Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jar Full of Sorrow

Flicker of Inspiration Prompt #1: Lightning or a Lightning-Bug

Write a blog post that focuses on either lightning or a lightning-bug. This post can be fiction, memory, or poem. Let these words and images carry your post to its destination.

Word Limit: 800

"Jar Full of Sorrow" 
Genre: Fiction

At seven years old, she was a murderer. The thought kept repeating in her head like a bad song. She couldn't stand herself. She couldn't believe she had been so childish, so foolish. Looking down at her tiny hands, she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders.

She stood on the wide front porch of the house she loved, a slip of a child with an unkempt pony tail, dirty clothes, and scraped knees.The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon, a new day approaching, the world spinning on in the face of her sadness and self-disgust. It was mocking her, casting its light and shadow over the life and death that surrounded her.

A tear snuck down her dirty face, exposing a trail of pale skin. She hated crying, but the overwhelming sorrow she felt was taking over. She crossed her skinny arms over her chest and hugged herself. The jar stood at her feet, its lid sitting askew atop it.

She heard the screen door open and shut behind her, its creak stretching out and breaking the silence of the summer morning. She felt the hand clamp down on her shoulder, a solemn reminder of the gravity of her deed. How could she bare to look up at him? How could she face anyone ever again?

"Livvy." His voice offered some comfort, but she refused to take it.

Her arms tightened around herself, and the tears flowed freely. At their onset, the hand pulled at her shoulder, and suddenly, she found herself in the warm embrace of her father. "You didn't mean to." He whispered, his hand clumsily rubbing her back. "It was just an accident."

An accident, yes, but a costly one. The price was down by her bare feet in the bottom of the jar, a jar that had been full of light and life only the night before, a jar that was now only full of sorrow. The memory of chasing the lightning-bugs across the yard, catching each of them in her carefully cupped hands, and dropping them into that pretty class jar, was eclipsed now by the enormous feeling of remorse.

She imagined the tiny light inside them blinking, fading, blinking, fading. Fading, fading, until it was finally gone. The sobs wracked her tiny body, and the morning sun rose higher and higher in the sky, while her father held her on that pretty white porch, with that pretty glass jar down by their feet.

She was seven years old, and this tragedy would be only her first taste of sorrow.

Author's Note: Surprisingly, I struggled with this prompt. It's surprising, because I have so many lovely childhood memories of catching lightning-bugs. I could have chosen any of them and put them into words, but somehow, that didn't seem to be quite enough of a challenge. I always associate lightning-bugs with happy feelings: perfect memories, the beginning of summer, long nights playing outside with my friends. I wanted to challenge myself and tease out some sadness and tragedy with the word lightning-bug. 

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