*Idiot! Fool! Pegleg! Devil!”
The boy slammed into a tree in the semi-darkness, the words of the children still ringing in his ears, the snow and mud they had flung still clinging to him, an ensemble of shame. Too tired to cry, too tired to fun any further, he turned and slid to his haunches, the rough bark scratching his back.
Not silence. He could hear his heart, crashing in his chest and something else….
A beautiful, lonely, magnificent song that filled his chest with dread and wonder. Where was it coming from?
He closed his eyes and tried to pinpoint the Song of the Siren. It seemed to be coming from deep, deep within the ancient forest. Turning his head, his neck frozen from the snow and ice that dripped down his back, he could barely see the lights of the village, flickering fireflies pricking the gnarled shadows of the trees. He turned his head towards the song.
She was calling him.
And he knew; he would go to Her.
Heaving himself up, he allowed himself a grunt, then started limping in the direction of the song. Dragging his crippled leg, he picked a sturdy stick from the ground and made a frozen fist around its hilt, and using it as a crutch, he soldiered on.
The singing was getting more urgent. It seemed to come from the very belly of the earth, it seemed to fill the air, the air surely crackled with its mystery and every ice crystal around him reverberated with the Song as a new fire flickered in his soul. Every element, every creature, every thing in the forest resonated with the Song as it got louder and louder, urging him on, beckoning, calling. Inviting.
And then it stopped.
Silence and sadness descended. And then the warmth that emanated from the mouth of the cave struck his face.
How far had he run? Did it matter? He’d never find his way home now, snow was falling, covering his shuffled tracks and he knew there was No Way Back.
Holding his hands up to the mouth of the cave, he shivered with the primal, delicious, tingle of adventure that drove the first souls to look to the heavens and wonder, ‘What might be?’
He stumbled into the mouth of the cave. Deeper and deeper he limped, following the strange warmth, longing for the heat, but longing ever more desperately for the Song, the Song he knew to have been sung at the Beginning of All Things and so it would be sung again, at the End.
He paused. Although he couldn’t see anything, his senses told him he had entered a vast cavern.
He opened and closed his eyes, then concentrated, searching with his senses for the echoes of the song, the source of the heat.
And then he heard the Word. Spoken, not as a command but as an invitation and a fire sprang to life in front of him.
And there she was, coiled around her treasures with a smile on her ancient face.
“Well, hello there,” she purred. “I’ve been waiting for you…..”
Stories for a Mystical Christmas, by Sparrow. To be told around the firelight this Yule at the Mystical Creatures sim.
Happy Advent Sunday, one and all!