Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and twelfth piece in this series. This week’s is a 496-worder by short story author and poet Jade Kennedy. This story will be podcasted in episode 35 (with two other stories and some 6-worders) on Sunday 29th December.
She taught me languages by calling into the air in German, Swedish, Norwegian, rolling her northern dialect off her tongue effortlessly. She told me once that her eyes were from her Viking heritage, a lush green with hints of copper and silver, rimmed with a band of rich hazel. I believed every word she said.
Her mother was Russian, a willowy woman with smooth pale hands. She spoke with a lisp and absently stroked the side of her face when she was nervous, and had a laugh that sounded like a prayer, hollow and darkly warm. Her father was Swedish. He told me he had been born with brine in his veins, told me stories of ice across lakes as far as the eye could see, and the time death missed his hand when he was a foolish light-eyed lad of thirteen. He sailed for a living and his arms were solid and heavy. His hair was cropped short, a dancing play of light between red and wet sand, eyelashes so fair they could be dusted with ice crystals, as if he had walked out of a fairytale wood and never looked back.
I couldn’t see where she went that day, when we walked along the beach in March. She was throwing Old Norse at the sea and it roared back at her. The look on her face was one of intense listening. I laughed. She blushed and said that the waves were asking if I would go looking for her. I felt the words slip from my tongue and lay heavy, unanswered, ‘Why, where are you going?’
If only I had not fallen asleep on the sand. I awoke, my head full of pain and sand crystals on my face. She had gone. Maybe walked out to sea to try and catch a wandering star. She never really belonged to this world, living like a fae with beliefs in magic and things unseen. The last words from this child of other lands was ‘Would I go looking for her?’
I willed the strength to search. I was trying to find a whisper, a myth, my friend. I searched for her footprints but only my own marked this sparse landscape. The beach sighed with me as I listened for the things on the wind that she told me once were there; words and curses, prayers and songs, thrown away as carelessly as they had been created, and that still lived in the layers of the air. I heard a Celtic song sung to a child, an argument between lovers and the heated devotion, all on one gust of wind that blew hair across my eyes.
‘Not just fair, but a beauty. Standing closer than you think. Where the sky and sea meet in a bright light. On a land without sin.’
It was spoken in a rush. I turned, tried to hold onto it, but then it was gone over the grasses, joyous in its escape.
I asked Jade what prompted this piece and she said…
‘Old Norse’ was originally a piece of automatic writing that grew into something more. I enjoyed the first small part that I wrote and expanded it, exploring where it could go and more of the imagery I could pull from it. I have always been interested in other cultures and ancestry, also I admire people who have such a great talent with languages. I believe that different cultures / ancestry have so much rich heritage and stories that it’s hard not to find inspiration.
It’s a great image. Thank you, Jade.
She has had her poetry in various ezines including Poet and Geek, Rain Dogs, Eclectic Eel issues 1,2&3, Ether Books, Brevity Poetry Review, and included in the poetry anthology, ‘The Universe Inside’. She writes a blog – ‘Borrowed Expressions’ at www.jadekennedypoet.blogspot.co.uk and she is now looking to find more homes for her flash fiction.
Morgen: I can help you with that, Jade. Take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/submission-information/submissions-flash-fiction-short-stories. 🙂
If you’d like to submit your 6-word or 500-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here, or up to 2,000 words for critique on my Online Short Story Writing Group (links below).
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post a spotlight or interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.