In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it. My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations. It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!
– – –
By Alex Seise
“They call me Ethos.” The girl, no older than a sapling whose trunk’s diameter still fit in the palm of a grown man’s hand, stood on the marble dais looking at the four old figures.
“Ethos? That’s a queer choice,” said the man second from the right, a luscious white beard curling around his pearled moccasins on the pale white slab. “Why were you bestowed that peculiar name, pray tell?”
She cleared her throat, devoid of all but a dusting of healthy fear. These elders were wizened and wise, but she was youthful and brash. Still, she was not so green as to forget their stature in the community they shared. “I embody all that composes you, and all that we comprise together,” she said with precocious certainty in her delivery. “Our religion and genes, and our values. Even the color of our eyes.” She blinked the two marvelous orange orbs set ever so gently in the nooks of her clear, calm cranium.
“But that alone…” protested an aged woman who sat at the far left. However, Ethos cut her off.
“I also embody something far greater than our shared mutable physicality,” the girl added, lowering her voice. “The watery fire of our ancestors still burns bright and true in my heart.” She untied the top lace of her cotton blouse and carefully exposed a tiny sliver of her chest, not so much as to be vulgar. The girl showed only a tiny white finger of skin located snugly between her unformed breasts on her firm sternum.
The flash of unclothed flesh between her tightly clasped fingers was just barely wide enough to show off a faint blue glow tucked beneath her sinewy young muscles. Still, despite its faintness, the light was distinctly there, beating rhythmically in Ethos’ chest. Its presence silenced the four who sat in their stony thrones in front of her, all too aware that her parents had chosen wisely when naming their babe.