The Ash-Silver River

Submitted into Contest #98 in response to: Set your story on (or in) a winding river.... view prompt

27 comments

Romance Sad

The ash-silver river is rippling in the wind tonight. Soft ripples that bring me peace and comfort and happiness. They drift me away from my thoughts and worries and pull me to a brighter place. A nicer place. A place that’s been my destination for this whole ride.

When I’m riding down the ash-silver river, I think of you as the person you are alive, the bright, loving, selfless man. Always wearing your baggy, dirty green jeans and growing your chocolatey-brown hair all the way out to your waist. Doing anything you can to help society, help strangers, help the environment. Help me. I never think of the person you are now, dead, the person resembling sadness and tears and grieving and funeral bills. Those thoughts don’t exist on the ash-silver river.

When I ride down the ash-silver river, the whole world passes by me. Evergreen trees sprouting out of the mossy forest floor. Woodland creatures, from the shaky deer to the scurrying mouse, gazing out towards the glistening water. I can see anything from the ash-silver river.

Also riding down the ash-silver river is you. Your gaze is on me, but not just on me. It’s on everything around us. Recognizing and appreciating every single thing. 

The stars are out over the ash-silver river tonight. Hundreds of stars, twinkling over our heads. The moon has risen to its peak in the sky, looking down over us with what seems like a sly expression.

You smile sweetly at me, the wind brushing your hair against your neck and upper arm. You offer me your hand, and I take it with a sense of loving pride. Together, we look out over the river as the current pushes us forward, down, down, down the ash-silver river.

“How are you doing?” I ask, looking up and staring into the jade green eyes I’ve obsessed over since the day I met you. “Are you lonely?”

You shake your head. “I’m not lonely, of course. I have you here with me.”

“Are you bored?” I’m getting worried that he is.

“No. You entertain me every day. You bring the fun into my life.” You give me a sideways glance. “Are you worried about me? I’ve told you many times, I’m okay.”

“Okay,” I concede. “Okay. I was just checking.” I resist the urge to delve deeper into more questions. I decide to enjoy the peace and quiet of the ash-silver river instead.

The ash-silver river is quiet, yet at the same time not quiet. I can’t hear the sounds of the outside world, the screams and the shouts and the everyday rising cacophony of life. I can hear myself. And I can hear you. These are the sounds I can’t hear anywhere else anymore, with all of these changes.

“Do you ever wonder what’s out there?” I ask wonderingly. “Beyond the stars, invisible to us. What we can only see through our imagination.”

“I don’t know,” you say, looking out. “I’ve always wanted to know.”

We stare out in silence as our small boat drifts down the ash-silver river. Through the world, through endless life. Through everything imaginable.

The ash-silver river gives out misty air. It seeps into our faces, coats our noses. It’s a distinct feeling, that mist. One I’ll never, ever forget. I lean my head down, wanting to feel it. You join me, gripping the boat and staring down, having the time of our lives.

I lean back and sit against the rim of the boat. You wrap your arms around my waist. I dip my toe into the ash-silver river, then immediately bring it back up, the water splash, splash, splashing. The ash-silver river is icily cold, but also warm in a way. Welcoming. Providing hospitality to all. I slowly dip my feet back in, feeling the running water pushing through them.

We sit together for an endlessly long time. I don’t know how long. The sky fades to a midnight blue, then to a purplish tint. The stars only get brighter and brighter. 

The world continues to spin as we go down the ash-silver river. The Earth continues to orbit the sun. The bees still shove their way into the flowers, the trees continue to give us their oxygen. And we stay, watching the world continue on. 

We stay, knowing we’re doing just as much as the bees and the Earth and the trees, being here for each other.

Then, suddenly, the ash-silver river comes to a stop. Reality flips around. Everything goes blurry. I scream and look at you, but you’re fading, fading, fading away until you’re gone.

Until you’re gone.

Tears rim my eyes as I wail for you, begging, begging, begging for you to come back. But you’re gone forever. Everything comes back into focus, but I’m by myself.

The ash-silver river is not what I believed it to be. It does not give me a break to see you again, the real you, the living you, not the you lying in your coffin, the you caught in a blazing fire.

The ash-silver river is still. Because this boat is not moving anymore. The peaceful ride is gone, along with you.

The ash-silver river isn’t the happy place I thought it was. The ash-silver river has tricked me.

The ash-silver river comes to an abrupt stop in the end, leaving me here, alone on this boat without you.

I quit trying to get you to come back. You’re lost to me.

You’re lost to me.

I step out of my boat and wade through the river, casting a longing glance up at the shining stars that are spreading their ashes over the water. I wonder what’s beyond those stars. Could it be… could it be… could it possibly be… 

Animals are scurrying along the forested shores and banks. The water is rippling in the fresh, misty wind tonight, currents preparing to carry another soul down. It winks at me as I walk away.

The ash-silver river has fooled me.

