May is upon us and for those of us who like to dabble in fiction, this month brings Story A Day! I did attempt this two years ago, and figured I have nothing to lose by going at it again. Plus, writing something other than what I normal work on is all around good for me anyways. 🙂
Like last time, I’m going to use word prompts, and my goal is to write at least 500 words, preferably 750 or more. Today’s prompt is brought to me by Siri, who really pulled some doozies out of the interwebbies when I asked for three random words.
Word Prompts: Day of Remembrance, Hurricane, Deadnettle.
It was the Day of Remembrance. For Lilly, it meant one thing: waiting for her mother to arrive so they could visit the riverbank where her father left. At the age of twenty, Lilly did all she could the last couple of years to keep her mother from going, keep her from telling the story. Begging, pleading, arguing, cajoling, nothing worked. Nothing ever worked, which is why Lilly sat on the front steps of her tiny cottage and waited.
Her mother arrived, top down on the bright blue convertible car, sad opera music blaring, hair blown to a tangled mess. She arrived like a hurricane, noisy and strong, and would leave the same way. Holding back a sigh and forcing a smile, Lilly picked up her pink and white polka-dotted purse, smoothed out her yellow dress and walked to the car.
“Mom, can we turn the music down?” she asked as she got into the vehicle.
“I don’t know why you don’t appreciate the arts,” said her mother, but she pressed the down arrow on the console.
“I appreciate the arts. I love the arts. I don’t love sappy soprano singing.”
“Appreciate the message, Lilly dear.”
The ride to the river took hardly any time as most people in the small village lived near the river. The two women made small talk, mostly discussing work and how Lilly had yet to find a stable love interest. Lilly didn’t care about having a stable love interest, but her mother absolutely did. It probably stemmed from Lilly’s father leaving when she was only four years old.
She didn’t really remember that day, even though she was there. She remembered him, the way he always smelled of fresh air, and how he always took her to the river to swim. Lilly could breathe under water, one of the traits inherited from her father. That and her green eyes the color of cattail leaves.
The day of his leaving, he took her to the river and they walked along the bank. She played with tiny frogs and minnows, splashed in the shallow water, and picked wildflowers. Near dusk, her father knelt in front of her, held her and told her how much he loved her and her mother, but he’d been human for too long. He changed back into his true form as a long, graceful fish, and slipped beneath the murky surface. She never saw him again, even though she and her mother came to the spot every year on the anniversary of it.
They stood at the same place with her mother telling the same story, crying the same tears. Lilly used to cry too, until she got older and really thought about how much it must have hurt her father to go, and how much he had to have missed being in his true form to do it. She didn’t begrudge him the choice anymore.
They arrived. Her mother got out of the car first, tossing her sunglasses onto the driver’s seat, and started for the riverbank. Lilly trailed behind, dreading the inevitable drama.
Her mother held out her hand. She took it and squeezed, a comforting measure done since childhood, and while Lilly hated to carry on the tradition of this day, she would always offer that gesture to her mother.
“Oh, Lilliana, I miss him,” sighed her mother.
“I know. I miss him, too.”
“I mean, how selfish was he to abandon us like that? The nerve of that man!”
When Lilly was sixteen she found the book hidden away in the basement of her mother’s house. She read the spells and incantations, and finally figured it out. While her mother started in on the yearly tirade of berating the man who broke her heart, Lilly broke away and sat down among a patch of deadnettle. Near the five minute mark of the rage, she brushed a section of pink hair from her face and glanced up at her mother.
Her mother stopped speaking, mouth agape and cheeks turning bright red. “What did you say?”
“I know what you did, mother. I found the book, and I asked grammy and gramps. They told me that you were sick of not having a husband so you conjured up a spell, caught a fish and turned it into a man. Grammy was super mad when I told her that you told me that Uncle Carlisle had been practicing with transformation spells, and he was the one who did it.”
“Is that why she stopped speaking to me for a month?”
“Fine.” Her mother crossed her arms, and stared glumly out over the river. “But he didn’t have to leave.”
“I’ll tell him you said hello.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“I tried to tell you when I was a kid that I could breathe under water.”
“I thought you made that up!”
“Nope. I see dad all the time. We go swimming together. Of course, he’s still a fish.”