At the edge of the village, there stood a solitary hut. It was a long way from all the others, and instead of facing the lush riverlands it looked out over the vast, empty plains. The villagers would sometimes catch it in the corner of their eyes – never looking at it directly – and shake their heads.
“Should have left the child to the sky,” they would say, tutting their disapproval. “Far kinder. One who can tell no stories is surely cursed.”
The woman who lived there heard them, and so did her child. “Pay them no attention,” she told her little one. “So what if you can’t tell stories? When you grow up, people will tell stories about you.”
For fifteen years she had lived there with her silent child, scraping a living from the poor ground at the edges of the village, from scraps that people had thrown away. The hut itself was built from bits and pieces, old boxes and rubbish that she had built up around the little tent that had been their first home.
Then one day, the villagers saw movement by the hut. The tin cans that made up the little chimney went flying, knocked down with a stick. The glass bottles that let light in were smashed. The boxes and the rubbish, all carefully built together, were knocked down in a few minutes.
The child came forward then; a tall girl for her age, with the fragile body of her mother carried in her arms. In silence she walked up to them, and placed her mother’s body on the ground at their feet. She took a flower from her hair and placed it gently in her mother’s hands, and crossed those hands over her mother’s breast.
The Holy Mother of the village looked at the mother’s corpse, then at the silent girl, and nodded.
They bore her mother’s body away to bury it, and the silent girl set out across the plains to begin her story.
© Kari Fay
(Author’s Note: It was a long week; I skipped writing on Wednesday because I was too tired after working overtime, and when Friday came around I stared blankly at the screen and couldn’t think of anything. So, it’s Saturday morning and I finally have something. The Internet tells me that it’s still Friday in Honolulu, though, so I’m still counting it as a #fridayflash!)