Curious Gaze – Very Short Story

In the woods, along the river Great, there was a cottage far from any other homes. The forest was dark, with deep chasms and gnarly roots growing in a patchwork of threads, and nobody would set foot in these parts. Yet there the cottage lay, lonely from any curious gaze; which was how they liked it. In this home, there lived three witches, and their powers were only rivalled by themselves, for they had passion in what they did – to outdo the other – and surely, there was none more passionate than they.

They knew secrets about the world (and others yet conceived by any other) and they loved to outdo one another in their spells. Puffs of green and red would spark in the night, for nighttime was the only time for magic, they often said. At day, the world was as it has always been – it is what we all see. But at night, it is different, and many secrets can be found where normal people don’t look. And normal, they were not, at least not in the eyes of one man; a straggler that had wandered poorly, taking paths he thought he knew – moving against common sense towards the witches hut.

At first, the puffs of colours had sparked his amaze! And without knowing its source and intent, all he saw was the beauty that was manifested. But as he got closer, seeing now the cottage in its dilapidated glory, shabby, and part of nature, he heard the cackles of the three witches as they congratulated one another on another successful spell. But their congrats were only half sincere, for they were proud beings and they would do better than the other and show who had the greatest powers. Though his heart new the voice only spelt trouble, he moved forward for he had not listened to his senses from the very beginning, why start now? It was not hard to get closer unnoticed, for though the witches were powerful, they were not without fault. They did not expect any strangers to brave their forest, much less approach, thus they expected none.

The man, now trembling, peeked through the glassless window, showing as little of his face as he could, and gazed only with one curious eye. The inside was as dark as the forest, but every now and again, when puffs of colours engulfed the room, he could make out what the witches looked like. At first, he had a clear picture of their countenances, resembling more that of a rat and hog than a human being. But in other moments, and between spells, their faces were different and they laughed in their cackling ways as they outdid one another.

“Good, good,” one of them said, only immediately to supersede the other by a motion of her hand and a few choice words. PUFF! The colours sparked, and their faces were different anew. Indeed, the entire inside was not as it were before, but a burning landscape of charcoal trees and panicked animals skittering! The witches laughed and peered at their making, delighted in what they saw. But the man who had seen all of it, his nerves finally broke and he sent out a shriek as if his very flesh was burning of his bones. But as he lost his grip on the wooden frame, he landed in the grass and felt the cool wind blow against his face. The cottage was again lifeless and part of nature. But it was also silent, as if though none was ever there.

Indeed it might as well be, for the man did not recall what he had seen. He tried hard to recollect but as he came out blank, he began to wander home, whichever way he thought was right. But within just a few steps, he crashed into a tree on the left part of his face. He was baffled, how had he missed the giant tree? He felt upon his left eye, the very same he had spied upon the witches, to only find a hollow where the eye should have been. A spark of pain shot through him, for though his mind was lacking, his body recalled, and he listened for once to his senses and ran as fast, and as far away as he could, leaving once more the witches to practice their craft without any curious gaze. 


© Christopher Stamfors

Artwork by ChrisCold

Where’s the Light? – Poem

So the light had vanished,

and nothing could be seen.

What was left of the world we knew?

Where could it be?

We search the land,

the ocean and the sky.

Perhaps it was all our imagination,

written down and succumbed to our mind.


© Christopher Stamfors

Tools of Escape – Very Short Story

I try not to look at their faces as they gathered around me. It was difficult to imagine that they once were living people with fire in their souls. Now their eyes were vacant and could fixate on nothing anymore. Their skin was white as snow… They were most certainly dead. I question, at times, whether they had once been alive at all; whether they were born soulless. But these are just thoughts to ease my mind – makes it easier to look at them, to use them.

The device was strange. I found it along my route and it was a headgear that made ‘my’ movement ‘theirs.’ They mimic it exactly. I will not lie, I had sacrificed more than a few. I had crushed them because of my mistakes; tumbled them into the abyss and burned them into cinder; all for the goal of my escape.

I do not believe they are capable of drowning…

Those unscathed will stay here, frozen, until a new master arrives, or, more likely, until the end of time. I’m not even sure why I struggle. Where am I going? What hope is there for me beyond?

Survival is all on my mind. I won’t give up. I will die before they catch me.


© Christopher Stamfors

Future Relentless – Poem

Tear your attention

Away from the past

Take one step backwards

The future will not let you pass


© Christopher Stamfors

Lost Soul – Very Short Story

It was dark, really dark. There were grey metal walls surrounding me. There was equipment… What were they again? I did something with them – once… Yes! It’s the hydraulics, and, that… that’s for the cannons! The cannons… Wait…

I looked around myself again, saw a hole in the wall. The hole was contrasted by the total blackness around me and I peered out. A large shadowy figured dashed by and I staggered back into the dark.

