Saturday, April 13, 2019

Harpy – Speculative Fiction Modern Parable by S. H. Marpel

Harpy - New Fiction Writing by S. H. MarpelShe’d been waiting to kill me for a very long time. And run out of patience at last. So she pulled me to her across time and space.

Just so she could end my life. Painfully. Violently.

But first, she had to explain her reasoning. Because she had been thinking this through for a long time and someone should hear and applaud her reasoning.

Crazy, yes. But as I was going to be dead soon, what did it matter if she wanted to tell me her story?

Maybe I could figure out how to get away from her – if I listened closely…


I was tightly bound to a support column in some old, dank and stone-lined room. Where exactly, I didn’t know. I had on my dungarees, work boots, red cotton t-shirt under my canvas jacket. Like I’d just been air-lifted from the pasture on my farm.

Facing me was a woman with wings. A gorgeous woman with strong, beautiful wings.

And her voice was like poured honey over buttered toast on a hot day. Smooth, lustrous, golden.

I’d rather call her siren. Especially when I looked into her eyes. Vibrant green, like the glowing color of fireflies. But steady, piercing.

Harpy stepped closer to me and I could see more detail in her thin, nearly sheer top. It seemed like a dancing leotard. Her long legs took her closer to me in graceful barefoot paces. A tail of cloth-like drape, like the sweep of tail feathers behind, barely grazed the floor and raised small puffs of dust as she strode toward me.

“Why Harpy, why not Siren? With a face and eyes like that, you can have any lover you want.” I said.

“Oh, and I have. They all loved me and went to their death for me. Too human. Short lifespans, inflated egos, puppy-dog eyes and utter devotion.” The Harpy sighed.

“Why do you call yourself ‘Harpy’,” I asked. “The usual pictures are of an ugly monster with really only a woman’s face, the rest are parts of animals.”

Harpy sighed. “Probably the same reason vampires and other creatures have such bad reputations. You can see my wings and yes I have claws.” She held up two fingers from one hand where long talons suddenly extended from her fingertips, then retracted as quickly. “But that is no different than cats, really. Practically, I can even hide my wings and walk among humans, the same as I’ve done for centuries. I’ve passed royalty and commoner alike and no one has known except when I wanted them to.” She sighed again and looked off into space.

“I think I see what you want, now. You want to tell me your story, and I’m free to dress it up into something more dramatic, more popular. Like the Grimm brothers.” I said.

Turning back, she looked at me directly with those piercing green eyes again, smiling with white and perfect teeth. “But they didn’t finish the job. It took Disney and a couple hundred years before their fairy tales could be anything less than gruesome. That was exactly the point of Stoker. He took really horrid descriptions and turned them into a mysterious count with ‘eccentric’ behaviors.” She continued her slow, stately walk toward me.

Now close enough to reach out and touch me, her arm started to bring her hand to my chin, when she suddenly froze. She turned her face to look off into space again. Her wistful smile vanished and her brow wrinkled into a frown.

“It looks like our quality time for today is over. You’ll see me again soon. Be warned, though. I won’t be trifled with.” Harpy extended her wings to their full width and swept them up and back. A sudden thrust and gust of air took her into the dark recesses above.

And I was alone, tied to this column. Somewhere unknown.

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