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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Forty-seven minutes before dawn, Caroline bundled her mother’s favorite turquoise shawl around her shoulders, and left the cottage that was nestled in the mountain crags. She hardly noticed the dark as she ambled, half in a daze, down a path that she had walked many times since her earliest memories. Once the cottage was just out of sight (though never out of mind), Caroline perched herself upon a rock, and waited to watch the rays that would bloom across the horizon.

Watching the sunrise was, Caroline thought blearily, like witnessing the resurrection of the dead. Except that wasn’t right, was it? Day or night, the surrounding mountainscape was always bursting with life. Trees swayed in the wind; moss grew on the trees; ants and spiders made their homes among the moss.

Home. The mountainside cottage had become Caroline’s home once more.

Caroline looked to the sky, and glimpsed no birds taking flight, but she knew they were there. In the dark, the stealthy birds of night did not sing with the same braggadocio as their colorful daytime counterparts; nonetheless, they swooped and danced — and lived.

Beneath the birds and the trees and the grass, beetles and maggots and worms squirmed and fed and bred. Unseen, but always present, they were the masters of the mountain, of the valley beyond — of everything below and in between. If birds dominate the sky, Caroline thought, and humans reign over the land, then bugs rule the ground, and all that lies underground.

The bugs would rule over Caroline’s mother, before the day was out. 

Caroline brushed that thought aside the same way she might flick away an ant crawling on her arm. She focused instead on this: even when all seemed shrouded by darkness, the world teemed with life.


Submitted: September 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 JPeaslee. All rights reserved.

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