“Once Upon a Body” Dark Micro-Fiction by Jamie Seibel

girl in woods with lantern: illustration for micro-fiction story "Once Upon a Body" by Jamie Seibel.

As my grandmother cooked matzo ball soup, I played in the tall yellow field. She hummed, watching me from behind the window. I had been told by her before: Never go into those woods! When she turned around, I moved farther down the forbidden path. Trees, once on the horizon, grew over me. I lost myself in the sounds of a whistling brook and the deep hum of hornets. The summer leaves turned a golden crisp, glimmering against the sunlight. Captivated by beauty, I hardly noticed rocks protruding from the ground. I tripped and fell into a green mass covered with bright chicory. In the strange form, I found eyes and lips mangled in the earth. A man’s face and body had become a part of the woods. I screamed and dug, searching for his heart, but all I found was a rib cage filled with mud and grime. Why was he here? I asked him over and over again. But everything was quiet. I stayed, waiting for any sign of life, but the man never moved. My grandmother called in the distance, “Katarina! Katarina!” I didn’t want to leave and never find him again. “Katarina! Katarina!” Returning to the canary grass, I ran toward the familiar cottage door. Pausing only once to look back at the horizon, but the woods behind me had disappeared.

Jamie Seibel’s work is forthcoming in Versification Poetry Zine, Wingless Dreamer, The Tiger Moth Review, Plum Tree Tavern, and Poetry Pacific. Her poem “War Stone” was published in a previous issue of The Chamber Magazine. This story is her first published micro-fiction. 

If you would like to be part of The Chamber Magazine family, follow this link to the submissions guidelines. If you like more mainstream fiction and poetry with a rural setting and addressing rural themes, you may also want to check out Rural Fiction Magazine.

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