It was a strange, unrushed day today. My kids went to bed on time and now I am writing. What could be better? Our prompt for today was a "choose your own adventure," type of prompt. Four to choose from. I chose this one:
Leah chose, and because I thought I could use it to continue a story I started with my very first writing prompt. You can read it here. I like how it turned out. What do you think?
Mittle tapped his foot. He and Lany leaned against the trunk of the tree that the High Mother sent them to.
“What’s taking them so long,” Lany asked.
“I don’t know. They’re never in a hurry, but …” He looked up into the tree. He couldn’t see the top from where he stood. The pinsprites would be higher than he could possibly climb, which is why he sent them up there. But if he climbed up a little, maybe he could see what was keeping them.
“Help me up,” he said, putting a hand on the lowest branch and lifting up his foot that was nearest Lany.
“Why do you get to go up? I’m a better climber.”
Mittle tried not to roll his eyes. Lany thought everything was a competition. Mittle wished he could just ask the tree to help him up, but he wasn’t supposed to tell Lany about that. Besides, this tree was refusing to talk to him. Not even a name or a “How d’you do?” Perhaps trees in this forest were wilder than the ones near his house. Maybe they couldn’t hear him as well.
“Because the pinsprites are afraid of you. If you go up there and scare them, it’ll take even longer to get ‘em down.”
Lany sighed. He was annoyed, but he began lacing his fingers together to form a foothold for Mittle. He put his foot in place and was pushed up high enough to swing a leg over the branch. From there, it was pretty easy climbing. It was a large, old tree with lots of branching stemming out from the trunk.
Mittle didn’t have to climb very far before he heard a strange hissing noise. He moved his head around trying to pinpoint where the sound was coming from.
There. In the branches above him were a handful of apples. Above them, the pinsprites hovered as a group, bobbing up and down. Each time one got close to an apple, the apple would open up, revealing a mouthful of sharp teeth, and snap at the poor sprites.
What in the world? Mittle had never seen anything like it. As he watched, one of the pinsprites broke away from the group and dove toward Mittle. Mittle yelled to it, “No, stop!” but it was too late. One of the apples snapped it up.
The rest of the pinsprites screamed, their high-pitched voices sounding like Mohma’s kettle when it was hot.
Angry now, Mittle climbed higher. “Don’t come down,” he told them, hoping for once they would listen to him. Finally he was high enough to reach the applet that had eaten the pinsprite. He reached up and grabbed it, pulling it from the tree.
A sharp pain shot through his hand. The apple had bitten him! Mittle threw it down, yelling for Lany to watch out.
“What’s going on up there?” Lany yelled back.
Mittle didn’t answer. He stuck his bleeding finger in his mouth and sucked on it instead.
What was going on? Mittle’s mind raced. This couldn’t be a new breed of tree—the apples were only on these branches.
Something the High Mother said popped into his head. “The darkness is creeping in, changing things, spreading malice and pain throughout Verden.”
Mittle looked down once more. The tree trunk, the side away from where he and Lany had been waiting had a streak that crept up it like a dark vein. He followed it up the tree. It stopped on the branches that held the vicious apples. He followed it down and found that it didn’t start at the tree. Mittle could see the dark vein arcing away from the tree through the underbrush.
Mittle’s stomach dropped. He knew High Mother had spoken the truth, but it had been so distant. Far away near the sea, or by the Kukinta Mountains. Not a day’s walk from his home.
Clenching his jaw, Mittle looked back up at the apples. The darkness would not win this battle.