WEP: Road Less Traveled

This WEP entry is the installment #2 of my novella Magic Senegalese. Please check out the other participants in the challenge here. To remind you what has gone before in my story, you could read the first part here. It ended with Naomi’s father telling her that they’re going to Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh?” Naomi gasped. “It’s on Elfhome. Another planet. Has been for as long as I’ve been alive. What are you talking about? I can’t go to Pittsburgh. I don’t have any papers, just my driver’s license.”

“You were born there,” her father said. “Drive, Naomi, and I’ll tell you your true story.”

“I was born in New York,” she objected. “I saw my birth certificate.” She ventured a sideway glance at him.

He seemed inscrutable, as always, and she returned her attention to the road.

“It’s a duplicate,” he said. “They issue one to every baby born in a foreign country of American parents, when they first arrive back in America. The original was issued on Elfhome. In Pittsburgh. It’s in here.” He patted his breast pocket.

“Really? What about my mom? Was she an American too? Or is she still in Pittsburgh? Is that why she isn’t with us?”

As far as Naomi knew, her father never talked about her mother, except saying she couldn’t raise her daughter for family reasons. He never answered any of Naomi’s questions, never blamed her mother for anything, but Naomi had always been resentful. She had always assumed her mother was a white married woman and wouldn’t acknowledge her illegitimate daughter with a black lover. Maybe she didn’t want a half-blood girl? On the other hand, if her mother was an Elfhome citizen, perhaps the situation was different. Perhaps she couldn’t leave home. Maybe the elves, who ruled Elfhome, wouldn’t allow an illegitimate child? A mulatto child? Who knew what the elves thought?

Her father sighed. “It’s not as simple. Your mother is an elf. Raindrop Tossed by Wind.”

“What?” Naomi’s hands tightened on the wheel.

“It’s her name. Raindrop. She was so beautiful,” he said dreamily.

“Are you saying I’m half-elf? But I don’t have the ears.”

“You did. When you were born. She…” He winced and looked away at the car window.

“She what?” Naomi prompted. She was so flabbergasted she felt as if she was listening to a fantasy show on the radio. An audio version of Game of Thrones, maybe. It didn’t feel real.

“She is a domana caste elf.”

“The ones with magic?”

“Yes. By the elven law, the domana caste can’t have sexual intercourse with anyone else. Only among themselves or with their sekasha.”

“Their bodyguards,” Naomi translated softly.

“Yes. If anyone finds out that she had sex with a human, had a baby with a human, she would be in trouble. They might even kill her. And you. And me. Anyway, she could never acknowledge you, even if she’s still there, in Pittsburgh. I think she left it.”

“Wow! Slow down. The elves might kill me? Then why am I going there? Might as well stay home and risk my murderous former classmate. At least I’ll know what to expect.”

Her father snorted without humor. “Nobody in Pittsburgh knows about you, except one person, your mother’s friend. She is some sort of a healer at the elven hospital. She helped with the birth. In secret. She also helped with the surgery afterwards, when they… sculpted your ears to the human shape. I think they did it with magic. There was no blood or scarring, but you cried for a week, poor baby. I was terrified. Then you stopped crying, and I took you home. Became a single parent to my wonderful baby girl.”

“What did you do in Pittsburgh anyway?”

“I was on a student exchange program. Went to Elfhome, to Pittsburgh University for a month. Stayed for a year, and left with my daughter.”

“I didn’t know,” Naomi said.

“No,” he agreed. He still gazed out the car window and wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“But the way to Pittsburgh only opens once a month, Dad. On their Shutdown day, when our two universes align, or whatever.”

“Shutdown is two days from today, Tuesday night. I keep count. We’ll stay in a motel for the next night, then you’ll go to Pittsburgh, and I’ll go home.”

“And then I’ll stay on another planet alone? For a month?”

“Probably longer, pumpkin. On the next Shutdown, send me a letter, to let me know how you are. I’ll keep you informed about the situation with Bob. If it is ever resolved, you could return home.”

“That’s why you wanted me to have cash.”

“Yes. You could buy a house in Pittsburgh for a dollar. Find a job. Teach dancing to the local kids. You should be okay.”

“What if Bob or his associates come after you, Dad?”

“Why? Nobody will trouble me. I didn’t witness a murder, as you did. I won’t even know where you are, at least not for the first month. If anyone asks, I’ll tell them you took off to San Francisco, where they offered you a dancing gig. Let them look for you in San Francisco.”

Naomi smiled, probably her first smile since she witnessed Bob killing a man. “Should I look for my mom in Pittsburgh? Raindrop.”

“Better not,” he said gravely. “Tell the guards on the border you’re considering immigration. You have the rights: you were born in Pittsburgh. When you settle, look instead for the other elven woman, the healer. Her name is Field of Rye Bending to Wind. I called her Rye.”

