This is day 43 of @mydivathings' #365daysofwriting. Every day @mydivathings invites you to write a short story based on the image she chooses. Today's image (below) is a Photo by Abraham Osorio on Unsplash
Find out more about the challenge (you can join anytime!) here https://steemit.com/365daysofwriting/@mydivathings/day-43-365-days-of-writing-challenge
Gabor looked out over the empty city. It was hard to believe, looking at the decaying streets, that only a few short years before it had crackled with of the energy of people as they went about their business.
He leaned on his cane, his back aching. He sighed. He was the last of the people who would remember this place as it once was.
He looked at the weed infested walkway. He remembered his father walking those stones, then cleaned and polished with the daily passage of hundreds of people.
“You see that, Gabor? Your grandfather lay that stone with his bare hands. He was a talented stone mason, and sought after too. The rich men were happy to pay good coin for his services.”
Gabor remembered his father’s smile. His pride in his family. He was glad he had not lived to see the city abandoned, his own father’s work left to decay in the wind and the sun.
He remembered the last time he saw the old woman, Ixawamuoh, ranting on the steps of the meeting place.
“The end comes soon, my friends!” she called into the crowd. “You think you are rich! You think you are powerful!” she paused to look around at the men and women in front of her. “You are not! You disrespect the rules of nature! You will be punished for it!”
Gabor remembered looking at her, her white hair unkempt and unwashed, her cane held high above her head. He remembered asking his father what she meant by her words.
“Take no notice of the mad old woman,” his father said. “She knows nothing, but has an awful lot to say about it.”
“You cut down the trees!” Ixawamuoh went on. “You are raping the earth around you for temporary gain! You think you do not need the trees! Without them the rain will not fall! You think you are so strong! You think you will live forever! But what is built can be torn down! The Mother will have revenge for what you have done to her child!”
People began to laugh and jeer at the old woman. A stone whistled over Gabor’s head and landed at Ixawamuoh’s feet.
“You can try to silence me with your mockery and your stones,” she said, her voice trembling - Gabor thought not through fear, but through another emotion he could not name. Another stone flew over his head and struck the old woman in her chest. She staggered but remained upright. “You can not mock the power of the Mother! You can not tear down her forests, take her land from her, without her voice being heard!”
Gabor remembered his father taking him in his arms before the rain of stone knocked the woman down. But he remembered seeing, over his father’s shoulder the old woman die, and the laughter of the men who surrounded her.
There was no laughter in these streets, now.
Nor tears for that matter.
When the rains stopped falling, there were people who remembered Ixawamuoh and her warnings. At first they were taunted and laughed at, but as the drought continued and the people faced starvation, more people left to return to the simpler life of their ancestors, far from the crumbling city, saying as they left, “Ixawamuoh was right.”
Gabor turned his back on the city his family had helped build. He hoped lessons would be learned from the failures of his people.
But he was old enough to know that men are stupid, shortsighted and greedy. And cursed to repeat the mistakes of those who went before them.
Current Serialised Ghost Story: “Haunted”
A family move into a big old house. The house has history. The family have history. Spooky stuff happens.
Part one https://firstname.lastname@example.org/haunted-part-one-an-original-work-of-fiction-for-the-365daysofwriting-challenge
Very short stories (stories told in exactly 50 words)
Miniature Tigers don’t belong in cages. You have been warned.
“The Lion’s Share”.
It is NOT his party, so why is the lion crying?
“Another Crime Involving Rhyme”
Someone is killing words. Inspector Poet is on the case
“When Rhyme Is A Crime”
Theft, murder, bad rhymes...
Some more of my short stories
Some more of my short stories
Some people are meant to be together
Some people only have their memories for company…
Don’t read this if you have mother issues.
Some big news for me! One of my steemit stories (Reunion - told in 8 parts last month) has been selected to appear in the Isle of Write Anthology (see this post https://steemit.com/writing/@isleofwrite/isle-of-write-curation-to-publication-update). I am so excited to be a part of this. Please pay them a visit and check out the other stories that have been selected too. You too can be curated: so read the post and find out how!