“Child of the Woods”
There is no greater violence than peace, for there is no such thing as true peace.
Violence was all she ever knew. Child of the Woods, the Great Huntress, and Savior of the People. Because even lying in eternal sleep on her deathbed of pine and straw, she was plagued by the betrayal of her people. The same ones who relied on her for her game, pleaded for the protection of her spirit. Her, a mere child. It was she who had a body heavy with pressure, heavy with disappointment, heavy with fear.
Humans were always greedy things. Never happy, always wanting more, taking from those who had none. Requests turned to pleads. Pleads turned into demands. And when those appetites fattened, there was nothing she could do but try and maintain peace in the village she once loved. And she was successful, for a while. But as a youth, she did not understand there was no end to gluttony.
When the evil grew beyond the village fences, she had neither the time nor the space to pay any mind to the whispers up and down the road. Little murmurs of dethroning, treachery, and talk of fire-raising rose above and over her little ears.
So when the day came, she had no idea that the village had already evacuated. The Child of the Woods was exhausted, carrying a fat boar, sweat dripping down the muscles of her back. From her dizziness and hazed sight, she nearly missed the thick, smothering smoke rising from the peak of the mountain, stemming from the village.
Save my child! They screamed and shouted for her. Red flames and black smoke. She was just a child. Just a child. Unable to ignore the painful pleas she weaved and ran through the flaming trees one last time. Suffocating, to save a child that was never there. And so the gluttons remained victorious.
This is the story of Azalea’s Soul. Azalea was a beautiful girl, blessed with a pure soul, God-given. But no God could save her when she fell in love with the man, the beast named Milo. And so they watched. Watched as she grew up and watched her fall down as he tore her apart before his demon consumed him whole, inside out.
They loved her, the Gods. So, Azalea’s Soul did not appear before the golden gates to Heaven standing on fluffy white clouds. Nor was she burning in the flaming pits of Hell. Instead, her soul stood in a flowing white sundress on flowered grass, with a braided purple hyacinth crown. In front of the obsidian crested door with no handle. The Labyrinth. It called to her. Hypnotized by its lure, Azalea’s Soul faded in and through the stone. The hourglass turned once.
Blinded by the moonless night, she couldn’t see. Underwhelmed by the growing void in her mind, she couldn’t think. The only thing she could do was listen. A soft growl reminded Azalea’s Soul of something she couldn’t quite remember. So, she followed the song of the voice through the darkness. Echoes of dripping water serenaded her spirit and she flowed through stone paths, glided over skeletons, and fazed through blood stained walls. And behind her, she left a trail of glowing purple hyacinths on the dusty floors. She grew desperate, moving faster, the voice outside and inside her head getting louder.
At the center of the labyrinth, the growl pulsated off each wall. The vibrations upset the pile of bones from past tributes that had entered the monster’s lair. Azalea, with her cursed love, could not stop herself from watching. The Minotaur, half man, half beast, devoured a fresh corpse. Blood splattered and the clang of the dead’s armor resonated, before slowing to a stop. The Minotaur did not look up. It never did. He never looked at her, so why did she love him so much?
Azalea’s Soul screamed and wailed for his attention. She begged him to stop, but there was not even a single waver in his bloody feasting. Sand was running out. Her hyacinth trail was rapidly burning into ashes. Azalea and her soul was doomed from the very beginning, doomed to repeat her downfall to Milo. Daedalus never intended for anybody but the Minotaur to survive in the Labyrinth and nobody to leave alive. He never had, and he never will.
There was a story about a little girl named Jenny. She had sleep paralysis. When she was only 3 years old, she saw a figure standing at the foot of her bed. A shadow. It watched her. Jenny never found it odd. Maybe because she was 3 years old.
I think she mentioned it once to her parents. Yeah. She did. They only said It’s not real, Jenny, Don’t be afraid, Jenny, There is nobody here. Weird. If I told my parents there was a man watching me sleep, I’d like to believe that they would be absolutely horrified. But, this story is not about me.
So, Jenny stayed awake at night. I don’t think she was scared. But more so tired from engaging in a never ending staring contest with Mr. Ghost. She felt stuck, unable to move or fall asleep. Minutes, hours passed before she could fall asleep. Morning comes, and the shadow disappears and reappears the very next night.
One night, the shadow moved. Slowly, but little Jenny was always a perceptive girl. She watched as the shadow moved from one side of her room, to the other. This has never happened before, she thought. Mother? Father? No response. The silence was unnervingly loud.
And so she sat. But as more hours passed and she was still not asleep, Jenny started to panic. Her throat felt dry. Her eyes started to water. Her head started to itch.
The curtains blew from the sudden strong gust of wind. But she couldn’t bring herself to take her eyes off of the shadow. Or maybe she couldn’t bring herself to turn her back on it.
Tired, she piled up all of her might into one big scream. In an instant, it vanished, and so did Jenny’s exhaustion as she fell into a deep sleep. The shadow never came back again. But neither did her parents.
