Three on Point,
Edmund H. Osthaus (1858-1928)
Their names are Scott from Oregon, Whirlochre and mine. Writtenwyrdd held a contest t'other week to celebrate two years of blogging. A copy of her "Calfornia Poppies" original provided irrestible inducement. I have coveted that print ~beams~. It will warm the walls of my office this winter.
Written wanted a world-building "scenic opening" with characters and action.
Here's my lucky entry:
She passed through the barricade of trees, bare as old bones, flensed and frozen under the low, clouded cover of the sky bowl that enclosed the day. Brittle grass rasped against her leather leggings like blades on a grindstone and spoke their resentment at her passing in harsh whispers.
Even so, she liked walking here among the mysteries on this cold, still day at the turning of the year, when the crystal-bound earth crunched under her boots like broken teeth, when the feeble light bled all colour to sepia and gray, when the shape of things was not camouflaged by leaves or colour or movement.
The land gave up its secrets at times like these.
She eye-traced the foundation lines of old habitations, the dim, faded rectangles of hearth and wall and portal melted into the dun earth.
Too insignificant for crabbed footnotes in miniscule, the brass-bound chronicles of the Bitter Times ignored the place.
Memory rites at evening in the low-timbered hall spoke only of plague and famine, vague and long ago. A burning, the elders said, to stop the contagion. A hamlet gone like a sparrow glimpsed in firelight.
She move past the ripple of indentations to the hollow, the pit.
None of the tales explained it.
Rotted like a willow from the heart out, a giant oak sprawled like a dead sentry down the bank to the river below. Black water flowed free and sullen around the branches of its crown.
She almost stepped on it.
Ejected, spit out when the great trunk shattered and fell, it lay there like an egg, a dark oval, its surface ridged and wrinkled like a sear leaf, like a brain.
She knew what it was.
She knew these things, though she never knew how.
A soul stone.
Not a thunderstone -- but agate-hearted just the same.
She stared down at it a long time.
She knew now what lay beneath the centuries' accumulation, under the overburden of the pit.
She knew why.
However, this short piece has at least two obvious, face-slapping, technical faults that can't be excused by the brevity of it. Do you recognize them?