Hidden in an enchanted forest, situated deep in the mountains was the land of inchelines, people barely six inches tall. Small, fragile and beautiful was their body and nature.
That was a beautiful land, full of flowers, fruits and charming people; those little people loved each other, no quarrel, squabble or dispute was ever heard there.
The forest surrounding their village was a curse and a boon. The trees were giants to them, for they were normal trees, of our land; mothers told children scary stories to keep them out of the forest. But who can tame kids? They often ventured in and were lost.
Parents blamed the wild beasts but barely did they knew, something poisonous was lurking in that wood. A clan of scorpion men, they were their size but their poisonous head, tail and magical power made them deadly.
If any kid ventured near their nest they were killed by the magic wall they have built to keep their nest hidden.
Just like the kids of inchelines the scorpion kids too roamed around and often they watched the inchelines from the shadows of the wood. The inchelines missed them because scorpion men were night creatures and inchelines were day creatures.
A scorpion youth got obsessed by the incheline girls; he noted how they were warm, loving and caring. They rarely hissed or stung like scorpion girls, their colour was fair as golden petals. They loved to decorate their homes and pamper their loved ones; they were extremely tender to elderly and small ones.
He decided that he will marry an incheline.
His clan called him insane, they never liked inchelines much; they thought that they were too weightless, too much light-headed.
“Look at them! Always laughing, playing, singing; they don’t have any dignity or maturity.” They retorted him.
“Marry one of our own girls. Don’t be lunatic.” This was their unanimous suggestion to him.
He turned a deaf ear to them.
He soon picked out one of them, she was the softest of them all, always smiling, playing with children or other beautiful things, like flower, butterflies or animals, birds.
He waited impatiently for a chance to talk to her, soon he got one; she ventured too deep in the forest to pick flowers.
She was busy picking flowers, one after the other – the pink, blue, mauve, and yellow…. Her small basket was slowly filling up. Her name was Tandra, sweet sleep.
All of a sudden something stepped out of the dark woods, a bluish black creature with head like a spider and a huge tail like a scorpion; with the sting attached to the end but a torso of human being.
She screamed and fainted. He picked her up and brought her inside his nest.
Tandra opened her eyes and discovered herself inside a dark place. Slowly her eyes got adjusted to the place and she realized that she was inside a cave, moist and damp. She could see some centipedes and millipedes crawling on the walls and resisted herself from screaming out loud.
Then she heard it, a strange hissing sound accompanied by clicking approaching her. A hissing voice sounded right in front of her, “Don’t be afraid. You are in my home.”
She could not see the speaker but she assumed it must be the apparition that appeared in front of her in the woods.
“Let me go!” she sobbed, “Please!”
“I am Deathstinger; I want you to be my wife.” The voice said.
“Let me go back to my people!” she begged again.
“We are your people now.” The voice replied in an authoritative tone before turning back from her. The clicking sounds slowly walked away from her.
Slowly her eyes got accustomed to the dim light of that semi dark place. Only the mid-day sun brought some light to that pitch dark, light like their twilights, the rest of the day was various shades of dark.
Everyone hated her there, they taunted, hissed and clicked their stingers at her, did not dared to sting because they knew it will kill her and then Deathstinger will kill them.
Only Deathstinger and his mother were gentle to her in their scorpion ways; Deathstinger because he wanted her to marry him, and his mother because she was extremely fond of her son.
Deathstinger tried to cheer her up but noted with great irritation that she has stopped smiling, forget about laughing or playing. She roamed around the darkness of his cave like a ghost; she rarely stepped out because she was afraid of other scorpion men and women.
Scorpion men and women had very short limit of patience and temper. Soon Deathstinger got disgusted with his brooding guest and decided that she was worse than scorpion women.
He married a scorpion girl. He decided he will keep Tandra to bring up his children. He has seen how much she liked small children, and he sure would like her to bring up his own babies.
Thus he kept her imprisoned in his land, partly because he wanted to avenge his failure and partly because he liked the idea of her teaching his children Incheline ways.
Soon he was blessed with half a dozen offspring; he handed them over to Tandra and ordered her to bring them up.
Dismay added to his already piled up stock, she treated his children with cold kindness; there was no sign of maternal warmth, the warmth she showered on Incheline kids. She started to bring them up in a mechanical manner.
In vain he hissed and grunted. It appeared that she has lost her ability to react. She just moved around like a walking corpse, his kids at her heel.
Few years passed away, every year he handed her six more of his offspring to bring up.
That night when he woke up he noted that she was not in the cave; he was surprised and went out to look for her. In all these years she has never ventured outside his cave. She was not outside his cave either, he started to search and then the others told him, she was last seen by the sentry in company of his elder most kids, walking toward the boundary wall. When the sentry returned after his round she was no longer there, thus he assumed that she has returned to his cave.
Why will he least bother about her whereabouts?
He returned to his cave, because he has seen all his kids sleeping in their room. He woke the older ones up and asked about her.
“We took her to her village.” One of them said, with a look of rigid stubbornness on his face.
“Why?” he hissed furiously.
“Because she loves us and we love her.” He answered.
He raised his sting to hit him when his wife stepped in-between.
He went out of their nest and stood outside the Incheline village, just like the days of his youth. There she was, surrounded by Incheline children, laughing and playing.
He grinded his tentacles and hissed furiously. “Ungrateful wretch!” he hissed venomously before slowly retreating into darkness.