Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, 25th February, 2015


February 25February 25, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a river and a person (or people). Think about MacLean’s famous line that “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” Give it your own meaning. It can be a rivulet of water cutting across a city sidewalk, a farm ditch or a famous world river. Who is experiencing the water? What observations are profound? How can a river and a character merge with meaning?

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There’s a lot of imagery in my head that I’m hoping will be conveyed by the 99 words I’ve chosen to illustrate it, and even more symbolism and natural magic besides. As always, I’m using flash fiction as a place from which to begin to explore my own thought processes, which means that the details may not always be correct in an empirical sense, and I must be feeling that this one is particularly in need of the caveat, or I wouldn’t be mentioning it! If you’ve been reading the previous flashes in this “Compassion” sequence you may remember that Anna told Merlin that they were to attend a wedding. I’d been hoping that I could work that wedding into the next flash prompt, and luckily I had no bother doing so. But if you haven’t been following them, this one, as part three in the sequence, will have no context, so here’s a little help …

Merlin and Anna have travelled to Egypt from Judaea for the wedding of two members of another Essene community. The community is on the bank of a small tributary of the Nile at the eastern edge of the Nile delta. They perform their wedding ceremonies on a small island that sits midstream of the river, and which is accessible by a footbridge that spans the distance from the bank to the island. The wedding that Anna and Merlin are attending is to be performed at the beginning of the rainy season. When they get there the rains have not yet come and the river is dry.

I hope the pictures above show my vision for river flow, before and after the rains, and for the wedding canopy structure, clearly enough not to need further verbiage from me :-).

Merlin Learns a New Way: Part III

“So, this wedding is in Egypt? On an island?”

“Does that make a difference?”

But the river runs almost dry, a dirty trickle in baked and cracking silt banks. Preparations are mingled with prayers for rain as many feet pass across the bridge to the tiny island in the middle. The nuptial canopies are secured to poles, gauzy cloth billowing around each.

Everyone is gathered, joyful yet subdued …

How can I just do nothing, when weather magic is so easy?

… then the rains come … the river flows freely down each side of the island … and the marriage can begin.

If you’ve enjoyed this flash and you’d like to experience more of my Merlin, just pop across to the Blogging My Book tab, where you can also read more of his partners in fiction in the previous posts. It’s constantly growing as I add new scenes, too.

Brightest Blessings to you ALL, as always,

Tally :-)

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1 Comment

  • Charli Mills says:

    Flash fiction helps me work out ideas and I understand what you mean by the details may not always be correct in an empirical sense. For me, revision is the time to straighten out details or fill gaps. I like the placement for this wedding and the absolute hope that the marriage couple would have to have, arriving to a dry island and waiting for the river to fill. I love river islands. When I was a kid, I would ride my horse to one where the Washo tribe once had a village. All the granite boulders on the island had deep, smooth holes from where they would pound pine nuts to make a sort of flour. There were chippings and hide scrapers just lying about and I could always find trade beads. What a village it must have been at one time on that river island! I think Merlin would have liked it.

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