Posts Tagged ‘short-story’

Are you a new reader of the Tales from the top of the hill? You might want to read them from the beginning here!

Lady Winter

"Please bring me back silence from your far away kingdom, where no one wanted to live"

My arms were still hurting from today’s labor and I was already headed for the top of the hill, unable to wait anymore for tonight’s event. There wasn’t anything particular going on today but this was now part of my routine and I was always looking forward to it. I started to ponder what I would do if she decided not to come. Would I still watch the starry sky alone? I didn’t think about it for too long since I saw her from a distance, already lost in her thoughts, leaning back on her arms. I climbed the hill and silently took place next to her, assuming a similar position as her. We waited quietly until the nightfall, I was sometimes rubbing my arms to ease the pain and before the sunset, I could barely feel it anymore, Just as the first star lit the cloudless sky, she slowly opened her eyes and spoke.

“The winter is coming faster this year isn’t it?” she asked. I couldn’t agree more, we barely dived into autumn and we already had signs of an upcoming new season. My father and I have been working all week to make sure that everything would be ready to welcome the winter. “We’ll definitively have an early winter, it’s too bad… I kind of like the color scheme that autumn has. It feels warm even if it’s a bit cold sometimes, the way I like it!” She giggled to herself as she was completing that complicated description of the season we were in.

“Yes, it is for sure coming faster than expected but I think we’ll still be well-prepared for it. Do you think we’ll be getting any snow this year?” I asked, hoping for some spoiler that she could manage to predict. We weren’t really lucky with that, we had freezing winters but uncommon were the years we could even see an ounce of snow so we had a saying that told that if it would snow during the winter, the earth would be happy and grow larger crops when spring came. The immaculate flakes would then rejoice more than one when they fell. It was also some light of hope for those who relied on the earth to feed their families, helping them through this hard and demanding work. Even if it wasn’t true, they believed it so they would feel like they’re were working together with the ground to make things grow. She laughed a bit at my question before replying on a frivolous tone.

“Not if we kill Palsye!” she thought she was funny but she took a semi-serious face when she saw that I didn’t understand or knew what she was referring to. She proceeded to try and explain to me. “There’s a legend that was quite popular when I was young in my hometown. It was the one of a young girl named Palsye, that supposedly lived a few leagues from the place I grew years ago. She had skin white as snow, short pale blue hair and blue eyes. From the outside, she almost looked like a little angel but she wouldn’t talk quite often, she always seemed depressed and sad. The story also says that she would be staying in her room during the day and sometimes wander around in the town during the night, her parents shut her in because everyone felt uneasy in her presence. If you stood in the same room as her, you would feel a deep chill run down your spine and even tough blacksmiths would be shivering. Needless to say that she was lonely in this world where most of the people prefer when it’s warm so it was probably the reason why she was so depressed. As the years passed, people of the village would start to hate her, they blamed the rudeness of the winter on her and said she was a witch or a demon that brings bad luck. To add to her behaviour, people who met her during the night said that they were scared to death when they got stared by Palsye, receiving a glance from her as cold as the cruelest winter. Her parents loved her but didn’t really know what to do with her, she wouldn’t probably ever get married or have children and she might not even want to anyways.” She took a pause, giving me a rest, some time to assimilate what she said and even ask a question if I ever had to. Since I’m a good listener I made her a sign to keep on.

“One year”, she resumed, “the winter was really strong and harsh, it came so early that people from the village didn’t have time to collect food and wood before it began. Everyone was having their own difficulties and they all felt the need to blame someone else for their laziness. They blamed Palsye for the early and violent winter, for the snow drowning their vegetables and the ice covering the lake where the fish was caught. Her parents tried to defend their daughter, telling everyone that she was only a little girl, she couldn’t do such things but the people of the village wouldn’t want to hear anything. They really had a strong hatred towards her and they wanted to let her know. When some of the townsfolk barged in her room, they started yelling at her, they plaid they would all die because of her. Not once the little girl looked at them, not once her mouth opened. Her parents were also being targeted and made accomplices of the town’s foreseen demise so they kept quiet, while being killed deep inside.” She took another pause to breath and immediately started storytelling again.

