Friday, August 26, 2005

Fiction Friday is Here!

It’s a scary thing, writing fiction that others will read but I thought I would give it a shot. Silk is hosting Fiction Fridays, week three. A couple of others have stories posted already.

First the three images for inspiration.

Next here's my story.

Finding Stonehenge

When Sara’s father died, both Sara and Peggy, her mother, withdrew from life, Sara into reading and Peggy into painting. But these solitary activities created a rift between a mother and daughter who were once very close.

Then a tiny miracle opened a small hole in that wall. A college term paper on Stonehenge fired the imagination of a young woman and re-ignited the sparkle in her mother’s eye.

“Sara, I don’t think I ever told you but I’ve been to Stonehenge.”

“Really!” squealed Sara. She found the ancient circle fascinating. The mystic place seemed to call to her.

“Our family had a small home in Amesbury, just a few kilometers from Stonehenge.” Peggy said, “We’d spend a couple of weeks there every summer. My parents sold it just after your father and I were married.” She said wistfully. Lost in thought she added, “I remember every nook and crevice of Stonehenge.”

Sara knew from the look in her mother’s eye that Stonehenge was a very special place.

“Oh mom, I would really like to see it. Do you think…?”

“What? Fly to England! Just to visit Stonehenge? I don’t know…” Peggy hesitated as she grappled for an excuse even though the thought of going back made her heart leap.

“Ok.” she relented, “ Here’s the first dollar of our Stonehenge fund!”

With each coin added to the trip fund, the emotional wall erected between this mother and daughter began to fall. But it wasn’t to last.

Peggy began having trouble with her vision. She battled daily headaches for over a week. One bright, sunny Thursday, a ruptured brain aneurysm took her mother from her. Now Sara was truly alone.

Once again Sara turned to books. She thought reading would mask the pain but it didn’t work.

Still, the memory of the mutual struggle for their trip stayed with her. Slowly a feeling of obligation swelled within Sara. She owed it to herself, and to her mother, to make that trip. A phone call reserved a seat on the next flight to Heathrow.

Just ten days later, Sara set foot on the sacred ground of Stonehenge. She had never been there and yet she felt as if she knew every nook and crevice. Standing next to the Altar Stone, she ran her hand against the rough-hewn block.

A gentle tap on the shoulder beckoned for Sara’s attention. To her right stood a short elderly woman. The wide grin on a wrinkled face gave the old woman a familiar appearance. Her left hand rested on Sara’s shoulder.

“I must have run my hand over that same spot a thousand times.” The old woman said with a twinkle in her eye.

“It’s amazing.” Sara responded, “I mean, what they built here.”

“I’ve always felt this place was special.”

Though they had only just met, these two women found conversation easy. Their new bond of friendship deepened as they talked. It seems both had a great love of literature and art. Both felt drawn to this place. Both had lost loved ones. Both were looking to heal.

“Sara,” started the old woman, “when I lost my husband, I thought I couldn’t go on. We had been so close. I needed to feel him again so I came back to where we honeymooned, in Amesbury.”

“So that’s why this place is so special to you.”

“Yes,” replied the old woman, “but it’s even deeper than that. Our only daughter was born just nine months later. We had started our family here.”

The bonds of family run deep.

“My home is just a short drive. Would you like a cup of tea?” asked the old woman.

“I would love it!” Sara said.

In just a few minutes they arrived at a neat cottage in Amesbury. Bright yellow and red flowers lined a short stone path to the front door. The home was freshly painted a lovely sage green. A small set of keys jangled as the old woman unlocked and then opened the door.

“Welcome to our home.” The old woman motioned Sara through the door. As Sara crossed the threshold she reached back and took the old woman’s hand. Sara walked into a beautiful little foyer. A wooden staircase, directly across from the front door ended at a dormer that let light into the foyer from above.

“My darling, Sara, this is the home where your father and I started our family.”

A shiver ran up Sara’s spine. Startled, Sara spun around. The old woman’s face began to transform. She seemed… younger. The lines and wrinkles melted away. The sparkle in her eyes leapt out and brightened her whole face. What once was flesh and bone was now just a wisp.

In the next instant Sara’s mother was standing before her.

“Mom?” Sara asked tentatively.

“Sara, I wanted you to see Stonehenge but not because of the rocks.” Peggy said, “I wanted you to understand the love that your father and I have for you. You’re drawn to this place because of who we are as a family. It’s now time for you to move on. Create those things for yourself that your father and I created together.”

Her mother smiled as the apparition began to move slowly up the staircase. At the top, a second wisp joined her. Sara saw her father smile at her from the top of the stairs. A loving father and mother were once again reunited.

Sara finally understood. “I will,” her lips trembling, “and good-bye.”

As the image of her parents faded from sight, a strange calm came over her. Sara had missed that feeling of peace. She turned, opened the door and stepped into the bright sunlight for the first time in several years. She had found what she needed; the last gentle touch of her mother, a final smile from her father and the sure knowledge that they would always be there.