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The Nymph’s Melody

A High Fantasy Short Fiction

By Stephanie HoogstadPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 2 min read
The Nymph’s Melody
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Wind danced through the orange and golden leaves. Darkness engulfed the night but for the full moon and a lone red-orange fire in the clearing. Wolves howled in the distance, mingling with the nymphs’ singing as they sat around the fire. The flames flared with the pitches of their notes and the beating of their deer-hide drums.

They sang of the nature of today. They sang of the nature of yesteryear. They sang of the nature of the future, of its downfall at the hands of humankind and their newfound machinery. Tears streamed down their faces, mixing with the dirt smeared across their skin, and formed puddles in the earth at their feet. Moans of despair mingled with their notes of joy and optimism, as they dreamed of a savior who could stop the march of progress.

The scuffling of boots on dry dead leaves broke the nymphs’ trance. Three elves dragged three men into the clearing, axes hanging limply from their free hands. The elves threw the men and the axes towards the fire as though both offended them deeply.

“These men were chopping down trees from the Sacred Woods to build a human settlement,” the lead elf told the nymphs, his glaring eyes never leaving the men.

The nymphs glanced at each other, then nodded. The one closest to the elves waved dismissively at them. Without taking their eyes off of the humans, the elves took their leave.

With the elves gone, the nymphs began their singing once again—louder, angrier. The flames of the fire climbed higher and higher, capturing the men’s attention. Even as the naked feminine forms of the nymphs approached them, the men could not look away from the multicolored fire dancing behind them.

Red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, violet—again and again the flames flashed through these colors, climbing higher and higher until they reached the stars themselves. The nymphs were but shadowy hourglasses before this fiery rainbow as they crouched before the men, running their sharpened claws down their chests.

The men’s cries, like an injured wolf’s howl, mingled with the nymphs’ angry tunes as the creatures dug deep into the humans’ chests and ripped out their hearts. As the men collapsed, one by one, the nymphs crushed their hearts into dust, to fertilize the earth from which they had stolen.

The nymphs stared as the ground beneath them swallowed up the bodies, then returned to their posts, singing their woeful song as the fire returned to its red-orange state.

Note: This story is a submission to the #highfantasychallenge brought to us by Matthew Fromm. For more information and to submit your own story, follow the link below.


About the Creator

Stephanie Hoogstad

With a BA in English and MSc in Creative Writing, writing is my life. I have edited and ghost written as a freelancer for a few years with some published stories and poems of my own. You can learn more about me at

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (5)

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  • Veronica Coldiron2 months ago

    I loved the imagery in this! Great story! Congratulations!

  • Ian Read2 months ago

    Delightfully dark and gruesome! Well done!

  • Matthew Fromm2 months ago

    wonderful! entered into the challenge

  • Naveed2 months ago

    well-written piece.

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Magic! So vicious! I can't help wondering what the nymphs are burning though...

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