July 26, 2020

Boxing Day in July: A Solstice Slumber, By Ellie A. Goss


Her heart thundered against its captive cage, refusing to still even though the feet that propelled her, had come to a halt. Frantically, she whipped her head about, then she saw it. The path lay ahead, where the moon cast light over a small group of deer that had wandered across the entry.


Before she had a chance to move towards her escape, the deer sensing the creature pursuing her, darted away.


Her chest tightened and she ran, she stumbled, she fell.


Then roughened hands clasped her by the waist, dragging her back through the night-cooled blades of grass, the earthen smells filling her nostrils as she disturbed the soil from its place. Back to his lair, back to her sisters. She could not fight it anymore.


***


Long before the memory of man and when the cosmos was being designed, five sisters were given the task of guardianship over abundance and light. During their time they watched fairies play and make mischief, they whispered to the nixie and water sprites and danced jigs on the sweet and humid Summer nights with pixies and gnomes. Together they worked to ensure living things continued to flourish and the seeds of beginnings were spread to all the lands and inland waters. But eventually, vanity began to emerge among the sisters, as all praised their works, and so five brothers, the faun, were sent to give balance back to the earth. Together they sent rest to the land, its plants, and even some of the creatures that would sleep the season through. The day-to-day growth inspired and cultivated by the sisters would be put to rest, allowing Winter to come.


***


The years had not been kind to the brothers five, as now there remained only one. He continued the task set for them, ensuring the sisters were placed safely in their winter home by eve’s end of the Winter Solstice.


Holly was always the most difficult charge, the faun had noted. Mischief and mayhem now ran deep within her, and, when earlier that week he was about to close the clasp on the lock to her door, she had sent a pollen cloud directly into his eyes. Momentarily blinded, the faun had failed to lock Holly in, and she had fled.


For days he had chased her through valleys of frost and fog, within the branches of treetops and deep within the winding burrows and caves of the earth, now again firmly in his grip. Dragging her by the ankle allowed him to wrestle with his belt, which neatly tucked into a fold contained a magic sack. Drawing it free, he flung it over the sister, maneuvering her lithe form inside.


There was no time to lose, whispers had spread about the late Winter, the delay of snow and blooms flourishing when they should be spent.


He knew what would be, should he fail, the cost too dear.


His feet fell heavily on the ground as his eyes sought the heavens, they connected with the constellation he sought and with a flash of light, they were transported.


Arriving, he deftly threw the sack and its contents into a delicately ornate golden cage. Within moments of her struggle to be free and Holly laid her head down to sleep.


Snow began to fall, covering the hills and valleys, and enchanting and ethereal silence spread in places of nature where the fires burnt, and that songs sang in celebration of Winter’s Solstice didn’t reach.


***


Bio: Ellie A. lived and works nestled between the Tarkine Forest and the Cradle Mountain National Park, also the inspiration for her first children's book, The Bunyips Bath (2016). She has gone on to publish further children's books as well her work can be found in ezines, magazines and anthologies across genres.

5 comments:

  1. This story is beautifully written! I love the turn of the seasons personified by the interaction between the sisters and the brothers. The snow falling as Holly lays her head down to sleep is a wonderful touch.

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  2. Thankyou, Im so glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. A wonderful tale of the interaction and necessity of the changing seasons. It is wonderful how they are personified and we get to see both viewpoints.

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  4. Love the reminder that every tale has more than one version based on perspective. I also appreciate the unanswered questions: What happened to the other 4 brothers? Are all 5 sisters still around? I'll stop there. Thank you for writing & sharing!

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