Circular Breathing

Circular Breathing

A Story by Anne Martin

A 300 word story for a competition

Claiora stopped short. The form carved into the stump was undoubtedly Henran.

"It would be easier to pass through the eye of the needle ..." Ouron, had often said.

Weaving a longing tune in a clear soprano, Claiora’s voice had once consigned men to their dooms, but today it would save Henran. The dry wood quivered as she turned a phrase. Bark grew. Life surged from her. The oak reached for the sky. It was whole again.

Still no Henran. 

Concentrating, she closed her eyes. Her back itched between the bases of her wings. He loved that spot! As she pitched higher, the grass matured at her waist. The path disappeared, but it burned deep in her memory. Inspecting the bark with her fingertips, she traced the carving underneath. Instead of saving him, she had trapped him there forever.

She would take this journey alone and could not release the spell until she reached Ouron's tumulus. Her lungs were already failing! Only Ouron could save Henran now, and she would be too weak to resurrect him if she stopped.

Wildflowers blossomed as she passed. Breathing through her nose as she sang wasn't easy, but it kept her from passing out. This was no longer a game. Soon the village men would be here. Still, Claiora sang as if her faery life depended on it.

It did.

The tumulus rose before her, still old and dead, in spite of her enchantment. Reaching it as her first victim grew close, she climbed the dead mound. Splitting her voice into two melodies, she raised her arms to the sky. Slaves to her will, the 13 men tunneled into the mound. The ground shook, trapping them below.

Ouron awoke. “That was careless,” he reproved, as Claiora collapsed. “You wasted a perfectly good dwarf. Try again.”

© 2017 Anne Martin

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Chuckling here... "yes, do try again...". Well spoken and wry.

Posted 1 Month Ago

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Anne Martin

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Added on May 26, 2017
Last Updated on May 26, 2017


Anne Martin
Anne Martin

The second circle of hell.

I've worked as a freelance editor since college, and decided to dip my hand in myself. I write mostly flash/short stories, experimental poetry and essays, and am currently writing my first novels. I.. more..

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