A Bargain Beyond
a free short story by Kit Campbell
They told us to never go into the forest. They said that was where the wild ones lived, creatures who had once been like us, but who had abandoned civilization to seek power no mortal was ever supposed to have. It had driven them mad.
But sometimes the danger you have been warned against your entire life is preferable to the danger staring you in the face. Probable death is always more attractive than certain death.
As I left the burning remains of my village behind me, I could hear the hammering of hooves in my wake. We’d tried to defend ourselves, to make a stand, but we’d been quickly overrun.
The pounding grew louder as I fled. I plunged into the trees, not heeding the foliage tugging at my clothes. I still carried my sword in one hand, but it hung uselessly by my side. I ran on, not caring where I was going, only following the instinct to get away.
After a long time, the sounds of pursuit faded. I stopped, panting, doubling over from lack of breath. I straightened, taking in my surroundings. And that was when I saw her.
I have friends who own a dozen pretty notebooks they've never written in because a pretty notebook should be used for something special, but they write like a house on fire in a college-ruled spiral notebook. I know people who can only work on computer. There are people out there who can only write at a typewriter. I know persons of amazing and enviable focus who can write anywhere, on anything, no matter what is happening around them.
Unsurprisingly, these persons write a lot more than I do.
But I can write in pretty notebooks and leather-bound journals that shout "adventure!" I write in composition books and spiral notebooks and legal pads, on index cards and mirrors and windows... It's a wonderful eclecticism, but there's a slight problem. Just a tiny catch--
Continuing my Year of No Fear series. Today I'll talk about poetry.
I've been writing poetry since I was 11. That's when I discovered free verse. Free verse is freeing, and it's still my favorite type of poetry to write. My first poem, which was published in our middle school paper, was a free-verse poem about unicorns (I had an obsession with unicorns for most of my childhood.) I didn't write many poems, and sort of dropped it until high school when I had my first real crush, my first real boyfriend, and my first real heartbreak. My poetry muse seems to thrive when I'm unhappy. Not the most healthy thing, but writing poetry is very cathartic. And fun.