She joins them

Zanna slowed as she neared the crowd. She could hear the flutist playing nearby, and farther off, a group of drummers. The storyteller was elsewhere. An immense woman with grayish, leathery skin and curling locks of white hair draped over her body stood inches from her, and she inched closer until she brushed the woman’s arm. Tilting her head toward her, Zanna caught her attention.

“Oh, my girl, you must be chilled in your thin dress,” the woman wrapped her arm around Zanna. “Let me give you a shawl,” the woman said as she pulled a bright blue knitted blanket from under her tresses. She smiled as she wrapped it around Zanna. “I don’t know you, girl,” she said kindly.

“I am new here,” Zanna answered. “My name is Zanna.”

“Lovely name, girl,” the woman answered. Her eyes glowed with golden light. “Are you joining us here, then?”

“I think so,” Zanna answered. “It’s so beautiful here,” she said, noticing the leggy boys ahead of her with their bony, iridescent wings. Might she get to see them take flight, she wondered.

“It is,” the old woman agreed, nodding toward the twin snowcapped mountains towering in the distance. “I will miss this place if today is my day,” she said. “This is a good place.”

Zanna noticed how warm she felt wrapped in the bright blue blanket, the woman’s wide arms still holding her. She could feel her resolve slipping away. Still a novice, she thought. Still susceptible to experience. She felt the early twinges of disappointment rising in her chest.

The old woman sensed her feelings. “It’s okay, girl. Let’s make a promise. If today is our day, they will remember us in their prayers every Question Day, forever. If it is not, we will remain right here,” she smiled and patted Zanna’s arm.

Zanna nodded at the old woman as she caught a glimpse of the storyteller’s black cloak ahead of them. Her heart lurched.

My Trifecta submission for the week, including the word remember: to keep in mind for attention or consideration.

Like this? Check out the rest!

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four

Her craft

This post is a continuation of this story, and it includes the word craft: skill in deceiving to gain an end.

She watched from afar, new to this world. Alone, as she had arrived, she lingered in the grove of bare red-barked trees on the hill overlooking the others, watching and gathering her strength. Her death hours earlier had left her weak. She still wore the simple white gown and her hair was loose around her shoulders. She would need to find a way to tie it back. As for weapons, she was armed only with her craft.

She’d have to watch carefully for she sensed that the gathering of odd creatures today was a special one. The clusters seemed peaceful – she could hear soft music playing from tiny flutes and curvy horns. Perhaps weapons would be unnecessary, even useless here. She could feel their anticipation and their secret exhaustion.

To succeed here she’d need sustenance. She needed to learn the ways of the citizens, quickly. Sometimes friendship grew instantly, but more often she had to fight for it. She sensed, pleasantly, that in this world friendship would be easy. The beauty of the unusual creatures struck her, a passing glimpse of sun glinting off of the vibrant fur of a golden bearlike beast and catching the iridescent blue and purple wings of a fairy girl. She noticed that no two creatures were exactly alike. They seemed almost oblivious to their differences, just murmuring to one another and nodding to the passing musicians.

Curious, she crept to the edge of the trees, hoping to overhear their conversations, to learn their lilting tongue. She called on her gift for language, knowing that she would need to speak with them, and soon, to succeed in this world. She would need to make them believe in her if she would ever succeed at leading them, and she knew that she must lead them. Leading them was surely the quickest path to her next death.


The soldiers came on a sunny day with red leaves falling on the grass outside. The soldiers asked for Mrs. Samuel Baylus and mother turned to us, her smile like a mask, and told us to go play outside.

I wanted to stay. “I hope your husband is dead,” I thought in angry not-words. “I hope the soldiers make you cry,” I thought. Then I went outside with Norman, sat down in the tree house, and cried because I knew that daddy would never come home.

By the water


It flits by, quietly landing on her arm.

“Look,” I whisper, gently touching her arm near its landing place.

“Oh, a damselfly!” she whispers excitedly.

Of course she knows its proper name, but that doesn’t explain how she attracts these ethereal beings, why they seem to hover around her daily as if they recognize her.

“How do you charm them?” I ask as the damselfly moves away.

She laughs in reply.