Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In anthropological journals you will find occasional mention of the "Hooded Ladies of Lanslund" -- In footnotes, implicit innuendos, little more than hearsay, vague tales quoted from legends. Direct information, however, remains sparse. Most accounts are little more than flowered renderings of the footnoted statements, statements which themselves do nothing more than hint at existence of the ladies. Whether this existence is tangible or fancy is left to speculation or even to faith. Are the hooded ladies a race of arctic Amazons, muscular and stern in their interactions with the hard environs of the Lanslund region? Are they tender like melting snow warming on Spring blossoms? Do they like to kiss?

If I could answer these questions I would be assured a doctorate. I jetted to Scandinavia, took a train to Kolari, as far north as Finnish rails were lain. From there I trudged the tundra, ever further, north by northwest, camping under the Aurora Borealis, long nights of exhausted sleep - and days of relentless treks through uneven land.

Finally I reached the lake country, an uncharted region with no official name, but in the mind one knew it could only be Lanslund. It was nearly dusk, and the Northern Lights began to flare. I stood before the threshold of Lanslund as one of the hooded ladies appeared out of the glowing shadows and stared at me. She did not blink. She stared in a self-assurance that needed not a word.

"Lady of Lanslund," I answered her Nordic silence, "I want to know you. I want to know all about you."

She did not speak, though she moved her head slightly in acknowledgement of my request. She extended a hand towards me, a universal expression of "join with me." My hand was in hers as she drew me into the timber surrounding the lake, then deeper still, past sleeping trees, into her abode, a tent of animal skins, warmed inside by the heat of our breaths.

In her tent she taught me. Gazed into me without a sound, pasting complex sentences into my mind, that I could never speak in words. I became dazed, I felt numb and saw only her, soon like a dream, where faces loom the size of novas. It is all I remember.

My next recollection is walking back with her the way we came. She led me to the Lanslundan frontier. I turned to look at her, encountered again that unyielding gaze, as immobile and inviting as the slabs of Stonehenge. I turned and traversed the tundra back to Kolari, to the train, the airport and ultimately back to the desk where I performed my studies. Still the same person, but different. Now I knew. I knew how to write footnotes.

Story #425

Anyone stopping by is invited to post his/her spontaneous story and/or impressions given by the photograph above...


Doug said...

"Do you think she's noticed us?" asked the alien posing as the right-hand hood tie. "Soon it will be too late!"
"I don't know," said the hood tie on the left. "I'm actually just a tie."

Kevin Wecker said...

Suzie Gymkins was tired. It was late, she was hungry. And Suzie was tired of her father and his crazy inventions. This latest one dealt with the giant cloning blanket. "Just slip it over you, honey; that's it," he said excitedly, "Now wrap it around you. No close the hood. That's what the straps are for!"

Suzie felt ridiculous - But hoped her father's new invention finally worked. Although she wasn't sure if there would be less attention given to her from her father because of a new cloned Suzue. It was difficult enough to spend time with him anyway, what with his continuous failed inventions!

The Mushroom said...

Charlie McGee was a popular girl in the winter months... she could really light up a room and brought those around her warmth.

weirsdo said...

Your story is lovely, Indie. One of your best?

Indeterminacy said...

Doug: I would like to borrow your mind while writing these stories. I'd write a few sentences. They'd be great. And then I'd be finished.

Kevin: Wicked story - what a gruesome concept that is: competing with your clones for attention. Nightmareish!

Mushroom: hey, Firestarter is the last book by Stephen King that I read - just before going to Germany. I somehow never read any more of him in Germany - life was terrifying enough.

Mrs Weirsdo: I'd like to give you a hug for your compliment. I didn't think this story was that much different from any of the others. Secretly, I hoped you would like this. I thought of some feedback you gave me to amuch earlier story, about some statements that were too vague/abstract - so I tried my best not to repeat that here. It is difficult for me to judge that aspect of what I write.

weirsdo said...

Yes. I like details like the description of the inside of the tent and the dream with the faces like novas.
This gives me sort of a Poe meets Borges meets Heinlein feeling.

cooper said...

I enjoyed this Indie.
I'm glad to see you back in top form.

This kind of story is right up my alley,a floating feeling with a tad of eerie discomfort thrown in.

Indeterminacy said...

Mrs W: Thank you again. But what would happen if you brought three writers together. You often hear of two authors collaborating on a book but never three. What happens? Do they stab each other with pens?

Cooper: Tundras always have that effect on me too ;-)

Indeterminacy said...

P.S. Cooper: I'm very happy you enjoyed the story!

