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06 November 2015 @ 10:41 am
Original Fiction: "Gone"  
Title: Gone
Fandom: Original Fiction
Rating: PG
Summary: They never talked about him
Author's Notes: For the writerverse prompt of "Middle Sibling."

x-x-x-x-x

My mother was the youngest in her family—though never the baby, she always insisted. There was no place for "babies" in the house where she grew up. Daniel was the oldest, strong and handsome and able to do nearly anything, or so she said. After Daniel came Peter, but they never talked about him. Mother only knew what Daniel told her, whispered moments years later when no one else could hear.

Are you allowed to miss someone you chose to betray?

It was winter in an already hopeless year when the man came to their door. He was dressed in gray, the color of the sky and of the fields that had lain barren for two full seasons. Grandmother could not offer him meat, for the herd had been sold off bit by bit to keep the family fed. She could not offer him milk, for the cow had run dry before New Year's Day.

The man needed neither food nor drink, he assured her. What he sought instead was a young person to assist him in his home and in his work—someone old enough to be taught and young enough to last. In return, he could offer her payment and the promise of prosperity once more.

My mother was a babe in the cradle, too little to be of use to anyone. The man might have been thinking of Daniel, but Grandmother persuaded him to take Peter instead.

They never saw either of them again.

The winter turned warm that year, rains softening the earth and preparing it for spring. The soil grew fertile, bringing forth the richest crops Grandmother had ever seen. She gathered in a harvest that paid enough to buy food for the next two years, and each year after the promise held until her children were grown and gone and Grandmother herself was finally dead.

She must have missed her son, whose fate she handed over so willingly in the weak light of a cold February afternoon.

But she never said anything about the child who was blood-price for their future, and her children never saw her weep or worry over whatever that poor boy's story might have become.

--/--

 
 
 
cindy: misc fictsuki_no_bara on November 7th, 2015 03:41 am (UTC)
i get a whiff of creepy from the man who takes peter - it's the gray clothes and the way grandma's farm is suddenly fruitful - but the thing i really like is grandma's later reaction. (or lack of reaction, i guess.) she had to do a thing to save her family, and there's no point in wondering or worrying about what might have been. it's very pragmatic.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 7th, 2015 08:46 am (UTC)
Yay-- the man in gray is supposed to be creepy, as well as the nature of his request. What he gives in return can only make that worse-- no ordinary human could fulfill such a promise. :O
riverotter1951riverotter1951 on November 7th, 2015 02:46 pm (UTC)
That is haunting and sad. It reminds me of fairy tales with a similar theme. Survival has a heavy price.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 10th, 2015 07:55 am (UTC)
Yay-- I was going for something fairytale-like here, with a story that has a sense of magic and sorrow and something sinister as well.
Danmuchtooarrogant on November 7th, 2015 03:47 pm (UTC)
The best part about coming back to LJ is always the great stories I'm able to read again!

This was excellent, and I thought the length really worked with the story you were telling. Just enough detail to shape what happened for the reader, with lots left to the imagination.

My favorite line was, "Are you allowed to miss someone you chose to betray?"

Very well done!

Dan
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 10th, 2015 07:58 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked this!

That is also my favorite line, partly because it's unexpected and also because it cements the direction the truth will take. When the unthinkable becomes 'thinkable,' someone will pay the price of that choice forever.
Portdesertport on November 7th, 2015 06:02 pm (UTC)
Oooooh. Everything about this is so understated and chilling. I really like it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 10th, 2015 08:01 am (UTC)
Thank you! Understated is an approach I like for dark or horror-related stories. It's like something sneaking up on you that you don't even notice, and then dragging you underground to your doom.

Thanks for reading!
riverotter1951riverotter1951 on November 10th, 2015 02:55 pm (UTC)
A great use of the prompt middle sibling. I enjoy seeing how different people use the prompts.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2015 07:40 am (UTC)
The prompts have been a struggle for me lately (the song/video-came/movie references usually just stymie me). I didn't want to write this one at first (I wasn't in the mood to write about 'middle child' syndrome), but then a looser interpretation suggested itself. Thank goodness!
alien_writings: Heart Readingalien_writings on November 15th, 2015 08:24 pm (UTC)
This was creepy and understated and, despite the mystery being part of the story, I can't help wanting to know what the man in gray actually is and what happened to the poor middle sibling.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 15th, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC)
The one thing you can guess is, "Nothing good." Minion at best. At worst, things unmentionable. :(

Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading!