You never know where a great idea for a story will come from. To me the definition of a “great story” is one you can’t stop writing. A world that awakens every time a finger tip hits a key, because you yourself love it!
The story below is a snip from a writing warm up I started one morning, based on a dream I had. Meant to only be 1-2 pages long, I have decided to expand it into a short story. My original goal for the exercise was to add place and time to the events. All stories have to have a world where they wiggle and run. This is a “Great Story” and I can’t stop writing…
Wolf and Girl
1364, the Black Forest of Germany and fairy tales, where witches hollered out spells to the sky, and blood sucking creatures, that feed on our dead less than fifteen years prior were born. The Black Death brought the wolves down out of the forest and into the fringe boundaries of our little town where the dead were burned and buried. Hungry wolves found dead bodies an easy meal. Dead mothers, brothers, sisters dragged off, bones licked clean before a priest could speak a prayer. Great hunters, immune to the plague, rose up, in honor of the dead. These hunters were paid in wolf pelts, God’s blessing for returning the dead and free beers at the pub. Hunting parties killed many wolves, none more than my father.
Mother died in the plague. Father said my birth weakened her. Her heart was stronger than most, yet it was not her heart she gave me, but her eyes. As I grew, I resembled her, which only angered my father more. The memory of his dead love standing before him every day was like a cut that never healed. Father’s fame of being the regions “champion hunter” died and ran off with the packs that left in search of new grounds. Father is now a shell, angry, empty, and full of fermented drink and hate. Hate towards me, hate towards God.
When the wolf packs left, my beatings began. They became more frequent after my hair darkened months later. Black like the night, it draped over my features, keeping me hidden from him, when I escaped into the woods. The woods were the last place I should hide from a “champion hunter” who, it was said “could track the wind itself through the thickest brush.” Yet father let me hide. He let me run. His threats would race out the door, as sharp as his ax, chasing me up into the mountains, until my silhouette was hidden from site. Always he stopped only four trees deep into the forest before resting up against an old pine. The screams were like a wolf’s howl, words slurred by beer and grief, “Come home! You can’t hide from me! I am Reinhardt the greatest hunter!” I ran until I all I could hear was the sound of the waterfall that never stops, and then I ran some more.
One day while picking berries I found a spot, high in the wood, where an old giant had been cut down. It made for a nice table, bed and chair; a home for my imagination. In the day I would pretend this was my home, a happy place, full of peace and prosperity. I was a princess married to a prince and our children were beautiful. At night, if the sky was clear, moon light would find that tree stump through the dense crowd of conifers for a brief hour, “magic hour” I called it. When father was at his worst and I knew there was hell to pay, I escaped to my magic place waiting for the beer to leave his blood.
There was a wedding in town. Everyone in the village was invited and beer flowed like the river Danube. Father drank more than ever that night. Free beer goes down easy. Tonight was my chance!
I raced home ahead of Father to pack, raced in the dark up the quickest trail to the cabin; stars guiding me. The moon was still low in the sky. It would be above the trees in a hour lighting my way away from here. Tonight, the night of the full moon, would be the last night I would spend in the home I was born in. I knew he would kill me, before forgiving God. I packed, for a future unknown, I packed for my life.