Elektra Orfanos

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Cutting My Roots 

This piece is a short story inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem Goblin Market. It is about the process of becoming an adult from an adolescent, and the struggle of growing to become independent when there is a force that is keeping you locked in time.  

Cutting My Roots


A quick breath then a gentle snip of a stem as it spreads its winding arms around my wrist. I cut it so that I may reach out and taste the fruit. Big Mother Tree has me caught in the tangles of her rhizomes. In the vast web of her bulbs and roots she offers plenty of juicy fruit and grows anything I want. Such as plums, apricots, figs, and pears. She grafts herself with strain stealing snippets from the saplings around her. She overshadows them all to steal their light. To let them wither amongst us silently as I lay back against her trunk.  

As long as I offer to stay a little longer there’s plenty of fruit for me. 


Apples, and peaches, nectarines, and oranges. They fall in my lap when I wake from my dream. I was flying towards the horizon where the roots could not reach me, but I wake and lay tangled in them forced to cut them back again. 


All the luscious colourful wonders from her rotting flesh pulsate with heat. It’s getting dark now and I want to go home. 

A little longer says the breeze, their voice coarse and rough. Blowing blossom petals into my hair when I try to rise up.


How many times have I said it? Just a little longer.  

I cut another root that grapples my ankle. My clippers growing blunt. I don’t recall falling asleep. Yet here’s the sun’s cascading warmth slipping away from me, away from the shadow of Big Mother Tree. 


She grows me cherries, and elderberries, a pomegranate for a laugh. Her fun is a high-pitched ringing in my ears and the violent sway of branches hurtling into each other. 


Have I overstayed my welcome? 

We’ll have none of that. Here take a cherry and have another nap.  

The cherry is mush in my hand, and I set it aside. Snipping and cutting the roots that bind me to Mother.  


A quick breath.  

A gentle snip of a root growing tight around my wrist, so I may taste the fruit for the last time.

Just a little bit longer I cry. 


I am Elektra Orfanos she/they, I study a Bachelor of Creative Arts majoring in creative writing at Latrobe University. I enjoy writing urban fantasy novels for young adults and new adults, and I also love Greek mythology, science fiction, and the feminine gothic. I will be running a writing workshop in this year’s Arts Festival as well as displaying some of my works from throughout my writing course. During the pandemic I have had to find new ways to motivate myself and I am currently working on my own novel. After this festival I plan to keep on writing in an effort to someday be published. I am hoping to incorporate myself into Victoria’s writing community as I am eager to be a part of Australia’s writing world.  


Instagram: @elektra_thea