Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday's post

I didn't have time on Thursday, but here is today's prompt.

Prompt: The word "saturnine," which means gloomy, sullen, and sluggish, or sardonic and bitter.

I realize a couple of these pieces have been rather dark and gloomy, you could say saturnine (ha ha). I'll try to find a happier prompt next week. And I also realize I haven't named any of these people. It just happened that way. I'm really just freewriting, and I guess I can't think of names while I'm doing that.

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The man’s face is stone. Hauling a girl into the cell by her upper arm, he is unaffected by her screams. He releases his icy grip and she falls to the stone floor, sobbing. The door shuts with a screech and a slam. The hint of a bitter smile creases his hard lips as he turns and walks away, the girl’s moans echoing off the walls.

She lies on the ground for a long time, willing herself to get up, but her will isn’t strong enough. Instead, she feels the cold from the floor seeping into her back and chilling her bones. From the grate in the ceiling, light streams down from the sun that had been hidden by cloud. It falls on her face, and she blinks in the brightness, tears in her eyes. It feels warm, and she doesn’t move for fear she will scare away the beautiful light. Then the moment passes as a cloud covers the sun again, and now she is blinking in the dimness.

She finally gets up, but painfully; the bruises on her body are tender, and she winces at the pain in her knees. Pulling herself to a sitting position, she brings her knees to her chest, draws her veil over her head, and huddles for warmth under the patch of light, where she waits. And waits. And waits.

The girl doesn’t move. It is futile to try; this cell seems built to hold her forever. She has stopped shivering from cold and fear; it seems the cell has numbed her body and her mind.

After many days - she never counted them - of waiting in the patch of light, the cell door opens, and she is dragged once again, out into blinding sunlight and heat that could bake a loaf of bread. An instant later, a blindfold is placed over her eyes, but she is too exhausted to be afraid, too parched to cry.

She is hauled, dragged, then carried across the dry ground for an age, and is finally dropped to her knees into a bank of sand. She waits for the shot to come, for the pain and the blood. Will it come from the front or the back? she wonders. It seems a strange thing to wonder at this moment, but she stopped thinking rationally a long time ago.

She waits, seeing nothing, hearing nothing.

Finally, she feels brave enough to peel the blindfold off her eyes. When she can see in the bright sunlight, she is all alone in a vast sea of sand.

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