White Stag #7

The antlered woman stirred the long oar into the deep, cool water. With each stroke, the water rippled, but oddly, almost as if it consisted of thick oil.

Earlier, they had climbed up the mossy hills from were they had stood, and then the creature led her through endless twists and turns within the forest. Sade could barely keep up. She feared blinking for the sheer terror of losing sight of the woman. Her feet had moved with the deft silence of a deer unlike Sade’s clumsy clunking about. Sade had boarded onto a small, wooden boat made of dark walnut wood.

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Now, without emitting a sound, the woman swept the oar through the waters, and they made their way towards the forest that was underwater. Sade sat back, staring agape at the tree tops poking out of the water while their trunks were submerged; a few branches poked out from the murky depths like barren and lonely poles. It was like nothing she had ever seen before.

The sky above them had changed to a cold, depthless blue, and clouds rumbled in the distance, threatening rain. A sudden flash of lightning lit up the sky, and Sade was surprised to hear whimpering. It would have never come from the deer-like woman in front of her; a creature like that would surely be too proud to emit such a noise. She glanced all around her, and then saw a group of small, furry creatures clutching onto the leaves of the trees. Their faces and ears were similar to that of bats, and their eyes were larger than their face seemed capable of holding. Their tiny hands gripped at the leaves while a merciless gust of wind attempt to shake their round, fuzzy bodies from their sanctuary.

“We have to help them! They’ll drown!” Sade shouted unexpectedly, shoving her hair away from her face. She turned to get the stag-woman’s attention but discovered that she was already staring at her with her glittering axinite-brown eyes. It was as if the woman were considering her.

“They are your tenants. And these, your lands. Your people are drowning,” her strange voice was hard when she said it, but Sade could hear the gentlest layer of sympathy affected it.

“How can I have people?” roared Sade, “How the hell are these my lands? I don’t know what those things even are, but I know that they are drowning.”

“You caused this,” the woman extended her slender fingers indicating to the watery forests all around them. Sade looked all around her and saw the tops of trees barely over the surface of the growing waters. The sky rumbled louder and a whip of lightning crackled above. In the distance, she could see a pair of boulders not too far, and for a moment, she could have sworn another horned figure stood atop the rocks; but this time, the creature’s eyes were not brown, they glowed red.

Sade glanced back to the woman, and she stared off in the exact spot that Sade had looked in, but if she saw anything, she made no mention of it.

“I did not cause this. Maybe things-people like you can, but humans can’t cause forest floods.” The small creatures were now trembling atop the tree. They couldn’t be more than a few feet away.

The woman patiently gazed at her now, “Whether you are human or not is no matter. Your body is tied to this forest due to your sacrifice.”

“What the HELL does that mean?” Sade demanded.

The woman stood up in a huff, clearly not accustomed to being spoken to in such a rude manner, especially by a human child. An annoying human child. The boat rocked, and the smallest amount of water splashed against Sade’s knee, leaving it muddy. She firmly regretted not wearing pants. At least her brother’s –a stab of pain– Nirvana shirt was oversized enough to be a near dress.

“It means,” her dreadful voice vibrated against Sade’s ears, “that you made this maelstrom, now you fix it.”

And with that she vanished.

Sade was left saying words far worse than any twelve-year-old should be allowed.

***

If you would like to read installments of White Stag, check out my page above under “White Stag Installations.” Stay tuned for more White Stag each Thursday. Thank you for reading !

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White Stag Installation #6

“Vassal?” Sade trembled; her throat was dry as she croaked out her question.

“Yes, tiresome girl,” the antlered woman leaned in closer; her strange dark-brown eyes focused on Sade. “You have given the forest your word, and the gift was returned to you, only for you to squander it!”

Sade was having difficulty simply looking at the exotic yet terrifying creature. It must be a nightmare, she thought in the panicked confines of her mind while eyeing the massive length of the creature’s antlers.

The woman appeared to sense this, but she didn’t falter, “What have you to say for yourself?” She raised her chin, glowering down at the girl. Her neck was long and beautiful like that of a swan.

