Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Tales: The Fine Art of Becoming

Halloween magic is in the air as we approach the date.  This week's prompt for Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog hop with multiple talented authors, was "trick or treat", a seasonal inspiration.  I came up with this piece of speculative flash fiction called "The Fine Art of Becoming" and you'll find the links to host Jean Joachim's offering as well as all the other Tuesday Tales here:


Here's my tale - "The Fine Art of Becoming"

The Fine Art of Becoming

            All Hallows Eve always swept in with swift moving clouds out of the western sky.  By then, the hint of chill lingered in the air and at night the black sky sparkled with a thousand silver stars.  The wind crept through the bare branches of the trees and rattled them with a sound like dry bones.  Magic seeped into the collective consciousness from some alternate reality or ancient past.  Pagan whispers filled the air with unheard song and something within Leslie hearkened to them even if she could not understand their message.

            Ten years old in body, a thousand in spirit Leslie understood she was different.  She’d always known fey feelings and her premonitions came to pass.  At the age of three she terrified her parents talking of tragic things which happened, a neighbor’s death in a fiery car crash, a cousin’s sudden death, a city councilman’s affair revealed.   When she began school her teachers soon realized she tuned into a frequency they could not receive and her insights into their private lives appalled them all.   Leslie could speak to other students about things none mentioned aloud and she offered comfort, succor to them.

            With high intelligence gained from God knows what ancestor Leslie read early and read things far above her age.   She made her reading goals in elementary school with a single book and by the fourth grade she read thick volumes about witchery and the supernatural with avid appetite.  She fancied she might be a witch, a natural born one and so she worked toward the goal of becoming one.

            Each Halloween from the age of six Leslie chose a witch costume, a black dress with a velvet midnight cape and the traditional pointed hat although she loathed it.  Real witches, she maintained would never wear the stupid things but she did to play the trick or treat game.  If she’d resisted her parents, who thought her odd and strange, might have forbidden her the quintessential American pastime so she did as expected for once.

            That Halloween, a holiday she preferred to call by the ancient name of Samhain Eve, the night when the dead are free to roam the earth without boundary, when some dead return to life if but for a short span, Leslie sensed her time was nigh.  A certain prickling in her nerves, a sort of anticipation in her brain coupled with eager anticipation and she knew she would become what she’d been born to be.

              When she left her ranch style home in a quiet, conservative suburban neighborhood in a major city in the Midwest region, Leslie knew she left for once and forever.  The pack of girls from her school called for her at the front door and because her parents believed they were her friends, they allowed her to go.

            “Have fun, honey!” they called after her as she left in a swirl of cloak and shadow of darkness never to return.  Leslie knew their smiles were faux and as soon as she disappeared down the street she understood they would exchange pained glances and relax in her brief absence as they did not when she remained with them.

              By the time her orange pumpkin pail was half-filled with candy bars and other treats Leslie sensed she should separate, leave her mundane ordinary companions so she ran ahead, skipping through the darkness without fear.   Two of the girls, Chelsea and Ashli chased her but they could not quite catch her.

            They were close enough, however, to see the huge dark shadow beside the huge oak tree on the Mayberry lawn rise tall, six feet or more and then coalesce into a form.   It loomed above her both mysterious and dangerous.

            “Are you Satan?” she asked in a small voice because she was after all just ten.

            The being laughed with a rumble like distant thunder and said, “No little love, I am not.  I am your witch master and if you want to become what you were born to become, you must obey me.”

            Leslie liked what she heard but still asked, “Do I have to kiss a goat’s behind?”

            He laughed again. “Of course not, Leslie.  All you must do is repeat this vow after me, I will do no harm to anyone unless they work against me for ill.  As I will, so must it be.  Can you do that?”

            “I can,” she said with confidence and did.

            Within moments odd electricity swarmed over her body and she trembled.  Her body matured from child to woman form in a short time, her new shape splitting away the childish clothing until she stood bare and proud before her witch master.  Her hair, cut short and practical, grew too until long tresses cascaded down her back and Leslie stared down at her woman’s body with glee.

            “Does this mean I don’t have to go home?” she asked with a smile.  She still sounded like a child but Leslie understood this too would shift and she would be a mature witch woman.

            “That’s what it means,” he said, “You may call me Alastair.  It’s not the name I was given at birth but I chose it.  You can choose your own as well, my dear.”

             Leslie knew the name, one she’d long admired and so she spoke it, claimed it and made it her own. “I will be Zephyr.  I like the wind and I shall ride the winds for eternity.”

            Alastair laughed.  “You will my Zephyr, you will indeed.”

            Zephyr waved her hands and found herself clad in a lovely gown of a soft midnight blue long and full, skirts sweeping the ground.  She clapped and rose into the air, joining the other witches who flew with joy on Samhain Eve.   She had become.

Please go visit all the other Tuesday Tales - they're as varied and creative as the authors who post them!

If you enjoy my speculative fiction, please check out my short fiction offerings this Halloween...my stand alone short from Silver Publishing, World Without End, Amen out on October 29th....


Or enjoy a wicked and wanton ride in my story "SALEM", part of the Midnight Seduction anthology from Evernight Publishing ...
(Note: The Halloween anthology and ALL paranormal titles (including mine) are 25% off this week for Halloween! October 24-31 only)

Or enjoy my poignant love story with a Samhain flavor from a city I love so well in Ireland, Derry, in
the new collection Jack-O-Spec..."Forty Eight Hours A Year"...


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