That's right this is my 200th post. Can you believe it? I can't and I want to just say even before I post today's writing a big BIG thank you to those who have encouraged me in my writing! All my friends and family who've said keep going when I wondered if I was even writing anything anyone might want to read! A special big thanks to Sarah Salway, her blog has been a huge source of encouragement and prompts and through it she has given me many tools to keep me going. The "Your Messages" project which is what really kickstarted this blog and through which I was published!!! and made a fabulous trip to London and I've met writer friends who encourage me as well with their comments and their blogs. And all of you whom I never have met but apparently come to visit thank you thank you thank you.
This is #200 and to be honest I haven't even read it so hopefully its readable. It just has flowed out of my fingers and onto the keyboard this morning. I will try to come back and do some editing later today but I really have to go and I wanted to post this now.
Thanks for reading!!!
One little step down the wrong path had set her on a course that would lead to the den of the dragon. The sadness had hung heavy in her life. She had been walking under a dark and dismal cloud for months. Unable to think or barely even to breath, she had been walking down a path that she had taken many times before but when she came to the crossroads Familiar was there leaning against the tree. He smiled at her and said something that made her smile and beckoned her to walk down another path, just a step or two. For a moment the gray had lifted and she had even laughed a little, it was then that she realized it was the wrong path and took the two steps back. He walked back with her but that’s where it had begun.
Familiar had always been a good friend and now he had become an attentive companion. Encouraging, funny, lifting her spirits, she occasionally wondered at his presence but the fact that the gray skies had begun to clear dispelled any real worry. What harm could come from such pleasant interludes.
“Come walk with me,” Familiar would say and they would wander through the valley. Talking and laughing, eating and drinking it all had seemed so harmless but for some reason they kept ending up at the cross roads. There were times they never walked the wrong path but there were days when they took three or four steps. She would turn back and he would come back with her easily never resisting. Perhaps the danger was just imagined, or overblown by those who weren’t interested in having any fun.
She found herself thinking about the path more and more often. She was certain she had caught a glimpse of some flowers blooming just a little further down the path. The more she thought of those flowers the more she wanted to see them and so the next time she came across Familiar she led him to the path herself.
“Come on,” she said, as she flitted down the path like a butterfly. Further then they had gone before, he watched her almost casually but there was something else there that she hadn’t quite seen before.
“Are you sure you want to walk this way?” He had asked and she wasn’t certain if he was trying to warn her or tease her.
“Just a bit further,” She called over her shoulder and there it was. A meadow of the flowers she knew were there. The smell was intoxicating and she breathed deep. Looking up she realized that the right path had disappeared from view and she quickly retreated back to where she knew she should be. A little breathless, a little windblown, a little scared but the thrill and the glow and the heady smell of the flowers remained. Familiar had come back with her carrying one of the flowers in his hand.
“For you,” He had whispered in her ear. She looked around fearful that someone might see. These flowers did not grow in the valley where they lived. If anyone suspected… She sniffed the flower and again felt as she had in the meadow. She hid the flower in her pocket and ran back home.
She would take the flower out again and again to smell it and relive that moment of freedom in the meadow. Unlike other flowers that would whither and die quickly, this one seemed to remain alive, ever more vibrant. Day after day, reminding herself that she should not go back there, she continued to revisit the meadow in her mind, smelling that flower. But she was careful to stay far away from the path that led to the crossroads and even to stay away from Familiar.
One day, a couple of weeks later she had to walk the path that led past the crossroads and so she did. Quickly, not even glancing down the wrong path, she kept her head up and her eyes averted. The scent of the flowers was in the wind, why had she not smelled it here before? That’s when she saw one, growing right there next to a tall tree along the right path. She let out a long breath. It was ok, there was nothing wrong with these flowers, and she sighed in relief. As she bent to pick the little flower she noticed another and then another right there not to far off this path. What a lovely bouquet they would make, she thought to herself, and she picked them. A few more here, a few more there and when she looked she found herself again in the meadow and walking toward her was Familiar. How did she get here?
It seemed day after day, no matter which path she took, no matter which way she walked she found herself back in the meadow. Familiar was always there waiting for her. At first she struggled to get back to where she knew she should be but the heady smell of the flowers and the good feelings there caused her to resist less and less. She began to walk the meadow with Familiar. As time went by she found herself rushing to the meadow to meet him. After a while, however, she began to find herself in the meadow alone. Where was Familiar?
She became bolder then, she would drop hints to him of when she planned to be in the meadow. He began to meet her there at her invitation. One afternoon he came to meet her and that’s when she noticed that he hadn’t come from the usual path. He came from further in the wood beyond the meadow. He was happy and laughing and munching on a fruit.
“What is that?” She asked.
