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Author's Note:
I really need some imput on this. I'm thinking about entering it for the literary awards here at my college. If I win, I get $100 and to read it at the Writer's Conference in front of all the people attending and the guest authors. So, please be somewhat critical and tell me...does the end work? Thanks for any help in advance!

Alexandrea walks along the bank of a small creek. Weeds and grasses fall underneath her feet and she ventures deeper and deeper into the underbrush. The robins and sparrows are singing shivering chords in the deep green branches of the cottonwoods trees that stand at attention, saluting the clouds. Alexandrea breaths in the dry mountain air and holds it in her lungs like thick cigarette smoke. She exhales and feels her insides relax. The tears come into her eyes suddenly like the violent attacks of rain in the wet season of the Kalahari desert. The salt pours from her eyes, lingers like a lover on her cheek, and then falls onto the thirsty earth. She continues onward to a spot she saw once in a dream. In her memory she has a vision of a place where the shade is thick and hungry. The cottonwood and aspen branches hang low and the grass grows high. There inside a small clearing, hardly high enough for a raven to crawl into, is where she was headed. Alexandrea quickens her footsteps, she wants to make it to the burial spot before it's too late.

A few yards later, she takes a turn around a thick clump of bushes and then stumbles down a shallow hill of dirt. The air looks like rust as it fills with dirt flying up from her stumble, and she coughs to clear her agitated lungs. Up ahead, she can see the spot just beyond a single ray of light coming down through the trees. Her eyes water again and her heart fills with determination.

"We're here. The time is right and the place pure. It is time to let each other go."

In her hand, Alexandrea holds a bunched up piece of smooth purple silk. It's shimmering dully in the dim light like the universe where no stars shine. She feels the body inside, it's cold and stiff with death. She's walking slower now out of fear and regret. She knows that it is time but she'd rather not face the fact and she stops to turn away from the patch she knows she is destined to reach. The purple package shifts slightly and Alexandrea breaths in deeply. Her friend is impatient.

The girl's black, elegant hair falls down to the ground before the burial spot where she kneels. Her fingers unfurl and gently lay the bundle on the soft dirt. Her hands paw at that spot where only the smallest animals venture and she begins to pull up chunks of dirt. The burial has begun and Alexandrea lapses into ritual. Soon the sun has sunk low in the sky and her hands are caked thick with moist dirt. The hole she opened up is about six inches deep and five inches wide. A sigh escapes her lips.

"Goodbye my friend. I will miss you. You were my best friend."

Alexandrea sets the tiny bundle in the ground and covers it with earth to send her friend back to where it came. All the days of watching it grow and thrive were coming back into her mind to throw a party of heartbreak. The guilt of its death weighted her down like two tons of lead. Angry, remorseful tears made a encore appearance and brushed over her flushed cheeks. Her body sinks down onto the patch of grass near the burial place and suddenly her eyes are closing. She can't get up with the pressure of her clothes holding her to the earth. One last time she sucks in the dry mountain air, holds it, and then releases the air with her empty spirit. They escape together into the depths of the deep green cottonwoods where they become the music of the sparrows...

"God grant me distraction."

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The following comments are for "A Monumental Loss"
by Darkshine Raven

is that standard?
500 words? I would agree with your definition of flash but the guidelines that have been given to me (and that I often run across) are between 500-2,000 words. I'm sure I could tighen this up and chop it down to 500 but I might lose something alone the way.

You're totally right about the contridictions, I actually noticed that on a re-read and wondered if anyone would mention it.

I'm stuck now however...when I re-write this, what will make it more powerful. I'll post any future re-writes under this same name in my blog.

Thanks for the critical viewpoint Penelope, I can always trust you to help me out. =D

( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: December 6, 2003 )

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