Here’s the beginning of a story I just started. I know, I should be working on The Vision Stones, but why refuse inspiration?
I think the strangest thing about Kloeva was the fact that she told me and reminded me constantly that she was not my mother. My mother, she said, was wandering out there, somewhere in the universe. She told me never to call her mother, or mum, or mummy, momma, or mom. I was to call her ‘Fox’.
I’m not sure why she insisted on being called Fox. Perhaps it was her silvery hair, so much the same color as a small fox’s coat in the spring, or maybe it was because she could sit still for so long, anticipating, the way a fox watches a seal hole out on the ice. We didn’t live on the ice, so we didn’t come across seal holes, but Fox anticipated the chicken being done, so that I could set the table and she could test out a piece of golden-brown skin.
My mother, she told me, was a beautiful woman, who shone like the rising sun. Or the setting sun. It depended on what sort of a mood Fox happened to be in. Mostly, she was quiet, wise, strict, and still, like a fox stalking a grouse in the long grass just outside of our house, in our wooded backyard. Fox called it our own, private ‘Sylvareglum’, which she said was a forest kingdom.
She sometimes was in a cheerful mood, especially when we collected mushrooms and berries in the Sylvanreglum. That was when she would tell me about my mother. She told me how tall and elegant she was, in contrast to the short and stocky Fox, draped in her dark grey, almost black robes and sometimes a forest-green peacoat, and how her big, dark eyes caught the light in such a way that they seemed full of stars. Her features were fine, Fox said, and her skin soft as velvet. One day, as we were walking through the woods, collecting moss for no reason other than the fact that Fox felt like it, she told me about how she had met my mother.
“Once, when I still lived out on the ice,” Fox began, her black eyes shining with memories as she bent down to pull a bit of fluffy green moss off of a granite boulder, then sniff it with her eagle-beak nose, “I was hunting for dinner. I thought I heard something behind a snowdrift, and so I walked slowly towards it…” she mimed stalking something carefully, holding a spear with her moss-basket free hand, “and then- Guess what?”
“What?” I asked, sitting down on the boulder and curling my skinny legs to my as I watched her act it out.
“From behind the snow drift, a beautiful woman emerged,” smiled Fox, “with deep brown hair, in two braids, glinting eyes, smooth skin, and-”
“Did you have brown hair, too?” I giggled, gesturing at the smooth greyness underneath her hat.
“Quiet, boy! I was born with a full head of lovely, platinum hair!” snapped Fox, swiping in the air as though to hit me, but missing, not entirely on purpose. “As I was saying before someone rudely interrupted, I was faced by a beautiful woman. And she asked me what my name was, so I told her.”
“Surely you didn’t say Fox?” I asked playfully.
“Of course not, boy!” laughed Fox, swinging the moss basket at me, “I said Kloeva! Kloeva is a very respectable name, you know, you good-for-nothing little-” but she stopped because, after swinging the basket a little too hard, everything had dumped out of it and onto the grassy forest floor.
“I can help you,” I said, jumping down from my perch and starting to gather moss.
“Don’t bother,” Fox shrugged. “It belongs to the forest, anyhow. Let’s go make tea.”
So we did. Fox’s urges never seemed to last very long, especially not as soon as she had another one.
Waddya think? 🙂
P.S. I know that foxes don’t hunt seals, I know that peacoats don’t drape, etc. Too bad, alternate timelines are fun! Yay! 😀