What Pegman Saw : An end to Evil

 

Freya’s cottage was easy to find – black and squat as a toad with a beetling turf roof and runes painted in spidery white around the door.

As we drew near, the clean smells of lake water and freshly caught herring were swallowed by others – burnt bone; rotten meat; urine strong enough to make me squint.

Fell dropped back a step, clamping a hand to his nose. He was too young to remember that same stench in our own village, but still fear clouded his eyes.

His brother Kari – older by five years, taller by a foot – twitched but kept pace with me. He remembered.

At the door Kari nodded – as the eldest to bear a loss this was my privilege, my burden. The wood shuddered under my fist.

‘Come out, witch,’ I called. ‘It’s time.’

Soon there would be chains and rising lake water and an end to the Evil.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. This week we are in the Faroe Islands.

On a little wander I found this cottage and couldn’t help but be reminded of a fairy tale – a witch’s cottage, perhaps . A quick internet search and I discovered Norse witches – the vǫlur – who might travel from village to village wherever they were called upon and could control a man’s movements in battle. The vǫlur were not always beneficial and after Christianisation, practitioners could be executed.

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30 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : An end to Evil

  1. cool image with the turf roof….

    heebie jeebies withe the urine smell – and the ending instantly made me think of a house with a lady underneath and red-glitter shoes for the taking
    🙂

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  2. Yikes. Hopefully the days are gone when we execute people based on outmoded interpretation of our faith. Still, some Christians remain accused of terrible acts and beliefs, and sadly a few are probably guilty, though of nothing murderous.

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  3. First off… I am laughing here. Josh and me have the same boy name and you and I have the same girl name! I swear, I read neither of yours before writing mine!

    You are a witch with your words, casting your spell upon all your readers… gripping with the scents coming in to take over the clean, clear beginning.

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    1. I love a nasty smell – in fiction anyway! They’re good at conveying a dark hint of what;s to come. Where there’s rot, there’s evil. Thank you so much for your kind comment dale 🙂

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  4. I can only add my appreciation to all the others on here. Your note about Norse witches had me scurrying to check the origin of the Voluspa, a medieval poem about the creation of the world, that I’ve only read short quotes from. Turns out it’s related to Norse völva, commonly translated as a female seer, so a sort of witch — though maybe not as malevolent as this one! I was also reminded of Pullman’s Finnish witches in His Dark Materials, though they were rather more diaphonous in appearance… Anyway, with all these associations your Faroes vignette came across as absolutely authentic — brilliant!

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    1. Of course, Pullman’s witches had slipped my mind when I wrote this, which reminds me – I still haven’t read La Belle Sauvage yet! I love the idea of you rushing to search up medieval poetry – the logoophile in you makes me smile :). Thank you for the kind words, glad you liked it

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  5. Well written, Lynn! The whole piece is shot through with ambiguity. The ‘witch’ may be evil – or she may be guilty of nothing worse than very poor housekeeping. The ‘runes’ may be demoniacal sigils – or they may be just symbols that pleased the occupant.
    Far too often in history difference from the norm has been harshly punished, even when it’s harmless.

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    1. This is so very true, Penny. How many condemned ‘witches’ over the years were just old ladies who mumbled to themselves? Dementia may well have caused premature deaths in a few cases. And you’re right – we can’t be sure if Freya is a witch, if she’s evil at all … Though I suspect she might be 🙂 Thanks so much for reading

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  6. I like the beetling roof, like beetle-browed old men…You created a nice sense of foreboding, a sense that these three rarely call on this witch and never would have, were it not to combat a much greater evil.

    I’m ashamed to say I stumbled on the line that begins “As we drew near..” Perhaps another set of dashes, before “of” and after “herring” would prevent those, like me, who read quickly and carelessly, from thinking the subject of the sentence is “the clean.” Your call, of course. 🙂

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