The Wooden Cross

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about the wooden crosses you see on the side of the highway. I was bored driving to the Cape... It's a bit like poetry in the form of a short story. Read & review, and I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving.
EDIT: Entered in Serenity_In_Silence's Descriptive Contest, whether or not it belongs there.

Submitted: November 25, 2011

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Submitted: November 25, 2011

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The tires hummed on the black stony pavement with a sweet vibratto. You could hear soft static coming through the speakers, like foam on a latte. The morning sun solemnly illuminated the sky, radiating white light that faded to the blue of a lake just over the horizon. The trees stood guard to your left and right, their branches bringing to mind the peach fuzz on a newborn's head. You sat in silence.
The highway was... You reached for the right word. Melancholy, almost. There was colour, and the sky was smiling seriously. But winter was swiftly approaching, and the looming frost nipped the landscape, so that what would be a gay morning in spring was meditative in fall.
The serenity of machinery, of exhaust and smoke, rubber and metal, was overbearing. You longed for a hint of nostalgia, something primitive, that didn't go fast or simplify life for almost thoughtless beings. You wished for something natural. 
And then you saw it.
  There, on the side of the road, hidden from those who do not look for it, stood a small structure. 
It was made of two pieces of weathered, dirty wood nailed together in the form of a cross. The creation was crude, yet there was a naïveté to it. It was raw and passionate. And it was natural. 
You began to wonder, who made the cross? What would possess a person to exit a metal, gas-guzzling beast, in order to erect a wood and iron sculpture that looked as if a child had made it? Why was it on the side of the highway, of all places?
What did the wooden cross, standing as though to represent some personal corner of someone's heart, mean?
=#=
A tiny girl, clutching her mother's fingers for dear life. 
It was a common picture. Even in this day and age, a child's helplessness and lust for protection was undeniable.
  But at the moment, the girl wanted nothing more than life.
  She screeched in unison with the woman who no longer looked human, her body mangled beyond recognition.
\"Mummy,\" she sobbed. \"You gunna be okay.\"
The woman knew that that was a lie, and she knew that her daughter knew, too. Death was on the horizon, slipping its slinking fingers over the ground, like the shadows she kept away each night with the night-light.
There was no night-light today, though. None of the strangers driving past cared enough to dial three little numbers, to protect one woman, to turn on a night-light for her.
\"Mummy!\" the girl wailed.
Her mother tried to move torn, blood-covered skin that was once a mouth. A long time ago - or, at least, it seemed a long time ago - she had stretched the muscles quite easily, twisting them to portray happiness or express anger. But they quivered now, and she could barely rasp, \"It's okay, honey. It's okay.\"
The girl screamed, a long, pure, raw sound. No one was around to hear. \"Mummy gunna die!\"
\"N...n-no, honey, shh. I love you. Everything's okay.\"
\"I...love you, too,\" the daughter said, suddenly and solemnly realising that there was nothing that could be done. She didn't want to accept the reality; yet, she could not resist it any longer.
\"Bye...byebye, mummy?\"
\"Bye, sweetie.\" A tear, too swirled with blood to be human, slid down an exposed cheekbone.
Death's fingers touched her toes, stroking up her body slowly. The mother's mind raced back to her childhood, flipping through memories so fast that they dissolved into blurs of colour and screams of happiness, mingling with the blurs of cars and screams of pain from a young girl.
  The fingers reached her chest, her neck, her eyes-
Gone. 
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The tiny girl clutched the fingers of a man now.
  Her father, like a lion, stood proud and tall.  But a tear penetrated his granite façade. His lioness was gone, now. He could not bring her back. 
His expression contrasted with his daughter's. Her lip was stiff as that of an empress, her shoulders squared like a prince's.  The young girl's eyes were slanted, distrustful but submissive. Her face was wrinkled, like that of an old woman who had seen death, hopelessness, and despair. It would have been almost amusing, almost funny, to look upon, had she not been through all three. 
And she was at the funeral for her mother, which was not something to laugh about.
Days later, she and her father pulled to the side of the highway and got out of the car. The girl could still see red stains where the pavement could never be cleaned completely. Small scraps of metal and rubber were strewn across the thin, brown grass, dead like the woman who had turned on her night-light less than a month ago.
The girl opened her Dora backpack, which used to make her giggle wildly, and pulled out the wooden structure.
  Her father had helped her with it. It had been simply, nailing two small boards together. But she had still put her heart into it. The cross was the only symbol she could think of. She wanted people to see it, and to think about how they drove past the dying woman without turning on a night-light. She wanted people to realise how horrid they were, human beings who did not help one another. People who did quite the opposite. People who could go on with their lives, of which the most important event was pay day or a television programme finale, while someone who was a little girl's entire world was torn away. People who somehow didn't care.
  She knew that these people would never notice the cross. But she knew that the few special people who had hearts and souls, the people who would have helped, the good ones, the real ones, would see the structure. And they would think of a life that was taken, a death that could have been prevented. And maybe, someday, the girl hoped that all of the surviving people, the real people, could unite. That they could bring life back to those who did not live it. 
She hoped that the wooden cross could be a symbol of human love.
And it stood, small but not inferior, through life. 


© Copyright 2017 Onnedhiel. All rights reserved.

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