it never fails to knock me askew and, quite frankly, i resent the interruption to my bliss-full flow.
so, in lieu of anything intelligent to say...i shall leave you with an excerpt from the new story series which shall commence with this months issue of le zine.
if you played along with last year's inkblots, you might recognize someone.
if you believe in the eventuality of Iron and Hawthorn, this is back-story.
it'll all make sense, someday.
ps. fyi? i'm kicking it up a notch #fireraising
pps. saying that ^ is in the category of fake-it-til-you-make-it. true story.
“Look at ‘er! She looks like one of them witch trees, all dangling with ribbon and mouse-bones!”
Bronwen squeezed her eyes shut and put her hands over her ears. Then, she took a deep breath, clutched one hand to the strap of the satchel running across her shoulder, and dashed out from the shelter of the oak tree. Stumbling blindly over protruding tree roots, she ran, dodging the acorns and pats of mud and sheep’s pellets the children threw at her.
“Look at it run!” shouted the oldest boy. “Just like the vermin it loves! Go on, back to your den. Hide with the badgers and the foxes!” Bending down he scooped up a handful of acorns and hurled them at Bronwen’s retreating form.
The other children laughed and jeered, eager to be on the winning side of the daily torment. Too easily, they all knew, it could be them running off into the woods. Jamie Tunnock was the village tyrant and his whims were as changeable as the north wind. It had been the boon of the village children’s existence when the traveling family turned up, bringing the strange-eyed, half-wild, girl into their midst.
Bronwen ran until her wind gave out. Gasping for breath, she sank to her knees against a moss-covered boulder. The nearby stream bubbled and tinkled, soothing and comforting her like the sounds of the wild places always seemed able to do. Shoulders heaving, she scrubbed a dirt-smudged hand across the tears that she hadn’t quite been able to contain. The resulting smear did nothing to dissuade the idea that she was, indeed, one of the wild creatures whose company she frequently kept.
“My, but you do look a bit like a badger now,” said a laughing voice from somewhere on the other side of the stream.
Bronwen started. She looked around but could see no-one. Letting go of the satchel strap, she slipped a hand into her apron pocket, her fingers closing over the carved figure she kept there. With the other hand, she fingered the ribbon woven into one strand of her long, black, hair.
“Who’s there?” she called, her voice ragged and wavering from the run.
“No-one in particular, no-one of consequence!”
Bronwen spun around, the voice was behind her now.
“No, lass. You shan’t see me. Not yet. So don’t strain your pretty eyes looking!”
The voice sang, rather than spoke and despite the instruction, Bronwen scanned the undergrowth for the source.
“Whoever you are, you must show yourself!” she called, sounding more brave than she felt. Her mother had warned her about these woods. Not a typical forest, she had told Bronwen when they first led Kip, the piebald pony that pulled their caravan, into the clearing.
“Wear the ribbon, my Bronny,” her father added “and remember the blackbird.”
Bronwen swallowed. Her heart hammered in her chest, and not just from exertion.
“Go home, sweet child. The devilment is past, they shan’t be a bother to you now,” sang the voice, coming from somewhere off to the left now.
“All in time, my petal. All in time. It’s home you are to be going, yes indeed! Hey ho, and carry on!”
Bronwen waited. She muttered quietly under her breath, repeating the words her mother had taught her to say;
“I walk in peace, spirits of the wood,
I pledge my oath to thee.
Grant me passage, spirits of the wood,
That no harm shall come to me,”
When all she could hear was the call of a far-off meadowlark and the burbling of the stream, she stood up. Dusting the dirt from her apron and shaking the remnant of sheep dung from her hair, she wiped her hands across her face again - deepening the smear around her eyes - and set off in the direction of home.
“Well?” said the faery with ice for eyes. “Will she be suitable?”
“Yes, my Lady,” replied the little man with the red waistcoat. “I do believe she will.”