Drabble 150 – Widdershins

A photo of many mushrooms growing together.

It’s been a while since I last found time to write a drabble. Or rather, it’s been a while since I found time to post—I think I wrote this one two weeks ago, but failed to actually read through and schedule it.

I’m not particularly sorry, either. It used to be that missing a week would have made me impossibly stressed, despite these drabbles not getting a lot of views and the likelihood of somebody coming to yell at me about it being slim. Still, I think a lot about what I owe to others, about what I promise, about what I’m allowed.

Writing these short stories every week started as an exercise. A writer should have a blog, according to my English professors, but what could I blog about? I should get used to having my fiction read by others, but how? Can I dedicate the time every week to train myself to post with regularity?

I could, it turns out. And I still can, when it’s a priority. But writing these was once my primary way to put my writing in front of people and isn’t anymore. Now, these 100-word stories are a respite from whatever I’m working on, a place to flex my creative muscles and challenge myself. This blog so far might have sounded like I’m leading up to saying that drabbles are going away forever while I focus on, I don’t know, more “important” work, but they’re not. I like them, and I like what they force me to do, so I’ll keep doing them—though perhaps with more lapses, because as it turns out, a writer should have a blog, but that blog is practice for other things that may have to take precedence.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

WIDDERSHINS

(a.) from Middle Low German widersinnen—”to go against”

To travel in a counter-clockwise manner, often with a connotation of bad luck.

Magdalena had read every book on her grandmother’s bookshelf. She knew what words to say, what steps to follow, what plants mixed together with ash and dirt and bone had which purpose. And yet, nothing. Six weeks she’d mashed things together, chanting, cursing, sometimes. She’d seen nothing, felt nothing.

A dangerous idea trickled into her mind, wearing her guard down like water dripping onto stone. There were rules you didn’t break, and yet if it wasn’t working, perhaps the rules were wrong.

Backwards she went, stirring, singing, mixing. Smoke rose, then fire; not the desired effect, but an effect nonetheless.

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