Unwitnessed

A short story.

Cee Arr
Promptly Written

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Woman with unsettling and staring blue eyes. She is wearing a red cloak.
Photo by ziko cinematography on Unsplash

Warning: implied violence

What is an unwitnessed moment; is it even real? No proof. Nothing left behind.

Nothing to show.

Nothing to show that once this dirt held people. The ghosts of millions upon millions of journeys.

Nothing to say about the woman who knelt here one morning on the cold-compact ground, shawl-wrapped. An awl, dagger-sharp-domestic, clenched in her hand. She prayed to any gods that might hear her — the trees, the birds, the river — that they might guide her hand. That they might grant her this justice.

Her breath cut her own throat, her chest. Impossible warmth against the pressing-in cold. As if she were a blaze, fighting against the drawn-dawn-frost.

Her eyes were clenched harsh-tight, sparking vein-crack pains across her forehead. She felt the smooth tapered tool in her hand, a reassuring weight. It was the best awl she’d ever owned — a fine thing. The finest object she owned.

An awl is a strange and versatile thing — a needlework weapon, a tailor’s shiv, a saddlemaker’s friend, a carpenter’s assistant, something pagan remaining in its shape. Something that suggests a small bone from some far-distant cave, shaved and shaped until it can make holes in the toughest of animal hides.

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Cee Arr
Promptly Written

Writer, reader, poet, (book) blogger @ dorareads.co.uk , Queer, weird, bookish rebel. Welsh as a tractor on the M4. Buy me a coffee @ ko-fi.com/ceearr