Posted by: Bridgett.
Writers are often inspired to tackle tough questions of politics, philosophy, or faith. Sometimes we set out to explore such issues. Sometimes our characters blindside us with them.
Lurel, the main character of a fantasy short story I wrote earlier this year (below), did just that. All I’d set out to do was enter a contest!
Her question: Are we redeemed from the curse, or do we reap what we sow? Or is it both?
Starlight danced across the rippling river water as Lurel tugged the amulet from beneath the lace bodice of her borrowed gown. Never had she worn anything so fine, but Lord Blackthorne insisted a pauper’s homespun wouldn’t suffice for baiting a unicorn.
Her bandaged wrist still throbbed, even hours after he’d taken her blood. Small price to pay for her family’s survival.
“Maiden’s blood,” Lord Blackthorne had said, holding her wrist over the amulet. “A scent no unicorn of this species can resist.”
Now, she must wait. Once the unicorn came to purify these waters by the light of the new moon, as Blackthorne’s magical arts predicted, her family would never again want for food.
Hoof-beats thundered in the distance. Lurel turned…and forgot to breathe.
A black unicorn ran along the opposite riverbank. Mere yards from her, he stopped to drink, muscles flexing beneath his glossy, ebony coat. Then, he raked his black horn through the water, tossed his head into the air, and shook droplets over his back and mane. His nostrils flared, and he turned, staring right at her.
The unicorn splashed through the water toward her. Lurel stretched out a hand, as instructed, but no creature so fierce and free should fall into Blackthorne’s hands. “Flee!” she whispered, eyes darting about for the danger the unicorn didn’t suspect.
She backed away, but the unicorn followed her up the riverbank. Suddenly, a net of fine iron links dropped over him. He screamed and reared.
“I’m sorry!” Lurel shouted, scrambling to avoid the bucking creature, but her legs tangled in her skirts. A black hoof crashed into the side of her head.
Images flashed through Lurel’s waking mind. Fluttering wings, sparks of light, fierce faces. Faeries? Then, a musical voice filled the silence.
“Stay your wands. Her change of heart has bought a reprieve from the fatal curse such a deed warrants. Instead, she must share the unicorn’s fate.”
Curse? Lurel forced her eyes open. A wall of horizontal, wooden slats loomed before her. Gripping the rough wood, she pulled herself to her feet then peered through a gap between the boards. Stalls lined the wall across from her, each barred with slats like those she leaned against.
Lurel rubbed her bruised eye to clear her vision. Odd creatures inhabited the stalls. A harpy, a griffin, a three-headed cat…And next to her, struggling to shake off an iron-studded halter, the black unicorn.
“I present exhibit three,” a male voice announced, drawing Lurel’s attention. “The rarest, and strangest, addition to our menagerie.”
A scarlet-robed man led a parade of people, clad in silks and velvets, past her stall.
Lurel glanced about, but the gasping onlookers paid no heed to the odd beasts surrounding her. Their gazes were fixed on Lurel.
“Let me out,” she pleaded.
The onlookers merely pointed and whispered.
“I don’t belong here,” Lurel cried. “Can’t you see…? I’m human!”
But her reflection in the water trough at her feet told a different tale.
—2014 by Bridgett Powers
This tale calls to mind two seemingly conflicting scriptures from the same New Testament book:
Christ took away the curse the law put on us. He changed places with us and put himself under that curse. (Galatians 3:13 NCV). Or as other translations put it, He redeemed us from the curse.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7 NKJ)
Lurel discovered that, while her repentance of her crime freed her from its ultimate penalty, her actions still had consequences.
Do you agree? Is the same true for us?
Your turn to Shed Your Light below…
Redeemed from the curse, or reap what you sew? What do you think?
Bonus question: What reflection do you think Lurel saw in that water trough?
About the author:
Bridgett Powers has defied the limitations of impaired vision and overcome a 21-year battle against chronic pain, all of which taught her a profound truth. God shines brightest through cracked lanterns.
Now, she shares that truth through her fantasy novels, picture book, and short stories. A member of ACFW and MyBookTherapy, she also serves as co-leader and writing coach for her writer’s group, operates a proofreading and editing service, and teaches writing workshops.