theinkwell writing challenge | The Gold Fish

in The Ink Well3 months ago (edited)

Another story. Just that and maybe nothing.
The truth is that my mood is not ok, but I can still write. Be.
I appreciate the circumstance of writing to The Ink Well Community. It is an opportunity that I recommend to anyone who comes here. This is the link to the call: https://peakd.com/hive-170798/@theinkwell/the-ink-well-writing-challenge-or-season-2-week-5
The sixth week is just a few hours away..
And yet, thank you for coming here.


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Dominic felt for the umpteenth time the bag with the pay. Twenty gold coins were a small fortune here and in any city he knew of. Now he was leaving far away, ready to forget the last fifteen years of his life.

It had gotten dark. For five days he had been walking in the mountains and he was fed up with the mosquitoes, he was also fed up with not being able to stop remembering, with going over what had already been done, as if he were missing an important detail. But above all he was sick of feeling that the other was watching him from the shadows of the trees.

Many times he had rammed the bushes with his dagger in front of him. Every time the blade had cut into shadows and leaves. Then he doubted his senses and started walking again, convinced that his imagination was playing with his patience. And then again...

In the light of the fire he examined the golden fish hanging from a thick leather cord. He struggled to gather enough courage to get the beautiful piece of jewellery out of the pocket hidden in his breeches. He had never possessed anything so magnificent.

The fish had been a gift from the Lady, who was Primus' stepmother. The coins and the boots he wore in the bag had been from Primus.

When he picked up his body he had only felt some repulsion. The boy had been very thin and almost dwarfed. Dead, he looked like a child. At the last moment Primus had shit his pants. He also had some vomit on his shirt. The Lady had not mentioned these details, but the symptoms confirmed that she had put poison in the wine. He would have wanted to keep the shirt. He was deterred by the idea of having to wash it. Later that day, he took off his boots and rings before throwing it down the ravine. He had to struggle a lot with the dead man's stiff limbs. The image of Primus' bare, white feet often appeared in his dreams.

He had never had so much gold. And he had won it in a single day without too much difficulty.

It had been much like getting rid of a dead dog, though he was still somewhat impressed. He reminded himself that he hadn't killed the boy, that he had just made the body disappear. The Lady had taken care of almost everything when he arrived. She was cunning. She even asked Dominic to punch her in the face a few times so she would have some bruises to show to support the story she would tell the authorities.

It was a very strange day.

The Lady did not tell him the official story, nor the real one, instead she insisted on telling him a pious story, in which she freed Primus from the suffering of his illness, and that was a story for someone more stupid than him. Everyone knew that Primus didn't suffer for anything at all. He was a young man with too much money for his pleasures and he enjoyed them voraciously. In the story that the Lady never told was the most important reason.

Primus' father had died a month earlier. Therefore, the Lady was a widow without a patrimony. On the other hand, the misshapen step-son was now very rich, and since he was not at all shy or stupid, the Lady had had to put some order into the house. He had helped her with pleasure. In the end, Primus was more of a hateful man. More than once he had received his kicks and slaps when he served him. So as not to waste too many thoughts on him, Dominic summarized his thoughts on the heir with a succinct description: Primus was a very shitty little shit. His body would have been rotten enough by now because of the summer suns.

In the solitude of the mountain, the story came back to Dominic as an insistent itch in his memory. The truth is that the Lady had been generous with him. When they said goodbye, she gave him the golden fish she was wearing around her neck. The leather cord retained some of the smell of her sweat and some of her perfume. He smelled it once more and buried it in his pants again.

Dominic knew that he had been slow. He could have asked her for a warmer, wetter present. Perhaps the idea crossed his mind, but he didn't have the courage... He fell asleep fantasizing about the Lady. However, it was a night without dreams. A night like an empty room populated by silent shadows. If any image crossed that emptiness, it was that of her dagger piercing the darkness.


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He had not spoken to anyone since then and since then he had been walking through the mountain, avoiding the villages. He was sure that people would know that he had all that gold with him. His coins would be stolen. They would steal his fish.
When he managed to get rid of these ideas, the other one would come and torment him. The truth is that the one who was watching him did nothing but observe, but Dominic felt a cold wind blow through him and began to suspect, or perhaps understand, that the other was setting him up.

Dominic knew that he would have to run away. He hurried the pace of the march. He gave up the dream. He barely lay down for a while to catch his breath.
The other was relentless.

Before nightfall on his tenth day, Dominic began to walk the last stretch of a path that led to the edge of the forest. Then he had to cross the bridge over the gully and reach the village where he was born. The same one he had left fifteen years ago to serve in the house of Primus.

He felt the other's bewilderment when they began to thin the trees.
Dominic ran with all the speed he could muster. He ran for his coins. He ran for the beautiful gold fish with the sweat and scent of the Lady. The other one too. For the briefest of moments in that very short chase, they were very close. Dominic had a blurry glimpse of her figure. The man was barefoot and smelled of shit.

The path ended in a rocky hollow.

Long ago, when he was a child, there was a bridge.

Long ago, when he was a child and there was a mother who smelled of bread, there was a village on the other side of the bridge.

Not anymore.


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Gracias por la compañía. Bienvenidos siempre.

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Yes, you are somber. It shows in your collage, also. But this is not maudlin. It is an exploration of conscience, of guilt, of choice. There is an earthiness that anchors the story and is suggestive of death. Life is not all marshmallows. This is life also. A very thoughtful, impressive story.

I appreciate your comment. I really appreciate that you read my story. It is a dark story, but you are a skilful reader and have managed to find nuances in that darkness. I suppose this story is trying to conjure up some buried fear. I was one of those children who believed that a hairy hand would come out from under the bed or that a crack in the wall would start moving to eat the house. I believe that fears breed nightmares and many of my stories are like that.

A hug!

In my youth, Dostoyevsky, Kafka and Gorky were among my favorite authors. Dark and psychological--that's good :)
A hug back.
Please be well and peaceful. Collage time tomorrow!