Friday 12 March 2021

One Flash Fiction Piece by Christina Martin




The first thing I need to describe is the door.


It stands in a meadow flush with summer flowers in all their bright colours, from scarlet poppies to sky blue cornflowers to the simple artless ox-eye daisies of the field, and bounds the entrance to the next hill.


It is impossible to cross to the green of the hill even though you can smell the grass and feel the breezes on the other side and almost touch the granite boulders that have lain there since the last ice age.  You may try, as I did, but you cannot get past the door, nor the space beside it, so you must wait for it to open to you.  You must look.


You must look and see what it really is.  First you will see the huge archway of stone, made with cut stones that fit together so closely that a hair could not pass between them.  Upwards towards the clouds, white and drifting over the top of the pointed arch, where you can just see some gleam of reflected light if the light shines from the right direction.  Your eyes will then travel down over the surface of the door where you will see an intricate weave of silver and wood worked in a design of enchantment.  You know right away that it is no human work.  So who has been here?  Who was here before me, standing here now with my mouth open and my heart soaring?


There is a distinctly green feel about the air, though the sky still looks blue as it always does.  There is a memory of frost fingers and spider art lingering here in the breeze and clinging to the plants.  There is a clear brightness of winter mornings here, touching the summer buzz of growth with a crystal clarity. 


I go down the path every day and stop at the door.  I sit in front of it on the ground, staring up at the intricate work and past the stone archway with a growing certainty that I need some permission or pass to get through to the other side.  And what will be there I'm not sure.  From this side of the archway, everything looks the same as it does here, so I can't figure out why it's so important to get through.  So I just sit on one of the granite boulders strewn around as if part of a giant's game of bowls and waited.  Wait for something to happen.  Some sign that I am welcome over there.


Clouds billow past through the afternoon as I sit.  The breeze starts to ruffle my hair as small fingers seem to be pushing at my scalp in a peculiar way as the wind strengthens and the sky grows dark.  I feel myself spinning, careering  in a crazy gyroscope of moonlight and leaves that wrap themselves all over my body in a tight cocoon.  My voice is cut off, and my eyes bulge.  It is useless to strain against the leaf jacket.  It is as tight as an iron glove.


Still I cry out, though no sound emerges, as if it would make a difference.  The moon has got me now and finally she will drag my sorry carcass out of the darkness and throw me to the ground, if I survive this at all.  It is all a whipping of green and velvet and coloured strands of rainbow light, and I feel terribly sick. 


Please let this end!  But one way or another I have to know.  I have to know if I am alive, what is beyond, even if I never make it back.  I start of weep, my tears hot inside the cocoon shell.  I feel it filling up with water - am I going to drown in my own tears?  But now nothing sounds insane any more.


There is the faintest crack somewhere in the middle of the cocoon.  I look down to where my stomach would be and see it growing longer and suddenly - free!  I climb out like a gawky butterfly that does not know what its wings are for yet.


I have wings!  They have every colour imaginable shimmering on them, and ruffle in the wind.  My shoulder blades feel strange with this new weight hanging from them, but it has to be worth it, right?  Wings?  No one is going to believe this.


If anyone ever hears the story, that is.  Because now the door is opening and the soft green air and brilliant light beyond beckons me.  There are plants of amazing size, hanging with exotic flowers of every colour and hue, dripping with hypnotic scent,  and willows hang over a clear stream. It is too wonderful.  It is a dream.


I also know for certain that if I walk through the door I will never be able to return.  I will be a new creature forever and no one will ever know. 



Benjamin wakes me with a wet sniff.  The cool air of the Otherworld is gone.  My dog had come to find me.


I look over my shoulder, just to check.


My wings are still there, gleaming and folded down.  Joy!  This morning, this very day, I will go back there.  


Christina Martin has been writing from an early age and her work has been published in various poetry magazines both online and in print.  Some of these include The Heron's Nest, Haiku Presence, Hedgerow, Failed Haiku, Wales Haiku Journal. Other work has been published by Forward Press and Nature Writing.


She has also written two novels aimed primarily at readers aged 9 - 13 years but of course enjoyable by anyone who acknowledges the child within!  She has also published a collection of short stories.


Christina has lived in Europe most of her life and now lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK with her husband, where she is inspired by the sea and her relationship to the natural world, which features strongly in her work.


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