#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: G for Goodbye Wanderer

As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Goodbye wanderer..

Provided by: Samantha  Redstreake Geary friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti



Goodbye wanderer
#atozchallenge : G for Goodbye wanderer

She came to me one morning, among the scattered dry leaves of a maple tree.

For a moment, I did not recognize her— her long- slow-fat slithering amongst the leaves. She lay there, in the dappled fall sunlight looking up at me as I looked down at her, unseeing.

I had dreamed of him again, the man with the yellow snake-like eyes, bearing down on me, pressing down on my face, tearing, clawing, hurting my throat, breasts. He had attacked my body, which had recovered well, as bodies will.  But he ruled my nightmares, and laughed inside my head by day. I needed to walk, run him out of my system, rinse him out of my eyes, my skin, my clothes today, just like on each one of the last ninety-three days.

She moved her head a few yards from my neon-pink sneakers, and that’s when I saw her body painted in patterns of butterfly or hourglass, depending on what you saw first, light or dark, her copper head raised lightly in enquiry, as if to say, what brings you to my home?

I had wandered further in the wilds than I had intended. This was not my backyard paved with bricks. It was hers, because under my dreamy feet I saw soil, light brown, a perfect camouflage. Be careful, my parents had hidden the worry on their faces as they dropped me to my chalet, oh please be careful, wouldn’t you?

 But I was determined not to be careful, not give in, not hold myself back, and now, I had met her.The cold morning breeze ruffled my hair as I came to a complete stop, but cold had nothing to do with the goosebumps on my legs.

Rest a while, follow my example, she kept her gaze on me, I will watch over you when you sleep, I’ll stand guard on your dreams. I’m your sister, you have skin and I have scales, but we are the same. We are still when left alone. Threaten us, and we strike back. We mean no harm, you and I.

I took a step back, then another. She did not move, as if surprised at my retreat, not wanting to startle me into flight. She lay her head back down, no hint of fangs or the venom they held. She had other uses for them.

I walked back towards my home, and she waited a few heartbeats before slithering away. Goodbye wanderer, she seemed to say, and fare you well.


Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Have you ever had a wildlife encounter, felt scared or disturbed by it?

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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  1. sdneeve1

    All I can say … my writing pales in comparison. But at least it will make me look at my own pieces with a new eye. 🙂

  2. echoesofthepen

    The sort of story that makes you want to read again and again, to make sure you’ve not missed a single nuance; an exquisite and sublime encounter!

  3. Amaya Ells

    I love how its surprisingly calming, even though usually an encounter with a snake is portrayed as a frightening thing. You really show the snake as a beautiful thing, which leads to a small amount of confusion as the narrator does not take the offer. I began to wonder if the narrator knew something about her I didn’t, whether she was not to be trusted.

    Overall I loved the story and I hope my first impressions are helpful in deciding whether you hit the mark as you intended.

  4. lonitownsend

    Gorgeous and evocative. The whole scene was stunning, and I found myself holding my breath during your description of the attacker. Well done!

  5. susanddhavle

    Awe inspiring….snakes are deathly quiet, only betrayed in movement by dry leaves on the ground. But you explained animal behavior (won’t harm unless harmed or frightened) as a human with hurt yet compassion in her. Well done.

  6. alexjrankin

    Plenty for the imagination to get its teeth into, I enjoyed reading it. I kind of wish I had signed up for this challenge, but missed the deadline by a long way. Maybe next year. I really like the idea of using photos as prompts too, something I plan to do myself. I found an interesting site that does this – http://visualverse.org/ – if you or anyone else is interested 😉

  7. Peter Nena

    I like snakes in fiction. I usually use the black mamba because it was very common in my rural area when I was a child. It used to kill people almost all the time. There was scarcely any time to take the victims to the hospital or summon the old women who cured snakebites with herbs. And it would be killed whenever and wherever it was spotted. It was a terrible animosity. There was also the puff adder but it wasn’t nearly half as inimical as the black mamba. I grew up with an almost superstitious fear of snakes.
    Another excellent story, Damyanti. You know how I love the soupcon of darkness with which you carefully sprinkle your narration. You, however, had me lost for a second or two with the dream and the anthropomorphised Copperhead. Thanks for sharing such an exquisite writing.

  8. Damyanti

    This is a piece of fiction, Lynne, my character who has been violated has no resemblance to my real life story :).

    I was trying to describe a Copperhead snake.

    I’ve never seen a Copperhead in real life, nor been to a country with natural maple trees, so all this was an effort of imagination. I guess Copperheads are vipers like rattlers..?

  9. lynneinpborough

    You’re having a fantastic AtoZ as usual. I’ve had tons of wildlife encounters thankfully. Many moons ago I unknowingly sunbathed on a grass snake.. the grass was very tall and thick and I was much lighter than I am now… Not venomous like yours was. Which snake were you describing? A rattler?

  10. Ed Oyama

    very cool! what a great creative idea too – a to z! never thought of that before. will have to give it a shot. 😀 thanks for sharing.

  11. Aditi

    Wow…love this piece…a favorite till now! The way you have brought the similarities, their stories…their conversations… Beautiful!

    • Damyanti

      Thanks, Kavita. The effort is to mimic life, to bring a slice of it to the readers, and to give them dots to connect.

  12. Sabrina A. Fish

    The scariest encounter I have experienced with wildlife, aside from that evil villainess Poison Ivy, was with an acorn chucking squirrel who took exception to my friends and I sitting under his tree.