When I regained my bearings I thought: there were more of us… I turned my head upward and shouted. “Guys? Where are you?!”

As I ran blindly along the corridors I wondered: what were their names again?

I reached a set of stairs and hurried down. Why was it so dark? There was this one guy… James was his name. He — He introduced me to Mary!

Mary…

My heart raced as I pictured her. Suddenly the metal around me creaked. I wasn’t safe here. I have to reach the surface… Where is everyone?

The boat creaked again and my footing tilted to the left. We were sinking!

I rushed upwards, stopping momentarily to shout down the corridors in case anyone else was left but there was no answer.

As I made my way higher, I saw some light above and I hurried my steps. The higher I climbed the brighter it became. Then, the ship creaked ones more and it became ever darker as we sank. No… No! I cried, but there was no use and soon there was only the void.

The ship touched the seafloor softly and spurt sand all around. I saw nothing around me but I knew then that I was dead. My breath was gone as no air would escape my lungs. I had truly been left alone… Why?

As I pondered, things changed around me; the clear grey metal became murky; all manners of creatures swarmed and installed themselves in their new habitat. Life was abundant, but I took no notice as I pondered my fate. Then, after some time, I saw a light coming closer. They were two shining bright eyes that stared right at me. It stopped and inspected me. Could it see me?

I moved closer and saw two men huddling inside the bright-eyed creature. I looked curiously at them but they didn’t stay for long and search another end of the wreckage. When I was alone once more, a yearning stirred in my heart. I needed to go back… I set forth into the unknown dark waters until there was darkness no more but her lovely scent and her hand in mine.

She scolded me for making her wait this long.


© Christopher Stamfors

World of Hate – Poem

Curse ideas in all their form

What use are they to achieve one’s goal?

When the demon roams the hall

Of the membrane we must fall

And what if fate one looks

Finding a road one mustn’t take

When your life was a mistake

In a world of hate


© Christopher Stamfors

The Swedish Myth

In Europe, Sweden was amongst the last to be christened. I think there is a correlation between the time of christendom and how pious a country is. Granted, Sweden was highly religious, as most of Europe were, during the renaissance up until the end of the 1800s. But this is a relatively short time spann, considering how much earlier other countries became christened. This could explain why the people in the southern Europe remained Catholic while countries in the North converted.

But let’s backtrack a bit, because the nature of Norse mythology and the geographical location of Sweden, is also important when learning about Sweden.

It was actually with relative ease the vikings embraced Christianity. They saw Jesus as simply as yet another deity in their already large roster of gods. Not much changed for the converted, but in time, as we all know, the christian belief and practises overtook the Norse. It is said that the people in Svealand (the area around Stockholm) in the 11th century would still call for Thor’s aid when charging into battle, which is a sign that the old Norse traditions died hard.

I’d like to believe, as a Swede myself, that another reason Scandinavians converted with relative ease is that we are a very practical people. It’s easier to believe in one god rather than several, after all. However, something that remained even though Sweden was Christian, were the stories about the creatures hidden in the woods, under your house, in the sea and in the darkness of the night. These tales about trolls and other magical creatures stayed in people’s consciousness for many centuries to come, especially in isolated villages, which Sweden had many of. It is well known that Sweden is sparsely populated for its size, this was especially true a couple of hundred years ago. Imagine, large stretches of untouched forests and a village, with only a couple hundred people were the nearest neighbour is a week away on foot. This meant that the peasant communities had to be self-sufficient and it’s not hard to imagine the tales being told in such small and isolated communities. Parents telling their children about trolls snatching kids if they are not careful, or about werewolves and Draugs by the campfire during winter.

But it wasn’t just the wilderness where these fairy creatures could be found, they could be found on ships and in homes, were the animals lived and under rocks. There were ways to appease these creatures, much like they had done with the Norse gods before them. One such tradition was to offer a bowl of porridge to the house elf to keep the home safe and don’t cause mischief. These creatures weren’t strictly evil but there were those that were malicious and could kill you if you angered them. These tales became christened, of course, as they became more and more associated with the devil. A very clear example of this change is that they say trolls hate the sound of church bells and could be driven away by the holy cross and such. It was a comfort for these people to have these explanations to why bad things happened to them and that they had ways to prevent misfortune.

These traditions were so hard to get rid of that there are documents about maidens running around naked in the meadow in 1600 century Småland as a ritual of fertility.

All these things, I believe, has shaped how Swedes view themselves and the world today. For instance, the famous Swedish melancholy stem from Stig Larssons movies, but has roots further than that. It is not so much that we are a depressed people, we are an inward looking people, think a lot and are more comfortable within small groups. We aren’t very spiritual either, though most people would acknowledge that there’s “something” that we cannot explain. But if we don’t believe in Gods anymore, nor fairy creatures, then what is this “something?” We don’t have an answer to that and it’s how should be when confronting the otherworldly. The norse Gods were faceless, imageless; we knew they existed and our sacrifices matter, but that was all we knew. Perhaps we are going back to this ambiguity?


