Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
The twins lay entwined, shuddering beneath the sodden pail that unfurled from the peak of the seventh hill that ghosted at their back. Babes, innocent as a mothers whisper, cast into the mighty rivers silted shoulder by the paranoid dreams of a great-uncle protecting his crown.
Theirs was an icy mud, a sludge riven with the suckled chill of a water that drifted and swirled as it flowed and duly nailed its ache into these tiniest of bones.
The woman had materialized some weeks before. Falling from the sky. Rupturing through the umbrella head of a great billowing pine, it offering not the slightest of cushion as she punched unscathed to its foot.
That first night she wrapped herself in her own arms and wept. So far as she was from home and a beast it did sway in the dusk and it drank in the scent of the warm chug that sluiced and beat in her veins.
The drip of its hunting drool and the guttural haunt of its moans induced no fear as the woman she crept and snapped at its neck. And she peels from the twitch bind of still spasming muscle a wrap from the cold and warm food that oozed as she swallowed.
This the cape that rakes tassel tendrils of sinew and fat through the mud as she stops and she stoops and she draws up the two boys, eyes moribund, sunken and black.
One each to a shoulder and off to a hole in a hill.
Her eyes are swallowed, gulped down by tiny faces as they crane and turn upward and at once she is lost to their gaze.
Her instincts, those of a mother queen to a race now lost from her mind, take hold as she settles and pulls apart the crossed fur at her neck. Gently she latches trembling coo lips, connecting her body to theirs.
Fingers splay behind warming heads as she moves her hands in caress. The boys they begin to draw and a thick smooth cream it flows, chattering and screaming as it bubbles and swirls at their pouts.
Diminished husks immediately full out and color wriggles from beneath and up into a new glow that beats at their skin.
This rush, the supercharged slap of nutrient’s unknown, the streaming knowledge of ages founded upon ages it pours into the swelling suck pit of their throats.
Greedily they gorge until babies are not babies but are men instead and the woman she slumps as she drains.
The violence is swift and her eyes scream as they widen. Her boys, her beautiful boys they rage and they burn as they scratch and claw at her breast.
A throat is torn and its pulp maw spat to the ground. Two become one and the victor he smirks as he kneels.
His lips they stick and the wide of his tongue curls and he presses it flat to the sebaceous bumps of her flesh and gleefully he laps at his prize.
He knows what he is for as he steps from the cave and descends from the hill. A city to build of wondrous structure and of words and numbers and science. A city to rise above the wet, where water it drains from the streets. A city to call his own.
Today a young woman as old as the stars lays in a cave in a hill. Once mother of all and fearing of none. She now cowers, as her son does nuzzle at her chest and toys with her hair and again he settles to feast.
I find your writing style curious – in a good way! It has movement and a lifelike quality of its very own. It adapts to what it is you’re writing about. Which I know a lot of writers have the talent to do. But yours is slightly different. Like you’re the custodian rather than master of your writing. It reflects your subject matter – this one being quite creationist and a nod to Romulus & Remus means your syntax has become more grand, more reflective of the importance of the context. Does this make any sense? I’m not sure I’m explaining myself too well!
“Who cares what a man’s style is, so it is intelligible, as intelligible as his thought. Literally and really, the style is no more than the stylus, the pen he writes with; and it is not worth scraping and polishing, and gilding, unless it will write his thoughts the better for it. It is something for use, and not to look at.” – Henry David Thoreau.
Far more eloquently put than I managed, but that’s what I was trying to say!
I want to give feedback but don’t want you to take it poorly. Hari, I love your stories, but dislike your storytelling. It may flow from your mind, but maybe I am too much of a simpleton…I just cannot read this with any flow. While the verbiage is grand, every word is obscure enough, that strung together I lose the meaning and find myself rereading and failing to generate a visual image of what you are conveying. I want to love it and have the visuals pop into my mind to help enjoy the story you wrote…but alas, they don’t. Maybe they just aren’t meant for me, but I enjoy your stories enough I just wish I could enjoy the visuals more as well. It’s just too much for me to generate the imagery and keep a proper flow. I’m sorry.
I think I am not alone in struggling to find a voice or a style that portrays just what I am trying to say. I have had criticism from people I really admire as I’ve attempted to find this balance between what I have in my head and how best to put it down on paper. I also don’t think you are alone (and certainly no simpleton) in finding my writing a difficult bone to chew. At the end of the day writing is an evolution and I am attempting to trim the fat from my words while still being true to myself. I very much appreciate your comments.
One of my favourite things about 365tomorrows has been the diversity of style, of voice, and of ideas we’ve been fortunate enough to create a focal point for from around the world.
One of the beauties of Flash Fiction as a form, is that it allows you to present an entire story – conflict, protagonist, and resolution in a page of text. Not every story is for everyone, but if something doesn’t catch your fancy, there will be something entirely different in less than twenty four hours that may.
There are many authors whose work I stumble through for a chapter or two when picking them up again, William Gibson’s superfluous use of commas springs to mind, but I find sticking with them and finding a groove with an author’s own voice and style is always worth the journey.
Seems like kind of a mythic origin story. Very nice, Hari.
I was in Rome for eye treatment and my surgeon got me hooked on the city’s founding story of Romulus and Remus and their adopted wolf mother. This was my take. Thanks for your comments David.