Showing posts from January, 2023


 Once, the weary girl looked down the lane. She took just enough breath to hope, a hard thing because her heart was heavy and weighed down her lungs. But lane was empty. And it was growing dark.      Then she did it again. That was twice. And still nothing.     She tried to look again, thrice it would have been; but her heart was too heavy for breath and she fell instead.     It was the arms that went around her, that tilted her head, that raised her heart so she could breathe, it was those pieces of human that saved her. Even as her heart wanted to weigh down all the world so that there would never be another breath again. But she breathed. She looked. Thrice.      She saw the glow of the dancing lantern then. Lights in the darkness. It was the sign the girl needed to brave the night. She turned to look at the arms that held her, of the human that held her dear. But there was nothing to see. Only a sound. The breath of a ghost who had paid attention enough to remember how hard it was

The Witches

 When the hangman's noose slipped over the old woman's head, she stood steady and proud. It settled on her neck, and when the moment came, she felt the floor leave, but there was no tug around her throat. In the black of the hanging box, someone caught her, and held her gently, and waited with her until darkness fell. They sneaked through a tunnel and out into the night, and there the old woman laughed, one short sharp laugh, then turned on her savoir.     'And what have you to be doing with saving the likes of me, eh?' she said.     'Old mother, we need you,' came the voice. It echoed. But not as much as it should.     'Who else is there?' she asked.     'The lot of us,' came another voice. And the sound of scuffing and coughing and sniffing let her know how many that was.     A lantern lighted up the night.     And there they were. The women. Young and old and in between.      That morning she had been firm, steady, determined. But bitter.    

The Wild Wood

 There was once a witch who hated everybody. And she meant it. Mostly it had to do with trees. She loved them, but was convinced that the world and everyone in it hated them. People would go about cutting off their branches as it suited them, chopping them down when they got in the way, and even uprooting and tossing them should the trees stand in the way of house-oriented progress. What people, seemingly in mass, failed to notice was the abundant life that was not merely a tree itself, but all the other creatures and critters that made it their home. It did not make sense to her that no seemed to consider the fact that the tree was there first. They only considered the fact that it was inconvenient, and they had an axe.     And so she developed a curse.     It was a complicated curse, and began with herbs and chants spread about the roots of her beloved forest. It grew up the trunks of the trees. It settled in the largest branches and spread to the small ones. It surged up through the

Of a Wood and Monsters

 Deep in the wood behind draped moss and drooping lichen lurked a monster. The children knew it; they had seen it out of the corner of their eyes and in their nightmares. Those grown remembered their own childhood terror, and did not doubt. Only the village witch calmed fears and said it would do no harm. But when first the oozing stag appeared and then the festered game, the men marched out to find the beast and put it down.     Thus the village witch moved in the night, through moss and under lichen, until it came upon the beast, who wasn't a beast at all. Only a man, gnarled and grey. With beady eyes topped with thick matted hair. Fleeing his demons.      The witch warned the man. But his demons were too much to leave his home. And the men marched as the witch yelled her advice and then her warning and then her curses.     But they killed her.     And they killed the beast.     Then they saw he was only a man.      The hearts of the men formed apologies. It seemed but a moment b