Apologies for the missed entries. I meant to post Saturday, but I was kidnapped over the weekend and held in a castle with no wi-fi and no cell phone reception. Despite a lot of wine, I managed to help my allies successfully defend the castle against an onslaught of monsters, twice, and escape the desert. Of course, later I turned into a giant monster and rampaged through a city. Such is life.
This story was originally published in November 2011, and the theme was water, emotions, twilight, cleansing, and healing. I took this literally, but I think it worked out well enough.
“Lake of Memories”
Miriam pulled up in the driveway of the cottage and sighed with relief. “Finally, I can just be alone,” she thought. She looked at her cell phone. She had no reception. “And maybe no one will bother me. Of course, I had to come all the way out to the middle of nowhere to find some peace.”
The cozy cottage had one bedroom, a living room, and a full kitchen and bath. There was a balcony that overlooked the nearby river.
“It really hasn’t changed,” Miriam thought. “After all these years.”
When Miriam was a child, her mother’s mother owned the cottage and her family would stay for a couple of weeks during the summer. Her parents took the only bedroom and she and her two sisters slept in cots on the porch or in the living room. Her father’s mother died before she was born, so her mother’s mother was the only Grandma she’d ever known. When she was ten, her grandmother had died and the cottage had passed to her mother. After her mother died, it passed to her.
“How long has it been? Fifteen years? Twenty?” she thought, walking around the place. She got a cup of coffee, and watched the river while the sun set behind the house.
She awoke early in the morning with the urge to go swimming, but the river was slow, lazy, and muddy.
“I know! I can go to the swimming hole. It’s too early on a Sunday for the kids to be around,” she thought, and grabbed her swimsuit.
The swimming hole was the upstream point of a creek where an underground spring broke the surface, pooled in a natural basin, and finally flowed out to the river. The water had a lot less mud and was perceived as generally cleaner. She and her sisters had spent a lot of hours at the swimming hole with some cousins and their friends.
When she arrived, no one was there, so she slid into the cool, clear water. She swam a few lengths to warm up, then leaned up against the side and sat on a rock. Her mind drifted back to those warm summer days when her grandmother and mother were still alive. The force of the emotion combined with the surroundings caused her to cry.
“Why are you crying, my child?” asked a deep female voice.
Oddly, Miriam was not afraid. “I miss my Mom. I miss my Grandma. Everything’s turned upside down this year and I just want to talk to my Mom again.”
“Then talk to me, for I am a mother in my way,” said the voice.
Miriam started to talk. All the feelings she’d pent up since her mother died a year ago, all struggles with her job and her boyfriend came pouring out like a river bursting a dam. When her tears stopped, she felt warm instead of cold after sitting in the swimming hole so long.
A transparent figure of an old woman with Greek features was sitting next to her, hugging her shoulders. “So much grief and pain and anger, poor child.”
“I feel better now,” she sniffled. “A lot better. Thank you. I don’t know what I did to deserve your attention.”
“You needed help, so I helped. Now I must go, and you should too if you do not want to get overwhelmed by small children,” the goddess said with a smile.
“Thank you, again, so much.”
She kissed Miriam on the forehead and vanished.
Miriam got out of the water and returned to the cottage with a lighter heart.