Nightgale Challenge Week Two: Dinnertime Conversation

12 Jan


Today is the second day of  Stevie McCoy‘s #Nightgale Challenge, a four week creative writing challenge based on immortality and Romanticism. Today’s prompt was this:

 Immortality comes to you, you do not go to Immortality

Shelley- “Why dost thou pass away and leave our state, This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?… No voice from sublimer world hath ever, To sage or poet these responses given – Therefore the name of God and ghosts and Heaven, Remain the records of their vain endeavour,”(Hymn To Intellectual Beauty)

(N.B. This piece is a sequel to A Cure for Death?, the piece which I wrote for Week 1 of the #Nightgale Challenge. I would advise you to read that first, if you haven’t already.)


Dinnertime Conversation

“Where were you today, Elisabeth?” Mother asks sternly, ladling stew onto our plates. She is seated at the table, chin resting in her cupped hands, staring out of the window.

“Elisabeth.” I nudge her, breaking her from the trance. “Mother asked you a question.”

She lifts her chin, her startling blue eyes focusing on my face. “At the Johnson house.” She replies, her voice low and almost sing-song as she recounts the tale. “Old Man Johnson is dying you know. I wanted to see what it was like.”

“Elisabeth!” Mother scolds. “What a thing to say! And I highly doubt that the Johnsons appreciated your company!”

“They did.” Elisabeth replies, eerily self-assured. “They said that all friends were welcome, and Old Man Johnson liked me.”

“I talked to the priest.” She continues, as Mother buries her face in her hands. “He said that Immortality comes to you, you do not go to it. He says that we’ll all be granted the gift of eternal life in Heaven.”

“And?” I prompt.

“I told him he was wrong.” She shrugs. “I don’t want eternal life in Heaven, I want it here. And I’m going to find a way to get it.”

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10 Responses to “Nightgale Challenge Week Two: Dinnertime Conversation”

  1. Charles W Jones (@ChuckWesJ) January 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Perfect follow-up to last week. I very much enjoyed it.

  2. Daniel Swensen (@surlymuse) January 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    I dig Elisabeth’s style. Reads like the great intro to a larger piece.

  3. Bob Mahone January 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Simple faith, simple aspirations. Well done!

  4. Lara Schiffbauer January 14, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    Ooh – I’m hoping the next one continues on! I want to know how she’s going to find immortality on earth!

    • julieffisher January 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Thanks Lara! Check back on Thursday for the next installment!

  5. David A Ludwig January 17, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Awesome, laughed out loud at the end. I really love Elisabeth.

    “I told him he was wrong. I don’t want eternal life in heaven, I want it here.” Besides just being an awesome line, I actually know someone like that–and somehow it makes more sense now that Elisabeth’s said it.

    I love that you did a sequel, and am completely fascinated by Elisabeth, the wave-length she operates at, and how the narrator feels like her bridge to ordinary people. I could spend a long time with these characters and not get bored–significant because even Elisabeth’s unique qualities would grow old if it weren’t for the tension of the narrator’s attempts (verging on ability) to translate for her. It takes a special person to be able to connect to someone like Elisabeth and still be able to connect to more mundane personages–and I would read for a long time in hopes of seeing our narrator come fully into that status and deeply admire the aspiration as I perceive it.

    • julieffisher January 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      Thank you David, I’m glad that you love Elisabeth so much. I feel the same way about her in my head and I’m glad that I’ve been able to write about her in a way that makes others love her too! The characters are sticking around at least for the rest of the challenge, so you have a couple more pieces to look forward to! I

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