Saturday, November 2, 2019

Spark

“No.”

Her word was a minuscule spark in a vast ocean of shouting men. None but the farmer and the seamstress, sitting to her right and to her left, noticed that a sound had crossed her lips. The men occupying the dais seemed beyond reach.

“If we cut him, he will lose too much blood to stay conscious,” the head of The Council said. “He burned our barn. We should burn him until he reveals where the rest of his horde is hiding.”

She raised a hand. The farmer and the seamstress did the same. The council failed to see them.

“Burning is as inefficient as cutting,” the Security Chief said. “He might get an infection before we get what we need out of him. Partial drowning will break—”

“No.”

Slowly, the council began to quiet… until the room was completely silent. Not because the men had heard her, but because she had left the back of the room, walked past the landowners, past the merchants, past the families of the councilmen, and was now standing next to the metal folding chair that held the gagged prisoner. The seamstress and the farmer had followed her to the front. Others had followed them, too.

“This is Council business, my dear woman.” The head of The Council smiled. “I’m sure—”

Whatever he was sure of was consumed by a united, “No!” that got louder and louder as more of the people continued to chant their outrage.

The man on the folding chair would pay for the arson. But there would be no torture. Her people were better than that, even if a handful of old men had made them forget for a time.   


for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #2

41 comments:

  1. Makes me think of the death penalty and how it needs to be abolished across the world.

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  2. Those were scary times. Thank you Magaly for portraying so well so as I could mostly understand. During WWI my German great grandfather had to hold off a mob with his shotgun. Mot good.

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    1. Brave man, your great-grandfather. Mobs are volatile monsters...

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  3. How powerful to say a firm, collective 'No'.

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  4. I love the coincidence of us both using the word ‘spark’, Magaly, and the sentence ’Her word was a minuscule spark in a vast ocean of shouting men’ is a great way to start your piece about witches. The repetition of the word ‘No’ is very effective, too, and I like the way you describe your protagonist’s walk to the front of the room – very calm and confident.

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    1. You know, I didn't know this crow were witches. But I can certainly see how (and why) they could be...

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  5. Weak leaders often use cruel punishment to ensure their subjects do not oppose them. It is a repetitive action that ensures fear and subjection. I am glad the protesters took charge. Interesting post from you Magaly.

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    1. So true. And so terrible... how people can take so long to fight back.

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  6. What an entrancing piece of prose

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  7. What a good lesson can be learned from your story. It takes only a spark to ignite a huge fire, and only one person to speak up to lead others (who may be too timid to speak out) in the right direction. Thank you for this reminder. Its perfect!

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    1. There is so much power in voices that know they aren't alone.

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  8. Power to the people! I enjoyed reading the scene. It depicts a side of human nature that we’d like to see more of.

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  9. It's amazing how one voice speaking out is able to make a change. I could hear the strength of her no. She also had two stand beside her, the farmer and the seamstress - one who represents growth and one who represents binding. By bringing them together draws strength and a united front. I really enjoyed reading this as I wondered about the severity of the crime being justified to the severity of the torture that was proposed. I was glad that someone had the strength to stand up and say no, even though it meant standing up against the powers that be.

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    1. I love your reading of the story. And I, too, wonder about the chances of a world that believes in an eye for an eye. What will be left?

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  10. I'm letting the rest of the story unfold in my imagination. Thanks for jolting me out of my complacency this morning!

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    1. That's the best way of reading very short pieces, I think. We take what we are given, and make it grow. Wonderful!

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  11. This is awesome. I just finmished reading a book about the Berlin Wall which divided families, and how, eventually, the will of the people, with a little support from Gorbachev, was enough to bring it down. Sometimes justice triumphs. We are so over that handful of old men!

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  12. There is something in your character that reminds me of 12 angry men... there always has to be a voice of reason... besides it's well known today that torture doesn't work... and revenge will never make a person sated.

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    1. It makes one wonder why the world continues to do things, which they know will not bring the desired results. The world is mad.

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  13. There is power in acknowledging what is wrong and putting one's foot down when need be. ❤️

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  14. What a brave soul for saying no--sometimes one voice is all you need to move mountains--loved this!

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  15. So much power in such a small word. Hopefully more people will remember the strength their "No"s carry.

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  16. Yes! Important demo with character I can believe in.

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  17. A powerful reminder of our shared humanity. I love this.

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  18. Magaly,

    I felt the intensity of the fear as your poem progressed. A very powerful piece of writing. It's a situation that is too often a reality for many people, throughout the world. People power can generate, both good or bad outcomes...NO, is a very rousing word of emotion..

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  19. I really like the message contained in this piece. It takes only one person to light a spark, and a collective NO to change the course of events. Powerful!

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  20. Sometimes saying no is the only way. It may take courage but at least you can still look in the mirror and like what you see. Thanks for visiting my dear friend Azra. I appreciate it.

    Blue

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    1. And we should be able to look ourselves in the mirror, if we want.

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I love your insightful remarks. So, go ahead, let them fly…