Day 79 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about what a character did to be immortalized in some way.
Erin: Here stands the gumball sculpture of dear Mrs. Lancer. She was an inspiration to us all. More than an art teacher, she was a challenge. Mrs. L pushed us into trying different mediums and different themes. Her moving on to bigger and better thing only inspired us to do the same. This piece of art serves to honor her and inspire those who have not had the pleasure of studying under her teaching.
Shannon: “Mom where did you get that? It’s beautiful,” My teenage daughter questioned, sneaking up on me, something she was very good at.
I figured she was old enough to hear the truth. “A friend painted it for me when were both about your age.”
“What,” she was in shock. “Why have I never seen it before? How is this hiding in the attic, it should be in a place where everyone can see it. Does she still paint? She’s amazing,” she gawked from over my shoulder, already getting herself a little worked up over it.
“I’m sure she would if she could. She passed away the same year she made it. She had cancer, and I was so afraid of destroying it, so I’ve hid it to keep it safe ever since her death,” I looked at the cardboard casing, and then back to Cecilia to make sure she wasn’t upset.
“I’m sorry mom. I didn’t know,” the tone in her voice revealed she wasn’t expecting that answer.
“If she knew where I’ve keeping it she’d be so upset too. The whole point of her art was so that she could make her mark on this world with the little time she had left. She said she’d live forever on her friends’ walls, and then they could pass it down to their children, and continue to passed down until there was nothing left but a blank scrap,” I smiled as I was transported back to that moment.
“She sounds like she knew what she was talking about,” Cecilia spoke up after a short silence.
“I guess she did,” I smiled.
Writing someone can immortalize them, but how about you write about another way someone can be immortalized.
Carefully swirling the foam on top of my latte, I smudged the cute poinsettia the barista had created with a pinch of food colouring and more time than I would have liked. When I peered up from my tepid coffee, taking in the stunning new paving tiles in the square, I caught the eye of a man in a nearly-florescent blue blazer. He was sauntering nonchalantly up the walk, admiring the bushels of red roses that adorned either side of the café’s doorway. Strolling past the gated patio where I was, he shielded his eyes from the midday sun and crossed the street; his gaze shifted suddenly to the woman immortalized in cast brass, wielding a pen in one hand and a sword in the other.
When I finally got back to my latte I realized I wasn’t in the mood for coffee after all, and just sat enjoying the pleasant, touristy scenery. All around me, brilliant flowers sat on tables, grew on fluffy bushes and garnished shop entrances to give the otherwise dower courtyard a pop of colour. Listening intently to the cacophonous melody around me of brazen vehicles, angry shouting, people chatting calmly, music coming from street performers, nature growing through the city and my fellow café patrons going about their lives, I remembered why I was so loathe to journey to the big cities. If not for the wondrous aromas of freshly baked breads and piping hot beverages, I may not even bother.
But when I noticed the brightly-dressed man stalking around the shoddy statue, I recalled my read purpose in the city. Gathering my purse and throwing my arms hurriedly through my jacket arms, I picked my way through the patio to the exit and entered the throngs of people shuffling along the sidewalk. Though the initial crush of people was excruciating for a small town girl like me, I could stand it for small periods of time to attend these meetings. In an hour I would be at a round table debate with like-minded people, and a few hours after that, I will have happily left the city in my dust.
When I finally arrived at the crosswalk, being shoved nearly into the road by people attempting to cross, I waited for the light to change as my toe tapped out a jig. Fortunately, the light changed quickly and I was across the five lanes of traffic before I knew it, wandering the crowded island alone. As far as I knew, the statue that stood above me, had a place of honor in this particular space; the roads wound their way, dangerously, around the island so everyone knew where this place was.
Carefully picking my way through the throngs of people, I managed to get a seat at the near-deserted metal benches below the statue. While this was a place everyone knew, people didn’t stay here for long; it was a way of passage to almost any part of the city, so people were constantly on the move. Seated at the next bench was a couple who appeared to be having a heated conversation, though keeping their voices down in the dreadfully busy location. The woman, fairly pregnant, burst into tears as onlookers ignored them completely, the man hugging her tightly.
