Monday, 6 August 2012

Tura has written a story about an elf.

The Writers’ Dash is held every day at 6am and 6pm Pacific Time in Second Life, which works out to 2am and 2pm in my timezone. Which means I can only participate in real time at 2pm on Sundays. But I can have a go any time for practice. This is my first attempt. The subject is ”Elf”. It took 40 minutes, not the prescribed 15.


My commute takes me from a small village to a town a few miles away, along winding country roads bordered mostly by fields, and through a dense wood. It’s so familiar I’ve hardly paid it any attention, until a month or two ago.

While driving through the wood, I caught a glimpse of something, like a small clearing near the road. I looked for it again on the way home that day, but I couldn’t quite make out the place.

After a couple of days, it was definite. There was clearly a small area, just a little way back from the road, where the trees were thinned out. But I couldn’t see any tree stumps. It looked like it had always been that way.

A week later, there was a well-defined clearing. I pulled over and walked into the wood. In the clearing, there was an even layer of grass, but no sign of it having been mown, and no sign there were ever any trees there. Over to one side, the ground seemed to be slightly disturbed, but I couldn’t make out why.

The sun was shining down brightly, although it had been a somewhat dull sky earlier, and when I got back to the car it was dull once again.

I didn’t stop there again until a week later, when I realised there was a small house there. I stopped and walked into the wood again. There was a little house, but it was only a few feet tall, too small for anyone to live in, and besides, it had a certain unfinished quality to it. I gently tried the little door, but it seemed to be just painted onto the solid wall. I looked down the chimney, but there wasn’t even a hole there.

I took to stopping there every day. The house was a little larger each day, a little more real. Then one day, I poked at the door and heard a small noise from inside. I nervously backed away and drove on.

I changed my route for a few days, but curiosity got the better of my fear, and I drove home through the wood one evening. The house seemed...fully grown? Although it was still not quite as tall as I was. I stopped and approached the clearing. The windows glowed with light from within, and I could hear the sounds of a party. I walked softly towards it and crouched down, trying to see through the windows, but the glass only let out a vague, flickering glow.

Suddenly the door slammed open and an elf stood there, looking at me. ”Come in, come in” he said sharply.

I thought, here I am, in a magic clearing that can’t possibly exist, talking to an elf who’s just invited me into his house. I told the part of my brain that was jabbering ”this can’t be happening” to shut up, since it quite obviously was. What next? I thought, I’m too big to go inside, then realised that I was no longer crouching, but standing and looking the elf eye to eye.

How do you deal with things so completely impossible you could never even have a contingency plan? Will I find wonders beyond imagining, or will they just serve me up as the main course of their feast? I didn’t like his pointy teeth. 

I didn’t realise I’d made a decision until I noticed I was crouching down once more. The elf snapped angrily, ”Be like that then!” and slammed the door.

Over the next few weeks the house gradually diminished, followed by the clearing, until I couldn’t tell where it had been.

The owner of the wood wants to sell it to a timber company. The locals are campaigning to protect the ancient forest, but I can’t find it in me to join them. Especially now I’ve heard the faint howlings of wolves there, far off, but getting closer.

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