In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it. My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations. It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!
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By Alex Seise
There in the clearing stood a tiny cream-colored cottage, trimmed in dark wooden beams. The roof’s thatch was new, the straw still golden and fresh. Candles burned in the circular windows, and despite the midday brightness of the overhead sun, the flaming wicks could be seen from yards away in all directions.
Magic, thought the woman. They must be magic.
The cottage was surrounded by gardens. A trellis held curling tendrils and vines from a tremendous pumpkin patch, the yellowing gourds nestled within the spiny wide leaves. Grapevines and thistle and thorny wild raspberries also surrounded the mortar of the tiny home.
Before the woman could knock at the thick wooden door, it swung open. A faint smoky smell heavy with incense billowed forth. There in the fog of heavy air stood a tiny gnarled thing, no taller than a dog. Its skin was gray and rippled with scar-like wrinkles, and its eyes were completely black. No pupils, no irises; just black orbs that darted frantically from side to side. Its hair was equally ebony, straggly clumps patchy across its scalp. It wore a simple house dress of burlap and muslin and tiny wooden shoes that clunked loudly as it scuffled around the quaint little home.
“Yea-s?” Its voice was creaky, almost like the groan of a dry door hinge.
“I’m…” The woman stuttered. “I’m here to see… To see the bugbear of Willowdale Creek? Might… Might you…”
“I be her,” the little gray thing squeaked. “‘Ave ye brought me sup’r?”
The woman nodded. She lifted her skirts to reveal a trembling little girl with blonde hair.
The bugbear sneered. “Goooood. Blonde girls are tastiest, ye know.”
The small one shrieked and tried to run, but the goblin was too fast. Moments later, the woman’s skirts were splashed crimson that soaked from the inside out. The tiny gray beast crawled out from beneath her legs with a huge distended belly, pulling her weight back into the comfort of the dark home. The girl, however, was gone.
“Take yer due,” the bugbear said, chewing loudly on some unseen lump and pointing toward the thatched water well at the corner of her pumpkin patch. “Then begone.”
Tears ran down the woman’s face, though she tried her very best to be strong. “Th-th-thank y-y-you… She… She was such a wicked… A wicked little girl…” The door slammed shut.