FAIRY TALE FLASH - The Song by E.L. Bates
“We’ve been through this before, Marina Alexandrovna. There is no song!”
Marina looked at the carrots she was supposed to be scraping for dinner. No song? How could her mother not hear it? She could hear almost nothing else.
It was a melody like none she’d heard before. Wilder, deeper, richer, purer than the gusli or the svirel played by the Wanderers who often came to the village fair.
Marina’s feet danced in response. Duty told her to stay; the passion burning in her chest urged toward a higher calling.
Leaving carrots, dinner, a startled mother, and her home behind, Marina followed the song.
Through the darkest forests, over the steepest mountains, across the frozen steppes, until her shoes wore through and fell from her feet and her clothes were nothing more than rags, Marina followed the song.
Despite the people who thought her mad, who told her to stay, who tried to hold her back, Marina followed the song.
Through times of despair when the notes were faint on the wind, when she was ready to abandon all hope, when it seemed her quest was nothing but a dream, Marina followed the song.
Until the day she found the singer, in a tree of silver apples beyond the world’s end.
The golden firebird trilled one final note and vanished in a cloud of sweet-smelling smoke, leaving behind a single golden feather in Marina’s hand.
She looked at it and smiled, at last understanding why she had been called.
Feather in hand, she set off once more, this time to carry the song to all who could not hear it for themselves.
E.L. Bates is the author of the fantasy-mystery novel "Magic Most Deadly" and the space opera "From the Shadows." She lives outside Boston, MA, where she spends her days homeschooling her children and dreaming of other worlds.
You can find out more about her at https://stardancepress.com/
or follow her on Twitter @E_L_Bates
Cover: Amanda Bergloff
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