Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

The God Box

with 7 comments

She closed her eyes, pretending that it wasn’t just sitting there in front of her. It was such a small thing. A tiny, little silver thing, much like any other acorn, except for the colour, it could have fallen from any oak tree at all, fallen at her feet. Her father would be angry if she touched it. This she knew. It was a gift to her mother. This she knew. Her mother had thrown it over her shoulder with a laugh, saying should it grow then the tree would have no rival in the kingdom. Her father had laughed as well, muttering something about the power held within such a tiny thing. The power of the thing seemed to glow, to glower, in front of her, imprinting its image on the inside of her eyelids, burning her soul with its brilliance.

Trilla could not think of why something so mundane, so earthy could hold her attention in this manner. She opened her eyes, admiring the way the sunlight bounced off the smooth edges of the thing. Her lips curled upwards in a smile. The scent of her mother’s lilacs wafted over her, enticing her to other games. Yet, Trilla could not help herself. There was just something about that silver acorn. Something she just had to see, had to know, for herself. With a wicked little smile, Trilla snatched up the silver acorn and ran off towards the hillside with it clutched tightly in her hand.

The acorn itself gave off a tremendous amount of heat, scalding Trilla’s palm, though she refused to release it. Trilla, as she continued over the hill and down the other side, wondered if that intense heat was the reason her mother had so glibly tossed it over her shoulder in the first place. It felt nearly as if there were a hole being burned right through the core of Trilla’s palm. But Trilla was determined. She held on, and pressed forward.

It did not take very long for Trilla to come to the weeping willow tree by the old miller’s pond. The tree’s branches swept over the ground, providing a nice covered space for Trilla to hide in. A timid breeze ruffled the thin branches, causing them to whisper together at Trilla’s arrival. Trill hid beneath the great tree, happy for the respite as she dropped the acorn to the soft ground, taking a seat beside. Trilla held her palm up in front of her eyes, expecting to see cracked reddened flesh. She was surprised to see a small black mark dead center on her palm, but nothing more than that. There was no pain. There was no sensation at all. And after all that burning, this for Trilla was a blessed relief.

Trilla stared expectantly at the acorn, for surely it was an enchanted thing. Why else would her mother have thrown it so and said such things? Her father was well-known for his love of all things magical. Could he have bought this from some traveling gypsy or wandering minstrel? What was it for? What did it do? Trilla was delighted. The thoughts and ideas that raced through her mind dazzled her. Trilla decided to be like Jack of Jack and the beanstalk. She decided that she would plant the acorn, that a great silver oak tree, overflowing with bounty and goodness would grow up overnight. She decided that this was a magnificent thing, that her mother and father would be so proud of her.

Quickly popping out from under the willow tree’s protective screening, Trilla began to scout about for the right place to bury the acorn. There, by the kelpie’s rock, next to the end of the pond, was the perfect place. Trilla quickly ran over to the rock, standing well clear of the water’s edge on the off-chance a kelpie should appear, and began to pry up grass and earth in order to prepare a burial place for the acorn. Once she had a deep enough hole, Trilla retrieved the acorn from beneath the willow. Before dropping the acorn into its new bed, Trilla pressed her lips to its side, blessing it, and herself as well. Then down went the acorn, plop went the dirt over it. And all was done.

Time passed. No tree grew. Trilla came every day with her watering can. Nothing ever sprouted. In time, Trilla gave up her ministrations and moved on to other things, dismissing the acorn as quickly as any child would do, in pursuit of other more potent games and challenges. She never noticed as the black spot on her hand shifted and changed. It moved deeper along her palm, onto her arm, slowly working its way up into her heart, where it lodged, a deep dark stone, a pit, where there then did it begin to grow.