June 16, 2021 02:07

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27 comments

Ugh I love this! The imagery and soft repetition of “ash-silver river” really added to the aEsThEtiC. The emotions shined through super well and the overall sadness hanging over beautiful words like a blanket made the end even better. And the 2nd person POV…why does this remind me of Zetta Grace lolz, with loss and 2nd person and imagery and the whole story being kinda like a pretty ramble? And now I’M rambling so ima wrap this up by saying: awesome job! XD

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Kat Sencen
21:44 Jun 16, 2021

Thanks! Why the "ugh?"

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Kat Sencen
21:56 Jun 16, 2021

Also, I see this as... I don't know... 1.5th person? One character is in first person and is referring to the other as "you" so there's one first person character and one second person... so I made it something right in the middle!

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Yussssss perfect!

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Idk lolz I use “ugh” as positive sometimes like “UGH THIS IS SO GREAT IT REVERTS BACK TO NEGATIVE BUT NOT REALLY”

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Echo Sundar
00:02 Jun 17, 2021

Wow, okay that was a great story! I've noticed that a lot of your stories are about someone dealing with loss, and their different ways of coping, one character draws a picture of them the other writes letters, one gives the gravestone flowers like this is your fourth one about loss and yet you still give each and every one of them a little spin, maybe it's because of the different perspectives a young child losing there first love, a mother losing there husband, a daughter who lost her mom, all of them have a different feel to them and thi...

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Kat Sencen
00:58 Jun 17, 2021

Thank you! Any critique?

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Echo Sundar
03:08 Jun 17, 2021

You could have phrased their dialogue a little differently. But not really, this was a great story!

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Echo Sundar
19:05 Jul 11, 2021

I love your new bio!

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HOW DID YOU FRIGGING LIKE MY STORY THAT FAST I JUST POSTED IT BRO LOLZ I swear half the comments on this story are mine by now ahh-

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Kat Sencen
03:28 Jul 02, 2021

I don't know... probably just chance? I opened reedsy and a new person had followed me, I scrolled down on the followers page, and I noticed that you had 34 submissions. So yes... probably timing. (And DEFINITELY not my superior, all-powerful REEDSY-SIGHT *cackles with laughter*)

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Ahhhh coincidink, hehe! (*looks both ways* WAIT WUT)

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“ Keefe Sencen supports your beliefs unless they're racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, downvoter-supporting, or Fitzphie. ” Wise words to live by, my dude.

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Kat Sencen
01:20 Jun 29, 2021

Thank you.

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Maraika!!! 😎
05:44 Aug 26, 2021

I laughed out loud when I read the last part

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Wise. Very, very, very wise XD

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Kat Sencen
02:13 Jun 16, 2021

So this was very fun to write. Also very short though. I finished with 900 words, and I spent about an hour trying to find creative ways to add 100 more while trying to fit the overall theme of this story. What I like about this is there are lots of different ways to view this piece. I won't say anything specific and let you use your imagination. But I tried to keep it like that. Please give me feedback and critique!

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Kat Sencen
04:36 Mar 06, 2022

OKAY NOW I'LL TALK A BIT MORE ABOUT THIS STORY!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!! So the way I view this is that, basically, the narrator is on drugs, which represent the "ash silver river", her place of comfort, but it tricks her in the end. What do you think of this story? How do you view it?

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19:44 Oct 18, 2021

Wow! (This is about your bio) I loved the joke about Columbus day, who actually celebrates that as a holiday? No one. :) Also, that's really cool, that you're figuring yourself out! I've never heard that term before, I wish I could figure myself out like that. For now, I'm just me. (Also, you may know me by another name, Em Detective, but I changed it)

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Btw update I ended up deleted is sowwy BUT I’m putting it back up soon lolz I just want to edit it a lil’ more without people reading it in its 7/10 state hehe

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“ Keefe Sencen is a reedsy author whose diet consists of sugar, sugar, more sugar, and Cheerios. ” Did I mention I love this too— ALSO HAPPY REEDSY ANNIVERSARY LOLZ

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Kat Sencen
00:01 Jul 01, 2021

Thanks! I try my hardest on those bios.

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I'm a bit late to this, but I just want to say that everyone on reedsy supports you on your decision in your bio. We're not going to criticise you, or discriminate against you. It's great that you're figuring yourself out as well. We love you no matter what :)

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05:43 Jul 15, 2021

Chiaroscuro Pt 8!

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15:07 Jul 11, 2021

New story (involving hilarious grannies) ;)

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Esther Kurisu
19:28 Jul 01, 2021

Wow, you write with so much emotion and power! Love it! Amazing job! p.s. TEAM SOKEEFE FO EVA!!! Can't wait for the KOTLC movie!!!

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Everett Silvers
00:26 Jun 30, 2021

This is beautiful, the imagery is fantastic and the emotion is raw, you don't hold it back. I love it!

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