The Road to Pendora

This is my first* Friday Fiction Prompt post for Rattling Bones. Still in flash fiction mode, I wrote without much pre-thinking, one sentence suggesting the next.  The result is more than eight times longer than my sparest flash fiction. We had 500 to 1000 words to play with. So, settle in for a long read. You might want to get your beverage of choice. (I set the scene for more “adult” content than I usually write. However, this remains, at most, a PG for suggestiveness.)

Road to Pendora

“I didn’t expect it. My god, I’m punning at a time like this. Rogan never said this was possible.”

Lindsay was in a sort of stream of conscious mode, though she wished she was unconscious, or at least unaware. The home kit suggested it, the clinic visit confirmed it. She was pregnant. Her first child. Her half human child.


Lindsay swung on the old rusty swing at the bottom of the abandoned garden. The house that owned it, leaned to one side. Boards covered many of the window-eyes. Perhaps it didn’t want to watch the decay. Bushes grew like trees against it, shading in the front porch like a forest. The front steps were all broken. Company not encouraged.

Lindsay needed a space to think, to write stories inside her head, to be alone. There was too much noise and jumble in the world. She could hear her heartbeat in the quiet garden. Her ears didn’t cause her mind to cringe. The squeak of the swing’s old bones was bothersome, so Lindsay oiled them so it could move freely. She contemplated restoring the swing further. But that required an energy she presently didn’t have.

She was often in pain, it’s tightening fingers and the resulting medication were life-vampires. Too many pills and she wove and staggered, too few and she stayed in bed, tucked into the fetal position. There was a drug and pain “hangover,” phase where she was partly connected to the present day, and partly enmeshed in the past and future. Her mind-stories took strange turns then. Her journal, a constant companion, contained notes about this trance-like effect, and how her imagination spun out from there. Then, she needed the garden most.

As Lindsay counted the number of swings she made, she heard rustling in the raggledy hedge that demarcated the house’s “jungle.” Animals moved about and birds sang back there. So, she paid little attention to the noise.

“Excuse me. Is this the path to Pendora?”

Lindsay thought, “What an odd thing for my mind to say.”

A little louder, “Excuse me. Is this the path to Pendora?”

Lindsay turned around expecting to see . . .  except a man stood behind her. He was tall, his dark hair greying at the temples. One eye was hazel, the other deep brown. He had frown lines (or where they laugh lines?) like tiny rivulets running down his face. His skin had the texture of outdoors; hours in the weather both fair and foul.

“Are you deaf, woman, is this the path to Pendora?”

“I really don’t know,” Lindsay sputtered, as she remembered her self defense course moves. “Nobody ever asked.”

“Sorry I was so loud and harsh. I have travelled far and wish to soon reach my destination.” He stepped towards her, his hand out in friendship.

“Maybe it’s through the house,” Lindsay thought out loud. She had never peeked through the backdoor hanging  ajar. “If your path comes through the garden, it’s logical.”

“My name is Rogan. My services are requested, no, required in Pendora. In my haste, I took the wrong road out of Gremal,” as if this would make everything clear.

The more she stared into his odd coloured eyes, the more something was bubbling up inside her. “Stop that,” she said. “Talking?” Rogan asked, rather perturbed.

“No, sorry. I just realized how attracted I am to you.” Had she really said that out loud? “I feel like seducing you.”

“I’m possessed!” This time Lindsay whispered in case these words flew out of her mouth. The usual Lindsay, the every-day Lindsay was shy. She never had this kind of conversation with herself and a stranger.

Rogan smiled. Lindsay thought seductively. “I have this effect on some women.” He moved slowly through the liquid honey space between them, and sat beside her on the swing. He smelt of wood smoke, green apples, and fresh hay.

She skiddled closer, her leg touching his leg. “How soon do you have to be in Pendora?,” she asked, slipping her arm around his shoulders. “Later that I expected,” he murmured as he gently pulled her face towards his.

Lindsay shook her head. She was lying on the soft mossy lawn, as the moon was rising. She felt spent and exhilarated. “Had she really spent the day . . . .” Her thoughts trailed off. A bouquet of wildflowers was next to her. Her clothes had the faint smell of wood smoke. The back door of the house stood open, like an invitation to enter.

Three months later, she sat on the swing, her mind flurrying around the news. Shy, quiet Lindsay was going to have a fairy spirit’s baby. The back door remained open, a dark space against the house’s peeling paint. Smiling to herself, she stood up. “I hope that is the road to Pendora,” she said to no-one in particular. {word count: 815}

* The story I conjured up about a 16 year old girl, and a 60 year old man (last week’s fiction prompt) is finished, but the edges are very raw. Some day I will edit and post it .

@ phylor 2015


flows like honey


Light flowed like honey from the open door

music danced a wild jig down the stairs

wind whispered leaves accompanied the fiddler

laughter echoed across the moor to fingal’s peak

gathered to sing the olden songs of farewell

she must look for paths through the forest

journey far to another space unknown to her

there will be strange things never believed

see for the first time the sun rise in the east

follow a  strange starscape, a pale white moon

meadows with flowers bending in the wind

smells, sensations, emotions into her soul

she must learn to understand this place

to embrace it, to care for it, to love it

for this is the only home she will ever have

Written for fairy tales, part of mindlovemisery’s menagerie. 

© phylor