The Gift: A novel

My project for A man finds himself alone on a paradisical island where has has no need to work to support himself. His life is spent transforming the island.

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

I am an awkward, stubborn, slightly insane woman who would rather talk Plato than Prada, rather watch Frank Capra than Carrie Bradshaw, and rather listen to Norse myths sung in Icelandic than anything currently on the radio. Yeah. Told you I was weird.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Chapter 11 Pater Noster

As the sun mounted towards noon, the two men began to sweat, and the weight of their packs seemed heavier than usual. After about a half an hour, they came around a slight protrusion of the mountain wall, and saw a stream flowing down the mountain. They slipped out of the packs, and knelt at the water's edge to drink. The water was not exaclty cold, but it was cool and wet, and they found it thouroughly refreshing. As they sat by the water's edge, Dranger looked ahead on the trail, and gestured to Cobb. "Check that out!" A short way ahead, they could see a large wall, too straight-edged to be a natural formation. "Do you think he built that, or just managed to chop it out of the mountain?" asked Cobb. Dragnnger shrugged. "Not a clue."
After taking a last drink of the water, they refilled their canteens and set off again. As they appraoched the wall, they were astounded by the sheer size of it. It stood about eight feet tall, and spread across the length of the entire path. It was no larger than many concrete walls in any modern city, but here on the island, where no-one expected a wall to be, it struck the sight with a forceful weight. They stood in front of it, feeling rather small beside it. Cobb went up to the face of the wall, and began running his fingers over the clay surface, tracing the shapes of the life sized figures that were sculpted into it. He couldn't decide whether it looked more like the side of an old cathedral, or like a wall from ancient Egypt. Dranger, meanwhile, stood back a bit, eyeing the top of the wall, and the surrounding trees. It seemed as though, if they climbed the big tree a few feet back from the wall, and then moved over to the smaller one that grew right up against it, they'd be able to drop down on the other side of the wall. He briefly considered going around to the right, and simply climbing over it on the mountain wall, but the stone was smooth and steep there, and didn't look promising.
He tightened the straps on his pack, and waited for Cobb to get done looking at the figures on the wall.
He heaved the stone onto the sledge, and leaned against it, breathing hard. He had had a few second thoughts about this particular undertaking, but had decided to go ahead. He tied the rock down securely, then took the ropes that were tied to the front of the sled, and, throwing them over his shoulders, began to pull. The sled moved excruiciatingly slowly, but steadily. As he pulled it up the mountain trail, sweat ran freely down his forehead, and poured down his back. After a few hours, he stopped. In front of him lay an odd sight; there was a rough low wall, of sorts. Several rows of large boulders lay across the path, cemented in between with river clay, and smaller rocks. He positioned the sledge next to the wall, and began tugging the stone into place, finding a spot for it on the third row of rocks. He settled it into place, then walked a few feet down to the river, and gathered up enough clay to hold it in its place. He then took a drink from the stream and lay down in the shade to rest.

He often wondered, at times like this, why his life had taken this strange twist. Why should he be here? There were, of course, ways to explain it. The ship had sunk, and he had survived and washed up here, and it was all a coincidence. But he could not quite be satisfied with such an answer. He had been searching for a purpose, a reason why he existed, his place in this world. And the answer to that was an island paradise, isolated from the rest of humanity? That seemed both extremely strange, and a little too convenient to him, and so he wondered. Lying in the shade, he whispered, "Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem: sed libera nos a malo. Amen."

The sun rose higher in the sky, warming the air, and shrinking the shadows down to almost nothing.

(word count: 21,279)
copyright 2004 Elizabeth J. Weaver


Blogger keri said...

So far, your novel is absolutely excellent! What you've written to this point is an excellent expression of your talents, abilities, and pursuits as guided by Pater Noster.

Congrats. Keep on keepin' on. :)

5:24 PM  

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