Once Theirs, Always Theirs

Hydarabad Golconda Fort

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, India  © Marcus Ellem via Google Maps

Harak hid behind a still tree, scanning the ruins.

The ancient fortress was cursed, having been swallowed and spit out by the Impassable Forest.  Yet some still ventured in–explorers, scavengers, daredevils–and disappeared.

Harak’s sister, for one.

Seeing nothing, Harak crept forward.  Halfway there, he heard buzzing, like giant dragonflies.  Dropping to the ground, he feigned sleep, his face slack, trying to look dull and boring.

He resisted flinching as the noises neared. Two of them. Almost touching him. Their clicking language sounded almost musical, soothing.

Later, he approached the ruins.  A crowd danced joyfully inside.

His sister laughed.  “Don’t worry, I’m fine.  Go home.”

She looked… indistinct.  Harak lunged to grab her.  The room filled with buzzing.  Hundreds of them, surrounding him.

Harak awoke on the grass, confused.  A warning?  Fey didn’t give those.

He stood, steadied his knees, and marched toward the ruins.

He had to try.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge.  Thank you to Karen and Josh for hosting!  Click the link to see the other stories inspired by various images around the fort and Hyderabad.  And feel free to join in yourself!  It’s great fun to explore the site through all the street view and photo sphere images.  Pick the one that inspires you, and go for it!

If you want to read more about the Impassable Forest, here are some of my favorites:   On A Leaf EdgeFeathered Fate, and Wayward Woods.


35 thoughts on “Once Theirs, Always Theirs

    • Hmm, that’s potentially a very long answer. The Impassible Forest is filled with, among other things, fairies. As addressed in some of the earlier stories that I linked to, the edge of the forest sometimes moves. This particular fortification was built with its back to the forest, supposedly for protection against the ruler’s enemies. However, the ruler seems to have annoyed the forest, because it moved, swallowing up the fortress and everyone in it, who were never seen again. Much later, the forest retreated and the ruins were exposed, but some fairies still think of it as theirs, and they do something bad to anyone who comes into the building, which is why nobody ever returns. I think here they are trying to make Harak go away by giving him a dream, but they might just be messing with him and goading him to come in anyway. They do that kind of thing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • No, the fairies in Eneana are definitely not something you’d have in modern children’s stories! Now, the Grimm Brothers’ version of children’s stories perhaps… Thanks for the vote of confidence, Penny!


  1. By giving us little hints and tastes of strangeness, you usher us into this bizarre world. As Hayek wakes up from his dream we are left to wonder, how much of what he dreamt could actually be real. Love the soothing clicking language, and the unsteady knees.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this, especially the way the dream is woven into this magical world. It takes a brave man to proceed. It would be easier to accept the convenient dream of his sister saying “I’m fine.”


    • Thanks for the great comment, Karen — I’m so glad that all came across as I’d hoped. Unfortunately for him, he’s not going to take the easy way out, although I fear that his sister is beyond helping by now. Thanks for the great inspiration!


  3. Never trust the fey, this we know from every fairytale ever – except Disney version of course. Love that mix of reality and the imaginary, not knowing if the vision is a warning, a premonition, or just his own anxiety. Beautifully written as always – you are good at the scary fairy tales!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the lovely comment, Lynn — it’s so great to hear! It’s funny, because I don’t think of myself as liking scary stories. I certainly get the heebie jeebies from most anything called horror these days. And yet Eneana keeps developing as a fairly scary place. (Yes, especially those fey!) Maybe it’s because the horror I don’t like is of the “gore fest / serial killer” variety, which seems to be the most popular these days. It occurs to me that I still enjoy *older* horror, of the mysteriously spooky house and/or long-building suspense variety.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m with you on that. I don’t really like horror – read some as a teen but fell out of love with it. It began to repel me. And though I write horrifying scenes in my stories sometimes, I don’t do it just for shock’s sake – hopefully there’s a point! Love a creepy tale too. Have you read any MR James stories? He was an Edwardian English academic who wrote ghost stories as a hobby. Some are dated, it can’t be denied, but he’s the master a creeping dread! The best known is “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” http://www.thin-ghost.org/items/show/150

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s me too — I don’t mind something that’s horrifying, as long as there’s a point to it, not just gross-out shock value. Although I think I was more resilient to even those kinds of creepy stories when I was younger. Now the real world is shocking and stressful enough — the last thing I need is for my fiction to scare me, too!

        Edwardian ghost stories are exactly my speed when it comes to horror; I’ll check out MR James.


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