I’m sorry for being away for so long, (if anyone indeed cares) but the novel I’m working on is taking up all of my time. It is my very first novel size project and I find that I’m doing so many mistakes but it is, nonetheless, a learning experience!
I’m going on a conference in Stockholm in April where I’ll have my first five pages evaluated and I’ve entered part of the introductory chapter to a contest, so I only think it’s fair that you atleast get to read the prologue of my fruits work.
Across the field of golden wheat, a woman walked a path separating the land of her neighbour from her own. Her heart was heavy as she lumbered towards the end of the meadow and at the edge of the forest. She stared into the woods where no light reached, where the trees grew dense and the branches curled into each other. And for a moment, she stood there, listening, hesitating. She heard voices calling in the distance, from the glades to the east and the rapids to the west, and even back at the village to the south.
“Johan… Johan!” They called.
She quirked her mouth, knowing that their calls were in vain for she knew there could be only one place her boy had headed. How many times hadn’t she told Johan to avoid these woods? Too many, and that may be why he’d felt enticed to go there. A flash of guilt washed over her, making her groan from the possibility that it was her own fault her son was gone. But she soon straightened her back and stared into the blackness, steeling herself for what she might face.
She swallowed and stepped into the woods.
The further she went, the darker it became, until the light at her back utterly vanished and there was only her and the forest. If she hadn’t known that she was but a few paces in, she might have assumed she was miles away from the meadow. Now a fair distance inside, as far as she was comfortable going, she drew breath and called for her son. But her voice came out weakly, and she tried again, and again, each time louder than the next.
But there was no telling how far her voice would travel in the densely grown woods and after a while, with no response, she perked her ears and listened. Then, she heard a twig break, leaves rustling, and she froze as whatever was out there, came closer. Cold sweat trickled down her back and she glanced behind and considered running away. But she was already determined to face what was out there, and she stayed her ground.
With her hands trembling, and a scream ready to be shout, she only managed a small whimper as a boy emerged from the leaves. She fell backwards, her heart racing, and the boy, never acknowledging her, walked passed without stopping. She stared wide-eyed as the boy disappeared once more into the darkness, and as she collected herself, she whispered. “Johan?”
Then she stood, and hurried after him, catching him in her arms. It was her boy, wasn’t it? But his body, it was stiff and his eyes were wide and vacant. As she clung to him, his body slowly became limp and warmth returned to his gaze.
The streets were empty as she and her husband hugged the wall of their house, seeing but a few faint lights from windows further down the road. Scanning the street for any movement, she corrected her grasp on her boy that slept in her arms and then looked at her husband. He nodded and they hurried out of sight. There was no road where they were heading, none that had been used in ages, for the path was one that only desperate people took.
“Are you sure this is for the best?” Her husband said, now a fair distance from the village.
“It’s the only way,” she said, looking at the boy who slept soundly. “I won’t let it have him, not now, not ever.”
Her husband nodded softly and placed his arm around her. They walked leisurely down the path until they came upon rubble of bricks and mouldy wood. They walked around it and treaded as quietly as they could. She saw her husband glance nervously round the ruins of the ancient town which normal people avoided. She stopped at a tower that stood tall with the full moon partly covered behind it.
Her husband tried to enter first but she stood in his way.
“They’ll only listen to me,” she said.
He gave a worried look. “Let me at least carry him up the stairs.”
She smiled and kissed him on the mouth and headed into the tower before he had time to protest. The tower smelt musky with age and each step creaked dangerously as she ascended alone to the top. She took every step with care, feeling the wood before putting her whole weight on it. On the top, the moon shone through the glassless window that peered over the landscape. A box rested near the window and she laid her boy softly beside it. She closed her eyes and whispered. “Jerros, Farie; Jerros Farie,” repeatedly.
After a while, a presence was known to her and she listened.
She chose her words carefully as her lips moved but her voice was silent, and then, she rose; carrying her son back down the tower where her husband waited.
It was the crack of dawn and she handed the boy back to him.
She did not return with them.
© Christopher Stamfors