Caught in the space between refusing and obeying.
Photo credit: Ben Ramirez
Balancing effortlessly in the scaffolding, young Haalk watched the distant caravan retreat into the formless desert. “Alik, where do the bringers come from?”
“A city, far away.”
“What’s a city?”
Alik elbowed Haalk toward his task. “Like our mountain, I suppose, only flat.”
Haalk placed another stone. “I wish I was a bringer.”
Alik adjusted Haalk’s stone. “Be proud to be a builder. Builders and bringers, makers and breakers, breeders and feeders—each has a sacred role on the mountain. Fulfill yours, to the glory of Da’atal.”
They made the expected obeisance.
“Will I ever see a city?”
Alik shrugged. “One day, perhaps. When the temple is finished. When the Empress stands at the summit, as prophesized, to ask the judgement of Da’atal.”
“Be patient. I worked this section at your age, but it’s much straighter now. Surely this time, it will be approved. Already we are four levels higher than in my grandfather’s day.”
“How many levels are left?”
Alik gazed up, shielding his eyes from Da’atal’s brightness. “Only the makers know.”
Word count: 175. Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, inspired by the photo below. Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting! Click here to see the other stories, or to submit one yourself.
Photo © Ellespeth’s Friend