Qualified Entry: Fiction Category
By: Maria Dean
The rain splashed and crashed among the frills and beauty of the field, the thunder roared and the lightning lit up the serious dark sky like a delicate paper lantern. That paper lantern, etched with the black and stormy clouds of the sky above, danced and swayed in the light and warmth of the lightning’s strike. Beneath the dancing sky was a single tree, solemn in the grassy plain. Lithe and young, without a care, it mesmerized the raindrops and had them paralyzed. Without another word or glance they plummeted from the sky and left the tree forever, to stay in the roots of the sharp green grasses. The clouds, the color of ash, swirled and twisted on their own schedule in the fiasco of water, light and sound. Unlike the previous storms, of white flakes and ice, that had hit the same hills years before, this one was special. Nobody hid from it- all embraced it’s soothing warmth, an ominous hint for a new season.
A loud moan split the storm in two, a ring in the ear seemed to never end. It was followed by a newcomer to the distant land, a maiden that had delicate, wispy winds as hair and wore strong, vengeful gales as a dress. Eyes, ultramarine like the raindrops that swam about her, were unblinking and seemed to steal the souls of all who were around her. Her song, a series of shrill whistles and deep gusts, rocked the land and shook the flora to their roots. They obeyed unwillingly and bowed to her presence, while the elements about above shrieked with a villainous laughter and danced in infinite circles like obedient, yet untamed sheep. The mistress shrieked again, and this time her ice-cold fingers, rippling with rain, raised the tree’s branches and shook off the crisp, brown leaves that burdened her for so long. Leaves of all shades of brown and hazel violently flapped in the wind before flying beyond the storm, beyond the field, beyond the world. The tree was more resistant now, no longer a slave to the over-taker of her fair field. It whipped back in forth in rebellion, against the chilling wind and eyes of the mistress.
The lady murmured softly to the tree, a bittersweet song that came from the eye of the storm. Her smooth fingers caressed the undisturbed bark, letting water leak into it’s roots. Relaxing yet horrible, the tree could only watch in terror. With a quick, bright flash of lightning and a howl of deep thunder, the lady dressed in wind screamed and hurled the grass backwards with the sheer decibels. The tree swayed as well, but green blossoms also began to open in brilliant shades of emerald across her lovely branches at the breath of the siren of the tempest. The mistress still screeched, rising higher with every minute. The elements about greedily wailed as well, faster than before and becoming a awful opera with the lady. Controlled chaos erupted in the field as the whole of it’s inhabitants, both element and wildlife. Shafts of wind, like pristine snakes, weaved between the grass and emitted a hollow whistle.
Gorgeous leaves of chartreuse and beryl flowed from the tree’s blossoms, becoming a dress of sleek green. The mistress of the winds, the gales, the breezes, howled as is it pained her to bring the tree’s leaves to life. From there, a few lavender-colored blossoms popped at the joints of each silky white branch, and at the fingernails of every long-reaching limb. The voices from the wind, from the sky, from the world itself, grew higher still, almost at the top of the decibel scale and climbing suit. As the song grew fiercer and the stanza became louder even the grass began to shed it’s fragile skin and trade for a new, shining lime color. Louder, higher, the concerto went….
Until the mistress shrouded in gales silenced the rest of her band and sung by herself, a solo worth crying for. The flora stood in awe at her timeless, perfect tones until her last breath, in which her head fell limply to her chest and she disappeared into the winds of which she was made. The rain, the thunder, the lightning that once danced above, they all froze in their tracks and followed the wind lady into oblivion, revealing a pale sunrise swiftly approaching the plain. It was a delightful shade of orange, with equally angelic limbs, like that of the tree, ablaze in the colors of a raging fire.
The birds, the bearers of sunlight and the day awaiting, led their cohorts into the sky, leading a banner of bright sunlight behind them. The dark and singing clouds before now return as pinkish tinted, silent ambassadors to the day. Fauna, in the form of fluffy white rabbits to graze in the grass and squirrels to chase in the tree’s new fashion, finally joined flora. From there, the smallest mammal to the largest, strongest snake in the land raised their voices in a awful opera, a muted version of the queen of mistral’s song. They sang with passion no human could ever recreate, clarity no technology could ever remake. As they rang out their voices into the new day, the new season, the new beginning, the sun erupted in all it’s warmth onto the plains. The rays of sunlight glazed the grass with a fine golden sheen, the solemn tree with beige and burnt sienna. As the seasons pass on, the new seeds grow high above the elders, and the classics fade away, the cycle of spring repeats forever.