Photo © Kecia Sparlin
When the snake at the crossroads spoke, Arendae was strangely unsurprised.
“Your fortune awaits in the city, Arendae.”
She recited familiar arguments. “I cannot abandon my mother.”
“She ran the mill alone before. She can do so again.”
“Who will take it over?”
“The mill is her child. She must raise it.”
“It means leaving Garran.” She could hardly imagine it.
“If you were going to marry, you would have by now. Let him find someone who returns his love full-heartedly.”
Arendae squeezed worry through fisted fingers. “What if I’m not good enough?”
The snake hissed. “If you have not the courage, stay home.”
Arendae described the dream to her mother, seeking guidance.
Her mother said only: “I see.”
“Is the snake not Dyphental, luring me toward greed and selfishness?”
“Or perhaps Celuturne, Lady of Passages, saying you’ve outgrown this village and must shed your skin.”
Arandae shifted beneath her cairn of indecision. “Which is true?”
“Only you can tell.”
In the morning, Arendae began peeling off her old life, feeling exposed, vulnerable, and… free.
Word count: 175. Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers photo prompt. Big thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting, and for Kecia for providing the photo. Click here to read the other stories or to submit your own.