A little brain dump from my part. Hope you enjoyed it!

Abandoned – Very Short Story

The floor was cold as I awoke. My jaw was sore and my body was stiff, and when I opened my eyes, I couldn’t tell where I was. It was dark. The walls were pitch-black but I could see a bed without a mattress. One of the springs were loose… I tried to stand, with some difficulty, and when my senses had gathered I endeavoured to move. I had no recollection of where I was or how I ended up here – whatever here was. There were large metal bars in my way that felt course on my hands. It seemed that I was a prisoner, of some sort, that much was clear. My attire confirmed my suspicion, wearing a grey jumpsuit, the one associate with criminals. I rattled the bars and felt them move. Pieces of the concrete rained on my head. A hard enough push and the bars would come crashing down, I imagined. But for some reason, I hesitated. Something was wrong. It was too quiet… Too dreary, or maybe this was common? I wasn’t sure. Had I deserved to be imprisoned? I didn’t know. Surely I was not?

In either case, I felt the bars and after some force, it all collapsed loudly on the floor. I stood paralysed as the crash echoed in my ears and through the hall, before it became deathly silence once more. I stepped out and felt cold wind on me. It whined through a broken window, which I approached. There wasn’t much of anything that I could see in the distance, only trees and an empty courtyard below. There was a lonely car parked near the entrance and I imagined it to be a means to my escape. I turned back to the hall and was engaged to find my way downstairs when I became paralysed once more. There was only utter darkness ahead, the light from the window seemed to die halfway down the hall and I shuddered at the thought of heading into it. But, seeing no other way I steeled myself and headed towards it. One could only wonder why the prison had been abandoned to begin with and why I was its sole inhabitant, so I did not, and focused instead on my escape.

Only now did I realise my feet were bare. The floor was course and a multitude of different things, and pieces, lay scattered that made me painfully aware of my naked feet. But I kept on moving, feeling with my hands on the right side of the wall to not lose my way. The wall disappeared and I imagined the hallway forked to my right, and as I was about to head that way, my feet became firmly planted on the floor. There was a scratching noise, like metal being dragged against the concrete floor and I froze. I remained still as it came closer, making efforts to breathe shallow breaths. Though I did not see it, I felt the strangers presence as it lurked past me and when it reached the light I became vindicated that I had made the right choice and remained still. He was a massive man, muscular and faceless. And the weapon, that seemed light for a man of his stature, was dragged along the floor, like it was his purpose to make his presence known. He stopped by my cell and inspected it.

I struggled to keep quiet as it searched my former abode, and when it deemed it empty, it returned the same way it came. Only when the sounds were distant did I dare to move. I decided that my only way of escape was through the window and I searched for anything to make a rope out of. I searched other cells too, though I avoided the locked ones in fear of making any sounds that would attract the monster to me. I gathered all the cloth I could find and managed a rope that I hoisted out the window. It seemed to reach all the way down and I did not hesitate to throw myself out into the world. It had started to rain, which made the climb more difficult, but I was in high spirit, when, from the window, a figured stared down at me. A moment later, I held onto nothing and I was falling, along with my makeshift rope.

They say that your life flashes before your eyes before you die. I can say with certainty that this is true, and as mine did I no longer feared death and accepted my fate.


© Christopher Stamfors

Art by ChrisCold

Give It Up – Poem

Nobody lies down to die

At the prospect of betterment

For giving up is the same as death


© Christopher Stamfors

How the First Day was Born – Very Short Story

On the street we crowded, staring upward at a tower. We huddled with our loved ones. There was darkness all around, even the heavens was black. The girl in my arms shivered, the woman behind me, her teeth they clattered, and the man beside, he murmured, his breath felt upon the vapour.

Then, a small glimmer shone through a slither, in the cracks of the wall of the tower. The glimmer moved higher and higher, disappearing and reappearing as it moved upwards. We kept our eyes on her, and when the light reached the top, we saw our Godess in all her beaming light, sharing her glory upon us.

The light it spread all over the city. The dirt, that was black, turned brown. The clothes, that were grey, turned white. I saw the face around me. Our tears they glimmered and our bodies fumed. The warmth of her rays buckled us and we crumbled in the dirt.

She stretched out her arms, and in a single breath, we could see her no more but a blur of everlasting glory that illuminate everything. And so did a thousand years of darkness end, and the first day was born. 


© Christopher Stamfors

Art by: ChrisCold

This was a snippet (or a concept) from a Novel that I’ve been tinkering with for some time. It’s a fantasy with a creation story and I hope you enjoy!

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