25 December 2012

Generic Adventure revisited

The boy stood watching the last light of the setting sun fade away. Several of the pigs began squealing at him and he twisted a little to give them a glance. They were watching him lean on his walking stick, a bucket filled with kitchen refuse hanging from his left hand. The boy walked slowly to the pen and lay his walking stick against the fencing. With both hands now free, he heaved the bucket up and over the fence, dumping the contents into the trough. The pigs squealed again and began to eat as he picked up his stick and began walking to the hilltop.
From the hilltop he could see everyplace that he had ever been. The farm where he and his sisters took care of their ailing father was on the western slope. Below it lay a few fields and the village beyond. To the south lay fields belonging to the mayor, who lived in the village and left his fields to be worked by others. To the north lay the Thick Wood, where the trees would not grow taller than the three-story tower that the lord kept but would grow almost as wide before being felled. Beyond the Thick Wood, many miles off, a great glow could be seen coming from the Place of Things where no one in the village had ever been. To the east lay more fields and a broad meadow beyond which lay the outlying farms of the next village.
The boy could hear someone coming as he stared up at the night sky. Stars twinkled and shimmered as one of his sisters began to call to him. He recognized her voice as that of Hideous but he still turned to face her.
“The stars are far away. Your bed is much closer.”
“The stars are much prettier. They are prettier than anything we have.”
“I would say yes, but we have the stars every time we look up at night, so they are ours.”
“Yes,” said the boy, wrinkling his face in thought. Together they looked up at the night sky. A bright flash drew their attention westwards, to the sky above and past the village. “A shooting star!”
“Yes,” his sister replied as the streaking light cut across the sky to their north. “But let's go home now and sleep.”
His sister began walking back to their little house, growing dim on the distance. The boy sighed and wondered what the stars were made of. Nobody in the village knew but nobody in the village knew much about anything outside of the village. Knowing things was dangerous and people who asked too many questions began to know things. His mother had known things, and she had died screaming. His father had asked too many questions and lost an arm. The boy knew that he would never know what the stars were made of and sighed again. As he began to walk home, he glanced at the pigs feeding in their pen and smiled. He didn't need to know about the stars to raise pigs and chickens or to tend the fields. His world was full and complete.
Goe, trying a new story

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