeping for the sake of the word count.

      I'm glad the repetition served its intended purpose. I needed the driving beat to push her over the edge.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  8. As great, and it is great, as the first line is, I was mesmerized by the flow and the detail

    This felt "real" or memoir" like. The way you lost yourself in this piece.

    I would read a novel of this.

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    1. Thanks! I fussed over each word in this post so I'm glad I was able to breathe a very dark and frenzied life into the piece. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  9. "all that remained was the stinging poltergeist of his goodbye."

    That is a very evocative description of a breakup! And the juxtaposition of the name Deliverance with someone who would curse the father of her child made the passage that much more intense.

    I love reading your passages!

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    1. Thanks for the love! I'm thrilled this scene worked this well. I fussed over each word, but Deliverance was automatic. I don't think the character would have sold as well under something else.

      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

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  10. Beautiful rhythm - your prose is evocative create such a wonderful pensive mood. I loved this piece!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed your stay. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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