The stream ran over the ancient stones as it had done for almost a thousand years, but the carp pool was empty. No fish had grown fat in its crystal bright waters for so long that few remembered what the stone basins had once been used for. The child dipped her fingers in the water and withdrew them quickly, shaking her hand as if she’d been stung.
“It’s cold,” her mother said and rubbed the hand to get the warmth back.
The child nodded, but it wasn’t the cold that had made her draw back. “Can we go now?” she asked, but her mother had already turned away to photograph a fragment of cloister.
The voices muttered angrily and the child frowned, not understanding all of the words. She wandered to the area where broken stones with pointy writing on them lay among creeping plants. The voices fell silent, and she could almost hear breath being held. Monks’graves, her mother had said. She scuffed one with her shoe. The stone was cracked across and there were chips out of it where tiny flowers grew. Her mother had said it was a shame the graves weren’t tended, but the child knew why.
Continue reading: Microfiction #writephoto: Carp