Pretty when you cry

September 24, 2014

I’ve been a member of the DeviantArt site for a little over a year now, having joined it looking for inspiration for my 75-word short stories when I was having my 1-per-day purple patch of creativity.

Occasionally, I come across an image on the site that just leaves me breathless, that I know instantly I must write a story about, not just 75-words, but a proper story. Over the weekend the amazing artist MalKnox posted such an image.

I contacted Monique (her real name) sending her the story that her image had inspired. I’m pleased to say that she loved it and asked if she could include the story with the description of the picture. I, of course, pleased with such a great reaction, happily agreed and Monique, in turn, has allowed me to reproduce the image here, so that I can share my story with you alongside the image which helped bring it to life.

I present to you: Pretty when you cry

"Pretty when you cry" by 'MalKnox'

“Pretty when you cry” by ‘MalKnox’

 

When the snows came the village was all but cut off from the rest of the world. Cut off save for one small track through the woods, but nobody would use that because they were her woods and she did not tolerate trespassers. This year, before the first fingers of winter had stretched out and embraced the valley, the chief of the village had travelled to the city and hired a hunter to keep the path clear. The harvest had not been kind and if the winter was harsh and long, they would run out of food before the arrival of spring.

The hunter took up board and lodging, his giant wolf hound always at his side. They waited for the snows to come, for the only path left to be the one that scarred her domain and then, confidently, he set out, fearsome axe in one hand, the rope of his hound in the other.

The dog picked up the scent almost the moment the village was out of sight. It strained on the rope, clawed feet ripping through the snow and digging into the hard ground underneath as it tried to take up the hunt. He bent low, unlooping the restraint. “Leave some for me,” he said, laughing as he released his grip and the dog tore through the trees, howling with delight.

He tracked quickly through the snow, the dog’s path was direct and easy to follow. Some distance ahead he could hear his dog bark and he quickened his pace, eager to join the fun. The barking suddenly stopped and then there was a sharp yowl and a puppy like squeal of pain and then silence.

He was running now, the air icy as he drew it deep into his lungs, his muscles burning with the effort. He broke through the trees into a clearing filled with carnage. The snow was stained and glistening red from the blood of his poor hound, torn open, spread out like a ragged blanket. Its ribs curved up into the air, picked clean, needles of white, stark against the reddened snow.

She moved then, lifting herself up from the carcass. Rivulets of blood swam and swirled and trickled down her naked, ivory flesh. She turned her head slowly. Dark, blood matted hair partially obscuring her frighteningly beautiful face. Her eyes scanned him carefully and her lips parted into a smile that made him shiver.

He gripped his axe tightly in his hand and prepared to die.

 

***

The original image (available in much higher resolution) can be found here: Pretty when you cry.

Thank-you for your time.

John Hoggard

John

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