Short Story part 1
Updated: Mar 19
I challenge myself by writing the same prompts that I give my Creative Writing students. We've been working through prose prompts in an effort to work on several elements of story and I've decided to write one continuous short story. We're nearing the end now, and I still have a ways to write. If I deliver it here, my hope is that I'll finish it as it's meant to be finished. Although, it does have potential for a full-length novel someday.
Freya had warned me that traveling through the forest would be the most difficult. I had argued that it was the shortest, and headed off anyway. Damn my stubborn nature. There were no paths through this forest. The inhabitants made sure of that. They wanted outsiders to stay away, and I could empathize. Yet traveling around their massive wooded claim would take me an extra week to get to the mountains, and time wasn’t something I could spare at the moment.
I sighed as a I picked my way through the difficult undergrowth and the overcrowded trees. It seemed impossible that anything but plants would live in here, and yet, there seemed to be eyes watching my every move. The overwhelming glow of emerald leaves everywhere started to get to me when I finally spotted a patch of sunlight in the canopy overhead. I moved quickly now, nearly tripping over the roots and shoving aside vines and branches that seemed to bar my way from reaching the clearing where I could see the sky. I had been a soundless intruder before, but hours beneath that unenduring undergrowth forced me to blunder as a barbarian to be free of the vegetation, if only for a moment.
I braced myself on the final tree trunk, panting from exertion as beads of sweat slid under my leather riding gear. Leather isn’t the most breathable armor, but it’s lightweight and affords some protection.
The golden glow intensified, and my gaze lifted to find a grand faerie floating in front of me. She looked to be a small sun in the middle of the glade. I quieted my breath, trying to figure out whether she would be friendly to me or turn me to a toad for her people to play with.
“Your path is long and dangerous, traveler. Why do you choose this journey?” she asked.
“I have nowhere else to go. I might as well take this path.”
She studied me then, as though assessing my ability to right the wrongs of my people. Whether she found me a decent candidate for the match mattered not, I had nothing else going for me and I might as well try for this.
“Very well. I’ll make your path through these woods easier.” The same golden glow that surrounded her enveloped me and I gasped at the gentle warmth. It twisted and turned around me as the sudden realization hit that the trees were growing taller or I was shrinking. I looked back to where she had floated to ask her why, but she had gone. An aged parchment drifted through the air and landed just in front of me. I approached with caution wondering if it was magicked as I currently had all I could handle now being as tall as a blade of grass. The thick heavy parchment felt like a royal note, but all it said was, “Only the caves sleep at night.” What in the hell could that mean? Did she leave this for me? A scent wafted from the parchment and I leaned closer not realizing my mistake until it was too late. The note had been written with fresh belladonna berry juice and in my small stature it caused my eyelids to feel heavy and I dropped to the ground.