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Flora, Bound -- FWG Flash Fiction for 3/27/2021

Well, this was serendipitous. The prompt below of the woman against a field of stars is uncannily like the inspiration of my next novel, The Ghost of Mackey House, which I am preparing for publication as I write this. Some pictures of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowering plants, which inspired and figures prominently in the novel, follow this story. The resemblance and the timing of this prompt are amazing, and perhaps a favorable omen.

Anyway, here is the prompt:

And here is the story, a fitting prologue to the book.

Flora, Bound

Time. Space. Infinite. Unbounded. I exist in this interstice between the “real” world—the world of light and life—and a netherworld—a realm I can only glimpse but not touch. Though darker than black, as if light itself is folded in upon itself, the underworld I see burns with a raging fire. There cannot be light and life without darkness and death, and the fear and sorrow they make seeps, like water through sand, from the world of the living into the Nothingness. There the denizens of the dark feed on the pain and loathing and vomit them back tenfold.

I lend some of that heat back to the world of people when the winter wind-blown snow flies, or the green shoots of spring need protection from the last frost. I give that heat freely when someone touches my stone body, the statue that binds me between realms. Their expectations of cold, hard granite are subverted by my sensuous warmth, and they imagine my flesh yields as if I am their lover.

I long for those moments of pleasure, of contact with the world I used to inhabit, the world of the living. I dream of the day when someone will finally end this interminable solitude, and either return me to the light, or banish me into the fiery darkness. I fear the shadows as anyone fears the unknown, but I fear the world of the living, also, because I know that to return there means damning another soul to the dark. These doubts are moot, though, as the granite figure that is my prison was made to withstand time itself.

Something new is happening, though. A person approaches in the night. He carries tools, and I feel the cold steel of the chisel biting into my shoulder.

The pictures of Flora:

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