Today is the first day of Stevie McCoy‘s #Nightgale Challenge, a four week creative writing challenge based on immortality and Romanticism. Today’s prompt was this:
Keats: “That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim:”(Ode To A Nightingale)
A Cure for Death?
She is in the woods when I catch up to her, sitting cross-legged on the dusty ground, completely relaxed despite the scene that she has just caused. When she is in one of these moods she cares little about anything but her own disjointed thoughts.
“What are you doing?” I ask her, knowing already that the answer will be far from satisfactory but needing to ask regardless, desperate for even one small glimpse into the bizarre workings of her mind.
“Thinking.” She responds dreamily, her eyes fixed on some far off point in the distance, on something only she can see. “About death. It seems such a waste, doesn’t it? There must be some cure for it.”
“A cure…for death?” Even for her this is strange. Strange and even more unwarranted than usual.
“Yes.” She is impatient now, as she so often is when others fail to understand her. “Something right under our noses, no doubt. Probably a plant.” She pulls a leaf absently from the specimen beside her, twisting it between her slim fingers.
“Well, not that one!” I snap, impatient myself, tired of her inability to reside on the same planet as the rest of us. “That’s hemlock. It’s poisonous.”
“Oh?” She shrugs, unconcerned, and the leaf spirals to the ground. “No matter. Another one perhaps. There must be thousands of plants in here.”
And then she takes off again, a blur of dirty smock and unravelling pigtails as she disappears into the gloom. I sigh and sit on the ground in her place, picking up the discarded hemlock leaf. My sister, my wild, impulsive, untameable sister, may have a point. If there are plants in here which can kill, why should there not be some which grant eternal life?