Ichabode Crane was observing the dim forest when he noticed the bald head buried beneath the tree of death. Each morning it was Ichabode’s job to discover what the headless horseman had left behind from his nights decapitating helpless citizens.
Today he found two headless corpses half-buried. He shivered thinking of the literal trail of blood that often followed the horseman.
Though Ichabod was a medical doctor, he’d never found any heads attached to the bodies the horseman discarded. His heart pounded and he began to sweat as he clawed the head from the ground with his fingers.
The hair felt dirty and greasy. The waxen skin was warm and he was sure the head had soulless eyes beneath its lids. While he stared, Ichabod’s hands shook. The blood running from the head’s eyes, suddenly, caught his attention as they began to open of their own accord.
Coal eyes with pupils as red as poppies, alerted Ichabod this head belonged to the horseman. Ichabod drank from his trusty flask, whiskey and opium to numb him.
But perhaps he drank too much. When he awoke, the head lay on his lap and Ichabod rested against the horrid tree. The moon exposed him and his opium veil faded. He felt too alert. The head’s mouth fell open revealing carnivorous teeth.
Soon, the thundering footsteps of the black horse and the armed body of the headless horseman could be heard. He screeched as the horseman took one slice at his neck, but then, Ichabod offered the horseman the head.
The horseman dropped his sword and went to his knees on the ground. He took the head in his gnarled hands and placed it on his neck. The horseman growled, a sound of rage in a demonic tongue.
He gazed at Ichabod, “Run, go now. I will spare you for returning my head. Everyone else in Sleepy Hollow will join me in death.”
Ichabod had never considered himself a coward but he ran anyways, never peering behind him as screams filled the night.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem that looks at the same thing from various points of view.” The corresponding GoodRead’s quote for the A to Z Challenge is the letter E.
“It’s one of those things a person has to do; sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way to come back a short distance correctly.” ― Edward Albee, The American Dream & The Zoo Story
Down in the swamp, down in the bogs there’s —
Mud sucking at my feet, at my soul.
Everyday I journey here and fight,
The elements, the giant rocks, gnarled trees,
Worst of all the swamp, pulling me in.
There are days I believe I shall let it,
But my wife she sees, working here means,
In such a short while, we shall both be free.
She says, we’re educated, we have more —
To us than meets the eye, we’ve wisdom,
To work in horrible conditions,
Because we know two years from now we —
Can leave this wretched bog behind, with all —
The tortures of the tormenting tree limbs,
Nightmares left, there’s better; we’re going —
To the City, where education’s worth —
Something and I won’t have to hate each day.
Mining for fuel, this coal coating my lungs,
My wife’s happy, delighted, she is life,
So I listen to my fathers last words:
“Don’t stay in this town all your life, move on.
Take your girl, your college education,
Leave this foul place behind, don’t be me,
Coal dust in your lungs is misery and —
A cancerous death is what awaits you.”
So, I worked and she and I, we left here,
To the bustling city, with peaceful parks,
We breathe, ‘neath blossomed trees, reading in light.
Welcome to the monthly Fairy Tale writing prompt hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. This month’s prompt is to write a fairytale about the following picture:
Daphne was tired of being stuck as a laurel tree. Thousands of years ago, she had begged her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from Apollo’s lust; he turned her into a special tree.
Long ago she had sworn to be a virgin forever. She had begged her father to allow her to remain a free nymph. To not have to marry and birth him grandchildren. He was a kind god and had allowed his beloved daughter to remain pure.
Daphne had always loved the woods and found serenity within the forrest. But after many years being stuck in it, the woods had become a cage to her. The laurel tree she was locked in was a prison and Daphne quietly loathed Eros who had sent Apollo after her in love, when Apollo had mocked Eros.
Eros had hit Apollo with an arrow of gold so he fell in love with Daphne. Like wise, Eros hit Daphne with an arrow of lead, so she would despise Apollo and be repelled by him. Nevertheless, Apollo visited Daphne to this day, swearing his love towards her millanias later. Her hate for Apollo had mellowed over time, although, she wouldn’t admit this to Apollo yet.
He came often to admire her beauty even as a tree. He used some of her thinner branches and leaves to weave himself a crown of laurels, to remind himself of his love for Daphne; that this love still grew within him daily. He would replace a worn out and dried crown with a fresh one each time he visited.
Though Apollo had many duties, he seemed to be appearing more often to see Daphne this last half-millennia. She drew her womanly figure out of her laurel tree to see him whenever he came. She had become more excited to see him over the last few hundred-years. Daphne looked forward to talking with him each visit.
A friendship had developed and the sworn virgin Daphne was feeling things she had never felt before. Had Eros changed his mind and hit her with a golden arrow after all this time? Or had it been so long, his arrow of led had faded and no longer effected her. If so why did Apollo’s arrow of gold not fade? Why did he still love her?
She had wondered this out loud today and Apollo laughed at her thoughts. His attractive face was timeless and beautiful.
“It’s love Daph. It doesn’t fade if it’s real. If it’s true love it’s always there. At times I’ve been frustrated with you, about our situation and you being stuck in a laurel tree. It frustrates me you wanting to remain chaste. But even when I find I’m angry at you, the next time I see you we talk and my anger disappears. It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in a tree, I love you anyways.”
Daphne smiled through the tree.”Look at you declaring your love to me through thousands of years unchanging. Though you yourself haven’t been chaste at all. It surprises me with all you have to do, that you come and see me without fail, these days often.”
“Well, I think you’re returning my feelings finally; you’ve mellowed and I see you blush when I visit.”
“Trees don’t blush Apollo.”
