Sunday Scribblings: Gypsies or Dragons?

Note: I want to tell you so many stories. They're just bouncing around in my head, and I don't know which to write. I don't know how to start because the images and characters are so strong in my mind I'm afraid they won't translate as well to paper. I could cry, but instead I'll write till I get it right, or until a particular little story sits up and says "Just publish me on the blog, already!"
This one is kind of weird. It got stuck in my head and spun round and round and wouldn't let go, although I kept telling it that it was too fantastical for such a tiny, insignificant, dreamy little thing. The unedited version had a paragraph about 700 sheep and another one about The Sound of Music, but somehow I couldn't put that in the final version.

This one is for Sunday Scribblings, and the prompt is Soothe.

Her soul was restless- twisting and turning, trying to break out of its shell, fluttering wildly as a butterfly caught in chewing gum.
She reached for the sleeping pills but she was supposed to be off them. A doctor had said so. She was already at the threshold of dreaded narcotic dependency. Addiction, habituation, substance abuse, white plague. The man had had a vocabulary.  
“Call this number if you can’t sleep,” he’d said, pressing a yellow sticky note to her arm. She’d pushed it into the pocket of her jacket, and she could see it on the floor now, peeking out of the jacket like a sunshine yellow beacon.
WE SOOTHE, she read, picking it up. We Soothe. What kind of a name was that?
It was two a.m. by the clock; two a.m. with the moonlight streaming through the window and the apple-tree outside rustling in the wind; rustling and rustling and raising its branches to the sky like something that wanted wings- any kind of wings- dragonfly wings or angel wings or the wings of a tattered devil; it didn’t matter as long as flight was achievable.
(It was two a.m. by the clock and her soul was restless, imagining apple trees flying.)
The hotline rang thrice when she dialed it. And then a boy said, “Hullo?”
“Hullo? I was supposed to call this number. If I couldn’t sleep…”
“Of course.” The boy said. “Gypsies or dragons?”
She sat on the bed and stared at the receiver. “What?”
“Which one do you like? Gypsies or dragons? Don’t say wizards, I’m sick of wizards. And we don’t even offer vampires anymore.”
“Gypsies, I suppose. Dragons sound frightful.”
“Okay.” Said the boy, and then the phone was dead.
She swore and lay back, but already something seemed to be short-circuiting in her brain. There were shifting sand dunes and a drowsy, golden afternoon sun in her mind. There were a long line of camels and a scent of soporific spices. A fire crackled purple and orange and whispered soft, strange whispers in the way only fires in fantasy books can. There were swirling, twirling skirts around her in a profusion of colors- purple and coral and grenadine and crimson- and gold jewelry flashed in sleepy blinks from brown, lithe limbs. A voice smooth and cool as the deepest, quietest cave sang a lullaby, and she felt her eyes close.
           We soothe, indeed.

*note*: I couldn't find the original artist to credit this image to, it's been used in the internet for so long that the original source is quite untraceable. So if anyone knows, please tell!


  1. Hey, Varsha!

    This is an incredibly BEAUTIFUL short tale! Your style is so wonderful -- it's poetic, it flows,and the images are so vivid... I have to read more of your stories, for sure! I would love it if you would publish a book!!! If you do, please, please do so in printed format, since I can't stand ebooks! I LOVE the feel of printed books, plus I prefer turning pages to scrolling.

    Thank you for such a beautifully imaginative tale! And by the way, your blog looks GREAT!! I've always preferred black backgrounds with light (or colored) text. And, of course, your banner is BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Have a GREAT weekend!! : )

    1. I totally agree about printed over ebooks- that's why I'm waiting to find an agent and go about it the traditional way. Thank you so much, I love that you loved this story, it was a little candy-hued nugget that was incredibly fun to write :)

  2. I would choose dragons just for tithe hell of it! I loved the story perhaps you could email that number to ring!

    1. Ha, I thought of writing a dragon POV too actually :D So, you know, you guys could choose which you like. But dragons aren't very sleep-inducing, are they?

  3. I love this. I am constantly trying to sleep properly and I really love the idea of a number to call that creates that. Your style is really nice as well. I like the shortness. I'm still left with such a strong image. The length is like that little gap between frustration at not being able to sleep and the relief of finally falling. That last paragraph, I just went back to choose an image to point out as great but they all are. The colours of the skirts, the soporific spices, the sun, the fire. You definitely soothed me.

    1. Wow, thanks! I battle a little with insomnia too, and sometimes make up all these stories in my head to get myself to sleep. As for the shortness, I love writing vignettes- they stick and can be really pretty. Thanks for the comment, you just made me a very happy girl :D

  4. What a beautiful little tale and so clever, too. I like the idea of having a number to call and the whole "we don't even offer vampires anymore" was pretty funny.

    1. Oh, yes. That WAS a twilight reference :) And I'd love to share the hotline number, but then they might run out of gypsies :)

  5. Some nights I could use that service! It's so interesting to read everyone's imaginative tales...

    1. have you tried erin morgenstern's blog? She writes vignettes just like these, and they're even more magical. her flax golden tales = awesome sauce.

  6. I love this !!
    love your idea and the lovely way you wrote :)
    I need such services too :D

    1. Thanks, Nimue. Like I said, would love to share that number, but I need my gypsies :D

    2. I will add on few belly dancers to the deal ;)

  7. What a beautiful post! I could use this service sometimes. I love the decriptions!


Post a Comment

Please leave a comment!

Popular posts from this blog

Tiger's Curse by Couleen Houck: Review

Pantomime by Laura Lam: Review

Bookshelves, Bookshelves, oh my!