No Obstacle to Scorn

Schnorkel stanze flickr

Photo credit: Stanze



You pushed me out, spitting curses.  My own neighbors, chasing me away, brandishing hay-forks and fists and worse.

Such a crime, to want to know.

The clerics tried their best to cleanse me, with tender hands, or coarse grit, or whips.  Whatever it took.   Still the visions lingered.  Still they tempted me.

You try repelling me with prayers you think are spells, but I see through that now.  I am wiser, stronger, harder.  I can tell protection from hope, armor from shadows.

Your fences are useless against me.  Even iron rusts.

Wake — sweating, panting, screaming.  For tonight, I return.



Word count: 100.  Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers challenge, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  See the other stories here, and the original photo prompt below.  Posting this very late this week; I was thinking I couldn’t do it at all.  I apologize ahead of time if I don’t get to read everyone’s stories this time around. I’ll do my best!

FF.gateway-jhardy

Photo © J. Hardy Carroll



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37 thoughts on “No Obstacle to Scorn

    • You’ve hit it on the head with the Salem witch trials — the crime was being a witch/wizard. She must have had the “sight” that is necessary in my world for someone to do witchcraft or wizardry, and her crime was to admit it and want to know more about it. And now that she’s apparently learned more about how to use these powers, you’re right — her old neighbors had better watch out! Thanks for commenting, Rochelle!

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    • Thanks Magaly ! I had such a clear image in my mind of these people waking in fear, and wondering what woke them, maybe trying to tell themselves it was a dream, and then realizing the truth with horror — so I’m glad it made you shiver!

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    • I like that interpretation, thanks! In Layor, they do manage to suppress the knowledge of arcane magic, at least from most people, but there are always a few who sneak behind the barriers (social and legal) and learn it anyway.

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    • A strong voice, I’ll agree with, but it’s funny to me that nobody seems to think she’s as crazy as I do. You’re right, that people who are scorned can hold a grudge and seek revenge later, but I find that such a maladaptive and toxic response. It’s one thing to seek revenge on a despotic leader who terrorizes his people, but your jerk neighbors? Let it go. Don’t let the fact that other people are assholes turn you into one, that’s my philosophy. Much less into a murderer!

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      • All true, Joy. I was also thinking about radicalisation – a very relevant subject, especially here after last week’s attack at Westminster. We have citizens who feel marginalised, ‘bullied’ by the society they live in, that doesn’t truly accept their way of life or faith. Something twists in their heads and they commit the sort of crimes that happened last week. Probably just my brain fitting current events to your theme. Marginalise people at your peril.

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  1. The anger felt by the woman at being cast out of her village by her own neighbours comes across so well – as does her threat to return in the final line. Wiser and harder now, nothing they do will keep her out. Her crime, it seems, was her thirst for knowledge. How often women in the past were branded ‘Witch’ for just that. Great piece of writing, Joy.

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    • Thanks for the great comment, Millie, glad you liked it! Yes, in the real world, women were branded as “witch” for any manner of transgressions. Luckily for the narrator of this story (and unlucky for her tormentors), she really IS a witch, and is now powerful enough to control her own destiny.

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