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28 June 2016 @ 11:17 pm
Original Fiction: "Stone Secrets"  
Title: Stone Secrets
Original Fiction
Rating: G
Summary: The granting of wishes is uncertain magic.
Author's Notes: For the writerverse challenge prompt of "Have You Ever Been to _____?"

x-x-x-x-x

At the part of the river where the water grows silent, there are no ripples, no wavelets, no murmurs. The shadows are deep, the banks damp and mossy, and the air smells like the promise of rain.

People from the farms and villages nearby go to that place to make wishes.

Thursday noon is the best time to go, the stories say. We walk in sideways, pockets full of witch-weed and our hair tied in knots. Anyone who slips into that place unnoticed is more likely to have a wish granted.

Our secrets are sacred, and wishes are the most secret things of all. We whisper them into the veins of wilted leaves, wrapping them around pebbles and setting them on the water. Most will float, impossible as that seems. Only the wishes that slip beneath the surface ever come true.

We know better than to ask for small things, or to waste our wishes on sweetmeats and baubles. We plead for fevers to break, or that wasting sicknesses be healed. When our wish-stones do not sink, we return and ask again, for No does not mean Never.

I have been to that place each week since Michaelmas, and still my mother will not wake.

Soon, I shall go daily, repeating the ritual as often as I must to get it right. I bring my own stones, stones that are larger and heavier each week. None match the weight that lies on my heart.

This is foolishness, Annika, you will think, for surely I have come too often to be able to creep up on the magic in that place without it knowing?

That may be, certainly, but I have no other hopes or methods to turn to. I grew desperate many weeks ago, so terribly desperate.

Now, I have nothing to lose.


--/--

 
 
 
bleodswean: write every daybleodswean on June 29th, 2016 02:17 pm (UTC)
Nicely done! You've got some truly unique and strong visuals here - the river itself, the sideways entrance, and of course, the rocks wrapped in leaf wishes that do not sink.

I thought this sentiment, in particular, was truly thought-provoking - for No does not mean Never.

So glad to see you writing!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 29th, 2016 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you-- nice of you to take time to read this, too!

The prompt didn't do much for me until I thought about using it to describe someplace eerie and unsettling. How many people would ever find a place like this?
adoptedwriteradoptedwriter on June 29th, 2016 02:34 pm (UTC)
I agree! That "No does not mean Never" is a great statement for this story and in real-life as well!

AW
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 29th, 2016 11:47 pm (UTC)
Especially if you have reason-- and need-- to hope, it can be very hard to give it up. Often, that's for the best!

Thanks for reading. :)
cindy: misc fictsuki_no_bara on June 30th, 2016 03:58 am (UTC)
this is very folktale-y and the images are great - the pebbles that mysteriously don't sink, questioners with their hair in knots, the stillness of the river. and i agree with everyone else that "no does not mean never" is a fabulous line. it's full of hope.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 6th, 2016 05:10 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the late follow-up!

Thanks for the lovely comments. It's funny, the prompt seemed so unhelpful at first, but then mysteriously led somewhere interesting that was worth exploring. Weirdness is so much more fun than, I don't know, using "Paris" or "San Francisco" as the 'where' for this story.