Feedback? Comments here are welcome, or privately at tia dot nevitt at gmail dot com.A pair of booted feet stopped before me. I refused to look up. One of them kicked forward, thumping against my thin shins. It smarted, but I knew it could have hurt a lot worse.
"Don't move," Mama said. So I didn't, except to look up at the harried constable. He frowned down at us -- a troubled frown, but not an angry one. He was portly and balding. He didn't look like an evil man, but like a good man who had been sent out to do an evil task.
A task that we resisted as we sat together in the doorway of our shop, defending our livelihood with our bodies.
The constable sighed. "Come now," he said. "I don't like this any more than you do."
"You'll have to move us," Mama said.
The constable looked over his shoulder. The fairy hovered there. She was tiny -- no larger than my hand -- with shimmery pale green leggings and tunic. Her beauty almost held one's gaze prisoner, so that was difficult to look away from her.
"Can you move them?" he asked her.
"I am not here to do your job, Constable," the fairy replied, "only to see that you do it honestly."
The constable's sigh was exasperated now. He gestured to his men. "Move them."
Mother and I were both slight. Moving us took no great effort. Suddenly, as I sprawled in the dirt of the street, our defiant gesture seemed pathetic.
Mother screamed and raised a holy fuss. She went charging back into our shop after the constable's men. I ran in after her. She flailed on their backs as they picked up the spinning wheel and carried it out.
"My daughter," she said at one point, grabbing me. "Look at her. Do you think her face will ever get her a husband? That spinning wheel is her future."
"You will be well-paid," the constable said, "as soon as it's destroyed."
They brought out the spinning wheel and flung it into the back of the wagon. Mama winced as it crashed amid the wreckage of the other spinning wheels. They had no regard for its fragile structure, its delicate beauty. They had no care that our lives depended upon that simple wooden structure.
The fairy darted out of our shop and hovered near us. She aimed her wand at our spinning wheel and a burst of colors flew out. The colors hit the spinning wheel and buzzed around it like angry bees. When the colors dissipated, the spinning wheel collapsed into all its various parts, no longer distinguishable from its neighbors.
My mother raised her arm as if to swat the fairy. I grabbed her arm.
"Remember Widow Harla!" I hissed. Widow Harla had attacked the fairy with her broom, and she had felt the fairy's retaliatory spell. She was still unable to speak.
I felt the tension in Mama's arm relax.
The constable offered my mother a chinking pouch. Mama ignored it as she held herself erect. I could tell she was determined to show no weakness. With a glance at the fairy, he tossed it at our feet. I shifted so I stood on the pouch strings. The guards climbed onto the back of the wagon while the constable and the official got in on either side of the driver, and they rumbled off down the street, the fairy flitting after them.
A few of our neighbors looked at us in pity, but also with a bit of dread. They knew that if we were to fall on hard times, they would be obliged to show us Christian charity.
It all made no sense to me. I knew there was a curse involved, but it seemed pointless to attempt to get around it by banning spinning wheels. Fairies were not so stupid as to make their spells so easily circumvented. Why bring misery to families such as ours by taking away our only means of income?
I bent down and picked up the pouch. "What will we do now?" I asked.
Mama took the pouch and hefted it. "We'll buy a loom. If we cannot spin, we will weave."
That night, the light and smoke from the bonfire of burning spinning wheels blotted out the stars.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
An Invitation - Tear Up My Opening
Here's the opening to my novella, The Sevenfold Spell. Feel free to read and if you'd like, to critique. If you've read my stuff before, this is more in the style of Forging a Legend than A Spy and a Lady. It's a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, through the eyes of a spinster who had her spinning wheel taken away and burned.