Thursday 17 September 2015

Intro: The Staff (Short Fiction)

She was born in the blood of her mother's love and became the wings on which her father flew.


They walked in the woods when she was 3. The tree was as old as the world; its branches as long as the oceans.

"That one," she pointed.

He laughed. "It's too tall for you" in his voice that was the world, but cut the branch cleanly and carried it home.


People would travel to their hut from far and around, seeking the help of her father. They would speak to him privately, then often pat her head as they left, as though for luck.

Some brought food, some clothes, some tools and after every visit, her father would be quiet. He would leave her to play on the rug by the hearth, trusting her to be safe whilst he worked in the shack of a shed she could not enter. And after a few days, they would walk into town to find the person who'd come, his footsteps echoing the joy or anger or sorrow with which they had approached him.


The staff lived in the corner by the fireplace. Sometimes, she would collect it, carry it to him, and he would laugh in his love and tell her not yet. She would show him the pictures and he would carve them out with shick, shick, shicks of his sharp whittling knife in the light of her dark eyes.


She grew (as children will) under the sun and the stars of an open sky. Each time she took the staff he would smile and say "Not yet," but the laughter grew sadder as the lines around his eyes deepened. Until one day she held it and his deep voice trembled "Not yet. But soon." And a tear fell.


It was cold, the day the ghosts came. The two were warming by the fire, but he saw the path of the ghosts and hid her in the roots of a tree that grew by their home. She curled small in her fear, but didn't whimper as the ghosts and the men with dog-heads passed.

She found she could see without moving as they entered the cottage, but no sound as they threatened her father seated in his chair by the fire. No sound as the first drew his sword and slashed at the one she loved most, just the spray of his blood and she squeaked and withdrew so missed the fire they set in the shed.

They left and she raced to the shell of her home.

The life of her father was leaving, blood through his skin, but he pointed and said "It is now. It is yours". And she grasped the staff and fed it with her tears, but it had no power yet and could only take in the blood of her father's love.

She left for the village.


  1. Wow. Chills. That is very powerful.

    1. Ooh, that's good; chills is good! Means I'm hitting at least some of the right notes!

      Thank you =D