Posted on: September 12th, 2010 A Whispering Voice

by Elizabeth Creith

Goldilocks stalks the forest walks in ragged socks, regretting the courage that made her so bold as to pillage the cottage of porridge, too hot or too cold. Now she wanders alone the Grimm landscape of story, weary and sorry. Her tattered dress hangs on wasted flesh, her spirit trapped buzzing in marrow-hollow bones.

That spice that so enchanted her tongue, was it cinnamon, ginger, allspice? No spice, that flavour, but a spell like a mace. Whose bed has she slept in, to rise so changed?

Now that no-spice is all she craves, her hunger raves, her gluttonous appetite cannot be salved by poisoned apples or stepson stew.

Autumn winds rise cold, leaves fall, red and gold. Forest falls away behind, before her feet the road unrolls, a king’s road, flagstoned, clicking on her foot-bones. Thymey banks on either side, purple flowers long dried, bees fled, sleep under snow instead.

The road winds lower, a bridge passes over. She hears a hoarse whispering; is it a troll?

“Ah, Goldilocks, there thou gangest! If thy mother knew thy fate….”

That hoarse whispering, a horse whispering, the skull nailed to the bricks below the bridge. When winds wind under, a whistling whispering voice calls out.

“Come near, child, come listen. On you I smell the spell once worked on me as well; we cannot die, you and I. I am Falada; my princess has left me alone. She bound me as her witness here, then gained her throne, forgot these bones. No burial for us, my dear; we will diminish, year by year, until we are nothing but a voice, a whisper, a moan in the air; unless we bare ourselves of our bones, we must bear our immortality as whistles for the wind. Alas, I am nailed to mine.”

“Bare ourselves of our bones? I am hardly more than bare bone already, rags of dress on shreds of flesh.”

“You must bare yourself three times – flesh from clothes, bones from flesh, soul from bones. Unharnessed, unfleshed, but nailed to these stones, sheltered, preserved, I cannot shed my bones.” Falada ground his teeth. “No freedom for me. But you can be free.”

Goldilocks shook her tatters of dress to shreds in the road, her flesh and her bones to shards on the stones. A voice on the air, she chuckled and said,

“Wise Falada, thanks. I will visit you again.”

Now she whirls through the world, stalks where she will, walks in the dark, in forest and park, a whispering voice that might be in your head. A flickering flash at the edge of your eye, a sigh, a grinding of bones into bread, a creak in the floors, a breath behind doors.

Who’s sleeping under your bed?

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

31 Responses to “A Whispering Voice”

  1. Karl Fischer Says:
    September 13th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Multi-badass indeed. Very well done.

  2. Karl Fischer Says:
    September 13th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Multi-badass indeed. Very well done.

  3. Hattmannen Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Fantastic! It really captures the spirit of a childrens story but adds a bad-ass twist to it.

  4. Hattmannen Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Fantastic! It really captures the spirit of a childrens story but adds a bad-ass twist to it.

  5. Ted Remington Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:03 am

    I have met this lady on line, and after reading this I can only hope that her forebears (the three almost alluded to plus another cub) are from Scandinavia, because then she would be one bad-ass Swede.

    The puns are wonderful, the imagery enchanting, the poetry unmistakable. Keep an eye out for Elizabeth, as I predict that she will soon be quite well known.

  6. Ted Remington Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:03 am

    I have met this lady on line, and after reading this I can only hope that her forebears (the three almost alluded to plus another cub) are from Scandinavia, because then she would be one bad-ass Swede.

    The puns are wonderful, the imagery enchanting, the poetry unmistakable. Keep an eye out for Elizabeth, as I predict that she will soon be quite well known.

  7. David Kinraid Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Another cracker from the mistress of verbs … !

  8. David Kinraid Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Another cracker from the mistress of verbs … !

  9. Shanks Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Excellent, as always. Looking forward to loads more.

  10. Shanks Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Excellent, as always. Looking forward to loads more.

  11. michael Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:36 am

    “You must bare yourself three times”, Goldilocks. heh.

  12. michael Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:36 am

    “You must bare yourself three times”, Goldilocks. heh.

  13. Autumn Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Way cool!

  14. Autumn Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Way cool!

  15. Linda Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Incredible! Really captivating!

  16. Linda Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Incredible! Really captivating!

  17. G. Ashley Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Love the pound pound pound of this one. Ah, stories of deterioration never cease to amaze.

  18. G. Ashley Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Love the pound pound pound of this one. Ah, stories of deterioration never cease to amaze.

  19. Myung Ijames Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Some people would like it to occur, some wish it would happen, others make it materialize

  20. Myung Ijames Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Some people would like it to occur, some wish it would happen, others make it materialize

  21. Douglas Campbell Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Wonderful story, told in delightful language. Terrific work!

  22. Douglas Campbell Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Wonderful story, told in delightful language. Terrific work!

  23. Gay Degani Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Man, this is great. Love this.

  24. Gay Degani Says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Man, this is great. Love this.

  25. Sandra M. Odell Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Beautiful, evocative language. Instead of dragging the story down, the poetry lends to the air of magic and menace. Well done!

  26. Sandra M. Odell Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Beautiful, evocative language. Instead of dragging the story down, the poetry lends to the air of magic and menace. Well done!

  27. Re: A Whispering Voice « Writing Every Day Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    [...] Posted on September 21, 2010 by Pam Phillips In a mix of rhymes, assonance, and chants, “A Whispering Voice,”  by Elizabeth Creith is a prose poem about what Goldilocks did after she escaped the three [...]

  28. Re: A Whispering Voice « Writing Every Day Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    [...] Posted on September 21, 2010 by Pam Phillips In a mix of rhymes, assonance, and chants, “A Whispering Voice,”

  29. Sean Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    How awesome? So awesome.

  30. Sean Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    How awesome? So awesome.

  31. Free Fiction for 9/18/10 - SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog Says:
    January 7th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    [...] harvest: “A Whispering Voice” by Elizabeth [...]