Hair raising

Just as night’s bright moon cast a shadow across my fair hair, a howl rang out.

Quickly pulling a scarf from a pouch, I hid my locks away from Luna’s glow, guarding against vigilant locals who abhor any unfamiliar traits. Hair was only black, or brown, a rich auburn, but not lacking all tint. That was wrong, it was sinful.

Hair coloring was not an option, folks would still know, still panic at it’s unnatural gloss. I could only pray hiding it would work. Hoping to avoid scrutiny, I wound a stray strand into a tight bun.

An anomaly, causing worry and alarm throughout town, platinum hair it was said, was a mark of a witch, a foul spirit bringing only bad things to any who saw it.

That I was known to all, a girl who was born and brought up in town, did not stop rumors. My long auburn curls, now long past, slowly lost tint, until all color was missing. City council proclamations put a stop to my work, schooling, all that was good.

I did not work dark arts. My skills, though not fully grown, brought only comfort to sick and hurt town folk. My most chronic patrons sub rosa, cast sharp barbs in public. My family was pariah.

Pa just got angry, wanting to fight. That did not do anything but put him in a bad spot. Pa had to work, had to bring in food for him and Ma. Without him, Ma would go hungry.

Ma’s notion was to stow away at a boarding school in Shilo. A stigma of platinum hair wasn’t as strong in a big city. I could fit in, but with no ally or family around, it was too much of a strain to carry.

That’s why I was out at midnight. Running away, taking all scorn and taunts away from Ma and Pa. Saving good folk from additional pain. Starting again, far away, was all that was rational. That way I could find and join a community that would want a strong girl who could do any job. A city that didn’t mind what color hair a girl had.

A sharp cry ran chills up my back again. Lurking in shadows, lying in wait down dark roads, packs of blood hounds hunting for outlaws looking for asylum bark out high shrill yowls if a runaway is found.

I had on Pa’s work shirt, masking my own odor, splashing through swamps, throwing angry dogs off my trail any way I could. If I can cross into Briar Wood, I am long away, sacrosanct, and council law can not hurt my family.

I plan to join a group of castaways living in Briar, sibyl who would gladly allow a postulant to join a guild, and spark my dormant skills. I must find a way to fully draw out my art, using that craft to pay back town folks’ insults to my family. No warning, no pity, only loathing and punishing fury.

For the Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week, Lance challenged me with, “500 words without using the letter e” and I challenged Chaos Mandy with a Hunter S. Thompson quote, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride’!”

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