Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.
The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.
I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.
Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.
The Apple Tree
Bettany could not understand why her mother always brought her along when visiting the aunts, especially in autumn when there was so much doing at home.
Living in a doddering house, dark and uninviting, a projection of the women themselves, the aunts glared, with menace, at Bettany if she was curious, in danger of touching any of the archaic, cobweb laced objects cluttering the surfaces of unpolished side tables and shelves.
Yet, her mother, with her glowing moonlit skin, coal black hair and rich red lips, brought forth smiles, even laughter from the three stoic and ancient women.
Bettany didn’t believe the three were really her aunts, or anyone’s aunts, at all.
Leaving her mother with the velvet clad sisters, Bettany decided today was a good day for exploring outside, and out of the sight of six judging eyes, for going past the weather patinaed gate at the eastern side of the well-tended garden.
Darkness loomed perpetually beyond that gate, all seemed abandoned, forgotten, or perhaps thought Bettany, purposely placed beyond the care and concern of the invisible hand of the gardeners.
As she lifted the rusting latch, pulling until it loosed and sprang upward, the gate rumbled, fell askew, scattering about her feet, half of it still clinging to listing hinges.
Bettany stepped over the splintered remains and into the dusky beyond.
Apple trees she told herself, it’s nothing more than an old orchard.
“But why abandon such large beautiful trees, and with such sweet smiling fruit,” Bettany asked out loud, kicking fallen apples back towards the curving wide trunks.
“She doesn’t know, she doesn’t know, how can that be,” came a voice of rustling leaves and frictious branches, startling Bettany, who stepped backed towards the broken gate.
“She looks like her, the one with black hair, the one who took the bite, who fell asleep, whose fate caused the curse, and the only one who can lift it, the one who can restore the favor of the apple,” said another as three apples fell softly at the feet of the frightened but curious Bettany.