Posts filed under ‘Story #2 – Cornflower’s New Name’

Cornflower’s New Name – p.13

The rising sun’s rays were filtered by the giant spider web, then again across Cornflower’s outstretched arms, until finally only one shaft of light made it to the ground. There, at her feet, Cornflower saw the shape the snake had made during the night; it was an outline of the forest, the river and her village. She marveled at this but the greater miracle was that the one sunbeam shining on these shapes fell upon what she knew must be her exact location.

Just then, four men from her tribe appeared, running towards her. The noise she had heard turned out to be a source of relief and joy, and she lowered her tired arms and fell to the ground weeping.

Cornflower slept through that day and half of the next. The story of her vision was told and retold. When her naming ceremony finally came, the Elder of the tribe announced that she had been blessed by the sacred animals of the forest and passed their tests. She would therefore be given to the village medicine woman, to study under her and eventually replace her after her death. Then, he bestowed upon Cornflower her new name: Gathering Dawn.

She loved it.

THE END

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August 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm 4 comments

Cornflower’s New Name – p.12

Cornflower tried to hold on to the vision of herself as an old woman but it faded quickly away and she was left in the dark again. After a while she could not tell whether her hands were still raised, whether her eyes were open, whether she was still standing on the ground. An age passed, or only a moment, and then she heard a noise, far off. It came closer, and reminded her of dry branches rubbing together in a winter wind.

The clicking and scraping was accompanied by a sudden blue light diffused in the air, and Cornflower realized that the night was over, and soon the sun would rise. She had survived until dawn. The weight of her experience settled on her then, and tears ran down her cheeks. Still, she dared not move.

As the light grew stronger, so did the strange noise. It was headed in her direction for certain.

A shaft of weak sunlight pierced the canopy above her head, and shone across Cornflower’s outstretched hands. She looked up at the web. The light was filtered into multiple beams but she could see no pattern or symbol that would help her get home. She was about to drop her heavy hands in despair when she looked down at her feet and saw that the spider had, in fact, kept its promise.

July 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm 3 comments

Cornflower’s New Name – p.11

The part of Cornflower’s mind that was still thinking logically knew that a snake was slithering over her feet. The rest of her was still trapped in a twilight limbo, where sounds replaced vision and the world had always been black.

She did not react to what the snake was doing. It was pointless to look down so she did not. She felt with her skin, instead of seeing with her eyes, that it was not just passing by on its way to somewhere else. It was going back and forth, over and between her feet, twisting and turning. Was there only one snake after all? She couldn’t quite tell and gave up trying.

Her thoughts came and went, like clouds passing overhead, and she watched them without judgment. She saw her friends playing in the river, her mother making bread, saw so many memories of her life that when she saw herself standing with her arms out, greeting the sunrise, with many feathers in her long white hair, she did not immediately understand that it was the future she was seeing, and not the past.

July 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm 1 comment

Cornflower’s New Name – p.10

Cornflower stared at her upturned palms in a daze. In her vision, there had been women to the left and right as far as the eye could see, but here and now she was alone. She remembered that there had been strange shapes in the dirt, so she looked down, but saw only leaves and twigs and her own tired feet.

She left her hands where they were, deciding that if the spider were to return and claim she had moved, she would argue back that she was following her vision. It was certainly more difficult to hold them up than to let them hang at her sides, so she figured that might count in her favor.

One by one the fireflies winked out, finishing up their nightly courting dance, until at last Cornflower stood in total darkness. Sounds of animals hunting for food surrounded her, and she could hear every small step on the forest floor, every growl amidst the trees, every flutter of wings above. In her drowsy state, however, the thought of being attacked seemed absurd; the noises she heard in the woods seemed as part of a dream or of a dance performed by the men of her tribe. She could hear them, and see them in her mind, but she did not feel as if she were really there, and part of it. She did not believe that she was in any danger.

It took her a long time to register that she felt movement by her feet, as if something smooth and heavy were sliding over her toes.

July 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm 1 comment

Cornflower’s New Name – p.9

Except for the blinking of the fireflies, Cornflower’s world was black. Even if she dared lift her head to look, the forest canopy would be blocking her view of the stars.

She felt dizzy again; it was not a sensation she enjoyed. When the other children would spin in circles to try to make themselves faint, she would hang back, never participating, only laughing at their staggered walking and catching them when they inevitably fell. She had experienced real dizziness before when she was ill, and her stomach was now doing the familiar tumbling that meant her last meal would likely be coming back up to greet her. Today, since she had eaten only a handful of berries many hours past, there was nothing coming.

Cornflower began to cry.

The tears came first, then the sobs, then her whole body shook as she wailed. She didn’t care anymore about holding still or being eaten by the spider. She was tired, hungry, alone and completely lost. She tried to lift her hands to her face, but they were full of pins and needles from being at her sides for so long, and she could only raise them halfway.

She stopped crying abruptly when she realized she was now standing in the exact same position as the women from her vision.

July 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm 2 comments

Cornflower’s New Name – p.8

The pounding of her pulse was loud in Cornflower’s ears, and she was terrified that it might be masking some other, more important sound. She willed herself to slow her breathing, and calm down. It took what seemed like an eternity, but finally she was still again, and she could hear the little noises of the forest around her.

Each snap of a twig or rustle of a high branch sent her heart fluttering and her stomach jumping again, but each time she became quicker at returning to quiet calm. By dusk, she was nearly asleep on her feet, and too relaxed to be bored.

She was snapped out of her trance by the first firefly of the evening as it flashed its light just in front of her. Cornflower smiled, and was delighted as the bright yellow lights began to blink all around her. She didn’t even notice that the sun had set, so enchanted was she by the fireflies and their dancing. It was like being surrounded by living stars. She wanted desperately to catch one, but her hands felt heavy and she couldn’t lift them even if she’d meant to. Remembering her promise to the spider, she let the smile fade slowly from her face, and tried to stare straight ahead again; but now night had truly fallen, and she could no longer see the trees.

July 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm 1 comment

Cornflower’s New Name – p.7

It was not long into her task of holding still that Cornflower began to feel the urge to fidget. The thought of the giant spider lurking somewhere watching kept her from acting on those urges. Her nose itched; she dared not even wiggle it. Her knees were locked; she dared not relax them. She was still staring at the exact same spot some five yards in front of her that she had been when the spider left.

It was a pretty boring spot.

The trees surrounding Cornflower had thick trunks, but all the foliage was higher up towards the forest canopy. The view directly before her was of nothing more exciting than a dense pack of bare gray trunks, with hardly any shapes or patterns in the bark at all. She let her focus go fuzzy, trying to see out of the corners of her eyes…and was rewarded with blurry visions of more boring tree trunks. She sighed.

The sound of her sigh seemed like a shout in the quiet of the woods, and Cornflower instinctively clapped a hand to her mouth. This was also loud, and she realized with horror, definitely counted as a movement. She immediately dropped her hand back to where it had been and resumed her former stillness, but now she was nearly panting and beads of sweat formed on her forehead. Cornflower listened, straining her concentration, trying to determine if the spider was close by, but all she could hear was her own racing heartbeat.

July 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm 1 comment

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