Today marks the third installation in the Throwback Writing series. Throwback writing is stuff written in a younger, more innocent time. Just as we might look at a photo of an adult friend as a child and recognize certain features, so we can read throwback writing and see traces of the mature writer.
Readers, I’m happy to introduce you to Scarlet Darkwood. These days, Scarlet writes mostly erotica and romantic suspense, but when she was in high school, she took a class that required her to write all sorts of stuff. Here’s a note from the author about the short story she’s so kindly shared with us.
I took creative writing back in 1980, two years before I graduated high school. We had to write all kinds of things to experience the full writing gig—poems, free verse, sonnets, ballads, plays, short stories. Too bad Amazon wasn’t around then. I think it would have been great to create a class anthology. So my writing stemmed from class assignments and not so much inspiration, but I have a few of those too. Unfortunately I wasn’t like a lot of writers who say they wrote stories from a young age. I kept some diaries, but even those were not that detailed. But for some reason, writing always fascinated me. I was thrilled to find that I had all of my assignments!
Thank you so much, Scarlet, for sharing this short story!
The fall sun shone down brightly over the fields, and the cool wind whipped Lee’s face gently as he sat thinking under an old, snarled, tree. He was lost in a dream world, a world where reality was kind and beautiful. Lee was born and raised in the heart of the Norshkan Hills. There, he lived alone with his mother in a little house surrounded by rugged hills and high peaked mountains and farm land. His two older brothers and his sister were all married and living lives of their own. His father has passed away five years ago, and only he remained home alone, taking care of his mother.
Lee was a tall and slender boy of nineteen. He had dark hair that shaped nicely around his pleasant, handsome face, and his eyes shone brilliantly in the autumn sun. The boy had never done a hard day’s work in his life. Anytime he started to do a chore around the farm, he would get so involved with daydreaming of far away places, the work was finally left undone.
“Ah, lazy boy!” his mother would cry. “You will never amount to anything. Your mind wanders far too much. You need to grow up and be a man. Make something of yourself like your older brothers have. Have a dream or gal in mind and set out to achieve it. God gave you brains and muscles. Use them.”
“But mama,” replied Lee, “I do have dreams. I dream of seeing the world. I long to go out and search for a perfect place where only happiness rules, and reality is kind.”
“Foolish child. You know there is no such place as that here on earth. You must face reality and come out of silly childish fancies. Besides, how could you go out into the world to see far away places? You’ve hardly ever left the farm. “My dear.” His mother softened kindly, placing her hand softly on his shoulder. “Places such as you have mentioned only exist in books and legends, and in Heaven. Heaven, though, is the only perfect place that exists. While you are here on earth, you must face up to life.”
As Lee reviewed these things in his mind, he became even more determined to go out and find that perfect place. “It’s there. It’s got to be there. Why would Glornoria (I believe it’s called Glornoria) be mentioned in books and legends if it didn’t exist?” said Lee softly to himself. “i do know one thing. I would have to cross the mountainous region of Domarta. But I am a man. I know I can make it. I will. I will start tomorrow morning before the sun rises.”
Having made up his mind, he started packing up some of the things he would need to take in order to help him make the long journey through the Domartas. He went to the old shed and brought out the sled that his father used to use when he went hunting through the Remoras. From the rough, dirty wall of the shed, Lee brought down an old dagger that had also been used by his father. He wouldn’t take a gun, for he knew, from what others had said, that loud noises could cause an avalanche. He decided not to tell his mother. She’d only laugh at him. He knew she could take care of herself. She also had his two older brothers that would help take care of her.
One hour before the sun began to rise, Lee got up quietly from his bed in the corner of the course, quietly dressed himself, got all of his necessary belongings together, and stole silently away into the chilly morning air. He trudged through the forests, at first, with little difficulty. Soon all the familiar sights he had known since childhood disappeared with each long mile. However, as he continued walking, the paths became more difficult, and the temperature, which was at first rather mild, now became abruptly cold. The wind was beginning to blow strongly, and snow was beginning to fall. The sled was getting harder to pull as each hour went by. He knew he would soon have to stop and rest. The sun would soon set, and he badly needed to get a little sleep.
