Alva Veterra

Alva Veterra

A Chapter by Tertia

You know Alva? Alva Veterra that is, well he has given up on life, he spends all his time in his room and mostly in bed. He does nothing all day, he just lies there, sleeping or watching TV. Sometimes I feel like I’d like to show him, to give him something, to make him see that there’s something worth living for, but what would make him get out of bed or more to the point who could make him stay in it?!

The first thing is that Alva Veterra means mountain and is a mountain on several different planets, including Earth, or so I have been told. The shadow of the mountain moves to its north face in the middle of the day, making the grand south side a triangular chunk of golden-yellow. But even the great mountain looks insignificant when engulfed in gloom in the sun’s dim light, as the dusk gently settles. When night falls it’s as though it isn’t there, it is all shadow and darkness. The lonely mountain that stands alone.

I told Alva about the mountain with his name and I think it made him worse. The thought of a lonely mountain annoyed him somehow. It was an irrelevant fact that bugged him and only added to his worries. He had a wagon load of negative thoughts to carry around already, one more like this might tip the balance; it might make the wheels fall off. Things hung in the balance for a while. I waited.

The land is flat around our house. Flat, dry and barren. On the edge of the town, where we are is a desert. The only life that exists in the open is brought in artificially by intense irrigation to the farm land. The few trees that line the main road that make shady avenues are watered twice a week by a man from the council. He has a van with a water tank on the back. It was generally dusty and hot.

‘Did you think about the mountain?’ I said to Alva, knowing I get the backlash of his tongue.

‘What mountain?’ he snapped, his eyeballs zooming rapidly around.

‘The one I told you about, Alva Veterra,’ I wanted to point to it as it could be seen from the kitchen window. From here it was a small bump in the flat line of the far horizon, hardly noticeable. It was merely a black purple shimmer of heat, it looked like nothing, but we were fifty-two miles away from it. Up close it would be massive, it would dominate its surroundings and everything in them. I wanted to take Alva there, but knew he wouldn’t come, as in his mind he was housebound

‘Yeah, what about it?’ he said, giving me his best gormless stare.

‘Thought you might be interested, that’s all, Alvy,’

‘Interested? Interested? Why would I be damn well interested. I don’t know what you’re talking about or why you’re talking about it,’ he was irate. I sat silently. ‘It means the lonely mountain, I remember you said,’

‘It actually means the unclimbable mountain,’

‘Why did you tell me otherwise then?’ he looked at me, his face screwed up and red. He wanted to swear, but didn’t. We didn’t swear at each other much anymore as it had no shock or reactive effect; it was wasted breath.

‘I thought that it would...’

‘Would what?’

‘Upset you,’ I really meant ‘depress you’, but couldn’t say it.

‘Lonely is worse than unclimbable,’ he said grumpily. He shuffled off back to his room and I heard the TV blaring.

Later I said good night to Alva through his door

‘I looked up that mountain,’ he called. I open the door a crack, putting my head through.

‘Oh yes,’

‘Yes, it’s the only mountain in this region. It’s the only single mountain on the continent. There aren't many of them about anywhere,’

‘Quite unusual. Worth a look one day?’

‘Maybe,’ he said, he smiled.

It rained heavily that night, pitter-pattering and hissing on the windows in a velvety softness. Autumn had finally come, keeping me awake with its dramatic weather. I lay on my bed worrying, scheming and wondering what to do all because harmless little raindrops had come. What would I be like in a real crisis? I knew there was nothing to do and I had to accept things, I had to let life take me in the direction and the way it wanted to. In the dark the solitary streetlight glared in through the open curtain creating a stark and dull orange glow. It was cold in the quiet gloom that was painted with neon light on the sides of the furniture and the end of the bed. I had lived a life of hesitancy and indecision and when I looked back at it I realised how little I’d done. I had every chance to do so much more, to take more risks; ultimately there is nothing to lose. I drifted off and thought of a girl I used to know. It was a bright sunny day in a field of swaying long grass. I remember us running together the stalks brushing against us. That’s what I remember happening, but as my memory turned into a dream she slipped away, her mocking laughter a distant echo. I tried to wake, but I was under.

