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As part of the A to Z Challenge,ย  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: Samanthaย  Redstreake Geary friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

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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.ย  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?

ย 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.

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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?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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