“I’ll skip the details but the townsfolk decided to kill Palsye in order to save the village. They thought that the winter would stop, that their misery would end by killing this girl. Weeks after, the winter was still raging and many villagers died from famine or cold, it was a terrible year for this little town. It was also the last year this town ever saw snow falling down the sky, the winter would still be cold, as it is here, but many people thought that Palsye’s death was the reason why they wouldn’t get snow anymore. She had many different names through the years, I think the most popular one is Lady Winter, it’s a pretty poetic name and many writers wrote tales of her, being all alone in her kingdom of silence, where no one wanted to live.” As she finished her story she rested a bit in the tall grass as if she was extenuated from talking. I think she was happy to have been able to tell me this story.

“Well that was a pretty interesting story, a sad one for sure, I wonder if it’s also the reason why we rarely get snow too.” I started to think about Palsye, how would have she been if she actually spoke to people and what would have happened if they accepted her even if she was different. I also thought that the cruel winter that fell on them was probably a punishment for them being selfish and blaming someone else for their mistakes, that’s somewhat pathetic. Do people really hate cold that much? I understand from a biological point of view that humans tend to stay at the same body temperature so they can function normally but I think that cold is also part of the nature and of the seasons. Why not try to live with it, I can only see good things happening. She has remained pretty silent so I decided to end it so we could be thinking by ourselves without having the awkward feeling to have to say something.

“I wonder how it would have been if I lived in the same town as her. I would probably try to be friends with her, I kind of like cold and mysterious girls, they’re my type.” on those clever words, we stared at the stars for a good moment without saying a word and then I decided to head back by myself. As I was stepping down the hill I looked behind me to look at her, I think she was looking back at me but I kept on walking down the hill.

Edit : A little bonus, this is what inspired me for the title (and a bit of the story too). It’s a song I wrote, performed by Winterfall (I’m playing the piano!). The name of the song is “Hymn for my dreams” but the former name was “Lady Winter”. Click here to listen to it!


Are you a new reader of the Tales from the top of the hill? You might want to read them from the beginning here!

Season of dreams

"Have you ever dreamt of doing something really great and rewarding?"

She was eating an apple when I set foot on the top of the hill that night. It was getting colder every day and I even had to bring something to keep myself warm. An old leather jacket was lying around in my house, untouched for years, with the smell of woodfire smoke impregnated in its layers of fabric. It was obviously the time of the year to collect the most delicious and tasty apples from the trees of our region that were growing them. I kept my jacket under my arm as I sat next to her. I didn’t want to disturb her feast so I waited until she was done to start off the night.

“Today felt like it would never end”, she looked at me mysteriously as I kept on talking. “I have been chopping wood all day in preparation for the upcoming winter!” She didn’t seem impressed and her gaze went back to the apple core she left in the grass. I wondered if she got saddened by something today since she was pretty silent, she usually was the one talking and initiating conversations.

“Have you ever wanted to climb a mountain?” she asked me out of the blue. I wasn’t prepared for such a question and I believe I’ve let my face translate my feelings of confusion for a moment since she almost instantly resumed her speech.

“Oh, it can be something else than a mountain, I meant to ask if you ever dreamt of doing something really great and rewarding?” Honestly, I didn’t have any idea of what I should answer to this question. Did I ever set a goal for myself in my life or had any idea of grandeur like the one of climbing a mountain? Such an achievement was far different from climbing this grassy hill when the night falls and when the cicadas go to sleep. It almost became a habit, something my body would do on its own without needing me to think about it. I don’t really hate it, it means less efforts for me and I must say that those nights were kind of enjoyable. Taking the time to stop running and actually speak and think about life was somewhat refreshing for me, escaping the redundant life I had. We could speak for hours, always switching topics but always having something to say about it.

While I was pondering about her question, she started to stare deeply at me. I could easily feel her gaze pierce right through my soul like a sharp but not painful arrow. I kind of had the feeling she was trying to read my mind to try and guess the answer before I would even dare to open my mouth. I kept the suspense for a few more seconds before finally answering with the most boring answer I ever said.

“I don’t know, not really, a mountain’s pretty high isn’t it? I think I would get scared by heights.” As I was speaking I wondered for a moment if I was really suffering of acrophobia or if I was afraid of something even bigger than a mountain. I’m lucky that I wasn’t going to add anything else after this because she decided to talk anyway.

