It was tall. The pillars seemed to go up forever, beyond the sky. There was no roof, which added to the illusion. The sun shone through the pillars, casting their great shadows across the stone floor and onto the desert beyond. The pillars were arranged in such a way that one particular spot was always shielded from the sun. In this circle of shade a hole had been carved deep into the floor and the hole had been filled with soil. A few small lizards basked in the shade the circle gave. Around the circle spangled a mosaic depicting a hundred different flowers, made from small tiles of various smoothed, polished, semi-precious stones.
A pilgrim approached. He looked as though he had been walking for days in the desert, his face strewn with stubble, his lips cracked and dry, sweat pouring from his brow. On his back he carried a pack. As he entered the pillared enclosure, he walked up to one of the pillars. Hammered fast into the pillar was a rusty nail. The pilgrim removed a couple of things from his pack, a deck chair and a smaller object, and then hung the pack on the nail. Continuing with his ceremony, he took the deck chair, and set it out in the shade of the pillar. He sat in the chair and held in his hand the smaller object, a can of beer. He opened the can and started to drink.
After consuming about half the can, he placed it beside the chair, stood up, went over to the pack, and rummaged around, withdrawing three more small objects: a bottle of water, a trowel and a tulip bulb. He approached the soil circle. The small lizards scattered away, into some other shady spot. The pilgrim knelt at the centre of the circle, holding the trowel above his head, he muttered some incantation. He plunged the trowel deep into the soil and began to dig a hole. Once the pilgrim judged the hole sufficient he placed the bulb into it and filled the hole back in. Holding the water bottle in his hands, looking up into the sky, he muttered another incantation and slowly poured the water over where the bulb was buried. With this part of the ritual over he walked back to his chair, moving it to a shady spot, and rested, periodically drinking from the can and moving the chair. As the sun began to set the pilgrim collected his pack from the rusty nail, packed his things away, and left the sanctuary of the pillars for the journey home.
This blog post is a writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com. Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises. This week’s exercise: A short story with 2 paragraphs, no dialogue, containing a rusty nail, a tulip, and the word “spangled”