Hunting the Crimbleworm
Crimbleworms are crunchy like carrots from the crisper and best served chilled with shredded cabbage and cucumber slices over a bed of crisps crackling from the pot.
Being the youngest, Jasper and I were sent to dig the crimbleworms though it meant rising long before the double sun and trekking two hours into the Tweed Forest which ranged the whole back side of the property we farmed at the time.
“Be grateful its not kraken I’ll be sending you for,” Mama would say with a swat of the wooden spoon that was an extension of her own hand when my brothers and I were wee. Pap had whittled it from one of the large branches that overhung near half of the veggie garden. He battled the shade until the day he died.
The Tweed is gone now. Even the charred cremains of the old wood have long since been blown to destinations far off, but when I was a girl, it was grand. Not a bit like The Otherworld that shadowed it and whose door is no longer marked, or gods be hoped, accessible.
Crimbleworms spent their days deep in the loam around the Spiraling Oaks but for a few hours just before the dawn when they would poke their wee blank blind faces above the dirt. For what? I daresay no one knows. But Jasper and I would perch like crows on the bench like roots of the oak with eagle eyes on the ground, a trowel in one hand and basket in the other and wait. It was important not to strike too soon or the ones not yet close to the surface would be frightened back to the root system.
Jasper would count off in a whisper that echoed in the stillness before full light, and when he said,
And we would leap like the tigres Old Mam told tales about in the firelight before bed.
17 thoughts on “Hunting The Crimbleworm #fridayflash”
After reading all the comments again, I have gone back and re-read the story. It’s fantastic! I don’t find it abrupt, although I would love to hear more about this world. The tenses work perfectly for my ear, and I get the present day re-telling of stories from “before”. Will we get to hear more?
Lovely little piece, Miss Anniegirl. Nice use of language and images. I confess to getting a bit lost. We begin in the present tense (“Crimbleworms are …”), and then we go into the past, like a flashback or memory. So “Crimbleworms spent their days deep in the loam around the Spiraling Oaks …,” but the Tweed Forest no longer exists, which I take to mean the Spiraling Oaks no longer exist, which I take to mean the loam around them no longer exists, which means the crimbleworms no longer exist. Is this right? So this becomes a tale of longing for something lost.
This is too short, really, for emphasizing symoblism in any way, but you have set this up for rich symoblism — the mother’s wooden spoon, carved from the wood the father fought all his life (loved the battling shade line), from wood that no longer exists because something really, really bad happened.
See, you got me thinking. And thinking in the world you created. That’s very interesting. I often experiment with how little I can write and still have it be relatively satisfying to readers. It’s amazing what readers will read into stories that aren’t actually written there. Over-telling may be more dangerous than under-telling.
Thanks for this. Enjoyed it very much.
Loved the feel of this. You definitely have the basis of an interesting fictional world here. Like jmstro I found the line about the other world quite haunting in the midst of this telling of an old story. I like the sense of years between the story and it’s telling too. I didn’t find the ending abrupt, ending on the start of the action fitted the tone of this piece.
I love the way you insert colloquialisms so naturally into your dialogue. It’s as if I were already familiar with them.
You have a nice way of melding folksy language with sci-fi elements that welcome those (or me) who aren’t particularly familiar with the genre.
For example, I love this line: But Jasper and I would perch like crows on the bench like roots of the oak with eagle eyes on the ground, a trowel in one hand and basket in the other and wait.
With, seemingly, little effort you put me right there in the world with the children. I know the effort it can take to make it look so easy.
Very well done.
Good job of painting another world. I also like the dialect you’ve thrown into the narrative and dialogue.
What the other’s said, but I kind of got lost at the end.
The ending is abrupt. I thought so too but you are the only one who has mentioned it so far – you and Rob are such natural editors. If this piece goes long, and it might, I intend to change it.
Lovely! I think this is my favourite of your short sci-fi/fantasy pieces. Very tight, beautifully paced, big pictures created with minimal words, great dialogue (as always). Did you edit this one a lot?
No editing really but it was for an exercise in using beautiful language so it took a while to write because I was focused on words.
I feel I have entered another dimension, and am left pondering the line, “Not a bit like The Otherworld that shadowed it and whose door is no longer marked, or gods be hoped, accessible.” I think that’s the door I’ve fallen through here. Nice.
That’s absolutely lovely. It’s one of those stories that doesn’t tell of a character’s journey but takes the reader on a journey instead. A long long journey in this case. Excellent.
Well done piece of flash, thanks for sharing. I loved this the most “He battled the shade until the day he died.”
Very nice dialect! I wish I had that skill.
I agree with DarcKnyt. You did a great job of world-building in very few words. Thanks for the read!
Nice job of world-building, and the dialect you injected adds just a touch of old-world feel to the piece. Well done.