Alyssa was done with this mess, and she had no qualms about sharing her thoughts on the matter with her mother. “Why are you dragging me through these stupid woods?”
Mother had an equal lack of qualms. “Because you’ve done some dumb-ass things lately and you need to learn how to make better choices.”
Alyssa rolled her eyes. “Well, I think a better choice would be not walking by some broke-down whatever the hell that is over there.”
Mother sighed. “You need to watch your language.”
“Like you do? You and Dad cuss like there’s a prize for the most cussing.”
“That’s different. We’re adults. You’re fifteen. I know you think that makes you an adult, but it doesn’t. There’s a lot you don’t know about.”
Alyssa stopped walking. “How can I be an adult if you won’t let me do what I want to do?”
Mother also stopped. “You might want to think about what you just said. Maybe you’ll get some therapy out of it.”
“Is that what this nature hike is all about? Therapy? In the woods? If I have to do therapy, I’d much rather do it somewhere that has air-conditioning. This place sucks.”
Mother sighed. “It does not suck. I used to come here all the time when I was your age.”
“A thousand years ago.”
Mother took a deep breath. “Okay. I understand that you think I don’t understand. But I do. There was a time when I was just as angry as you are.”
Alyssa shook her head. “I’m not angry. I just tired of nobody thinking I can do anything right.”
Mother’s heart broke just a little bit, as is the realm of mothers. “Honey, I never said that and I never thought that. But sometimes we need help getting to where we want to be. And that’s why I brought you here, to a place that once helped me.”
“How did this place help you?”
“It just did. Take a deep breath and listen to the wind.”
Alyssa was not impressed. “Listen to the wind? Are you kidding?”
“Not at all. Just trust me.”
A phone began ringing.
Mother pulled said phone out of her pocket. “It’s your father. I need to take this.”
“You told me our phones don’t work out here and I had to leave mine in the car.”
Mother smiled. “I lied a little bit. Moms are good at that. Why don’t you go check out that ruined building?”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“Just do it. We can talk about it later.” Mother walked several steps away until she stood under a tree that was older than anyone knew. “Hey, baby, what’s up… yeah, we’re at the place… so, I was thinking that we could have lasagna tonight, what do you think about that?”
Alyssa tuned out the babble, an instinctive reaction.
She looked over at the remnants of whatever it once was.
A breeze suddenly stirred, and a windchime, somewhere, chimed, faintly.
Alyssa walked over to the ruins, reached out and touched one of the carved stones, not sure why.
“Welcome, young princess. I’m so glad you came to visit.”
Startled, Alyssa’s eyes immediately diverted to her mother, who was still standing under the Older Tree, deeply involved in her conversation with someone who was not here. Alyssa’s eyes diverted back, but not sure where to land. “Who is talking to me?”
“My name is Queen Allegra. I once ruled this land. In the time of yesteryear.”
Alyssa stumbled a few steps backward. “Okay, this is creeping me out. Why am I hearing a voice but I don’t see anybody?”
“You aren’t meant to see me. But you are meant to hear me. I was given a gift, once, and I swore to continue giving that gift forever more.”
Alyssa was confused, unsure. “What does that have to do with me?”
“You may not know it now, but you have a rich future, if you choose to accept it. I didn’t want to accept it either, in my angry tender years, thinking my difference, my womanhood, would close all doors. But in the long span of time, one thing holds true. If you endeavor to do the right thing, the right things will be done.”
“But I’m not a queen, like you.”
“All women are queens. But most never get to wear a crown. I was lucky enough to do so, ruling as I did from this humble throne of rock and stone. My people prospered, and so can yours. I must go now, as my spirit is thinning.”
“Wait! I have so many questions.”
“And you should pursue them. Never give up on finding the right answers.”
The windchimes faded, the rock and stone were again alone.
Alyssa glanced over at her mother, who still stood beneath the Older Tree. Mother smiled at her, still chatting on a modern device that meant nothing in the arc of ancient wisdom.
Alyssa smiled back.
Note: This piece was inspired by an initial photo that Lynette shared on her blog, which was actually a sharing from another blogger, Stuart. Said photo spoke to me, and I heard windchimes, so I asked Lynette if Stuart would mind another sharing (yes, this is convoluted) and Stuart jumped in and actually sent me an additional image. The photo duo gave me an opening and an ending and I just filled in the blanks, in a manner that I hope satisfies everyone involved.
Categories: Flash Fiction