A Walk in the Black Forest

[Fiction] Friday

Friday 19th March
Your character doesn’t make impulse purchases, but one day at the market they felt compelled to buy… what?

Geoff followed in the slipstream of his girlfriend around the flea market as she moved from stall to stall like a bee after nectar.  She took in racks of oddment clothing, holding them against her and asking if he liked the colour, but didn’t usually wait for an answer.  This was followed by handmade knick knacks and jewellery, pot plants and the requisite doner kebab stand.

He didn’t mind the day out with Miranda, but what really got him was her impulsiveness.  Everything she bought was a bargain, she claimed, and Geoff nodded assent and observed the cacophony of the senses abused by the toothless, dreadlocked, bearded and heavily tattooed busker whose guitar seemed to be missing a number of strings.  At the moment Miranda was poring over a trestle table of dye tied cloths.

Geoff took the moment to glance around and settled his eye on the stall behind to his right.  Amongst the dream catchers and shamanic artefacts were blankets.  At least that’s what Geoff thought they were.  On closer inspection he saw that they were in fact bear pelts with their heads drooping over the edge of the table.

The woman behind the stall stepped up to the bench and said, “Do you like them?”

Geoff looked up, literally, into the sapphire eyes of a Germanic looking woman with broad shoulders, ample bosom and flaxen hair shot through with silver tied into a plait the thickness of a ship’s rope.

“You don’t see these all too often,” said Geoff.

“They belonged to my great-great grandmother back in the motherland and she brought them out with her many moons ago.”

“What’s the history behind them?”

“It’s a family of European brown bears; father, mother and cub who were menacing a village near the Black Forest.”

“Wonder if Goldilocks met them?” quipped Geoff.

“Fairy tales have a strange way of being somewhat true, no matter what Disney does to them.”

Beside the pelts was an array of knives, plain and ornate.  Geoff spotted one with a horse head handle with an ivory inlay.

“My great-great grandmother was good with a knife.  Or so the legends say.  This is apparently the one she used on these three,” the woman said indicating the pelts.

“How much?”

“Thirty dollars.”

Geoff opened his wallet and handed over the money.  Taking his purchase from the Germanic woman with the ample bosom he went over to catch up with Miranda.

“Oh you bought something.  That is so unlike you.  You’ll have to show me later.  Come on, let’s get something to eat.”

The afternoon clouds interrupted with sudden peals of thunder and spits of rain.  As the crowd dispersed to find shelter and stall holders quickly covered their wares, Geoff took a final glance at the stall.

The woman grabbed a stole and cast it around her shoulders.  It was a burnished red and the hood resembled a wolf’s head like a Roman centurion.  She disappeared as the rain formed a curtain between them.

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9 responses to “A Walk in the Black Forest

  1. The empowerment of gender prompted this draft. That is the intellectual definition. The simpler version is that I like the idea of Goldilocks or Little Red Riding Hood taking it to ecology, and that fairy tales can have a place in the modern world once we know what they meant to the original audience.
    I was also trying to think tangentially to the prompt to see what obscurity I could develop.

    • I also realised afterwards that my character really has no compulsion, compunction or interest in the impulse buy. That will come out in the wash, spin, rinse and rewrite cycle. He just buys it because it looks good. Then again, what boy wouldn’t like to have a good knife for wandering the forest with?

  2. I like the contrast between the very real setting and the surreal fairy-tale elements you weave into the story. And I’m not sure that I agree with about the impulse buy. Sometimes you just do it on the spur of the moment without thinking at all.

  3. I really like the story and the way you wove fairy tales into it but the part “the hood resembled a wolf’s head like a Roman centurion” lost me. I guess I either didn’t hear that fairy tale or I am reading more into it than I should. You do a remarkable job of description, “as the rain formed a curtain between them.”

    • It’s probably one of those things that just pops into your head when you’re writing, which seems good at the time, and then you go back and look at it and see that it doesn’t really make sense.
      However, Goldilocks/Little Red as a warrior maiden could also be a good option, and suggest the age of fairy tales to be a whole lot older.

  4. She almost sounds like a Valkyrie in your description!!

    Really enjoyed this. Maybe we should send Miranda from your fiction and Siobhan from mine to go get coffee?

  5. I love it! A great fairy tale re-telling!

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