Storytime Bloghop: Chris Makowski
Posted by Cat-Gerlach
Usually I only host my own story for the quarterly Storytime Bloghop, but this was soooo good I just had to give it a place. It’s written by Chris Makowski, a fellow student in one of my writing classes. He doesn’t have his own website yet, so I am hosting his story for your pleasure. You’ll find his bio and the links to the other bloghop stories at the end of the post. Enjoy his story:
The Color Of …
Bent, weary, cold; the door pushed open as always, leaving me touching the lock I could never remember unlocking of late. Within, the dimness pushed back by fire – there were no more candles, and our lamp had little oil remaining, it being a miracle it stayed lit at all for as long as it had. The door sighed as I pushed it shut and stamped my boots clean enough to walk on mushroom and russet floors which had been swept clean as always. The window would let in enough light this day, even with …
“It’s nearly May, Father. And the snow is still on the ground.” I gave my wife a weak smile, for I did not know, and did not want to guess … but no, our daughter still sat silent in her chair, bundled in white quilts against the cold, as she had been since the leaves had fallen. The copper teakettle swung over the fire, merrily popping, the black iron pot hung below, warmed always and never allowed to grow cold – the only bit of happiness in our squalid little rooms. My wife would take the last of the roots, the onions and whatever else remained, and coax each morsel to give of itself – she had always been able to bring the full measure from everything she touched. Still, it had fallen from a thick stew to a thin broth, and each day, we looked to our daughter in wonder if this would be …
I turned the hourglass on the hearth. Tea, we would have. Herbal, mint perhaps, but not uncivilized. “Thank you, Mother.” I took the cup. Our daughter never had, never would. She sat there, looking out to the snow and the ice and the forest beyond, sometimes looking at the tightly closed flower sitting forlornly in it’s pot, on the sill by the window. Carefully she would shield it from her coughs when they overcame her.
Each day I looked out at the snow and each day some little thing touched – and ran away.
I could only put on a brave face and ascend again into my attic, where tools, glass, springs, gears, clocks awaited my hands and skill. When dark came, drawing down the grayness, I came down, my fingers aching from opening the shutter and checking barometer, anemometer, hygrometer and thermometer again and again but still no answers. I could give my wife but a vague platitude and a smile I did not feel as I turned the glass again: the warm cup would do wonders for my fingers.
The next day came for worse, shadows growing from the trees as the sky fell from cerulean to cobalt not much past midday. Still, she sat and watched, her eyes never straying from that one tight bulb. My wife nearly called for someone, but no, not yet, just a few more days perhaps. I dared not tell her I had but one repair left, then my work would sit, and we would go hungry.
I sat with my daughter as the sun came up, barely an ember in the sky. Winter barked and scratched at the door, the attic would be far too cold and there was nothing left there.
She took my hand, looked away from her bulb, and looked at the doorway, and smiled. What was there? A hat, a coat – threadbare – a few pegs?
Hanging there as if in answer, my keyring. I had quite forgotten it – four gold keys, from longest to littlest. Could the answer be so simple? Her skin had gone to alabaster; there was simply nothing left to lose. The pot and it’s tiny flower looked up at me, the tiny holes at the base to drain the water upon a simple saucer. Could it be? It would take a fine touch, especially in the cold, a fine touch against the cold and with shaking hand perhaps I could just …
To my attic, in the cold, in the night, in the dark, I said silent prayer and hoped and with only my lightest touch in the cold and the dark reached forth and …
I dared not move her as the sun rose – but it rose brighter, brighter than before! A shimmer of light sprang forth and through the frozen window, to sit on the edge of the pot, then a bit nearer, a bit more, a bit –
The light touched the silent bulb, lay there quiet in repose …
And the bulb opened slowly –
The petals shifted, unwove, sprang apart, a sniff of perfume filled the air. And she smiled – my daughter smiled! And the ice began to break, and fall, until the window itself stood clear, and the snow upon the ground had begun to sink and slurry and flow under the bright goldenness of a perfect awakening … her skin, her skin, from alabaster it reached to peach, rose in her cheeks, cherries on her lips. She looked up with her perfect blue eyes, and all of her was smiling.
My wife came in, her bonnet set, her smile proud, her back straightening. She cried “Molla, Molla!” My daughter looked and smiled at her name and sat up, took a long breath of that perfect bloom and stood up, the quilts falling away. A bird – or was it two? – sounded outside, the day growing brighter and brighter as we had hoped but not quite dreamed … and I took up my hourglass and remembered … Her dress, celadon now but soon viridescent, flowed about her knees down to her bare feet.
“Father,” she smiled, touched the watch in my vest and took my keys from my hand, and held up the longest. “Please don’t forget again to wind the sun.”
Chris was born in the Pacific Northwest and lived briefly in Hawaii before being reared in New England. After traveling up and down and back and forth from coast to coast, he was dragged kicking and screaming in the bonds of matrimony to the State of Texas and has been mostly residing there ever since with his wife, son, two neurotic dogs, and a possessed cat.
I loved this story and hope you liked it just as much as I did. Now, there are bound to be many more lovely stories in this hop, so you’d better go and read them:
Nightmare by Erica Damon
Pick Up Lines by Bill Bush
The Scorpius Gate by Sandra Fikes
V is for Vortex by Elizabeth McCleary
Deep Dive by Juneta Key
Bugs by Gina Fabio
Secret by J. Q. Rose
Journal of Anah by J Lenni Dorner
The Vineyard at Mar Mozambique by Karen Lynn
Stealing Space by Barbara Lund
The Day I was Clever by Katharina Gerlach
Never kid a kidder by Angela Wooldridge
About Cat-GerlachI am an author and a triple mum. I am living in Northern Germany with my family and my dog.
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