Topic: Jutta's Tales: The Bog Mother. (A URW Horror Story.)  (Read 1854 times)


Owlant

« on: May 26, 2020, 09:12:49 PM »
Hi, I want to try something different. Instead of a character story, I tried to write a horror story based in the URW. There might be more. I think Jutta has a few stories to tell.

This is a little dark, and based on true things.

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Jutta was my mother's mother. She came from the far north, away from the coast we call home now. Mother told me that she came from the Owl Tribe, before settling down with her husband, a Seal Tribe man in his homeland, our homeland. He had been killed before I was born and Jutta had moved in with us. Father, was a Seal Tribe man through and through, and didn't like Jutta. On good days, he said she had the touch of the Spirits. On his bad days, he would say she drank too much of them instead.

But she seemed so ancient, so wise to me, I was just a little boy at the time. I took her word as law much to my practical father's annoyance. I was forever panicking over spilled salt, casting the expensive substance over my shoulders, refusing to whistle indoors for our dogs and all sorts of old Spirit ways. It seemed for beings who didn't care for humans, they certainly cared a lot about all sorts of things we do according to Jutta.
 
Even though it has been many long winters since she left us, I still remember her sitting in front of the hearth. A broken net over her lap, her curled and swollen fingers deftly passing the bone shuttle needle through the cords, stitching it. The little clicks of bone, almost lost with the wind whirring past the window, sending snow against the sides of the cabin we were in.

My job was to hold the lengths of cord taut as she worked. An important job she always told me. Fixing Father's fishing nets was my favourite job, not just because I get to stay in the warmth, curled against Jutta's leg, but because Jutta would tell me stories.

Now I sit in front of the fire now, my children's children around me, watching me whittle, I still remember her stories or was they more warnings? I clear my throat, the children looked up expectantly. They were waiting for the next tale, as I did when I was their age. The wind howled and made them jump and look around skittish like deer and I smiled. “Have you ever heard the Bog Mother?” I started, echoing Jutta's words from so many moons ago...

Winters on the coast are cold but with the sea air keeping the worst of the snow out, it is nothing like the far north. There was a village that was on the tip of the world it seemed, so far north and so cold. But nothing was colder than the people.

Hunger and death was a constant companion to the people,  Nothing would grow in the stony frozen soil for most of the year. The kept reindeer was scraggly starving beasts but the people made do. Yet they didn't move on. Some say they were cursed, banished to the far frozen north for some evil deeds, land and bloodlines cursed. All I say is that when the milk of a doe was ending, they often mixed it with the does' blood, bleeding the beast slowly keeping it alive and the hot blood mixed in with the thinning milk was their favourite treat.

In the leaner years, when the villagers, deep into the dark months felt their stomachs ache with hunger, what little food there was, was shared out to the village hunters, trappers and crafters first. The men eating what they could as they needed to find more. The scraps was given to the womenfolk to pick whatever they could from the lean bones, breaking them for marrow like starving wolves. Whatever, if ever, anything was left it was scraped into the pot and boiled, the thin soup dished out to the elderly.

There was one year though, it seemed the Spirits was plaguing the village, traps were sprung but lay empty and half the reindeer does lost their calf, the other half just didn't carry. The villagers already was gaunt from one bad winter but a worst spring? Followed by a tragic summer since the hunters was bringing barely any food in, just enough to keep them all from dying.

The Summer Solstice brought the village leaders and the Sage, to the middle of the village. The old Sage, was barely able to stand but still chanted and cast a few bones into the fire and watched them burn. A sharp snap from the bones made him fall back. “A bad winter!” Was declared, the omens black.

Worry filled the village far faster than food in the stores. Was it worse to die slow starvation or quick? People muttered as they walked past the storerooms again and again, looking at the small amount of food as if it would change.

In the midst of summer, a young outsider housewife, who married into the Tribe but a year ago gave birth. The first one in many years. However births was not celebrated like yours. They marked another mouth to feed, another drain on scarce supplies they had. The other women, the ones who hasn't bared in years talked in hushed tones about it, how not right it was, how did she bare when even the does were barren. Even the Sage couldn't answer. The babe, seemed not quite right; small, pale and silent. The Tribe women whispered about it, how it wouldn't survive the night.

Summer ended, and so did Autumn, the hunger and whispers grew as the child survived. Curses, and promises with Spirits was muttered, why else this year was so barren when the mother wasn't so? Didn't all the trouble start when she arrived?

When winter began to creep into the village, one of the village women who lost her only child years ago began to tell the others about the unnatural sickly looking child who had weaned. Eating food. Even though it wouldn't survive till Spring. A waste. It's portion of food could feed her husband who brought that seal in. At the start of winter, it was just hot words in the cold air but as winter continued, and the hunger sank deeper in their bones, she wasn't the only one saying it any more.

Winter is bad time to get a head full of bad ideas. No one had the energy to shake them off or think, all they kept hearing is how they could get more food for them, for their family. The mother hid herself and her son away, while her husband a crafter, unskilled was low in the village so kept quiet. He was already distrusted for marrying outside the Tribe. So he wasn't told when the leaders went to have a meeting on a nearby hill, out of eyeshot and earshot of the village.

Hunger was a desperate beast that day, it's growls echoing in all the leaders' stomachs, the wicked anger clawing through them as they decided. In the older times, in leaner times, ones they thought they had passed, they would send the elderly off, into the woods with no supplies. One less mouth to feed. The outsider's child should be banished first, not one of the elderly. It was decided in harsh but quiet tones.

