Photograph by Batram
She sprang from the earth like a mushroom. When we found her, she was dirty, naked, and with a cap of fire red hair. Everything below her torso remained inside the forest floor, and she was twisting and tugging like madwoman, struggling to free the rest of her body from its grasp. Her skin was moon pale, and I confess my older brother and I stood mouths agape for more than a moment, hypnotized by the sight of her bare breasts.
Heinrich was the first to snap from our trance. He approached her cautiously, as if she were a fox snared in a trap, but the anguish in her eyes was only to be pitied.
“Tuck your arms underneath that armpit,” he said, taking charge of the situation, as he always did. She stopped fighting, as if she could understand us. I think she could. “I’ll take this one, and together we’ll pull on the count of three.”
I did as I was told, blushing as I slid my arm underneath hers, careful not to brush it against her chest. She smelled of the woods. We bent our knees and dug our boots into the ground.
“Eins . . . zwei . . . drei!”
We heaved with all our might, and the young woman pushed up. Her muscles strained and tightened. We pulled harder, and at last she broke free with a muddy plop. I gasped in relief as she collapsed. Her long toes twitched and spasmed.
“Meine Dame.” I reached out to touch her shoulder, but then drew back, hesitant at such a personal gesture. “Are you well?”
Heinrich glared at me for my dumb question. I shrugged at him, embarrassed.
The lady’s spine arched sharply as she began coughing. These were terrible coughs, strangled and violent and choked, and I was frightened by the sound but my brother jumped forward to pound on her back.
The gesture was unnecessary.
Black dirt spewed from her mouth like a geyser. Gummy earthworms and leaf mould and tiny jagged rocks shot against the tree trunks, sprayed across Heinrich’s face. I tripped backwards in horror and stumbled over a fallen branch.
That’s how I cut my hands, you see, when I fell.
That's all I have today, but obviously the story isn't over. I like the idea of turning this into some sort of horror romance fairy tale hybrid. If only minutes were hours, and I had more time.
But, alas, the NEW NOVEL calls.
This was Sunday Scribblings #145, Organic. Hope you all have a lovely Sunday!