Crystal Clear

Apple tree icicles

Photo credit: Rebecca Siegel

All year, this grove is frosted.  They say a winter nymph mourns her lost love here, that these icicles are her tears.

I have never seen a nymph.  Every description of her differs.

But I know the shape of sorrow. I know the face of loss.

I grasp an icicle, shocking against bare skin, seeping in, numbing.

Aid me, winter nymph. Cauterize this hole he left.  Cool these steaming sobs.  Freeze these caustic embers.

Whitened leaves shiver, sparkle, tinkle in the chilly breeze, an almost-tune.

I hope.

Then silence.  The icicle melts, abandons me.

Once again, I find myself alone.

Word count: 100.  Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers flash fiction challenge.  Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting, and to Dale Rogerson for providing the original prompt photo (below).  Click the link to join in, or to read the other stories written for this prompt.

And hello again, everyone — it’s good to be “back” from NaNoWriMo!


Photo © Dale Rogerson

71 thoughts on “Crystal Clear

    • There are a few iconic winter lands with their ice fairies/queens out there already, and it’s pretty hard to write something that doesn’t sound like them, especially with only 100 words of detail. But then, I loved Narnia, so I’m flattered — thanks!


    • She wasn’t soothing to this woman; maybe the nymph is still too sad for herself to help others.

      Thanks – it’s good to be back! I wrote a few posts about my NaNo experience — flip back and check one or more of them out if you have the time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Rochelle, it’s good to be back! And glad you enjoyed the story. I’m planning to cut back to one flash fiction challenge per week (and I follow several), so I probably won’t be able to do Friday Fictioneers every week, but I’ll still be around as often as I can!


  1. What beautiful imagery, loved the words that you used. By the way, you will be pleased to know that the icicles didn’t melt to abandon you, it was a sign from the winter nymphs that you need to let go of your grief and ‘unfreeze’ your heart 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like those first paragraph breaks and how it builds to the italicized, which could be spoken or thought/wished internally. “Almost-tune” is interesting, I like…nothing like that imagery either, of the icicles. Was admiring remnants of frost on a metal sculpture this morning, on a bridge…sculpture of a foot, with thin patches of frost, quite lovely. Welcome back from the camp!


    • Thanks for the response, I love the detailed feedback – and am glad you liked it!

      Icicles look so magical in real life; they lend themselves to my world very easily, I think.

      It’s good to be back, although I’m easing myself in gradually, trying to find the time again for all this reading and commenting now that I’m swamped with work and holiday activities. And cooking; need to build my stock back up after eating it down all November!

      Liked by 1 person

      • At the same time, I am constantly surprised at how much time it ends up taking up in the day or two afterward, to read and comment on at least a decent percentage of other stories on the same prompt, and then reply to comments on mine. So the initial short time commitment is deceptive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Couldn’t agree with you more! Especially FF. I love it, but never get round to reading all the entries – especially, I’m afraid from those who I’ve read and commented on before and never comment back. There just are not enough hours in the day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m with you on that: there are a few people who are at the bottom of my priority list because they don’t comment back. Not naming names, but there’s one who replies to some of the comments on their own post but not to all — and never to mine. Not even a “thanks”. So: nope.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Funny how we were talking about this and then Rochelle bases this week’s post on the very subject! I know exactly what you mean – most FFers are great, but some I no longer comment on because of their lack of response. Sadly, not enough time in the day to spare on such things

        Liked by 1 person

      • And then I have days like this, where it’s hard to find the time just to reply to comments on my own posts — I haven’t even started reading others’ posts yet, eep!


  3. So sad, lost love can hurt so much. I don’t think nymphs freezing it will help. You just have to go through it and than one day you see it doesn’t quite hurt as much and it gets better most of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After the big betrayal of lost love, the icicle melting is another little betrayal. Everywhere we turn for comfort after such a loss seems to prove ephemeral, and betrays us.
    I am another who likes “Whitened leaves shiver, sparkle, tinkle in the chilly breeze, an almost-tune.” That’s proper writing, that is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, I didn’t pick the photo! (LOL) Actually, it seemed like a nice reminder to me. But then, I’m in southern California, which seems to be mostly on fire this week, and ravaged by the hot, dry Santa Ana winds. So ice sounds better than fire right now. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I grew up listening to the radio announce which schools were closed due to snow, and always hoped mine would be on the list. Now I’m listening to which schools are closed due to fire and hazardous smoke conditions, and… nope, you do not want *any* business near your home to be closed for that reason!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely not. Ice on roads might cause lethal accidents; hypothermia might spell the end of vulnerable old or ailing. But firs and, as you say, the fumes, that’s far more lethal. Is it heading your way? Or you likely to evacuate? I have say, except for in the driest summers fire isn’t counted a hazard in UK, and even then its confined to e.g. pine plantations and none of those are exactly extensive. So unless a factory goes up, and then who knows what fumes might be given off, it’s not a danger that registers with us. Living on North Sea coast flooding is our major problem. As with today when we’re on alert, though I think that’s a matter of being overly cautious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, exactly — even a bad ice storm, you can just weather it out at home, and shovel your way out in a day or three. Not like having to evacuate for a fire, and maybe come home to find everything you owned was destroyed. Luckily for me, the current terrible fires are all pretty far away. For now. The Santa Ana winds are still blowing, though, and new fires could start closer by any time. Fire wasn’t a danger that ever registered with me either, until I moved to southern California. Now I live someplace where you’re supposed to own high-grade face masks so that you won’t inhale the smoke, and the radio tells you what days not to go outside, and which major highways are closed due to uncontrolled fires. It’s like living in some post-apocalyptic sci-fi book.


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