Thursday, July 14, 2011

Entry #16

The Five
by Rebecca Job


The acolyte heaved the door open with sweaty palms. He studied the five stone monoliths set in the chamber-- the final test before achieving full Brotherhood.

He moved to examine the closest stone. It was unadorned, save for the imprint of a hand, with another smaller hand above it. Curious, he fit his hand into the print.

A lover’s caress. An abuser’s slap. A cat’s soft fur. A knife stab, an arrow, a bullet, shattering bones…

The acolyte ripped his hand away. Bewildered, he moved to the next stone. Above the hand, carved lips parted. Placing his hand into the carving, he shuddered.

The taste of strawberries. Cool water. Blood’s metallic tang. The heady rush of beer, wine, mead…

Swaying, he withdrew more slowly this time. He moved to the next stone without registering its blazon.

Hushed whispers. A child’s laughter. Moans of ecstasy. Panicked screams. A woman singing quietly. Weeping. A klaxon wail.

He noticed the small ear above the handprint as he staggered away, his own ringing as he fumbled for the next stone. This bore an aquiline nose above its print.

Bread baking. The reek of unwashed bodies. Lilacs, roses, leather, blood, fear…

He crashed into the final stone. The burning eye transfixed him as he thrust his fingers into the print…

Words on a page. An ant traversing a leaf. The world spinning. Women and children crumpled in grief. War, famine, cruelty, murder…and then…a baby born…

Hand still gripping the stone, he fell forwards into blackness.

23 comments:

Aimee Laine said...

So did he achieve full Brotherhood? Was this his test? :)

Joni said...

Very intriguing take on the prompt. I really liked it.

Josh said...

I enjoy the unique path this took based off the image, and how it evokes the senses in compelling ways.

Mikki said...

Very intriguing. I find myself pulled into this world, wondering what will happen next. Your imagination is impressive; I urge you to build upon what you've begun.

Thank you for sharing!

pegjet said...

Intriguing piece. I liked where this took the reader.

Stephen Parrish said...

Loved how you appealed to the senses.

Jade L Blackwater said...

I particularly like the representatives you've selected for each of the senses!

SzélsőFa said...

wow. a surprising take and like others have said before me, this piece does evoke the senses of the reader, too.
i wonder if the acolyte passed the test or not... i guess he did not?

Rebecca said...

Not to overburden you with information, but the idea was that this is a sensory Brotherhood, and each monk is 'taken' by a particular sense, one of the five. Sight is revered as one of the higher senses in this culture, so this monk would be marked for greatness, having been accepted by Sight.

Aniket said...

Loved "The taste of strawberries. Cool water. Blood’s metallic tang."

I've never been able to put into words the taste of blood. Its nothing quite like anything, and 'metallic tang' is as close as I've read anyone put it.

Liked your take on the prompt too. Its unique.

Peter Dudley said...

The writing is gorgeous and tight, with every word pulling its weight, in concert with every other. I'm not sure if I like it better or less having read your comment explaining the culture. Ending it with the baby born gives it a supreme mysticism that transcends the senses and makes me think of many possibilities for his blacking out. In any case, very well crafted.

fairyhedgehog said...

I wanted to know what his blacking out meant; as it came straight after the image of a baby I wondered if he was being reborn.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

The blacking out...entrance into the Brotherhood? Maybe he passed from one plane to another? Love the visualizations of the senses.

Dottie :)

Old Kitty said...

I don't think he passed! I think the last was too horrendous for him to face. I'm thinking this acolyte's heart was too gentle and sensitive.

Take care
x

bluesugarpoet said...

I like that this piece is shrouded in a bit of mystery. Love the incantations. ~Jana A.

Richard Levangie said...

My first time reading your work, Josh. Color me impressed. :-)

Richard Levangie said...

Bloody hell! I have a number of windows open, and left Josh's comment in your post! (I'll see if I can remove it).

Rebecca... I think this is fantastic. Lovely, lyrical prose and an intriguing concept. I'm hooked.

Chris Allinotte said...

I loved the exquisite sensory details, and the little ambiguity at the end was a great way to finish.

It may just be me, but part of me wanted each monolith to demand a different body part - how freaky would it be to have to put your tongue in the stone??

Wendy said...

Great sampling of each of the senses, a little smorgasbord!

Aidan Fritz said...

I love the world of the Brotherhood that you've concocted with this story. You've managed to capture the ethereal otherness of this brotherhood without giving many details and the strong sensualness of each description makes this story provocative.

Linda Ryan-Harper said...

So I take it Rebecca that Sight includes the third-eye and the ability to see into the future? Because I don't understand why the monk would fall forward into blackness unless he was so overwhelmed by what he saw or because he was blinded by the vision. (Did I just say blinded by vision?? ?? ). But, I think I just answered my own question re the outcome of the test—FAILED—regardless of what you say. What do you know anyhow? You're just the author.

JaneyV said...

Rebecca - as was mentioned before, you have displayed a real gift here for describing the senses. I am glad that you explained the challenge but I also think this piece stands up without it. I love the premise here. I like the idea of experiencing all that each sense is capable of and letting the sense choose you. Beautiful.

jason evans said...

I'm super-impressed with the creativity shown here. And the writing was sharp and so effective. High marks!

A contender. Congrats on Forties Club!