Fiction: One

Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Fiction | 10 comments

There was a time when things were different.

When we first came to this valley, generations ago, it was desolate.  Wormy fruit trees struggled to hold their pitiful bounty and tufts of sharp grass bent toward the ground under the weight of the dust.  A sad creek dribbled through the lowlands, there was barely enough water to scoop for a drink.

But our ancestors pressed on, seeing protection from the ring of mountains that held back the sky.  They determinedly staked their claims, wagering their very lives upon the magic that drew them through the steep mountain passes.

They had flown straight, following the dreams of my sage great-grandmother’s great-great grandmother.  Those waking dreams told her to flee when the rebellion started, told her how to reach the valley and whom to bring.

And they told her where to find the well and how to awaken the spirit within.

When they first created the ring of stones and initiated the ritual, a geyser of clear, cool water spring from the miserable creek and flooded the shallows.  It cut a meandering path around the settlement and ignited the spark of life in the land.  Within days, valiant green sprouts climbed through the earth to embrace the sunlight.

This was the birth of our civilization, the birth of our culture.  From that moment, we understood the delicate balance between elements and we swore to hold firm the ritual which gave us life.

For many years, life was glorious in our valley.  Farmers gratefully tended the fertile soil, harvesting plump vegetables to feed us through the year.  Families grew; children ran wild on the rolling hills, their songs carried homeward on the breeze.  The night sky glittered with stars and the moon shone only for us.  This was the valley of my childhood.

Born from a rebellion, the village in the valley sought peace.  We traded for all goods and shared our bounty without guile.  Every soul knew every other soul; we celebrated our joys and sorrows as one, though there were few sorrows.  Lives stretched long; affliction and illness vanished, mere ghosts of memories.

We knew not of the world on the other side of the mountains and we suspected that the world knew not of us, either.  This seemed to be a condition of the truce with the spirit in the well, for it wasn’t until Elmer Pemmerjack ventured outside of our valley that we created offense.  When the ritual failed that year, all color drained from the world.  When the earth shook and cracked, it broke the magic, pulled color from leaves and grass, returned the valley to dust.

It is in this record that I leave the ritual.  I am the last in the valley and I am sputtering like the final flicker of light from a dying candle.  I don’t know if my death will reset the clock.  I don’t know if the emptiness will placate the spirit.  I don’t know if anyone will come here to read this, nor if they can read it.

But if you are able to read this account, the ritual is sacred.  Do not alter my instructions.  Do not deviate on your own whims.  Follow it true and maybe the valley will live again.

I just don’t know.

This is another part of the story I first started with Thirteen and continued with Ten. I’m submitting this to the lovely speakeasy over at yeah write. You should check it out for some excellent reading!


  1. This is very magical and mysterious. It has an ancient and somewhat historical feel to it and I loved it

  2. Yes, you really do invoke a sense of the sacred in this. The spirit of the land becomes an intriguing character, demanding respect. Well done!
    Tam recently posted, go check it out!Flash Fiction Challenge: Spoils of WarMy Profile

  3. I will remember to follow it,so that the valley will live again.
    Beautiful story.

  4. What an amazing story!I loved the ending the most:-)
    Atreyee recently posted, go check it out!At the stroke of midnightMy Profile

  5. A record of the rituals left behind for those who wish to see Mother Nature flourish again.
    A wonderful story. I enjoyed it very much.
    Isadora recently posted, go check it out!“Dying Embers of our Love”My Profile

  6. Well-told story of the rise and fall of this civilization. We do strive to pass our knowledge to future generations. I hope the ritual is discovered and breathes life back into the land.
    JannaTWrites recently posted, go check it out!Imagination For TwoMy Profile

  7. Lovely, though tragic. Your descriptions and the way you imbue a sense of triabl-ness in your words is just wonderful. I’ll have to go back and read (re-read?) the other parts. :)
    Suzanne Purkis recently posted, go check it out!The DarknessMy Profile

  8. I love that you wrote more of this story! It’s such good one. I want the whole thing!

  9. This has a magical quality in the narrative, which I love.
    Natalie D recently posted, go check it out!The Art of Holding BackMy Profile

  10. I really enjoyed the flow of this. Ideas moved smoothly from place to place. The narrative carried me along easily. This sounds like a fascinating and magical place I would love to visit. Great story!
    E.A. Wicklund recently posted, go check it out!Cat’s Purr – TrifectaMy Profile

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