Alva hid away, he didn’t speak, he went to his room. All was quiet. I feared the worst, but realised, ultimately there was nothing I could do. I made checks on him, I brought him strong chicory coffee. I opened his window; I mothered him. He was lying on his bed staring at the ceiling. A slow day went by and on the second evening I heard the shuffling of feet. The slow shuffling of feet turned into footsteps that in turn developed into confident steps and on the third day his door creaked open and he came out.

Something inside him must have changed because his mood was lighter, he reacted more easily to his surroundings and didn’t twitch at any sharp noises. I made him toast thick with raspberry jam and more strong coffee to perk him up. I hoped the thought of the mountain had stirred him. It was a far off seed of a thought that was weak enough to make him prey on.

The End

© 2020 Tertia

My Review

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A story,a short story,is a sandwich. Bread,jam, bread: sandwich. This is a chapter; it has no bread just the jam. May be there is a preceding chapter, a slice of bread chapter, and a following chapter - the other slice. The jam is tasty, and has an intriguing favor of some unknown fruit, but it requires a spoon or a couple of bread slices to make it a complete serving.

Posted 1 Week Ago

Flow of emotions and creativity worked combinedly in the story... An enjoyable write,,,, Keep writing !!

Posted 11 Months Ago

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I don't too often give reviews for short stories. Cause on computer screen long writing make my eyes always swallow. Also I have problem with focus on long term. That's why I am more focus on poetry then short stories. I like how you describe that guy . Cause I am also sometimes lazy butt. TV can hypnotized you and you are out of your own will without you know it. In the way it's feel like fantasy fiction. Or maybe like comics without panels and pictures. It's have nice flow so is feels like poetry or prose. I am actually don't read it all so I cannot give you any proper review . If you write something more short or poem maybe I will give you better response. Sorry for that.

Posted 11 Months Ago

Really touched with the story.................

Posted 1 Year Ago

A story worth reading. I could imagine what it is like to live in that zone. beautiful and surreal

Posted 1 Year Ago

At first I thought Alva was suffering from depression, but the fact that he pulled through without medication indicates it was only some particular thing that was bothering him. The third paragraph from the end gives the impression the speaker was dealing with some issues, also.

Posted 1 Year Ago

It was a nice read. Loved the way you put it all together.
Bless you:)

Posted 1 Year Ago

This is such a great story. At the beginning I felt like the narrator was so put together, and was simply trying to help her friend. Towards the end, I begin to wonder if she/he was projecting his/her own sadness onto Alva. When we look into the narrator's head, he/she can only focus on the negative. Maybe Alva was having a hard time, but the pessimistic narrator seemed to actually be caught up in their own loss.

I absolutely loved the story. It really made me think and unpack the imagery and symbolism. I hope to read more of your short stories. :)

- Gabby

Posted 1 Year Ago

WOW! Best short story I've read in months! The part I love is how this reads like it's about YOU (so realistic & conversational & like I'm inside this narrator's head) but I don't think this is autobiographical becuz it's written like a story. In general, I do not like it when people try to cheer me up, if I'm feeling down, but this story gives a vivid example of how you can cheer a person up without coming across like you're trying to fix the other person, like "being down" is a bad thing. This story shows us the kind of friend we all wish we had, when we're down . . . someone who gives us a lifeline of hope while still respecting how we feel is how we feel. An old saying goes: Meet the other person where they are, don't require that they change in order to be okay. This is what's most needed in our world, it would seem. Great writing & also emotionally intelligent message (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 1 Year Ago

That was amazing. I really enjoyed reading that.

Posted 1 Year Ago

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11 Reviews
Added on March 26, 2020
Last Updated on April 6, 2020
Tags: mountain, the blues, low, lifting, up, high, loneliness, help, friendship, relationship, emotion, mood, care, trouble, worry, stress, reaching, connecting



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