Feet of Stone

New Orleans cemetary.JPG

Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, via Google Maps Street View © Sam Odle

The pedestal loomed, moldy from neglect.  Dar tried imagining what had once topped it. Tried imagining his people creating a twice-life-sized statue of him, to worship as a god.

He chuckled.  Maybe in straw, as an effigy.

Yet they’d venerated this ancient azidaja for generations.

Until Eqtara the Great tore it down.

The priests had drowned Dar in legends of Eqtara, his father-father-uncle.  Why wouldn’t he obey Eqtara’s teachings?  Embrace the traditional rulings?  Respect their culture?

How was Dar to lead his people?

Dar glared at the pedestal, resenting Eqtara’s old ways, his rites and rituals etched in stone.

Suddenly, his thoughts shifted, dropping into unforeseen slots, like notched corner beams slipping into place.

Eqtara hadn’t been traditional.  He’d rejected the ways of his father-fathers.  He’d destroyed their monuments, created new rules.

Dar grinned, fresh ideas roiling like river rapids. Perhaps he was more like his ancestor than they thought.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge.  Click the link to read other stories inspired by Lafayette Cemetery, and to submit your own!

I continue to be swamped at work and with other obligations and travel, and haven’t had much time to write lately, much less keep up with reading and commenting on my favorite blogs.  Things are probably not going to slow down much in the near future, sadly, but I will try to keep popping my head back up into blogland as often as I can.  In the meantime, happy writing, everyone!  And good luck to anyone gearing up for NaNoWriMo this year!


26 thoughts on “Feet of Stone

  1. Love it interesting piece. He wants and perhaps first thinks he’d done something new and imposed non traditional ways on his people, but then realizes his father/grandfather etc. did much the same. Like it’s actually in his blood, in a way he never thought of before now. Great writing as always.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great to see you Joy! I especially enjoyed Dar’s internal journey through this story, as reflected in lines like “Suddenly, his thoughts shifted, dropping into unforeseen slots, like notched corner beams slipping into place” and “fresh ideas roiling like river rapids.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Agree with the above comments. Sounds like the beginning of an inspiring saga.

    Despite the world- specific terms, you draw us right in to the quandry of this young ruler or ruler-to-be, to reject what his contemporaries and elders call “tradition”, or to embrace the nontraditional path his forefathers actually took.

    I especially like the pun/ metaphor in the title. The young man’s indecision (feet of stone) impedes his movement, as a “ped”-estal might hold a statue firmly in place. You’ll be missed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I certainly hope I can turn Dar’s story into an inspiring saga, but it’s a ways away yet. I always struggle with the world-specific terms in these super-short pieces. It’s easier in novels and even short stories to get across what they mean, so here I’m mostly just hoping for the best (and cutting them, quite often).

      How people look at traditions turns out to be a common theme running through a lot of my stories, which is good for me to recognize.

      Thank you so much for calling out the title! I do love crafting just the perfect title, and they almost never get noticed, so I especially appreciate it. Thanks so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dar and Eqtara are two leaders with different minds. Eqtara had defied traditions. So did Dar. It unfair to equate them. Dar should follow his path and his ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like this story. It has a good plot, and is technically very assured. The way you introduce the characters is really skilful. Despite the word count, there’s no sense of haste, no ‘OMG, I’ve got to get on with the story’; instead you show us that Eqtara was larger than life, and that Dar feels that he’s an unworthy successor (and I love the way you do that with humour – “Maybe in straw, as an effigy.”)
    You’ve done a great job, Joy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so nice to hear, thank you for saying it, Penny! It felt hasty to me, because once again I had remembered the wrong word count and finally gotten it to work well at 200 words — only to realize I had to cut another 25%, gasp! But then, the reader doesn’t know all the parts the writer left out. I’m glad they weren’t obvious.


  6. Definitely no NaNo for you then? What a shame. But what can you do if you’re that swamped? Never mind, Camp will come along quickly enough :).
    This story reminded me of Egyptian history, of the pharaoh Akhenaten – probable father to Tutankhamun – who threw off the multiple gods of tradition, moved his capital to the desert and made the country worship one god – the Aten – instead. Of course, after Akhenaten died, he was condemned as a heretic, his existence and capital almost wiped from history. Does Dar realise what dangerous ground he’s walking on there – possible assassination and the desecration of his memory may await him?
    As always, a tightly written, interesting and insightful story from you Joy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting parallel, I hadn’t thought of that! As soon as you mentioned Akhenaten, I thought, Hmm, and that didn’t work out so well for him, did it? Although I guess it worked out fine enough for him during his lifetime. The problem Dar has is that he’s already being rejected as nontraditional, because he doesn’t take after his father, brother, grandfather, etc. Think of a slim, bookish kid born into a long line of rowdy quarterbacks and gruff football coaches. So he has to find a new way to get people to follow him, and quickly, or he’ll be thrown over anyway for his more popular cousin.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And to reply to the rest of your comment, no, I definitely can’t manage NaNo this year. I’ve even had to cancel my Thanksgiving plans because I have to stay here and keep working. Boy, this job is really getting in the way of my hobby! 😉 I can really use the time between now and Camp to work on my world-building anyway (as well as on my short stories). I keep running up against inconsistencies, big and small, with things like technology, language, history, even racial characteristics. I can get away with waving my hands vaguely in short stories and flash fiction, but it’s a real problem for either novel, where the time and place is clearly set.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What, no Thanksgiving trip away? What a shame. Hope you can do something else special instead. Eneana does seem like a complicated world, with so much folklore and myth and history. I’m not suprised you find it hard to pin down. My meagre brain would burst with it! So, an autumn of hunkering down awaits for you then?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It really is a shame — I’m giving up wine tasting in Sonoma, staying at a fancy hotel, and eating at even fancier restaurants, all as a (non-paying) guest. I’ve done it a few times already, so I can only hope there will be more chances in the future.

        And my autumn is definitely hunkering down, but mostly with job-work rather than writing-work. I’ll try to squeeze some world-building in there; we’ll see.

        Liked by 1 person

      • h, no, that sounds like a really lovely thing to miss out on – I do hope you get to do it another time. And that you get some time off too! You’ll be shattered if not 🙂


      • Depends on what you mean by time off… I’m committed to go to a Halloween party on Friday and a wine tasting on Saturday, so that’s time off. But I’ll probably be working the rest of the weekend. 😦 Officially burning the candle at both ends, ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

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