“Ah Daphne, you do indeed blush. I always take good care of you, so I know you well. I’ve played you many songs on my lute and I ensure the sunlight hits you just right. I keep the plague and disease from you, though it effect the humans and other parts of nature. I heal you if such disease affects you. But what I can’t do is change your form and release you from the laurel tree, if you still detest me.” Apollo sad this last line sadly.
“You’ve tried?” Daphne asked. “I wouldn’t have wanted you to, even a few hundred-years-ago. But I grow weary of this form and it’s obstacles. I grow weary of a forrest I cannot move around and maintain. I wish to be a nymph again.”
“Yes, dearest I know. I want that too.”
“Would you force me?” Daphne asked Apollo. “Take me into your bed right away, no gentleness? Would you impregnate me right away?”
Apollo shook his head. “Daph, after all these millenias you know me better than that. I’m not the lust-filled boy-god who would’ve had you without a second thought. I’ve spent thousands of years trying to get you to like me, to see beyond my faults, such as my lust. It’s not merely lust I feel for you. I love you, the real you. The nymph I’ve gotten to know so well. That’s why I have your crown upon my head. Why I play you beautiful music and take special care of you. I’d take specialcare with you in my bed as well,” Apollo added with a sly grin.
“I know, but I’m afraid, Apollo. I’ve been a laurel tree so long. And before that I wanted to be on my own, no man or god to tie me down. You’ve grown on me, inch by inch, each passing year. The lead arrow in me is gone. I’m not immune to you anymore. I feel strongly for you, something I’ve never felt before. I think it’s love, is it? You would know you’re the god of truth?”
Apollo trailed his hand down Daphne’s body in the tree.”You feel it, I know. Yes, I do see the truth, in your eyes, in your relaxed form. At last you love me too. You never even came out of the tree in your female form for many years. Perhaps now I can you heal you?”
“Yes, I think so. Our love is powerful beyond the mistakes of the past.” Apollo held his hand to Daphne’s cheek and she felt a warmth surge throughout her entire body, tree and nymph.
“Apollo, I feel your powers. My tree limbs, my leaves, they’re melting away.”
He said nothing, to busy concentrating on healing Daphne. She closed her eyes enjoying his hand on her cheek and the warmth suffusing her body. Daphne fell into a deep sleep and when she awoke again she was a nymph.
She looked at her hands, her face in the river. Her beauty had returned and her father would be proud, for he would have grandchildren soon. She looked around her for Apollo and found the god fast asleep. Healing her into her natural form had drained him greatly of his powers. She snuggled against him laying down beneath his arm, and they both slept.
When they awoke, three-hundred-years had passed. Apollo had had to regenerate his powers so he sealed himself and Daphne together, hidden from human and god eyes alike, so he could sleep and be with Daphne in the future.
He felt her shaking him awake. “Apollo, get up. You need to wake up, we’ve slept many centuries. You’re needed to do use your skills and gifts.”
Apollo lazily opened his eyes and grasped Daphne pulling her down for a deep kiss. It was the first between them and one of only many. They were a devoted couple from then on in, for as long as gods and humans existed.
Do you remember when we were chocolate – carefree? The doors that were closed to us. The windows that disappeared? And the world was before us, a giant piece of chocolate cake. The richest chocolates melting enticingly; with each bite the fork was licked clean.
But then we realized the world doesn’t always taste nice. That people don’t always eat the best chocolate. They fritter their calories away on sugar. And so much wasted time on cheap chocolate held us back from the habits we learned: Only eat healthy food, and for dessert only eat delicious chocolate, what is the best. Think: the richest chocolate lava cake with fantastic vanilla gelato, and caramel.
But finding the best chocolate is a hard test of time. You eat bitter and old chocolate just because it’s available. People offer Nestle when they should be offering Lindt, Godiva, and Purdys. You learn to say no, and save your chocolate for the finest chocolatiers. But you gorge on the delicasies when gorgeous chocolate hits your tastebuds.
You feel sick after too much rich chocolate. You drink a glass of milk. Wash away the richness, the divine melting on your tongue. We are feast or famine when it comes to wonderful chocolate. It’s hard to save your chocolate for a tiny piece each day. Might as well get it over with, eat the entire box.
And I don’t eat chocolate often, but I like the endorphins. I like the best kinds of chocolate dark with lots of cocoa. I like it when the Cocoa tree is stripped of cocoa beans and the maker takes the cocoa beans and dries them in the sun; I don’t like the smokey flavour drying it by the fire leaves, it ruins chocolate, a sin.
I am picky about my chocolate and certain, it’s the extra food group. So many of us understand, a taste of fine chocolate is the door to many worlds with several windows left open too. Remember when you were young, you dreamed in chocolate. Because today just in a moment delicious dark chocolate satiates your hunger and makes everything yum.
There is this ugly hill that I peer out at whenever I look out my bedroom window. What tectonic activity put it there a millennia ago accidentally made this hill ghastly and abhorrent to my senses.
The mountains and hills that are farther away, now they are something to look at. Gigantic rocks jutting out of the earth, elephant grey, white drifts of snow, pine trees, and treacherous cliffs where mountain goats cling to. There, I am free.
I really don’t mind the hill itself. I don’t hate it because it’s located where it is or because it’s boring to look at. I hate it for what’s buried in the hill – – my husbands, numbers one, two, and three. Number four has it coming it’s only a matter of time. I look over at Charlie softly snoring away beside me on the bed. He’ll never see it before it’s too late.
That loathsome hill, I can’t face what’s buried there. Their voices rise up to me when I sleep, condemning me, a black widow. But how can I disagree with the truth, I can only hate the hill.