Doing a bit of flash fiction today on the micro level – only 237 words. The featured image was posted in a Facebook group with the prompt of “Who do you suppose lives here?” I’d been wanting to write something, specifically something short that would fit in a Facebook post but hadn’t actually sat down to do so. Now that I have, I present to you: The Wood.
She’d been gone too long. The woods, once welcoming, now regarded her with suspicion. The wind whispered of malice. The leaves fell like angry tears. Yes, she’d been gone too long and yet not long enough. For beneath the wariness and the fury lay a sorrow as deep as the roots which bound her to this place.
She’d been so young, then, so full of naïve hope and youthful optimism. Here, they’d been happy. Here, they’d loved and laughed and cried together, until he learned the truth. Until time marked its passage in the lines on his face or the grey in his hair but not hers. Until envy and jealousy and anger twisted his love into a dark weapon he wielded with a surgeon’s precision.
He led the others to her door, revealing the secrets of the wood she’d told him. Armed with fear and prejudice, they came with torches and holy relics and a righteous fury to remove the demon, the witch, the other who’d enspelled a good man.
She’d protected the wood as was her duty, but she could not stay. Not with the ghost of their joy and his fury haunting her in every corner, behind every tree. Not with his blood on her hands. She was older now, tempered by time and heartbreak. Should the humans invade her wood a second time, she will become the monster they’ve always believed her to be.