Inspired by a prompt from the Writer’s Fuel Shop. Follow them on Instagram and check out their Etsy shop!
Frustrated, Nyla sat on the ground, wrapped her arms around her legs and rested her head on her knees. The journey from the village to the mountain had taken an extra day. The unusually dry and hot weather had slowed her down. Her grandmother had told her that some mountains, if you asked nicely, would move. Nyla asked as nicely as she could, but the mountain didn’t even speak to her. She was tired and hungry. She tried not to worry about her little brother who needed the berries on the other side of the mountain.
“You’re just gonna give up?” A voice asked.
Nyla stood up and gripped the hilt of her sword on her waist. She glanced around.
“Who said that?”
“Me. The mountain.”
“You can talk? Why didn’t you respond earlier?”
“I can’t move.”
“So why are you speaking now?”
“You’re the only one who’s asked and sat down.”
“I was thinking. I have one less day’s worth of food and water. You moving was the only way to complete my journey in time. Now I’ve let down my brother and my father probably won’t trust me again.”
“You’re harsh on yourself. I can help you complete the journey in time.”
“How can you help me if you’re in my way and can’t move?”
“I know my terrain. Where you can get water and food and shelter. There are shortcuts that are a little dangerous, but you seem nimble enough to handle them. You can get to the other side in half a day.”
“Half a day? You jest.”
“I do not.”
“And what do you want in return?”
“Nothing. Just want to help a weary traveler.”
Her grandmother had warned her about tricksters, snakes, foxes, and sometimes man, but never the mountain.
“Okay. Let’s do it.”
And the mountain became her partner. The mountain navigated Nyla over crevices, away from wild animals, and carefully across stepping stones in the river. Nyla moved swiftly and didn’t stop until she made it to the other side of the mountain, just before nightfall.
“Mountain?” Nyla asked as she secured her bag, now full of berries.
“Do you have a name?”
“Yes. It’s Selah.”
“Now I can thank you properly. Thank you Selah. My brother won’t have to suffer any extra days thanks to you.”
“Don’t thank me yet. We have to get you back.”
“My grandmother taught me that we must be grateful in all things. So I thank you for helping me complete this leg of the journey. And I will thank you after I complete the next leg.”
Selah led Nyla to an empty cave where she spent the night. After breakfast, Selah guided Nyla back to the other side.
“Thank you again, Selah.”
“I’m glad I could help.”
“Should I tell the people of your generosity?”
“Let’s keep this between you and me for now. But I promise to always help those in need.”
“That works for me. See you later.”
“Safe travels, Nyla.”