The Scold’s Bridle in time, a short story

Images from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, England

A Scold’s Bridle in time: a short story

Vices of escapism tempt… “Can’t you see, it’s more comfortable here. Stay here with us.”they say.

Scared to move ahead, and left behind. Crying in a reflection of a Scold’s Bridle upon your face. These vices left me here in this mask. Tongues spoken out of turn and stuck back in time. Running into the green fields and crying for an answer, “How do I leave this ghost town?”

The universe answers back, “you are only focused on one ingredient of your entire being with which you choose to season your life with over and over again. This ingredient is just one part. You must use all of them to break free.”.

I cried back, “But… how do I remove this scold’s bridle?”.

The universe said, “Stop hanging out with the squatters in the shadows of the ghost towns who lure you with the vices of escapism, and the rest will fall into place.”.

Heading back into the ghost town from the green fields… dragging my feet behind my body, ashamed to look up. Lured by many methods of temporary escapes from wondering voices. I went back to the kitchen, ignoring all the little devils and temptresses of the night. One ingredient of my being sat in a large spice jar in front of me. I used this one all of the time to cook up something new. It was like Groundhog’s day. Over and over and over again. All of the same things. That is how I ended up here in this mask and in this place. I moved large jar of spice aside and all of the other small spice jars emerged that I had never seen before. I added one, and it reminded of my youth on the schoolyard chasing boys with spiders on sticks. I added another one, it reminded me of the poetry I wrote for a long-lost love. I added another, it reminded me of winning battles that nobody thought I could win. I added another one, and it reminded me of leaving behind everything I knew for an adventure. I added another, and it reminded me of my true self. I added another, and it reminded me of my early adulthood and of hope and inspiration. I added more small ingredients with dashes of love, hope, generosity, fear, strength, knowledge, temperance, folly, drive, rationalism, irrationalism, innocence, fate, creativity, conclusion, and humility. The pot of ingredients whirled round and round until a spell of sparkling light came up from the pot, enveloping and lifting me with its masses. The Scold’s bridle fell from my face, clattering onto the ground. With a bright light flashing, and a quantum leap to present time… I awoke resting in the same field of daisies and green of the future as the sun shined upon my uncaged face.

Flipping over, and free in modern time… I never wanted to forget. So I quickly penned down:

Time stops for no one

The wintering birds come every year

They do not question it. 

They just do. 

The bumble bee goes from flower to flower.

It does not question it. 

It just does. 

We go to sleep every night

In full trust we rest

knowing we will wake again.

Everything and everyone moves in real time with fluidity

One cannot resuscitate the dry brittle bones of the past.

Just as the tides continues rise

and just as it recedes

We know when to move forward

To pause

And when to step back. 

In swimming we hold our breath for as long as we can, knowing that we’re running out of time… we start to swim to the surface for air again.

The ghost towns of our past 

Lay in the desolate desert of our minds

Old homes of love, loss, despair, burdens overcome, joy, and rejuvenation. 

We visit here

from time to time

Never forgetting what made us 

But we can never stay here for too long

For these are ingredients of time

In a perfect mélange of who we are today

We trust in the unknown. Our own integrity is all that we have. We trust in rites, rituals, rules, and law and order. In the essence of newness, there is no sense to be made. We trust that everything goes along the way that it will and that everything will work out in harmony never staying in one place for too long.

K.K. Powell

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