This week’s prompt took me in a rather odd direction, but I think it will fit in with a couple of others that appear to be gelling into a new, interesting, albeit slightly dark world. I don’t really want to take the time to follow up on this right now, but who knows…it may shove its way to the front of the line. I am learning that this so-called creative process is really an amalgam of random thoughts, spurred by random things, that evolves into a story. Others have talked about having evil muses, or flighty muses. I’m starting to think I have an ADD muse…look! Shiny squirrel! Ooh! New story!
Anyhoo – my prompt came from Fiona Grey: Huckleberry hemlock jam was a real specialty in these parts… Like I said, it led me in a somewhat strange? Interesting? direction. My prompt went to Cedar Sanderson, who appears to be back on the radar after a month of adventures!
Utindri really, really didn’t like jam season. The work was messy, smell, and sticky. It was also hot, but she didn’t mind that so much. It was still cold enough that the heat was a blessing. But she could really do without the messy, smelly, sticky bits.
Her mother must have suspected Utindri was reaching the end of her patience with jam-making.
“Don’t stop now, girl. We’re almost done. You know how much our jam is valued by the dragon forces,” Ellith growled.
“Yes, Mother,” Utindri kept her tone mild. She didn’t want to give her mother any reason to get angry. It didn’t take much to set Mother off and a suspected bad attitude was guaranteed to be met with rage.
Her mother shot her a suspicious glance, but Utindri kept her eyes on her work and held her tongue.
An hour later, Ellith leaned back, tossed her big wooden spoon into the kettle and groaned.
“That’s the last of it. We’re done until next season.”
“Yes, Mother,” Utindri said again. “I’ll start cleaning up.”
“Yes. And once the jars have cooled, take all but two over to the commander’s office,” Ellith order.
“I will. Why are we keeping two jars?” Utindri responded.
Ellith smiled in a way that made the hair on the back of Utindri’s neck stand up.
“You just never know when it might come in handy, girl.”
Utindri swallowed and nodded. She moved to begin the long cleaning process, being careful not to meet Ellith’s eyes. She didn’t want to know what uses Ellith might have for huckleberry-hemlock jam. The dragons valued it because it gave their flame an added sting. It was a regional specialty, made by humans for dragons.
It was fatal for humans. And her mother was keeping two jars.
Utindri reached a decision she’d been mulling over for at least a year now. Her mother’s comment was the turning point. She needed to leave the village and the mountains sooner rather than later. She would have to plan and move quickly.
Head on over to More Odds Than Ends to see what everybody else has concocted. Join in the fun if you’re so inclined. It’s easy and fun and cures baldness! (Okay, maybe not the last one, but it’s still fun).