The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Road Taken
by Marge Simon
One day, when I was in my teens, I caught a leprechaun. Never mind how. He was low on wishes, so I only got one. I wished for lasting happiness. Next thing I knew, I was in a yellow wood, where two roads diverged. Leprechaun told me I had to decide which one to take, but assured me they both lead to happiness. Well, that was a no-brainer. One was pristine, level, lined with trees that pleased the eye. Some were heavily laden with fruits, and the bushes along the way afforded the traveler berries of various sweetness. The other choice was uneven and muddy, meandering this way and that in semi darkness. A closer look revealed it littered with rocks and brambles.
So of course, off I went on the decent road. It ended in a sweet field of tall grass, where I found a wallet containing a small fortune. There was no identification to be found. I invested it wisely, but not before graduating at the top of my class. Shortly after, I was sought out by a large, successful company. In a few years, I had advanced to the top echelon. I courted and married a woman of beauty and style. She bore me a fine healthy boy.
But then everything began going to hell. My bride refused to have anything else to do with me. My son became a spoiled, lazy dullard. Naturally, all that made me grumpy, so I took to drinking and gambling with the money I’d invested. Beautiful women helped me lose every penny. I was sacked by the company heads. Even my mother didn’t like me hanging around. I was totally miserable. That damn leprechaun had lied! But I got to thinking on it, and he really hadn’t outright lied. It had to be about taking the right road. The easy road’s happiness wasn’t lasting.
This is where you’ll probably say that I went back and found the fork with the same two roads. You’re thinking I took the other one, the ugly, unwelcoming one, right? It would be difficult, but I’d make it through. I’d be a success again and everyone would love me. The lesson being that abiding happiness doesn’t come easy. You must work hard and overcome obstacles for it, is that what you think?
Nah. I’m basically a lazy slob and I wasn’t about to take no scary, nasty dark road. I became a beggar, without a penny to my name. I don’t mind, actually. Life is less complicated. The next time I saw that leprechaun, I thanked him.
Fiction © Copyright Marge Simon
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Marge Simon:
The Demeter Diaries
‘The Demeter Diaries’ is a record of love and longing and the inevitable horror that arises between the minds of Mina Harker and Vlad Dracula as they court one another in waking dreams. The dialogue, written in both poetry and prose, imagines a psychic connection that develops between the two even before Dracula arrives in England. As Dracula makes his way from Transylvania to Whitby on the doomed ship Demeter, the two would-be lovers transmit their thoughts across the waves and lands that separate them, alternately wooing and terrifying one another with the idea of love eternal and all the dark delicacies necessary to ensure it. Front cover art by Wendy Saber Core, interior illustrations by Luke Spooner.