Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sugar and Brimstone ~ Part Three

Tulah’s mother arrived late to the scene of the fire. She saw her daughter rocking on her knees in shock and went to her. Cinnie sank down beside the child who thought she was a woman and wrapped her arms around her. They both rocked back and forth with Cinnie murmuring, “Shhhhh, shhhhh, baby, shhhhh….”

Tulah couldn’t seem to say anything. She tried but it came out in big gulping shudders like a distraught five-year old. “Uh…uh…uh…”

Then she would commence to rock again, her eyes wide and staring.

Cinnie took her own coat off and wrapped around the girl. Tulah leaned into the leftover body heat in the wool and buried her face in it. It was as if she thought drinking in the scent of her mother could stop the shock and shuddering.

“Come on, baby…” Her mother said softly. “We need to get you home.”

She pulled the girl up to a standing position. Tulah stood on her legs swaying like a calf stumbling to its feet for the first time. If not for the supporting arm of her mother, she would have surely fallen back onto the ground in a stupor.

Cinnie led the girl slowly back down the path to their home. Tulah was barely conscious of getting there. Her brightly lit home looked somehow different. She looked at it with new eyes and she realized it wasn’t the house that had changed, it was her. Everything looked somehow smaller and she felt bigger, as though she was taking up so much more space than before. She didn’t feel safe and she didn’t like the feeling. She allowed her mother to sit her at the kitchen table and wrap her in a quilt.

Her mother took some water off of the stove and brewed up a pot of tea made from the mountain apricot vine. Tulah’s eyes followed her movement’s vacantly. Cinnie counted out the five minutes then poured the tea in a cup.

“Here you go,” she said, setting the big mug of tea down. “This will help you sleep.”

Tulah looked down into the pale green liquid and took a sip. She remembered the other-worldly saucer shaped flower the vine grew on and it’s odd spikes of lavender and white.

“Some folks call this passionflower.” She said. “What an odd thing to call a flower that puts you to sleep.”

Cinnie sat down next to her. “You drink up. You’re in shock.”

“They tried real hard to kill him Mommy. They tried real hard. I didn’t want them to at first, but by the end I was prayin’ for a bullet to hit him.”

Cinnie reached over and covered her daughter’s shaking hand with her own.

“Shhhhh…you drink now.”

Tulah drank her tea and felt the waves of sleepiness and calm flow over her. She allowed her mother to lead her to her bed and help her undress. Cinnie tucked her daughter in and sat on the side of the bed stroking her hair until the girl fell asleep. Then she quietly left the room, closing the door behind her.

She slept in a deep mindless sleep where dreams made less sense than usual. But it was not the sleep of an innocent girl anymore. Indeed, had it not been for the soporific effects of the mountain apricot tea, Tulah would have not been able to sleep at all. The cries of the burning man, the man she thought she loved, still played over and over in her mind. The rain began to fall on the tin roof at some point in the wee hours of the morning. This sound, which so many times had lulled her to sleep, seemed to waken her from the odd narcotic dreams she was having.

At least that was what she thought, when she became aware of a glow in her room. She thought perhaps her mother had opened the door to look in and check on her.

She looked towards the glow through her eyelashes and then, in horror, opened her eyes widely.

The ghostly apparition of Tarn Rickson stood at the foot of her bed, engulfed in flames.

The Conclusion of "Sugar and Brimstone"


  1. Mary said...
    Filled with suspense and intrigue. What will happen to Tula? I can hardly wait for next week's episode to find out. Enjoyed it!
    Leeuna said...
    Rosie, I am so enjoying your stories. I think this one is my favorite. But...then again I like the others just as well... I do hope you write a book soon. If you do, make it at least as long as "War and Peace" so it will last a looooooong time. :-) That's the only thing I don't like about your writing; it ends. LOL

    threecollie said...
    Yow! Ditto on the book...I really like your writing
    Sharon said...
    Terrific mood! "Sugar and Brimstone" what a great title! I could spend hours on your blog and hope to in the future.

    Rosie said...
    Thanks everyone...I'm glad you are enjoying this month's story cycle. I'm having a lot of fun with it too.

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