According to my Blogfest List, today is the Rainy Day Blogfest hosted by Christine H.
Rules are simple: Write a scene involving rain in about 500 words, and post it. Link your blog to that of Christine H., and then go on a merry round of reading the posted entries, and commenting on them!
Here’s my entry, written quite some time back, and though rain comes absolutely in the end, I hope it connects with the character, and with you.
Martha has no idea when the light blue sky turned a threatening, sombre grey-black.
“It is as if someone has gone and smeared a lot of chimney-soot on its face,” she says to no one in particular”, her hand automatically reaching up to touch her own face, mouth.
Laying there on the grass with the sooty sky bearing down on her, she thinks of her husband Robert’s arms as he had held her last summer in this very meadow, how they’d made love, laughed, fed each other from the small basket she’d brought along, the mingling smells of a thousand honeysuckles around them.
A movement catches her eye. A foal at the water’s edge, drinking from the small brook all by itself. She wonders where its mother is. She decides it is probably time she returned home, to the empty house Robert has left her in to follow that harlot he’d met at the fair. The doctor’s daughter, fair-haired, light-skinned, tall, and slim; everything Martha is not.
Martha has become Poor Martha, Poor dear Martha. Martha, the wronged, abandoned wife. Every eye in the village has touched her with silent but heavy sympathy as she’s trudged her fat belly on swollen legs to and from the market, to fetch milk, to order new clothes when the old ones did not fit any more.
“Anything, dear God, but pity. Anything, but another Poor dear,” says Martha, her jaw clenched, “I have put a stop to all that today.”
She gets up, brushes off the grass from her dress. As she walks over to the brook, the foal skitters away, neighing.
She takes one last look at the bundle under the stone. A big, fat raindrop, the first all summer, falls on her arm just then but she takes no notice.
“ They will find it soon enough,” she says to herself, as she looks at the cloth flowing out from under the smooth stone she’s chosen. “Mrs. Brown will recognize the mittens and the cap for Martha’s poor baby. Mrs. Kilshaw would see the old baby quilt she had handed down for the poor fatherless child. What a waste, really.” Martha quirks up her nose. Is there a smell already?
“But the proud father is returning today and the house would be empty no more, “ she continues talking to herself as she starts walking, “He will ask for his son, I’m sure, before he says sorry. Better walk down to the village then, it is almost time he is here. I can always send someone back to fetch his darling blue-white son from the brook.”
The storm gathers and begins to blow in earnest, the rain soaking Martha so she looks as if she had never been dry. On her hair and clothes and skin the rain flows in rivulets, making it seem like she is crying from all parts of her body except her eyes. She hums under her breath, and walks like a woman on a stroll in the meadows, taking in the smells of the departing summer.
Um, I found this well-written but distastefully creepy. Having nearly lost my only child before he was born, the thought of someone committing infanticide is… unthinkable.
Touching scene, poignantly described! I especially liked "On her hair and clothes and skin the rain flows in rivulets, making it seem like she is crying from all parts of her body except her eyes". Great job!
Now that was powerful, written with venom not ink.
Even though you wrote this in present tense, I feel as though when I read it, it was in past tense. Have you thought about switching the tenses? And perhaps interspersing this rain scene with the scene of Martha facing her husband? That would really up the tension.
All that said, I'm only thinking of these edits because your story truly captured my imagination. Well done!
"Every eye in the village has touched her with silent but heavy sympathy…"
Very descriptive and moving.
"I can always send someone back to fetch his darling blue-white son from the brook.”
Holy crap. This is chilling.
Very well done.
I'm not to sure about the 'chimney-soot' line – it didn't quite flow for me.
But all the others did. I could see the couple in the meadow, the foal at the water's edge, the water running over Martha's skin.
Wow, good mystery buildup. And her extreme anger. I'm shocked by the twist.
This is one evil woman.
I was swept away by the line "crying from all parts of her body except her eyes". Gorgeous.
Amazing how the weather supplied the mood when the woman herself was sort of emotionless about her actions. That's why the rain made it seem like all the parts of her were crying even though her eyes were not. Wow. This was a well written piece.
