Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
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Wandering Ole Willow

Richard H. Fay

The angry grey willow walks this dark eve,
Muttering fey curses and feral words.
He trails the footsteps of a wayward soul
Travelling dimly winding woodland paths.

The fell forester looks o’er his shoulder,
Hearing strange shufflings and eldritch murmurs.
He sees nought but night blackened bough and bole
Leaning balefully o’er the mossy track.

The mortal’s troubled mind draws willow near;
Darkling deeds remembered fire the tree’s heart.
He shambles slowly toward death-marked prey,
Seeking grim retribution for past harms.

The mad willow raises his twiggy limbs,
Reaching out toward that hated human.
Too late the luckless wretch tries to escape
Being caught in a tangled woody web.

The uprooted tree glowers evilly,
Recalling the cruel fates of axe-hewn kin.
He finds savage sport in bitter vengeance,
Snapping the doomed man in half like kindling.

(Originally published in Bewildering Stories, Issue 322, January 26, 2009)

© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Richard H. Fay is an author, artist, and home school dad who resides in Upstate New York. He is inspired by medieval history, myth, and legend, and the classics of fantasy literature. His diverse and interconnected interests drive his artistic endeavour. He writes fantasy prose and poetry, as well as dabbling in science fiction and horror. Recently he has decided to begin writing as more than just a sideline, although he has been writing seriously since the 1980s.

Find more by Richard H. Fay in the Author Index.

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