“Rye,” Naomi repeated. To escape a murderer in New York, she was driving to Elfhome, an alien planet where immortal elves wielded magic. Where she didn’t know a single person. Where she half-belonged, maybe even could work magic herself, but she couldn’t tell anyone, because if someone found out about her mother, they might kill her. In her wildest imagination, she could never imagine such a road trip. A trip to Elfhome nobody but her would ever make. She shook her head and started laughing. It was either that or howling, and she preferred laughter.
The image of the book cover is by Caique Silva from Unsplash, a free image website.

This entry was posted in Fantasy, Novella, Olga Godim, science fiction, WEP and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to WEP: Road Less Traveled

  1. Denise Covey says:

    Hi Olga! Great story continuation. I love the elven names – Raindrop Tossed by Wind and Field of Rye Bending to Wind. Names really add the magic to fantasy. I’ll be all agog to see what happens when Raindrop arrives in Pittsburgh. Now I’ll have to wait…


    • Olga Godim says:

      Denise, the names convention is not mine, alas. I follow the way the original author, Wen Spencer, named her characters, even though the characters themselves are all my own.

  2. desk49 says:

    Naomi’s is an elf without ears
    her mother forbidden to have sex
    what other bad things
    on these girls did they hex.

  3. Ooooh.
    I am loving this, and echo Denise on the name front. Both of those elfnames are incredibly evocative. And predispose me in their characters favour…

  4. I used to live in Pittsburgh, who knew? 🙂 An exciting continuation. I can’t wait to read more. Excellent work!

    • Olga Godim says:

      Oh, you must read Wen Spencer’s “Tinker” then. It is all about Pittsburgh. One of my favorite speculative fiction novels. I’m in love with its protagonist.

  5. Widdershins says:

    Excellent excerpt! 😀

  6. Nilanjana Bose says:

    Oh I love the gradual reveal that is happening in this serial story! Captivating work as usual. Looking forward to the next excerpt already!

  7. Hi, Olga,

    VERY INTERESTING premise and snippet! I enjoyed it. I like how you created a unexpected twist on this elfin world.

  8. tyreanmartinson says:

    I love that she prefers laughter!
    This is an excellent premise.

  9. I really like the elven names too. It sounds like a real adventure to go to this unknown world and to keep your true identity hidden. I hope she gets to meet her mother. So many different prejudices with her mixed human race and mixed elf race. Good fantasy tale. 🙂

  10. lgkeltner says:

    This girl has fascinating origins, and I’m curious what awaits her in Pittsburgh. Well done!

  11. Perfect dash of fantasy mixed with modern day. I loved it!!! Will this be a book? A short story? A novella? I HAVE to read it all!!!

    Donna B McNicol, author & traveler
    Romance & Mystery…writing my life
    A-Z Flash Fiction Tales: http://dbmcnicol.blogspot.com
    A-Z of Goldendoodles: http://ourprimeyears.blogspot.com

  12. Well that’s an interesting tale. I’m curios to see if she meets her mother, or her mother’s friend. Will she recognize her own daughter after all these years?

  13. jlennidorner says:

    Huh. Interesting.
    The “You could buy a house in Pittsburgh for a dollar” part made me laugh. Is that a magical dollar? I’ve been to that city a couple of times, never saw housing that cheap.

    Anyway, I like the story. Seems like some good metaphors mixed in. Guessing it’s an Urban Fantasy. Nice work.

    • Olga Godim says:

      The story is fan fiction, based on Wen Spencer’s Elfhome universe. I explained it before the first chapter, in the previous WEP post. I guess I should’ve mentioned it in the intro to this post again. In Spencer’s world, you can buy a house in Pittsburgh for a dollar.

  14. Pat Garcia says:

    Okay, I lost my comment. It said it couldn’t be posted. Why I don’t know. Anyway, I love this story. I bought your Squirrel of Magic and I am looking forward to reading it. Please ensure that this book is also on Amazon Germany’s website so that I can purchase it when you’re finished.
    Shalom aleichem,

    • Olga Godim says:

      Thank you, Pat. This book will not be on Amazon. It is fan fiction, based on Wen Spencer’s Elfhome universe. But I’ll publish the full version on wattpad soon.

  15. Pat Hatt says:

    The elf names are great indeed. She’s sure on a journey that she never expected and could bring about much. Magic and all.

  16. DG Hudson says:

    This story has some interesting elements, and I’d read more. I’ve always liked elven stories, but haven’t read any in a long time. Well done, and the elven names remind me of Native Indian names.

  17. Jo-ke Ojo says:

    Not sure if you got my comment earlier, Olga.
    Kindly let me know.

  18. Jo-ke Ojo says:

    Something nice, of course, Olga:)
    Now I can’t even remember what. So I will read again and comment.

  19. Jo-ke Ojo says:

    Hi Olga,
    Raindrop is a lovely name. Yours is a lovely, intriguing story.
    You may wish to use other phrases in place of ‘half blood’ and ‘mulatto.’
    Racial issues are often of a sensitive nature and I’m sure no harm was intended.


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