{illyria} said...

i'm truly enamored by this one! reminds me of a gaiman piece, a modern twist on beowulf.

Indeterminacy said...

Oh {illyria}! Can I hug you?

master mistery said...


Once, when we were little, Jonnie and me were playing and Jonnie got hurt, and started crying.

I started larfing. Jonnie hated that, when you started larfing at him. Then mum came and blamed me for everything and said she was going to tell dad.

"I didn't do nothing," I told mum, "anyway, cheaters never prosper. My turn to be the big bad wolf, don't wanna be little red riding hood."

"But you're my darling little girl," mum said, "far too pretty to be a big bad wolf..."

And I got really upset and screamed at mum and pushed her, just a little push… Can't remember what happened next, but anyway, that's how I got my bad.

Since then my bad's got worse, a lot worse. Like the time I was waiting for a taxi and another girl tried to steal my taxi when it came, and how she screamed and cried when I… but that's for another time, when I know you a little better.

Anyway, that's how I got my bad, and that's how my bad got worse, and I'm scared 'cos my worst is still to come.

cosmic rapture

Doug said...

This one was subtle. I will need to reread it when my wits are about me. They're currently under me.

Landis G. said...

This is definitely one of my favorites. Its subtle, but still extremely engaging. I love your blog.

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Indeterminacy said...

Master Mistery: Great story, you make the photo a little scary to look at now.

Doug: Don't expect every story to have a meaning. I'm more concerned with finding a way to end my stories than to have some kind of meaning or moral.

Landis: Thank you for the visit and compliment. Where have I seen your name before?

weirsdo said...

Lol at your story, Doug.

MindFul MiMi said...

Life sucks. I wanna go home. I just want to hide. Why did Jimmy try to kiss me? That was just gross. What is it with boys? I am going home now to write in my journal. I wish it stopped raining. I hate rain. I hope I will not miss the bloody bus. Good thing I put on my big raincoat today. I hate my hair. I hate my face, I hate my nose. I hate boys. Why did he kiss me? Does he like me? Why would he like me? I'm such a dork. And why did he try to kiss me in front of everyone? Such a loser. Made me look like an idiot. I didn't know what to do. Why did I push him away? I don't know how to kiss. I want to kiss. Not Jimmy. Maybe Jimmy. Bloody bus. I hate riding on the bus. The boys in the back are always making fun of me. That hurts. I don't know what to say to them. I just wanna go home now. I don't want to go to school anymore. I hate school. I liked English lit today though. That poem by Emily Dickinson ruled. I wanna write poetry like her. I wanna hide like her.
"I ’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know."

Indeterminacy said...

Mindful Mimi: I'm in awe at what you wrote! You showed us a rare glimpse of growing up. Poweful mood!

MindFul MiMi said...

Well, I somehow couldn't see arctic ladies or anything alien in this picture :-) but just a girl trying to hide from everything she's afraid of while growing up. Glad you liked it.

Poojo C. said...

With accusing eyes, she pierced straight into my heart. Her ears warm against the fur of the coat I had given her, she was able to ignore the cold and concentrate on the expressions betraying my innermost secrets. I didn't want her to, but she knew.

"Buying my forgiveness with a fur coat?", she demanded silently. "There can be no forgiveness for the one who hides and eats my Hershey's kisses."

Cheesemeister said...

Edwina Nystrom glared at Kalidasa Crewe from her hiding place in the trees. She knew that the dirty little blighter had invoked the terrible ancient goddess Kali, for whom he was always bragging he was named, and smote her poor innocent pony Rothschile out of spite for Edwina's taking first place in the Ultimate Riding Challenge. Kalidasa was a spoilt rotten brat and a sore loser. But he did know how to invoke the ancient and terrible goddess of his grandmother's people.
"Well, I'm not afraid of him," Edwina said. "And I'm not such a coward as to have the ancient gods of my father's family smite a poor innocent horse. When I invoke Loki, it won't be to have Zebulon fall and break a leg. But the house of Crewe may well encounter Ragnarok this day!"

Adult DVD said...

Good Blog

Princess Haiku said...

This is one of your best stories, Indy. Hope all is well with you and you are having a creative season. Take care.

The Lady said...

I am catching up on the old posts! This kind of story is why I recommended you back in the day. You put Charle DeLint to shame Inde.

Love and Light

The Lady said...

p.s. That would be Charles DeLint

Indeterminacy said...

Hi Lady: It makes me happy to know you still like my stories. I think you mentioned DeLint before, but I still haven't read him!