Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Young Martyr

Another small piece for my Intermediate Fiction Writing Class:
The castle looked like a five-tiered square wedding cake on a rock in the river, the eves thrusting out from each layer like gray waves. My fear of bridges kept me from crossing the bright red one that separated me from the tower in front of me. This bridge seemed even more questionable because it contrasted too much with its gray surroundings.
“Just go on ahead, I’ll catch up.”
“Are you sure? I can wait with you.” Stacy’s suggestion was ridiculous. She’d never be able to tour the castle if she stayed with me. I immediately rejected her offer and sat down on the bench that overlooked the river and provided the best view of the pagoda.
I imagined that the rooms probably looked like the typical traditional Japanese architecture found throughout our short tour of Japan. My four friends who endeavored to enter the Matsumoto Castle were probably having a blast imaging living there or reveling in the history of the building.
I was drawn to the water that must have been twelve feet below me. I watched a spot where it would swirl behind one of the poles that held up the bridge. The water seemed to be fighting against this unnatural barrier, willing for it to give in and be carried by the current. The support stood its ground, though.
Few other tourists were at this spot. There was an old couple speaking German who were getting their picture taken by a young woman artist whose abandoned easel stood meters away. Besides their short exchange, the surging water made the only sound.
I continued to watch the stream of water in silent contemplation.
Below the surface, a light object being carried by the current caught my eye as it passed my favorite spot. I followed its progress as it slowly rose to the surface. Feet, followed by hands, and finally a pale face emerged. I blinked and squinted to make sure I saw it correctly. I walked up to the edge, and saw, as the figure passed below me, my lifeless face staring right back up at me.

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