There be Dragons!

Their Father had told them of the dangers on the mountains, of the hidden mine entrances, the babbling streams that would turn to torrents in minutes after the slightest rains and of the terrible things that call the harsh mountainside home. In evenings around campfire, after supper but before bed, he would spin wondrous tales of Knights and Kings, battles between the great armies of the neighbouring kingdoms which once owned these lands and stories of mythical beasts which stalked children in the night.  mountains-md

 It had not stopped them sneaking out of camp in the quiet before dawn. Silently they gathered their things and some food and headed away from the small gathering of tents that had become their nomadic homes. It was a noiseless forest that they crept through as the first rays of sunlight clipped the tops of the huge beech trees that surrounded them. It wasn’t long however before the woods thickened and progress became more difficult. Branches clawed at their clothes and brambles scratched their legs as the fought to find a path through the maze of the forest. Fallen trees barred their way and they had to clamber over some and crawl under others. By the time the ground started to rise and the trees thin they were filthy and tired and it was welcome relief to climb out of the wooded valley and out onto the open mountain.

They rested here, and looked back the way they came. They could just make out the cluster of tents they had left behind and knew that their Mother would be looking for them by now. They set out again, striding up the ever steeper slopes of the mountain. They had been climbing steadily for about an hour when they first spotted it. Two distinctive columns of smoke rising high above them from just below the summit of the mountain which could only mean one thing.  DRAGON.

dragonsketch

Homecoming

I got rained off from work today so decided to revisit the book I started writing almost a year ago. I was happy with most of it but decided to rewrite a scene which could easily become my ending, or maybe a false end, or maybe a preface before starting the story proper, who knows certainly not me at the moment. Anyway, the original version had my “hero” returning home to his Mother, looking for reconciliation, written from his point of view. I’ve changed it around to her perspective and it seems to work better, still very rough but I’m quite pleased with it.

This is the first time I’ve shared my writing with anyone other than my wife so please, be gentle. Actually if you think it’s rubbish please tell me so I can get better.

She can hear him above the wind and the rain, a gentle knocking on the front door, a voice once recognisable but now changed, older, broken almost. A voice long since gone, its owner now but a faded memory of more peaceful times. She had thought him to be dead or at least gone from her world. She has buried more children than she raised and now this one, this one she once called her boy has returned.

     Her mind returns to her last glimpse of him, what feels so long ago is there like it happened yesterday. She sees his face, glistening from the tears he’s trying to stem, a redness glowing from his cheek from where she struck him, and she hears his words

     “I’m sorry Mama, I’m sorry”

     If the boys’ Father were here it would be easier but he’s been gone nearly a year, headed east looking for work that was never found, well as far as she knew, and now this boy has to leave too. It’s for his own good she tells herself again and again, wanting to believe that is true. She presses what money she has into his hand and he turns and heads down the track to where, God only knows.

     A clap of thunder brings her back to her kitchen, the glowing of the stove and the comfort of home. The rapping grows softer now and the calling has become but a whisper above the noise of the storm. She gets up from the chair and leaves the warming embrace of the fire, making her way in the dark, along the bare wooden floors that lead to her front porch. Slowly she turns the key in the lock and reaches for the handle but hesitates. Something deep inside her stops her from opening the door and forces her hand to the key. She locks the door, there is no knocking now, no boy calling for his mother just the wind pounding the wooden walls of the house and the rain lashing on the roof. She returns to the warmth of her kitchen chair, leaving the cold and the dark of the past out there, in the rain.