This ongoing creative release was started quite a while ago. The Words for Wednesday prompts are provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. Essentially the aim is to encourage you to write. Each week a selection of prompts are provided: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. You are encouraged to use any form of artistic expression (stories, poems, music, pictures) to express how those prompts move you. The prompts are on the Elephant's Child blog this month."Pedro, my love, come in out of the rain and eat some hot soup, please? You have lost so much weight I am afraid. Your skin looks almost transparent under your eyes! I am so worried about you, please, talk to me. Tell me what is wrong."
"I'm sorry, Amelita. I don't mean to worry you. I've just been trying to solve the mystery of these nightmares I've been having and when I was walking back from the library tonight I believe I have come up with a theory about them."
"What? Please, tell me and tell me how I can help you with this."
"I read old newspapers today that said my father had been accused of a crime I don't believe he did. I think he was framed because he was an outsider here."
"There were three local men who were arrested with him, but they testified against him and he was the only one who was convicted."
"What did they accuse him of?"
"Theft. That he stole from people in the audience and robbed several houses in town."
"I know you don't talk about him very much, but do you think he would have done something like that?"
"No. Not at all. My father was more interested in being the center of attention than in trying to steal or loot people's houses. He would never take something that didn't belong to him."
As he told her what he had read in the newspapers, about his father's performance reviews, then the arrest, trial, and death, a thud on the window made both of them jump. Amelita shuddered as a cold breeze went through the room even though the windows were all closed.
"Pedro! What is going on?"
Holding his finger to his lips to quiet her, he slowly stood and moved to the door. Opening it, he stepped out into the misting fog that had settled over the area. She sat, wide-eyed in fear, and watched the door.
When he returned a few minutes later, he was holding a sparrow in his hands with a broken wing.
Amelita inhaled sharply and looked at Pedro.
"They say that sparrows are sometimes harbingers of death," she whispered.
"Nonsense! It just got confused in the fog and flew into the window."
"At night? Most birds don't fly at night, Pedro. Especially in the rain."
|Image Source: WeHeartIt.com|
Pedro looked at her, then at the sparrow in his hand as its head fell to the side. "It just died," he whispered.
"It doesn't mean anything, Amelita. It is just a bird. Not a harbinger. A bird, and a small bird that hit a large and very hard window."
"But what if..."
"What if what? If it is some kind of messenger of death, perhaps it was just foretelling its own death. This demonstrates nothing."
"But what of the chill that we just felt? Surely you felt it too, Pedro."
"I will not let this conversation graduate into some superstitious mumbo-jumbo, Amelita. I know you read palms and look into your crystal ball to tell people what it is they want to hear, but this is not my father's ghost trying to right a wrong done to him?"
Amelita looked hurt at his words, a tear fell to her cheek, and he instantly regretted saying what he had. He knew that he was just as frightened by the appearance of the bird as she was, but it did not justify his words to her.
"I'm sorry. I was wrong to say that. You know I respect you and your visions. It's just that the nightmares have put such a strain on me. I'm afraid to sleep because I'm am frightened by the nightmares. It isn't just memories from my childhood anymore. It's as if I'm seeing my father's life through his eyes. The things that his father did to him, and the persecution that he suffered at the hands of those who didn't understand him. I hurt, Amelita, physically hurt when I wake from the nightmares. I feel the beatings he suffered as if they happened to me. As if they are still happening. To me. I'm afraid, my love. So very afraid."
Saying nothing, Amelita stood and walked over to him. She took the sparrow from his hand and laid it down on a newspaper. Pedro sat down heavily and sighed as he watched her gently wrap the small bird in the paper and tie it with a piece of string. She walked behind him and put her hands on his shoulders. Leaning in towards him, she kissed the top of his head as her tears continued to fall, staining his shirt.
"Do you believe that your father was killed because of what he knew? Could he have been blackmailing the men who testified against him?"
"I don't know. The article did say he had proof of his innocence."
"Did the newspaper mention the names of any of the other men?"
"Yes, but only one man who was the most vocal about my father's guilt. His name was George Andersen."
"George. Wasn't that the name of the banker that was so rude when we came into town?"
Pedro looked at her and raised his eyebrows in surprise.