THE HUNTER’S TALE Chapter Two Rusty’s Challenge

BABA YAGA for blog



BABA YAGA 2 for blog





Reality shifted, the room’s shadows dancing in the periphery of my vision. It was an easy mindflip from my bed to the dream world, and I found myself on the edge of a clearing, trees and brush giving way to the empty site of an old homestead. The crumbling foundation a bold scar on the dense brush, but there was no sign of the previous home that had crowned the stone blocks.

A sense of expectation filled me, this dream was not of my own creation. I had entered his world, and the skin on my neck prickled in warning.

This felt like a test, a qualifying round, but for what? I wondered, silently.

There was no sign of the crow, or of the man I knew him to truly be. Perhaps, he would show himself again, and begin to explain his purpose in invading my Sanctum, and drawing me into his own dream world. Despite his absence, I could feel his power, the tingle a dampened electric current that brushed along my skin, creating an unpleasant vibration in my teeth, and inner ears.

I knelt in the brush, waiting for the event that he meant for me to experience. Hidden, trying to anticipate the expected danger that I knew was about to happen.

It didn’t take long before I heard the sound of breaking tree limbs and heavy steps. Slow, deliberate, and growing louder with each crashing footfall I watched stunned as the old magician’s dream unfolded before me.

Enormous legs, chicken legs to be precise stepped out of the forest behind the old home site. The path they traversed was crossed with stone slabs used for support as the claws found their purchase and made headway through the underbrush. The first, brushing aside large tree branches effortlessly, bore a large old cottage upon its thigh. Lurching, like a ship on rough seas, the house swung towards me as its second leg stepped forward. Mouth open, not breathing, I knelt in the shadows and watched as the gnarled legs straddled the abandoned foundation and squatted down, the cottage squarely centered as if being cradled into its nest.

Sounds of falling branches echoed behind the cottage, heralding its passage. Slowly, as I resumed breathing, I found that an oppressive silence had blanketed the forest. The harsh sound of my breath drew the eyes of the forest upon me, with dread I realized that I could feel the presence of the cottage as it contemplated my intrusion.

I knew of the fable from which the house and its occupants came, it was that of old Baba Yaga. The magician had thrown down his challenge, even though I wasn’t sure of its purpose. The old Russian witch resided within the roaming cottage, and depending on the condition of my heart and soul, she would either destroy me, or aid me.

I knew that I had to face her, and then survive to follow the path that the cottage had traversed. The magician waited, it was time to embrace his challenge and begin the journey that would lead to him.





The tale continues. Rusty steps out to  face a challenge, and this blog has given me the opportunity to face the challenge of realizing my own dreams. I appreciate the time that you have taken to appreciate and experience my story telling, and my artwork. I hope that you are enjoying both, I certainly am enjoying this fellowship. I hope the New Year is rolling in with happiness and creativity for all of you, and I look forward to hearing from all of you.

BABA YAGA workup

These images were fun, but the detail was again challenging. I wanted to create Baba Yaga’s home and reality in photo realistic images that would bring her fable to life. The cottage is from a photograph I took in Colorado, the forest was from a photograph I took in San Francisco. The wood path to the house, again from Colorado. The crow is my old friend from previous work, and the stone lined path is from an image I took in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The water pump is from a photograph I took in Savannah, Georgia. The chicken legs, well of course is from a picture I took of an old chicken here in S.W. Florida.

Sweet Dreams,

Mary Michelle




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