003. “The Virgin Mary’s Child”

by crfricke

*This post is part of A Grimm Project, a series of short fiction pieces using each of the Brothers Grimms’ Nursery and Household Tales as writing prompts. For more information about the project, click here. For more about the story which inspired this freewrite, click here.*

The fruits of the forest are messier to eat than the fruits of Heaven. Such sticky, red fingers one has all a sudden; such long, animal hair that grows once you’ve seen too much and must make your own way. The girl’s arms and legs became as quick as pistons as she climbed the forest’s trees. She liked it there, where no one saw her. The golden florescent rays of Heaven’s lights could not blind her here, for the trees shut it out like kind umbrellas. What thought shall I think today? This was the girl’s favorite question, for any answer would suffice. In the brightly-lit hallways of Heaven, each question had only one answer, and this was hardly enough to satisfy. The girl could not speak anymore, but she could think, and she could laugh. The girl ate a jumping frog one day and felt it squiqqle all down her insides and it made her laugh, and her laugh was the loudest thing in the forest and she liked that. She played a game, up in her tree, which was played with only two teams—herself, and the world. I am in the 13th tree, she’d think with all her might. Come and gaze on me. When the world did come for her, later—when it found her with her hair down to her calves and her fingernails like peeling birch bark, she was still laughing. And when everyone in the world asked her what sat behind the 13th door of Heaven, she said nothing, and she thought Nothing as loudly as she could, and this was terribly funny, too.

Cate Fricke
August 2013

Illustration by Heinrich Lefler and Joseph Urban

Illustration by Heinrich Lefler and Joseph Urban