A Short Story: Sparkles

A short strory built upon Lagarfljót Lake’s own story. It’s written for Iceland Writer Retreat 2019 competition

This is a story i wrote for Iceland Writers Retreat 2019 competition. The theme was “equality” and stories were limited to 500 hundreds maximum. There was a reccomendation note that mentioning somewhere in Iceland will be nice. So i found a story about the Lagarfljót Lake and built the story upon the lake’s own story. You can read Lagarfljót’s story here. Today the result is announced. According to note, there were over 400 submissions and they declared the top three and my story wasn’t there. Congratulations to the winners. As the rules let me publish it after announcement i decided to publish it here. This is the first story i wrote in English language, so you may find some broken bridges in grammar. Anyway, here is the story:


After spending few hours in Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest, the group came to shores of the lake called Lagarfljót. They were twenty person in the group and a guide. All heard about the serpent-like giant worm, the story of the lake. That’s not spoken until they arrive here. But all along the day, any of them, deeply wanted to see the monster. Fragile hearts wanted to feel the magic. Magic, that makes them feel that anything can change in any time. All mother on earth has told the same story to their human childlings: Ugly ducklings can turn into swans…

When sun dawn, they lighten the campfire. Sat around the fire, drew closer to each other. As the guide start to tell the stories about lake and it’s monsters (they’re three), they start to feel something in their veins. Was that magic or a false sense just like they feel all the time in their individiual lives? They were going to learn. Worm was small too at the beginning.
The guide… Well let me tell you his name; Aeldit… When he start to tell the stories, his voice is changed a bit. It wasn’t a big difference, not that everyone can feel the difference at surface, but it is changed. Now there is some cold fire in his breath. Now the listeners feels like the time is not nowadays. After the stories about monsters and spirits and elves and gods… Aeldit, put a serpent headdress to his head and he released the fire in his breath slowly:

“Now time to close your eyes. All of you. Now we step by step will erase ourselves. Start with your legs. You don’t have legs anymore, think that… Now erase the arms. Imagine you don’t have arms. You are like a worm in the river. Think that… Now, erase your faces, i know it’s the hardest part, but easiest also. Erase it. Now you’re all sparkles around the campfire.Now you’re all the possibilities beyond the time and life. You could be a lion, a chimpanze, a worm, a girl, a boy who knows…Imagine for a while, go deep, go deep…. Now let me tell you the truth; you’re still those sparkles with legs, arms and faces. You are those sparkles that can burn yourselves or your clothes, you can knit dreams with fire, or turn them ashes before they grow up at the beginning. I know the life is not so simple, campfire stay alive with sparkles. Fire is an altering god, fire alters even the gods. Now go deep, go deep and sleep…”

They woke up in the morning. All naked or feel naked. None of them think they’re fooled. They felt it. When Aeldit, released the last words, they could see the Lagarfljótsormur raised its hump above the lake if they could open their eyes.

Erdem Şimşek / December 2018

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