Robin Hawke

The Guardian
September 5, 2011, 5:09 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags:

Her health waned. Her knobbed joints ached. Desperate to complete her work, she bent to her task. Spinning as fast as she could, she twisted fluff and fiffer together. There’s not enough.

The crone climbed upstairs to where she stored her beauties and began to pluck out their wings. She examined each beauty—washed them, fed them, applied a salve to their backs. She carried the wings outside; they required moonlight to become brittle, to shred and card. After weighting them down with opals and tourmalines, she returned to her shuttle.

Upstairs the beauties exercised their smiles and twirled their eyes. The click-and-clack of the wooden pedals lulled them back to sleep, as it had for months. They curled over their knees, the nubs on their back looking like humps on a camel.

Dawn came and the crone fell asleep. That night she finished weaving the blanket, a gift for her only sister’s only baby. Slightly ashamed, she pulled the blanket over her thin calves and bony knees, up to tuck around her shoulders. It almost took away her cares, almost protected her against thoughts, almost, but she had aged beyond its magic. She patted the light stuff, admired the warp and weft of gossamer, and dreamt of teardrops on strings.

The beauties unfurled virgin wings and left without goodbye. One stayed behind, to watch over her as insurance.

She was given four hours before the beauty called, “Wake up, it’s your last delivery.”

Note: I began to read a writing challenge, and hurried off the website to write the above, before I could be influenced by Gaiman. Upon return, I read the rules and discovered I wasn’t eligible. I’m thankful for my impulse or I might never have learned the crone’s story.


2 Comments so far
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I wrote my first zombie story based on a flash fiction contest I completely misread. The zombies were the past year. The contest was really about front-porch stories. Of course, I could have created a zombie massacre at the front porch of someone’s house…. Hmmmm. The zombies continue! 🙂

Comment by Leila

I hear their footsteps…writers misreading badly, favorite munch.

Comment by Robin Hawke

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