I don’t really know what happened to her, all I know is that her parents died when she was 2 years old. Her grandma has been taking care of her ever since.
There is a popular superstition about black cats. If you come across one, bad luck will arrive on your doorstep. Maybe it was because he didn’t have a doorstep. At least one of his own.
Freddy was always alone, despite living with 30 other kids at the orphanage. Pessimistic, he never desired to have a family, he never wanted to get his hopes up for nothing. But he had a few exceptions. He would hope and dream and wish, to feel loved, to feel safe. At least once in his life. Just once.
Maybe that’s why he took pity on the black cat that lived in the dumpster behind the orphanage. A stray. Every night, he brought out a plate of his leftovers, usually some vegetables or some variation of meat, and water in Freddy’s handmade bowl. And every night, the cat would hiss at his appearance. But every morning, there was not a rice grain to be seen, and not a single drop of water remaining.
One day, a loving couple came to the orphanage. Every boy and every girl was dressed in their finest clothes. Smiles were plastered on each optimistic young face. Except for one. The couple took a look around, stayed and chatted. Naturally, Freddy was skipped over. It had happened just one too many times.
Freddy was gazing out of his barred window when a gasp came from down below. The couple awed at the tiny black cat. The director stepped into view, leaving footprints in the snow. You can have him if you’d like. He’s been here for weeks, he’s a stray so you be careful, alright? Smiling, the couple nodded, and took the cat.
Three years passed, and Freddy had grown some height. Caring as always, he ran mindlessly across the road. Just as he was heading towards the middle, a familiar hiss rang through his ears. Hoping, he abruptly turned around. In almost an instant, he felt the wind of the spinning truck, touching a single hair on his head.
Right behind the blue dumpster, there was a swishing black tail and a glinting collar.
“The Little Cafe”
The rain ticks against the tinted glass windows of the little cafe. One barista. Sleeping. Two old friends. Chatting. In the little cafe. Little plants are hung up—in the little cafe. A gentle classical music is playing in the background. Flowing, but dramatic, calming, but…eerie?
The two friends are catching up. “By the way, I’m not vegan anymore. I’ve decided to… try something new.”
“Ah, I knew something was up. I knew something was different. I smelled it, the flesh, on you. It’s a good thing you came around, it suits you.”
“Haha, thank you. You know, the world, it’s always changing. Just doing what I can to… keep up, you know? Don’t want to lag behind.”
“Yup. Hey barista! Can I get another glass of this? This uh… juice right here?”
“Ha, don’t mock him! But seriously, get me a cup too. It smells delicious!”
The men chuckled and gazed out the window. Down the mountain.
“Man, it stinks doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have been so hasty. Nah, who am I kidding, I love this smell!”
The men chuckled some more, as one finished his cup of juice, courtesy of the little cafe. The aroma from the bottom of the mountain rose up, filling the atmosphere with a tangible iron smell. Delicious. And so they sat. And sat. The barista never woke up. Flies in the little cafe, interested in his open wounds and blood soaked skin, flew around and around and around. The barista had a nice, white, perfect set of teeth. So beautiful. So much, that the maggots, oh those helpful maggots, decided to reveal the entire line of calcium by eating away at his perfectly red lips.
There once lived a TV remote. His name was Paul. Paul was made out of two AA batteries, brand-new. He lived happily for a few months. His owners were nice. They paid attention to him and used him regularly. Paul felt useful. He really did. Paul, the TV remote, lived comfortably in velvet cushions and talked amongst other remotes nearby. He was happy. So so so so so happy.
One day, on a chilly Thursday night, one of his owners came home alone, crying. She cried and cried and cried. For minutes, hours, and days. His other owner, his other owner, where is Paul’s other owner? Paul had no clue.
Two weeks later, she finally sat down beside Paul after crying in the bathroom, shrieking and bawling. She took a few deep breaths and shakily held Paul in her sticky, tear covered fingers. She clicked through channels, crying more while watching movies. Paul was relieved. He was not being neglected.
But this behavior continued for days, weeks and months on end. Paul… well Paul was getting tired, so to speak. His sleeping schedule was absolutely horrid. He was barely put down for more than 20 minutes in 24 hours it seemed.
Tired. Paul was tired. Really really really tired. It was taking a toll on his plastic, on his batteries, and on the flattened silicone buttons, previously pristine and sharp, now dull and dirty. The worst thing about it, was that he was a remote. Only a remote. He had to stay stationary and watch as she wasted away. She didn’t cry any longer, but remained unnervingly still, quiet, and sad.
On the last stretch of his life, she got frustrated. Paul’s signal was getting worse. Frustration turned to hatred, and hatred turned to remembrance of her buried memories. Paul was injured, but alive. Now, she was injured, and barely recovering. Surrounded by the loudest silence.
One thought on “The Tattletale’s Tale”
There is certainly a lot to know about this issue. I love all of the points you’ve made.