Friday, January 22, 2010

#fridayflash: A Precious Stone

A Precious Stone
Louise Dragon

“It’s past midnight, Cindy. Can’t this wait until morning?” Dull granite dust shadowed Cynthia’s gray, haggard features. “Go to bed, Mother. You’re interfering.”

“But . . .”

“Go to bed, Mother.”

“How can I sleep with you down here? Every rap of that hammer grates on my nerves.”

“I have to finish. I have to finish it for me.”

“What then? What do you think will happen, Cindy? How much power does that chisel have?”

“This is something I have to do.” Cynthia explained. “It doesn’t concern you.”

“You are my concern,” her mother said. “You’re sick. Knowing you’re down here in this damp basement . . . seeing you obsessed with this project — I care about you . . . not this . . . this outrageous thing you’re creating.”

“This thing, Mother? This thing will be my last and greatest triumph, my epitaph.”

Cynthia’s mother sighed, shivered, and hugged her arms closer to her body. She watched a trickle of ground water seep down in the corner of the stone foundation. “You haven’t eaten today. Can I bring you some hot soup?”

Cynthia’s thin face never left her work. Bony fingers clutching hammer and chisel continued to move spasmodically across drab gray granite. “No, I’m not hungry.”

“A sweater then, let me get you a sweater, it’s too cold and damp for you down here in your condition.”

Cynthia ignored her.

“Cindy,” her mother said, reaching for a thin moving arm. “My God, you’re freezing. You’re as cold as . . .”

“As what, Mother?” Cynthia asked jerking her arm from her mother’s grasp and finally turning to face her.

Cynthia’s mother stepped back. Her daughter’s face, gray and hollow-eyed, appeared carved from the very same granite that she used for her work.

“I only . . .”

“You only want to keep me alive? Well you’re too late, Mother. I died. I died an hour ago.”

“But . . . but . . .”

“Why am I still moving? Still working? Determination, Mother.

Something you taught me long ago. I made gravestones for a living. For other people. I couldn’t bear to let go until I finished. Look at it. The detail. The beauty.

“Let me go, Mother. It’s time to let me go now.”

EPITAPHS: 243 Gravestone inscriptions


Cecilia Dominic said...

Good grief, there are a lot of creepy Friday Flash stories this week! Nice twist at the end -- the animated corpse making her own tombstone.


G.P. Ching said...

I think this is one of my favorites. It's interesting how you built a compelling plot and characters almost entirely through dialogue. Nice, horrific piece!

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Consider me creeped!
Cool concept, turning into her own obsession

Garry M. Graves said...

"...I died an hour ago.” pretty good but what about "...I died in '87." Does that change the degree of creepiness? Now the old lady is as whacked as the daughter. I dunno. great story Wzl.

FogDog said...

FogDog Weight Loss
Great story... hairs on the back of my neck stood up when I got to the end.

Susan Beth Studio said...

I don't know how you guys come up with these twists - awesome and.....chilling!

Eric J. Krause said...

Very cool! Now that's determination! Great story!

ganymeder said...

Wow. At first it reminded me of stories of Michelangelo, how he'd go for days without bathing or eating because he was so caught up in his work, but you took it even farther... Michelangelo meets the supernatural.

Great job. Incredible.

Laura Eno said...

Nice and creepy. Supernatural determination. Maybe she'll be at peace once it's finished.

CJ Hodges MacFarlane said...

I wonder why she seemed so cold to her mother? heh

Hope she finds peace once she's finished.

brookelyn said...

nicely done! i enjoyed several aspects of this story... the artist that gets so enveloped by her work that she actually becomes one with it (taken a step further, with the neat turn of this story)... the mother, defined in her motherhood, desperately trying to reach out and help her daughter - had the vibe of frantic concern that she be allowed to do something, anything to help... the concern about health deteriorating due to obsession... the running theme of coldness on all levels... all nicely displayed to ponder over. great story.

Mark Kerstetter said...

Maybe her mother nagged her to death. I know if I was sculpting in the basement the last thing I would want is my mother poking her head in every five minutes.

Seriously, that was a pleasure to read and a good strong image in words - sculpted, if you will...

Weezel said...

Thanks to everyone who dropped by to read and comment. Your input is always welcome and really makes me want to continue with my writing!

Chance said...

Creepy stuff, I wonder though, who is going to lug it to the graveyard when she finishes it ?

Good stuff

V.R. Leavitt said...

Very cool!! I liked it a lot. Not at all what I had expected at the end!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Creepy, but so beautiful, I loved it! very well done! :)