To Finish Is Also a Painful Thing: Fiction

To finish is also a painful thing
Hourglass Sketch: Photo Credits: Rebecca Rentz.

To start something new and not finish is a painful thing, said Mrs. Winter, her pencil poised above thick, sand-creamy paper.

No such compunctions for Mr. Winter, though, who at that very moment had given up on sawing through the log for the artist’s stool for Mrs. Winter. A ready-made stool would do just as well, and not create half as much work or dust, said Mr. Winter, his gecko hands folded in front of him. He walked through the puddles of half-finished projects he had left in his den, and sought out the fireplace to smoke a pipe. He could wait a few more days (or weeks, or months or years) to meet Mrs. Winter with her new stool.

Mrs. Winter sketched out an hourglass, then added a leak— sand trickling, grain by grain, out of the bowl above into the bowl below, and from the bowl below on to the floor. That’s my life, said, Mrs. Winter, folding her gecko hands in turn, lonely blood flowing out on the cold, waiting snow. She kept sketching, and forgot about lunch.

Mr. Winter fell into a nap by the fireside.

When it was time for dinner, Mrs. Winter got up, tried to stretch out the cricks from her back and shoulders, felt them rise into her head, become an ache. Her sketch was done, the very first draft of her painting.

Getting fitted with a gecko’s limbs was a small price to pay to live longer, to climb out of any disaster, to finish everything that had seen a start.

But just then, the ground beneath her feet shook, the pens on her table rattled, the water in her glass sloshed out, the glass rolled over and smashed on the floor.

Downstairs, the large head of a stag Mr. Winter had hunted many decades ago dropped on his head and knocked him out. He never knew what got him.

Mrs. Winter felt every blow, heard each pot and pan in the kitchen crash, absorbed the thud of something heavy, a tree or a pole, as it flattened her garage, felt the table and then the roof plummet on her, beating her to slow but conscious pulp.

To finish is also a painful thing, said Mrs. Winter, blood dripping on her hourglass sketch with its penciled black-and-white blood. She closed her eyes, and presumably joined Mr. Winter for the first time in years.


A to Z Stories of Life and Death
A to Z Stories of Life and Death

If you’re intrigued by this piece, you can find more of my work in A to Z Stories of Life and Death.

———Fiction authors, take a look at the

Rule of Three Blogfest

The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest,
The Rule of Three at Renaissance

a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza starting 5th October— with some great prizes, and of course, a lot of exposure and constructive feedback for your writing. This is one Blogfest fiction authors ought not to miss. Go ahead and sign up!

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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    • Damyanti

      Thanks for the visit and the comment, Nutschell. I let my stories lead me by the nose where they will, and this time they seem to have led me to fantasy 🙂

    • Damyanti

      The story is not about marriage, but in some ways it is.

      Thanks Stuart…and it amazes me how when a story leaves me it takes on a life of its own, and becomes a part of my readers’ ‘imaginative interpretation’…

    • Damyanti

      I explained the gecko part above, in my comment to Michael. I’m spreading out into fantasy/ scifi…I suppose I’m in search of my genre, cos can never quite fit myself into one. Sometimes I think I’m not even trying.

      Am glad you liked it 🙂

  1. K.C. Woolf

    What a wonderful winter story!

    I couldn’t help wondering: are you okay now you’ve let your A to Z book out of your hands?

    • Damyanti

      Thanks KC. Your question intrigues me.

      I guess I’ve always been ok, or never been ok depending on which way you look at it.

      On the surface, I’m pretty normal. Under it, I have all these people in my head, human and not, that make me quite ‘not ok’….the A to Z ebook has helped, but not quite 🙂

    • Damyanti

      The characters are posthuman, Michael. The modifications of their limbs increased their abilities (in ways I have yet to explore), but did not make them immortal or immune to harm.

    • Damyanti

      Elisa, thanks…you’re super-talented, much more than me. I couldn’t stop laughing at your blog, and I think it is easier to bring on the chills than genuine bely laughs.

  2. J.L. Campbell

    These two are in two way different places in terms of attitude, yet they end up in the same spot eventually. Kinda makes me think what’s the point in driving oneself to distraction.

    • Damyanti

      Yes, Joy. This story is inspired by my own tendency to drive myself to distraction…I do have some of Mrs. Winter in me. Now to find the Mr. Winter part.

  3. mish

    I love it *claps* ! You’ve done a great job … a real ‘out-of-the-box’ response to the picture prompt ! (the hourglass pic … am I right ?)

  4. 1storyeveryday

    This is at once chilling and fantastic. I absolutely love it. I’m still musing over it, and I like the idea of her putting part of herself down on paper before being spent.