“I think it’s another reason to add in favor of doing it. Don’t you want to challenge yourself, overcome something bigger than what you can leap? I think it’s exciting just to think about it, going beyond the limit of what you can imagine yourself being capable of, you can come back from this pilgrimage stronger and more confident about yourself than before, right?”

I listened to her in awe, I was a bit surprised by her again, for the second time tonight, that she would say something like this. I started to believe she had some kind of crazy idea floating around in her head and she probably already knows I would follow her anywhere. Fearing the worst, I tried to poke at it with the care of a tailor.

“It’s great for you to have such aspirations, but it’s a bit silly to only dream of it and never be able to gather the courage of actually doing it. I must agree though that such a rewarding event would be pretty groundbreaking for something as monotone as my daily life. I understand it’s a bit hard to start since you could easily get depressed if you failed at what you were aiming for. Some people would probably just abandon before even trying because they’re afraid to fail.” I said all of that on a serious tone like I spoke with years of experience, I barely knew anything about life yet, still experimenting things and here I was, giving advice to the young.

“What if you fail? Does it mean you’re incapable of doing it? What exactly is this obsession of succeeding everything at the first attempt? I think life is a game of trial and error, where you learn from your mistakes and succeed from experience. People who don’t even want to try and that would rather stick to things they have for granted make me sad. What is going on with everybody wanting to get everything the easy way? It’s like people don’t like challenge anymore, isn’t that mundane?” she said on the verge of tears, with a bit of pity for the rest of the humanity. I guess she realized something really important tonight, I don’t know if it would actually change her life, we’re only discussing, not taking life decisions on this hill. The stars would sometimes guide us through difficulties and maybe I once believed I could tell the wrong from the right, at least for myself that is.

“I think there’s more than truth in what you said” I replied to her, without giving further explanation or context, I think she understood on which ground I stood and she was happy with it. We spent the rest of the night staring at our reflections in the cloudless night sky, our heads full of ideas and thoughts we didn’t bother sharing now. The cold wind began to slightly bite my skin but it was more pleasant than annoying, I could however notice that she was shivering a bit. I placed my leather jacket on her shoulders without asking permission.

“Thank you…” she said, with the most quiet voice in the world.

Are you a new reader of the Tales from the top of the hill? You might want to read it from the beginning here!

Sunset at the top of the hill

Tonight when I arrived at the top of the hill, I found myself being alone sitting on the grass. I arrived a bit early I must admit, there were still faint orange rays of light piercing through the treetops from the last bits of a sunset already forgotten. The wind was gently blowing in my hair, bringing up the sweet scent of autumn to my nostrils. I took a big breath in but it ended up being a sigh when it came out.

“Why are you sighing? Did you miss me that much?” a familiar voice said behind me, followed by a cute giggle. I turned around and saw her in a seasonal red coat and a fitting scarf that covered her mouth in a lazy but delicate way. I didn’t answer her question with words, simply sending back a smile.

“Are you afraid of getting cold?” I asked jokingly. She didn’t seem quite irritated but she looked away for a moment. She was looking at the sky as her hair received the same treatment as mine from the wind. I thought it was more graceful and spectacular when blown into long and silky hair though.

“Aren’t you going to sit?” I asked her since nothing was happening. Not because I disliked silence or the smooth sound of rattling leaves in the trees but because I was afraid she would begin a conversation while standing and I, comfortably sitting in the grass, would feel awkwardness towards this situation.

“No”, she replied, “It’s going to rain, I saw it”. If she saw it, that was no mistake. I looked up to the sky to find clouds, to no avail. People considered her a prophet, in my opinion she could just have some good intuition or ridiculous amounts of luck but since I’m a human, I tend to believe what I’m being told, even the inexplicable.

