Flash: Call the Chasm

Photo by Ian Cylkowski on Unsplash

In between the Elegug Stacks of Castlemartin and Flimston Bay is a chunk of headland that divides the two, stretching out into the sea. And in the middle of that headland is a massive chasm with a sheer vertical drop into the sea. Welcome to The Cauldron, what remains of a collapsed cave. As I was setting up this composition I couldn’t help but notice the climbers scaling the central pillar of the Cauldron. Madness. Rather them than me.

The Cauldron, Flimston, Wales; Published on 

“Where you going, Mable?”

Striding through the village, the older woman looked over her shoulder to see which of her neighbors shouted her way. It was Nell, the busy-body, as opposed to Virgil, the gossip, or Kell, the snoop. Her small community abounded with people who needed to know everything that happened outside their front door, but screamed bloody murder when someone looked in their windows.

Since it would be obvious in about five minutes what she would be doing, Mable shouted back. “I’m going to call the chasm!”

“What for this time?” Nell never could take a sparce spoon; she had to know the whole scoop.

Mable just waved a hand behind her, her long stride taking her beyond polite shouting distance. It wasn’t like her scream wouldn’t be echoed back.

Hopefully to the point of a mess of layered sound. Last week when Erndale shouted he wanted just one day without someone knocking on his door asking for help plowing, everyone had heard the Call loud and clear. The unusual clarity made sense. The point of Calling the chasm is to get a need granted. At some level, the pure determination of walking all the way to the edge of town to scream into the abyss gathered the power behind the wish and things happened more often than not. Usually the first step just set things in motion and no outside magic was needed. For example, with Erndale, no one bothered him for two days. According to his wife, the man slept like a stone, his snores shaking his house.

Mable came to the edge of their world. The void sliced down nearly a mile by the Mill-walk-by River. She turned left to walk to the red clay overlook where romance Calls worked best. Where she had screamed and cried for Jullian to be healed so she didn’t need to raise their children alone. No one answered that time.

No one answered when she had walked right to the striped rock overlook when she had cried out her frustrations of working her fingers to bloody tips to get money for food to feed her four.

No one answered when she cried alone in the new house her youngest had build her so she would move out and give him and his new wife the privacy needed to start their own family.

She didn’t expect any response this time either. Still she Called her emptiness. The one making her cry in the night. Mable didn’t know how to articulate what she needed, so she just screamed. She pulled from the ends of her toes, up her legs through her knees to her belly and lungs. She screamed so hard and long she dropped to her knees, tears falling into the clay dust as her voice cracked into nothing but a hundred thousand echoes of lonesome.

(words 476; first published 3/10/2024)

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