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Things the spirit living inside the west wind brought to Abby's house after the terrible storm

Cislyn Smith likes playing pretend, playing games, and playing with words. She calls Madison, Wisconsin home. She has been known to crochet tentacles, write stories and poems at odd hours, and gallivant. She is a co-founder of The Dream Foundry and a graduate of the Viable Paradise Workshop. Her wordy work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Diabolical Plots, and Flash Fiction Online.

1. An entire little library, ripped from its roots, tumbled and rolled straight to her front door.
Abby didn't recognize it, and it still had books inside, so she just stuck it in her front yard. Grudgingly.
2. A pile of puppies, all scrabbling paws and wiggly warm bellies and wagging tails.
She lined a tall cardboard box with a fuzzy towel and plopped them inside. Abby carried them back up the street to their mama, who lived with her neighbors George and Marcus.
3. A tumble of bird bones, hollow and clean and very old.
She made them into a wind chime, but decided not to hang it up. Not yet.
4. Leaves, in nearly every color imaginable.
Abby raked them into a messy pile on the curb.
5. Seventeen balloons, sparkly and shiny, tucked under the eaves of the front porch.
Abby frowned out the window at them, then went outside with a pin and a garbage bag.
6. Strains of music from distant lands, and laughter.
She put on headphones and ignored it, until the spirit gave up and tried something different.
7. Flowers. Bouquets obviously whipped away from road-side gas stations, still wrapped in cellophane and cheap red ribbon; wildflowers and ditch lilies and dandelions mixed with roses ripped straight from the bush.
Abby got out a broom and made another pile, next to the leaves.
8. Fruit. Apples, oranges, a handful of cherries, two slightly bruised peaches, five pears, and one very small pumpkin, all deposited on her front mat.
This presented something of a quandary. Abby was never one to let things go to waste, but she didn't want this stuff. She made it into a rather eclectic fruit salad and brought it to George and Marcus by way of further apology for the puppy-napping.
9. Tiny treasures. Lost buttons, a single sparkly diamond earring, an intact shed snakeskin, a handful of shiny coins, a snail shell, a black fountain pen.
These she put in a shoebox and tried to forget about.
10. The spirit who lives in the west wind, knocking at her door.
"Why don't you like my gifts?" She gestured, and it breezed inside restlessly.
"How long have we been friends now?," she asked it.
"Since you were little, and I was little, and now neither of us are so little, so a while! But why don't you like my gifts?"
Abby sighed, a little breeze of her own joining her old friend. "Why did you bring me gifts?"
The spirit twisted, clearly uncomfortable. "Um. Well. I thought you would like them!"
Abby waited.
"And. Um. I um. I knocked down your tree. Our tree. The tree we met under. Way back when. It was an accident! I just.... I loved playing in the branches and I was having such a good time with the rain and the clouds and these out of town zephyrs who came to play and and and..."
"And I'm sorry?"
"Yes. Ok. That's what I wanted. Well, that, and one other thing."
11. A handful of acorns, just sprouted, ready to plant, gently set into the dirt of her backyard.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Author Comments

Every once in a while something strange turns up on my doorstep, tumbled down the hill by the wind. I haven't worked out yet what my wind spirit is trying to say to me, but it seems earnest enough.

- Cislyn Smith
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