(Prologue from a story I hope to soon publish.)
It was the same memory that popped up in his head over and over again, sometimes without warning. It was a memory he could not allow himself to forget. His father, eyes pale like melted silver and stature as tall and big as a tree, knelt way down to his height and put his hands on his shoulders.
“Son, I’m going to go.” His voice was low and gruff, always sounding like storms in the distance. “You don’t need a coward for a father.”
He hadn’t known what that meant. His father stood upright, now as tall as the sky, and stepped away, his white-hot eyes still staring, burning their place into his memory.
Those had been the last words his father had ever said to him.
This memory was all he had left.
It was a memory she thought would long fade away through the years, but it was still here, fresh and tender as the moment it happened, even though the rest of her mind and body were beginning to fail.
The mother had been beautiful, a gleaming light in a part of the world that was quickly growing darker. She had warned the mother to be careful, that two were enough, that these two had nearly killed her, but here they were for the third time.
The mother, still beautiful even as her soul was in departing, reached up to touch the small, shrieking pink thing the maid now clasped in her arms. A smile emerged on the mother’s pretty lips. Tears emerged in her emerald eyes when she touched her baby’s head.
She did not have to live. This daughter would take all of her vitality, beauty and kindness. The child would grow up to live a full life in her place, and so, the life left the mother’s body though her face remained content.
The father, eyes wide in horror and pain, turned his gaze to the baby. He did not feel the same.
Photo by Josipa Juras