Things aren’t always what they seem. Perception creates reality. But there are rules, such as the linear progression of seasons or the natural and unquestioned confidence one has in the solidity of things. One woodsman falls in love…and the rules change.
He had built this path to the top of the hill where he had first seen her. She had appeared over the grass like a sunrise, walking slowly, her eyes as dark as the night with a tawny star in the depths, her skin the color of the earth and her hair a tangle of moss and roots, reddish and wild, like her. Together they had planted a grove, when the meadow rippled in the wind and birds fluttered and chirruped among the brush and flowers. They had dug the holes for the trees with their bare hands and gently placed the seedlings in. They had smoothed the path by walking to the stream with a fat clay jug, returning to the grove and watering each tree with a jugful, one at a time.
She sang to the trees, the dark-skinned girl. He remembered her voice, rich and full of subtleties, as she stood in the sun with her brown breasts bared and her arms and fingers splayed like the branches of an ash, her voice spiraling into the sky. Underneath the warm green moss, silence loves the water, she would sing. High above the cool blue wind, sunlight loves the air.
He had lain with her, and made her a woman.
He did not yet understand what she had made of him.
“The Origin” originally appeared in Aoife’s Kiss, Issue 21.
This story is included in Wizards, Woods and Gods, a collection of twelve dark fantasy tales exploring the mysteries of the Otherworld through tree and animal lore, magic, cosmos, love, war and mysticism.
© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.
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