Friday, May 06, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday: The Doom of the Salt People Conclusion

We've reached the end of this particular tale.  I hope you enjoyed.  If you need to catch up, click here.  Thanks for reading and for any feedback!

     Hu took a deep drink of his wine. He wondered if perhaps the “story” was too dark for the boys, but it was important that they fear the dark. Did they understand the lesson in the tale? Kile and Ken stared at him with huge eyes. It was enough for one night, he decided. If they weren’t afraid before, surely they were by now.
     “And that’s ‘The Doom of the Salt People.’ Now go to sleep.”
     Kile immediately nodded, but Ken spoke up. “Salt people? But there were only two.”
     Hu’s face flushed, but years of patience kept him from scolding the boy. “Yes, there were only two directly, but what about the people of the capital? How do you imagine their fate?”
     Ken’s eyes narrowed. “Yes, but...” He paused, chewing his lower lip. Hu could almost hear the boy’s brain working, stripping apart the tale and weighing truth from fiction. “What did they find at the homestead when they got back? You’ve gave us no ending!” 
     For a moment Hu considered telling the rest. What they found and the journey that took the children into the Deep of the World. The meeting with the Lady. Crossing paths with the Priest. “Well”, he said, a wry smile blooming across his face, “that’s a tale for another night. Tonight our deal was one story and then sleep. Tomorrow, maybe, you’ll hear more. It’s about time you boys learned some of your history anyway.”
     Hu was surprised to hear it from Kile. He inhaled. “These aren’t just stories, Kile. They’re real. Things that actually happened, back Before.”
     The terror that rolled across the boy’s eyes was visible even in the dim light. Hu loathed himself for it, but he knew deep down that they had to know the truth if they were going to make it in the world. Ken started to complain, but Kile whispered for him to be quiet. “I’m sleepy, Ken,” Kile said, smiling weakly at Hu. 
     “That’s a good boy.”
     Hu kissed them both on the forehead and pulled the covers up to their chins. He drained the remainder of the wine and pulled his chair to the hearth. The embers were winking low now, the color of sunset and thunderheads. Hu sat and stared into the flames, letting his thoughts drift elsewhere. He sighed deeply. It was a sigh that carried the weight of too-many hard years and the despair of too-many tragedies.
     Soon he heard the soft sounds of sleep from the bed behind him. Wind beat against the shingles and windowpanes, slapping loud enough Hu wondered how the boys slept. Uneasily, he pulled the weathered, green-handled knife from his side and began whittling for want of something to do. The wind moaned through a gap in the house, sending a shudder down Hu’s back. Another sleepless night, he thought darkly, sliding the knife across the stick.
     His eyes slowly moved to the locked chest resting in the flickering shadow beside the hearth. He thought of the contents, two knives, similar to his own, and the three dull rings. He’d hoped for more time, more life for the boys, but life cares nothing for Man’s hopes. Sooner or later, he knew he’d have to give the boys their inheritance. The shingles slammed against the roof; something howled out in the wilderness, a lonesome cry; the boys inhaled-exhaled gently. Hu sighed.


Anonymous said...

Abbie mentioned last time how she could see this becoming more (longer); and you mentioned you've been thinking the same.
Are you thinking of keeping this pretty much in tact and doing a longer bit with the rest, the stories you and Hu allude to?
This is a tantalizing short story: a first of a collection?

enjoyed this Logan, thanks for sharing.


Abbie Josephsen said...

great wrap up for the flash fiction version! yeah, I totally would read this if it were a full on novel :) don't let the idea(s) die! well done Logan :) and belated congrats on your anniversary!! May you have many more blessed years ahead of you.

logankstewart said...

@L: Yes, mostly. The idea is Hu telling "stories" to his grandchildren, stories that are both folktale like, yet historical, too. Thank you very much for reading and enjoying!

@Abbie: Thank you so much! That's a very flattering thing to read, and I hope life allows more time to devote to writing.

@IASICLFAS: Uhm, yeah! Not sure about that, friend. Smells like SPAM, fried and with a little cheddar.