Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Who else can I still be?


She fed some more logs onto the fire and then sat back in her chair adjusting her shawl around her shoulders and took up her crochet again. Her mind was thinking about the Naming Day that was to be held down in the village for Grace's baby boy. Such a rare occasion these days, babies were certainly, a rich treasure to be cossetted. Grace would have no worries about growing and gathering food with such a precious bundle in her life, people from the whole area would take care to make sure she had what was necessary for its thriving, just as they had with Violet, three years ago.

Suddenly, she heard the front door slam and footsteps running along the tiled hall, then the kitchen door burst open and Josh appeared, 'They've lit the beacon on the hill Great Gran, they've lit the beacon, they've lit the beacon' he chanted circuiting the large kitchen table like a whirling dervish. 'The wooden ships are back, The wooden ships are back.' She smiled, that was good the ships had returned before the winter storms. She wondered what longed for luxuries they had found this time, what they had traded. Perhaps some lemons and oranges from Italy, it was so long since she had tasted an orange. This would be her son's last trading journey, until spring, the winter seas were too treacherous and the boats and crew to valuable to risk in those conditions, not that a storm could not whip up in summer and early autumn, but not with anything like the ferocity of a winter storm. A life spent travelling around Europe had made him ideal in these later years to lead the trading expeditions and seek out produce to barter for and to discover new small enclaves of people.

Her Grand-daughter entered removing the scarf from her head. 'I've just finished thinning the winter vegetables and I've tied up lots onions to hang in the barn.' She moved towards the fire and sat in the opposite chair, 'I'll just sit for a minute, say hello to Dad for me tomorrow, when he arrives after the unloading. I've got to get the pony ready and ride over to Orlando's tonight. I'll be staying with him for the next few days.'
'I heard that,' a voice said, and her other Grand-daughter emerged from the pantry carrying a jar of plums.
'Is he your favourite then Carrie? He is a handsome man I wish he was one of my group.'
'Give over, Fern, but I am sure we could produce a lovely child if we're lucky. Perhaps, I am tempting fate, I have Josh already, but I would so love if he could have a brother or a sister and I would so love to be the Mother at a Naming Day celebration again. Well, I better get going. Bye all.' and she stood up and re-tying the scarf went back out through the door.
'Right Josh, come on get ready for bed, it'll be a long exciting day tomorrow, we'll ride down to the harbour to watch the unloading. Come on up the stairs with your Auntie Fern.'

She was left alone with her thoughts again, warm by the fire. It had been to paraphrase Dickens 'the best of times and the worst of times'. over thirty years ago, she had thought 'Who else can I still be?' Never imaging that six years later there would be such a worldwide catastrophe that nearly all human kind had been wiped out, those left, had left the towns and the cities and sought out lonely isolated spots to try and start over again. There were houses a plenty to live in, she laughed to herself, she could never have afforded to live in this old Georgian manor house overlooking the sea. There were vast tracts of forbidden lands where no one dared to go, nuclear power stations, intact but left alone, cities and numerous dead bodies left behind when people fled unable to do anything but save themselves. Those places would be overgrown now and nature would reign supreme there. Those left led a simple live, simple but she had to admit satisfying and enjoyable. She was the matriarch of her family, with her knowledge of past times. The rules of life had totally changed they lived with the seasons, an earlier age's rustic lifestyle, except the older ones still had the knowledge of the lost technological age but not the means to use it. People did seem happier, you didn't really travel further than your next village, except for the seamen who could cross to Europe and trade with the small groups there. She was happy. she pottered in the garden, cooked and there were still books to read, the only sad thing was that children were a rarity, only four of them in their nearest village, and children were needed for the continuation of their lives. That was why there were no marriages, women of childbearing age were happy to take turns with their three men,they had chosen from those they were courted by as young girls. The lucky ones were those that managed to conceive a child.

Josh, interrupted her thoughts again.'Great Gran, tell me a story about the past, before I go to bed.'
'Well' Josh, let me tell you about a little box on which I could talk to people, I had met all around the world. It was called a laptop computer, and I used to write what you would call a diary on it, by tapping the alphabet squares on one side of the box and seeing the words come up in a frame on the other half of the box, then hitting a key and making it all fly off into cyberspace. I made such good friends, I often think about what happened to them, are there any left.' 'That's what I really miss she thought to herself.'

17 comments:

Janet said...

Wow! This had me from the beginning and I wasn't sure until the very end what time frame it was. You are GOOD!!

Beth said...

OH wow,,this does make you think,,and its been my mind alot lately. Great Story Daisy!! I will say it every sunday,,you really should be a writer for a living,,your excellent! Have a lovely sunday!
xoxox

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Wow again! History backwards. Another excellent short story Daisy!
This idea would make a great book or film.

tea
xo

Laini said...

Aaahhh! Freaky! I admit I love a good apocalypse... hahaha. (I wonder if anyone else has said those exact words today?) VERY interesting response to the prompt -- I'm always glad when scribblers try some fiction. At least, I hope it's fiction and not prophecy. Thanks for that -- well done!

Alice said...

Fantastic, Daisy. I love your stories, always trying to second-guess you before the end.

I'm sure many of us have wondered what it would be like to live in a world after such a catastrophe; just as we've sometimes wished to go back a few years when life seemed simpler and less fearful.

The sad part of it all is that in this world with all the inventions and technology to make life easier, humans are rapidly destroying themselves and the planet. I can't think of one problem in the world today that has not been created by mankind - usually by a hunger for riches and power.

paris parfait said...

Such an unexpected story - really surprising and a unique twist on the prompt. Well done!

Remiman said...

Daisy,
You truly are a master story teller. You captured me immediately and held me captivated 'til the end. Shades of Dan Brown ;-)
Golly, I am glad to have met you.
rel

Gemma said...

What a great post. I really enjoy your writing. So happy you've come aboard @ Violette's.
:-)

Pacian said...

Now that was cool.

Amber said...

What a great tak eon the prompt! It had me reading all the way. More of us should write a story for the SS! Good job.

:)

Lisa (oceandreamer) said...

once again from the moment I began I had my chin in my hands...leaning in to capture your words. you always know something is worth reading when from the first line you are hooked! well done Daisy!

Bug said...

What a great story! I am currently reading the Last Days of Dogtown, which takes place in the past (late 1800s, I think) so I immediately thought of that when I started this story. So the ending really surprised me! Great job!

PEA said...

You sure know how to keep us spellbound!! I so loved this story too and wish it could have gone on forever:-) You have a true talent for story telling, my friend, and am looking forward to other stories you have in mind!! xoxo

PG said...

Oh, it's like returning to a good book! I am so enjoying your stories. :)

GreenishLady said...

What a marvellous story. I love the personal touch of the ending - the laptop, and what I take to be the blogging community! Wonderful take on the prompt

deirdre said...

This story had me glued to it and trying to figure out what time period it was set in. Then it was obvious and I got goose bumps. Good story.

Terri /Tinker said...

I LOVE THIS!!! Oh, Daisy, you should turn this into a book! At least a novella. I want to read more about this brave new world. This makes me think of some of the guests I've heard on the Coast to Coast radio show, "predicting" about this type of scenario (let's hope they're not very good at foretelling the future! Though I love reading about it as FICTION).
Bravo!