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It's Halloween! Today, for anybody interested, I'd like to share my newest (spooooky) story: The Snow, The Jungle. Included below is the first portion--if you'd like the rest, comment or PM me and I'll send it along!


    On the fourth pale day of January, the hilltops were drowned in cloud. Heavy blankets came churning over the ridges of Montgomery County, tearing themselves to shreds on the naked forests and dumping their winter cargos. Snow drifted on the wind, racing over the narrow valleys and icy creeks. The bitter air squeezed against the branches, set dogs in the holler to cowering and men to sit above the cooking coals, and still the clouds came, an endless ocean pouring in toward the distant Appalachians.

    The clouds rolled, and the snow flurries fell. But not one fell on the high slopes of Bell Mountain. There the clouds arched. There the cold wavered. There the snow fell as rain, rain that pattered and dripped along jungle leaves.

    The black folk living at the edge of Ankle’s Holler noticed first, and since nobody asked, said nothing. As far as the people around Troy knew, it began when a white coon hunter ran his dogs up the mountain, near the Taylor estate, and returned telling of weeds, queer weeds that overgrew the road up to the man’s land. Others saw the same thing. Soon they saw more; the land, always green in summer, was growing greener, even as the surrounding woods browned and blackened with the seasons. The character of that forest was changing too, in ways the travelers hesitated to describe. Those who went to look for themselves soon found a road swallowed by moss deeper and ferns larger than any they’d ever seen, blooming against the cold. Wisps of steam crept along the ground. Beyond that, the trees closed in.

    And that was all at the turn of the road, far from Taylor’s home. What was up there now, people wondered, hidden by the forest? How long had the smothering green been growing up there in the mountain willowwacks, growing through the trees and the boulders, a thick, choking wall spilling down from the trunks and across the road?

So the whispers spread like falling snow, beneath the notice of the respectable, carried by travelers on the cold trails. And in time, they reached the ears of the wanderer Anna O’Brien, who shouldered her bag and turned her stride toward Troy.

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indigomagpie Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2015
Can you send me a copy please?
Ashere Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Certainly! All I ask is that you send me your thoughts whenever you have a chance to read it. :D…
indigomagpie Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2015
I'm really impressed. Great writing style, and exceptionally clever use of literal/metaphorical top predators and the "darkest Africa" trope. The "Sary could have done more" thing was an interesting touch. Nice to see someone making a serious effort to write about the people who aren't on top of society.
Slightly confused re the significance of the amber?
Ashere Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sorry for the late response! I've been in Guatemala. First of all, thanks. I was aware I was wading into some dark waters with this one, and I'm really glad you enjoyed it and found it worthwhile. The idea of the leopard and the "darkest Africa" trope has been haunting me for a while, especially after reading the Uwarrhie folktale that this is very loosely based on. It seemed to me that if the jungle was going to be a manifestation of a white conception of Darkest Colonial Africa, than the leopard would have to be as well, and from there it was a pretty short step to exploring the idea of predation in general-at least in the context of a weird Appalachian ghost story.

The amber actually isn't all the significant--I put it in there to give a sense that Anna had other things going on in her life, and then once she had it, it seemed a shame not to use it. But I also like the symbolic imagery of the amber with regards to the situation the ghosts of the servants were trapped in: preserved and distorted by something outside of themselves. I'm not quite sure how much sense it makes, but it felt right at the time. 
peper-moth Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2015
I'm interested as well! :U
Rachelrock Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2015
Ooo! I want to read more!
Ashere Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Check your notes. :)
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