She’s hanging her father’s flannel shirts on the line out back when the woman emerges from the shadow of the woods. She’s blood-covered, with a sword black and dripping over her shoulder. She stops just out of the cover of the trees when she catches sight of the lines of flannel shirts beginning to stir in the fresh morning wind.
Their eyes lock. The woman hefts her sword off her shoulder an lets it fall to the ground. Despite its bulk and length, it disappears in the tall grass. She’s breathing heavily as if she’d run there. With a deep sigh, she gathers her hair around to one side and twists it. What could’ve easily been taken for black hair is actually brown hair soaked with blood. Red rivulets down her bare forearm and drips off the point of her elbow.
From the edge of the woods, still wringing the blood from her hair, she demands whatever food they have to spare. The girl edges around her basket of her father’s flannel shirts and disappears into the house. She brings back a cup of water, half a loaf of bread, and two eggs wrapped in an old handkerchief.
The woman takes the offering with a blood-soaked hand and a nod. She picks up her sword, props it back up onto her shoulder, and leaves as silently as she appeared, picking her way through the scrubby bushes around the side of the house.
The girl goes into the house to watch the woman through the front window: her tall, broad figure disappearing down the lane, until she’s obscured by the trees, and is gone.
Still playing catch up.
October 9’s prompt was: flannel / emerge / wring
I had a difficult time with this one: I had a very specific image in my head, but couldn’t come up with any context to put it in. I decided to practice taking a distant POV, but I know I didn’t explore it half as much as I could have. This was one of those days where I just wanted to get something done.
I’m not beating myself up too much over this. The point is to write every day, to get something on paper. I never put any qualifications on these responses.
They don’t have to be good. They just have to be.
I wasn’t feeling it at all when I wrote this, so I while I like some of the details (like the woman dropping her sword in order to wring the blood from her hair) and the contrasts (the domesticity of the clothesline against the warrior emerging, blood-drenched, from the wild woods), I’m not satisfied with the overall effect.