Fiction · Writing Prompts

The River Sings

Title: The River Sings
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – Week of April 11, 2017
Words count: 175 words

“The River Sings” was the first song by Enya I heard, and the first one I fell in love with. It happened entirely by chance: my mother had wanted new songs for her (then) new-fangled thing called an iPod, and being somewhat more tech-savvy of the family, I got the task. While I was transferring the songs, I found it, and fell in love. I went on to discover other songs of hers: Boadicea, Amarantine, Carribean Blue. I know, it’s an odd mix, and I’m still learning. What does this have to do with the story? Almost nothing, save for the title and the fact I’ve cribbed it. But I felt it fitted the photograph nicely.


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Image credit to Maria, from Doodles and Scribbles!

By all accounts, Arzel was a mild, industrious, handsome man, loved by all. One that resolutely remained unwed, to the village’s despair.

He’d only lost his temper once, when a baron tried damming the nearby Nesallei River to build his manor. He’d demanded they stop, and was beaten senseless. The next week, the Nessallei flooded, killing the baron’s men, destroying the construction works. Survivors swore they heard someone raging in the water’s roar. The baron fled and never returned.

Shortly after, Arzel built a small cottage by the Nesallei. They tried to warn him – surely, he remembered the flood? – but he laughed it off.

One night, he sat by the river under a clear, full moon.

The river swelled, but Arzel didn’t flee. He stayed, as always, waiting waist-deep in freezing water.

A figure rose from the surface, translucent skin, wild, long hair blue-black.  They waded towards him, waters receding, and pressed a cold, wet kiss to his cheek. He grinned, and laced his fingers with theirs.

“Hello Nes. I missed you too.”

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22 thoughts on “The River Sings

      1. faithful romantic ! 🙂 having the faith that love will eventually encompass you !…there is nothing wrong in it ! love is the cure all for all our troubles..

  1. This has a feeling of Ruskin’s one and only nursery rime. Lovely.
    I am slightly confused by your use of [A figure] followed by the use of [They] in the last paragraph.

    1. Thank you Michael! I’m honoured by the comparison. And yes – I debated on using either “they” or “it”, but “it” sounded so dehumanising. In this case, I’m using the singular they instead. A bit clumsy, I’m aware, but with forces of nature I can never make up my mind if they’re he/she.

  2. Oh my.. Nesallei! ❤️ A beautiful story, weaved with love and longing. But one that is everlasting. You make me want to read more, Chris.

  3. uuuhhhhuuuuh. oh my heart just melted. the beginning feels like a page torn out of a classic tale and then the turn is from a classic fairytale i must say. geez. this is so beautiful!

    1. Ahh, thank you Rose! I’m flattered, really – although I’ll admit to the style being influenced by this fantasy novel I’m reading at the moment. There’s always something lovely about fairytales, as you said.

    1. Ahh, thank you! I like to think it’s the setting that helps to make things seem more ethereal – there’s always something beautiful about bubbling rivers.

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