For as long as Anette could remember, the old family farm house had a guardian angel. He was a short little man, no taller than three feet, but he had this grandfatherly feel about him. Since she had been a toddler, he had been there to look after her and the house during the night. Always there to wipe away tears after bad dreams and to soothe her with enchanting songs in a language so old that it wasn’t even in the history books anymore.
It was that feeling of comfort and security that drew her back to that house. Her parents were traveling the country as their last adventure in their old age and left the house in her name. She knew that the little man would care for the house until she arrived and so she allowed herself a moment to take in the countryside of her childhood.
Every bump in the road to the house held a special memory in her heart. The old tree down by the creek was where she had broken her ankle after her cousin pushed her from the highest branches into the shallow water of the dry season. Even from where she stood, she could make out the old boards her father had nailed into it so that the children could climb up easier.
The landscape had barely changed since she had last been there. Maybe a little bit of aging but otherwise it looked just as it did when she was a child. The memories filled her with such nostalgia and a longing that she had thought she had long buried that she had to pause for a moment to regain control of her emotions. She had chosen to walk the last mile to the house to take in these sights and share them.
Glancing down into the peaceful face of her own child, she smiled softly even though the motion caused pain. The bruises were covered but that did not keep the pain from her face. Humming the long lost tunes of her memories, she pushed aside any thoughts of her husband. This was her sanctuary. The one escape that he never knew about.
As she walked up the cobblestone path to the farmhouse, her smile grew wider. Even the scents were the same and the muffled sound of bubbling stew brought a bounce to her step. How he knew when she needed comfort food was always one of the biggest mysteries but it also had not changed.
“Come precious.” She cooed to her baby, brushing her finger over his chubby little cheek. “I want you to meet the Tomte of our new home.”
Pushing open the door, she took a moment to look around at her new home before sinking down to the floor. The Tomte was there in an instant, his wizened brown eyes seeing past what layers of makeup and defenses hid.
“No no, no cry. Egon make all better. Made Anette’s favorite.” Anette couldn’t help but giggle through the tears that began falling from her eyes. He even kept the name she gave him when she was four. Egon, the family protector; she and her little Fenris would be safe here.
“Bring baby. Egon brought out crib. Baby eat too.” Nodding, she pushed herself up and followed the little creature towards the fireplace. Egon never liked using the stove and she never told her mother, but stew tasted far better when made in a pot over an open flame.
There would be no more fighting, no more bruises to hide away from the public. He couldn’t hurt her here, couldn’t threaten her precious. If he did find them, it’d be the last thing he ever did; she could see the silent promise in Egon’s eyes after she had handed Fenris over to him and washed her face. The nightmare was finally over.
That one didn’t come as easily as some of the others did but I think Tomte’s are cute little creatures. I did twist the lore a bit to fit but I like.
Tomorrow’s Creature: Will-O’-The-Wisp