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Cyril Doesn't Get It

Prompt: Write a story in which a character hears a strange sentence.

By S.N. EvansPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Cyril Doesn't Get It
Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

It was the middle of the night, and Cyril could not sleep. Down below the loft, he could see the flicker of candlelight. Cyril kept his eyes pinched shut, as he was supposed to be sleeping beside his two brothers, but he couldn't help but eavesdrop. Usually, when this happened, all he had to do was try to make sense of what his parents were saying, and he would fall asleep out of boredom or frustration that they were speaking too quietly to hear.

A perk of being the eldest of his brothers was that he had an edge part of the bed. He could easily roll out of bed if he had to and climb down if he needed the outhouse. It was also valuable if he wanted to get closer to the knot hole in the floor, press his ear to it, and better hear what his parents said. It took him a few moments to figure out if it was the kind of night where he needed to listen to the murmur of their hushed voices or if he wanted to listen closer. The one thing that made his decision for him was the sound of his name.

Creeping off the hay-filled mattress, he crouched on all floors as he avoided putting weight on the boards that would alert his parents that he was out of bed. Though he had no real fear of being caught awake, they would not punish him or anything, but they would change their topic of conversation. He laid flat on his stomach and used the scant candlelight to locate the knot hole. He laid his ear on it and found the sound below amplified considerably.

”Cyril will have to get an apprenticeship soon. I don’t know how long our budget can support a young man's appetite,” his mother muttered.

“You know we can’t do that yet,” His father stated.

”And why not?”

“You know why? You remember what happened to him the last time he had to be replaced.”

When his father said the sentence, Cyril understood all the words, but their meaning was lost. What did they mean by replaced? He shook his head. His parents were strange. He continued to listen, but his parents did not say more about the topic. Cyril rolled his head and made his way back to bed, but before he got back into bed, he realized he needed the outhouse. Climbing down the ladder, he saw his parents sitting in their bedroom. They watched him as he descended.

“You alright, son?” His father questioned.

“Outhouse,” Cyril muttered, attempting to sound groggy as he ambled out the door.

His parents seemed to accept that answer, but the house was dark when he returned. Cyril guessed he would never know what his parents had meant by replaced. Maybe, in the morning, if it still bothered him and he was brave, he would ask his father about it because he had overheard his name while they were speaking. It might be enough for them to think he is curious and allow him to explain what it means.

As Cyril lay asleep, he closed his eyes and dreamed of something he had never seen. It was a great tree with black bark and leaves. He had never seen something so ominous. The soil around its roots was dusty and dead, but the parts beyond that dusty, dry land were fertile and green. Most of it produced golden heads of wheat and barley. There were fat yellow ears of corn and an orchard of the reddest apples. As he witnessed this dream, a fruit fell from the black tree. It was round like an apple, but its fruit was soft. The flesh and pith were black, while the fruit inside was citrusy and bright crimson. Giving the fruit a sniff, he ate it and was filled with warmth. Such a peculiar sentence and dream.

Short StoryMysteryHorrorFantasyExcerptAdventure

About the Creator

S.N. Evans

Christian, Writer of Fiction and Fantasy; human. I have been turning Caffeine into Words since 2007. If you enjoy my work, please consider liking, following, reposting on Social Media, or tipping. <3

God Bless!

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  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    What a fascinating prompt you used. Terrific!

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