“Just a fruit, would you like a taste?” He asked, offering it to her. It didn’t look like anything she had seen before, juicy and red like a plum.
“What is it?” she asked again. She could feel her mouth watering, it looked very delicious.
“I don’t really know the name of it,” he answered. “There’s a whole orchard of them just down the path so I thought I’d try one. It’s really good. Here, take a bite.” Warning bells began to go off inside her head but she was a little hungry and thirsty and it looked so good. So, she did. The taste was magnificent, indescribable, juicy and delicious. She ate the rest of it. Familiar had laughed at her enthusiasm. “Want so more?” He had asked then. She shook her head already feeling a little guilty. She looked down to see her hands and her dressed stained from the fruit.
“I’ve got to go,” She whispered and ran from the meadow. Guiltily she washed her hands again and again. The stain could not be seen but she saw it still. That night she tossed and turned in her bed racked with guilt. How could she have eaten the fruit? The next day and the day after that she avoided everyone, she could not believe she had eaten the forbidden fruit. She knew that was what she had done. How could she have done it? But it had tasted so delicious, how could she have done it?
She threw away the flowers and the fruit stained dress. She threw herself into her work. She read and worked and cleaned and tried to sleep. After a few days Familiar began to call but she would not answer. Soon his calls became more frequent, then he began to go to the places she would be at. He would just stand at the back of the room and look at her. She would force herself not to see him but she could feel him there.
One day walking down an aisle in the grocery store she smelled the flowers. She turned and there stood Familiar.
“Please go away,” she said softly.
“Don’t be sad,’ He said. “I’ve missed you.” He said gently.
“Please, please go away,” she said again. Looking into his eyes, they looked back at her sadly.
“Are sure that’s what you want?” Familiar asked. “If you’re sure that’s what you want I will go and never come back.”
“No wait,” she touched his sleeve. “I don’t want you to leave forever, I just want to go back to the way things used to be.”
“Ok,” Familiar answered, looking much happier.
She had meant what she had said. She did want to go back to the way things were but it wasn’t long before she was back in the meadow with Familiar. It wasn’t long before she began to enjoy the fruit that he would bring her. Soon she was wandering down to the orchard to get the fruit with Familiar and then one day she found herself face to face with the dragon.
The dragon had grabbed her then and brought her back to his lair. It was dank and dark there. A pit of despair surrounded the cave of the dragon. Beautiful, broken women sat in the pit of despair weeping and the water from their tears was taken by Familiar and other men to water the flowers in the meadow. Their broken hearts were planted in the orchard and it was from their hearts that the fruit trees grew.
She could not bear it, she could not live here. Everyday when the dragon was asleep she would try to find a way of escape. She looked high and low but she could feel herself sinking further and further into the pit of despair. She would not remain here, she would not. Every night the dragon would leave the lair and he would return in the morning. During the night she would climb up to where he slept and look for a way of escape.
One night she had stayed too long. The first shafts of light from the sunrise could be seen in the sky and she heard the dragon returning. She tried to make herself small in the bedding where he lay. He landed and quickly fell asleep.
That’s when a plan began to in her mind. She lay there for a long time. The smell of the dragon sulfurous and disgusting but she did not move. When the dragon began to snore she crept softly towards it and touched it. The dragon did not move. A good sign. She made her way against the dragon and climbed under its wing. The sharp skin of the dragon cut her and caused her to bleed. Her body ached from lack of sleep and proper nourishment. The smell made her sick but she would not move away. If she would die trying she would not remain here any longer. As night approached she tucked her self closer and tighter against the dragon. She could see puddles of her blood on the floor beside the dragon. She felt him begin to stir and then awaken. The dragon sniffed around him sensing her there. He turned around and around. He found the puddles of her blood.
She wished he would just fly away. Finally after what seemed forever the dragon made his way to the opening of the cave. He sniffed the air again. He knew she was near but apparently could not feel her there against his body. She tightened her grip against his wing. He took off then but was off balance. Not really knowing why the beast tried to compensate but he kept leaning in her direction. He flew low over the tops of the trees. She could feel her grip beginning to slip and fear began to overtake her. She watched for a place that looked familiar. The dragon flew past the orchard and over the meadow and towards the village.
As he neared her house she did not know if she would make it. Her knuckles white, her fingers aching she was just barely hanging on and she sensed that the dragon was about to fly higher, as they crossed the fields her hands slipped and she was falling. She wanted to scream but she feared that she would draw the attention of the dragon so she plummeted towards the ground in silence. She feared that she would be crushed but it would be better than dieing in the lair of the dragon. She landed with a thud and lay there with the wind knocked out of her not knowing if she would survive. After what seemed like forever she was able to breathe again. She stood, nothing seemed to be broken though she was badly bruised. She made her way towards the house and saw the candle in the window shining for her. She was home.