Monday, 13 June 2016

LEGEND - A Story

I thought I'd switch to fiction this week. Here is the winning version of a story which I entered in the Talkback Writers Forum flash fiction competition a few years ago. A longer version of this story was also published on the CafeLit website. 


The finger bone was ancient.
‘Where did you find it?’
Sela pointed inland.
‘Show me.’

Red Footed Booby

The track wove interminably. A light wind ghosted through the hardwoods, carrying the cries of sea birds and the ammonia tang of guano.

Frigate Bird

Through the mosaic of virgin forest I could discern ruins, although many stones had tumbled over time.

‘Here,’ Sela said.
I knelt, fingertips probing. Gently, gently. I felt the unmistakable curve of a cranium.
‘Ah.’ I uncovered the skull.

‘This is old, Sela. This is Lapita.’
‘The spirit people?’ He was wide-eyed.
‘The Lapita were as human as you and me.’ I scraped and cleared.
‘You will release the devil.’

I knew the legend: disturbance of Lapita remains would free the ensnared spirit. But I was no shaman. And this skeleton was human, not devil. No juju to fear here.
‘I will release a piece of your history, nothing more.’

The wind danced in synchrony to my dance through the layers of time as I laid bare a three thousand year old secret.

The excavation was complete. The wind strengthened and the sky turned sulphurous.
‘I think we should brace ourselves,’ I said.
Sela whimpered. 
The skeleton’s feet were cloven.


The inspiration for this story came from an article I wrote about Lapita remains in Fiji. The legend of the spirit people is pure fiction. 

I took all these photos in Fiji. The one with the rocks are the remains of Lapita ring fortifications. The skeleton was found by workmen who were digging a trench in my little town: it is not Lapita.

I hope you enjoyed this week's post. I'll be taking you to South East Asia next week.


  1. Beautifully done, the pictures are a wonderful addition! Congratulations, I can see why it's a winner!

  2. Thank you, Yolanda - it's good to know you enjoyed this week's post. :)

  3. That was a wonderful story. I loved "the wind ghosted..." such an evocative phrase. Excellent pictures, too.

    @Kathleen01930 Blog

  4. Thank you for the positive feedback, Kathleen.

  5. Wow, that was very enjoyable. Great little piece.

  6. Wow! Nice heart-in-the-throat ending! And the pictures add to it very nicely.

    1. Thanks, Bish - the photo of the skeleton was pure serendipity! When I wrote this story I never dreamt I would publish it on a blog one day and need photos to accompany it.

  7. Yes, I am with Patsy. Never disturb the resting place of the dead. Cue the spooky music. :-)

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  9. Hey...this is really cool. I enjoyed reading it and the pictures. The skeleton is neat to see but eerie

  10. Glad you enjoyed the story, Birgit. The skeleton caused great alarm and excitement.

  11. Ooh, spooky!
    And I do like a story with pictures.

  12. Thanks, Linda - nice to know you liked it. :)

  13. Susan your writing is so eloquent. I felt as if I was being swayed to and for by your words. What a fascinating, albeit somewhat spooky, discovery in the town you lived.

  14. Thank you, Sue. I don't always write spooky stories - I can do humour too. I just go where a story leads me!

  15. Eek! Ooh I love that twist. Very awesome. *shivers*

  16. If the ending gave you a shiver, I achieved my aim, Crystal! :)

  17. Applause! This was great, Susan!

  18. What a wonderfully spooky story. The name Lapita rang a faint bell, then I remembered a cafe in Tenerife called La Lupita - not the same after all, but close!

  19. Thanks, Liz - no, I believe Lupita is a Spanish girl's name. :)

  20. Rich and intense. Very atmospheric. I loved how you knocked me over with that last line!

    Helen Laycock

  21. Thanks, Helen - evoking a strong reaction to the last line was my intention! :)

  22. I like your switch to fiction - great job!!

    Wishing you a great weekend :)


Many thanks for commenting. I appreciate your feedback.