The Pool

The pool looked lovely, lilly pads bobbed on the surface with the greens of the tall thick mallow stalks and various bog grasses around it reflected in its dark ripples, the water here seemed like it was clear and pure but the light just reflected off as if it was somehow volcanic glass in motion, ripple after gentle ripple, black, smokey, shiny on broken by colour reflections. Bits of blue sky peeped through the trees that crowded the bank proper after the moss and the reeds, the blue was clear and deep like the water, endless. Inviting.

The other side of the apparently gentle back water was a grassy bank leading to a flower meadow the kind that needed well drained soil but still a lot of water and rich nutrients for the bright blooms. It was a bounty of colour and fragrance and the dear kept the part by the water neat and trim almost like a managed garden – it was perfect to set up camp or stop to have a picnic.

The waters beckoned – cool on hot days and the very wind itself would seem to sing in a hushed lullaby – come and bath, come and sleep, come and dream, never leave, wallow in the dappled shade – in the shade of the trees, but the trees were the other side beyond the water and beyond a bog, a marsh of peat and sinking mud – the sort of rotten acrid mulch that would leach into your skin and tan it whilst dissolving your bones – the sort of secret fen that cried out for sacrifice to the trees and woodlands, to the waters sprites and the spirits of the land. It was that kind of a place.

The people who had once lived in the area knew all this and once had willingly brought the sacrifices bound and sedated to be garrotted and hefted into the mire, and no one dared swim in those lovely placid waters unless they wished to become the Rivers bounty. But those people were gone now and the village by the pool was no more, destroyed in some fit of religious passion centuries ago, after that people knew to avoid the area, children were told of Green Jenny and her teeth so that they would not play in meadow, its perfume they said intoxicated you, made you drowsy and dopy and the waters waited to close in upon the unweary dreamer.

Even those stories were forgotten now, the population had plummeted and the people moved on – after all why live with monsters – beholden and choked when you no longer had to, The disease had been bitter, it had made the flesh bad and yet it had still been flesh and the discarded corpses had been disgorged to this domain away from everything to be consumed and forgotten by natures hand. And now? Now there was nothing, no traders or pilgrims, no burial and certainly no sacrifice. This had left the Maiden Hungry – so very hungry.

Maybe it was time to leave her willow bed.

Posted: Wednesday, March 16th, 2022 @ 11:22 am
Categories: Flash Fiction.
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