Hardest Step


Photo © J. S. Brand

Haruk used to enjoy her gathering walks.  Learning these woods and fields, planning her garden, deliberating on children’s names.  She was firm on the first four by now.  He could name the rest.

She swallowed, clearing the foul-breath aftertaste of those dreams.  At least she was out, free from the servants’ pitying eyes.  Her husband couldn’t ignore her if she wasn’t even home.

The stone steps interrupted her thoughts.  Had she gotten lost?  Impossible: these paths were drawn onto her feet.

The steps were grown over, yet Haruk was sure they hadn’t been there before.  The hill, neither.  Nor the sign post, with the strange writing.

Could she have died, and this path led to Sambar?  No.  Surely she would have noticed dying.

Magic, it had to be.  All the stories about magic ended badly.  Lured by fairies, kidnapped by witchers, turned into a snake.

Haruk touched the first step with her toe.  It felt solid – more solid than anything she’d felt all day.  She set her basket down before walking up.  Let them wonder.

Word count: 175.  Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers photo prompt challenge.  Big thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting!  Click here to read the other stories, or to submit your own.

19 thoughts on “Hardest Step

    • Somewhere better than she is currently, I hope! I like her attitude too. I wonder what they’ll think when they find her basket there on the path (and no hill or steps or signpost). Thanks for reading, Sammi!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good point — your photos of your own “gathering walks” are very reminiscent of this tale. Hopefully if you follow an unknown flight of steps up a hill, the fairies you meet will be kindly ones, and not the type who live in Eneana. 😉 Thanks for commenting, Crispina!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It does take bravery, I agree, even if you’re in a horrible situation, to try to break out and try something new to change it. Especially here, where she really has no idea what the option is — just “anything other than this”, wow! Thanks for reading, Iain!

      Liked by 1 person

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