Like skeletal fingers, fibers spread forth from the spot, probing itself into every vital organ and trail of blood. The spot itself became a heart, pumping and throbbing in its delight as response to its new home, its new host. Carefully, the spot, now creature, took form, mimicking its host with perfect exacting care. Delving into the innermost recesses of Trilla’s mind, feasting upon her soul, until little was left of her flesh but a husk. It was not a long process. Merely an hour of play. Trilla’s mother stood at the doorway to the courtyard, calling to Trilla, as supper was ready and again Trilla was late. The beast heard the mother calling, knew time was growing short. It drew in the last bit of sustenance. And then closed its eyes and went to sleep. The husk of its husk lay like a trampled mass upon the ground, but with nary a mark on her skin.

This is how then the sheepherder’s son found her, not minutes later. Trilla’s body lay pristine, if not a bit damp, as if she had fallen. The boy thought perhaps she had hit her head. He ran off to fetch her parents. Mother and father came running. Father so tenderly carried Trilla back to her home, to her silk-enshrouded bed. The doctor was called, but once he was there he could find nothing at all wrong. Trilla’s chest rose and fell, as if with the breath of life. Her skin was warm to the touch, not overly hot, not overly cold. She was no longer damp, not clammy or sweaty. She seemed as if to be asleep. Only sleeping. Perhaps she had bumped her head during her play, although none could find the tell-tale lump or bump or bruise. Her parents thought it best to allow the girl to sleep. The doctor would return in the morning, to see that all was well. The family then retired, returning to their daily activities.

The creature within Trilla stirred as the moon grew fat in the sky. All around in the house, the creatures who lived there were sleeping. Only the mice in the walls, scuttling here and there, did the creature here. At a calm sedate pace, the creature began to unfurl itself. First it secreted a clear liquid that smelt vaguely of tea roses. This liquid dissolved the husk completely. From the gelatinous mass arose a viscous writhing mass of tendrils and cords and vitals that came together with a snap. In the blink of an eye, in the quickly evaporating goo, there stood a beautiful bird, clad in blackly purpled feathers, from his head to his ruffled tail. His black feet scraped at the coverlet as he felt his life reassert itself in his veins, as veins became knit together inside him again. Emerald green eyes burned out of his sockets. With great aplumb, the bird with head crest arisen, flapped his great wings to help them dry enough that he might fly. His great black beak snapped open and shut a great many times, realigning repeatedly until it fit together perfectly. With one great cry, the bird took wing, dropping something as he lifted from the bed. He sailed swiftly from the room, seeking the way out. He dove into and through a marble wall, disappearing into it as if it were nothing at all, leaving behind a pale green vaporous trail along with the odious smell of sulfur.

The next morning, when Trilla’s mother went to check on her, there was no Trilla to be found. Not even a trace of the great bird’s dissolving gel. All that was ever found again was a silver acorn, and nothing more.


written by Raven TK

Written by Tabitha Low

March 29, 2008 at 5:17 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Great storytelling, but curious about the title. Is more on the way?


    March 29, 2008 at 6:08 pm

  2. I am not actually sure if there is more coming or not. The story did not come out the way I had envisioned it at all–my Muse has other ideas about things, apparently.
    I won’t say there won’t be more to this…but the actual title 🙂 I found in a craft idea here:
    and the name just stuck and kept working on me–sort of Metamorphosis meets Pandora’s Box meets Phoenix mythos 🙂 — but so totally not what it started out to be. 🙂 but I like it…..glad you do too


    March 29, 2008 at 6:41 pm

  3. Chilling…….well written.


    March 29, 2008 at 6:42 pm

  4. It’s best to let stories go where they want…they lose lustre when we get in the way…


    March 29, 2008 at 6:56 pm

  5. I’m with Kerry — allowing stories to go where they want. This story was a real grabber!


    March 30, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  6. I’ll never look at an acorn the same way again! You definitely had my curiosity going.

    Yes, sometimes writing (fiction and nonfiction) ends up heading in ways you didn’t plan, but the results can be really good, as they are here.


    March 31, 2008 at 11:48 pm

  7. The acorn itself gave off a tremendous amount of heat, scalding Trilla’s palm, though she refused to release it. We have more information on willow tree and i think itwill help you….


    April 9, 2008 at 12:00 am

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