Friday, January 20, 2012

#fridayflash "His Father's Funeral"


His Father’s Funeral

His father’s body lay upon the stacks of wood. Each step the death priests took made his shoulders droop. A drum pounded out a steady beat.

Step, droop, beat.

He reached over, his small hand trying to take his mother’s beside him.

She smacked his hand away. The sting just tingled. It couldn’t compete with the ache in his ten-year-old heart.

“Mother?” His voice lifted the question, but cold eyes—not a teardrop sparkled within them—focused upon him.

The death priests lifted the torches to the firebowl.

“Phoebus, your father died because he was weak. His daimon rejected him.” Her voice had hushed to a sharp whisper. He glanced around, but no one heard her words except for him.

Step, droop, beat.

The fiery torches went from the firebowl to the pyre. His eyes filled with tears, and they trickled down his face and dripped upon his boots.

“Now stand up straight, don’t snivel for the dead.”

With eyes closed and tears still dampening his cheeks, he straightened his shoulders.

It did nothing for the pain. The loss. His breath held in his chest until he thought he would burst under the pressure, or pass out.

When he opened his eyes, smoke obscured his father’s body, and he could almost pretend he wasn’t dead and gone.

Almost.

Step, droop, beat.



10 comments:

FARfetched said...

What a hard folk they are! Can't even allow a child to mourn his father? I really got into this, to the point where I could loathe the customs and feel sorry for the boy.

John Wiswell said...

I'm still not sure what the "beat" in the repeated line indicates. It can't be a dramatic pause, can it?

Cherie Reich said...

Ah, the "beat" comes from the line "A drum pounded a steady beat." So it's a beat on the drum he's hearing. Sorry it was unclear.

Christine Rains said...

Oh, poor boy. The mama in me wants to hug him. Nicely written. Great emotion.

farawayeyes said...

Very nice. You are so good at this. I'm struggling with a 1000 short story and you convey so much in so few words.

Craig Smith said...

Poor boy, but I wonder if his mother is being strong for him and will fall to pieces in private?

Nicely written. I could feel his emotions.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I really liked the repeated line of the drum.

tfwalsh said...

What I really liked in this short piece was the emotional side... most enjoyable.

Sarah Pearson said...

So sad. I don't care what the customs are, what the world is, little boys still cry for their fathers. Excellent stuff, Cherie.

Anna Tan said...

Poor Phoebus.
I hope his mother cries with him in private.