The River, an original short story

There was splashing in his river. He felt the disruption along the his spine of water’s surface and the ripples clattered against the rocky shore. It was something large,

something frantic but not drowning.

Not yet anyway.

He glided through the cool waters of his own self, the core of his essence and consciousness, moving forward and broke the surface near his source, colorless eyes seeing the scene before his.

There was a human in his river.

She was dressed in a simple but fine linen gown the color of lilacs in the spring or antiqued hydrangeas. The delicate silver details on the hem of the gown and cuffs of the sleeves mirrored the strip of silver was across her forehead, holding back her curling oak brown tresses. A maiden. She was scared.

She splashed through his river at the leanest part, stumbling over the rocks he had been smooth over so much time. She kept glancing back in fear but moved forward
nonetheless. His river wasn’t big, not here anyway. It was near his source so he was barely more than a creek but she struggled. Her linen gown was heavy on her legs and fear kept her looking back, unable to watch her footing in her flight.

She was too big to drown. He could do it, if he wanted to claim such a sacrifice. Humans downed in less water than him but it would take a lot of effort. It was easier to drown a human downstream, where he had more of himself to work with, where humans swam in his depths and claiming one was as easy as time.

He slid his head to the side to watch whatever she was running from. The maiden tripped and bloodied her knees on water worn rocks on the other side of him when her pursuer appeared.

It was a knight. Knights were delightful to drown. So much heavy metal, so much to wear at and rust. The metal made their movements so loud and he could silence their clanging by filling their lungs with his water. They were such proud men, so incredulous that they’d die by something as simple as him, as water. They feared him but refused to speak of it as such. Being afraid of water was foolish, they thought.

They were so very, very wrong.

The knight was running her down, his sword out and edge glinting bright as the sun hit the blade through the canopy of trees above. His helmet was on so he was nothing but a suit of metal clattering towards the water.

The maiden sobbed loudly, crying out, and scrambled on her hands and feet over the rocks, tripping over her gown as she struggled to her feet.

The knight clamored his way across the water, the surface splashing against his knees as he gained on her.

There! The river rose up is an huge rush, a momentous effort but so worth it. The knight flailed as the water came over him heavily, pulling him down to the riverbed. Rocks battered at the suit of arm as the knight struggled against his current. But he simply flowed over the knight, kept the water heavy, dark, and cool. Made it difficult to see the surface.

It took a long time but the knight drowned in less than two feet of water.

The maiden sobbed on the shore, her lovely face hidden in her bloodied hands. Her dress trailed in the water but she was out of his reach.

He had his sacrifice. A penance for disturbing him so close to his source. He drifted away, back downstream towards the swimming humans and their silly, frustrating boats, pleased and sated. A calm river once again.

The River  is an original work by Samantha L. Davidson / This Crooked Crown. All rights reserved. Support This Crooked Crown on Patreon for exclusive spells, short stories, and novellas.