Tale #119: Little Sparrow

Little Sparrow and her mother fled across the kingdom, and her father the king followed. For two years they ran, and the king and his armies could not catch them, for Little Sparrow and her mother were too quick. But eventually they tired, and so in the third year they hid, and hoped that the king could not find them.

For two months Little Sparrow and her mother hid there in the dark, drinking from the spring that bubbled up through the rocks, eating what little food they had in their packs, holding each other in the dark for warmth, singing to each other for comfort.

But in the third month, the waters in the spring froze, the food in their packs dwindled away to nothing, and the nights became so cold they needed a fire to keep from shivering to death as they slept. So each morning at dawn, and each evening at dusk, Little Sparrow crept from the cave and would flit from tree to tree, crawl through the long grass, and slip silently through the whispering mists of winter.

And like this, for two weeks Little Sparrow filled their bottles in the stream, picked mushrooms in the meadows, and gathered fire wood from the forest, all without making a sound, nor ever being seen by any living soul.

But in the third week, she lost her footing on the river bank one morning and slipped into the stream, and the sound of her splashing echoed through the forest, across the fields, beyond the hills, as loud as cannon fire, as loud as screams. Soon the woods were full of the king’s men, and it was long past sunset before she could find a way back to their cave unseen.

Alas by then it was too late. In the pale phosphorescence of the cave, Little Sparrow saw her mother by the cold ashes of the fire, the king’s huge silver sword plunged through her back and into her heart, her body cold and dead, the only sound the drip drip drip of her blood as it blossomed across the floor and trickled down the rocks to melt the waters of that icy spring.

For two days Little Sparrow mourned and wept. She washed her mother’s clothes with the last of of their water. She kept the fire burning by her mother’s side with the last of the wood. And she sang songs of love and remembrance through the last of her tears.

On the third day, Little Sparrow pulled the sword from her mother’s heart and went out in search of her father the king. The sword was so huge and heavy she could not carry it, and instead had to pull it along behind her, both her hands on the hilt, her back to the path as she walked. The tip of the blade cut a channel in the ground that led all the way back to her mother’s tomb.

For two days Little Sparrow dragged that sword across the kingdom. It was not hard to find her way to her father, for where Little Sparrow and her mother were quick, the king was slow, and where Little Sparrow and her mother were quiet, her father was loud.

On the third day she came to the King’s camp and stood before her father, his huge sword still held tightly in her hands.

“Little Sparrow, come home to roost,” he laughed. “Are you going to peck at me with that blade of mine? It looks a little big for you!”

“This sword is not for me, father,” Little Sparrow said. “I brought it back for you.”

She spun round once, twice, and on the third spin she let the sword go and threw it across the dirt towards her father’s feet. The king picked up his silver sword, and as he held it up with one hand towards the sun, Little Sparrow laughed.

“A coward’s blade for a cowardly king,” she said, and in his rage her father the king swung it down upon Little Sparrow’s neck.

But not even that great blade was enough to save him. For where the king was slow, Little Sparrow was quick.For while the king was furious, Little Sparrow was calm. And though the king was cruel, Little Sparrow was just.

For two hours she followed the trail of her father the king’s blood, as it trickled down the channel left by his sword, all the way back to her mother’s tomb. And in the third hour…

…well, who can say. Who can know.

__________

Notes:

1. Written between November 18th and November 20th, 2019
2. The first line is taken from The Gunslinger by Stephen King

__________

Support An Accumulation Of Things

If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.

Tale #95: In The Garden Between

In the evening we could hear her, calling us out by name from the walled garden at the centre of the town, in the gap between the shops and the houses, somewhere behind the church.

In the night we could hear her, crying softly to herself about imprisonment, about captivity and despair. In the morning we could hear her still, her voice strong and clear, cutting through the noise of the day, singing defiantly of hope and freedom, of escape and revenge.

Each year we built the walls higher, dug the foundations deeper, made the structure stronger as best we could. Not to save our children, although that was the lie we told. But to save, here and now, ourselves from the consequences of our own crimes.

Yet we knew, deep down, one day she would be free. That a retribution would come no matter how much we tried to avoid it.

___________

Notes:

1. Written on September 25th, 2017

__________

Support An Accumulation Of Things

If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.

Tale #84: The Fairy Tale Heart

There lived a girl in the forest, her blood as dark and as thick as molasses, her voice as loud and as clear and as beauitful as a bell. When the huntsman sliced her open, her blood congealed in the hole he left in her chest, a scab as substantial as the heart he had stolen, and much more precious, for what worth is a heart ripped free from the warmth that sustains it, the love that makes it beat, beat, beat.

For years afterwards she would dream of the queen in the castle, her lips black with blood, her teeth feasting on the flesh of her heart. She would dream of the meat and gristle of it catching in the Queen’s throat, choking her dead in the vast palace hall as her guests watched on, the embarrassment of it all as great as the pain, each final choking cry quieter than the last, until finally they just stop.

The dream was all the revenge the girl ever sought, all the revenge she ever needed, all the revenge she would ever get. And in her chest her scabbed-up fairy tale heart beat on, as defiant as any made of flesh, as loud and as clear and as beautiful as any drum, more vital than any of the real hearts hidden beneath the brittle rib cages of the powerful, and the cruel, and all those others who remain silent enough to sustain them.

__________

Notes:

1. Written on April 1st, 2019
2. This originally had slightly irregular formatting
3. on the last few words of each paragraph
4. But this wordpress theme can’t seem to cope with that
5. so it’s all gone

__________

Support An Accumulation Of Things

If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.

Tale #59: (fragment)

When I can talk again
I’ll call for you

When I can see again
I’ll look for you

When I can walk again
I will come for you

And when I’ve had my revenge
the crows can bury you

__________

Notes:

1. Written in November 2017

__________

Support An Accumulation Of Things

If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.