the keeper of words (1)

Kathy gave me the idea. Sitting in her office on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, she made a comment that stuck in my head. It was while we were talking about 'net speak and texting, and how the art of writing is being affected by this all. She said (and I'm paraphrasing from memory), "I always imagine I'll be the only one left who can write and people will come to me to write their letters."

I've been writing a lot more recently than in the past few years; I've been writing fiction since I was 13. Inspired by Joan Devin and her writing of short snippets, I decided to share a story. It's been my history that I'm most productive when writing for someone, and maybe posting on my blog will keep me going.

Here's the first part. I have no idea where this story will go, nor how long it will be.

        She lived in a small white house near the end of the old Windprancer Lane; her house was the only one that used the old name, and whenever someone referred to her, they simply called her Windprancer. It was her temperament that fascinated them, her preclusion to dance in her yard under the bright stars above, her blatant refusal to wear her hair up in the Required Way. She read the Old Letters, and often sat outside on her front porch, a book held expertly in one hand, slender fingers balanced along the spine in utter defiance of the Laws. Some said she grew trees around her home as thick as a woodland forest to make up for all those slaughtered to create her books, but many didn't care. She represented all the High Courts had worked so hard to fix, and yet, she continued to exist.
    The reason was simple, and for many, it was worth overlooking her and the tiny wooden house filled with books and an old gas stove. The old car sitting in the driveway, rendered obsolete by the Electronic Revolution thirteen years before. 
    She could write the Old Letters.
    And that, even in such an age, was akin to magic.

    Sasheela clutched a woven bag close to her chest, small pale fingers tight around each side, the interwoven strands of buckwheat biting into young flesh. Even with such excitement in her chest, she moved slowly, each step calculated and measured, the heels of her polished MaryJanes clicking on the old asphalt pavement the gravel road gave way to this far down the street. Such material wasn't seen much anymore, the roads now created by the Earth, pounded by use.Sasheela could remember driving to her grandparents' house when she was very young, and how the flat roads she was used to near the city gave way to a winding lane full of green weeds.
    "The Earth is reclaiming this road," her mother had said. "When people no longer need a path, they thank the Earth and let Her heal the wounds."
    This alarmed Sasheela -- were these roads hurting Mother Gaia? Why, then, were they still using cars, still treading the same paths over and over again?
    "Because," her mother answered, "we are sisters. And don't you hurt your sister in play sometimes? Or sadden her with tasks? It is the same."
    Walking on the asphalt, she could finally understand why the roads were no longer built this way. How was Mother to heal wounds that could never close? Here and there, a green plant broke through the old road, but nothing more.Sasheela liked how her shoes sounded on the hard pavement -- she had never heard such a sound! And for a moment, she danced and jumped and played on the road, experimenting with different sounds, creating a song, a beat, giggling into the open air, until her foot came down on a small shoot. She screamed and bent forward, taking the small plant in her hands.
    "I'm so sorry!" she sobbed. "Please forgive me!" Perhaps this was a sign that she should turn back and not bother with the odd woman at the end of the road. Maybe Mother Gaia saw the contents of her bag as bad and would punish her for even carrying them. 
    She stood and turned her back on the house.
    No! She'd come so far!
    Gathering her inner strength, Sasheela held the bag tighter in her hands and continued on her way.


    On the door was an old metal knocker of a bird, the knocker part a flapping wing. She ran her fingers over the old, worm metal, traced the tail feathers, then gripped the large, beautiful wing in her tiny hand and hit it against the bird's breast. It rang around her, on the porch, into the open air. One. Two. Three. Four. When the door swung open,Sasheela was gripped tightly by fear and she held her breath. 
    But there was no reason to be afraid. Windprancer was beautiful and her eyes kind. She was much younger than Sasheela expected, perhaps the age of her oldest sister, with pale skin Sasheela had only seen in books. For all the people of the city said about her, they never mentioned she was Foreign. She smiled, wide and cheerfully, and slowly took her in.
    "You want me to write a letter," Sasheela told her.
    "To whom?" Windprancer asked.
    "To God."