The Storyteller: A Short Story

Listen closely, for I am to tell you that which may be your salvation or your curse; follow every word and heed my warnings wisely, and you will find protection from that which haunts you.

There are many things that lie, unseen, in the gaps and cracks and corners of the world, that pass, unnoticed, a glimmer in the eye never quite caught twice; an uncertain echo on the barest breath of a breeze that sends a disproportional shiver down your spine.

Do not linger. Do not listen. Do not stare for long.

What are they, you ask? I will tell you that which I know, for I hope the knowledge will dissuade even the most curious of hearts amongst you – even the most foolish will then know better than to seek out these truths.

In the cracks between the rocks of a cliff face pounded by the waves and drenched in salty spray there lurks a false, unearthly beauty, power much diminished with the passing of time but still oh, so deadly. The call of the sea is not always pure; cover your ears and see then what your heart yearns for, other than the siren’s call. Listen not to the wind on the cliff tops, for it will tell you only lies.

At the tops of the mountains, hiding in the crags there exists a shadow, an imprint of piercing flame that promises rebirth but gives nothing more than ash and dust, rising from your ruin to ensnare its next victim, circling through the sky screaming three wishes; say nothing. However tempted, it will bring you nothing but destruction.

Under the tress in the shadows where the sun fails to reach, beyond the path there hovers a light so enticing, full of hope and promise, emanating a note so pure and dancing so childishly as to device you into believing of its innocence. Excuse my laughter, but there is nothing further from the truth. Do not listen to its whispers, and, whatever you do, do not follow the lights. They will never, ever, guide you home.

But what of the stories, you ask, what of the tales? What of the legends of riches and wishes, what of the myths of guidance from that which is other, fair, kind?

I will tell you this: if you see a unicorn then do not harm it, and it will help you. If you find a leprechaun, hold it tight and it will not hurt you. If you find a wishing well, drink the water and your wishes will come true.

But you will not find them. They are long since gone, or never existed at all, so do not trust your luck to the evil that lives in the cracks of this world. Pull your collar up against the wind

And walk on.

But how, you ask, do I know these things?

Forgive me if I cannot help but smile. But what is a storyteller, but that which lurks in dark corners, spinning half-truths disguised in beauty, and promising wishes that can never be fulfilled? Go now; there are things out there which would do you harm, and I? I am the least of them.

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