At first, Sade didn’t even hear the question. She was still too busy staring at the antlers on top of the woman’s head. Clearly, it must be some type of bizarre headband, or this was a dream. Either or.

The woman’s nostrils flared, and Sade realized she was waiting for her response. “Gift? I don’t know what you are talking about.”

The antlered woman raised herself to her full height. She was well over seven feet tall, and Sade’s words appeared to strike her like a sudden arrow. The creature revealed her hand and held lengthy, black locks of hair that had been twisted into a long obsidian braid.

For a while, the young girl stared at it in mute confusion not realizing what it was, and then the realization jolted her. “Is that my hair?”

In a soft voice, the woman answered, “You offered a piece of yourself to the forest, and we accepted. It is what we always ask for before we offer a piece of the forest to you. In return, you are in charge of leading the Southern section of the forest.”

Sade burst out laughing, now positive that the encounter was not physically occurring. Her? A leader? She could barely stay of detention. “Leading? What do you mean?”

The antlered creature widened her eyes, “You don’t know?” Sade shook her head. “Protecting your lands, child” the woman breathed. Her ivory skin was paler than the freshest coat of snow, and her effulgent, obsidian eyes bore down on the girl.

“My what?”

“You’re the leader of the Southern quadrant, and your lands are in trouble.” The hair vanished from the creature’s hands as if it were never there. “Come, sapling we must go there now. I fear the situation has grown out of control, so we must travel by boat.”

“Boat.” Sade repeated dumbly.

“Your lands are underwater.”


If you would like to read installments 1-5 of White Stag, check out my page above under “White Stag Installations.” Stay tuned for more White Stag each Wednesdays at 6pm. Thank you for reading!

 

White Stag

Like creepy YA-fantasy stories? Tune in at 6 pm TODAY to read White Stag. The previous short installations are already posted if you’d like to catch up.

Sade has a problem. She must control her anger; otherwise, the forest that she- unknowingly-volunteered to protect will suffer. A bit of a challenge when you’re thirteen, have lost your family, and are struggling to discover your identity.   

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5: Terrible Vassal

 If you would like to read installments 1-4 of White Stag, check out my page above under “White Stag Installations.” Stay tuned for more White Stag each Thursday. Thank you for reading !

***   

The stag moved with an impressive speed and grace. It hopped over logs with barely a glance in its direction. It was as if the forest were but a dance floor to the creature, weaving in an out of trees with a speed that made it difficult for Sade to even exhale.

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           At one point, Sade peered behind them, and she had almost fainted from fright. The shadows engulfed them, reaching out to them with their clawed fingers and fiery mouths. Their translucent, shadowy bodies stretched towards the two fugitives, hoping to scratch them. After that, Sade had promised she would no longer look back. She pressed her eyes firmly shut as the deer swiftly ran; tears burned at the corner of the young girl’s eyes from fear.

Then, suddenly, the stag was no longer beneath her, and the girl was rolling and tumbling about on the floor.  Leaves, twigs and dirt clung to Sade as she spun on the forest ground, until finally the rolling halted. Daring a glance, she scanned what was around. There was no sign of the white stag or the shadows.  Her head was still spinning when a burst of white lit up the forest. Black spots blurred her vision, or at least that was what she thought it was before realizing that the air was actually glittering; the breeze glimmered with a static sparkle.

Sade looked towards the light, and saw the stag jumping up on its hind legs, followed by another bright flash of silvery light revealing a woman. She stood exactly where the stag had stood moments earlier. Long, white hair fell behind her shoulders and past her waist, and atop her head were the same magnificent snow-white antlers that Sade had held onto. She was pale, and her dress billowed all around her. But what caught Sade’s attention most were the woman’s eyes; they were strange; her dark irises were larger than that of a human’s and resembled more of a deer’s eyes than anything else.

A honey scented breeze blew towards Sade as she took a step closer toward the trembling girl. The woman was impossibly tall, perhaps, even taller than seven feet. She wrapped her cool hand around Sade’s wrist and jerked her up to standing position. Sade stared. Absolutely astonished by the brightness illuminating from the woman’s skin.

