The Weather Is Turning Cold

The weather is turning cold.

It makes me hungry for surf-battered shores and sharp-bladed grasses,
for the smell of salt and snow in the air,
for grim, gray rocks carpeted with lichen.

The weather is turning cold.
It makes me hungry for the sea.


Photo Credit: Dartrider
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rocky_shore_on_St._Croix_US_Virgin_Islands,_habitat_of_Cittarium_pica.jpg

Truth

One day while traveling along the road, a man came across a small blossom of truth. Its petals were pure white and its stem soft and delicate. Fearing for its safety, he carefully picked it, wrapped it up, and put it in his pocket before continuing down the road.

                As he went, he met a woman sitting next to a tall flower. Its petals were a deep red, and the vines of its stems crawled up her arms.

                “What is that?” he asked, amazed.

                “Truth!” she said, inviting him to sit beside her and enjoy the scent of the flower, but he turned away.

                “That is not truth. I have seen it, and its petals are white as snow.”

                He continued on, clutching at the tiny blossom in his pocket as he went. Still further down the road, he passed a man leaning against a tall tree stretching up into the sky.

                “What is it?” he asked, astounded. “I have never seen anything like it.”

                “Truth,” said the man under its great branches.

               “That is not truth,” he scoffed. “I have seen truth; I carry it with me even now. Its stem is soft and delicate, not hard and rough.”

               He turned away and continued down the road, clutching at the blossom in his pocket still harder. Eventually, he came to a field filled with bright yellow flowers where several children were running and playing.

               “What is this that grows here?” he called to them.

               “Truth!”

               “This is not truth!” he cried, angered. “I carry truth with me!”

                “Let us see it then.” And the children gathered around, curious.

                He pulled it from his pocket, but to his dismay, the flower had withered, its stem becoming twisted and the petals blackened in the darkness. The roots clung to him, digging into his skin, and he hastily hid it away again.

                “You are children. If I say I have seen truth and this is not it, then you would be wise to listen.”

                He rushed away down the road, but as he tried to walk, the roots grew around him, tripping him and making it hard to breathe until he had to stop.

                “Curse this truth,” he sighed. “I wish I had left it where I found it.”

                With great pain, he ripped his truth from himself and cast it aside. But even as he did, he noticed another flower beside him, its petals a dark blue.

                “I will leave it where I found it this time,” he said as he studied the flower. “But I will visit it again to see if the rains have swept it away or the sun burned its leaves.”

                So, he went on his way, passing many blooms of different shapes and colors as he went, but he returned often. And each time he did, the flower had grown and changed, its roots digging deep and its leaves reaching for the sky.

               —Hold your truth in an open hand

What Butterflies Wonder

The prompt for today’s story was, “She was on her way home when it happened. She knew she could never see her family again.”

I decided to set a timer for 15 minutes and write whatever came to mind. I edited a few things for readability, but this was the result.


           She was on her way home when it happened, when she knew she could never see her family again. They wouldn’t understand the transformation. She hadn’t noticed it herself until she caught a glimpse of a stranger in a rain puddle and stared down at the wavering reflection, finally realizing when she reached up to scratch her nose that it was her own. Even if she did go home, they wouldn’t realize it was her. Or maybe she wasn’t her anymore and had somehow become someone else when she wasn’t paying attention. It could happen. Sometimes other people said they weren’t quite feeling themselves. The problem was, she was feeling more herself today than she’d ever felt.

            She stared down at the reflection and wondered what she was supposed to do if she wasn’t quite herself but wasn’t quite anyone else either. She decided to follow a street she’d always wanted to go down—the brick walls looked so inviting—but never had. The windows she passed were full of interesting wares, but her reflection fascinated her more.

            She waved at passersby. Normally she was shy, but she wasn’t herself today, and she hadn’t decided if who she had become was shy or not. There was no reason she had to be. This her had never been told she talked too much or been anxious in a room with strangers, so why wouldn’t she wave cheerily to them in the street? A few waved back, but most just cast a glance in her direction before passing by. It didn’t bother her. Why should it? This her wasn’t worried about what they thought of her.

