So I thought I would play aroun with the latest Issekiwa's challenge. Guess what? I couldn't write it short enough. I did write a poem on it, but when I turned to prose, my first draft was 500 words long and didn't quite yet say it right. It would be a little longer before I finished.
I will say, I am first and foremost a poet and a tech writer, and haven't really tried to do much in the way of prose fiction, but I enjoy stretching, too, and sometimes, poetry is too succinct.
Well, any way, for what it's worth, here's the piece:
There were times like now when Kagome would stare into the fire, hypnotized by the flames, too tired, perhaps to sleep.
All around her was quiet. Darkness wrapped around their camp site, relieved only by the small, bright light of their fire. She looked at the stretched-out body of her friends in the small clearing. Their campsite was a lucky find, a place near enough to the road, but screened away from it by a rocky rise and lots of brush. It was the one real break they had all day.
It had been a long hard walk. Since Kikyou's and Kanna's death, their need to finish with Naraku had grown even stronger, but finding him was proving to be the hard part. InuYasha, frustrated by not finding any sign of Naraku recently, not even any good rumours to go on, had pushed everybody longer than they really would have liked to walk. They had eaten a hurried dinner then Shippou had curled up next to Kirara, having fallen asleep before Kagome even got her sleeping bag ready. The normal day's end talk had stopped early. Now Miroku snored slightly where he slept near, but not too close to Sango. InuYasha had done the usual and was sitting up in a nearby tree. The night air was still, and there was little other noise but the popping of the fire. But Kagome found rest elusive.
Sighing, she reached over for her pack, and started rummaging through the big yellow bag. There was a snap of twigs behind her. Looking, she saw a flash of silver. "Hello, InuYasha," she said, fishing a book and a book light out of her bag, then sat back down on her sleeping bag..
"Oi, woman, what are you doing still awake?" he said, squatting down beside her. "Night is for sleeping."
"I couldn't sleep. I thought maybe I'd study a little bit. And what about you?"
"Feh. I'm no pathetic human that needs to sleep all night." He said, not meeting her eyes, but sitting down comfortably close.
She smiled at him. "Right."
Opening her book, she turned on the lamp and read for a few minutes, then closed it again, pulled her knees up close and sighed as she stared into the fire.
"Too sad," she said softly. There had been so much sorrow to deal with lately. Grief was one thing she really didn't want to have to deal with it in her schoolwork as well.
"Oh, it's a story I have to read for school for my next test. It's an old famous story how a long time ago, in a country far, far away, a man chosen by the Kami came to a town where a Hime named Dido ruled alone. She fell in love with this young man, but when the Kami told him it was time to move on to complete his quest, she let him go to his destiny, and then set herself on fire and died for love of him. It's just too sad for me to think about tonight."
He thought about saying something about her stupid school, but looking at her and how tired and sad she looked made him for once keep his mouth closed. They had been through so much together lately, since the death of Kikyou and her saving him from grieving to death at the hands of Kaou. She was so strong, but tonight he could see some of the cost. Instead of saying anything, he moved a little closer, touched her hand.
She looked up at him, slightly supriised.
Smiling a little, he put an arm around her. "I'm not like that Dido's guy, you know. I promised to always be with you."
Kagome looked up at him, smiled softly, then nested her head against his shoulder. "Thank you, InuYasha."
Turning back to stare into the fire, she rested there, with her head on his shoulder until she fell asleep.