This fiction reading is a piece I wrote towards the end of last year as part of a writing assignment in my writers group.
Note: This is read in a rhyming pattern of four seven-line stanzas.

The Winter Hall

Two figures, one withered and one blooming, walked the Winter Hall.

The Withered One’s eyes were hollow and black with a face that was skeletal. His hands were thin, but strong as iron, and they never lost a grip. The Blooming One was young and bold, and impatience marked his step.

“May we hurry?” the young one pleaded, as they passed from door to door.

The dark eyes hardened, yet he offered no reply as he grated across the floor.

The hallway extended with every stride and finally the Withered One spoke.

“There is time for everything, but very little time I give.”

The Blooming One declared, “I have plenty of time. For I have only begun to live.”

The old one shook his head and laughed in a scornful and mocking tone.

In response, the young one asked, “Do you believe I am wrong?”

“Your error is common among those so young who fling their lives about. And wisdom arrives for most too late before their flame goes out. For the soil of spring is filled with deceit and the summer sun is blinding.”

“I do not fear the seasons,” replied the boy as he peeked into a room.

“That is because you merely peek at winter while currently in your bloom. This place I show you is despised by many for it is the Winter Hall. It is full of fools who once, like you, had mocked the days of fall.”

Fear struck the child to hear those words, and he finally lent his ear. The dreadful eyes were still so dark, but the words were quite sincere.

The Withered One whispered a simple truth. One he found oft ignored.

“Yes, hear me now and mark my words, for I never tell them twice. Find your field, work the soil, and you’ll gladly pay the price.”

The Blooming One issued a sigh of relief, yet he felt his words were solemn.

“I’ll begin at the end of summer or perhaps the start of autumn.”

The Winter Hall echoed a mournful cry and the youth shuttered from within. He asked the old one what was the sound and the grim face began to grin.

“That was the sound of a fool like you, come to his winter’s end.”