Topaz River Abduction  Click the link to participate in this challenge.

Prompt titles—choose one or more below and compose a poem or story. Multiple submissions are welcome as well as submissions containing multiple titles.

The Girl Who Became a Bear; The Grinning Man; Delilah Blue and the Faulty Timepiece; The Crowd Whisperer; The Reversal of Nothing; A Welcome Betrayal; Prophetess in Silk; The Coven of Controversial Virtues; Shadows in the Water; The Minutiae of Stars. 

Amid the shadows in the water of Topaz River

Are reflected the minutia of stars, and mysteries

Unsolved—including those yet to surface, for probing…

It had been a summer full of enigmatic characters

Slipping in and out of our town—and I would become

One of them, known as the Crowd Whisperer

Because I was acquainted with some of the principals.

Sharmalea Cruze was young, simpleminded, and fanciful.

Folks spoke of her as The Girl Who Became A Bear—for

Sharmalea insisted she could shape-shift into a silver-tip bruin.

Every Halloween she dressed in a tattered pink tutu,

And growled through a fanged bear mask.

Another denizen was Delilah Blue, older than anyone knew;

Usually pleasant, most likely suffering the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Poor Delilah was the target of teenagers who thought it great

Sport to ask her for the time, just to hear what crazy answer

She might offer as she peered at the faulty timepiece pinned

Above her lacy breast pocket or calico apron’s bib.

And there was the Grinning Man, who made his meager living

As a local handyman.  Considered basically harmless,

Some were put off by his toothless mumbling—and that he

Gave his name as either “Abe” or “Jake”, depending on his mood.

The Prophetess was well-respected by all—men and women

Paused when she’d float through Main Street’s courtyard

Trailing lengthy silk scarves of sapphire, saffron, cerise…

Or any brilliant hue shot through with silver threads.

When the Dark Thing happened everyone expected

Her to divine its meaning and resolution—but even if she

Had such revelation, would she be bound to share it?

The fundamentalists deemed her gift one of what they

Referred to as, the Coven of Controversial Virtues

For prophecy might well be blessing, or curse; and

Who’d really want to hear about the latter?

The day the Dark Thing happened began with a

Periwinkle dawn, pretty as you please—but sepia storm

Clouds rumbled as the alarm rang out:  Emeraude and

Henry’s new baby was missing—just 10 days old, it was.

The townsmen suspended normal work, explored high

And wide; while the sheriff queried “Abe-Jake” and anyone

Else among the odd residents, and peculiar visiting strangers.

One week after Topaz River had already been searched,

The Prophetess intoned, “go back to the riverbank

On a Sunday afternoon”.

And I, the crowd whisperer, had begun to feel uncomfortable

Stirrings; neighbors were murmuring speculations,

Asking one another if they’d seen “so and so” lately.

Finding the baby was a tragic reversal of nothing; it didn’t

Restore her to her parents, bring her back to life.

When the babe was discovered in the arms of Sharmalea,

The bear-girl sat rocking its tiny corpse, and

Staring into the ripples of gurgling Topaz River.

Sorrow lay like fog upon the town.

Emeraude wept a bit at her child’s funeral, and

Told all who expressed the least curiosity that she’d

Forgiven Sharmalea the abduction.

No one believed murder was part of it.

Sharmalea had long yearned for a baby of her own, envied

Emeraude—who’d had 10 children.  It must have been

An accidental suffocation, possibly dehydration.

I suppose only Prophetess and I know the sad secret

Emeraude confessed to her priest…that Sharmalea

Taking the baby was a welcome betrayal.

A tenth child was simply one too many for the exhausted

Mother, and financially burdened father.

…So maybe they’d made it easy for the bear-girl’s

Love-hungry heart to steal.

The shadows in the water likely hold the full tale.

©Jael Sook, 2017 All rights reserved.

Image credit: Pixabay

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6 thoughts on “Topaz River Abduction

  1. WOW – you really worked this so creatively and well – and told a sad and slightly dark tale, but with a sense of peace and forgiveness – and it’s really intriguing, from start to finish – great characterizations and it seemed all too real – Totally awesome 😀


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