Firstly, a belated thank you to all of you who serve in the military and gratitude to those who have passed on in service to our country.
In the spirit of Memorial Day, I’ve recently been giving a lot of thought to memory.
I don’t want to go too much into detail and give the plot of my current fantasy project away just yet, but I’ll tell you that memory plays a big part in the manuscript. I did some flash fiction exercises to help me flesh out the characters yesterday. From time to time, I like sharing these little exercises with you or give you a little peak into my brain as I develop these characters.
Here are the 100(ish) word pieces describing cherished memories or things they’d like to remember.
(I’m not quite ready to give up many character names yet, so you’re kind of flying blind here. Sorry about that.)
My little sister is not the same since she escaped the jungle. I remember her laugh most of all. When she laughed it seemed like it bubbled up from her toes like water, free and smooth and full of energy. When she was a baby my Papa used to shake his medicine stick at her and she’d gurgle for what seemed like hours. The rest of us would always end up laughing with her. As she grew older she still found joy in the smallest of things, like hummingbirds or juicy green apples or teasing me about getting married one day. I miss that.
I wish I could remember the day I was born. I’d love to see the look on my mother’s face when she tied my quipus around my chubby little baby wrist. I can imagine the love that went into tying each knot, identifying every trait I was born with, wishing on each my birth stars. I can only imagine her humming lullabies to me, showing me off to my brothers. She’d never believed they’d grow to hate me or that my own father would think I’m a disappointment. Nope, she believed in me from the minute she saw my sweet little face. I feel it when I look at the stars.
Logically, I should say I would like to remember the day I first got my power. It was an important day in my life and I should pay it the honor it deserves. But if I put logic aside, I think I’d choose the day Chip and I abandoned our lessons to go swimming in the waterfall a few years ago. We spent hours splashing and swimming and just being free from restrictions before Chip got stung by the sunset fish. I had to carry him most of the way back, but I didn’t mind. That’s what friends do.
Carina and I used to race the king’s horses for fun. Of course, I’d usually win, but this time I had big plans to let her win. She’d be so happy she’d have no choice but to fall into my arms in gratitude. That was the plan anyway. But a sudden summer storm came out of nowhere and spooked our horses. We ended up riding out of control until the horses almost collapsed outside an abandoned barn. We had no choice but to go inside and wait the storm out. Hm. I never did thank those horses.
Once Dorado and I were out riding the king’s horses and got stranded in a storm. I’d actually kept an eye on the clouds rolling in for hours and I knew we’d get stuck in it. As usual, I had an eye on the back of Dorado’s horse too because I always let him win our races. Plus, don’t tell him this, but he looks hot on the back of a horse. By the time we found the barn, we were both dripping wet and laughing about it. That was the first time he kissed me.
When my eldest son Phoenix, came back to the palace with the first skull, I knew my reign would be triumphant. The Star Gazer had foretold of power and riches, but I didn’t dream they would come in such a strange form. I felt it as soon as he lay it down on my lap. The power was strong and my pride in Phoenix even stronger. He was born under just the right sign for an heir- brave, competitive, proud. I knew he’d bring me greatness and he did on that day.
I used to have many memories in my head. Not only mine, but the memories of our people too. They’re all gone now. There’s no memories to tell, nothing left to share. There’s only one thought rattling inside my mind now—the jungle. Shadows and nightmares, screams and demons. Nothing makes sense except for the pain. It reminds me of what I’ve done, of what I’ve become. The pain is my friend and it calls to me when I try to speak. It tells me to be still. It waits for me to sleep then comes out to play.