Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Path Chosen

This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

The eldest dropped at school. The toddler safely at daycare.  Beth headed for her rendezvous.  She'd put it off as long as she could.

Her car nosed it's way down the narrow path. She'd left paved roads and street signs behind miles ago.

The car began to stutter. The track was almost non-existent now. The less defined it was, the less the vehicle cooperated.

"Well, I guess it's by foot already", she thought.

She entered a light woods and found what looked like a rabbit run. She followed it deeper, the trees around her not menacing, but welcoming.

As she continued, she could feel the opening of her heart. Hear the joy as she was recognized. Beth felt them as they felt her. Long before they were in view of each other.

Her steps began to quicken as she got closer to her goal. She hadn't realized how much she missed this place.

When she exited the woods, they were waiting. Asking where she had been. Why she had stayed away so long. Would she stay now. All in a jumble of words and pictures in her head. The only true sound was the singing of birds, the buzz of insects.

Beth sent reassurances of her love for them. They were family, yes. She had missed them, yes. She had taken a different path, she would not be staying.

She could feel the sadness and disappointment like clouds covering the sun. With sighs they began move away.  Soon there was only one.

"Father," she reached for his hand, "it's good to see you."

"Lyabet, you look tired!" he took her hand and led her to sit on a fallen tree trunk. "You need to rest. This life?  This path you've chosen? Doesn't treat you well."

"We've spoken of this before, Father. The outer world is different. Timewise and in other ways. I'm fine, and you know I won't be staying"

"I will never understand!  You choose a man who can't hear or see you as you truly are. You choose to live in silence. In muted light."

"I choose a man who cherishes me."   Beth had heard and said these words before. She had not come to argue the point again.

"I have children, Father. You have grandchildren."  She hoped to see interest at least. Maybe happiness.
What she saw and felt was arrogance.

"Blind, deaf children!  Little animals to wear you down.  You don't need that. Them. Stay here!  Where you belong." And then pleading, "Listen, feel. I know you can feel us. This place. It calls you. We call you. We hear you. They never will."

Beth stood, her anger and grief carefully controlled. She closed her mind. She allowed the feelings surrounding her to fade. She chose to be blind and deaf.

And walked away.

It was dark when she pulled into the driveway. Would they still be awake, it must be very late.

The door opened before she could reach it. Her oldest ran out and threw his arms around her. He was followed by his father, carrying the toddler. Relief showing in his eyes.

"I was afraid. Afraid you'd stay this time. You've given up so much, you've..."

"Shhhh. The little I left behind is nothing compared to what I have now," she soothed her husband, her oldest, still clinging, "Mommy, where were you?"

"I just had to make a little detour, it's alright now"

And the toddler in his fathers arms said, "Me toad dem you comin. I heerd you."


  1. I love this! I really like fantasy stories especially ones that are faerie related. Ok... I guess I'm making an assumption that she's a faerie, but that's just the image I got.

  2. Really great story. Very well written and entertaining.

  3. @Jackie, I like leaving it ambiguous. It is open to personal interpretation that way.
    And someone may say something to inspire the muse. ;)

  4. @timkeen, thank you for stopping by!

  5. This is excellent! I love that the story (and the main character) came full circle and back to their now-home. I felt a great range of emotions- loved it! :)

  6. I love the weaving of normal life and fantasy— two homes, both inviting but so different. Well done!

  7. wow - I love this. I was hooked the whole way through. Excellent dialogue between her and her father.

    Here from TRDC - LOVE reading all these link ups today!

  8. Well written! Eerie and mysterious and lovely.

  9. Very nicely written. I'd love to read more about Beth.

  10. oh so good... I too, thought faerie.

  11. @Galit Breen Thank you, this kind of just happened. I started with a different thought. Then my fingers took over.

  12. @Ilana @ mommyshorts Thanks! I wish I would have taken a little more time. More description

  13. @Life As I Know It Thank you, I was really worried about dialogue. It's the hardest part for me.

  14. @Kim Thank you, I am drawn toward this genre. I'm such a nerd.

  15. @Karen Peterson I actually only just "met" Beth myself. She's a totally new character. I'll have to think on her awhile.

  16. @Cristina I'm still toying with her "heritage". My step-daughter instantly thought Native American. I think she'll probably be some kind of "other" being though.

  17. Very interesting! Fantasy is not my thing but I like how motherhood called her back..

  18. @Cheryl Thank you! Fantasy is my thing. I kinda like it there ;)

  19. Wow, I don't think I could write fantasy, not something my mind can do, you do it well.

  20. @Jessica Thank you. I find it easier. I grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi. It's a place I go in my head for escape.

  21. I like fantasy and have read enormous amounts. Sometimes when life gets stressful I think of it as an adventure, like I have my own fellowship walking with me to Mount Doom.

    This was good.

  22. @Jack yes. Exactly. Thanks for stopping by!

  23. After reading some of the comments, I could see Faerie, but I didn't catch that at first. I was thinking meditation, linking with the dead.

    I love fantasy, but there is a separation that has to be made. Maybe if you chose a little different words in place of lines like this one: 'You choose a man who can't hear or see you as you truly are.'

    Make the distinction between just 'a man' and what she and the father are maybe? That line only made me think that he didn't like the 'kind' of man he was, not that they were not human.

    You have an ability to make someone think deeply about what is going on. Use that with a tad more description and you could nail it!

    God job!

  24. @Brandon Duncan Thank you! You're right, it is very vague, partly because I'm not sure if they are in fact færy or something else. But it does need better definition between the two worlds.
    I do like the way you took it originally, though.

  25. I don't have this talent either but I can certainly admire yours.
    Thank you for taking me out of the real world for a moment. I very much enjoyed it.

  26. @The mad woman behind the blog Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have to say I'm enjoying the writing.

  27. I am a sucker for sci-fi/fantasy. Madeline L'Engle's books were my fave growing up. I don't think I could pull off writing it though! I immediately thought of fairies or something like that when I read this. Wonderfully done.

    I waver between saying that I would have liked to see the ones she went to see described a little better and enjoying the mystery of them. I could go either way with that!

    Lovely! Thanks for something different! :)

  28. @Blue Moon Girl thank you for reading. I'm a little torn also about who they are. When I figure it out, I'll try to write some more about them.

  29. The last line, with the toddler?

    Wonderful. Just wonderful.

  30. I could see this as a novel...
    Very nice.

  31. @Keda thank you, I'll have to get to know her better first.