In the city there is a fountain. Under the fountain there is a serpent.
If you can tell a good enough story the serpent will grant you a wish.
To reach the city you must walk over seven hills, ford seven rivers, and battle through seven forests. Don’t speak to anyone – not the beautiful girl who offers apples, or the old woman who asks for bread. Don’t turn aside to pick the roses that grow beside the path, or to warm yourself at the fires the woodmen make at night.
When you reach the city, the gate will be locked. Prick your finger 5 times and write your name on the gate in red blood. The gate will open for you.
You must enter the city barefoot, at dawn.
The city is made of glass, and shines in the sun as if it is made of fire. Buildings will shatter around you at times, cutting you. You must stay silent. As the sun strengthens, the glass will burn your feet.
When you reach the fountain, you must wash yourself and then tell your story. If the serpent offers you a wish, you must first refuse politely.
Then wish yourself home.
This is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction challenge. The image is by Theodore Kittelson, and Jane has asked us for a fairy tale. I don’t know if this is quite a fairy tale, but I started writing something else, and 200 words is JUST NOT ENOUGH. So this strange little thing emerged.
For anyone who’s interested, Stella is fine, but having a bit of a rest at the moment. I have worked out a couple more episodes, and may well post them, but I think we all need a bit of a rest from her…