Okay, so I had to read it twice, to make sure I was getting it. The soot in the beginning is dried blood on the baby? So she had the child and then killed it? And becuz she was scorned? She is a sick, twisted woman. You show that very well. She doesn't call the child he or my son – it's his son or it. And then after she puts the child in the brook, under a rock . . . She hums under her breath, and walks like a woman on a stroll in the meadows, taking in the smells of the departing summer.
It certainly didn't fill me with happiness and sunshine, but the writing was well done. =D
Sick and twisted and written well. I loved it. You got inside the head of mother who would kill her child as revenge. I have met such women. Great job.
Okay, I liked this. Actually I got stunned and had to read more. Questions pinged my thoughts that I would've kept reading to find the answers to. The rain at the end symbolized for me the impending storm caused by her actions. And then she hums and her eyes are dried letting the reader know that she has no remorse for the death of this child. Chilling.
I really like this and want to know where it's going 😀 There were a few spots where it seems a tad rough 🙁 Towards the end "like a woman a stroll," makes the sentence feel a little unnecessarily wordy (yeah,I know, I'm one to talk :P)…I think it'd be smoother if she continued in a stroll…or something to that effect 😀 You did a good job letting us know that the front she's putting on clashes with what's happening internally. Also, the 2nd paragraph is a single sentence. I feel that while you are going for a stream of consciousness feel here, I may have glanced over something important. I think if it were two sentences, you would have little that needed changing, but as a reader I'd be more confident in my ability to process the information you want me to carry forward. I think following that paragraph with "She has gone back in time," is not needed. We saw her slip into memories. A movement catches her eye, and I-the-reader am with Martha-the-character in her present.
My favorite bit: "She takes one last look at the bundle under the stone. A big, fat raindrop, the first all summer, falls on her arm just then but she takes no notice." I feel that the imagery, significance to character and advancement of the story (through Martha's internal struggles) are emphasized well here.
Chilling! Makes me wonder just how…mad…Martha is. Did she kill the child, or was it still-born?
Great scene you've written there, intriguing and subtly frightening.
A powerful piece, troubling and poignant. However, I'm not sure it was served by the use of present tense (I'm not sure any story is, but that's just me). Otherwise, excellent stuff.
She killed a kid? Not sure I read that right.
It's a bit shocking. I try not to kill kids, if I can help it, or if I do, I have good reason (i.e. it's not just for shock value, it is a core integral part of the story that if removed, would alter the story irreparably.)
I submitted a short story several times for rejection, all because I killed some puppies in the opening paragraphs. They came back to life, of course — I love puppies! — but the shock value of killing young and innocent things is not to be taken lightly. It'll get you rejected.
Did I read it right?
Otherwise, I liked the story and the writing, and the sudden turn of weather and mood were done well.
Your phrase "as if Martha had never been dry" struck a chord with me. Living through the wading, carrying, and struggling through the flood waters of Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike — I know that feeling exactly.
You did a great job, Roland
I'm under the impression something has or will happen to the kid…very vivid details. I was really sunk in by the end. it was a bit rough to get into right at the start. Here's my favorite line: "Every eye in the village has touched her with silent but heavy sympathy" I really loved the way you showed that.
Ooh, this is rather chilling in more ways than one. I like how you drop in hints of what's going on so subtly, and how you show Martha emotionally disengaging.
i love this sentence: "It is as if someone has gone and smeared a lot of chimney-soot on its face,” she says to no one in particular”,
i've never read 3rd person present tense before, but you wrote it well.
whoa! shocking, yet written with such a sensitive hand…
Really a touching story.. I wonder what happened to the kid..and to Martha.. !
I generally don't read much of present tense, but this one was good.. I could almost feel how disconnected Martha is from what is happening around her !
Beautiful piece…Very literary sounding. (Which I adore!)
Thanks for dropping by my blog. I do hope that you do something kind for yourself this week…
Damyanti: A very poignant story. For me, your writing absolutely shines from paragraphs 5 – 10. These paragraphs are well written, vibrant and fluid. The other paragraphs feel a little lost in their fluidity, disjointed, even.
Hope you don't mind the honesty, but what is the point of an exercise like this if we are all going to tell one another how wonderful we are. I want people to be brutually honest with me also, how else will I grow?
It is clear you have talent and I enjoyed reading your work. I will not be posting my entry for another four hours as it is still the 24th here in Canada.