“The Green Lady” by Jennifer Shelby |Short Story Winner

I was six when I accidentally summoned a Goddess. She had antlers, long red hair, and stood naked in the snow.

I trembled in my ladybug boots and soggy mittens. “Who are you?”

“I am Elen, the Green Lady. Goddess of the dreamways.”

“What’s a dreamway?”

“It’s the paths of your imagination, child. They are tangled in the forest, as is your wild, creative side with nature. Why did you summon me here, little girl?”

“Sorry, Miss, I didn’t mean to. I like to play in this forest. That’s my tree house, over there.” I pointed with pride to the ragged structure. “Daddy said the forest is going to be cut down. I wished for someone to stop it and you appeared.”

The Goddess pursed her lips, nodded, and disappeared.

That should have been the end of it, but the thing is, the forest didn’t end up getting cut down. The loggers tried. They were plagued with setbacks. Chainsaws wouldn’t start, their pull cords severed. The ones that did start couldn’t cut. My father said it was like the trees were banded in metal instead of bark. More than one logger said they glimpsed a naked, antlered lady in the tree boughs, but no one believed them. They drank heavy in the woods in those days.

The forest is still there now, a beautiful tract of old growth. There’s something mythical about it. A unicorn might wander past as likely as a doe. Or a Goddess, I suppose.

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Words © 2018 Jennifer Shelby. Image © 2018 Kit Sora.

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