Sunset’s Blade: #StaD for May 23

Welcome, friends! Come in, and let me tell you a Story A Day, all May long…

In June and July, I’ll be drafting two new Kifo Island novels. I know something about 5 of the 6 point of view characters, and I’ve got a sketchy idea of the plots – but I need to learn more about these people and their stories.

So, in May, I explore. Every day, I’ll follow the prompts in A Month of Writing Prompts 2016. I’ll play while moving through my planning efforts. Some of these stories may become part of the eventual novels, but my goal is to invite these characters to show me who they are and what they want – and how their lives fit together to make a novel.

So, for May 23, a story for the daily prompt, “Watch Your Tone, We were asked to go through our stories to date, find a tone we feel we write strongly, and create a new story.

I’ve returned to Ubunta, and attempted to strike a balance between the beauty and terrors of her life.

Week Four’s theme is Strengths – an opportunity to focus more intensely on what’s been working so far.

Sunset’s Blade

Ubunta huddled on the beach, terrified and fascinated, as the sun dropped from the sky. It was like a desert, like a painting. She’d felt the same, laying sprawled recklessly in the grasses of the veldt.

But that was when she was a child, and life was simple and free under the colors of the sky. The same colors, but not the same ground.

No ground at all out there. Only the water…the endless water, blue-green, circling this island of death.

There was something of release in death. For her, the struggle to feed herself, to feed the life growing large within her, would be over. But what about the child?

Did she have the right to kill the unborn child? Did she have a responsibility to spare it this life, when she had no way to provide for it?

She couldn’t care for a child – but she couldn’t bear the thought of giving her child up, and living.

She could walk into the ocean now, but the child deserved its life. She was sure of that.

She could walk into the ocean later. She had no love for living; she’d happily go to death now, and be spared the struggle. But what if the child wanted its mother, when it was grown? Did she have the right to deny it that?

She needed to find some answer, and take action.

But the colors held her captive, reminded her of the veldt.

She sat and watched them paint the sky, and reflect strangely on the clear turquoise of the ocean, until she could stand the vastness and the beauty no more, and turned her gaze. to the place where she would shelter tonight. Each night, she chose another, so that Aneesha, her men, or her brother would have trouble in finding her. She didn’t care for her own life, but the child –

She would not have another child murdered within her.

She could not be the murderer. She wouldn’t.

The light slanted into the place she’d chosen, something glinted there. Maybe someone’s jewelry, long forgotten. Something she could pawn?

She watched the light play on metal, and something that might be a gem. Slowly, she scanned up and down the beach. There was no one.

No one to see.

Ubunta scrabbled in, and grabbed –

And sliced her hand on a blade.

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