Flash Fiction: The Guardian of Ages

Dubai desert, Tim de Groot, Dusty Sky

There’s an old man who carries the storms in an old bag. With his shoulders bowed beneath the weight of the rain, hail, and snow, he walks with lightning clutched in his dark hand as a walking stick. Lightning has carved deep patterns into his flesh during the ages he has walked the earth, the feather-like patterns following the rivers of blood that pump through veins, arteries, and capillaries.
There’s an old man with an old bag wearing old boots and even older clothes. He walks the lands, resting at the top of hills and skirting rivers and streams. And the weather follows him; his whistle the light breeze on a summer’s day, his song the winds that call the clouds behind him. In his dreams he sails the vast waters of his world and the fog of his dreams spread across the water and storms churn the dark waves so that the people on the shore pray for the safety of their loved-ones on the ocean or hide in the shelter of their homes listening to the wordless song and wail of the winds and waves as they lash the coast.
There’s an old man who carries the weather in his old bag and searches the world for someone else like him. With shoulders bowed beneath the weight of the clouds, he walks over the earth whistling and singing until he reaches the great desert.
There’s an old man who walks the ocean of sand and brings with him the first rain in an age. He throws his walking stick into the air, sending blinding flashes all around him as he searches for the house built of mud brick where he was born an age before.
Yellow, orange and purple flowers deck the ground overnight as he walks to the old house. Rivers run over the land, following in his footsteps until he reaches the plain where ancient trees – guardians through the ages – stand black and barren around a small mud house.
There’s an old man who knocks on the wooden door of the house and leaves his bag and walking stick by the front door for the new child to find.
There’s an old man who goes to stand with the other guardians around the house, his skin taking on the wrinkled appearance of bark.
There’s an old man who reaches his hands towards the clouds and spreads his fingers and catches the last of the rain with joy and contentment etched on his face.

There’s a young boy who leaves his house the day after the rains when the flowers cover the ground where he is to walk to find his way out of the sea of sand. There is a young boy who stops at the new, yet gnarled, tree that stands as a sentinel and guardian next to the house.
There is a young man who carries the storms in an old bag.

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


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