Sunday, 5 July 2015

Where There Is Willing (Summer of Super Short Stories - Luminous Creatures)

Image credit "My Forest Dream Is Still A Dream" by Vinoth Chandar from Flickr (CC 2.0) (via Luminous Creatures)

Where There Is Willing
Galina crosses the circle of stakes, topped by bleached skulls. A single post is devoid of a hollow eyed resident. The dark haired girl brushes her curls from her forehead; surveys them without expression, stepping forwards. Forest Grandmother’s door is before her, amidst tall trees, shifting, as the small hut jumps and rotates, atop kicking chicken legs.
“Turn your back to the forest, your front to me,” the girl whispers, looking up at the residence. It swings – circling to a halt, legs bowing to crouch. Now, the entrance is before her, angled towards the ground. Galina hesitates. She raps three times; sharp. The door swings open to admit her.
“Alone?” a voice demands. “Come close, to see.” Galina walks further into the dark room, framed solely by firelight, as bidden. A bony figure stoops before the flames, face shadowed.
“You lose your way, perhaps?” the woman questions. Galina remains silent but tiptoes forwards. “No matter,” the voice croaks. “Space for more, I have. You see, I think? You saw my many?”
Galina nods slowly, as the crone turns to face her, displaying a singularly long nose. “Forest Grandmother,” she greets her, politely.
“A name!” the old woman says. “Many, I have. You know of some, I think? My hut, it likes you. You speak together a little?” she continues, eyes meeting Galina’s, direct and beady.
Galina nods. “Some words were passed,” she concedes.
“Truth,” the crone says, having stuck her tongue beyond her lips, displaying previous few blackened teeth. “My fence admits you,” she murmurs, looking away, head turning. “As is, as must be.” Raising a finger to point, “So, you tell me! A tale!” the crone demands. “Tomorrow, again, I eat. Today, I hunger for words. So few they come, now,” she adds, a plaintive note entering her voice.
“My story is known,” Galina says, watching the older woman.
“Marinka lazes,” she responds, catching Galina’s eye and gesturing towards a figure curled unresponsive in an unlit corner. “More help, I need. Where there is willing.”
Galina nods.
“You call again, daughter mine; dark heart,” Yaga says. “When need arises.”

Luminous Creatures recently announced their Summer of Short Stories flash fiction competition. The challenge involved incorporating the photo prompt and the phrase "tell me a tale".

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