I’m mostly just exploring an idea here but thought I would share it. I found a quite fabulous photograph and wondered what I might make of it. I haven’t planned this out particularly – maybe I should – but I wanted to just see what might come of it if I just sat down and started to write. If I can get this thought out then perhaps I can take it from there…
Kostromo stirred beneath the cold earth, it’s weight heavy on her chest and her bones gripped by the icy fingers of winter. Opening her eyes slowly she could see only darkness and the crisp smell of winter filled her nostrils as she stirred and struggled beneath the rich dark soil.
Everything felt wrong, surely it was too early to be awake if the ground remained cold.
Her breathing quickened as she pushed to free herself, heart pounding and fingers clawing instinctively. The earth relented unwillingly and she stretched out an arm and felt a thick tree root between her fingers. It was oak, old oak, and she could feel so many summers coursing through it but yet it slept, silent and cold.
With all of her will she strained, but with so little strength she could not free herself from the darkness. She called out to the oak, confused and desperate.
“Oak, awake from your slumber”
She felt him stir, but he did not reply.
She gripped the root more tightly “Old oak, hear me” she continued “hear my voice and shed your icy slumber.”
Oak stirred again, and she could suddenly feel his life in the earth all around her and it felt good. She felt more alive, less cold.
“Who calls to me?” Oak said slowly, his voice deep and rich “who wakes me from my sleep?”
“Do you no longer know my voice old friend, have you slept so deeply?” she replied.
“Friend?” Oak said, recognising her voice “we no longer call you friend Kostromo, it is too many years since we trees have felt your touch.”
Kostromo gripped his root tightly, and she could sense a deep pain. “I do not understand dear friend” she replied “It is still winter, it is my time to sleep.”
“For a season only Kostromo ” he responded angrily, “for a season only you were supposed to sleep but you did not return to us, and the wood has long suffered under the spell of too many winters.”
She was confused but continued. “My friend, I am so sorry” she said “I do not know why I have slept so long, but I am awake now, I have returned to you.”
Oak paused before responding, the anger now gone from his voice leaving only sadness.
“For many it is too late faerie, many of our kind who once inhabited this wood have passed into nothing so long have they slept. Birch and Beech and Sycamore have long returned to the earth in which you now lie.”
As they continued to talk Kostromo felt Oak’s life force flowing through her, warming her and giving her strength.
“I need you to help free me Oak” she said “I am no use trapped in the earth, will you not help me?”
“Because we were once friends I will help you” he said, his giant roots beginning to move ever so slowly shifting and loosening the cold earth around her. With a snap and crack of ice they wrapped around her and began slowly pulling her upwards. Slivers of light began to appear around her as she neared the surface, the weight on her chest now gone.
Oak heaved her from the ground and lay her gently on the cold snow in front of him. She could feel the sharp cold on her skin, and opened her eyes slowly, squinting as they grew accustomed to the light.
“Indeed it is you” Oak said, his tone now warm and soft “it has been too long old friend, too long indeed.”
Want other different stuff?