The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Old Ways
by Kendra Hale
Pavala had watched her clan for over six decades, the rise and fall of the different elders and the growth of the young nation. As a bloodlined Wise One, she had crossed over souls from her tribesmen and women to keep the traditions alive. She regularly communed with the dead as a way to gain sight to help guide her clan. She had been raised with a purpose and had never had a want to steer away from that purpose. She had a garden that provided for the medical needs that the clan came to her for, had access to wisdom far beyond her years, and was the keeper of their histories.
While there had always been the ebb and flow of the problems and outside interference had always been there, the traditions had stayed strong within the clan. But as Masha came to her door that morning, Pavala knew times had changed.
Masha looked every year of her ninety two years, but her moss green eyes remained clear and bright. Masha was one of the few Elders left from when Pavala stepped into her role, in fact Masha had given her blessing that day. The younger Chieftain had not taken the elderly and the sick into his thoughts lately and more and more found their way to Pavala’s door, not for guidance but for a sympathetic ear.
Pavala watched as the spirits surrounded Masha, and felt their love for their fellow clansmen. But that support turned to rage as Masha’s husband Erich, a loving man who had passed five years ago now, saw the bruises and fractured bones of his beloved wife. Masha spoke softly as Pavala set a cup of herbal tea in front of her, beckoning her to sit and be welcome.
“The Sun is warm and greets you gentle one.”
“May the fields always provide for your comfort and hunger.”
“How I have missed the traditions. It is so nice to hear the old tongue spoken in honor.”
Pavala smiled, the genuine joy spreading up and reaching her grey eyes. She knew what Masha spoke of, the younger generation had all but forgotten the traditions and had lost the ability for the most part to read and write their words, they saw nothing more than symbols.But the worst thing was their lack of morals, the loss of honor. Pavala knew what the grandson had done before the words left Masha’s lips.
She let the older woman speak of her pain and release the sadness, the feeling of being alone.Then, when she was calm she walked her out. As she closed the door a heavy sigh left her frame.
“Let all that was forgotten be remembered. It has been too long since the youth have heard the stories of their elders and feared the night.”
The ghosts implored Pavala, all but begged her to let them have their revenge on those who had dishonored their families and caused naught but pain.It was their right as those who had paved the way and upheld this clan.Their right by the blood that flooded those veins. Pavala did not want to deny them as it was her role. She was the one through whom they spoke.
She stepped through her door and to the side of the garden, a bit unkempt and overrun, but the firepit was ready for the iron bull that stood overlooking the garden. The young generation had never seen its fires burn, the red spread over the metal as the flame and metal became one. But the old ways were there for a reason, and those reasons had been forgotten too long.
Fire lit, all that was left to do was to wait for the other elders to make their choice. The smoke filling the sky would act as their signal and none among them had forgotten the screams wracked by the metal meeting flesh. A smile again lit Pavala’s face as she watched the spirits take their place around the pit, it was time to remember…
Fiction © Copyright Kendra Hale
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Kendra Hale:
A Gothic Bite Magazine Anthology
A collection of poetry.
‘Just Emotions‘ is exactly as it states, a group of writers who had feelings they wanted to express in poem form. Inside, there are a range of emotions to explore. Each writer has given a bit of themselves to you, each in their own way.
We hope that you enjoy these writings and that among the poems you may find some thing you can identify with or relate to. Thank you for giving us this chance to open the catacombs and share with you.
Great atmosphere in this piece – that sense of a whole civilisation encapsulated in beautiful prose – as for the ending, well, don’t mess with old folk.
Thank you so much Alex 💓
A powerful evocative story.
Thank you AF ♥︎
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I love the photo prompt and this story! You really set the scene… powerful.
Thank you so much 💓