I don’t know exactly what happened, but I lost confidence in my writing for a few months. I gave myself a good talking to and I’m back to work now. Writing a short story for the wonderful Trifecta seemed like a good way to get my brain working again. I hope you like the story and that I can stay motivated enough to write one next week too.
The prompt is:
1a : to affect by or as if by magic : compel b : to please, soothe, or delight by compelling attraction
2: to endow with or as if with supernatural powers by means of charms; also : to protect by or as if by spells, charms, or supernatural influences
3: to control (an animal) typically by charms (as the playing of music).
Waiting was the hardest part. Mother said waiting was a skill, like tying knots or shooting arrows. She became stone, save her eyes, constantly searching. Even knowing where she was, Lisha had to concentrate to see her. It wasn’t clothing and body paint that faded her into the jungle; it was stillness inside.
Two years into training, Lisha was improving, able to hold position for hours. But her mind never settled. She thought about being uncomfortable, dinner, friends, the festival. She daydreamed about future catches and the praise she would receive. She thought about being a mother and teaching her daughter to hunt.
Last moon Lisha killed three deer. She once took down a bear and had hidden from a tiger. But animals were different than people. People can feel your thoughts on them. Their spine tingles and blood cools as you hunt them; your excitement fuels their fear. They flee without knowing why. Unlike deer, humans can’t be shot. Killing a man makes him useless. Perfect calm, delicate magic, and timing are needed to charm one.
Lisha is not expected to capture a man. Her mother and the other master hunters would bring men for the festival. But she could not stop daydreaming about it, which is why the few she had come close to had gotten away.
A twig snapped, startling Lisha, causing her to fall. A tall, well-muscled young man stood looking down at her.
He stood not five feet away, his confusion giving her time to remember what to do. She stared into his green eyes, singing the calming song. Without breaking eye contact she stood, beginning the dance, stepping backwards slowly, beckoning him. His eyes locked on hers, he followed.
Mother jumped out behind him, tying his hands, but he hardly looked away from Lisha.
A hunter can claim any man she captures. Lisha was younger than the other girls in the festival, but no one would challenge her right to this man.