♞ Birds, shimmering blue and the size of walnuts shot about Gentle Annis in a blur of wings and movement; butterflies, twice their size, fluttered around a cacophony of flowers in slow winged beauty. She skipped down a path of deep brown bare earth half a metre wide and ten centimetres deeper than the flower sprouting ground on either side of it. Transparent wisps of steam rose from the greenery around her in the morning sun, dissolving the previous night’s frost.
An hour prior to this point in her journey, Littled Bloody Red Cloak had skipped and moved with all of the litheness and grace her twenty year old body would allow. Every so often she would grin at a creature of the forest, her unbridled joy resultant of the power the cloak had given her. Now, however, the sun was slowly drying the rich red blood upon her riding hood, power ebbing away with it, slowing her from skip to irritated walk. Hunger was beginning to gnaw at her empty stomach in concert with the electricity lost; Gentle Annis’s demeanor souring by the second, leaving her with a sense of cold, emptiness, fatigue and nausea.
☛A while later, she first heard, then saw two skinny blonde haired girls, both no more than ten years of age by appearance, strolling along toward her, heads bent forward in the depths of deep conversation, coming around a gentle bend up ahead.
Dressed identically, beret’s the colour of deep ocean; blouses a shade of a midday summer sky tucked into russet knee length skirts; blue stockings to the knee, covering small narrow feet held securely within matched brown leather sandals. Plaited pigtails bounced on narrow shoulders covered in hard earned circular patches, telling all that gazed upon them that the bearer had been proved competent in things such as lighting fires, building spiked tiger traps, marksmanship, and needle point. Girl Scouts, lightly carrying a medium sized, much used wicker picnic basket each.
“Hello there ladies! What brings you to the forest this beautiful day?” purred Gentle Annis, standing, hands on hips and feet spread firmly apart, filling the path before them.
Shocked by the interruption into their world, the two girls stopped immediately in the middle of the track, lifting their beautiful elfin like faces in a startled glance from the highly important conversation they were sharing. Startled at the presence of the oddly hooded character in their path, for it isn’t everyday that, particularly aged ten, you bump into someone wearing a cloak of blood, seal skin, and polarbear. Flash like, the duo of innocents cast their eyes in unison in the direction of their sandaled feet.
“Ummmm……………it’s our turn to bring food to the ‘Old Lady of the Wood’ even though this is actually a forest, and to do whatever chores she needs doing there.” Stammered waif number one, currently standing to the right.
“Two more trips and we get our ‘Old Lady’ badge.” Chipped in waif number two, presently located on the left.
“Most honourable indeed,” said Gentle Annis, eyeing the pair as a shark eye’s a swimmer. “Do you visit her everyday ladies?”
“Oh, no, just when it is our turn. We all take turns each day. Tomorrow is that bitch in the mirror’s turn. We don’t get our turn again for another month.” Spat waif number two. The injustice of patience and obvious desire to attain another badge almost too much for her to bare.
“My, that is a shame, and do all Girl Scouts have such colourful language as you?” said Gentle Annis with a grin. Not waiting for an answer, she went on. “Have you passed anyone else today along the path?”
“No Miss, no-one ever comes this way.”
With that, Gentle Annis fell on the pair with glee, a filleting knife, and terminally laden violence. The innocent waifs’ no longer standing on the left or right, rather, now all over the path, and part way up a tree.
Their blood proved to be worth bottling, and what wasn’t covered her cloak admirably well.
The delightful wee picture above must now be ‘clicked’ by you dearest reader. Should you not, well, who knows what could happen? Unicorns and puppies dying is my guess.
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