Quote of the Day: Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov
I’m participating in the WEP challenge for the first time. WEP stands for Write – Edit – Publish, an online community that partners with the Insecure Writers Support Group. I saw the post by Damyanti Biswas and felt inspired to write my own flash fiction. The Moonlight Sonata, or Sonata Una quasi Fantasia – Piano Sonata No. 14 by Ludwig van Beethoven is one of my favorite songs to play. Before writing this piece, I played through the songs several times, letting the melody and the mood of the piece sweep me away. The following thoughts have been drifting up to me for a while, now, while I play. This writing prompt gave me a chance to share them with you.
While I was on the North Shore of Lake Superior with my sisters this summer, we watched the full moon rise over the great lake, Gitchee Gami. It was stunning. My pictures are a little fuzzy. Night photos are challenging, and it’s hard to capture the moon.
472 Words: NCCO: Tagline – Mother Nature calms the Night Terrors
Moonlight Sonata – Drifting Away
Night terrors plague me. I don’t get them every night, but when I do, I wake with a cry. Sometimes, it’s a word, “Stop,” or “No,” or “Get out!” Often, it’s only a sound of fear and surprise, like when you open a shed door and a small animal jumps out at you and runs away.
The images from the dream are so vivid that I can see them even when I open my eyes. The emotions are so real that my heart races. I have sweat on my forehead, and my breathing is fast and loud.
Since I’m wide awake, and need to clear the images and emotions away, I get up, wrap myself in a blanket and walk down to the end of the dock at our lake cabin. The sounds of the lake soothe my anxious soul. Frogs croak. Cicadas buzz. Bats swoop low, and I welcome the sound of their screech and flutter of their wings. I thank them for eating mosquitos and whisper, “Please, don’t make a home in my attic.”
I imagine a boat drifting by with a lone occupant, gently floating into view. Shadows of the nightmare creep in, and I picture the row boat getting too close to the river outlet and pulled into its turbulent current.
The rower straightens and pulls on the oars, fighting against the undertow. The roar of the waterfall grows louder and louder so that all I can hear is the rush of water. I press my hands to my ears and shut my eyes. The terrors are loud and crushing, like the boulders at the bottom of the drop-off. I fight, like the rower, to pull away from its overpowering tug.
“It’s not real,” I tell myself and dangle my feet in the cool, calm water of the lake. The full moon glides out from behind the cloud cover. It’s reflection on the water glimmering from the slight ripples.
I bring my breathing back to a slow, steady rhythm. The night creatures chirp and hum in the cattails near the shore. The rowboat I imagined breaks away from the perilous waterfall that manifests my deepest fears. I am not alone. I have the power to steer free from disaster.
I imagine myself in that boat, safe and strong. The North Star my guide, the moon my companion. A glimpse of pink spreads along the horizon, and I feel my anxiety, along with the phantom boat, drifting away.
I inhale the cool, damp air of the predawn light. Mother Nature calms me, again. I stand, wipe the water off my feet with the blanket, then wrap it snug around me in a tight hug. I go back inside and lie down. I’m not afraid to go back to sleep, now. The night terrors are over. I am at peace.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What inspires you?
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Intense and descriptive writing. I enjoyed how you incorporated the sights and sounds of the lake during her night of terror. Calming and helpful for her to return back to a peaceful sleep.
Excellent! The light of a full moon isn’t something any of us can resist, is it?! I treasure those nights the clouds stay away and let the sky win.
Mary, thank you for participating. Welcome to the WEP! I hope you enjoy the process and will join us, again and again, going forward. It can become such a fun habit!
Thank you. I am enjoying the entries for this prompt. It was irresistible!
What a beautiful post. The picture of the moonlit night was beautiful painted. I felt calm after reading this. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Damyanti. I appreciate your comment about feeling calm by the end. That was my hope.
The night terrors gripped me from the beginning and took me on a moonlit journey to tranquility. Descriptive and emotional writing. Great take on the prompt. Nice pics.
