Lina – the story of a 14-year-old girl living in the foothills of the Himalayas around the year 1300. She’s escaping a bad situation.
By Linda Jo Martin
Flash fiction – 360 words
I’m sitting next to this waterway, a mountain stream. On this side there’s a boulder to sit on, so I rest my wary feet. I walked all day long since before dawn, carrying a roll of blankets on my back, because this is where I live now and when the sun sets tonight I’ll lay the blankets on the ground and curl up between them to sleep. I don’t know what I’ll do when winter comes. That will be months from now,. I can’t go back.
Brother Shya comes in from working in the field every day. He sits down and takes off his heavy shoes, then says, “Lina, come take off my socks and wash them for tomorrow.”
Then brother Arlan walks in and says, “Lina, I’m hungry. Quick with the meal!” So I have to serve him food.
Next brother Madin enters our little home. “Lina,” he says, “bring more water from the well. You must hurry, and then heat it for tea.”
Finally my father comes in. “This porridge needs spices, Lina,” he says. “Why can’t you get it right? Come, rub my back. I am tired and sore.”
My mother died with the child she carried last winter. The baby was another girl. Someone who could have helped with all the work. But no, she decided not to linger long on this side of the mystic veil. And crossing over, she took my mother with her.
Now Father wants me to work like my mother did, all day long. Cook, do laundry, feed the animals, carry water, and serve my older brothers like a slave.
So a mountain stream blocks my way. My way to where? I run to a freedom without a roof, an independence without protection, and a solitude without conversation. Can I do this? Can I really run away?
Should I cross the stream, or turn back?
Now I hear voices. Someone calling. Could it be them? Are they coming after me?
The stream no longer blocks me. I am in it, making my way to the dense forest on the other side. I will hide. I will stay still. I will survive.
I hope you like the story and video reading – I’m uploading my stories on video to my Linda Jo Martin YouTube channel – and hope you will subscribe. The channel will have art, readings, and writing vlog videos, plus travel when I get to that. Whatever comes up! With an emphasis on art, journaling, and writing. Creative stuff!