Fiction – “Why the Angel Weeps”, Behind the Scenes, Some Poetry, and a Worldbuilding Update
Or, visiting graveyards for story inspiration really works!
Hello again Fellow Adventurer,
I hope you’ve been keeping well!
If you’ve been following the newsletter for a while, you would’ve noticed some changes to it since last time I sent one out. Well, that whole “maybe I should change the English name as well” thing stuck in my mind and then I decided, why not? And it just seemed right to change the artwork a bit as well (and add a dragon… because dragon).
This week I’m bringing you a story, a poem, some cool stuff I came across on the internet, and an update on worldbuilding The Ruon Chronicles. But first, some fiction…
Flash Fiction: Why the Angel Weeps
We had called this town home for generations. Apparently we’d been here before Johnny Smith declared himself mayor.
Our house wasn’t built on an old burial ground or anything, although the family graves weren’t that far from the house.
Many mornings, just as the mist from the river started to lift, I would see grandpa walking to and fro in front of the tombstones. The notes of a tune he had always whistled while he had been alive hung in the air.
Sometimes grandma would walk out to him and walk with him — he’d told her he’d wait for her, after all. The rest of the family said it was because of dementia. I kept my mouth shut about the things I saw; scared of the asylum.
On Halloween I followed grandma down the path to the graves. Although we always cleaned the graves on Halloween, we never touched Alderbrand’s grave. His grave was surrounded by a spiked and rusted metal fence. A stone angel stood at the head of the grave. Moss formed two trails down her face as if she was crying.
The slab of concrete on top of the grave was split and broken. The grey skeleton of a tree grew from between the cracks of the stone. Although it never bore leaves, it still grew year by year.
It was the only thing in the graveyard that scared me.
“Very romantic,” grandma had always said. “But not as romantic as your grandpa waiting for me, of course.”
I begged grandma to tell Alderbrand’s story again and she obliged. He ended up falling for Johnny’s daughter, Annie. The Smiths were furious.
I shivered when grandma told of how some said Annie had hung herself from the oak tree on the hill because she found out that she was pregnant. Alderbrand knew it had been her own father who had done the deed. And so Alderbrand swore vengeance.
The duel took place on the hill where Annie was buried. Johnny shot Alderbrand in the heart.
Grandma wiped some tears from her eyes. “They buried him here, without her,” she continued. “And locked him inside with iron like some criminal. That’s why the angel weeps. Can’t let him out, though. A spirit as angry as that,” her voice trailed off.
I stole away to Alderbrand’s grave after dark even though the rain was pouring. I used a crowbar to break away part of the iron fence. Nothing happened except for the thunder scaring me so I went back to bed.
The flash flood came shortly after.
I stood outside the next morning beneath a clear sky. On the hill I saw two figures walk into the light. The tree on Alderbrand’s grave was blooming.
I turned around and looked on as they pulled me from beneath the pile of rubble that had been my room.
Grandma came to stand next to me. She didn’t cry.
“Wait for me?” she whispered and I nodded. The light faded away.
Behind the Scenes: “Why the Angel Weeps”
“Why the Angel Weeps” was written in 2018 for a Halloween podcast and had a 500-word limit. The vague outline of the story had been floating around in my mind for a while by the time I wrote this and I guess I could write it into a short story if I wanted.
On a visit to an old graveyard in Mossel Bay for some story fodder for me (my poor family went with me) I took the following photographs:
How could I not have been inspired?
The graveyard would also serve as a type of proto-graveyard in my mind while writing “The Grave Flower”; a story that must still see the light of day.
There are loads of other photos I took on that day, all fascinating in my eyes, but the one with the tree growing from the grave really stuck in my imagination.
The small family farm and cemetery was – at least in my mind – somewhere in the Karoo and the flash flood is probably influenced at least in part by the 1981 Laingsburg flood.
The Hollow Dunes
The old ones have left, she said,
her eyes on the hollow dunes.
Their ships and gold they’ve taken.
With fire brands and wild calls
She placed her hands upon the grassy dunes.
But the drums still speak,
the drums still call to me.
Away from the ocean.
Away from the sea.
The old ones have left, she said,
her eyes on the hollow dunes.
Perhaps they’ll remember me.
Perhaps they’ll open the dunes –
now that I’ve burnt my boat.
The old ones are calling, she said.
The old ones are calling, she sobbed.
I’ll wait for them by the hollow dunes.
The Ruon Chronicles Worldbuilding Update
In good news, I found some of the worldbuilding files I thought I’d lost! Including some of the older maps of Airtha-Eyrassa. Although much changed in the world after I’d lost practically all my outlining and worldbuilding in The Big Software Crash (which is why I now keep multiple copies of everything, including hard copy) I thought I’d lost a bunch of important Airtha-Eyrassa history notes when I changed jobs back in 2017.
Then I found the worldbuilding files while getting the graveyard photos for the newsletter off the external drive! Huzzah!
What I’m reading, watching, and listening to
I’m still busy with The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest by Andrew Revkin.
I’m also re-reading Into the Darkness: Hooking Your Readers (Without Getting Lost in the Dark) by David Wright.
I really want to start Titaan by Karel Schoeman (one of my favourite writers), but gosh, I think I need to finish The Burning Season first before I add another book!
Work music this week included this beautiful Baroque playlist: Baroque Piano: Bach, Pachelbel, Scarlatti... (Vadim Chaimovich) as well as some epic music by Emil Nilsson – No Matter What, I Will Fight By Your Side.
I can also recommend this video by Cathy Hay – How to Make Time for Yourself and Your Sewing | How to Find Time For Hobbies.
Until next time, stay safe!