“You have been a terrible vassal,” the woman chastised in a voice dripping with otherworldly beauty.

White Stag: Installation #3

Installation Three: Forest of Light

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The sounds of wheels screeching against the ground resounded in her ears, and then there were the headlights that blared down on her eyes. The lights that kept her from slumber. 

Sade sat upright in bed, wiping the sweat from her forehead. Another nightmare. Peering towards the window, she saw the first streaks of dawn. She rubbed her eyes, exhausted and worn. Turning the alarm clock towards her, the red numbers blinked 3:00 A.M. at her. How was it so bright out if it was still night?

Suddenly, the flutter of small paper wings hit her wall, and a speck of light buzzed on and off against the cheap paint. She jumped out of bed, still only wearing her brother’s old Nirvana shirt, and with blurred vision, she peered to find a firefly flapping clumsily against the wall. How had it gotten in? Blearily, she glanced towards the only window in the room, and outside of the pane a horde of fireflies batted their wings furiously against the glass; it was like listening to the patter of rain. There were so many. Dozens upon dozens! She felt herself gasp and with hesitating steps, she inched closer to window, and the pattering seemed to grow louder.

A strong gust burst the window open, and the fireflies dispersed, humming as they flew further away. A breeze moved the oversized sleeves of the black t-shirt she wore; it still smelled like her brother. The singular firefly buzzed past her, attempting to reach its brothers.

And like a kite on a string, her heart was pulled by the tiny insect. Frantically, she bounded after it, hoisting herself painfully out of the too small window. Fearing that if she were too slow, she would lose sight of the small bug. She collided with the wet ground, mud crawling up her pale knees. Wincing she stood, and gasped at what she saw; the entire forest was lit with lightning bugs. It was as if every leaf glowed with an electric radiance. Her entire face was aglow from all of the light that they emitted when abruptly they began to swarm together, and make their way into the forest.

Sade wouldn’t be left behind.

Continue to Installation #4

White Stag

Installment Two: The Forest Calls

The water roared out of the faucet, drowning out Sade’s thoughts as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. How many days had it been since she had seen the stag? Two? Three? Yet, she couldn’t expunge the memory from her mind. Often, she would gaze towards the thick forests surrounding her Aunt’s and Uncle’s quaint home, hoping she would see the silvery creature, but there was nothing except for the shiver of the leaves in the trees, and the loneliness in her heart.

She glared at her reflection. People had always told her that she had inherited her mother’s long black hair; her mother had worn it down to her hips, and Sade had followed suit. Her father, on the other hand, had electric-blonde hair. She used to ask him if he had been struck by lightening to get such bright her. From him, she had the same round face, and freckles; they were scattered across her nose. People always told her she was beautiful and had a unique appearance; her mother was Japanese-American and her father was Scottish. Her older brother Shaw, people had joked, looked like the male version of her. But, she didn’t care about all of that. All she saw when she looked at herself was them. But she was stuck here.

She held the scissors closer to her hair and hacked a massive slice off. A mischievous grin lit up her face. It was the first time that she had felt something other than grief in days. She kept slicing away at her raven hair until it was no longer hip length, but just slightly under her ears; she didn’t even recognize herself anymore. She looked like a boy, like the younger version of Shaw. The strands fell on the floor in great heaps. Hurriedly, she snatched them up, and in just her brother’s oversized t-shirt she walked outside holding here severed ebony hair.

The grass was cool and wet against her feet. She marched to the border of the forest and the cottage property, and, with animal-like ferocity, threw her strands of hair into the dark woods. The sky rumbled above like a wolf’s growl stuck in its throat and within seconds icy drops fell from the sky. A hand wrapped around Sade’s wrist forcing her to turn around.

“What are you doing? What have you done to your hair?” her Aunt cried, worry carved into her face as she tugged Sade back inside of the house.

From among the forest leaves, an ivory colored hand emerged; the skin was as white as bone. Thin, elegant fingers wrapped around the child’s dark hair and pulled it into the evergreen forest, disappearing.

Continue to White Stag Installation #3