microfiction · short stories · wording

Sword, Ring, Needle

Wed, 07 Sep 2011 23:09:25 +0000

The needle flashed in the late afternoon light, shuttering up and down as Shulie’s hands moved the dark fabric under the machine’s foot with her hands.  The foot and needle both caught the light and glinted, while the black corduroy fabric seemed to swallow up the light. Black, black, black. All summer, Shulie had worn an assortment of colourful sundresses in gay prints and cheery fabrics. Now, as autumn came back around, she found herself staying up all night making herself a new wardrobe to suit her the next few months: that of a widow in mourning. She watched the needle flicker against the dark fabric, and another shining metal caught her eye: her antique engagement ring, glinting softly on her left hand. Again, thoughts of her loss bloomed in her mind, and she resolutely pushed them away, calming her mind, entering that strange, meditative state where her world smoothed out.

The feed dogs whirred, eating up the fabric under their insatiable momentum, as the needle tacked a strait, strong seam into the fabric. Shulie let her mind fly far and wide, trusting that her hands on the seam and her foot on the treadle would do the job she felt as familiar and easy as breathing. Her mind seemed to expand, taking in so many thoughts at once. The Rings. That had been on her mind lately, the lost wedding bands that Ink had carefully formed. This time, however, instead of resolutely pushing the thought away, she let herself follow it, like a shining thread stretching off through the air. The thread shimmered, flying out of the packhouse, out of the physical world as Shulie entered that strange trance that so often made the long hours of housework pass in an instant. For a moment, her mind swung far and wide, scenting and tasting the spirits of the city, the land. After a moment, a scene shimmered and resolved.

It was the wood.  Late afternoon sunlight slipped in wide bands through the treetops, and pooled in a rich dappling pattern over the clearing. She looked about the place, trying to recognise it. It was certainly local. Tall, stately trees, wildflowers growing…yes. The wood…but where? And what was God trying to show her? She pressed herself into the vision, willing the sight into clarity.  Slowly, the clearing swam into sharp focus, the rich colours and beauty of the scene filling her mind. There was something in the clearing.

A sword. It was thrust into the ground, the pommel and grip brushed lightly by the flowers growing all around it. She recognised the Harmoniser instantly. The silver thread she’d followed there wrapped around the sword, continuing down into the earth, under…under. Her heart beast fast, feeling the tug of this place, the need to be there, to need to find whatever was there, hidden in this beautiful clearing. The emotion it sparked in her tugged her out of the vision, back into that unsure place that was no-where in particular. Her mind flew back, following that glimmering silver line, until Shulie found herself back at home, sitting in front of her sewing machine. She looked down, giving a cry of dismay, seeing the effects of her brief trance. Still, her mind touched upon the clearing and the sword she had seen. She pondered it and sighed, reaching for her seam ripper. Though most of the seam was strait and perfect, there was now about a foot of tight, tiny stitches to undo.