I admit I’ve been stalling a bit on the literary front. April was spent writing a 25,000 novella for CampNaNo (based on This Story Snippet) and after that all of my writing energies have gone into slowly crafting my autobiography (partially as therapy, but also because I feared I would begin to forget things if I did not write it down somewhere).
So, consider this my first attempt at fictional writing in quite some time.
When she looked up from her laptop the living room was shrouded in darkness, the blinds she had closed to keep out the harsh light of the slowly setting sun had ensured that she had missed not only the sunset altogether, but the growing darkness outside. Inside it was still fairly warm and a little stifling so after she had declared that she had earned a short break she stretched, saved her progress and went to open the back door to the garden outside.
The night air that quickly wrapped itself around her was cool, though not too cold, but the first thing that hit her was the near total silence, only punctuated by the cheerful splashing of the small fountain out on the deck. The road that passed by the house lay empty and forlorn, a long ribbon of orange light with its orange beacons of street lights that led off into the far distance. Even further off she could only just make out strains of music as someone, somewhere was taking advantage of the fact that they lived far enough away from other people to crank up their volume to the max.
The music seemed to melt into the night landscape that stretched out all around her with its darkened fields and forests, with the moon that hung starved and solemn in the sky and the stars that peeked out from behind the faint clouds up above. She took a walk around the garden, in the grass soaked by the night dew and saw that the money she had invested in those garden lights had truly been well spent. Charged up by the sunlight during the day, they now glowed with a peaceful, blue light, like overly large stars had settled among the bushes and the flowers that had only just come into bloom after a long and cold spring.
Soon enough she found herself settled in the little wrought iron gazebo, a silly thing left over from the previous owners that she had not had the heart to remove, though it had begun to rust near the bottom. With the placement of the garden lights all around her and the twisting vines that had almost completely encapsulated the little building she felt like she was an elven princess in some fairy tale with the lights and the vines combining to cast shadows all around her that almost seemed to move. She let her toes touch the stones that formed the floor in the gazebo, let the grass poking up in between the stones tickle her feet. Though there had been times when she had wondered if she’d made the right choice in coming here, in uprooting herself so completely and burning her bridges just to come live here, right now she felt at peace…Even happy and content.
The little fountain joined with the melody that drifted in on the night breeze and she closed her eyes to let it all sink in. Not just the sounds, but the smell of the wet grass and the flowers, the magnolia and the honeysuckle, the feel of the hard, but finely crafted metal chair she was sitting on and the rough surface under her bare feet. The wind ruffled her hair slightly and sent the wind chime above her head into melodious motion.
For what it was worth, this was home to her right now, this house among the other houses in this neighborhood, located a bit away from everything else. It did make her feel a bit isolated at times, especially since most of the other residents here were families with small children, a group of people she had very little in common with. But right now it was the isolation that created this serenity, this sense of peace. The children were tucked off into their beds, their parents asleep in front of the flickering lights of their television sets and here she was, left to enjoy the peace of her solitude. Left to enjoy the sensations that only an early summer garden in the country could offer.
She nearly started as she felt something brush against her legs and she opened her eyes to see the green reflections of her cat’s eyes. With practiced ease the cat jumped up into her lap and purred, letting out a meow as if she was asking what silly human game this was, sitting so quiet and still for so long.
She let her hand brush against the soft fur once, twice, before she gently picked the cat up and cradled her against her chest. The cat mewed in protest, but allowed herself to be carried inside.
Inside the air was not quite as stifling anymore, the night air had let itself in through the open back door and she had to stop a moment to reflect that back in the city she could not have left the back door open like this without inviting a burglar or thief or worse.
The cat quietly assumed its customary spot on the couch, right behind her head and she sat down in front of her laptop again, found her place and continued to write.
And the tapping of the keys only barely managed to keep the silence outside at bay.