Microfiction Monday: The North Wind

Today’s story is one I have told before, in a different setting. See, there’s a reason my camp name is Goose, and it’s only partially because of my love of geese: I get called Mother Goose at camp because at least once a week I get called to a unit to tell a bedtime story. I never tell the same story twice; I make them up as I go. One night in my sixth summer, I told this story, and after the kids had left the circle, one of my coworkers scooted close to me on the bench and buried her face in my shoulder–she’d been silently crying the whole time. “I know how the North Wind felt,” she said in between sobs. “I know what it’s like.”

So did I.

Once upon a time in a city far above the fields of men, where the clouds tumble and tangle, the North Wind was very unhappy indeed. Her sister the South Wind had many friends down on earth, for her long golden hair smelled of the flowers that bloomed in her wake and her easy laugh sounded like the drenching summer rains that fell wherever she went. Her brothers the East Wind and West Wind also had many friends, for they were loud and lively and made up entirely of bright sunny days. But the North Wind was seldom welcome down in the fields of men. Wherever she went, ice followed, delicate frost-lace blooming wherever her feet fell, and where she slept, snow fell in the night, great sparkling white blankets that draped over the land. When she went down to earth, people fled before her, disappearing into their homes and locking the doors against her entreaties, building their fires higher and higher to drown out her pleas from beyond their walls. After a while, the North Wind stopped trying to make friends, and simply wandered from place to place, bringing winter with her.

The North Wind spent all her days alone and unhappy…until the day she discovered the boy.

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Microfiction Monday: The Sun In Your Eyes

Okay, so it’s not quite a microfiction.

“Mrs. Ingraham’s babying that damn peach tree,” Edna said in a low voice to Kate as they washed the windows in the bookshop. “I don’t know why she bothers.”

Kate didn’t understand it either. The little tree had no business being in northern Wisconsin where the winters raged like some wild grieving animal and the springs were sullen, brimming over with dirty melting snow that turned to gritty mud. Mrs. Ingraham was somewhere Down South. Nobody knew where Mr. Ingraham was. He had gone away down south somewhere, and had come back with his pretty bride.

She watched as the woman carefully pruned the brittle branches that hadn’t made it through the winter, her dove-brown hair shining in the late-afternoon sun. The tree had been there for three years, but hadn’t yet borne fruit. Maybe it never would.

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Microfiction Monday: The Escape

Microfiction is a subset of flash fiction (fiction of 1000 words or less) in which stories have 300 words or less. This one is something between fantasy and horror, and the inspiration was chosen by Ali Malin: “grilled cheese and triceratops.”

The once-grand dining hall was lit only by the candles illuminating the chipped plate that held Kensia’s final meal. “Eat up,” Dallan, the soldier-priest who was her jailer and only human companion ordered from the darkness. “This is what you wanted.” Indeed, Kensia had requested the simple fare of gooey melted cheese sandwiches and root vegetables. She had eaten one sandwich for appearances, and was nibbling the crusts of the other, being sure to leave as much cheese as possible for Elegda.

The demonic whispering was muted in the hushed dining hall. There were no mirrors left in there, after all. They’d been shattered in the surrender. Anything reflective. The soldier-priests had thought they knew how to prevent her night-dark magic.

They didn’t know what she knew.

She ate the crusts of the sandwich, taking her time to savor the drips of melted cheese, cooling in the night air. Elegda liked the gooey heart of the sandwiches almost as much as she liked the hotly metallic taste of a terrified heart bursting between her fangs.

Kensia laid her fork down, and noticed that Dallan flinched, the triceratops patch on his sleeve flashing in the candlelight. Good. She wanted him a little afraid. Elegda wanted him a little afraid. “Dallan,” she said sweetly, “Could I have a few more carrots?”

The soldier-priest sighed. “I’ll go get you some.”

“Thank you,” Kensia said softly. She waited till his footsteps had faded, then moved quickly, tilting her glass of water onto the table. The reflection shown in the light. Her tongue twisted around the incantations of summoning, and she closed her eyes, feeling hot demon claws pick at her handcuffs. Freedom tasted delicious, she thought.

She kept her eyes closed even after Dallan’s screaming began. Humans were so dramatic about being sacrificed.