They waited till the next full moon on the solstice, the Sage had said it would be best. The Spirits could snatch up the child before it's soul was left to howling void. The next words was heavy on his tongue, blood ritual offering are best on the solstice. One of the leaders jumped in his skin and admonished the man for his crude words. Blood rituals hadn't been done in generations, though they still drained the does when hunger set in.

The mother found out only when the Sage knocked on the door of their cabin as night fell that evening. The leaders were just behind and with a glance into their solemn gaunt faces, she knew what they were here for. She screamed, cried as her husband held her. She tried offering them anything but her son. Food, valuables but in the end she offered her life up. Surely an adult's portion was far greater than what a babe would eat?

The leaders accepted it with a jerky nod. Better on their soul, a woman give herself up then condemn an infant. She followed them out into the night, each of the men holding a burning torch, the guttering flickering lights surrounding her leading her deep into the marsh. The frozen ground crunching under her leather boots. She was sobbing to herself, the icy cold night freezing the tears on her face. The moon came out from behind a cloud, bathing them in the silvery light. She was handed a torch and ordered to walk away into the bog away from the village, away from her child, sobbing.

The babe didn't survive long, neither did the husband who followed within a week. The woman was never seen again, but she was heard. The next full moon, an eerie call came from the bog. The village's best hunter grabbed his bow and arrow and crept out. He was shaking as the cold wind blew across him and a thin woman's sob drifted over him. He raised his bow and arrow thinking the outsider had returned, but there was nothing. He approached slowly and carefully thinking she must have been hiding behind a tree. He scurried home terrified.

Again, the next full moon, the sobbing was closer now, the edge of the marsh now. The leaders gathered up as many men as he could arm, and marched them out to see what was happening. He heard the thin sobs and spun around, the noise seemingly surrounded them. They scattered, fleeing in haste away from the painful wretched sobs.

They thought they were safe in the village, the cries moon after moon, never left the bog. The village learnt to live with it, the Sage drumming on full moons to banish the evil and stop the sobs. Maybe it was that, and not the offering which made the game plentiful, the traps full and the nets bursting with food. The village recovered even, the next winter easy to get through, even the bog was silent. Years past, the old Sage passing on, and drumming stopped. It was waking up the children who soon filled  the yards of the village, horrors forgotten.

It was after that winter solstice, when the children first mentioned her. The Bog Mother. The lady in the marsh, who called to them to play who promised them that she would be their mother. The children told the adults fled, all of them except one. One who had argued with his mother that morning, one who didn't know the dangers of the bog, one they found the body of face down in the mud, dead. They told the children never to play near the bog, to ignore any voices, any lights.

It didn't stop there, a child woke up next full moon to a voice outside his window, calling for him. His brother sleepily awoke to see the boy leave the room and never return. Another child, and another, soon they were gone. The village died out but they still say she is out there, the Bog Mother, looking for her child every winter. If you sit quietly you can still hear her calling, or sobbing for her child she lost.

I finish my story and look at the spell bound children, just then the wind blew past the window, a thin almost wail, sending the children to tears and screams. You know, it did almost sound like a distraught woman calling out.

paulkorotoon

« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 05:50:20 PM »
I read the story, listening to depressive raw black metal, and it did make me feel grim and cold. @Owlant, I would gladly read some more tales like this.

Owlant

« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2020, 11:59:10 PM »
I read the story, listening to depressive raw black metal, and it did make me feel grim and cold. @Owlant, I would gladly read some more tales like this.

@paulkorotoon Thank you for your kind words. I appreciated it. I may write another piece but I am stuck in a Noire detective novel about a supernatural or not cult.

Brygun

« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2020, 04:14:24 AM »
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciated it. I may write another piece but I am stuck in a Noire detective novel about a supernatural or not cult.

So the Detective is trying to figure out if things are in the Real or Unreal world.


JP_Finn

« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2020, 05:13:30 AM »
I’d say the detective has a case of stolen birds to solve.

Intrigue!
Larceny!
Occult!
Magicks!

Owlant

« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2020, 07:28:23 PM »
Not quite guys. I don't know if I could post it here or not.

JP_Finn

« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2020, 08:51:29 PM »
You can post it in Off-topic, no issues there.

Karmatose

« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2020, 01:31:51 PM »
Fascinating read. I've never been much into the horror genre at all, but this caught my interest. Although, my beef with the horror genre is more related to video games and movies than writing, really.

Have you considered writing out some other tales that Jutta might have told? The way you titled the thread almost made it seem like you plan to write more.

Owlant

« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2020, 11:23:30 PM »
Fascinating read. I've never been much into the horror genre at all, but this caught my interest. Although, my beef with the horror genre is more related to video games and movies than writing, really.

Have you considered writing out some other tales that Jutta might have told? The way you titled the thread almost made it seem like you plan to write more.

Thank you. I did post another story in the same sort of vein but people didn't seem to respond to it. I didn't wish to flood the boards with unwanted ramblings.

Karmatose

« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2020, 12:32:16 AM »
Thank you. I did post another story in the same sort of vein but people didn't seem to respond to it. I didn't wish to flood the boards with unwanted ramblings.

Would you mind linking that one? I'd love to read it. ^^

Owlant

« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2020, 06:27:08 PM »

Owlant

« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2020, 05:08:41 PM »
You can post it in Off-topic, no issues there.

I finally followed your advice and posted it there. It is another dark tale.

JP_Finn

« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2020, 05:33:53 PM »
I read the part one, so far so good!

(Maybe edit the subject with note of it being contemporary fantasy/horror story.