            The buildings fell away, and the shore stretched out in front of her. She walked onto the pier, the water growing dark and frothy between the boards under her feet. At the end, she gazed down at the face looking back up at her. That face seemed to know who it was even if it wasn’t her face. It didn’t seem distressed by how different it looked despite being attached to her personage or frightened by the dark water churning over her. Maybe that person knew something she didn’t, since it wasn’t her but also had to be her.

            She wondered where she was supposed to go since she couldn’t go home. She could try to go home, try to convince them she was still who she was. Maybe if she adjusted her hair just right, maybe slouched a little, they wouldn’t notice. But then she wouldn’t be her anymore, or whoever this her was she was looking at. She’d just be someone pretending to be her, and that didn’t seem very appealing. She could leave and go far away and then she could be her. They would wonder where she’d gone, what had happened to her, why she had stopped being who she was, but she hadn’t. Staying would have meant not being who she was. They wouldn’t understand she had to leave so she could be who she was.

            She sat on the edge of the pier, swinging her feet lazily, leaning her chin on her folded arms resting on the railing. Maybe caterpillars felt this way, and that was why they locked themselves up in their cocoons, trying to look as much like a caterpillar as possible, but inside they were ripping apart and reforming, breaking and mending until everything was inside out, and when they emerged, all the other caterpillars said, “You’ve changed. You’re not you anymore. We don’t like this new you.”

           And if the caterpillar-turned-butterfly listened to them, it would never spread its wings and fly but spend the rest of its life trying to chew leaves and crawl over twigs. But butterflies didn’t do that. They spread their wings, and soared on the wind, and drank from flowers. Maybe they worried they’d made a mistake, if they thought of their caterpillar families and wondered, but surely, she thought, it must be better to fly.


I’ve been reading Alice in Wonderland. Can you tell?

~ R. E. Rule

Welcome

Here you will find short stories from all genres, a few poems, and an occasional musing.
Visit the Archives to find previous works.

Tiny Tales podcast episodes are posted every Monday.
Tiny Tales short stories are posted every Wednesday.

Subscribe for email updates and to have all future posts delivered to your inbox.
Learn more about me: www.rerulewrites.com.

Help me keep telling Tiny Tales. Become a Patron for as little as $1/month.


Happy Reading!

~ R. E. Rule

All writing on this blog is the exclusive property of R. E. Rule and is not to be reproduced or retransmitted without permission from R. E. Rule. Link and email sharing is welcome as long as proper owner/authorship is attributed to R. E. Rule.

The Best Lies

This boy had a VERY upset stomach the past few days. He is usually rambunctious and full of energy, so seeing him with no appetite, tail hanging, moping around behind me was emotionally/mentally draining. He’s thankfully on the mend now and back to his happy self. He wants to play; I want to sleep.

Little writing — and by little I mean none — was accomplished this week. Not that I wasn’t thinking about it. I do that constantly, whether I want to or not, especially at 1 AM when I’d prefer to be asleep. But somehow, that’s when my best thoughts come.

Last night yielded this: “Sometimes there were dreams, hazy half-remembrances of brighter colors, but they were followed by pain, an iron taste filling her mouth, and she let herself forget.” (I’m really proud of that sentence.)

This marks the 60th post on my blog since I began at the end of January. I don’t recognize myself as the same writer I was then. I won’t say I’m better, just different. I’m starting to understand that a writer’s job is to shape the negative space, manipulate the reader’s eye into thinking they see what is invisible and finding patterns that were never there. “The novelist’s business is lying.” (Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness). Good lies contain a grain of truth. The best lies start in the teller’s mind and finish in the listener’s. Then it must be true. It was the listener’s idea all along.

So I write, and I re-write and I re-write until I find the words I was looking for from the beginning. The voice must speak with confidence, even if it cracks and breaks, mumbles and mispronounces, stutters and forgets. Yesterday’s wisdom will be tomorrow’s folly, but nothing is gained standing still. And perhaps along the way, we can fool ourselves into thinking we are one step closer to perfection.

Or perhaps… I’m just sleep-deprived.

More soon.

~ R. E. Rule