Inspiration Monday: All according to plan
(200 – 500 words)
Heavy mist shrouded the island just as it had since the new moon. The ferryman poled the wooden scow slowly and silently across the placid darkening water. Silence and secrecy, it seemed, was the norm of late. The darkness and mystery that shadowed the lady was enough to send the newts scrambling for darker places to hide.
An owl eerily chanted its night song in the distance sending a frigid shiver down the ferryman’s back. Night was falling but the mist tolerated no stars reflecting through.
The lady’s visitor waited on the far shore. The poor soul. He had no idea what awaited him on this island. Of course, neither did the ferryman. The lady told him nothing. He simply did his duty and part of that duty demanded that he steer clear of her unless she needed something of him.
Her mysterious actions of late spoke of ominous deeds soon to happen — the ferryman was convinced. Sometimes, his curiosity could not keep him from watching, concealed in the copse of alder near her cottage. Her routine had changed. Every morning since the new moon, just after the darkest hour leading into dawn, she lit a small fire near the edge of the clearing so she could face the amber glow of the sunrise as it sought to push through the mist. She held out her hands palm up praying to her goddess. Her long graying hair, usually tied back by a leather thong, flowed freely over her shoulders and breasts and down her back.
This morning, the lady’s ritual altered again. After she settled by her fire, she summoned a red kite from the shadows of the morning haze. The hawk perched on her outstretched arm and, it too, watched the amber glow building in the east. The lady nodded, and the hawk vanished into the mist.
The lady then bathed in the chill water of the stream, carefully combed and bound her hair, placed a silver band around her arm above the elbow, and donned her newly sewn leather tunic. She spent the remainder of the day tidying her cottage and preparing an evening meal.
Moments before the ferryman departed to collect her visitor, he swore he heard her say, “All according to plan.”