Too Late

Posted: August 29, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , ,


Hog grass, spindle weed and seven spider eyes
are lined neatly beside the ancient bowl
carved by Jim the Cripple.
One more ingredient and Balenchia ‘s village will be saved.
Woolen skirt lifted high above her knees, she runs across the sand
to the pond where the Eedysed larvae hangs.
Nibble fingers pluck the moist tangle from its lair.
Balenchia races back.
Drops ingredients in the bowl in the exact order
listed on the papyrus scroll.
She chants. Drizzles cat blood on top.
Poultice done, Balenchia smiles.
The blanket over the door flips open.
Her brother announces, “All are dead.”

  1. subroto says:

    Sounds like the plague is visiting Balencia’s village. Almost feel sorry she did not get to apply that poultice. Very atmospheric.


  2. hafong says:

    I wonder where the cat blood came from. I should say how she got it. 🙂 I like witch craft and rituals.



  3. plaridel says:

    i can really visualize what’s going on. great imagery.


  4. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Alicia, Excellent witchcraft story! CREEPY GOOD! Nan 🙂


  5. Well.. I’m not sure if she was successful or not, but any good potion is made of disgusting ingredients.


  6. draliman says:

    All that trouble and too late to save everyone. Sounds like she knows her witchcraft. though. I hope she doesn’t try to bring everybody back or that could lead to trouble.


  7. Yikes! I hadn’t even thought of that! Thanks for reading and commenting.


  8. Sarah Ann says:

    Balenchia feels so positive and determined, she is going to succeed. Which makes her brother’s flat statement all the more sad and galling.


  9. Amy Reese says:

    Such rich language, Alicia. Great read. I thought it might be a cure, it was sounding so hopeful. I really felt the pangs of loss at the end. He was too late.


  10. hugmamma says:

    Until I read these comments, I was going in a different direction…tongue-in-cheek humor. I took it that Balenchia’s spell went awry. Instead of saving the village folk, she killed them. Shows you where my mind goes first…


  11. Elizabeth says:

    Sometimes there is no solution it’s late, we don’t need to hurry!


  12. I wonder what spell she’ll weave from her tears, for there must be some after that race to heal, ending with the bald, “We failed” statement! Powerful stuff. 🙂


  13. Dear Alicia,

    Good use of a title. It does add a hundred words to your story. Perhaps witchcraft wasn’t the way to go about a cure. You can almost feel her disappointment at the end. Nicely done.




  14. Alicia, Hope she can bottle it and keep it for later to help someone else. It’s a shame all that preparation was too late. Good description and well written. 🙂 —Susan


  15. Oh, this is all very comforting. Where will we hide?


  16. rgayer55 says:

    I could feel the tension and anxiety as she rushed to prepare the potion. Very well written, Alicia.


  17. Alice Audrey says:

    Didn’t run fast enough, eh. Frankly, a concoction like that might have done them in anyway.


  18. This is fantastic. Beautiful use of language and almost poetic in its flow. I have to admit, I thought Balenchia was the cause of the villagers’ deaths at first but it works even better the way it was intended.


  19. I thought the person who told her the spell tricked her, but then realized that the title took that option away. I agree with the comments about the lovely language and the flat ending is very effective.



  20. Blake says:

    I loved how the language was so incantatory at the beginning – “Hog grass, spindle weed and seven spider eyes” – of course, that quality was so apt given the context. The whole story felt so well realised.


  21. MissTiffany says:

    Woah. I was really into this – beautiful, lyrical words with a sudden, shocking ending. I’m sorry she didn’t make it in time. Well written.


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