Reclamation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
A short story inspired by an Imaginarium One Word Prompt.

Submitted: August 10, 2017

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Submitted: August 10, 2017

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Reclamation.

They’ll be arriving tomorrow,” he said, and I silently turned away.

Not bothering with jacket, shunning boots, I headed out of the door and down the drive. Not far now, about ten minutes walk along the road, I draw to a halt. This time I’ll climb the barbed wire, push my way past the thorns, feeling the scratches on my sandalled feet but choosing to ignore them. It won’t take long to get through the worst of it, on to clearer ground.

Long grass, clumps of reeds; there are patches of daisies and buttercups, of course, but so many other plants too. Ones I’m now ashamed to admit I don’t know the names of. There are gorse bushes scattered around, where rabbits seek shelter from my intrusion. Way off I spot a foxes tail just vanishing into a hedge. So many birds, the small ones that so often stay away from houses, that have made their homes in this sanctuary.

I want to howl, to scream, to cry. Instead, I make my way quietly out of their space. I’ll let them enjoy it while they still have a chance. I trudge back home, weighted down by a feeling of such grief that I can barely put one foot in front of the other.

I am up with the sun in the morning. I won’t go, I tell myself. I’ll save myself from the pain. The sound of heavy machinery drifts up then rumbles through the house, making things on shelves shake and rattle, breaking my resolve.

Today I go in coat and boots, pulling my hood forward to hide my face from view. I don’t want to go to witness this.....outrage, but I have to. I will not make a scene.

He watches me leave and I can see the worry on his face. He is not sure what I will do, how I will react, but his worries are groundless – I know that I am defeated.

I can hear it all, even as I shut the door behind me. The metal scrapes deep, tears and rends the soil and all that grows, that lives there. I know it is nonsense but I seem to hear the trees cry, the hedges wail and the wildlife scream in terror. I can see it all now, playing out in front of me. It takes hardly any time for those metal monsters to flatten every single thing; digging it up, churning it over and burying it under fresh soil.

A rabbit darts out in front of my feet, only inches from where I stand. I can see it’s body quivering in terror as it flees across the road to seek shelter in the bushes that ring the neat and tidy field opposite. This is too much for me. I turn and tearfully dash towards my own home – thinking how long I might have left before they reclaim that.

I spend the day in darkness, lying in my bed with the covers drawn up over my head. I can’t face it, not today. Sleep will maybe make it go away.

But in the morning I get up and slowly take that walk, almost as though I am leading a funeral procession. And there it is, flattened, cleared, ready for their cattle or their crops. Anger, that’s what I feel! Total greed! Will they never stop?

Looking down at the ground I catch sight of it, a last piece of color. One red petal lays there before me. I pick it up, gently hold it and glare across the now vast and empty expanse. They call it reclamation, but me.....I call it murder.

 

Inspired by the Imaginarium House one word prompt -- petal.


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