by Rebecca Smith

Poppy lived next door to the blacksmith. Her summers were filled with scorched metal, molten copper and a glow from the back of the workshop like a dragon’s heart. When the boy she liked, or didn’t as the case may be, scored her soul, she’d visit the blacksmith. She learnt how to thrust the wrought iron into the embers and make it light up like a beacon. She pounded it, twisted it. She manipulated it until it became something else. Something beautiful. A candlestick, a door handle. Seventeen leaves to make a rose.

It worked, more often than not. The magic of the shimmering heat. The power of force, invention and suggestion. The young men didn’t stand a chance and a spell was set. Her skin wore the permanent shade of black metal scraps and a burning scent so strong her mother’s teeth chattered. By the end of the summer she had a line of suitors, queuing under her ivy-ridden porch frame. A poem, a daisy, an offering of some sort for her strong, stained hands. The blacksmith hovered in the cold shadows and watched from the dragon’s chest as she chose her treasury.

Rebecca Smith | @beckorio

Rebecca Smith was brought up in the middle of nowhere in Cumbria and now lives in central Scotland. She studied English and Media at Stirling University and then produced live radio for 10 years, almost purely living off adrenaline. She currently works in Radio Drama in Glasgow. She has been mentored by Kirsty Logan after she was selected as part of the WoMentoring Project and has stories published in various magazines (Freak Circus, Tales from the Forest, Northwords Now, [Untitled]). She has one son, a silver-grey cat and penchant for biscuits.

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