Thursday, October 10, 2019

Winter Will Fail and Spring Will Come

Life has crashed upon me in unyielding waves lately, dear readers. I have spent the better part  of an entire evening re-creating my eulogy for my recently departed father, only to have the digital gods take it all away. I cannot bring myself to go through that again, so I will leave you with a bit of my writing for now in hopes that I may be strong enough to try again at some later time.

Excerpt from "The Wild Man of Winter Wood"

             Shortly, six more squirrels glided out and fell in behind the first. Three more squadrons sailed in from different directions pelting the wolves with acorns and rocks as they flew over. One, grey with a black stripe down its side, hurled an acorn straight into the open mouth of a wolf as it leapt upwards towards them. The wolf fell to the ground gasping for air.
            It was then that creatures of the forest of all kinds came bounding, hopping, running and flying into the meadow. All set to harrying the wolves with teeth, stone, stick and claw. One in particular, a badger with a patch over one eye, ran into a cluster of wolves who had circled around Ralph. With a terrible ferocity, the badger began biting the wolves’ legs and muzzles, causing them to yelp and howl as they scurried away.
            A jagged black rock pelted down, striking Spur across the flat of his snout. The wolf growled fiercely as he leapt away from the Wild Man, snapping his jaws at the retreating squirrel completely ignoring the shrieks of rage from the tiny figure on his back. The Wild Man rolled to his feet, chucking handfuls of snow and sod at the wolf as he steadied himself.
            “Sparky!” he cried. He thrust both arms into the air waving them enthusiastically at the squirrel. A flutter of red scarf and the muted glint of the failing light off his goggles were all that the Wild Man saw of Leftenent Sparky McWingnut before he glided back to his squadron, but not before the squirrel nodded towards him and offered a brief salute. The Wild Man laughed and returned the salute as they banked to the left, gliding back into the trees.
            A banshee screech startled him around. He spun quickly to see Francis standing in front of the Flower, her back arched and her tail at full bristle. A low rumbling hiss came from her. The dark of her eyes had narrowed to mere slits as she glowered at Havelock. He stood a scant foot away from her and was creeping slowly forward.
            A single flake of snow drifted downward, coming to rest on a petal of the Flower. Havelock grinned wickedly. The Wild Man shouted. Francis hissed. Snow began to fill the air.
            And then, the snow stopped.
It was not that the storm had passed, but rather that the snow simply stopped falling. It hung in the air. Each and every creature within the clearing paused. And in the stillness, a woman’s voice was heard singing.
            Still, still, still we are;
            Still, Still, Still we must be;
            The world without, the world within;
            All must be still, as still as can be.
            A woman, dressed in russet and orange, stepped from the trees at the far side of the meadow. Tall and thin, with hair the color of loam, she crossed to the stone to stand facing the Wild Man. She held a wand of curled witch hazel, which she twirled in lazy circles as she sang.
            The Wild Man looked about. Nothing stirred, not even a mouse…except for him. The woman crossed the glade with barely a whisper. Snowflakes parted around her and swirled in her wake as she passed. She drew near the stone and paused opposite the Wild Man.
“Ever here, ever there;” she chanted. “I find you, ever here, ever there.”
The Wild Man began to circle the stone, holding his staff close to him. The woman did not lower her wand, but began to move around the stone in the same direction.
            "Time and Tide wait for no man.” He said as they circled.
Stopping suddenly, he looked around and said, “Survey says! Agatha le Fey!”
He blew his breath at a snowflake that hung in the air before him. “No man is a failure who has friends.”
A smile quirked Agatha’s lips as she also stopped. She lowered her wand and said,
Known to you
And known to me,
I know you of old.
And me to you.”
And in that frozen time, the two stood across from one another unaware that they were not the only ones untouched by Agatha’s spell. Havelock cowered where he had stopped, crouched and ready to spring away. His black eyes darted between them daring not to move for fear of being noticed. After moments when only the frost of their breath stirred the air, Havelock leapt forward. He reached out, but had his hand swatted by Francis’ claws. Black blood oozed from the scratches on his hand.
Agatha whirled towards the darkling creature, pointing her wand directly between his eyes.
 “You have no power here, elf,” she said calmly. “The Flower will bloom soon and you will be returned to the Darkness. When you return next season, you will not remember any of today. No memory of this grove will remain to you when you return. You will begin this fruitless endeavor all again to the very same end. You are doomed for your sins to continue chasing Spring until Time itself perishes. In what’s left of your soul, you know this to be true.”

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