How many years had it been since she, as a young child, had been plucked from what was a serene and unassuming life down in the valley? It seemed like it was forever ago that she had been chosen as the keeper of the bloom at the top of the tower.
“Even in your youth, child, you have demonstrated the right amount of courage to take on this challenge,” the elders told her when she was a little girl decades ago. “You must be diligent in your duties to care for and water our sacred flowering plant,” they told her. “It was placed there by God for us to demonstrate our love and devotion to Him. Should the bloom fade and the plant die, so, too, will the people of this valley, for we will have betrayed His love and will no longer receive His protection. Do your bidding, child, and all will be well. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” the little girl responded demurely.
“At the end of each day, upon your return from the tower, you will report to a designated member of the Council of Elders to let him know that you’ve completed your daily task,” the elders instructed.
An old lady now, it took her all day to reach the top of the tower, water the plant, and return to the valley far below. But there was no Council of Elders to report to anymore. No elders at all, in fact. Despite keeping the plant at the top of the tower alive, she must somehow have failed. Despite dutifully carrying out her charge over the decades, God had forsaken the people of the valley, and only she, now a gnarled, hunched over old lady, yet survived.
And on this day, as she completed her task and made her way down the steep, winding tower steps, the old lady stepped on the valley floor, looked around at the empty, barren landscape and uttered her last words. “Fuck this shit. I’m done.”
Written for Hélène Vaillant’s What Do You See? photo prompt. Also for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (serene), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (chosen), Word of the Day Challenge (keeper), Ragtag Daily Prompt (courage), and The Daily Spur (report).