This post is written in response to Laura M Bailey’s Manic Monday Challenge:
The prompt word is: EVANESCENT
I am also planning to include the Manic Madness challenger:
Which is to also include ALL of the previous Manic Monday prompts!!!!
I usually like to combine as many different prompts into one story as possible, but this is going to be a huge challenge.
Well I LOVE a challenge so here we go:
The fog descended thick and fast over the harbour.
Within moments the boats and the jetty had soon disappeared out of sight and memory, evanescent.
It was a fog like none of the locals had seen before. Mists and fogs were not rare in Winter or Spring. Whenever the weather brought a change in temperature, the lake gave off a mist that often didn’t burn away until lunchtime. This was different. For starters, it was Summertime. In addition, it was much thicker than usual and it brought with it a kind of ghostly silence, a mysterious hush. It felt that time itself had frozen.
In addition to the ominous lack of sound, there was a scent in the air. It reminded her of something from her childhood. Something that she had long forgotten but dwelled within the darkest recesses of her mind. It filled her with emotions. That longing for the past that people call nostalgia, a sense of comfort that came with it, but was tinged with anxiety. Her heart began to race, she felt an upwelling sense of adventure. She was going on a journey. She knew this fact as sure as anything, but she did not know how.
This experience was like a witch had cast a spell over the area, an enchantment. Then she remembered her parents warning to her when she’d told them she wanted to move away into this quiet, primitive part of the world. They’d warned her that strange things happened up in the ‘boondocks’, that was her Mother’s colourful way of describing anywhere wild.
She’d ignored her Mother’s warning, but until this moment, had not regretted it. She’d felt somehow like she’d come home. Away from the busy city and bustling towns, this was where her spirit felt she belonged.
Suddenly she remembered what the smell reminded her of. Her Grandmother, who disappeared nearly twenty years ago. She had only been a child then, not more than six or seven. She remembered her Grandmother’s perfume, a mix of Eau de Cologne, lavender and rose petals, tinged with cinnamon and freshly baked bread. This exact same smell came to her through the mist.
She recalled then, her Grandmother’s confession to her before departing.
“I am a Witch, child, not a wicked witch. I have been no more naughty, or nice, than anyone else. We are, all of us, flawed with imperfection, but I have strived to walk in the light. You too have inherited the gift. It skips generations. Your Mother, my dear daughter, has not got the skill and therefore I have been forced to keep it a secret from her. I must leave soon, but One day you will remember this, and then we will undertake our journey together.”
After her Grandmother disappeared, they had mourned the loss of her. She’d felt a forlorn melancholy for weeks. Her Mother had been distraught. The emotional scars burned deep.
How could she have forgotten this, until now? Upon reflection, she realised that it must be part of the spell. The forgetting and the remembering.
Now it felt that she had only been waiting for this moment.
A figure stepped out of the fog in front of her. Still wrapped in the black woollen shawl, worn whatever the weather, her glowing white hair still cascaded down to her shoulders, with that hint of pale gold that was a remnant of her once sultry beauty. This was her Grandmother looking as if she’d just stepped out from her memory.
The lined face beamed a smile and she reached out a hand to clasp her own.
To her surprise, the hand was as warm as the smile.
“There you are, my precious. It is time to make this journey. Be strong, I will guide you.”
The fog began to lift. The scene had changed. Where the lake once stood, with its jetty and boats, there was now a deep chasm. Where the log cabins once clung to the side of the hill as it gently descended to the water, there was nothing but rocks and trees.
On the other side of the chasm stood a castle, a grand and shining fortress of light and splendour. The sun shone resplendently on that mighty castle, yet around it, darkness billowed like a deadly storm.
The sight of the fortress filled her with reverence, she wanted to cry out and rejoice.
At the same time, the darkness, like a poison, injected her with dread and fear.
Her grandmother must have felt her hand tense in hers, because again she spoke, in reassuring, gentle tones.
“Don’t be afraid, my dear. The journey is a difficult one. We must pass through the valley, filled with the souls of the damned, harvested by the Reaper. They call out in their eternal torment. Be stoic and do not fear them. I have you, and together we will walk over the bridge. Keep to the light, and we will be safe.”
All around them, she saw wrecked and shattered souls, surrounded by darkness, but she stepped onwards, guided by her grandmother’s hand, she kept to the path and made it to the gates of the castle.
The Gates opened and she was engulfed in the glorious light that shone from within.
Back in the hospital, her life support machine rang out a single note, like a dirge, but on her face was a smile of peace.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 25/January/2019
Well, what did you think? Did the story take you on a journey? Did it conjure up any feeling within you? Let me know in the comments.