Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Packing Up

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

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Packing Up

Taking a deep breath, Emily eased opened the door, and stepped into the room; a room she had kept closed for several months now. She wasn't ready before, she knew that now. Unprepared then, and more than a little naïve, she was left shaking in terror when grim memories had flashed and swirled in anger, chased her out into the hallway. The door slammed on its own, shut her out.

She was ready this time.

Emily set down the case she carried and gazed around the room. All of her father’s possessions were wrapped and packed, each cardboard box meticulously labelled with its contents. Shirts and pants were arranged in neat piles on the bed, awaiting their fate. After his funeral, she began packing his possessions, determined to throw everything away. She was convinced it was these mementos that kept him alive. Indeed, his spirit lived on, for even though he was buried in Westview Cemetery, she still felt his presence. She heard his voice, thick with scotch, smelled the stench of his breath as he fumbled with her shirt buttons, felt the weight of him on her as he grunted and thrust.

Even now, she felt warning prickles on the back of her neck, heard her father’s whispered threat. She pushed them aside, determined not to fail this time. The hold he had on her would be broken this time. She willed it, and so it would be.

Emily knelt and opened the worn case once owned by her grandmother. She chose a few items, tucked them in her pocket for later use, then selected four coloured candles. Her fingers skimmed over the symbols she had etched into the wax. She walked clockwise around the room, setting down a candle for each element, chanted the words she had written; spoke in the ancient language passed on from her grandmother, to her mother, and now to her. A language that ran through her blood.

Casting her circle, she requested the presence of the guardians, asked for their protection. As she called the last element, a chill spread through the room, wafted around the perimeter of her circle. The candles flickered in warning, though she couldn’t be sure if they warned her or her father.

Emily could feel his presence, knew he prowled the room. His will battled against her, fought her ceremony. Grounding herself, she raised her arms, palms up, and chanted the ritual. Her voice shook and she could hear him laugh, as though he knew he’d won.

She reached inside and pushed out power handed down from her ancestors. Her voice grew stronger and louder. The chilled air moved, whipped her hair around her face. Keepsakes flew out of the boxes and revolved around her, whirled about in a kaleidoscope of colours. Watches, cuff links, picture frames, spun faster and faster, whirled around her like a tornado. The clamour of the wind and constant clinking of items bouncing into one another, was deafening and Emily had to shout to hear herself above the din. As she cried out the final words, the wind stopped, leaving the items suspended in air for a fraction of a second. Then, everything dropped with a thunderous crash, landing around her in a neat three-foot ring.

Knowing she didn't have much time, Emily gathered the items circled around her, threw them haphazardly into a cardboard box. She flew down the stairs and out the patio door, never ceasing her fevered chanting. She dumped the contents of the cardboard box into the metal drum in the back yard; the drum he used to burn her favourite possessions when he wanted to punish her. Now she would punish him.

She took a black votive from her pocket, lit the wick and placed it on top of the stack of mementos. The flames took immediately, licked at the clothing, melted the photographs, consumed everything.

As the fire blazed higher, she pulled from her pocket the effigy she had made; a small poppet constructed from one of his shirts. Though a crude face was penned on the fabric, there was no mistaking the moustache and goatee. It was him.

She squeezed the cloth face in a firm grip, murmured a final spell, then wrenched the head from its body in one violent yank. The sound of shredding fabric was audible above the crackling of the inferno. As she dropped the decapitated doll into the bin, tossed in the head after it, the flames shot upward eight feet. A wall of heat shoved her back, as though enormous hands pressed against her, tried to stop her.

She heard wailing, a keening moan that grew louder and louder. Then she heard, as though his mouth was next to her ear, that familiar raspy voice.

"This is not over."

It was clear to her at that moment that he was scared, knew that she was stronger than him, knew that she could banish him. Would banish him.

She pulled a crystal from her pocket, gripped it in her hand as she ran a final spell through her head, then tossed it into the fire.

"Yes it is,” she said. “It's over for you."

Green and white sparks climbed through the night, drifted up to the stars, dragging her father's soul with them. Emily smiled as his angry voice faded away.


septembermom said...

This is wonderfully written. I love your attention to detail and selective word choice. You found just the right words to convey so much in this story. I got caught up in Emily's intensity as I read.

Congrats on your PP&P win! Very well done. Thank you for your kind comments about my poetry. I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future:)

Dan Felstead said...

I will echo the congrats on PPP! Also your writing here is great also. Your short writings are like short stories all unto their own. Have you ever thought about consolidating into a novella or developing them into a novel?


glnroz said...

Very vivid. Fear of reading my name somewhere in the chant crept over me..:).. very nice.