Tired from hunger and lack of sleep, Lee finally sat down in an open spot, and took out his water bottle for a drink, and removed some of his food that he had brought for the trip. After eating, he made out a small bed in the snow, and prepared to sleep for the night. He knew this would be his last time to have a good sleep before he reached the Domartas. In crossing the Domartas, he had heard that it was unsafe for a man to sleep long periods of time. One could easily freeze to death.
Lee was awakened by the pale streaks of sunlight. Getting up, he prepared to continue his journey. He knew it would be a few more days before he would reach the border of the woods. Five days passed, and he trudged onward, fighting the snow and wind. He knew he had to be getting closer to the Domartas. Once he would get there, he would leave all forest shelter behind, and have only the rough, snowy mountains to face.
On the sixth day, he came to the border of the forest. That marked the end of the Norshakn Hills, and the beginning of the mountain range he would need to cross before he reached his goal to get to Glornoria. Now he knew that his journey had actually begun. He walked onward, leaving the forest behind, and prepared himself for the dangers that were waiting ahead.
Two weeks passed. Lee’s food ration was getting low. Only water could be available with the use of snow, but how long can one live on water alone? There were no animals around for him to hunt. However, he forced himself to go on. The mountains were almost impossible to climb, the wind and snow were harsh and cruel. Stumbling forward over hidden holes and other debris, Lee suddenly began to feel dizzy and light-headed. He had been cutting his food rations down considerably, and the little bit he had now was almost gone. Sleep had been almost non-existent. This dizziness began to worry him. He knew he couldn’t go to sleep now. It would be too dangerous. Besides, he had to be nearing Glornoria. There all of his troubles would be over.
Suddenly the dizziness began to grow worse, and no matter how much he tried to wrap himself in furs he had brought along, he still couldn’t keep very warm. Walking blindly on, he stumbled over a small hole. As he tried to get up, a sudden flash of bright light blinded him, and a warm sensation tingled throughout his body. In the next moment, he found himself in a beautiful paradise. His heart was filled with joy. He began to take in all the beautiful things that he saw. He saw the beautiful, lush green meadows, and the green mountains sprinkled with flowers. The crystal waterfalls fell like thousands of sparkling diamonds, and the warmth of the sunny climate felt good to him.
“This must be Glornoria!” Lee said aloud to himself. Taking in all of the beauty, he longed especially to pick some flowers and to feel the water of the lovely falls run through his fingers. Runny carelessly to pick some of the flowers, he tripped again and fell. As he got up, the sudden beauty disappeared, but the warm sensation stayed with him.
Lee now knew of his awful fate. The cold reality of death hit him harder than the wind and snow. He knew now that he was too far gone. He couldn’t turn back towards home, nor could he go on. Trying to get up, he only fell back down to the snowy ground. The warm sensation was coming stronger. Actually, he was almost comfortable. He knew if he closed his eyes, it would be forever. However, the fact of failing to find his perfect place did not disappoint him totally. He had one comfort. He remembered what his mother had told him about Heaven being the only perfect place that exists.
“Well,” said Lee calmly to himself, “maybe my efforts weren’t all in vain.” Closing his eyes, he fell into a peaceful, eternal sleep.
Scarlet Darkwood wields a mighty pen, or at the very least, delivers mighty punches to the computer keys when she’s typing furiously on a story. She likes dark and twisted, and the weirder, the better. Always preferring avant garde themes, her stories take the reader on unusual adventures, exploring the darker parts of the human psyche as she whips out cunning prose wrapped in provocative themes. Sometimes she veers from her beaten path and takes a happy-go-lucky romp in the brighter sides of life, kicking up her style into sharp, snappy dialogue and clever descriptions. Writing in several genres unleashes her imagination so she never grows bored. From a young age, she’s enjoyed writing and keeping diaries, but didn’t start creating novels until 2012. She’s a Southern girl who lives in Tennessee and enjoys the beauty of the mountains. She lives in Nashville with her spouse and two rambunctious kitties. For more information about the latest concerning Scarlet and her work, sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Rt5HP
Please visit Scarlet on the web and check out her other work, especially her new romantic suspense novel on Amazon, Words We Never Speak.
My Blog: http://www.scarletdarkwood.com
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