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Portraits prose Part 1

March 28, 2012

Hello! So I wrote a short story.  It’s semi-plotless, but that’s all I’m going to say because I want to see your reactions.

Portraits

Three young men huddled shoulder to shoulder in a gully between grassy hills.  There were shouts far off, and smoke of a now extinguished fire still polluted the blue sky, the wind quickly spreading its haze.  Ash smeared their white faces and clothes and peppered their varying shades of recently tonsured ginger hair.  Their robes were too big for them.

“We can’t wait any longer; we should leave now.  I think the Vikings are gone,” said the biggest.

“He died.  Right in front of us.  The Vikings burned him, and he did nothing to help,” said the smallest, who was still shaking.  He closed his green eyes as if to block out the memory.

“I know, Éanna. Calm down.”

Éanna continued undeterred, “Brother Conn will be the head now, just as he’s wanted.  You know he doesn’t like us, Connall.  He’ll make us fight.  He’ll make us kill.  But God commands us not to kill.  I swore I’d never help kill anything after they–.  My parents–”

“He doesn’t care about that.”

“Caibre, what are you thinking?” said Éanna suddenly, opening his eyes to turn to the young man to his left.  Caibre was looking at the muddy ground as if it held the answer, his hands held out in front of him as he crouched.

“Can’t you tell?” he said, unclenching his hands and staring at his well-calloused palms.

“You’ve got that face on where you don’t want anyone to know what you’re thinking.  Guessing what you’re thinking when you’re like this would only annoy you.”

Caibre let out a bitter laugh.  “I think we should leave.  The boat’s ready, we’re ready.  We shall embrace the white martyrdom of exile.  It’s one of the greatest sacrifices to our faith we can make.”

“You really want to be a saint?  Like Connall’s old gods?”

Connall rolled his eyes.  “You know they aren’t exactly gods.  I’ve told you a thousand times. But we can debate that later.  Let Caibre finish.”

“I think we should leave before Conn forces us to do something against our vows, our faith. We’ve made our boat.  We can go to the glory that awaits us.”

“But we don’t know how to sail, how to follow the stars. We could run into the Viking ship.”

“Their ships are faster than ours, and they’ll be long gone before we even cast off.  Better death than to be forced to give death.”  Caibre touched the ground with the tips of his fingers and then lifted his hand up to feel the soft bobbing tails of the grass against his palm.  “Though I shall miss this.”

Connall nodded and stood up, offering Éanna a hand.  Éanna took it while Caibre  stood on his own and unconsciously dusted off his robes, though his efforts had no affect on the cleanliness of the garment.  His countenance was troubled, Éanna’s unsure, and Connall’s determined.

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From → Fiction, Thesis

2 Comments
  1. Great little story. The characters really come to life 🙂

  2. Thank you! This story is the springboard for my college senior thesis, so I’m very glad somebody finds it interesting. I’m supposed to write a novel.

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