Inspiration Call: What story would the walls in this building tell if they could speak? Tell us the story.
Publishing opportunity details for this writing prompt can be found at Open Publishing Projects.
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Categories: Inspiration Call
An old wooden house
in the middle
of a dark forest
Inside the house
The leaders of the underworld
Satan and his henchmen
Are meaning to plot
the end of the world
Satan pats the head
of Cerberus his chief hell hound
saying soon Cerberus
I will release the dogs
and you will lead
as we subdue the world
ushering in the end of times
A Time For Dreams
Silent in the night, apart from muffled breaking twigs, footsteps neared the forgotten grave – it was a solemn trek made alone in the far away woods of Tumwater Falls.
Chapter 1: Fireplace Chats
Life was not kind to those living from the land and our mining community felt no exception. Work was hard and unforgiving but there was nothing else a man could do to provide for his family. For many, the only option of work that offered much of a wage for a family to survive was deep in the coal mines.
After work, Papa loved to sit beside the evening fire as the crackling and popping firewood warmed his coal-tinged face. The soft amber glow spread its light and gently illuminated the deep etched lines from a lifetime of work in the coal pits. Caking his face in a light masque, no amount of scrubbing could remove its trace. But the kindness and care was no match for coal’s smut, his heart could radiate from beneath the earth’s deepest depths and could certainly radiate through the lingering light dusting.
As the sap burning from the logs filled our home, its sweet fragrance lingered. It was our family’s favorite place – it was there we shared a timeless peace. Despite our apparent poverty, the richness of evening conversation allowed our dreams the only release they might ever know.
Chapter 2: Papa’s Dreams
The contrast wasn’t hard to find, nor was its beauty somehow lost in the numbness our hardships might have otherwise dictated. Momma would gaze endlessly upon her children and husband finding a deeper joy in simply being together, warm and safe. We weren’t isolated in our poverty, it seemed the world itself had been thrown into the very pit of destitution – these were hard times for all. For in the depth of the dark coal pits, it was Papa who carried the greatest hope for our family’s future. He carried dreams with him deep into the coal mines, dreams that his children might be freed from endless drudgery and find the sweet of satisfaction in pursuing dreams.
When we would gather at evening’s end, he would tell us new variations of stories and dreams he imagined for us… the ones where symphony halls were filled to listen to Sophie’s hypnotic notes, where the scientific world was rocked with madness as Henri’s latest medical discoveries freed the world from impending plaque, where Momma’s gardens brought to life the greatest varieties of flowers and produce and serenity was the only weight upon our shoulders. It was a place where Papa could stand back and see the fruits from his great labor and sacrifice.
We couldn’t miss the curious sadness imbedded within those stories – Papa knew his toils in the mines might never earn enough for schools, instruments and enough fertile lands for Momma’s gardens. Yet he dreamt, and he shared those dreams. And each night, his dreams brought a peace to our hearts … and we slept clinging to those dreams.
Chapter 3: Gifts along the Way
The years passed quicker than we imagined and Papa continued working and dreaming – we all strove hard for the better days. Bit by bit, Papa was able to bring pieces of our now collective dream to life. The golden memories of seeing Henri’s eyes light up as he opened his birthday present to find the microscope that would allow his mind to see and imagine beyond what books might offer was a treasure for us all.
Bit by bit, Momma’s garden expanded and we’d find new plants of color and fragrance, foods that brought unknown flavors and satiety to our stomachs and soul. She seemed to come more alive when we’d find her bent in her garden tilling the soil and gently placing seedlings into their beds, bringing bounty from our soil prepared upon our dinner table. The scents that filled our home were another comfort we savored and gave our thanks.
Sophie, too, found her greatest happiness when Papa presented her with her violin. This gift took the longest of years as violins were not common in our area. It took years for Papa to earn enough money for this precious instrument. Papa knew Sophie’s ears seemed to hear beyond the sounds of this world, her hands knew the violin’s dance; blending hidden tones of hope and sadness into a silent conversation for our souls.
These were happy years, long years in the making, and Papa it seemed was at his happiest. Papa didn’t last too long after those wonderful years of gifts and merriment. Years of working in the coal mines smothered the very life from his lungs – as he had opened the world, creating dreams for his family.
Chapter 4: Seasons Change
We knew it wouldn’t be long, that Papa’s time was growing short. But he never allowed its intrusion to take from him the precious time or joy he had yet within his grasp. We continued our evening gatherings around the fireplace. Henri would share his new observations while Momma’s lingering scents from dinner wafted about, and Sophie, Sophie’s music filled the air with melancholy that reflected our family’s struggles, dreams, and joys.
It began slowly; we could feel the winter’s impending cold draft – stealing itself through our door. We huddled closer to the crackling fire seeking to draw the warmth as the changing seasons began its toll. The irony not lost on us, as we clung to waning embers of Papa’s life, clutching, holding but feeling death’s coolness reaching into Papa’s bones.
Chapter 5: Autumn’s Walk
It was a long winter of bitter cold, the harshness no match for our grieving hearts. Papa passed in late January while a deep layer of snow blanketed the ground. Ice clung to trees and the world itself seemed to go into a hibernation of sorts to insulate us from our grief. We buried Papa near his favorite grove of trees tucked near Momma’s garden, near our little brook. On that day, even nature knew and nodded to an insurmountable loss.
Months and then years passed. Life was never the same but there was a richness of memory that brought a deeper strength of appreciation. Henri found much satisfaction teaching science at our local school – opening worlds for curious minds, as his mind had been opened. Momma, she tends her garden and talks to Papa bringing him bouquets to rest upon his gravesite. And Sophie, the world called to her and her music fills the halls she never imagined. It seemed all was as it should have been, but for one lonely and empty chair sitting next to our fireplace.
In the silent of autumn’s night, apart from muffled breaking twigs, Sophie’s footsteps neared Papa’s grave. And in the warm embrace of yesterday’s charm, Sophie’s violin filled the woods – speaking of Papa’s dreams and chats beside the fireplace.
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