She discovered something mysterious at the edge of the woods . . .
This is the first story in the sequence:
A writer’s Cramp piece: (24 hours/ 1,000 words or less)
Prompt: Write a story 1000 words or less or a poem 40 lines or less about something mysterious you found at the edge of the woods…
Like Water From a Magic Fountain
This afternoon I found something mysterious at the edge of the woods. Can’t tell my mother about it. Or Auntie Simone . . . not even Grandma Frannie. If I could see my father, I might tell him . . . but he’s gone, off to fight for the king. Can’t tell him anything. I wish I could.
Father would understand. He always understands me. He’d pull me into his lap, hug me close, listen as I spoke. He wouldn’t tell me to run and fetch some alderberry, to hunt for spiderwebs, or go dig up forest mushrooms. That’s what Mother, Auntie and Grandma always say. That and other things they want me to do, like memorize incantations, recite herbal spells, practice broom flying.
And even if they didn’t remind me to study, even if they for once really listened, I know they’d stop me. They’d tell me never to go back to the woods.
I’d go anyway. Nothing could stop me. Something mysterious holds a powerful spell over me, stronger than anything Mother, Grandma, or Auntie ever cast. This enchantment makes me wish I could be there in the woods again, right this moment.
Sometimes the forest harbors little reddish foxes. I’ve seen squirrels and chipmunks there, too. Lots of birds. Birds love the woods. They flutter from tree to tree and squawk at me when I run down the path that leads in and down under the trees.
An old blue jay is the worst of the forest birds. He scolds me. Sounds just like Mother. “Don’t do this, don’t do that. I told you not to pick up those. Why must you always get so dirty, Jezebel? Why can’t you do what you’re told?"
I do, Mother. Sometimes, I do. But not this time.
Of course the old blue jay only scolds me because I’ve entered his woods. He doesn’t want me there. Silly bird. The woods are my second home. I roam them daily. I won’t listen to birds or mothers who tell me not to go. I won’t even listen to aunties or grandmas. Not when I know they’d say the same.
I found something mysterious at the edge of the woods. The far edge. The edge where I know I’m never allowed to go.
He was sitting on a boulder next to a pond. His feet bare, his hair all messed up from sleeping in the grass. At least I think that’s what he’d been doing before I got there.
His legs swung back and forth. Hairy legs. Legs nothing like mine. He was shirtless, too. A wonder to see. His chest was as furry as his legs. I liked the way his chest and legs looked. I liked the way he smiled. I liked everything about him.
He asked me to sit beside him, so I did. We talked, told stories, laughed. He shared his lunch with me, a ham sandwich, apple slices, a piece of chocolate cake.
No one has ever shared their lunch with me. No lunch ever tasted nearly as good.
He told me his name was Ricardo de la Noche. A name like velvet, like a song, like . . . ice water from a magic fountain.
The day grew chill. Evening brought the damp of fog. I knew I should go home, knew if I stayed longer I’d get in trouble, but it wasn’t only the man’s name that tasted of orange blossom honey.
Ricardo took my hand in his, held it, warmed it. I felt his touch in the depths of me. A wiggling itchiness, not like the scratchiness of fancy dresses or the smear of prickly dots that came from touching poisonous leaves. Ricardo’s touch felt like a fever, one that traveled from his fingertips straight through my skin and into my blood and bones, to tingle deep in my soul.
And then the most breathless moment followed. Ricardo touched my lips, not with his fingers but with his mouth. I still don’t understand that. I should have run, galloped for home. The thought of what he did with his lips when they met mine, and we breathed into each other . . . how could that have been pleasurable?
Father could explain. He knows everything. But Mother, she only knows earth magic. She would never believe it, never understand about the goose bumps that shivered up and down my spine.
Ricardo’s breath inside me . . . and then his tongue as it touched mine. The universe expanded, erupted into flames, not the bad kind that hurt and sometimes kill. No, the kind that swallow you up with contentment, warmth, pleasure.
Ricardo must be a mighty wizard or an elfling prince -- for one touch, one breath, one union of tongue against tongue changed everything.
After that, we found ourselves standing, although I don’t remember how that happened. We looked deep into each other’s eyes, and the magic spread.
“I must have you,” Ricardo said.
I gave him my pledge, a pledge for always.
Tomorrow when dew drops sparkle on every leaf and frond, I will return. I dare not stop to say goodbye to my mother, my aunt, and my grandmother. I cannot.
Father would understand that. He would give me his blessing, for he always said, “A promise made is a promise kept.”
I found something mysterious at the edge of the woods, a magic so powerful I bow to its strength -- Ricardo de la Noche, the magic fountain whose water I will drink forevermore.