You like stories, don’t you? I can tell.
Well, I like telling stories. In fact, it’s one of the things that landed me here, in fact.
So…you want to hear a story?
There was once a boy who loved stories. He loved hearing them, but more than that, he loved spinning fables, and telling tall tales. Whether he was supposed to be studying, or working in the fields, whenever he had a free moment, he harangued his friends into listening to him. The other boys laughed at him, but he wanted to become such a good storyteller that he would one day have an audience with the king himself.
As he grew, the boy’s imagination soared. He began to tell tales of fantastical places, of ghosts and demons and triumphant kings. One summer night, when the village had begun to chafe on him, and all the horizons he saw seemed to narrow, he left behind the little hut he shared with his parents.
He wandered from town to town, living off his imagination and his talent for spinning words.
And things would have been fine, if the boy didn’t have a burning desire to prove himself. But he did. Everywhere he went, he wanted to be known as the best storyteller they had ever heard. Every village he visited, he spent most of his time with the headman and his family, currying favour and earning his keep by weaving wondrous stories that left them singing his praises long after he had left.
It was easy in this particular village, because the headman had a beautiful daughter, who hung on his every word. They began to spend more time together, and soon they were meeting secretly when they thought no one was looking.
Perhaps you can imagine what the headman did when he saw his lovely daughter alone with the young storyteller in the fields on the outskirts of town.
For all his imagination, the boy certainly didn’t expect this twist: the headman killed him, and strung his body up on a nearby tree as a warning to others.
The storyteller had his revenge, though. His spirit had lingered on, after death, and every night he whispered into the headman’s ears, until he drove the man half-mad.
Soon that grew tiresome, and he decided to try roaming beyond the village, but the storyteller was tied to his body. Rumors grew that his tree was haunted, and soon, it became a game for the village boys to approach it. They would bully each other into throwing stones at the body that still hung there, to step as close to the tree as they dared. Sometimes, he liked to creep up behind them and blow in their ears. It made him laugh to see them scream and take to their heels.
Then one day, the unthinkable happened. Very simply, on one moonless night, a man cut his body down from the tree, and, slinging it onto his back, began to walk away.
Featuring cross-dressing assassins, were-snakes, gods and goddesses, demonesses and asura kings, Dark Things Between the Shadow and the Soul retells age-old tales from Indian mythology—with a twist. Rearranging myth and legend to create new plots, these short stories will delight lovers of the unusual.
Image from Morguefile,with thanks.
[music|Lacrimosa: Kalafina (Kuroshitsuji ED2) ]