The prompt this week at Writer’s Island is: Threshold
Here’s my offering:
BEYOND THE THRESHOLD
The old man sits beside the fireplace on a three legged stool, reading a book. The fire in the grate is crackling away - it’s the only sound in the room; it must be the middle of the night… the wee small hours, before dawn. The old man sits motionless as if carved from alabaster. His hair and beard glow dully, the bright orange now faded with age but still catching the light from the flames so that it appears to be made up of living snakes, each coiling and writhing – red, gold, orange. He has a pair of round spectacles and is bent over a book which he holds close to his face as though it’s difficult for him to make out the words… even though he himself wrote the book many years ago and is only now reading it for the first time. The book seems to be covered in cloth – and as the light from the flames falls upon it, it comes alive, each shade of colour changing constantly. The old man keeps his fingers perfectly still upon the fabric, never hesitating for a moment… he wants this to become clear to him, to unfold the secrets within. Beyond the Threshold, the book’s called; as he turns each thin page very carefully the gently rustling sound of the paper plays upon the air, fading into the background.
I watch him from the doorway – at least I think it’s a doorway; it’s cold and dark out here and I wish I could go inside and sit beside the old man by the fire. I can feel the heat from the flames even now, but I can’t step over the threshold of the room, I just can’t, I dare not. For I’m afraid if I do the illusion will shatter, be destroyed absolutely… the fire will turn to ice, the pieces falling away to the ground, the shards glittering even though they have no life left within them. The old man will cease to read his book for there’s no light left to make out the words. So I have to stand still and watch… never moving a muscle, waiting beyond the threshold.
- Nicola Batty
- I am a writer of novels, plays and film scripts. I live in Manchester England with my partner Andy and our teenage son Jack. Andy and I started my Newsletter Raw Meat and began publishing with Rawprintz in 1999 to showcase my work. Some of you may be confused by my continual references to Ziggy, that’s my wheelchair! Both Andy and I are writers. I’ve recently lost my sight – hence the continual reference to my being confused! Thanks for visiting.