I didn’t even notice anyone was observing me until he sat down on the other end of my bench, with his dark eyes trained on me. Self-consciously, I tugged my hair around my face and glanced around at the people, trying to look interested. But he was still staring when I looked back. As I was about to speak to him, in a tone that would be seen as unladylike, he held up his hands defensively and shouted, “Hey, sorry, you just look very familiar. I don’t get out much lately, so I’m trying to figure out who you are.” No one in the area even peered over at the man yelling.
Not that I could blame anyone for minding their own business, I secretly wished someone would have said something. Instead, I called back, “Sorry, I don’t think I know you.” He simply shrugged and turned back to the crush of people, fidgeting with his cell. For a good ten minutes we studiously ignored each other, until he strolled over to me.
“I know who you are,” a sly smile played at the side of his lip as he spoke, “You’re her.” When he pointed up, I rolled my eyes and opened my mouth to speak, meaning to point out he must be crazy and to please leave me alone, but he held up his hand to stop me. Taking a seat a couple feet away, an acceptable distance for strangers, he grinned smugly, “It’s your face that should have been up there. I was at one of your rallies.” Instead of being happy that someone recognized the woman in the statue wasn’t the real leader, I was horrified.
Too stunned to speak, I breathed in carefully before swallowing the growing lump in my throat. “You must be mistaken,” I nodded at my own statement to create the illusion of truth.
His demeanour changed to mimic my wide-eyed horror, “Oh, no, I was on the right side. I would never-” neither of us wanted him to finish that sentence, to admit every single person who’d fought for our cause could have me arrested at any moment. “I’m attending the meeting tonight. I just glimpsed you and a friend of a friend said you like to frequent this spot before meetings. I just wanted to hear about the last stand from you.” When his eyes glistened, I chuckled and looked down at my scarred hands.
No one wanted to know about the war anymore, everyone was either trying to forget it ever happened or remind us there was never any hope; we’d lost the war and this statue was here to remind everyone of that. Taking a deep breath, I began, “Well, we were on the hill, standing together so no one could take us; I was with a large militia. The government had sent out some drones, but they couldn’t fire on us since we were just standing there, ignoring them.” I was describing the last stand we’d taken; the day we realized we were fighting a losing war and had fallen back. “All that month we’d been attempting to steal the final plans for the camps, but we’d already lost twenty good men to that fool’s errand.”
Everyone knew the history; the governments had created plans to enslave the lower twenty percent of the population to be used as pawns in the world’s stage. We’d used every method we could to get the word out, but none were working. No one thought it was that big a deal, or they thought we were crack pots with an insane theory. We were trying to get proof, but it was hard going; we bribed government officials, we planned raids, we did everything we could to get our hands on the plans to no avail.
“We stood there until they started pushing us back; there weren’t nearly enough bystanders for them to not kill us all, so we fell back. Everyone scattered and that was it. That was the night we lost.” Tears stung my eyes painfully and I wiped them away before continuing, “And this stupid statue was created to remind everyone that the rich will always win in whatever they try and the poor will have to pay for it. The woman depicted wasn’t even high in our ranks; she’s rotting in jail somewhere for my crimes, because they wanted me to continue the fight.” In the man’s expression, there was severe pity. For me, it wasn’t bad enough that we were forced underground, but I was constantly reminded that someone was taking my lumps; that was hell, that was worse than whatever they could do to me. We’d lost the fight and I’d lost my will.
Created to Write:
Some would say that novel ideas fade with time. New ideas take their place and take the attention. But there are exceptions to this. The Avengers are one of them. There have been Avengers since the Incident, the Alien Invasion of New York. When Avengers fall, new ones are recruited. The members change, but the name stays the same.
The world knows the Avengers, but there is a smaller population that knows of another group.
They have changed their members as well. But the gifted people, those with powers or skills no one else understands, that know of their presence. They are whispered with hope laced lips and eyes that shine. Their name is the one that is cheered in hushed voices, for they stay in the shadows, the silent heroes for those that are different.
They are known, but you’d never believe they are real unless you see them for yourself.
They are the Novelty, and this is their legacy.