This “myth” started a few years ago, we were still young and clueless. We’re still clueless but that’s not what I’m trying to say. My father is a fisherman, he leaves the shore every week or so for a few days and then comes back with food for a handful of people living near us. He never asked anything in return and would refuse any kind of payment. One night, there was a thunderstorm raging outside, the wind was blowing so hard that walls were shaking. Obviously, she was afraid of thunder so she didn’t sleep at all during this night. In the morning, she woke up my father early and she told him not to go on the sea today. He told her that the storm was over and it was safe but she insisted that another one was coming and he had to stay home, he didn’t want to be mean to her but he kind of had to go. As he wasn’t replying, she started to cry, repeating the same words over and over again. In the end he decided to stay home but his fishing pals went anyways. This very night, all of sky’s contents fell down on earth. Two weeks later, they were still missing from the coast and it’s only one month after that somebody found the floating body of one of those men ashore.

Since then, she has been able to predict major events that were taking place around us, not only related to weather but I think she saved a few lives with this “power” of hers. That’s not something I can boast about, the only life I saved is some mice that was going to get eaten by a snake, I just scared the snake away and the mouse fled too. I wonder what kind of feeling you get when you actually save someone’s life. I guess you’re happy for the person to be still alive and able to see the life’s wonders. I guess it’s also heart-warming to get thanked honestly, it doesn’t happen anymore recently with all this selfishness around the corner, at least there are still a few heroes in this world.

“What are you doing?” she asked me while being surprised by a stealthy drop of water on her nose. “It already started raining, stop spacing out!” I jumped on my feet and followed her as she turned around and leaped down the hill like a little rabbit. I guess our discussions can wait for later, we still have a long way to go, what if we ever run out of topics? It probably won’t happen but if it ever does, we’ll have one more night alone with the stars, talking about everything that would come to mind.

And as I was going down the hill I turned my head around to see big rain clouds, I’m not sure why I didn’t notice them at first but they were aggressively coming at us. I wanted to at least give her a hug before going part ways, but when my head went back to it’s original position, she was already gone.

Solo Wolfpack

Posted: October 1, 2011 by yanenrogne in Litterature
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A wolfBackground music

Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived with wolves. He would go hunt with them and learnt to kill without remorse to get food down his belly. Many villagers caught glance of him and thought he was a monster and everyone who would enter the forest was afraid to get attacked by the wolf-guy. This boy was still young but even adults would have shaking knees at the simple thought of his name. Everyone was despising him and they’ve put traps all around the village to make sure he wouldn’t attempt to raid it. One day, when he was older, he left the wolf pack to go check on the city, he probably wanted to make friends or simply meet the ones standing on two feet like him. When he arrived near the village, everything was aflame, children and women were crying, and between the cries he could hear the barbarian’s battle anthem. He rushed to the center of the village, spotting a few villagers running around with their clothes on fire, trying to survive by rolling on the ground. At the very center of the village, some bad guys were throwing lit torches into houses while laughing, he picked up a spear and threw it with all his might to a raider. He assumed a wolf form and ran so fast that he actually leaped on another target before the spear he threw impaled his target’s heart and making him fall down, pinning him to the ground. He had no difficulty clawing through his foe’s chest with his bare hands, hardened from all the hunts he’s been through, this poor man was almost howling out of terror and pain as the wolf-like figure was browsing through his stomach’s contents. In fear, the other attackers watched the freak show but they couldn’t move, horrified by the vision of this inhuman creature, they haven’t even for one second thought of saving their comrade, it was unthinkable. When he was done with him, the wolf-guy raised his head towards the horrified mass and howled to the moon with all the might his vocal chords would let him. Still frozen in fear, the attackers could clearly hear the bloodthirsty wolves answering to his call in the immediate forest. Fearing the worst, they fled to the sea, where their ships were waiting for them to fall back. The wolf-guy watched the scene, looked around, everyone in the village was gone, the townsfolk were hiding too so he also left to the forest.

Weeks later, the people of this little village have worked together to rebuild it, heal the wounded and find new families for the orphans. The wolf-guy thought of coming back to the village one more time, not to get thanked but only to see if people would actually accept him as he was. As he walked the most normal and human-like way he could towards the village he thought that maybe people would be even more afraid of him since he did something really scary on that day, even if it was to save them. Lost in his thoughts he finally walked on one of those wolf/bear traps, his left leg got caught in the metallic jaw that was chewing on his tights. The boy yelled and howled and cried until the nightfall but nobody came to rescue him, some villagers found him dead at the entrance of the forest one week after, most of his limbs were injured or missing, no ceremony was given for this hellspawn.