I did my twenty-minute sprint with both images as my prompt this time around. It was fun weaving them together. I hope you enjoy.
Title: One Man Funeral
Ryan walked slowly and carefully as he explored the old cemetery. He felt that he should be respectful of those laid to rest here, not walk all over their sacred spaces. Some of the grave markers were quite elaborate. Things like that were never allowed today. Funerals were quite elaborate, but even the rich, famous or powerful weren’t allowed to construct memorials where they were interred.
Some funerals were quite small and quiet though. He held the small container of his mother’s ashes as he walked through the old cemetery. They used to come here together to enjoy the peaceful quiet the place still had, several thousand years after the last person was buried there. He paused beside the sun dial pool. It had been added much later, with metal swan statues at the cardinal points.
“I’m really going to miss you,” Ryan said softly as he gazed at the useless sun dial. It was overcast. It was almost always overcast these days. Ryan was an artist, so he didn’t understand all the science behind it, but there had been wars and there had been natural disasters, and there was some experiment gone horribly wrong that filled the air with particulates and meant that Ryan had never been outside without a mask to filter out what he shouldn’t breath.
His mother had never let any of that stop him from playing outside and exploring old and natural places. Well, as natural as they could find anyway. His mother’s modest income didn’t support things like traveling the world to see real nature preserves. But she’d instilled a love of plants and animals and green spaces in him, which helped him develop his art and get noticed and that led to the opportunities he’d had as an adult to see some of those nature preserves. He’d sketched all day as he wondered through them.
“I know you wanted me to be able to leave you here somehow,” Ryan said. He knew his mother was gone, and would never hear him, but it was comforting to talk to her anyway. “The fee was far more than the insurance would cover, so I thought I’d just bring you here instead. You can live with me again, like you did the last few years, and then we can come here for walks.”
The fines for illegally scattering someone’s ashes were even steeper than the fees to legally do so. Ryan knew better than to try. He’d be caught and that wouldn’t be good for his finances or his career and his mother would want him to take care of himself.
Ryan sat on the edge of the sundial pool and set his mother’s ashes beside him. He pulled a sketchbook from his bag and gazed back across the cemetery. He would sketch this, so he would immortalize this moment, this place, and the peacefulness he felt. His mother wasn’t in pain anymore, and that’s all she’d wanted in the end. He could paint this scene and put his mother beside the painting so she’d always be here even if he couldn’t scatter her ashes here.
There was a large, elaborately carved stone coffin next to what used to be part of the abbey wall. Ryan wasn’t entirely sure if the memorial had originally been indoors or out. It was hard to tell where the buildings used to be except for the walls that remained. There was a fallen pillar, and the coffin lid shone copper brown in the dim light. Ryan looked back and forth between the view in front of him and his sketchpad, trying to catch every details. He had the scene composition done, so he moved on to the details, flipping to a new page to capture the intricate lines of the large stone coffin and the shading of the remains of the wall. He made notes about colors as he filled page after page with images.
It was starting to get dark when he finally put his sketchbook away and picked up his mother’s ashes again. “You’d have loved the sunset tonight,” he said, watching as the firey reds and oranges began to spread across the low lying cloud cover, setting the whole world ablaze. It wasn’t always clear enough to even see the sun, but tonight, Ryan could enjoy the colors and try to imagine what a sunset would have looked like before all the disasters ruined the air.
Ryan got up and threaded his way back to the entrance before it was too dark to see. He had his mobile with him, so he had a light if he needed one, but he liked the quiet of the twilight moment as he walked away from his mother’s favorite place. It was solemn, which he thought was very appropriate for the end of a one person funeral.