Thank you, Lenny. Wonderful comment. Just what I was hoping to evoke.
Love this, Mary.
There truly is nothing like Mother Nature to soothe those night terrors away. As someone who lives on the edges of GitchiGami, I love the images – both photos and words!
Ooo. Thank you. GitchiGami is a mystical place.
Your descriptions are amazing, lyrical and emotional. They bring us, the readers, into your story, so we could participate in it.
Thank you. I love your comment about it being “lyrical and emotional.” That’s how it felt to me.
Welcome to the WEP Challenge, Mary! 🙂 Having experienced night terrors myself, this not only resonated, but also captivated me from beginning to end. The calming last paragraph was the perfect balm. 👌 Lovely photos, as well.
Thank you, Debbie. That’s the reacting I was hoping for.
How very, very beautiful. Nature is solace and heart balm for me too. Thank you for this lyric piece – and welcome to WEP.
Mary, a warm welcome to WEP. What a stunning entry. It captured me from beginning to end. You evoked the prompt to perfection. I was especially moved to read you played the piece and drew inspiration that way. The rendition was like listening to a classical piece of music. Enchanting.
Wow. Thank you, De, for the kind compliments. That’s exactly what I was going for as I wrote this piece.
A wonderful integration of the sound and written word; I could feel the rhythm of the rowboat in sync with the triplets.
I’ve been practising Moonlight Sonata for a long time now, but haven’t touched it within the last 18 months or so. Maybe I need to get back to it.
Thank you, Michelle. I’ve imagined parts of this piece for a while, now, when I play the song. Yes, get your fingers back on the Keys! Your heart and soul will thank you.
Congratulations on your WEP award, Mary!
Hope to see you back on the WEP circuit for the October challenge.
Hi Mary – loved the way you wove your story around Gitchi-Gami (I learnt of the trail) … and yes those night terrors – I rather wish mine were set near yours … thankfully I don’t have them very often. Thank you – I loved your take on the prompt – incorporating recent memories with your sisters at the Lake. The moon above the water is just gorgeous to see … I can see it here on occasions over the English Channel (much smaller than your Lake!) … cheers Hilary
The moon rise over the lake was magical. Thank you, Hilary!
Welcome to the WEP. I’m glad you have come aboard.
You have written a lovely, intense description of emotions experienced in a nightmare or even in a loss of a dear loved one.
I like the way you deepen the feeling, giving it depth.
An excellent take on the prompt.
Thank you, Pat, for your lovely comment.
Welcome to WEP! You did such a wonderful job of painting the scene with your words. Your visuals were stunning, and the emotions were vividly conveyed.
Thank you, L.G!
Lyrical and vivid! Greatly enjoyed reading your flash. Loved the metaphor of the boat, the helmsman, the waterfall. In the final analysis, we do have the choice to steer our crafts in the direction we want and stay clear of dangerous currents. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece at WEP.
Thank you for your wonderful feedback, Nilanjana!
Beautifully done. You made good use of the senses to describe the beauty of nature. It was a soothing read.
Thank you, Sonia.
Excellent description, Mary. I’m so glad you jumped into this month’s WEP and contributed your piece. Great addition.
Writing to a musical prompt can create such lyrical and beautiful work. The placid ending soothes the night terror that comes before.
Thank you so much, Shannon.
Intense and detailed in a superb manner. Well done, Mary.
I experience night terrors, but they may be tied to sleep apnea rather than being psychological in origin. I was diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea earlier this year, but they still haven’t gotten around to providing me an APAP yet. (Like a CPAP, but it only kicks in when necessary rather than providing constant pressure.) Go figure.
Thanks for sharing that, Ornery Owl. Sounds like that is a good system. I hope you get it, soon.
An awesome description of a mental tug of war.
Thank you for your lovely comment.
I love your story. Descriptions with story took me to the end. Also, I love your photos. So pretty.
Congratulations on your WEP award. I hope you will keep coming back to these challenges.
Congratulations Mary for winning your debut WEP!