Friday, May 25, 2007

White Roses, Part 1

(I've been in the mood for a traditional Victorian ghost story. However, rather than simply copy that romantic style, I thought I'd experiment a little. For this short series, I'm blending a traditional ghost story theme with the relatively uncommon second person point of view, present tense.)

Sunlight pours through new leaves as you walk the sleepy streets of town. Bird songs dance in shadowed limbs.

The streets are lined with Sycamores, tan and pale and mottled green where the patches peeled. You take care not to trip where the roots made the sidewalks pitch.

You smile. Spring warmth is different than the heat of winter. Not scratchy and flecked with orange flame. Spring is freedom, and the hard months melt in the sheeting rains.

Ahead, you see the house. It sits on the corner of two streets, Brandywine and Grove. The painted eaves and lattices cast shadows on a wicker table and chairs.

The old woman is not sitting there.

You slow. The privet hedge breaks at a white arch twined with wisteria. Purple blooms hang thick in the tendrils. You unlatch the gate and pass inside the grounds.

The air is heavy and still. Your steps lift without a sound.

"I've never seen anything so beautiful," a voice says.

You turn.

She is standing at the edge of the garden. Her gaze floats, looking past everything that is there.

On to Part 2


mermaid said...

Why do I get the feeling the old woman is the woman behind you, only a younger version? You are clever with timelines, and also setting the mood of the character with the description of surroundings and nature.

The second person point of view reminds me of the choices we have, like in those science fiction novels my brother read as a child, where you got to choose your fate.

Will I live or die? Will I remember?

Terri said...

Lovely imagery in your words, Jason. It seems ages since we had a series fiction piece from you.

Beautiful photo, btw - very peaceful.

Bev said...

this is a POV I hadn't thought about....very nice! (love the photo too, roses are my favorite)

wolfbaby said...

this is beatiful and I love the way you wrote it.

Jude said...

I love the picture... and your choice of viewpoint is unique. Not sure I've read anything in this sort of voice before. Interesting stuff.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, I think the last book I read with this style was one of those "choose your own adventure" novels, I guess it is an uncommon POV.

angel said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! We're heading to the mountains for the long weekend. I'll respond individually when I get back.

See you then!

Verilion said...

I'm looking forward to the rest.

Stephanie said...

This is a relatively unusual point of view and one that I find interesting, if a little awkward somehow. That may be an issue of unfamiliarity perhaps though. I am more used to first or third person POV.

Linda Rae said...

thank you for what you said at my little page :)

suzanabrams said...

I like the trail of your creative journey, Jason. Just as much as I like this story. A beautiful read. :-)

Anonymous said...

Mermaid, thanks for the kind words. :) You're so right about the choose-your-own-story books! This POV does feel like that.

Terri, since I've been heavy into novel revisions, I've stayed away from long serial stories. Once I'm done, I'll probably try one again.

Bev, my wife and I were standing out in the dark with a flashlight to get that shot.

Wolfbaby, much appreciated! Thanks for the visit.

Jude, yeah, it's unusual. Not sure if it will work, but I like to try different things. That's my favorite part about these short pieces. The risk is low.

Trevor, I'm trying to remember the ones that I had. They kind of lost their appeal after the first read, even though you could explore the other options.

Angel, thanks. =)

Verilion, I've got to get cracking!

Stephanie, yes, it is kind of jarring. It's probably uncommon for that very reason. Still, it's fun to experiment. Thanks for the visit!

Linda, my pleasure. Thanks for the return visit!

Susan, it has been a wonderful journey. I'm looking forward to where it will lead. :)